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Consumer Reports: Shopping for a worthy cause

Some retailers donate a portion of their sales to charity so why not give them your business? Well, maybe you should but Consumer Reports suggests looking closely at the fine print, before you do. (Image credit: Consumer Reports)

'Tis the season of giving, so how about considering a gift that also lets you give back? Some retailers donate a portion of their sales to charity, so why not give them your business? Well, maybe you should, but Consumer Reports suggests looking closely at the fine print before you do.

Ideally, it's a win-win. But you have to make sure the companies are as generous as they want you to think they are. Consumer Reports says the key is transparency. So, look on a company's website for information about its giving policy. AmazonSmile, for example, states very clearly that it donates half of 1 percent of all eligible purchases to the participating charity of your choice.

You want to be skeptical if the retailer says it's going to give a portion of the proceeds but doesn't tell you exactly how much. And, don't give anyone your business strictly to support a good cause. Make sure you're getting at least the same price and service you would get if you shopped elsewhere. Because, for example, buying that $400 television on AmazonSmile results in a donation of roughly $2. But if you can get a better price on a television elsewhere, you can always save yourself some money and go ahead and make that charitable donation on your own.

Consumer Reports also suggests taking a close look at return policies before deciding where to make your purchases, particularly during the holiday season. You want to be sure whoever you're gifting to can make exchanges and returns, if they need to.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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