The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights thinks a new program that lets people text-message donations to the American Red Cross during emergencies is nothing more than a business strategy disguised as a charity. The New York Times reports that the Text 2Help program, first used after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was promoted last month at a wireless industry trade show.
It enables customers of participating wireless companies to enter the code 24357, or 2HELP, to make $5 donations to the Red Cross. The consumers group is upset that each donation is capped at $5 and will incur standard text-messaging fees.
“If you want to contribute $20, you have to send four text messages and you’ll be billed for four text messages,” foundation president Jamie Court said. David Diggs, executive director of the Wireless Foundation charity created by the industry, said antitrust concerns prevented the carriers from waiving service fees.