Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants to hear from Ohioans impacted by GoFundMe’s initial decision to refund or redirect donations given to demonstrators protesting COVID-19 restrictions in Canada, according to a press release by Yosts’ office.
On Friday, the crowdfunding site GoFundMe announced it would redirect donations raised for demonstrators protesting COVID-19 measures in Canada after the organization determined that the efforts violated the site’s terms of service due to “unlawful activity.” The fund grew to around $10 million Canadian dollars or $7.8 million U.S. dollars.
“It is deeply troubling that a professional fundraiser holding donations in trust would think they have the right to unilaterally redistribute donations,” Yost said in a statement. “If you’re an Ohioan that donated to the #FreedomConvoy through GoFundMe, I want to hear from you. GoFundMe is bowing to public outrage by not directly distributing funds as they were intended. I want to verify that GoFundMe isn’t playing God with other people’s money.”
However, GoFundMe has now reversed its earlier course and announced it will refund every dime of this fundraising drive automatically, without demand, thereby eliminating the possibility of “redirecting” donations with the consent of the donor.
“While that is a welcomed move, I am still interested in collecting information to make sure such things do not happen in the future,” Yost said. “Ohioans rely on their platform to do good, and their intentions and hopes should be honored.”
The attorney general directed the agency’s Consumer Protection team to review GoFundMe’s terms of service to assess compliance with Ohio law, according to the press release.
Consumers who donated to the cause should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by filing a consumer complaint online or by calling 800-282-0515.
The Ohio Star previously reported after GoFundMe banned Canada’s Freedom Convoy of truckers from using its service, CloutHub has stepped in to fill the void. CloutHub is an alternative to Silicon Valley’s tech titans that promises zero censorship of its users.
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