[tor-relays] I was banned from PayPal

potlatch potlatch at protonmail.com
Sat Mar 13 03:33:46 UTC 2021

Hello kantorkel and Tor ops,

To put a little meat on the bone of this situation, I did not receive an email from PayPal--I was informed that I was banned when I tried to make a payment for VPS hosting.  During the week before this ban, I had sent funds to both Flokinet for an exit relay in Finland and to ITLDC.com for VPS hosting in Poland--both exit relays.  I used the PayPal support email to ask for the reason I was banned and to ask for re-instatement.  I have heard nothing back.

I had surmised that someone was monitoring payments to off-shore hosting companies and maybe they assumed I was supporting a news agency--I don't know really.  If that is the case, why haven't the hosting sites been banned as well?

The message in my PayPal account referred to a violation of the user agreement.  Here is the full text of the message:

-We're unable to continue offering our services
-Thank you for using PayPal as your payment partner.

-Unfortunately, we are unable to continue offering our services -to you at this time due to the nature of your business and/or -activity in your account and the risk it poses to PayPal. This -decision can't be overturned.

-If you owe refunds to any of your buyers, you can use the money -in your PayPal account to refund them.

-Money in your PayPal account will be held for 180 days. After -180 days, we'll email you information on how to withdraw your -money.

The only transactions on this account over the past 3-months were VPS lease payments off-shore.  I looked up the user agreement to determine where I had violated the rules and found only a single reference to operating servers:

-Service Requiring Pre-Approval:
-Providing file sharing services or access to newsgroups; or -selling alcoholic beverages, non-cigarette tobacco products, --e-cigarettes or prescription drugs/devices.

I have a zoom meeting with two attorneys from EFF.org on March 18.  Stay tuned....and maybe ban PayPal.


Sent with ProtonMail Secure Email.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Thursday, March 11, 2021 12:06 AM, Matthias Marx <kantorkel at hamburg.freifunk.net> wrote:

> Hi Potlatch,
> would you mind sharing PayPal's email / full message with me?
> Regards from Hamburg
> kantorkel
> Am 3/11/21 um 12:42 AM schrieb potlatch:
> > Today I received a message from PayPal that paying for Tor relay server leases was a direct violation of my usage agreement.  I have been paying off-shore VPS hosts for my Tor server leases with PayPal for at least ten years.  Very interesting that they act now.
> > They specifically state the ban was for:
> > Providing file sharing services or access to newsgroups; or selling alcoholic beverages, non-cigarette tobacco products, e-cigarettes or prescription drugs/devices.
> > They further state that the ban is permanent and not reversible.
> > I liked using PayPal because it was a safe way to pay and didn't expose my credit card information.  Before PayPal I used a prepaid card which I will probably go back too.
> > --Potlatch
> > Sent with ProtonMail https://protonmail.com Secure Email.
> >
> > tor-relays mailing list
> > tor-relays at lists.torproject.org
> > https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-relays

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