Is it illegal to say you are going to donate from sales and not do it?

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Is it illegal to say you are going to donate from sales and not do it?

My girl friends cousin sells products mostly online and from parties. She told everyone and posted online that she is donating 70 of everything she sells to our daughter who is fighting cancer. Well she kept avoiding my girl friend for months and now says that she has her own problems and will not give her any of the money. Is that illegal? What action can be taken. We also think she was lying about the sales number since we know a lot of people who bought off of her because of the situation. Any advise?

Asked on September 20, 2016 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

She committed fraud, because she lied about a material, or important, thing (that she was donating money to help a girl who had cancer) that would have been part of people's decision whether to buy or not. Lying about something important to get people to buy from you is fraud and is illegal. You could potentially report her to the authorities (e.g. the police; the state attorney general's office) for her fraud, and anyone who bought from her could sue for the return of their money or other compensation.


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