New PayPal Terms Include $2,500 Fine?! (Winter 2022)

New PayPal Terms Include $2,500 Fine?! (Winter 2022)

Posted by Big Brand on 7th Oct 2022

I would guess that the majority of online sellers accept PayPal as a form of payment options for their buyers, so we try to follow along with changes made to PayPal as well as other payment platforms and share the info with our readers.  

Here's a really interesting article that was posted to a legal website on 10.7.22.  Whether you agree or disagree, with the article is irrelevant.  Whether you agree or disagree with PayPals new Terms is also irrelevant, but, as an online seller, it is important that you make yourself aware of these changes.  This article was NOT written by us, but we feel the need to share it so you can be informed of the changes coming down the pike however I will include my person opinion at the end of the article.  It is likely that as an online seller these changes probably will not impact you, but still, it's important to be aware of it.:   

"It’s no big secret that Big Tech’s tentacles have a vast reach, with platforms like Facebook and Twitter admitting in so many words after the fact to deliberately suppressing news content prior to the 2020 presidential election that portrayed then-Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden and his international wheelin’ and dealin’ son Hunter in a less than flattering light being one of the more notable examples.

But as has already been made clear by online payment systems like PayPal and Venmo, even more silencing of alternative points of view is needed in the form of financial strangulation if necessary, which can occur via shutting down accounts entirely or, in PayPal’s case, will soon also potentially include $2,500 fines for WrongThink, according to a recently updated acceptable use policy set to take effect in November.

As reported by Reclaim the Net:

PayPal’s clause about taking users’ funds for a violation of its rules has long been established. But, as published on September 26th and to be effective on November 3rd, 2022, PayPal will add restrictions to its acceptable use policy that go beyond illegal activities and fraud and into the realm of policing speech.

The updated policy prohibits users from using PayPal for activities that:

“Involve the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials that, in PayPal’s sole discretion, (a) are harmful, obscene, harassing, or objectionable … (e) depict, promote, or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.) … (g) are fraudulent, promote misinformation … or (i) are otherwise unfit for publication.”

Big Tech platforms are increasingly finding ways to punish people’s speech under the guise of banning "misinformation" and making themselves as the arbiters of truth in deciding what is and isn’t true.

Yep, and in PayPal’s case, they specifically state that they can fine users $2,500 for alleged “misinformation” and supposed hate speech.

“Violation of this Acceptable Use Policy constitutes a violation of the PayPal User Agreement and may
subject you to damages, including liquidated damages of $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation, which may be debited directly from your PayPal account(s),” the new policy reads.

As also noted, PayPal has been under fire in the U.K. in recent weeks for what critics called viewpoint-based discrimination against users:

Two weeks ago, PayPal shuttered the account of the Free Speech Union, a London-based organization founded by social commentator Toby Young to advocate for free expression. PayPal also closed Young’s personal account and that of his news and opinion website, The Daily Sceptic.

On Tuesday, PayPal reinstated the accounts, but only after sustained public criticism of the company’s apparently viewpoint-discriminatory actions.

In typically murky fashion, PayPal initially gave Young no reason for the bans other than to say that the accounts violated the company’s vague acceptable use policy. However, a PayPal spokesperson told the press, “Achieving the balance between protecting the ideals of tolerance, diversity and respect for people of all backgrounds and upholding the values of free expression and open dialogue can be difficult, but we do our best to achieve it.” Other reports indicate PayPal’s decision to close the accounts had to do with alleged COVID-19 misinformation.

What’s especially horrid about how PayPal operates beyond being able to yank $2,500 from your account because you posted something they disagree with is that there typically is no advance warning and no appeals process. It just happens and you have very little recourse, as GetPayment explained:

PayPal creates their own Acceptable Use Policy, which effectively allows them to play by their own rules. Their payment processing services are unregulated compared to full-service merchant services providers. That means merchants have no legal recourse to resolve these issues or get their funds reimbursed.

To make matters worse, there is no defined appeals process. They can ban you without warning, potentially without allowing you to cash out your account balance for six months. Plus, they can fine you multiple times to deplete your balance—and there’s not much you can do to stop them

As to how to fight back against such Orwellian tactics? Getting even louder is, of course, a big reason why Big Tech operations like PayPal put such policies in place, to begin with.

While there are some viable alternatives to PayPal, their partnerships with financial institutions can mean the service providers and users possibly being subjected to woke ESG standards and summarily canceled as a result, which Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis are trying to stop.

Still, they are worth exploring for anyone concerned with PayPal’s increasing overreach and control over what its users say on their websites"

MY OPINION:  It scares me to death when platforms of any kind puts themself in the position of determining what is true, meanwhile offering no legitimate way to "appeal" the decision.  On April 4, 2019, we received an email from YouTube stating our account (which was in perfect standing, no "strikes" and millions of views) was terminated. We wrote in detail about it here (scroll to the bottom of the page).  But to make a long story short: someone, somewhere said something in one of our videos was counterfeit. We *thought* this was an innocent mistake that could be quickly resolved by providing YouTube with our buying contact and a letter of authorization from the brand name.  However, YouTube would not tell us which video, or which item, or who made the claims.  Additionally, when we tried to reach out to YouTube, we could not being that our account was scrubbed and we were locked out of it.  We then hired a lawyer.  He sent them a letter along with copies of ALL of our contracts with ALL of the brands we sell.  Meanwhile, every place our videos appeared on the internet now displayed a black screen with an error message on it that said our account was terminated for counterfeits... as you can imagine, this was terrible.  Every single product video on our website instantly became unwatchable and displayed this awful, defamatory message.

Eventually YouTube sent the lawyer a reply, which said "this account was terminated".  YouTube did not provide their legal teams contact information, and, in fact, the email they sent didn't even have ANY name on it.  This situation was absolutely devastating.  We had to start back over and re-record every single video and attempt to locate every single place on the internet that our videos appeared and replace them with Vimeo-hosted videos.  It was seriously one of the darkest times of my life.  And this awful time was compounded by customers questioning the authenticity of our merchandise in addition to complaining that the videos "weren't working". 

To this day, I have never been able to find out who made this complaint, what merchandise they made the complaint about or anything further. So, when I hear things like PayPal is going to decide what is true, with no way for the seller to fight the bogus claim, it makes me think of the awful YouTube situation.  All it will take to get fined $2,500 or have your account banned is someone saying something you have published is a violation of Terms... it's truly scary.  

UPDATE!  10.10.22:  PAYPAL DROPS $2,500 FINE!!!  Read About it Here

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