(WTVM) - The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to look out for companies that say they're supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month but in fact, are doing the opposite.
Pinkwashing is when companies take advantage of pink products and services to support breast cancer charity groups and organizations.
The BBB says many times companies market the items and make it seem like proceeds from pink or pink ribbon products are going to charity or organizations when the money is really staying in the company's pocket.
BBB's Regional Director, Tabitha Ingram, says there are a few ways you can protect yourself.
Ingram says, "Well, Better Business Bureau advises consumers to do their homework, ask questions. If you see a company and they've got products you're selling their claiming to go for breast cancer awareness ask questions, what's the charity their going to, what percentage or portion is going towards that and also if they have a cap? Some companies have a cap on where they're donating so they might be halfway through and they may have met that cap and everything after that is going into their pocket."
The widely recognized pink ribbon symbol is not regulated by an agency and does not mean it promotes breast cancer research or charities.
So, many stores or vendors can sell products just to show their support and isn't considered pinkwashing because they're not promising to give proceeds to research or charity.
The BBB says when in doubt use your head, as well as your heart.
Think about the product that you are purchasing.
If you don't need it, consider making a donation directly to the breast cancer charity of your choice that way you know where your money is going.