Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/14/ee_sms_charity/
Everything Everywhere accused of lining pockets with charity cash
Just covering costs guv'
Everything Everywhere has been taking 10 percent of charitable text messages, excepting its selected charities, on the flimsy excuse of having to cover its processing costs.
The problem is that it seems the other network operators are more generous with their cut, passing on the entire payment, so the operator is being forced to re-examine its charging structure to avoid appearing as the villain of the piece as everyone leaps aboard the already crowded bandwagon to accuse the company of lining its own pockets on charitable donations.
Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, is behind the call while Phillip Blond, Big Society advisor, thinks it's "an absolute disgrace" and that "it should stop immediately".
In defending the indefensible, EE claims it has to cover costs, and that half a dozen "partner" charities get the full payment while the thousands who also take donations by text get 90 per cent of the money. But given the media pressure, the operator is currently holding meetings to reconsider its position.
Processing payments does cost money, and all the charitable collection mechanisms have to cover costs: JustGiving, for example, takes £15 a month plus 5 per cent of every donation, but Everything Everywhere's problem is that it was the only network operator with its hand in the till.
Mega-corporations taking money from charities is something we can all abhor with a clear conscience, and EE will, no doubt, come out with a statement in the next hour or two saying they're dropping the charges.
The operator, like the others, will then take the money off us in other ways, but everyone will then be able to claim a victory while EE stands in the corner looking repentant in the best pantomime tradition. ®