PayPal freezes $20k in hurricane relief donations

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Sunday, September 4, 2005

Online money transfer company PayPal is reportedly blocking over $20,000 in donations from the website Something Awful, donations intended for the American Red Cross hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Rich Kyanka, founder of Something Awful, reports that the account he set up for Red Cross donations has been suspended by the eBay-owned subsidiary due to "suspicious behavior".

According to Kyanka, PayPal is requesting "proof of delivery", even though there is no item being purchased and the account was set up to accept donations. The account remains frozen. Kyanka is attempting to solve the problem by faxing various documents to PayPal in order to prove the legitimacy of the drive.

According to recent updates posted on the Something Awful website, Kyanka was requesting that refunds were issued for all donations that were sent. According to Kyanka, the account was frozen because PayPal has no link with the Red Cross.

A solution proposed by PayPal was to have all donations go to the United Way. While initially accepting offer, Kyanka reconsidered when Something Awful readers objected to having their donation sent to the United Way — partly due to the organizations troubled past. Instead of the PayPal donation setup, Kyanka has requested that readers send any donations directly to the Red Cross.

Something Awful, despite being a humor website, has a history of running donation drives for certain causes, including purchasing ballistic chest plates and body armor for a platoon in the US Army's 25th Infantry Division during the 2003 Iraq War. The Something Awful webservers are located in New Orleans where Hurricane Katrina hit.