Ammo For Sale

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Since I’m consumer blogging

So, I’m pissed at Delta and American. Who else has pissed me off? Well, paypal has. I got a nasty letter from them placing my account on review. If I don’t react in some deadline, they’ll close it. The reason is that, per their dozens of pages long Acceptable Use Policy, it’s forbidden to use their service to buy weapons and other stuff.

Like every other Acceptable Use Policy out there, I hadn’t read it. So, oops. Bad on me. I was going to reply and say oops, sorry and inquire about remedying the situation. Their message stated:

In order to comply with PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy and bring your account into good standing, you will need to:

1. Provide a detailed explanation about what the payment received on XXXXXXX was for. Please explain the good or service sold, and how you came in contact with the buyer.

Please also provide any documentation or websites to substantiate your claim.

It had a link. I clicked the link to reply and it asks me what sort of business I run. Well, I don’t run one but that wasn’t an option. So, I sent an email to their service department that said:

I don’t understand what you’re asking me to do here. I don’t run a business. I use paypal for private purchases/sales only.

Their response:

Your appeal to lift the limitation on your account has been denied.

In order to comply with PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy and bring your account into good standing, you will need to:

1. Provide a detailed explanation about what the payment received on XXXXXXX was for. Please explain the good or service sold, and how you came in contact with the buyer.

Please also provide any documentation or websites to substantiate your claim.

Notice, it’s the same email only it references a non-existent appeal. I reply:

I didn’t appeal any thing. I asked a question:

I don’t understand what you want me to do. I don’t run a business. What do you need from me to rectify this?

Their reply:

In order to comply with PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy and bring your account into good standing, you will need to:

1. Provide a detailed explanation about what the payment received on XXXXXXX was for. Please explain the good or service sold, and how you came in contact with the buyer.

Please also provide any documentation or websites to substantiate your claim.

Err, same thing. A bit frustrating. So, again, I state again:

I don’t understand what you want me to do. I don’t run a business. What do you need from me to rectify this?

Their response (again):

In order to comply with PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy and bring your account into good standing, you will need to:

1. Provide a detailed explanation about what the payment received on XXXXXXX was for. Please explain the good or service sold, and how you came in contact with the buyer.

Please also provide any documentation or websites to substantiate your claim.

This time, it’s no longer frustrating but amusing. So I reply:

Unbelievable. I’ve asked the same question three times. And got the same non-answer three times. Do
people answer emails or monkeys with typewriters?

Seriously, I’ll ask again:

I don’t run a business. So, what do you need me to do here? Your site asks me about my business, which I
don’t have.

Their response is the same. I try a few more times because it’s funny:

Say Uncle: So, what’s the point of a reply form/email address if no one’s going to read it?

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

Say Uncle: Whatcha wearing, sexy?

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

Say Uncle: Are you retarded?

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

Say Uncle: Booga, booga, booga.

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

Say Uncle: I like big butts and I cannot lie.

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

SayUncle: Yea, and God said to Abraham, “you will kill your son, Issak”, and Abraham said, I can’t hear you, you’ll have to speak into the microphone.” “Oh I’m sorry, Is this better? Check, check, check… Jerry, pull the high end out, I’m still getting some hiss back here

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

SayUncle: Dookie.

PayPal Monkey With Typewriter: Same exact response

I mean, I figure some combination of words (perhaps eventually typed by a monkey with a typewriter) will clue them in that a person needs to review my case? But, I was wrong.

So, I call their 800 number while driving. Their phone system says (paraphrased) Due to unusually high call volume, you’ll have to wait. When a business phone says this, what they really mean is Due to our usual under-staffing of phone lines, you’ll have to wait your turn, bitch. Anyway, the guy answering the phone couldn’t help me but he knew who could. So, transferred again. I reached the nice lady at paypal and she (and I) had a good chuckle about the situation (she thought I was funny). And she, of course, can’t help me either. So, she forwarded my info on to their Acceptable Use Policy people as a work order, which apparently involves a person reviewing my case instead of a monkey with a typewriter.

We’ll see.

Update: I guess in the future, it’s best not to put any details of any transaction in the paypal submit form. They probably have monkeys with typewriters who look for terms like FFL, arms, etc. Corporate big brother is watching.

12 Responses to “Since I’m consumer blogging”

  1. Sebastian Says:

    Paypal is evil and should be avoided. I’ve heard and read many many horror stories about them.

  2. Joe Huffman Says:

    I’d love to avoid Paypal but this sort of bigotry is pervasive–as I told Say Uncle and the other gun bloggers in Reno. In the case of PayPal I just try to keep my balance low with them and “stay under the radar”.

    Check out Google’s Adsense policy. Your site may not contain:

    Sales or promotion of certain weapons, such as firearms, ammunition, balisongs, butterfly knives, and brass knuckles

    There was a thread on AR15.com a while back about PayPal taking thousands of dollars from people that made legal transactions of firearms.

    EBay prohibits legal firearm sales.

    I tried to place Google adsense ads on Boomershoot.org and was refused.

    Bigots. They are all bigots and we need to make that point somehow.

    See also:
    Now what?
    Google gets a letter on ethics
    Google responds on AdSense and the 2nd Amendment

  3. Joe Huffman Says:

    I messed up the “Google gets a letter on ethics link”. It should be: http://blog.joehuffman.org/2004/12/19/Google+Gets+A+Letter+On+Ethics.aspx

    Sorry about that. I wish you had a Preview option.

  4. Jay G Says:

    I don’t even want to think about how many firearms-related items I’ve paid for with PayPal.

    Suckers.

    Heh.

  5. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    Just says that the payment was for sex toys, or porn movies, or used panties or some other perversion.

    They should be perfectly OK with that.

    Or try things like “Nazi memorabilia” “KKK hood” or “Turner Diaries” just to see what their scanning monkeys do.

  6. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    Oh, I forgot to add “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” to that list.

  7. jesse Says:

    I’ve been annoyed at them for a while over this and finally closed my account today.

    Clicked the boxes stating that I was closing the account over “Paypal’s policies / acceptable use agreement” and “Paypal customer service was unprofessional” and for the comment box, put “Paypal’s continued harrassment of customers making legal transactions involving items Paypal does not approve of is unacceptable to me.”

  8. Standard Mischief Says:

    I pay into paypal using my credit card, and I only use it when the other options suck (e.g. we will hold your money order for fourteen (14) days, until the check clears). I always use an unverified account, and refuse to attach it to any of my banking accounts

    Unfortunately, there’s no other options in many cases besides paypal, and they will continue their unpublished phone numbers for customer service, support via email using robots, pass the buck phone transfers, etc until forced by the market to do otherwise.

    Google has made noises about a competing service, but ebay, (the owners of paypal), as soon as it was announced banned that form of payment on auctions.

    This is where my libertarian leanings get stuck in a lurch, does ebay have the right to dictate terms on how the buyer and seller ought to settle the bill?

    On one hand, they merely bring together the buyer and the seller, and take an arms length approach to the transaction, deliberately disclaiming responsibility for the transaction itself. So why should they get to dictate terms?

    OTOH, it’s their company, and I’m loath to ask the government to tell ebay how to conduct business.

    Any thoughts?

  9. Lyle Says:

    There’s a world of difference between, as Uncle puts it, a “corporate big brother” and the government. The clowns at paypal have the right to be bigots, and you have the right to take your business elsewhere, or to compete with them, or to write about how sick they are and make fools of them, or to organise a boycott.

    When government gets into the act, they make it illegal to compete with them, or they charge (extort from) you anyway (public education) even though you took your business elsewhere. They put up artificial barriers to entry into the market (licensing and permits) etc., etc..

    There is no comparison. Frankly this is a pet peve of mine– the apparent confusion of free market with force. You have choices, and the businesses have choices. No one is going to force you to buy from Wall Mart, and no one should force Wall Mart to accept your money.

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” is a phrase commonly posted in small businesses around the U.S. and as fas as I’m concerned it is a symbol of Liberty. Learn to love it.

    Anyone who chooses to be a bigot in a free market is merely creating a market niche for someone, even someone “small” who is not a bigot. I have said to many complainers, “If you don’t like the way I’m doing business– if you have a better way, then start your own god damned business and kick my ass in the marketplace.”

  10. Lyle Says:

    Oh, and this is comming from someone who did just that. Back in the 1980’s I had my owm service business, primarily serving a retail outlet that had been run by the same family for decades, but also taking in my own customers. When it became clear that said retsil business was doing some shady things behind my back, I decided to start competing with them in retail. My business was a very tiny fraction of said retail business, but we “little guys” kicked their butts, and they closed after only a few short years.

    Funny story: Several of the friends of the “big” guys that went under were sore about it, and accused us puny guys (who lived off something like 8 thousand dollars per year at the time) of “grabbing up all the business”.

    Yeah, we were real, evil, small business tycoons, working out of a garage, stomping on the poor, far bigger guys and crushing them. Shame on us.

    So when I say start you own business and kick my (or payPal’s) ass, I mean it seriously.

  11. Sigivald Says:

    You may not use PayPal in the sale of certain hand weapons that are illegal according to federal or state laws including: nunchaku; brass or other metal knuckles; leaded canes/staffs/crutches/sticks; zip guns; shurikens/ throwing stars; hand grenades or metal replica hand grenades; and billyclubs/batons, sandclubs, sandbags, or slingshots (also known as saps or blackjacks). For any other hand weapons, sellers must make certain that the weapon is legal in all countries in which it will be available for purchase.

    The obvious explanation is that they’re in California and it simply doesn’t occur to them that the rest of the country isn’t California.

    Here in Oregon, none of that stuff’s illegal (except, of course, a live hand grenade outside of NFA approved situations, but they ban NFA items in a separate entry), nor are switchblades, which they also ban.

    So evidently you can sell any legal weapon you want, as long as it’s not in that arbitrary list of bad things. Which includes dummy grenades you can buy as novelties in any surplus store.

    This is not so much “evil” as “staggeringly stupid and incompetent”.

    (It would be interesting to see the PayPal people attempt to make a rational defense of the entire policy, including the part prohibiting the sale of permanently deactivated guns, which under federal law can be sold to anyone at all – minors can buy them by mail, but PayPal won’t dirty its hands with them! Their policy appears to be simply a weird “personal problem” with weaponry… which is fine, but it’d be nice to see the arbitrariness of it made explicit.)

  12. Fun Bob Says:

    Paypal has taken a lot of deserved flack for their refusal to allow members to make legal transactions when it comes to guns and such. As has been said, it is their right to define the limitations on their service and as a libertarian I respect their right to do so. But it certainly doesn’t give me warm fuzzies to be discriminated against. To be honest, given the patchwork nature of gun laws in this country, and the fact that guns are the most strictly regulated consumer good in this country, allowing gun transactions is a huge liability for them.

    I looked into Paypal’s parent company–Ebay’s politics just over a year ago. Based on their political donations, you might guess that they are pro-gun. You can see what I wrote here:

    http://www.njcsd.org/forum/showthread.php?t=66

    Those figures are a year out of date and it would be interesting to revise them this late into the 2006 election cycle. But at that point in time, their political contributions went to predominantly pro-2nd Amendment legislators.

    It still doesn’t mean their service doesn’t suck for shutting down accounts for even gun related transactions. They have to cover their asses. They have been sued for allowing weapons transactions to go through. They’ve even been sued for handling stun guns.