Katrina Relief Fund account frozen by PayPal

Written by Tim Smalley

September 5, 2005 | 01:46

Tags: #disaster #new-orleans #red-cross #something-awful

Companies: #paypal

It seems that PayPal is getting in the way of SomethingAwful.com's efforts to raise some money to help with relief of the devastation in New Orleans. At the same time, PayPal are taking a 2.35% profit from every donation that was made to site owner Rich Kyanka's relief efforts.

He had helped to raise over $30,000 in a little over 9 hours thanks to generous forum member donations. He'd chosen to use a PayPal account to collect the money, as he required a donor's address so that he could send free merchandise at his own expense as appreciation for their generosity.

Something Awful's servers are located in New Orleans and they are "either underwater or strapped to the roof of a stolen vehicle that is also underwater", according to Kyanka. Thus, he is unable to use Something Awful's own credit card system for donations to help with the relief.

Here lies the weakest link in Kyanka's efforts to help the devastation - PayPal froze his donor account on the grounds that "[PayPal] have received more than one report of suspicious behaviour from your buyers." If you consider the fact that he isn't selling anything and was asked to provide proof of shipping information to the parties reporting suspicious behaviour.

Conveniently, there's a table in his PayPal account page that lists the scammed parties - the list didn't contain a single report of a scam going on. Yet it stated that he'd need to submit an explanation for each of the zero aggrieved parties.

Since then Kyanka has spoken to a PayPal representative and requested that the funds were taken from his account and sent to the Red Cross - the charity behind the bulk of the Katrina relief efforts. However, the representative stated that there was a problem in that all donations to PayPal go through United Way.

Being careful about the donated money, Kyanka gave United Way the once over, returning some rather horrifying results.

A former Chief Executive of United Way, Oral Suer, pled guilty to fraud in March last year. The damage caused by Suer was said to be "incalculable" according to the charity's current CEO, Charles Anderson. We are not the slightest bit surprised the Kyanka doesn't want his readers donations to be sent to a charity that is a "corrupt, bloated overhead organisation".

Indeed, all that Kyanka wanted to do was help New Orleans in a time of need, raising over $30,000 in the process. He's requested that PayPal refund each and every donor the full amount. Hopefully this will happen, as it is pretty sick to think that a company is making a profit out of generous donors trying to help in a time of desperate need.

That is not all though, as there are many more horror stories regarding PayPal's service over on PayPalSucks.

You can donate direct to the Red Cross Relief Fund here. Please give generously, and let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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