Accidental 17,000 yuan donation is refunded

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An eight-year old child accidentally donated 17,000 yuan to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) via Wechat while playing on a phone belonging to a Mr. Liu. Later on Mr. Liu explained that he had previously set online purchases on his phone as password-free, so the donation was sent entirely by accident. He therefore requested a refund from CFPA, and received it on June 2nd.

The incident immediately drew the public’s attention. After trying on both the IOS and Android systems, a reporter found that smartphone users can set payment allowances with both password-free and password-required options. In order to avoid accidents like this, users can set a relatively low allowance for their password-free purchases. But the public was more curious about the issue of the donation being refunded.

The CFPA claimed that this incident was not an isolated case, and that they have refunded four donations in the last two months: two due to system error, one from a mental patient, and the last one caused by password theft.

The above refund applications were approved after the donors provided proof of system error, a psychiatric identification certificate, and a public security registration certificate. The CFPA also said that they would follow two principles in processing refunds: if it was proved as an accidental donation, they would process a refund; they would however strictly follow existing procedures for refunds, i.e. asking for evidence, to protect the seriousness of non-refundable donations.

According to China’s Contract Law, if a donor makes a philanthropic or other charitable donation with a strong purpose, they do not have the right to revoke their donation. Therefore, online donation platforms should set donation allowances, strengthen program screening, information disclosures and user feedback, and improve risk prevention and the tracing of responsibility in order to better serve donors and receivers.

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