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Consumer Reports: Shopping for a worthy cause

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, file photo, an online shopper searches a site. On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, the National Retail Federation estimated that people who shopped both online and in stores from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, spent more than those who stuck to one or the other. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

It's 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 need to make sure that 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. Amazon Smile, for example, states very clearly that they donate one-half of one 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. If buying a $400 television, on AmazonSmile results in a donation of roughly $2. But, 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 whomever you’re gifting to can make exchanges and returns if they need to.

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