In late 2015, I launched MouseMingle.com – the dating site for Disney fans. A few weeks ago, PayPal banned MouseMingle from processing payments with no notice – effectively killing my small business. Why did PayPal choose to kill my small business? Your guess is as good as mine. Why would I say that? Because the official message on my PayPal dashboard says that I’m “in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy.” The problem is, PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy says nothing about wholesome websites helping people connect and (hopefully) fall in love.
What PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy from March 19, 2020 DOES say, is that you can’t sell:
- narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety,
- drug paraphernalia,
- items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity,
- stolen goods including digital and virtual goods,
- the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime,
- items that are considered obscene,
- items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction,
- certain sexually oriented materials or services,
- ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories,
- certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law,
- show the personal information of third parties in violation of applicable law,
- support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, other “get rich quick” schemes or certain multi-level marketing programs,
- are associated with purchases of annuities or lottery contracts, lay-away systems, off-shore banking or transactions to finance or refinance debts funded by a credit card,
- the sale of certain items before the seller has control or possession of the item,
- are by payment processors to collect payments on behalf of merchants,
- are associated with the sale of traveler’s checks or money orders,
- involve currency exchanges or check cashing businesses,
- involve certain credit repair, debt settlement services, credit transactions or insurance activities, or
- involve offering or receiving payments for the purpose of bribery or corruption.
Since MouseMingle has never, since it started in 2015, sold drugs, prostitutes, ponzi shcmes, lottery tickets, or weapons, what in the world made someone at PayPal look at www.MouseMingle.com and decide ‘THEY’RE DANGEROUS! WE CAN’T LET THEM USE OUR SERVICE’? It’s confusing at the least, and infuriating at best. Maybe a PayPal employee met someone on MouseMingle, then got dumped, and decided to take it out on my small business. Maybe PayPal doesn’t like that I’m a libertarian. Maybe PayPal doesn’t have any oversight into what their employees deem a ‘violation,’ as anyone with half-a-brain could go to www.MouseMingle.com and look at it for 3.5 seconds to realize that it’s a social community for single Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel fans to find someone who loves what they love – Disney.
The customer lack-of-service department said I would need to contact their policy team to get more details and/or challenge their ruling – BUT – I can only do that by sending an email. Which I promptly did the same day I found out they killed my business. 19 days later, and still no response from the black hole that is PayPal‘s Policy Team. I shouldn’t expect anything though… they are typical Big Tech who doesn’t care about anyone who doesn’t hold their same opinions. I doubt I’ll ever get a response from them. But even if I do, it will be long after all of MouseMingle‘s paying subscribers have been automatically cancelled by PayPal‘s payment processing system.
I’m not just whining here… I’m frantically working to save the business. That means, trying to find another payment processor that will work with the crappy underlying software that runs MouseMingle.com. For the time being, I’m eating the cost of running the business, and offering the upgraded services for free to all MouseMingle users. (Basically, like all dating sites, you have to upgrade to be able to send messages.)
You can’t use PayPal anymore
After a review of your account activity, we’ve determined that you’re in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. 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.
Any bank or credit card information linked to your PayPal account cannot be removed nor can it be used to create a new account. You can still log in and see your account information but you can’t send or receive funds. If you have funds in a PayPal balance, we’ll hold it for up to 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 liquidated 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