Deceptive practices

The European nations are gunning hard for Big Tech:

US crowdfunding platform GoFundMe was handed down a hefty fine by the Italian competition regulator, which found its advertising and the way it takes a cut from donations to be deceptive and a violation of consumer rights.

The platform was ordered to pay €1.5 million ($1.8 million) for hiding the costs of donations from Italians using it to fund various causes. The California-based company was accused of deceiving people about how much they would actually pay when donating through the platform, by hiding transaction fees and the voluntary ‘tips’ that went to the company itself.

The platform had a default setting for how big its cut from each donation would be and saw its share of donations plummet as soon as it set it to zero for new campaigns after the Italian probe was launched.

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) started an investigation into GoFundMe Ireland Ltd, the international operator of the crowdfunding site, in March. It responded to hundreds of complaints from Italian citizens, who accused the company of falsely advertising its services as free.

The authority confirmed that there was a basis for the complaints. GoFundMe advertised itself as allowing fundraising “at no cost” on its front page and elsewhere. In practice, donors would pay extra on top of whatever amount they would type in on a campaign page. Part of this hidden cost is a transaction fee, which amounts to 2.9 percent of the donation amount plus €0.25 ($0.30) per donation, but for some campaigns, an extra may be billed as a “tip” to GoFundMe itself.

As you see, there are numerous angles of attack against the lawless Big Tech corporations. And even their home court turf of the California Superior Courts isn’t anywhere nearly as friendly as it used to be.