Why We Dumped PayPal
In October of 2020, we received a notice from PayPal informing us that, because stun guns are illegal in Hawaii and Rhode Island (states to which we do not ship stunning devices anyway), we were considered "in violation of their Acceptable Use Policy" and that our account had been "limited temporarily."
"Limited" meant that we could not accept payment for ANY items in our store. Nor could we access our funds in our PayPal account.
"Temporarily" meant until we resolved the issue to their satisfaction – by removing any and all offending items from our store.
So What Does All This Mean?
In a nutshell, PayPal decided that, because we sell Stun Guns and Taser® Products, we were violating their Acceptable Use Policy because stunning devices are illegal in Hawaii and Rhode Island.
It must be mentioned that we explicitly cite the state and local restrictions to which we adhere on each of our stun gun and/or Taser product pages.
Consequently, we do not (and did not) ship stunning devices to either of the two states mentioned.
And because of various state and/or local restrictions regarding stunning devices, we also do not ship to residents of Michigan or Chicago, IL.
Furthermore, to abide by Illinois and Wisconsin state laws, we require that a purchaser show proof of a valid FOID (Firearms Ownership ID) Card for Illinois, or a valid CCW (Concealed Carry) Permit for Wisconsin.
Apparently, PayPal doesn't care – or didn't bother to look – that we make every effort to comply with these laws (however inane they may be).
So upon receiving their notice, and realizing that they were holding our funds hostage, we knew that in order to keep our store operating, we would need to remove all stunning devices from our website. Which we promptly did.
Our account was restored to good standing within about ten days or so.
And of course, PayPal told us how much they appreciated our business, and were looking forward to a long and successful relationship.
Since we were already in the process of redesigning our website, with plans to launch in November, we decided that we would find a suitable and secure merchant services provider – other than PayPal – and utilize them when we went live with the new site.
And that is exactly what we have done.
We have chosen an alternate bank as our payment processor, and Authorize.net as our secured payment gateway.
We sincerely hope that our decision to discontinue our relationship with PayPal does not present a major inconvenience to those who like to use PayPal as a payment method.
But it is our belief that we must continue to meet the needs of customers who wish to purchase self-defense items such as stun guns, Tasers, expandable batons, and more.
And it is our firm belief that no website or store should be held hostage to the politically driven whims of a merchant services provider. Their job is to exchange funds, not to discriminate against merchants that sell items they deem "inappropriate" for whatever reason.
Below are excerpts of PayPal's email to us – inclusive of typographical, spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors:
A recent review of your account activity identified products/services on your website violate PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. Specifically, Taser and Stun Gun are associated with https://knightowlsurvivalstore.com/ and are not for sales in Hawaii and Rhode Islands are not permitted on our platform as per US State laws .
After a recent review of your account activity, it has been determined that you are in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy.
As a result, your account has been limited temporarily.
For more information about the status of your account and for instructions on how to restore full use of your account, please log in to your PayPal account and select the "Resolution Center" link. On the next page select the "Resolve" button/s located under the Action column, in the Steps to Provide More Information section and follow the applicable instructions.
You can view the complete PayPal Acceptable Use Policy by clicking the "Legal" link at the bottom of any PayPal page and clicking "PayPal Acceptable Use Policy".
We appreciate your business and request your assistance to complete the step(s) below to prevent any further disruption to the use of your account.
I've already covered the first few paragraphs of PayPal's email ... what it meant, and what actions we took to remedy the situation – namely, complying with their directives at first, and then ultimately dissolving our relationship.
I want to quickly address their suggested solution, which was to visit their Resolution Center. Upon visiting that page, I was told we could either remove offending products, or choose to close our account. I do not recall seeing an option to dispute their claims.
Additionally, upon visiting their "Legal" link, and actually reading the entire Acceptable Use Policy, it seems that they can consider nearly any product in violation. I will find the exact verbiage and post it here soon.