If you donate to Donald Trump online, there’s a box that needs to be unchecked, or the donation will become monthly. Angry consumers demanded refunds last year after the campaign was caught in this scheme. Guess what? They’re at it again post-election and consumers are demanding refunds again. According to The New York Times the box scheme has drawn “fraud complaints to credit cards and demands for refunds from supporters.”
Trailing in the polls and facing a cash crunch last September, Mr. Trump’s political operation began opting online donors into automatic recurring contributions by prechecking a box on its digital donation forms to take a withdrawal every week. Donors would have to notice the box and uncheck it to opt out of the donation. A second prechecked box took out another donation, known as a “money bomb.”
The report points out the details were buried in “fine print beneath multiple lines of bold and capitalized text.”
This has led to almost $13 million in refunds so far in 2021.
The first time The New York Times uncovered the Trump campaign using this practice it had to issue “more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors.”
Peter Loge, the director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication at George Washington University is quoted as saying:
“It’s pretty clear that the Trump campaign was engaging in deceptive tactics. If you have to return that much money you are doing something either very wrong or very unethical.”
Even though these shady tactics have been uncovered, Business Insider says the practice is still in play.
Attorneys general in four states are reportedly investigating the use of prechecked boxes by several political groups.