Friday, August 5, 2016

Trump’s Campaign Website Won’t Let You Cancel Recurring Donations

You used to love Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, but now you've had a change of heart,and want to cancel your recurring monthly donation to his campaign?

Too bad.

There is no option on Trump's website to cancel monthly contributions or remove your credit card information. Once you've set up a donation, you may only switch from one valid credit card to another.

On Wednesday, CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond tweeted a screenshot of an email from a disenchanted Trump donor who alleged that the campaign has not returned voice message requests to cancel contributions.

After investigating, Diamond can confirm that there is no easy option to stop recurring donations on Trump's donation site. We set up a recurring donation of $1 and found no button or other obvious way to cancel payments or remove a credit card from the system, either on the homepage, the "update card" page, or in your contribution confirmation email.

Once you're registered, if you try to change your payment information on Trump's site, you will see no option to remove your credit card , only "update" it. Then, when you click on "update card," you see a page that allows you to alter your payment information, but you cannot completely delete your credit card. You are forced to replace it with another valid card, Invalid numbers are rejected.

Similarly, the email confirmation Trump donors receive does not include any reference to how to cancel payments. While donors can hit "unsubscribe" at the bottom of the email, doing so does not delete your account information from the donations page.

We also made a $1 recurring contribution to the campaign for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and received a confirmation email that, by contrast, provides an email address for donors to write in with problems.

Unlike the message from Trump's campaign, the confirmation from Clinton's also acknowledges that you've made a recurring donation in the first place, warning you to expect a monthly charge. If you go to Clinton's campaign site, there's also an accessible option to remove your card from the site. Clicking this button immediately halts your donations, a Campaign representative confirmed in an email. If you log out and log back in to Clinton's site, you can see that your card has been deleted.

Now, if you're truly desperate to halt your campaign payments to Trump, you can always simply cancel your credit card or call your card provider to contest the charges.

The Federal Election Commission does not have rules explicitly about the cancellation of recurring campaign contributions, said FEC spokesperson Christian Hilland. "Our regulations do not speak specifically to that issue," he said. The only way problems with recurring donations would trigger an investigation, he explained, was if the total added up to more than the Federally mandated maximum donation of $2,700.

The Trump campaign did not return multiple requests for comment.

Recurring payments are increasingly coming under fire as a way companies get unwitting consumers to pay for services they don't want. Some businesses are more transparent than others: Spotify, for instance, has a handy "cancel" link right below the button for updating payment information.

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