From the start, I dreaded working with PayPal. There’s a wealth of reasons to dislike the platform itself as well as its founder, Peter Thiel (Here’s one among many). But we here at C&C Games were using it for two reasons. First, I needed a way to pay contractors easily and in a way that made sense for them. Roughly 80% of my contractors request to be paid through PayPal and I try to be conscious of their needs.
Second, it’s a massive default payment option through most webstores. We currently use Shopify and a large portion of our sales there come through PayPal.
Our business account for Coyote & Crow was sent the following notification on 3/17/23:
You can no longer do business with PayPal
After a review of your account activity, we’ve determined that you’re in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Specifically, the sale of sexually oriented materials or services. As a result, your account has been permanently limited and you won’t be able to conduct any further business using PayPal. This is permitted under the PayPal User Agreement sections Restricted Activities and Actions We May Take. You must remove all references to PayPal from your website(s) and/or auction(s), including removing PayPal as a payment option, the PayPal logo, and the PayPal shopping cart.
If you have funds in your PayPal balance, we’ll hold it up for 180 days. These funds may be used to satisfy any obligations you may have under the User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy, including potential liabilities to third parties and to PayPal for each violation of the Acceptable Use Policy, including monetary damages. After that period, we’ll email you with information on how to access any remaining funds.
If there are chargebacks that result in your account balance falling below zero, you will need to settle the amount owed to PayPal to avoid further action.
Customers who are permanently limited for violating the Acceptable Use Policy are not permitted to use PayPal services and are not permitted to open new or additional PayPal accounts.
Now, obviously, we don’t sell sexually related materials. Nothing even close. But that also touches on another reason I didn’t want to use Paypal in the first place. They’re a company that is virulently anti-sex work and I know numerous people who have had their money taken from them under these policies. I can’t abide by that kind of moral policing.
Yesterday, out of the blue, received a follow up email from PayPal.
Dear Coyote & Crow LLC,
Thank you for contacting PayPal regarding the recent limitation of your PayPal account.
We have further reviewed your case and determined that your account is currently not in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy. As such, the limitation on your account has been lifted.
We sincerely appreciate your business and offer our apologies for any inconvenience this disruption in service may have caused.
In the future, if you have any questions regarding what items are prohibited under PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy, the complete PayPal Acceptable Use Policy can be found by clicking Legal at the bottom of any PayPal page.
Thank you for your cooperation in the resolution of this matter.
And this was my reply to them.
This response is entirely unsatisfactory and wholly unacceptable. You first suspended our business account with no notice and no explanation. Then your customer service process was not only incredibly difficult to navigate but once I did finally get a hold of a human being they were unable to do anything other than repeat your ridiculous assertions. Namely, that we were in violation of some sort of policy but that there were no details or specifics available, no ability to appeal or speak to anyone further and no other recourse. You then put a hold on my funds.
Now, you reply that in essence, you reviewed your own review and found that there was no violation. You then decided to be so magnanimous as to return my own account to me and give me access to my funds. However, since I don’t know what caused the violation in the first place, I have to now contend with the idea that at any moment, you may lock my account for reasons that are completely opaque and out of my control.
So, in line with your own communication and procedure style, let me respond to you in a language you seem to understand. After reviewing PayPal Inc.’s recent activity, we’ve found that you’ve violated numerous Coyote & Crow Games policies and standards and we’re ending our business with you permanently. We will not detail or specify the policies you’ve violated and there is no recourse for you. We realize that this email is likely being received by nothing but a bot or a sorely underpaid employee who rightly will not have a reason to care. This too is a violation of Coyote & Crow Games policy and standards.
I didn’t add this pic, but I probably should have.
So What Now?
Coyote & Crow Games will be deactivating all of our connections to PayPal. Instead, folks will have to rely on standard credit card options and potentially Amazon Pay. I truly hope that this doesn’t cause too many inconveniences for our fans and customers. For future contractors with C&C, we’ll be directing folks toward direct deposit or physical check options. It’s not my favorite way of doing things, but I hope my contractors will understand.
Onward and upward.
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