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Fri Nov 22 2019 15:51:28

eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His Account

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
My wife and I have been full-time eBay sellers since 2012. We have a successful store selling sexual wellness products. Growth has been steady over the past few years. 

A few weeks ago, PayPal permanently limited our account due to a violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. We were not given any warning of an Acceptable Use Policy violation. PayPal took this action at one in the morning by closing the account and sending an email to us.

PayPal's action closed our business. Our income stopped immediately.

After numerous phone calls to PayPal, a letter to PayPal Legal, a letter to CEO Daniel Schulman, and communication through a private Twitter message, we still have not been told how we violated the Acceptable Use Policy. Our requests to allow us to correct the policy violation and have the account reinstated have either been ignored or declined. PayPal told us the specifics of how we violated the policy is considered "proprietary information."

Over the years, we have sold the same class and type of products. If our products did not violate the Acceptable Use Policy a year ago, they should not violate the policy today (the policy has not been updated). 

PayPal has always known we sell sexual wellness products. So, why did they suddenly take this action?

eBay has been of little help during this situation. We requested to be added to the Managed Payments program; but that request was denied because the program is closed to new sellers until January. 

My wife and I are devastated. The financial loss is substantial. The emotional toll is nearly unbearable. We worked countless hours over seven years to build a successful business. And, in the blink of an eye it is gone. Additionally, five distributors (all American small businesses) are dealing with the loss of our business. 

I have often read horror stories about how PayPal treats people. Yet, we have always had positive experiences with PayPal support. Whenever an issue came up, PayPal worked with us to seek a resolution. That all changed a few weeks ago. Now, I have experienced the ugly side of PayPal that many people talk about.
Greg

Comments (52) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 17:06:29 2019

A wild guess. A teenager or teenagers used parents account got caught and parents went ballistic with complaint to Pay Pal.  

Or, more likely competitor complaint; likely with false data. PayPal panicked.

Even if you get reinstated, you need to get, if not already have one, your own site.

Also look into eCrater. I do not know their policies now on your type of products. But some years ago I did sell similar products from there.

Also Amazon sells tons of  similar products. Most from China, but there are US sellers in the mix also.

If you were and are depending solely on eBay, well you, as you said, truly realize now how dangerous that can be. .  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Adventurous Wanderers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 17:16:11 2019

Hi TomH,
You may be right about someone filing a complaint. If that is the case, then all the more reason why PayPal should give us an opportunity to defend ourselves.

We started building an independent web store six months ago to reduce our dependence on eBay. We rushed to complete the store and it opened last week. Of course, it will take months to see much traffic. We sell a few products on Amazon also. The problem with Amazon is that most top brands do not allow their products to be sold on Amazon.
Thanks,
Greg

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 17:32:28 2019

Greg, true about Amazon, if you were selling the typical junk the Chinese sale, you would not have a problem... lol...

PayPal is totally fine until they think something is wrong. They almost always hide behind the excuses they gave you. Had the same (similar) thing happen. I ended up changing the name of the operation. Formalized it with my state, LLC, with a different legal name and a different bank. Lost all the feedback of course. But did put me back in business.

Really look into the crater. Do not have to use PayPal. More payment choices.
Tom

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Vicky This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Nov 22 17:40:16 2019

Sorry this happened to you. I am learning paypal a little better to. Sellers watch yourself on anything Hemp,CBD, anything of that nature as well. You can lose your account. Its still against the law.(sexual?)Be wary on selling fast mass quantity,
still it applies. If you are selling something thats flying off your shelf, paypal wants to know why.. Paypal is a bit on guard right now until someone has a policy in place.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Carl This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 17:42:43 2019

Although I hate suggesting this, why not sign up for managed payments to bypass PayPal all together? You would only need it until you get your website more established.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Adventurous Wanderers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 18:15:37 2019

Hi Carl,
Managed Payments is not accepting new sellers at the moment. We were told two weeks ago, Managed Payments would invite additional sellers to the program in January. Today, eBay changed January to "sometime next year".
Greg

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Nov 22 19:09:40 2019

@Greg - I agree that you should look into selling on eCrater. You can accept payments through Stripe (as I do as I have also had problems with PayPal), or even checks or money orders. The sooner you separate yourself from eBay and PayPal, the better it will be for your business.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Fri Nov 22 21:34:39 2019

PayPal like the majority of American companies are souless, greed laden robots who couldn't care less about you or anyone else.

If it were me, and I've done this before with great success.  I'd Google the board of directors and senior management. Find out PayPal's email nomenclature and fire off an email to ever single one in that list. With any luck, a VPs secretary will take pity on you and get the ball rolling.

There are also programs called web crawlers that will search for email address on any given .com and affiliates. I've gotten hundreds of results in the past and for good measure have added those names as well.

To date, this method has worked for me every time.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Fri Nov 22 21:38:49 2019

I believe the psychology behind this falls on human nature. When there is an email to a large group of people about an injustice. Each individual believes they are being watched to see if they have integrity. So inevitably someone reacts. Often several react but it always falls to one contact. No one wants to be a jerk, not even an actual jerk in front of an audience.

My theory anyway.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Nov 22 23:22:03 2019

Checks & money orders are OK again?

https://www.ebay.com.my/pages/help/pay/accepted-payment-
methods.html

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 22 23:27:42 2019

Sorry, but you aren’t like legally barred. If it were me, I’d be opening a new account immediately with new info. As you said, this is your income.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 10:41:26 2019

its why these third party sites like ebay should be phased out. if you had your own site you could simply accept any type of payment you want and have multiple back ups.

sadly..these places like ebay and amazon hate giving you choices because giving you one choice increases their control over you.

its time to starve these beasts. stop using them.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Nov 23 11:39:54 2019

@McPosty

When eBay is 100% of your income you can't just leave!

I had a website on GoDaddy for 2 years, I sold 5 items for a total of just under $300

I tried eCrater, in 2 years I sold (1) bearing for $20

At least Criagslist has done something, sold 15 items for almost $1000 (in 3 years)

None can pay the bills like eBay can and they know it. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: eBaySince2006 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 12:23:07 2019

Simply put you need to keep asking questions until you get an answer. If you have all your state and federal tax returns and business documents you should be able to reinstate your account. Do you have all those documents?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Adventurous Wanderers This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 12:40:58 2019

I really appreciate everyone offering support and suggestions. Both are extremely helpful as we deal with this.

A couple of follow-ups:

1. I started sending letters to the PayPal BOD Thursday. Keeping my fingers crossed someone on the BOD has a heart.
2. We opened a corporate account (our company is a C corp) after the personal account was closed. It took less than 2 weeks for PayPal to close it. Apparently, they track IP address, telephone numbers, banking information, etc to determine when a new account is an attempt to replace a suspended account.
3. We are taking your advice and looking into eCrater, WalMart, and other third party sites. Our product mix leans toward the high-end of sex toys, massage wands, and herbal supplements. These products are sold on other third-party sites.
4. The scary part is the reality that it will take months (years?) to establish new stores whether they are on third-party sites or our independent stores.

Finally, I suggest all of you read the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy. It is vague, broad, and seems to be designed to ensnare anyone if PayPal wants to suspend their account.

Greg


Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: Adventurous Wanderers This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 12:54:17 2019

Hi eBaySince2006,

We do have all corporate records and tax returns. I am certainly not going to give up the fight. Yet, look at the two messages below that I received from PayPal a few days ago. They make it very clear that the decision is not reversible.

One challenge is on-going expenses related to the eBay store. We have an anchor store with about 7 months left on our contract. That is $300 per month. We have maybe 100 listings with sub-titles with recurring monthly fees. You are unable to edit a listing without a valid PayPal email address (so we can't remove the sub-titles). Plus, our last eBay invoice is due and normally it would be paid from the PayPal account. PayPal is holding just over $3000 hostage for 180 days.

So, we have to make some hard decisions very soon to stop the bleeding.

Here are the last two messages from PayPal:

''I’m sorry you no longer have access to our services. This type of decision isn’t something we do lightly, and I can assure you that we fully review all factors of an account before making this type of decision. While I understand that you don’t agree with the outcome, this is something that would have been fully reviewed and we would be unable to change. If there is a balance in the account, that will be held for up to 180 days to minimize any potential risk of loss due to disputes or chargebacks that may be filed during that period. After 180 days, you’ll be notified of your ability to withdraw the balance. If you have any issues then, please let us know. I regret that we’re unable to provide the answer you’re looking for in this situation. ^BC''

''I understand you may want to know the reason for this decision, however PayPal will not disclose the proprietary information gathered during our investigation in order to prevent future circumvention of our security protocol. I appreciate the feedback you have given us and I'm sorry that we're unable to provide you with additional information on this. If you choose that route, we will respond to any external inquiries you wish to make. ^BC''

Greg

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: eBaySince2006 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 12:58:13 2019

We had PayPal do something similar to us in 2012. We basically had to play lawyer and prove to PayPal that we were doing anything breaking the terms of service. First you need to get a reason why the account was closed. Then you need to prove the reason your account was closed was false by quoting their terms and showing documents proving otherwise and they'll let you right back in. They only do this so they don't get sued by banks, Federal authorities, etc.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: unsuckEBAY
Web Site

Sat Nov 23 14:42:50 2019

PayPal recently made news for cutting ties with PornHub, and many outlets are lauding PayPal's 'ethical' decision" and leadership in "civic responsibility".

Is it possible there's a wider net PayPal is casting?

Do you know of competitors who've also been cut off?

Sifting through their opaque messaging, the "prevent future circumvention of our security protocol" kinda stands-out a bit, any idea what that might be about?

Shame on PayPal for not giving you any notice at all - a real class act.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 23 15:29:58 2019

If it was me I wouldn't screw with paypal any longer. A lawyer will get their attention a lot faster.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A   eBay Seller Devastated after PayPal Suspends His A

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Nov 23 16:00:39 2019

@toolguy - Please check here:

https://www.ebay.com.my/pages/help/policies/accepted-paym
ents-policy.html


As
you can see, checks and money order are restricted, and if you click on the link, it states they can only be tendered for coins and paper money, motors, real estate, business equipment, and adult-only items.

With regard to you not having luck selling on any other site, did you ever do anything to draw people to the other sites? I advised you before to send e-mails to your prior customers to let them know about the new places where you were selling, but I'm guessing you never did that. You could also include information with your current orders to say something like, "Please visit my shop on ABC Site for more great tools." If you just list one or two things and expect people to find your items, that's not going to happen. I also advised you to list at least 100 items on eCrater and I assume you never did that, either.

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