Welcome to TrustDALE's Three For Thursday with Consumer Investigator Dale Cardwell.

I recently received a free package of greeting cards from a charity to which I do not regularly contribute. I instantly considered whether I should use them, even though I had no intention of donating. The items are called “donor premiums” and are a time-tested way to use guilt as a tool to prompt a donation. Recent research, however, shows this tactic is losing its effectiveness. According to Cygnus Applied Research’s Penelope Boyd, “They (recipients) are entirely perplexed that a not-for-profit would spend some of the money that is coming from donors on stuff they never asked for, and do not want. If donors do end up contributing, they may chip in less than they can afford because the premium casts a pall over the organization’s financial efficacy.” Count me as one of those. If you want to stop those guilt-laced gifts, write directly to the sender, and ask them to delete your name from their mailing lists. The legitimate organizations will honor your request.

Watch this Investigation

Today’s investigation - Fortnite (game) Foul Play. Watch because this could happen to you!

Ask Dale

Today’s Ask Dale question comes from Brian, who wants to know how he can recover his investment from the Smile Direct Club. Click the video for the answer.

Today's Lesson On How To Be A Savvy Consumer!

Today's seven-point lesson is on identifying a worthy charity.

Fast - Do they want your money NOW? I never contribute to an on-the-spot solicitation that I cannot have time to validate.
Funds -  Is the investment required relevant to the promised payoff? Gifts from charities usually do not cost much. Still, do not allow them to use guilt to prompt a donation. Do your research!
Found - A person who intends to rip you off will make certain he cannot be found after he gets your money. There are few worse feelings than discovering you have given money to a con artist, so don’t.
Define - Your deal by comparing Product, Offer and Price. Calling oneself a charity does not make it so. Find out if the solicitor spends at least 70% of the money it raised on its stated purpose at candid.org.
Ensure - Your deal with an Ethical negotiation, an Equitable contract, and an Effective Guarantee. Worthy recipients do not trick you into recurring gift status. Make certain any written pledge you make is concise and transparent.
Authenticate  - Your deal by requesting References, checking reviews, and reviewing watchdog reports.  With the presence of Candid.org, Give.org, and the BBB, there is no excuse for getting burned!
Legitimize - Your deal by determining if the company has a business license, liability insurance and is Lawsuit and background searched. Companies that are good at avoiding responsibility are also good at avoiding legal responsibility. You can protect yourself in advance by consulting Candid.org and/or Give.org.

Dale's New Book:
Don't Get Scammed: Get Smart!