Why we accept Paypal payments again, but why you should avoid using it and prefer other payment modes.
On 4th August 2020, after 18 years of using Paypal, we received an email from Paypal asking us to "remove Death In June NSBM (sic) music/merchandise from Discogs", and telling us our account was locked, without possibility of receiving or sending money, or even transferring our funds.
We had many exchanges on the Paypal internal 'support' mailing system, transcripted below, ending up with our account being unlocked on 25 August after three weeks of neverending, ubuesque, kafkaesque, absurd arguments.
Paypal has never explained why they thought Death In June was a "NaSty Black Metal" band. By making this accusation, they just ridiculed themselves.
Obviously, Paypal, like Youtube, Facebook, Bandcamp, and many others of the Big Tech, have a history regarding censorship, a history that is growing quickly in this time of 'cancel culture' dictated by the usual suspects. Well we know they know what we should think, what we should read, watch or listen to, much better than we do.
It is interesting to see in all this that Paypal intends to dictate that Death In June is music you should not be able to buy. On Discogs, a private independent website. It's worrying that one of these companies can block a business, an artist, because someone somewhere in an office decided that, nah, this is NSBM. Who will be next? Well, Paypal, please kindly fuck yourselves, and thank you for your cooperation.
We are allowing Paypal payments again now, but honestly... Please use other payment modes if you're able to.
all Paypal quotes are actual quotes from their internal mail system, translated from French to English ; mine have been shortened, obviously.
4 August :
PP : We blocked your account, remove NSBM Death In June music/merch from Discogs - https://www.discogs.com/artist/39344-Death-In-June
Me : What? DIJ is not NSBM. Why blocking us, our Discogs account is on holidays, we don't sell NSBM which is anyway already banned (mostly) on Discogs. On the other hand DIJ is authorized on Discogs, but also ebay and Amazon. Are you planning a witch hunt?
PP : We have received all your items and thank you. Your file will be studied by one of our specialists. You will be notified by email of the result of our study within 24 hours.
5 August :
Me : Any news?
PP : ..................
6 August :
PP : we do not limit a PayPal account to the request of an external person, these are internal audits that we do if we believe that there may be a risk to our company. It is therefore not a witch hunt but an analysis of your account made with complete impartiality. If other people sell the same type of products, they will have the same limitation reserved for them. The resolution of the limitation can take up to 7 working days.
Me : well your internal audit sucks : DIJ is not a NSBM band. Not even metal.
9 August :
PP : Thank you for the clarification. Your restriction file has been reviewed and will be reviewed within 4 working days from now. You will receive the report from the department in charge of your file by email at this time, so you have to wait now.
Me : you work on Sundays?
10 August :
PP : I reassure you, you have nothing more to do on your side, your file will be studied quickly as indicated by Morgan.
Me : Your internal audit sucks.
PP : Thank you for these clarifications. I understand your frustration on this request for additional elements and certain information on music. Based on the information provided to us, we asked to have this information in order to understand your business and the products sold. Your file is awaiting analysis according to all the information you have provided and you will receive a return by email within 4 working days, ie 13/08 maximum.
Me : Nah, you didn't ask for infos, you ordered us to remove NSBM records which are not NSBM, from a website where we can't remove records. I'm not a Discogs admin. Why NSBM?
11 August :
12 August :
Me : "Impartial study"? Seriously? DIJ is NSBM? You didn't answer that, or which of the Terms and Conditions these records infringe.
13 August :
Me : Discogs account reactivated WITHOUT Paypal : https://www.discogs.com/seller/SteelworkMaschine/profile
PP : Simply, PayPal does not want to be associated with certain brands or certain products, as I indicated to you previously.
PP : As explained by Fabien, we have taken note of your disputes as to the reason for this restriction. However, you have provided us with all the information we have requested and your file will be reviewed in the coming days. An email will be sent to you as soon as this is complete. Thank you for your collaboration.
14 August :
Me : you said I would have a reply on 13 August, we're the 14.
PP : Indeed, your file is now being reviewed by our compliance team, you will be kept informed within a week by email of the outcome of this verification.
Me : Seriously?
PP : As part of your case, we cannot override the decisions of the service in charge of your case, for security reasons. Only the latter are its decision-makers. I understand your dissatisfaction. A note has been added to the department in charge to explain your situation.
19 August :
PP (by email) : please provide your Discogs seller profile URL
Me : I already gave it three times
PP : I have read your file and I see that it is not complete in order to resolve this I invite you to provide the missing information directly on your restriction file by clicking on Litigation manager. Once all the required actions have been carried out on the file, it will be reviewed automatically and will be processed within 7 to 10 days. I would like to inform you that documents sent over conversations cannot be processed.
Me : There's nothing in the litigation manager I can edit, add, modify. So I can't complete the file.
PP : .............no response to that
20 August :
PP : By looking at the link you had provided, we stumbled across your Discogs profile, but we couldn't find your items that you have put up for sale, is this normal?
Me : Yeah, I can't allow sales if I can't get any payments! So how can I complete the file if I can't, with an URL you already have?
21 August :
PP : I can understand that you do not agree with our Terms, however you have accepted them when opening your PayPal account.
We do not judge the preferences of each and we do not prevent the sale of music, regardless of the group, but certain objects or products referring to concepts with which PayPal does not wish to be associated. I transmitted your comments once again to the department in question, on the fact that you have withdrawn all your articles as well as the fact that you are contesting this decision.
Me : I don't disagree with your Terms, I ask to know which records infringe on which of those Terms.
PP : In your file, it is clearly indicated that PayPal does not want to be associated with certain products, of which I am giving you the list below:
2.in connection with transactions involving (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products which present a risk to the safety of the consumer, (b) drugs and related products, (c) cigarettes, ( d) items that encourage, promote and facilitate illegal activities or teach others how to carry them out, (e) stolen items including digital and virtual goods, (f) items that promote hatred, violence, racial intolerance or other forms of discriminatory intolerance or the financial exploitation of criminal acts, (g) objects which may be considered obscene in nature, (h) objects which infringe or violate any right of 'author, trademark, distribution right or right related to respect for private life or any other property right in accordance with the laws of any jurisdiction, (i) products or services of a sexual nature, (j) ammunition, guns these and accessories of firearms or (k) certain weapons or knives regulated by the law in force.
PP : As you can imagine, we cannot directly and immediately control all the platforms that use our services because there are millions. You yourself had been subjected to this verification after a few years if I am to believe your words. Regarding your file, once again, the fact that you do not agree with this was brought up in your file this morning, as I have already indicated to you. I asked that a clearer explanation be given to you on this file and the prerequisites to lift this restriction.
Me : we don't sell drugs, cigarettes, illegal stuff, stolen goods, we're very tolerant guys, errrrrr obscene stuff (well that's tricky), we don't sell sextoys, guns, knives or ammunitions.
22 August :
PP : Thank you for this information, we have sent them back to the service concerned which deals with the restriction of your account. Your restriction has been under study since yesterday, you will receive feedback by email in the coming days.
At the level of the articles which do not respect our general conditions as we spoke about before it is the disc (s) of the group Death in June.
According to the service this product violates the PayPal Authorized Use Policy.
I understand your disagreement, it is for this reason that we informed the service of the latter. As a financial institute we check all transactions and all products that are sold. According to our information this product does not meet our conditions, which is why we have asked you to remove it.
Regarding the reasons for this decision, we do not have to reveal them to you because they are based on confidential criteria essential to our risk management and the protection of PayPal.
In addition, a regulation or government authority may prohibit us from communicating certain information to you regarding such decisions. We have no obligation to disclose details of our risk management or security procedures.
In terms of processing times, as long as all the information / actions requested during a restriction are not completed, the restriction is not studied. During the study, we may decide that we are missing information and therefore we ask you for it. When we receive the requested information, your file is reviewed. When a study goes into a study, it is studied in chronological order. It is for this reason that your account has been blocked for 17 days.
Thank you for your understanding and I invite you to be patient while receiving a return from the service concerned by email (within 48 to 72 hours).
Me : So these records infringe your terms, but you won't say which ones. Ok, great. That's censorship, am I right?
Also, my seller profile is reactivated without any means of payment : https://www.discogs.com/seller/SteelworkMaschine/profile (for the fifth time)
23 August :
PP : Thank you for your understanding and I invite you to be patient while receiving a return from the service concerned by email (within 48 to 72 hours).
Me : By the way, this is Death In June (send in YT links for various tracks), and this is NSBM (send a link for a random NSBM band on YT)
24 August :
PP email : Geben Sie uns Ihr Discogs-Profil / Ihre Shop-URL zur weiteren Untersuchung.. (YEAH, IN GERMAN)
Me : sorry I'd like to Geben whatever, but I don't speak German. Anyway, I already I gave you 5 times the Discogs seller profile URL, so here it is for the sixth time. And you had it from the very beginning, since you asked me to remove these records from Discogs!
PP : I have just verified your account and thus, the request for additional information in progress since 04 August. If you have several accounts on this merchant site, I invite you to enter all the URLs. So, from the start, you gave us the following URL: https://www.discogs.com/artist/39344-Death-In-June
The last one you just sent me by courier corresponds to: https://www.discogs.com/seller/SteelworkMaschine/profile
Our specialist department needs to receive the URL linked to your profile (s). For that, I'm sorry, but we can't transfer this information from this conversation to your PayPal account. Can you please save this new information from your account by clicking on the link below or by going to the Resolution Center directly: Resolution Center. Your file will then be escalated once again to be reviewed. You will have a return within 5 days.
Me : I never gave you the Discogs DIJ URL. You gave it to me. You can transfer informations to the compliance service, but you can't send them an URL?!? And I can't modify anything in the Resolution center. So how do we solve this?
Me : (phone Paypal) here's the URL, fix it.
PP (phone) : alright.
Me : so that was easier than on your website.
PP : Perfect ! I see that your file is reviewed once studied an email will be sent to you. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your cooperation.
Me : What's the point of this mailing system if you say you forward infos to the compliance service, but can't forward them an URL?
PP : What I am telling you is that your file has been sent for review to the verification service (with a note concerning the documents sent) and once studied an email will be sent to you.
Me : You're not replying to the question. That's not logical. Why can't you forward an URL? Why did I have to spell the full URL letter by letter on the phone to a clueless woman. Why do I receive an email in German?
PP : Indeed, the email was not correctly translated at the time of sending Mr. Galès, please excuse us. The URL of your site has been sent : https://www.discogs.com/seller/SteelworkMaschine/profile
Me : Yeah, because I gave it to you by spelling it on the phone. You're still not answering.
26 August :
PP : There was no accusation, sir, but simply requests for verification of certain information that you provided.
Paypal reserves the right to request information from these users Sir.
Me : "Remove Death In June NSBM music / merchandise from Discogs", that's an accusation.
"At the level of the articles which do not respect our general conditions as we spoke about it before it concerns the disc (s) of the group Death in June. According to the service this product violates the Regulation on the authorized uses of PayPal. " That too is an accusation. Anyway, if the service in question considers that it does not have to justify its incompetence, fine for them.
......And we will never have the answers...