TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Attorney General joined a group from across the U.S. to ask the fundraising platform GoFundMe to be clearer on its finances.
On April 18, Derek Schmidt and 28 other state and territory attorneys general sent a letter to GoFundMe outlining specific steps they would like to see put in place. Currently, those who use the site pay a fee of 2.2-2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. The attorneys general say that the information in the website’s terms of service and policies, specifically those related to blocking, freezing, refunding and redirecting donations, is hard to find and unclear.
“[P]latforms like GoFundMe are not and should not be empowered to unilaterally make decisions regarding where donated funds will go or why. If GoFundMe is making opaque and unilateral decisions about which fundraisers are legitimate and which fundraisers to re-route donations to irrespective of initial donor choice, GoFundMe has likely crossed the line from fundraising platform to fundraiser itself. Such a role implicates significantly different regulatory schemes directed at ensuring transparency in charitable giving.”Attorneys General letter excerpt
The following steps were encouraged by the attorneys general in their letter to GoFundMe:
- Explain in detail how GoFundMe investigates or analyzes fundraisers on its platform, and what criteria GoFundMe uses to determine whether those fundraisers are fundraising for acceptable purposes.
- Explain in detail how GoFundMe determines whether to block, freeze, re-direct, or refund donations and what criteria GoFundMe uses to decide which avenue to take.
- Explain in detail how GoFundMe handles donations when GoFundMe decides to block donations, freeze donations and/or re-direct donations.
- Review its policies and terms of service to ensure that donors are adequately and conspicuously informed at the time of their donation of the circumstances under which their donation may be blocked, frozen, re-directed or refunded without their authorization by conspicuously disclosing those circumstances through the user interface.
- Explain in detail the meaning of the term “unacceptable” in the context of its terms of service and describe whether there are additional internal policies defining it.
- Articulate any steps being taken to address these issues in the form of a responsive letter or a meeting with the attorneys general.
To view a copy of the letter to GoFundMe, go here.