Apr 10, 2007

Red Cross text message donations

The Red Cross is accepting donations in $5 increments via text messaging. The participating carriers make 15 cents per message if the customer doesn't already have a text plan in place.

"It enables customers of participating wireless companies to enter the code 24357, or 2HELP, to make $5 donations to the Red Cross in natural disasters. Donations are added to monthly cellphone statements or debited from prepaid accounts.

What rankles the consumer group is that each donation is capped at $5 and will incur standard text-messaging fees, which on AT&T are 15 cents. “If you want to contribute $20, you have to send four text messages and you’ll be billed for four text messages,” Mr. Court said. “These contributions are structured so that consumers who want to give more pay a higher price for doing so.”
There are a few problems I have with the problems Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has with this plan.

1. It's voluntary for consumers to use this method. They could donate online, in person, through the mail, etc. Using the alternate methods, the carriers will make nothing. There. Problem solved.

2. Consumers should always assume if they don't have a text plan, and they send a text message, they will be charged something.

3. It's cheaper than sending a donation through the mail. (I got this point from the article)


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