GoFundMe rules explained as Jay Slater page raises £33k

The official GoFundMe page has raised over £33k
-Credit: (Image: Family/PA)

As the search for missing 19-year-old Jay Slater continues, a fundraising campaign set up by his friend has exceeded more than £33,000. Jay has been missing in Tenerife since last Monday, June 17, with his family remaining 'extremely worried' about him.

His friend Lucy Law set up the GoFundMe page after Jay disappeared in the Rural de Teno area of the Spanish island. Lucy had been on holiday with him in Tenerife and was the last person to speak with him before he vanished, reports MirrorOnline.

Jay found himself in a rural area of the island after travelling there to stay at an Airbnb with two men after leaving the three-day NRG music festival. Since his disappearance, Jay's parents Debbie Duncan and Warren Slater, alongside Zak who is his older brother, have flown out to help with the search.

READ MORE: Tenerife Airbnb owner's final message to Jay Slater before he was spotted walking 'kilometre away'

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Many of his friends have joined the search. Days after the fundraising page was set up, Debbie was added as a beneficiary and issued a public update, explaining no money had yet been withdrawn, as they had funded the trip themselves.

She stated: "Hi everyone, this is Debbie, Jay's mother. Thank you all for your generosity and kindness during this difficult time. I wanted to confirm this is the only GoFundMe fundraiser approved by our family. We have not yet withdrawn any funds and are currently covering the expenses, such as the trip to Tenerife and accommodation, ourselves.

"The funds will remain on hold with GoFundMe until we post a further update on this page. We are extremely worried and are doing everything we can to find Jay. Please continue to share our fundraiser far and wide. Your support means the world to us, and we are grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you again."

The crowdfunding platform has shut down nearly a dozen other pages as suspected scams. In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Our hearts go out to Jay Slater, his family and everyone else concerned about his disappearance. All campaigns are under review and no money will be transferred unless we can verify it goes straight to his family. At moments like this, we often see people set up campaigns to benefit strangers when they are moved to help.

"That is why we work with organisers to ensure any money donated goes to the right place. GoFundMe has a dedicated Trust & Safety team reviewing all relevant fundraisers. In addition to the team of experts, we deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identity of organisers and the recipient of the fundraiser. Before money is transferred, an individual or organisation's information, including their banking information, must be verified."

What can you raise money for on GoFundMe?

GoFundMe is the world's largest social fundraising platform and was launched in 2010. It can be used to raise money for "just about everything", the website states, "including medical expenses, education costs, volunteer programs, youth sports, funerals and memorials, and even animals and pets". Users are not permitted to offer any goods or services in exchange for a donation.

How do you know if GoFundMe pages are accurate?

GoFundMe has a dedicated team and technology to verify the identity of fundraisers in public cases like Jay's. However, the site "does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of any such information or content". Its website reads: "We do not endorse any fundraiser, user, or cause and we make no guarantee, express or implied, that any information provided through the services is accurate."

It adds: "All donations are at your own risk. When you make a donation through the platform, it is your responsibility to understand how your money will be used and to check the fundraiser content regularly for any updates."

Can you get a refund if you donate to a GoFundMe page?

If you believe your donation is being misused, you can submit a claim to request a refund. Their team will then investigate the fundraiser and refund you within 3-10 business days. Their website states: "We guarantee you a full refund in the rare case something isn't right. Donations of any amount are covered for one full year after you donate." You can follow the steps on their website here.

How much money does GoFundMe take from the total raised?

The crowdfunding platform does not charge a fee to start or manage a UK page, however, does automatically take a transaction fee per donation of 2.9 percent and 25p, or 1.9 percent and 20p for charity. The website states: "Fees are deducted automatically from donations; the person receiving funds will receive all funds raised minus these transaction fees."

How do you withdraw money from GoFundMe?

Donated money is stored safely and securely on GoFundMe using a "secure payment encryption technology" until it is ready to be withdrawn via electronic bank transfer. A withdrawal can be requested at any time and takes 2-5 business days to arrive.

The website explains: "GoFundMe gets your funds to you quickly because we know that many fundraising needs are time-sensitive. You can set up withdrawals and add your bank account as soon as you accept the campaign organiser's invitation to make you a beneficiary."