Text 2Help business development, not charity

A new programme that lets cellphone users send text messages to donate to the American Red Cross in natural disasters has attracted criticism from a consumer group that argues that it is simply a business development strategy masquerading as charity. The programme, Text 2Help, first used after Hurricane Katrina, allows people to make $5 donations to the Red Cross. The problem, says the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, ‘is that donations are capped at $5 and incur standard text-messaging fees, which on AT&T, for example, are 15 cents.’ So if you want to contribute $20, you have to send four text messages and you’ll be billed for them.

New York Times, 11 April 2007

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