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PayPal Freezes Hurricane Relief Account

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the good-guys-always-finish-last dept.

News 635

logan5 writes "SomethingAwful's forum denizens, on the call of site admin Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka, raised over $20,000 dollars to be donated to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. This was done via a PayPal donation link, and PayPal has now frozen the account on a twofold basis: one, that there have been reports of "suspicious behavior" from the "buyers," and two, that no shipping records have been provided for the donations." Since so many users are asking for it, SomethingAwful has provided a link for those wishing to still make donations to the Red Cross in the meantime.

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PayPal Is Like The Mob (4, Insightful)

Novanix (656269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474920)

You hate dealing with them the more you have to deal with them. Sadly this is not the first case of paypal outrageousness. They will happily do what they want and often may take money, they do not follow any real guidelines and you are often left out in the cold without them helping you. Sadly there is not a whole lot one can do when you run into bad luck. Unfortunately it can be hard to transfer money with others, and so you are left forced to deal with paypal. For a whole bunch of bad stories just visit one of the many sites like [] .

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (5, Interesting)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474968)

One of my friends had a PayPal Visa card. He says that if he paid for a meal on his PayPal Visa, and left a tip, that paypal would end up automatically denying the payment.

Not his fault, he's willing to pay the amount. PayPal is being the jerk and not paying.

Sure, this worked occationally in my friend's favor (he avoided it, because it felt wrong to him.) But PayPal was ripping on the restaurants.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (5, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475046)

Well, this is actually somewhat understandable (somewhat). What likely happened is that the restaurant authorized a payment of $x.xx and then when you added on the tip, it came out to a different value that was authorized. PayPal likely saw this as either an attempt to fraudulently overcharge the account, or they simply had a policy of only paying transactions as they were authorized.

This has actually become a problem for banks. It's really easy for unscrupulous merchants to add on charges after the fact, and most people really don't keep track of their receipts so they don't notice.

I've seen lots of places that have started requiring you to fill in the amount of the tip before the transaction is authorized. I assume this is because of stricter regulations by the payment processors.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474979)

I have heard about PayPal doing some shady things in the past, but should we be so quick to judge in light of scammers like those described here [] ?

Unfortunately, when disasters strike, some people are eager to take advantage. You saw it in New Orleans with looters and other horrible violence, and you see it online with scammers everywhere.

The site in question is probably legitimate, but maybe PayPal had a legitimate reason to want to cover itself believe that it may not be?

Just a thought.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474980)

Well, never mind all that, Novanix. This has nothing to do with this thread, but would you just listen to me for a little bit? See, I went to the local Yoshinoya today. Right. Yoshinoya. And the damn place was packed so full of people, I couldn't even find a seat. So I looked around a bit, and I found a sign that said "150 yen off". What the hell is wrong with you people? Are you idiots or something? Any other day you wouldn't even think of going to Yoshinoya, but if it's 150 yen off, you all flock in here? It's just 150 fucking yen! 150 yen! And you're brining the kids too. Look at that, a family of four going to Yoshinoya. Con-fucking-gratulations. And now the guy's going, "All right! Daddy's going to order the extra-large!" Shit, I can't watch any more of this.

Yoshinoya should be fucking brutal. Two guys sit facing each other across a U-shaped table, and you never quite know if they'll suddenly just start a fight right there. It's stab-or-be-stabbed, and that's what so damn great about the place. Women and kids should stay the fuck away.

Well, I finally found a seat, but then the guy next to me goes, "I'll have a large bowl with extra gravy!". So now I'm pissed off again. Who the fuck orders extra gravy these days? Why are you looking so goddamn proud when you say that? I was gonna ask you, are you really going to fucking eat all that gravy? I wanted to fucking interrogate you. For about a fucking hour. You know what? I think you just wanted to say "extra gravy".

Now, take it from the Yoshinoya veteran! The latest thing among the Yoshinoya pros is this: Extra green onions. That's the ticket. A large bowl with extra onions, and egg. This is what someone who knows his shit orders. They put in more onions, and less meat. A large bowl with the raw egg, that's really fucking awesome. Now, you should know, if you keep ordering this, there's a risk employees might write you up. This really is a double-edged sword. I really can't recommend this for amateurs.

And you, Novanix, well, you should really just stick to today's special.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (4, Interesting)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475015)

A friend of mine sold stuff on ebay. He had a perfect record, nobody complained.

One day, he went to his paypal account, and it was locked.

My friend did not worry, he did nothing wrong. So he sent an email to paypal asking for details. He got back something saying "his account was being reviewed". My friend asked when the funds would be released, and paypal did not respond.

6 weeks passed, and paypal kept his money frozen.

Finally, my friend went to get a lawyer, and had him send a letter to paypal. His funds were released the next week.

He sent another email and letter to paypal asking what caused the account to be frozen in the begenning. He got no response. To this day, he does not know why paypal did what they did.

It is nice to have a company to protect people. But the company should say why they take actions. If paypal believed my friend did something wrong, why not tell him, and ask for a response? Why keep everything secret, and keep the account frozen??

secrecy through lazyness. (4, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475054)

Seriously, it costs pay pal money to actually talk to people and read letters. Everything is automatic. They don't tell you anything because they simply don't care.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (1, Insightful)

yfarren (159985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475049)

I just have to ask. Would you rather paypal not suspend this guys account, and NOT suspend countless accounts of people who ARE scamming people, or that paypal try to shut down accounts that SEEM to be scamming people, and then, upon futrther investigation, decide "this one isnt a scam, we will re-open it".

I mean, come on people. You all know that paypal is big, and that it relies on a certain level of automation to protect itself, and consumers, and sellers. And you also, all know that there are a ton of people out there raking in what are, well intentioned peoples "Donations". So this guy opens up a site (new, cause he used to use his own credit card processors) and, if the article is telling the truth, in 6 hours had gotten $20k.

You are all telling me that you DONT want paypal to suspend that until they have time to investigate?

I mean, I am all for donations, and helping. But, doesnt paypal have an obligation to protect people (from things like phishing blah blah blah)? How does paypal know this guy is legit (I, for instance, dont. Maybe you do. But does your knowledge neccessarily translate into paypal's knowledge?).

So you bitch when it doesnt do enough to protect people. And THEN you bitch when, in trying to protect people, it steps on somone's toes.

Re:PayPal Is Like The Mob (1)

Rickz0rz (831049) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475079)

The problem with this, however, is it's often a bitch to get your money when you're legit. Manytimes, it takes a lawyer to send a letter to see your money, and evenso, there's still no explanation as to what caused the account freezing anyways. It wouldn't be so much of a problem if it weren't for this.

No good deed... (2, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474922)

No good deed shall go unpunished. I really don't like Paypal, for this and many other reasons. What ever happened to e-Gold?

Great job, PayPal. (5, Insightful)

Stick_Fig (740331) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474923)

Now you have a PR nightmare on your hands.

Re:Great job, PayPal. (3, Insightful)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475018)

They've done this sort of thing before. Often. To big and small. And yet, they're still raking in the dough. A quick search for "paypal sucks" brings up a quarter million or so pissed-off ex-paypal users.

As always, don't keep money at paypal that you can't afford to lose.

As a something awful member, this disappoints me. (4, Insightful)

scrain (43626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474924)

While I haven't contributed to the fund in question, paypal's amazing ability to decide when and where to steal money for their own reasons is amazing. I really hope some attorney general takes them to task for this one.

i hate paypal (4, Insightful)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474926)

this is fucking bullshit!
Paypal: Where the fuck is my $50 going now? What the fuck is this shit!?

Oh, and the article leaves out that we donated this $22,000 in about seven hours, and lowtax was giving people free shit for doing it out of his own pocket, which was the reason he wasn't just linking the red cross. SA is down from the hurricane ( [] ) so there was no option to use their own credit card system.

I am never using paypal again.

Aaaay relax, guy! (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474952)

Lowtax can give the money to the red-cross in 180 days!

Re:Aaaay relax, guy! (2, Insightful)

scrain (43626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474956)

Naah.. the whole 180 thing is a lie to get you to wait 'til they've managed to misappropriate your money somewhere.

Other people have waited the time and magically... no money. Not like that was a surprise.

Re:i hate paypal (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474973)

It's okay, we'll all go take pictures of their corporate HQ or something.

Seriously, though, this is bullshit. I was (am) honestly proud to be a member of a community that was raising over $3,000 PER HOUR to help the hurricane victims, and Paypal couldn't be arsed to spend 10 seconds looking into the issue instead of just shutting it down. They're notoriously hard to communicate with as well, so this is just going to put further delays on things.

Thanks, Paypal, and a big Fuck You.

Re:i hate paypal (1, Troll)

yfarren (159985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475080)

It is odd. You are telling US that Lowtax did all this stuff, but the article fails to mention where you told it to paypal. Did you get a receipt for the red cross? Did you show it to paypal? I mean, you tell us how you cant show them a shipping invoice. But what DO you show them? I mean, you have to know there are a ton of scammers out there, just taking in people's "Donations". Dont you think Paypal had some level of obligation to protect those who are giving to the relief effort? To make sure they aren't giving relief to "line my pockets"? You are pissed that your account is suspeneded. But you dont tell us what you have done to show paypal you ARENT scammers. Just having read your article, I dont see why I should think you arent a scammer. Give me a link to who you donated the money too. Have THEM show me that you did. Give that link to paypal. Then, give them a business day. THEN bitch and moan. Right now, all I hear is the bitching and moaning. Which, while popular on slashdot, isnt very helpful. To you, or the Hurrican Victims

THEY DID IT TO ME TOO!!!!!! (3, Insightful)

yoduh (548937) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474928)

they locked my personal account AND My relief account. Got $4,000 in two days to give to a few members on the site who had their houses flooded out. I've been working with Paypal. I took off notice about a percentage going to the redcross - and they want all my tax info. I'd post the site but I dont want to see the site get ./'ed

Re:THEY DID IT TO ME TOO!!!!!! (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475011)

I ran a donation for the PearPC legal fund against Maui X-Stream (it was on slashdot)

I collected about $1k in a few days, and PayPal calls me up while I'm trying to sleep, and they're like: "Did you know that you have had a large amount of money going into your account?" I'm like "Yeah, last I checked it was exactly this balance..." "Are you done asking me stupid questions now?"

??? revealed (5, Funny)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474930)

1) allow people to open accounts
2) collect donations for disaster relief
4) Profit!

Remember people, PayPal is not a bank!

Re:??? revealed (2, Insightful)

FyreFiend (81607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475017)

That's what I don't understand. Why aren't they legally considered a bank? They handle money transfers like a bank, there are PayPal credit cards.
If they want to play at being a bank then they should have to follow the same rules as the rest.

Re:??? revealed (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475063)

5. Be dragged out of their offices by a mob and hanged from lamp posts.

Well... one can hope.

Re:??? revealed (1)

yfarren (159985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475088)

no, but they are federally regulated. And They arent "SEIZE[ing] MONEY". They have suspended an account for suspicious behavior. You are telling me, a new account, taking in $3500/hour, right after a natural disaster isnt a little, hmm, suspicious?

that web site sure is something awful! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474931)

sup RH krew

New Orleans more like who gives a fuck.

What a surprise (5, Insightful)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474932)

Just when I thought PayPal might be worth doing business with, this. They must have a world class PR department over there -- "Hey guys. Everyone thinks we're evil." "Oh, I know, let's freeze the donations for the Katrina victims. Everyone will think we're great after that."

Absolutely amazing. I hope Google uses this as an opportunity to launch GMoney or whatever they're calling it.

BTW, good spelling /. editors. `Aweful', you could say.

Obviously (2, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475013)

It was done by computer. But what's weird is that with $22,000 at stake they couldn't even be bothered to double-check. I mean, I'd understand automated shutdowns of $50 accounts, but, they already made $520 off of these donations. Why not spend $10 of that to doublecheck before shutting it down!?

GMoney (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475021)

For some reason, I remember gmoney as a term that this rapper wannabe/future drug dealer in my high school would always say (this would be in the mid-late nineties).

After a Google search, I found that there all ready is a GMoney, albeit in the UK.

Here's the link: []

Apparently, it represents the gay division of Sussex IFA group Global Financial Ltd.

And that's today's fun fact.

Afternoon nap survey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474933)

Afternoon nap survey [] .

Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474934)

Goon Justice.

The USA is Dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474938)

The USA is Dying

It is official -- The UN is now confirming: The USA is dying

One more crippling bombshell crushed the already beleaguered American economy
when confirmed that the American Dollar has dropped yet again [] ,
now down to .9 of a Euro. Coming on the heels of a recent Usenet survey which plainly states that The American Economy is in a recession [] , this news serves to
  reinforce what we've known all along. The USA is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [] to predict the USA's future. The hand writing is on the wall: The USA faces a bleak future. In fact there won't
be any future at all for the USA because it is dying. Things are looking very bad for America. As many of us are already aware, the US continues to lose relevence. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

The IT industry is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core
developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time IT jobs to india only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: The American IT Industry is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Microsoft Encarta states that there are 291,065,636 people in America. What is the US's national debt? Let's see. According to the The Debt clock [] the USA's National Debt is 6,465,271,811,559.14. Therefore each American
is $22,212.42. in debt. In fact, the USA's national debt has continued to
  increase an average of $992 million per day since September 30, 2002. Indeed,
it can clearly be seen the the US is going broke faster then the Soviet Union did

Due to the troubles of American Meddling, An Capitalist Gorvernment and so on,
South Vietnam was attacked was taken over by North Vietnam who sell another
a more compassionate government. Now Iraq is also dead, its corpse turned over
to feed the US media.

All major surveys show that the USA has steadily declined in the world economy.
America is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If
the USA is to survive at all it will be among a broken collection of warring
factions. America continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save
it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, the United States of America is dead.

Fact: The USA is dying

Re:The USA is Dying (-1, Troll)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474949)

Nice troll.

Actually, not.

Though you would be glad if we did, wouldn't you?
But it's not going to happen, so you better get used to the idea.

We suck, you can't do anything about it, and we can still kick your ass. So neener.

Re:The USA is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475003)

Hey, loser, you can't even control a lame 3rd world country like Iraq. It takes you days to send help to one of your cities. So no, you can't kick my ass.

Re:The USA is Dying (1)

wormuniverse (818854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475008)

that is a very paypal-esque philosophy....

I think I speak for many of us when I say.. (4, Insightful)

doormat (63648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474943)

Fuck You Paypal. If there is ever a reason never to use your service again, this is it. May Google open up an online payment system and wipe you off the face of the planet.

Hmm.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474944)

I sense a little anger here...

I loathe your wretched, vile, disgusting, bloated waste of a company with every last fibre of my body. You're a grotesque, swollen parasite whose existence hinges solely on the lack of competition.

Yes, definitely a little anger showing through.

Seriously, don't use PayPal for important stuff. I haven't read their terms lately (it's like, what, 30 pages long), but I wouldn't be surprised if they can shut him down because of his "offensive" web site, or because he used copyrighted screen shots on his page, or because he mocked and disparaged PayPal, or left the dash out of his zip+4 code, or pretty much anything else that they feel like.

PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (5, Funny)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474945)

I wonder if this is related to the PayPal emails I've been receiving recently regarding suspicious activity on my account. From what I understand, Paypal does not have various safeguards that can help keep fraud to a minimum, unlike banks which are required by law to have these protections applied to all their transactions. Unfortunately, there really isn't an easier method of money transfers on the web than PayPal.

Someone enterprising enough could probably come up with a good online payment system that isn't fraught with fraud. I could possibly not have to re-enable my account every other day when PayPal's automated fraud detection system finds something amiss with my account. I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Hopefully those poor people in New Orleans can get the money and supplies they need to rebuild. It's a sick tragedy what's going on down there. I've been through hurricanes before, but I've never seen anything as bad as this in a non-Third World country.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (4, Insightful)

schatten (163083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474959)

Do you really believe those "suspicious activity" reports you are getting? They are phishing for your information.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (5, Funny)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474977)

PayPal has my information already. They need me to verify my information to make sure that my account activity is actually my activity and not someone else trying to hack my account (this is what I believe the case to be).

(Back on topic) I heard Americare is a very good charity to donate to in times of disaster.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (1)

nekojin (855341) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475012)

No...dude, seriously. You got phished. I got those same exact emails. I hope nothing bad happens to your stuff but if I were you I'd change all my passwords and call the bank to make sure nothing unusual has been going on.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (4, Insightful)

mr i want to go home (610257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475022)

You're not kidding? I think you've been had my friend. If I were you, I'd close that account like right now.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (1)

nekojin (855341) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474992)

Indeed, the recent storm of 'suspicious activity' emails from Paypal are NOT really from Paypal, and if you followed any links from them and revealed personal information, well, you better go change it and/or cancel any accounts, cause you just got phished.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (3, Funny)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475019)


I've never heard of that term before (phished), so I looked it up on Google. I'm one unhappy camper...

Looks like I have a little bit of business to take care of. Why doesn't my virus scanner catch these things?

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475041)

Because its not a virus, just some plain old-fashioned social engineering.

A good rule of thumb is never disclose personal information to a web page you follow through an email link. You always always navigate to the page manually (type in, and if there aren't instructions on how to find the page manually, then its a phishing email.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475091)

Better yet, type in "".

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (2, Insightful)

E8086 (698978) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475089)

Didn't a bunch of fake donation sites pop up after the tsunami last year? Paypal may be attempting to verify the authenticity of the cause, we don't want the donations to end up in the pockets of scammers. For the technicality of nothing sold, they could sell shirts with the money going to the relief effort, but I don't know how that will effect its status as a charitable donation for tax purposes.
Or as you said, some scammers used the donate info to get his paypal account name and are going phishing for account access worth over $20,000. Either way I'd use Paypal's "Contact Us" link. One of the screen caps says contact appeals@paypal so it should be legit if he's seeing that while logged into paypal.

Re:PayPal isn't a bank, so it's not perfectly safe (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475065)

I wonder if this is related to the PayPal emails I've been receiving recently regarding suspicious activity on my account.

Hook, line, sinker and a lifetime subscription to Field and Stream [] . I was wondering what kind of gullible soul fell for those badly created phishing scams. Apparently, it's reformed ex-cons. Tell you what, roll back some of that reformation and take another look at those e-mail.

Coral Cache link (5, Informative)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474947)

Here's a Coral Cache link: Something Awful Paypal fiasco []

I think this might be a good idea since Something Awful was hosted in New Orleans and their main servers are obviously not online at the moment, so that temporary site is probably going to be blown away soon.

Paypal Strikes Again (5, Interesting)

Entertainment Watch (912398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474948)

I totally agree about Paypal being a horrible provider of payment services. They are more then glad to take your 3% of each transaction as their fee, yet their service is horrible.

I had issues with them a few times now, from transactions on eBay and other transactions as well, one of which was never resolved and that money is gone forever. Thankfully the amount was insignificant, but it was more the point of the matter I guess, in that Paypal was useless in helping me resolve things, and basically DID NOT CARE and their "Buyer Protection" crap, is 100% useless.

I understand they want to work on preventing fraud, yet they need to be more careful about things, and take a better look at the situation, before just automatically locking a user's account such as this, and then having those funds useless.

You CAN call them up, and after being tossed around a few times, FINALLY get an agent that can assist you, but that usually is not until you act really pissed off (most of the time you don't have to act, you get pissed off at them hanging up on you, giving you the run-around, and such...) and then you finally get helped.

I wonder if all of us Slashdot citizens would unite and write hate mail to Paypal, if that would help in getting them to finally change their ways, and FIX the customer service NIGHTMARE that they run...

Good luck SomethingAwful! We are all behind you!

Re:Paypal Strikes Again (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474971)

I cancelled both my eBay and PayPal accounts, and put SomethingAwful in the comments field. I suggest other people do the same.

Wow, what hypocrisy. (0, Troll)

James A. Y. Joyce (877365) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474950)

Kyanka rips off SomethingAwful denizens as a matter of course; if you've ever tried ordering SA merchandise such as "City Name Sports Team" shirts or if you read the SA forum "SA-Mart", you'll probably notice that a lot of people don't get their merchandise. Of course, Richard is very quick to take people's cash out of their credit cards. But I guess occasionally he just gets overwhelmed, huh? I hate you Richard.

Missed a spot (1)

zantolak (701554) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475070)

You forgot to call him "Blowtax".

Re:Wow, what hypocrisy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475075)

And the previously mentioned insane enemies of SA step forward! Take a bow!

I heard that sometimes Taco Bell gets your order wrong. Pepsi is such an evil company.

Post-disaster scams... (2, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474954)

While I can understand some system in place to reactively deal with potential scams, ESPECIALLY given such a huge disaster as the whole gulf coast... I agree that the way PayPal has implimented their automatic system is rather, well, awful.

SomethingAwful has a lot of (crazy) enemies - it's not surprising that they would get a lot of gadflies out there submitting complaints, even at the cost of relief money going to flood victims. And I agree - if there was any sign of a scam going on, someone should have called to verify the events, or had a better way of cutting the account than leaving everyone's money in limbo.

In the meantime, SomethingAwful really should join another site's charity link, and work to resolve this in a way that gets those funds ultimately to that place.

One example: Amazon's Hurricane relief page off of Google []

Ryan Fenton

Re:Post-disaster scams... (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475004)

The reason that Something Awful was using a Paypal link was so that Richard Kyanka could send free SA merchandise to people who donated a moderate amount as a bit of motivation. The normal payment system was offline because it was hosted in New Orleans (along with the rest of the site), so Kyanka turned to Paypal and the rest is probably some of the worst PR I've ever heard of.

foolish and self-promotional (-1, Troll)

sdedeo (683762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474958)

I don't see any reason by Red Cross donations were being routed through someone's PayPal account. Well, sorry, I do see one: so that someone, instead of just posting a link to the Red Cross donation page, could instead garner all the credit for "organizing" a relief fund.

It's a foolish waste of money, of course, since Pay Pal charges for each transaction (7% or so?), so everyone is making additional donations to the Pay Pal overlords. And I assume that at the end the guy running this "Something Awful" self-promotion would just make a collected donation to the Red Cross on his own credit card, meaning credit charges are paid twice.

Not to mention further of course that people who donated through Pay Pal probably won't be able to claim it as an IRS deduction, but whoever ran the promotion in the first place might have a shot himself.

All foolish, self-promotional and highly irregular.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474982)

Had you actually bothered to read the page that Lowtax wrote, you would have seen that he was using Paypal because with Something Awful down his usual credit card processing was unavailable, and also because he was collecting addresses so he could send some merchandise to anybody who donated above $10.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (5, Informative)

Reene (808293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474989)

It was routed through paypal because Lowtax wanted to give Something Awful merchandise to everyone that donated over 10 dollars.

This is far from the first fundraiser SA has run. They raised another 20k or so for body armor for soldiers in Iraq, and recently a bunch of SA goons raised over 6k in a few weeks and bought toys for sick children, which they delivered in person.

I understand your suspicion but come on, this is is SA, home of one of the most populated forums on the internet. We goons care.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (3, Insightful)

sdedeo (683762) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475016)

You guys sound like good nerds, but I'm sorry, I still don't get it. Pay Pal fees are horrendous.

Look at it from the outside (my perspective.) The website is soliciting donations for the Red Cross. 7% of all those donations go down the drain -- all so that the webmaster can verify that the donation was actually made and give people "free merchendise"?

It's definitely not standard practice, and I'm sure not the way the Red Cross would want it done.

Again, imagine it from the outside: "WalMart Red Cross donation button! Donate to the Red Cross here! 93% of your donation will go DIRECTLY TO THE RED CROSS! Donations over $10 will recieve free Wal Mart goodies!"

I have nothing against people running their own clever, innovative charitable projects via Pay Pal, but this complicated and lossy system of passing the buck is foolish.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475059)


3 not 7!

Where the hell did you get that stupidly high number?

What an asshole to say that! It's not that much, and Kyanka didn't have his traditional credit card payment system so he had to use paypal. Why? because his server is in underwater New Orleans.

You see his method foolish? How the hell is he zupposed to do it? anybody can give money directly to the red cross, but what if they wanted to show solidarity to one of the affected sites, and a solidarity with their like minded peers? THIS WAS THE ONLY WAY.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475066)


Something Awful normally does not use Paypal (due to fees and, well, stuff like this), but THEIR CREDIT CARD PROCESSING SOFTWARE WAS IN NEW ORLEANS so they couldn't use it in this case.

Of course, it's obvious now that using Paypal was a terrible idea.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475084)

Why not have people donate DIRECTLY to the Red Cross? You know the method which doesn't make you lose 3% of the money donated? Of course they couldn't boast about how much was donated then...

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475092)

yeah and he wouldn't be able to offer incentive to donate then either, would he

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475106)

This wasn't a fundraiser for outsiders to participate in, nobody asked you to look at it at all until it turned into a huge shit storm. This was a fundraiser for the readers of Something Awful and we all accepted that this was the way it would get done and we trusted Lowtax. So if nobody that donated in this fundraiser (I donated $25) respects what you're saying, this is probably why.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (1)

Blutarsky (580739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475007)

Lowtax was doing it thru paypal so he could send people some free swag out of his own pocket.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475029)

The main reason he wanted to do it through paypal was to get shipping addresses, to send them free stuff for donating. Similiar principle to buying CD's via CDBaby, with the money going to the red cross.

The difference is, SA's servers are offline in NO, so he couldn't do it with his own credit card facilities, but had to use paypal. Who promptly stole all the money, not just the 3.25% processing fee.

I'm no fan of SA btw, or it's fans, but I can at least give props to the attempt to drum up donations with free stuff - and add this story to my list of why I will never use paypal.

2.4% (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475037)

And, he needed to get people's shipping addresses to send them free stuff. I'm sure there was some desire for glory involved as well, but having 'the community' take credit is a motivation for members to assist. I think they would have raised more money this way, then by some other method.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (1)

snol (175626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475043)

Read the frickin article, you knee-jerk, cynical jackass.

If someone donated through SA rather than directly to the red cross (which it doesn't take a genius to do) it's because they decided they'd rather do it that way, and in some cases maybe they wouldn't have donated at all otherwise. They might not have rational reasons, but having another way to give money to a good cause doesn't hurt, and the amount that had gone in was a testament to that fact.

Are people still donating through SA's red cross link now? Probably. As many people as were donating through their paypal link before, so as to get free stuff and have their amount go towards SA's total? Probably not. Draw your own conclusions.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (1)

Patrick Cable II (521813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475051)

In the past (for disasters) people have linked to directly organizations like the red cross. "Lowtax" (Richard Kyanka, the person who runs the site) wanted to send anyone who donated free merchandise as a thank you, which is why he chose to do it like this.

Re:foolish and self-promotional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475073)

t's a foolish waste of money, of course, since Pay Pal charges for each transaction (7% or so?)

Troll? How could you not be aware that PayPal charges 3%?

So glad to see this made the frontpage (-1, Offtopic)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474964)

I just finished writing submitting it myself, because GOON JUSTICE, man.

Anyone with media contacts? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474965)

I urge anyone with links to the media to let them know about this, submit it to your local paper, and even to the nationals. Let your local radio know, write an email to paypal threatening to close your paypal account and never use them again, the more bad press the quicker it will get resolved and they'll be under scrutiny for a while.

Re:Anyone with media contacts? (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475035)

My aunt is news director of our local AM station, sometimes gets picked up by the AP wire, has an incredibly twisted sense of humor, and frequently uses eBay. I'm definitely showing her this over coffee in the morning.

Crap like this happens all the time. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474976)

Like here. []

When a grassroots political operative needed a transplant and the opposition party got Paypal to shut down the donations.

No contact number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474984)

The thing that I love is that they gave him a bloody e-mail address to contact them at, not a 1-800 number, not even a regular number with an area code. Just an e-mail address for messages that they can handily route to dev/null.

If I'm not mistaken, this isn't the first time that PayPal's fucked Lowtax over. This makes me want to puke.

I bet I know who complained (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13474985)

Shortlist of wankers probably responsible for complaints on this:

- The members of #buttes, which is mostly buttfaces who have been permabanned from Something Awful. The rest are buttfaces who haven't been banned yet.

- Ryan"TheMystic"Lord

- George"King Re0l"Fiffy

- That woman who makes memorial webpages for people who had miscarriages

- Euronymous

- Bitter furries, juggalos or prople who consider japanese pornographic comic books featuring children acceptable.

from #cockes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475038)

[01:57:28] 74985 []
[01:57:37] 74950 []
[01:57:51] =13474985 []
[01:57:51] -!- madbeaner [] has joined #cockes
[01:57:56] o shi, beaten
[01:57:56] -!- mode/#cockes [+o madbeaner] by Amish
[01:58:05] UGS
[01:58:29] =13475014 []
[01:58:35] hey dudes, mod up

Re:from #cockes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475062)

Chatlog, voted `1

You dope, you fucked up the angle brackets (1)

James A. Y. Joyce (877365) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475071)

<rolloffle> 74985
<rolloffle> 74950
<Mr_X> =13474985
--> madbeaner ( has joined #cockes
<Mr_X> o shi, beaten
<rolloffle> UGS

BTW, thanks Slashdot for putting spaces in the middle of the URLs. Learn how to code, Taco, you fucking Perl-using tool.

Oh, you angry goony goon goons! (1)

James A. Y. Joyce (877365) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475045)

Being banned from an Internet forum obviously means that you're going to try and halt the transfer of :20000bux: to homeless people in New Orleans.

Well, actually, I would. Not 'cause I got banned, I just hate niggers.

Re:Oh, you angry goony goon goons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475058)

I'll have you know that more than sixty percent of the fine netizens of buttes irc are African American and these claims of racism will not fly.

Re:Oh, you angry goony goon goons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475082)

I'd just like to point out that whilst these African Americans are actually in our channel, their numbers are high because they are employed as permenant slaves for the White Aryan population, we also have a couple of chinese servants.

Genmay (0)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474987)

Wow, Slashdot following Genmay for once.

Conventional media (2, Insightful)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 8 years ago | (#13474997)

They'd love this story. Big company stealing from the poor hurricane victims. It's comedically evil, except it's real.

Great Racket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475009)

You must admit, Paypal has a great racket going here. They aren't a bank so they don't have to abide by any legislation governing banks nor are they FDIC insured. Also, they get around a bunch of other responsibilities through their cleverly crafted TOS/Disclaimer. Lucky for Paypal, they can make a shitload of money on the fees and then seize your account at any time for any reason leaving you with almost no recourse. You can try calling their corporate HQ, if you can find the fucking phone number.

Past history of SomethingAwful (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475014)

Well, knowing Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka's past history, maybe PayPal has a perfectly valid reason to freeze his account. It wouldn't be a surprise if a large part, if not all of the money went into Richard's private account. Richard has a lot of experience misappropriating funds and pretty much just outright screwing his users.

Oh, and just for kicks, here's some basic information about the site: The forums, which contain nothing of interest, ask you to register before you can browse. Registration costs $10. To add search capabilities, which are standard on pretty much every single other forum, you have to pay extra. Want to browse old posts? Pay extra! Want to change your avatar or custom title? Pay extra!

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the donated money went to pay for Richard's new car or music equipment.

Re:Past history of SomethingAwful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475057)

Yes because lowtax's business model is so indicative of his use of donated funds. Name me one other forum that people are actually willing to pay money to be part of.

SA raised thousands to buy badly armor for a platoon of troops in Iraq and a few grand for the Ronald McDonald house. Dont talk about things you know nothing about

United States of Avarice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475052)

Why are most of the people stranded "black" or "poor" yet those being "rescued" are predominately "white"? The American government arguably has a lot to be ashamed of lately but these six days of abandonment are beyond deplorable.

Katrina can eat me (-1, Flamebait)

Proc6 (518858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475053)

Im tired of Katrina already. The entire event is one huge extortion opportunity, that's all it is. It's news networks trying to increase viewership with sensationalism. It's politicians trying to entrench their position by being the first to offer the biggest aid not out of passion but out of lust for power. It's minorities pushing their equal rights backwards 5 steps by being the hoodlums they say they aren't and looting like it's Christmas. It's aging celebrities lunging at a second chance in the limelight by crying on cue on Larry King. It's corrupt charity operators hoping to buy a second yacht with some of the funneled relief proceeds and it's capitalist pigs turning a fast buck off everything from T-shirts to $26 bottles of water all to save humans that were too god damn stupid to not leave when the nation told them to. If you choose to live below sea level, along the coast and don't have insurance - deal with it. If the entire country is warning you that in 2-3 days all your shit will be submerged, and you opt to stay in your home and drown or put rescuer lives at risk to move you like you should have moved yourself three days prior - deal with it.

Is there cirumstances where none of what I said above is true? Definately.
Is what I said above the majority of what's going on? You better fucking believe it.

I hate Lowtax, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475067)

I hate PayPal even more. Geez, at least Lowtax is doing something respectable.

SomethingAwful does SomethingRight (5, Informative)

The Jays (912400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475074)

Something Awful is Somewhere Awful [] After the plug was pulled on the popular [] , Richard "Lowtax" Kyanka of, hoping to focus the community's efforts on raising money for the Red Cross, in exchange for merchandise, found his fundraising drive cancelled, by, when they shut down his account and stole the $20,000 dollars the members had raised for Hurricane Katrina. Everybody needs to see the complete insensitivity that PayPal has. They have no shame. They have taken money that was going to the Red Cross, used their policies against a fine internet community, and has stolen Hurricane Katrina fund money. This cannot go unpunished.

Contact E-Mail paypal ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475076)

Ok contacting paypal is not for the faint of heart, its a rabbit warren of alice in wonderland proportions....blind alleys, mirrors etc

anyone have a real E-mail address for the important people at paypal, other than automated response.

Spread the word... (1)

UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475083)

The only way is to get some attention outside the geek circles... as soon as the general public starts hearing about ebay (remember, paypal is owned by ebay now) wrapping up Katrina donations in red tape, SA will see some customer service.

Re:Spread the word... (1)

The Jays (912400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475098)

I've been trying to spread the word on my blog, and get the message out there. I've been livid about this whole Katrina cluster fuck to begin with, and now this??? /2005/09/03/paypal-shuts-down-red-cross-donation-a ccount/ []

Give Paypal some credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475086)

Paypal sees someone collect $20,000 in a couple hours. They have no way of knowing that he will actually use the money for charitable purposes. Paypal is just trying to protect their customers.

Re:Give Paypal some credit (1)

Blutarsky (580739) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475102)

If they were responsible at all they would have contacted Lowtax first.

ALOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13475094)

The next awful link of the day will be

EBay's Phone Number (5, Informative)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475101)

I think it time we give PayPal's parent company an idea of what we think of their subsidiary. I'm willing to bet that if anybody with enough seniority gets ahold of this and recognizes it for the ticking PR time-bomb it is things could be set right.

EBay's toll free investor line:

Have fun.

All disasters draw fraud to some degree.. (1)

machinegunhand (867735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13475105)

..but to see this from PayPal is blatent highway robery. Granted, there is misuse of their system, constantly as far as I can tell. But without being held to accout on acts such as these, they're no better than the ones who commit fraud in the first place.
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