YSK about smile.amazon

Discussion in 'The Guru's Pub' started by Phragmeister, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Phragmeister

    Phragmeister Ancient Guru

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    Avid Amazon shopper?

    Start using smile.amazon.com / smile.amazon.co.uk (or whichever domain you use)

    Basically, every purchase you make, a small donation is made from Amazon to a charity of your choice.
     
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  2. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    While the charity is "limited" to a company / organisation in amazon's list only, and not every one of your choice, I still shop via smile a year now. I have yet to read though that the money really reaches it end... at least one can try :)
     
  3. Loobyluggs

    Loobyluggs Ancient Guru

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    Just give the money to the charity of your choice anyway...or, actually do something for the charity of your choice.

    Foundations and charities, I would argue, do not need to exist in many instances, as they do not employ volunteers, but actual staff that must be paid out of any donations they receive.

    One of the worst for this practice is 'The Clinton Foundation', because their actual cost of operations dug deep into the 90% range, meaning that every $ that was donated, less than 10c actually went to charity, yet, they classed private jets to EMEA countries to be a justifiable expenditure...

    Just hand your money over to either a charity directly, or, do something to help those you want to help - if possible.
     
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  4. nhlkoho

    nhlkoho Ancient Guru

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    Was that necessary?
     

  5. airbud7

    airbud7 Ancient Guru

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    did something trigger you?
     
  6. Elder III

    Elder III Ancient Guru

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    I have been doing this for several years and the money does indeed reach the designated foundation I chose.

    This is Amazon sending a % of your purchase to the charity; you as the buyer are not paying any extra for it. You can still give money directly to the charity, this is not meant to replace that, but to be something in addition to it (that comes out of Amazon's piggy bank).
     
  7. Loobyluggs

    Loobyluggs Ancient Guru

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    ...and is tax deductable...

    You really want me to pull their financials to show you why they do this?

    Send it directly to those in which it helps. If the organisation employs people and takes a % to pay them, then the money is better served without this groutesque middle-man taking money away from the intended recipient(s).

    Sorry - not firing any shots in any directions to any members, but this kind of thing always has a very smelly and perverted side to it.
     
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  8. airbud7

    airbud7 Ancient Guru

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    But, but didn't you know it cost ninety million dollars to give away ten million?

    I would trust this dudes word any day.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Elder III

    Elder III Ancient Guru

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    I know that they are primarily motivated to offer it for the tax deduction. However that doesn't change the fact that the foundation I chose is getting more money and it is not costing me anything extra over the stuff I already have to purchase. It's not as if Amazon is charging me extra on a product, the price is the same whether I choose to have 1% sent to a charity or not.

    I'm not completely delighted by Amazon in general, but I think this "feature" is a definitively "good" thing (well depending on the charity chosen, but that's a different topic).
     
  10. 386SX

    386SX Master Guru

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  11. Loobyluggs

    Loobyluggs Ancient Guru

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    Yes, but all you are really doing is lowering the tax receipts - which means less tax revenue for the people in your country, which is less money being spent on the people...

    I do not know which organisation/charity/foundation you speak of, but I could pull their tax returns and break it down for you, i.e.; how much they receive in donations versus how much they have as expenses versus how much money goes to the charitable cause(s) they aspouse.
     
  12. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    You are generally right.

    But... it's not like Amazon would pay a lot of taxes at all (relatively speaking). So in fact, I don't think the impact is as big as e.g. a national company would have, in relatively larger frame yet. Amazon pays something about 1/7 (I guess, numbers given are something around 3% instead of 20% in Austria, e.g.) of what a normal company would pay taxes, so the difference is hard to guess for me tbh. So yeah you are right, but the difference is a lot less as one would probably expect I think. Imagine Amazon would pay the normal corporate tax, we wouldn't have to even discuss if they are avoiding taxes with such a matter (which you are right, is only done to get tax discounts, further cutting on their already surprisingly low contribution).
    IMHO, it doesn't matter if Amazon does reduce their taxes via such a measure, they are avoiding tax payments, with the help of misguided politicians, around the world, and in far bigger dimension than any such tax avoiding mechanisms could do.

    Second, and that might probably ring a tune with many, many gurus here that live in countries which traditionally have a quite strong focus on liberal economy and capitalist movements as opposed to many European country's intent to bring together socialist ideals and a capitalist economy and market, there could even be argued that instead of pushing taxes into a system that does not put it where one personally would want that money seen, at least you could think you paid some other company according to your intention.
    IMHO, it comes down to what I wrote in the paragraph before, if they'd pay as much tax as the little electronics dealer with a single store around the corner you know, I would gladly not care if they are paying less tax according to 0,5% of less net plus generated by their revenue.


    But, to help my buddy @386SX here and post a short summary of that letter for those non-German-speakers:
    The "charity" company or rather, NGO, Foodwatch (focused on matters of healthier and less chemically plagued foods for people) wrote a letter to Amazon (A.), stating that they have not yet gotten any money, because they never applied to be listed under the smile program in the first place, and although people have chosen that "charity", it will probably never be paid to the company due to their not applying for it.
    Further more, they (Foodwatch, F.) say, they would not want to participate in the smile program in the first place. Since that money on one hand does not come from the people via donations, but from A. as a company to give them money, it would be against their own wishes and ethics to receive money from a big food trading company like A. because it would be against their principles as independent NGO.
    On the other hand, the remark in the conditions to support any of the smile program's companies and NGOs, which can not be seen on the mobile homepage or app but only on the desktop variant, state only in the very fine print and long general terms of service, have to register first, and that even if you choose any given company that you wish to support, companies like F. would have, and maybe even haven't or haven't yet, applied for the smile program on the NGO's side, before A. even pays them out, no matter what the customer thinks. On top of that, it is misleading, since while the company, e.g. F., did not register, and probably never will like F., the customer still gets an email saying they have indeed supported the NGO of their choosing, although it's not true.
    With such tactics, to make customers think they support any company or NGO they actually do not, it hurts the companies of the customer's choosing directly, since the customers at A. do think they already gave money to F., and would not donate to F.'s cause directly anymore. And, as well as this, it hurts the understatement of customers about the companies like F., making them think they cooperate with A., although they would not do this out of their own principles and goals, like being independent of bigger companies and not taking money from them, hurting their reputation and integrity in matters of public opinion.
    Further more F. criticizes A.'s practice of knowingly misguiding customers to make them think they do something "good", while actually not doing anything, and just trying to make people buy on A.'s platform, regardless of if the money donated actually ever reaches NGO's or companies of the customer's choosing, since the fine print legals mention that up to two years A. keeps the money from any company which is listed but not part of the smile program, before the money is "redistributed".
    In the end, F. asks A. to delete them from their listings as smile viable companies; contact the people who donated the money under their best intent and inform them of A.'s practice and let them know that the money will never reach F., as they intended; and that they should donate the money that A.'s keeping under the title of customer's donations towards F. to some charity that's truely one, and that they would gladly adice A. on what possibilities they have.
    Generally they ask A. to make public and transparent, how much money has been donated to NGO's which will probably never reach those charitable enterprises, and how much money A. made under the false premise they would give money to NGO's and charities not even part of that program.


    And here's the culprit: In addition to not paying full tax, and avoiding to pay tax for what little they still are supposed to, that money does not even reach the charity in some cases (who knows how many...). And IMHO this is by far the worst... they actually make people have the impression Amazon's paying NGOs and smaller companies trying to do something good, while actually they just are able to reduce their tax burden, keeping them money at hand (although bound to provisions), long before they ever have to give it out.

    I don't know, it generally makes me think different about that... I chose an NGO which is helping to train assistance dogs in Vienna, I'll see to write them to ask if they actually receive that money... and when they do, how long it takes to reach them. Maybe it's personal bias, but now I'm sceptical about Amazon's altruistic motives.
     
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  13. 386SX

    386SX Master Guru

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    What happens to the money if the company which should receive it ...
    a) doesnt even know it is listed on smile.amazon.whateverest
    b) knows it is listed but has no interest at all to collect this money ???

    I guess in both cases, after some time has passed, the money flows to some "absolutely-not-Amazon-trust-us" company.

    You can hack the algo and spyware from Amazon to get better prices:
    You want something sooo badly, but prices still arent "right"?
    TALK about it. Regularly and always when your mobile is near. :)
    It may take a day, but then you start to see recommendations (even from Amazon Assistant straight on your phone!) and you will notice the whole Amazon system changes ... it adapts to you and your wish. Move on ...
    Talk about it MORE, click on the recommendations and SAY LOUDLY THE PRICE ISNT RIGHT, YOU WOULD BUY IT FOR HALF THE PRICE, BUT NOT THIS EXPENSIVE!!!! (Or whatever is wrong about the offer, so that the algorithm may learn and adapt). Do that until the price / options / capabilities are OK.

    >> My 27" 144Hz QHD IPS screen was more than 80 Euros off at last, after I received a lot of other offers (TN displays, just 60Hz, curved, etc.) which I didnt like, and I told Amazon so!!!

    So come on fellow gurus ... HACK THE PLANET!!!! :D
     
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  14. Loobyluggs

    Loobyluggs Ancient Guru

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    Tax law is complex (in the USA it is preposterous) and it is designed to be that way, so that those who can afford to not pay it, can afford floors of buildings to be full of people making sure the amount of tax they pay is zero or less than zero.

    D'see? If you got a lot of money, you pay nothing, because you can hire people to operate the mechanics.

    Blizzard are one of the worst, as in 2018, they convincingly got away with a MINUS 51% tax:

    https://itep.org/notadime/ (2018)

    (there are also excel spreadsheets there for you, too.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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