Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paypal Doesn't Care About Poor People

...but their P.R. department must, because they've recently relented on one of the worst decisions they've made to date: blocking families in need from getting donated gifts.

Basically, Regretsy, a site dedicated to the promotion of disastrous do-it-yourself crafts, decided to take donations for Christmas presents for children who might otherwise have missed out. And the promotion worked like a charm. Regretsy raised so much money that they were in a position of not just being able to send toys out to needy kids, but a small, monetary gift to those families as well. Heartwarming, right?

Paypal shut them down.

I'll say that again in case you missed it: Paypal shut down the charity donation site intended to help give poor people a better Christmas. Because of (what turned out to be) a bunch of of trumped up, fictional red tape and rules, Paypal froze the account and basically tried to shut down the entire promotion. According to a post on the Regretsy blog, much of the initial resistance by Paypal was their own misunderstanding of what the Paypal "Donate" button could, and couldn't, be used for. As an uptight, Scrooge-like Paypal executive explained:

PAYPAL: Only a nonprofit can use the Donate button.
REGRETSY: That’s false. It says right in the PDF of instructions for the Donate button that it can be used for “worthy causes.”
PAYPAL: I haven’t seen that PDF. And what you’re doing is not a worthy cause, it’s charity.
REGRETSY: What’s the difference?
PAYPAL: You can use the donate button to raise money for a sick cat, but not poor people.

Well. At least the cats have a shot at a decent Christmas. If you're an adult and you can bear some salty language now and again, you can read all about it in hilarious, frustrating detail on the Regretsy blog. I particularly loved the part where Paypal demanded Regretsy return all the donations, but Paypal kept their fees anyway! By the way, if you're a kid, stay away from that Regretsy post. Santa wouldn't like it if you went there.

But Jacob Marley must have visited Paypal in the dead of night and convinced them they were being jerks, because they company eventually reversed its decision and decided to unfreeze the account and allow the charity to complete its mission. Paypal even donated a little themselves. I can envision the pale, ghostly face of their public relations manager wailing out a desperate warning to the Paypal execs, "Repent! Repent!" Scrooge was saved, but the jury's still out on Paypal. -v

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