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PayPal to Fine Gambling, Porn Sites 279

Posted by CowboyNeal
scubacuda writes "Yahoo! reports that PayPal is taking an aggressive stance against gambling, adult, and non-prescription drug sites: anyone caught using PayPal for these purposes will be charged $500. Eric Jackson, a former PayPal executive and author of the new book 'The PayPal Wars,' calls the new policy 'draconian' and says it is likely a two-fold strategy to discourage certain behavior while heading off regulators."
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PayPal to Fine Gambling, Porn Sites

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  • How productive. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rincebrain (776480) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:43PM (#10221162) Homepage
    Now, instead of only worrying that we'll get crappy porn, we have to worry about having our money stolen, and NOT getting crappy porn!
    • by reezle (239894) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:35PM (#10222132) Homepage
      I guess you didn't read the article.

      It says Paypal to "Fine Gambling, Porn Sites"

      So if you want the good stuff, you need to use paypal...
  • How? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nos. (179609) <andrew@theker r s . ca> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:43PM (#10221165) Homepage
    What right does paypal have to fine people. If its against the terms of service they could shut down the offending account, but fine them?
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rice_web (604109) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:46PM (#10221184)
      The money is technically in PayPal's name, so I assume that they are free to do with it what they please, as defined in the contracts that you "sign" by clicking the submit button.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:55PM (#10221251)
        Actually, even if they have legal title, you still have equitable title.
        So, PayPal holds your money in a Trust.
        So, normal Trust Law rules apply.

        With the caviet that you told them what they could do with your money when you signed the "Terms of Service" contract.
      • What money? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ebyrob (165903) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:43PM (#10221501) Homepage
        Paypal doesn't have any of my money in their accounts, it's all in my bank and credit card accounts until I actually order something...
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:48PM (#10221200) Journal
      Since when has paypal cared about whether their actions are legal or not?
    • Re:How? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hattig (47930) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:50PM (#10221213) Journal
      I agree, it seems totally illegal to me.

      I think that they shouldn't be the ones to judge what is right and wrong morally. If it was illegal activity then locking the account might seem a reasonable measure once notified by someone with authority (as a normal bank would lock an account if a judge ordered it, etc). But otherwise they should not be doing this.

      It's simply retarded. It looks like theft. Since when do companies have the right to fine their customers? They aren't a court of law.

      And why a lot of people will never consider using Paypal at all. What next?
      • have you ever had a credit card? if you go over your credit limit or miss a payment, you effectively get fined (and worse!)
        • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hattig (47930) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:14PM (#10221346) Journal
          Not to the tune of $500 though.

          Remember credit cards are YOU borrowing money from someone else.

          Paypal is YOUR money.

          Most bank charges and fees (they are not called fines) occur when YOU start eating into THEIR money, by being overdrawn, etc. You don't get fined because some of your money in your account came from you doing something illegal or immoral (according to the bank).
          • Re:How? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rs79 (71822)
            Paypal is YOUR money.

            That you use THEIR service to send to somebody you want to pay. Don't like it? Don't use it.

            You're bound by their terms, which can change any time. Don't like it? Don't use it.

            It's absolutley not illegal to do what they're doing. Fucking stupid and cheesy, but not illegal.

      • Re:How? (Score:3, Informative)

        by cshark (673578)
        If they were considered a bank by the regulators there is no way they would legally be able to get away with this kind of extortion scheme. Unfortunately, the regulators don't consider them a bank.
      • Re:How? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by halowolf (692775)
        And why a lot of people will never consider using Paypal at all. What next?

        What's next is that a services hole will appear in the market and some enterprising person will create a service to fill it and thrive.

        Meanwhile those reponsible for creating the hole will flounder and try to find ways to remain relevant while disenchanted customers go to their competitors. Soon website won't offer paypal payment options at all because no one wants to use them and they will go out of business...

        And thus ends my

    • What right does paypal have to fine people.

      Companies fine people all the time. If you pay your credit card bill late, they fine you. If you fail to return a movie on time, they fine you. If you cancel a mobile phone contract early, they fine you.

      When you agree to the terms of service for paypal, it's like any other contract...you're legally bound to hold up your end of the deal or they can sue you. If the contract says you will be fined for doing XYZ and you do it, you have to pay the penalty. If you don
      • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Detritus (11846) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:10PM (#10221324) Homepage
        IANAL but a company isn't free to put anything that it wants in a contract and have it enforced by the courts. A judge can invalidate all or parts of a contract that are illegal, unconscionable or against public policy.
      • Re:How? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hattig (47930)
        The common theme with all those fines though, is that it is you misusing their money/investment.

        You get fined for taking out more money from the CC company than it wants you to.

        You get fined for keeping hold of a store's property longer than they allowed you to.

        You get fined for breaking a contract which most likely included a $200+ mobile phone for free as part of it.

        Terms of Service aren't legally binding if they are unfair, immoral, etc. You can't have Terms of Service saying "If you are black, you w
    • Re:How? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:59PM (#10221276) Homepage
      What right does paypal have to fine people. If its against the terms of service they could shut down the offending account, but fine them?

      It's called "regulatory pressure".

      The US is currently trying very hard to push online gambling off the Internet (with a few exceptions for US sites with licenses, I assume). It tries to do this by targeting any US company that indirectly benefits from gambling sites: banner ad buyers, ISPs, and now PayPal.

      PayPal's situation is complicated because they operate in a field that is strictly regulated (banking) and haven't got banking licenses in all US states. PayPal basically has no choice to comply with law enforcement suggestions at this point if they want to continue business.
    • If you don't think PayPal has the authority to fine misbehaving users, maybe you should think of it as an "annoyance fee".

      So long as the schedule of penalties are agreed to as part of the Terms of Service, the misbehaving user has already agreed that their activity would generate a fee that they'd be responsible for paying...

      It's also the way most private universities generate the ability to fine people who break parking rules. "Unauthorized users of this space agree to pay $n" on a sign posted next to th
    • Don't think of it as a fine, but a pre-arranged cost.

      Besides this is not really pay-pal, but is E-Bay. They want to make a profit in a big way.
  • But.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    how am I supposed to catch the monkey and win hentai dvd's made out of pressed viagra now, without resorting to credit cards?
    • how am I supposed to catch the monkey and win hentai dvd's made out of pressed viagra now, without resorting to credit cards?

      Well, here's your chance to get rich: start your own online-payment services (PornPal, PlayPal, PillPal?) dedicated to pr0n, gambling, and medications.

  • by lecithin (745575) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:45PM (#10221179)
    What is the difference? They(ebay) list adult items, why could you not pay for them via Pay Pal?
    • by Lisandro (799651) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#10221239)
      My guess it's they want to deattach themselves from those "markets" and keep a reputation as a serious buisness. Otherwise i don't know; like you said, it's not very different from buying adult items from eBay. And it's not like gambling and prescription drugs don't leave them any money.
      • by tukkayoot (528280) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:33PM (#10221444) Homepage
        Are Mastercard, Visa or American Express taken any less seriously because they can facciliate the purchase pornography? How about First Union bank?

        I don't think so.

        No, like the article/summary says, I think this has something to do with regulatory pressure. I really don't understand all the fuss, but I think it has something to do with the fact that PayPal isn't a bank, and thus has a different set of regulations/laws it has to abide by.

        Offhand I don't see why PayPal should be restricted in this manner, and why they should feel compelled to levy these fines, but IANAL or anything.

    • Especially since they're the same damned company. If you buy something from eBay, but then aren't able to pay for it using an eBay owned payment/banking service, that seems kind of strange.
    • by mcknation (217793) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reirracon'> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:46PM (#10221519) Homepage

      Well I did some *research* on this topic just now. ;)

      Ebay hides all adult items in a catagory called "Mature Audiences". There is all kinds of stuff in this catagory. Sex toys. Elargement pills all kinds of stuff.

      However not ONE single auction in this catagory allows paypal as a method of payment. My guess is that the forbid it entirely...even on ebay

      /-McK
  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by maeka (518272) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:45PM (#10221183) Journal
    Heaven forbid a private company make money from something sinful like gambling or porn.

    Now if we could just get our government out of the gambling business...
    • PATRIOT act.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by k98sven (324383)
      Thank the PATRIOT [cnn.com] act.

      This is another victory in the 'war on terror', obviously.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rice_web (604109) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:55PM (#10221250)
      Private companies are subject to the consumer. If consumers turn away from PayPal because they see it as a "sinful" company, then PayPal will have to make changes. Perhaps PayPal has received a fair number of suggestions and/or seen a drop in sales recently that have been attributed to their adult-industry clients, and as a result they have decided to drop-kick those companies from the PayPal database.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tabdelgawad (590061)
      "Now if we could just get our government out of the gambling business..."

      Modded funny, but the fact is the US government (at least state governments) have a *monopoly* on gambling. They share it with Native Americans as a form of compensation (Indian casinos), but note that no private entity is allowed to run a lottery, for example. State lotteries are a significant source of income (aka voluntaru taxes) for state governments.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gcaseye6677 (694805)
        It seems like under the current laws, the mob [suntimes.com] is most likely to benefit from gambling being illegal. Especially if they have cooperation from corrupt individuals in government. Laws against gambling are no different than 1920s prohibition of alcohol. People will do it anyway, it's just a matter of who gets the profits.
      • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by whoever57 (658626)
        Modded funny, but the fact is the US government (at least state governments) have a *monopoly* on gambling.

        I think your statement is inaccurate. State govenrnments have chosen to either regulate or ban gambling outright. Through this mechanism, they can create a monopoly. I don't think a monopoly on gambling exists in Nevada, but it is highly regulated.

        The situation with Indian Tribes is interesting. Since those tribes have sovereignty, I don't see how the states can regulate or ban gambling on tribal

  • by sgant (178166) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:47PM (#10221191) Homepage Journal
    Paypal is owned by ebay right now...but how is this going to work if you buy your adult stuff ON ebay?

    Ebay does have a whole adult section where you can buy movies, toys etc etc...so will this effect it?

    Fined by the same company that your buying adult things from.

    Sounds too me like a double standard in the works. I don't think Paypal is trying to discourage this behavior that it finds objectionable...because if it did, then ebay would remove the entire adult section from it's site also.

    Just and observation
    • So here's what you do...find all the adult items on eBay that only take Paypal, win all of 'em, and refuse to pay.
    • by rekoil (168689) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:13PM (#10221344)
      Actually, eBay items are the sole exception to Paypal's adult items policy. The policy was primarily aimed at porn sites who took subscription payments via paypal, rather than physical items such as adult movies, toys, etc.

      This is due to the extremely high dispute rate for these types of payments, most often due to husbands claiming the charge is fraudulent when the wife discovers it. As you might expect, Paypal does not want to be in the middle of these disputes, and banning said usage is, in their opinion, the best way to avoid being put in that position

      I'm curious if anyone's tried to sell memberships to a porn site on eBay, however...that could be an end run around the policy if eBay permits it.
  • There's a lot of money to be made in gambling and porn, so why not allow those customers, or complete the needed regulatory thingimagigs to allow them to act as a payment system for those industries.

    I bet a lot more people would be willing to pay via paypal for pon than handing over there credit card details.
    • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:27PM (#10221411) Homepage Journal
      My guess is there are three factors:
      1. Paypal sees that porn, gambling, and viagra sales generate a lot of customer complaints. People tend to claim they didn't want the item, it wasn't them, somebody stole their identity, etc. Like any business, they're trying to limit their losses.

      2. Those transactions are all very spammy. Add hot stock tips and Nigerian crown princes and you've pretty summarized my 'caughtspam' folder.

      3. Paypal doesn't want to be in the liability loop for kiddie porn, illegal gambling, and illegal drug sales.

      4. Paypal wants to keep a clean image, and genuinely don't want those transactions. I kind of doubt this was a factor, but there's always hope.

  • by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:51PM (#10221219)
    Being someone who does online sports betting, PayPal cut us out a little over 2 years ago.

    But it was a practical, not moral cut in my opinion.

    The fact of the matter is that in the gambling, adult and I suppose the drug business, you get way too many people who purchase the "product" and then get buyers remorse, and raise all kinds of hell at the card provider, saying it was never them but nefarious internet hooligans who gambled with their Paypal account, or bought that porn subscription to Fatchicks.com.

    It became so bad at least in the gambling world that Paypal said the hell with it, and left. Now we have similar providers, but more personal responsibility, too. I actually like it that way.
  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:51PM (#10221221) Journal
    Uh-oh, I'd better take those PayPal logos off of my website, www.nakedwomengamblingfordrugs.com.
    • This whole thing gives me a great idea...

      Send someone you don't like $10.00 through PayPal (from an alternate email address, of course). Wait a week, then complain to PayPal that, despite sending the money and after "numerous attempts to settle the transaction", you still haven't received the copy of "The Olsen Twins Fuck a Goat Volume 3" (or the Canadian Viagra) that you paid ten bucks for.

      Your enemy will be fined $500.00 for just $10.00 and a few emails. Not a bad return on investment, eh?
      • by LordK2002 (672528) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @05:21PM (#10222642)
        Your enemy will be fined $500.00 for just $10.00 and a few emails. Not a bad return on investment, eh?
        And so will you, if you read the Acceptable Use Policy.

        This is not an issue of fining just websites, it is an issue of fining users, as has been pointed out in other comments.

        This is what makes it unacceptable and is why I have chosen to discontinue my use of PayPal.

        K

  • I did read the article and couldn't see aanywhere whether they would cancel the account if they were used for Gambling/Porn/High-Profit transaction. I am pretty sure the gambling/porn/illlegit-drug stores make probably 100 times that amount. $500 would probably be the "cost of doing business". the policy is just to please the regulators i guess.
  • E-Gold (Score:4, Interesting)

    by carcass (115042) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:52PM (#10221227) Journal
    PayPal's outdated. They're on a social engineering crusade.

    Use e-gold [egold.com] instead.
  • What's Next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BalorTFL (766196) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:52PM (#10221228)
    I really hope that this isn't the beginning of a new trend. How long until VISA won't let you buy beer or cigarettes and MasterCard charges a 50% tax on Penthouse? When payment methods start enforcing their own moralities on their costumers, something is seriously wrong.
    • Visa already won't let you do internet gambling transactions. But admittedly this is semi-legal in the USA, so they have some legal backing to make that decision.
    • Numerous stories have been on the news about CC companies getting stuck with some fools gambling bill. The courts go along with the excuse that the gambler is not at fault and the CC companies should not have allowed them to go into debt.

      I bet if you look you will find someone who sued a CC company over alchol purchased via a CC where the buyer died or killed someone while drunk.

      You should be asking, whats a business to do when the courts are so willing to absolve an individual of their guilt and pin it
    • Re:What's Next? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:59PM (#10221586) Journal
      This has nothing to do with enforcing certain moralities on you.

      Paypal and credit card companies couldn't care less about your personal moral character. What they *DO* care about is making money, and certain classes of purchases have a much higher rate of fraudulent activity than others. Online purchases in general and especially online pornography in particular has an absolutely _huge_ level of fraudulent use compared to most other credit card activities. They are only trying to avoid the chargebacks that would follow such fraudulent uses as these radically cut into the amount of money they are going to make.

      I can say one thing though... your CC company will not ever try to stop you from making a purchase in person, regardless of the nature of the item (barring credit limit issues, of course). According to a representative at VISA that I spoke to when I was talking to them about a merchant account, CC fraud incidence is lowest in transactions which expect a physical signature (and if you don't actually _check_ those signatures, you could end up losing your merchant account).

    • I work at a convenience store and you are not allowed to buy lottery tickets (scratch tickets or regular tickets) on credit or debit. I have no idea whether this is because of the credit card companies or a state law (Massachusetts). It's something I've been meaning to look into.
  • Financial (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Have Blue (616) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#10221232) Homepage
    This might have an interesting effect on PayPal's financial classification (I recall arguments back when it became popular over whether or not it counted as a bank, mostly in terms of what regulations it had to obey). Are there any laws regarding this sort of discriminatory service fees by banks? Would doing this disqualify PayPal from any commercial status it was hoping to attain or maintain?
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#10221234) Homepage Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't adult sites legal, in this country at least?

    And last I heard, on-line drugs are legal in general, if there is a real doctor on staff..

    Sooo. how can pay-pal *fine* these people? Its not their job to play moral police...

    Sure they can just refuse to do business with them, if they don't agree with the morality of the business, that is their right.. but FINES???

    No I didn't RTFA, it wouldn't load..
    • PayPal is a private business. You agree to give them the right to fine you for those actions when you sign up with them. If you don't like the fines, get a MasterCard or something.

      But on the other hand, I doubt PayPal is going to catch many people. As long as you don't include "Here's my $500 bet for the game tonight. Gambling Rocks!" I doubt they're going to check every transaction. As long as you aren't dumb about it, I don't really know what they're going to do. I'm not saying keep doing what you
      • I wonder if they plan to blacklist certain payees. "Hey, do you really want to send $500 to GamblingOnline.com and therefore risk a heavy fine if we find out that they're a gambling site? Click 'yeah, I'll take a gamble' to continue." At the very least, inform you that other users have been fined for sending money to that payee.

        It's certainly their right to enforce whatever contract terms you agree to, but I'd consider it unpleasantly sneaky if they didn't warn you very explicitly first, at least when y
    • Criminal law =! contract law. Paypal is making these changes to their master user agreement, which means you contractually agree to pay said fines if you use the service in the ways that Paypal prohibits, whether or not those uses are legal.

      This is no different from an ISP's acceptable use policy, which prohibits uses that are legal as well, such as sending CAN-SPAM-compliant commercial email.
  • There will be a class action lawsuit against this so quickly PayPal won't know what hit them.

    I don't know how many people would come forward to complain about porn, but gambling will have them up in pitchforks. And of course only the lawyers win.

    But seriously, how dare PayPal decide what I do with my money. I hope they lose a lot of business for this, as I'm sure a large portion of their business comes from these very things.

  • by Pivot (4465) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#10221238)
    You cannot get someone's paypal payment unless you sign up for a paypal merchant account.

    It's no longer allowed to add a surcharge to ebay auctions to cover paypals 3% fee when you have a merchant account. Thus, you not only have to pay for listing your actions on ebay, you also have to pay to get your money.

    I wish ebay had a little competition.
    • Someone will fill that gap, inevitabley. Someone with enough capital and the knowhow of the online financial transaction business will start up a service that caters SPECIFICALLY to the porn/gampling/drug crowd. Of course, they will take other business, but they will advertise those three in particular.

      If they do it fast, they can cash in on some free press as PayPal bans the activities.

      The fact that the porn and gambling are probably some of the biggest money makers online, they could concievably overtake

    • This is no different than the fact that a company with a CC merchant account is not supposed to have any surcharge for people that use credit cards... They are expected to soak up the CC transaction fee themselves, and should adjust their profit margins accordingly. It is perfectly acceptable, however, for them to say that they will offer discounts off the price for other payment methods (most do not, however, as other payment methods are opportunities for them to simply and easily pocket the money that
  • misleading title (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jdkane (588293) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:53PM (#10221240)
    Title says: PayPal to Fine Gambling, Porn Sites

    However PayPal is actually fining the PayPal user, not the sites.

    Should read: PayPal to Fine Users for Gambling, Porn Sites

    • RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

      by SuperBanana (662181)
      However PayPal is actually fining the PayPal user, not the sites.

      RTFA.

      "The new policy, which takes effect Sept. 24 and applies to both buyers and sellers,"

      This is a pure money-grab by Paypal; they're doing it to sites they think support piracy as well. This profiteering off illegal activity, in many cases(not for legitimate porn and legal gambling, but certainly for piracy)- and I can't wait for a US attorney to fire up an investigation against them, because the scumbags deserve it. Among other thi

  • It'll just open up a whole market for a(nother) payment vendor solution - I know there are already other online payment merchants out there but if they become the defacto standard for porn (there's a little bit on the internet these days I hear) then paypal might just be making a BIG ($$) mistake.

    fine with me... I don't care for them anyway.
  • It's getting increasingly difficult to fund online poker accounts, which are enormously popular in light of the World Poker Tour and other televised events.

    It looks like were seeing a new era of regulation through threat of regulation. The offshore drug sites are providing a valuable service too: AIDS activists lobbied to be allowed to import personal-use supplies of experimental drugs not yet approved domestically. They're also the main source of nootropics like Piracetam and Hydergine.
    • I don't know of anyone who has used Paypal for online poker in the last 2 years. Its been out for a while now.

      Most people use Neteller and it suits them fine. Keeps people from gambling on credit, too.

      Now if Neteller was shut down, then the poker world be in for some trouble.
  • by bs_02_06_02 (670476) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:58PM (#10221273)
    How would you feel if your bank said, "Write a check at the porn store, and we're charging you $500!"

    It's a violation of our freedom. I've never, ever liked Paypal for their ability to screw the consumer without answering to anyone for any reason. There's a lot of discontent out there... just search for Paypal sucks sites... there are a lot of them. Thank god I don't have an account.
  • down with paypal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:02PM (#10221293) Homepage Journal
    PayPal is an unregulated global banking monopoly. The porn and gambling industries are some of the most intense hothouses of commercial Internet development. Darwinian pressure is creating an opportunity for a PayPal competitor which will give consumers an alternative. The world is in a sorry state when porn and gambling are our best hope for freedom, but it does sound familiar.
  • Paypal is not usable for casinos for a looong time.

    Living in Costa Rica cannot even open a paypal account (well I can open, but my cards are just rejected) since so many US gaming companies companies hired locals to use personal accounts to do payouts and take payments ....

    it also makes me wonder what is adult and what not : if I order a vibrator for my wife with my paypal from a "toy store" am I in violation ?

    I feel paypal is putting so many regulations on the accounts it is already impossible to us
    • The customer is not in violation, the client is.

      So if you used paypal to purchase adult material, you're fine... but the place you purchased it from will get in trouble.

  • Don't Hate Paypal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:13PM (#10221342)
    Almost every single reply so more is complaining that its none of Paypal's business to enforce their morals on the user. Anyone who has said something like that is a mindless slashdot troll who doesn't know anything about 3rd party processing or merchant accounts. Most merchant account providers have banned adult sites and gambling for years because they are High Risk Industries. Its not just adult and gambling, many processors also ban game servers, IRC-related sites, MLM schemes, make $3000-working-from-home-sites, etc. These types of websites are highly likely to attract stolen credit cards, credit card fraud, and chargebacks. It costs the merchant provider money every time a chargeback is done, and it takes both time and money to fight a chargeback. So please do a little research into the world of credit card processing before you go on a rant about PaPal's religious crusade. They are simply trying to decrease fraudulent transactions. If you don't agree with their policies or the $500 fine, you can opt to use a different company which does allow adult and gambling merchants, but beware you will probably have higher transaction fees, more thorough background checks, and possibly a several day ACH hold on any funds you receive.
    • Re:Don't Hate Paypal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @02:03PM (#10221604)
      Anyone who has said something like that is a mindless slashdot troll who doesn't know anything about 3rd party processing or merchant accounts. Most merchant account providers have banned adult sites and gambling for years because they are High Risk Industries

      Ah, so they want the easy part of the business but not the hard part. I can understand that.

      But in turn, I think we need to ask if Paypal is a monopoly. Just how much of all e-commerce passes through paypal? How much of the under $100 market? How much of the person-to-person market? I wouldn't be suprised if paypal had acheived monopoly status in at least one of those markets.

      If they are a monopoly, having successfully squeezed out competition, only to begin with-holding sevices, they need a kick in the ass from the FTC because that's abusive.

      By the way, it has already been pointed out once so far, and that post got a +5 rating, but the point really needs a +11 rating.

      PAYPAL IS FINING THE CUSTOMERS TOO!!

      So, if there ever was a time make sure that you had a dummy, empty bank account linked to your paypal account, now is it. All you need is for paypal to arbitrarily decide that you are the kind of customer that they don't want, and poof! there goes $500 from your bank account that you will probably never see again. Maybe even multiples of $500 depending on just how much customer abuse paypal thinks they can get away with since they are unregulated.
      • First, Paypal is not a monopoly. There are alternative facilities in existence that can do the same thing. Paypal simply has the luxury of being the industry leader, but they are by no means a monopoly. Other similar companies which _do_ allow the more high risk transactions (not all of them do, btw... some even made the same decision that paypal did even before paypal did it) have higher per-transaction fees and longer wait-times until you receive your money. There is absolutely nothing stopping a mer
        • First, Paypal is not a monopoly. There are alternative facilities in existence that can do the same thing. Paypal simply has the luxury of being the industry leader, but they are by no means a monopoly.

          Do you understand the definition of a monopoly? It is not "mono." It is the ownership of at least 90% of a market -- that's how microsoft can be a monopoly in the PC market while Apple still exists. So, industry leader with 90% marketshare?
          MONOPOLY.

          Does paypal have 90% of the market? I dunno. But I
  • by tehanu (682528) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:14PM (#10221348)
    Here is the google cache of the All About Romance newsletter (it seems to have disappeared from the site) which is a newsletter about romance novels and give a good idea about how specifically people are being affected:

    http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:lfrekzaQLGAJ: ww w.likesbooks.com/184.html+&hl=en

    Some interesting quotes:

    "PayPal can be used to buy and sell pre-1980s issues of Playboy, Playgirl, and Penthouse. On eBay, these can be categorized as "Collectibles" rather than as "Mature Audiences.""

    "Books classified as "romantica" - ie. books about people falling in love and making love are not allowed - but who is to say what is romantica and what is just hot romance? Print romances seem to get a pass. Readers can go onto eBay and find print erotic romances such as those published by Kensington's Brava line. They can also find books far more explicit than erotic romance novels for sale, and their PayPal payments will be accepted. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, one of Anne Rice's BDSM novels, is one obvious example of this."

    "According to Brenna Lyons, when the new policy went into effect, many people noticed that the adult content guidelines were vague. For that reason, many publishers of sensual and erotic books asked PayPal to check out their sites. PayPals adult content guidelines are open to interpretation and so changes can be made. PayPal did, in fact, assure the publishers that their sites were acceptable.

    Early in 2004, almost a year after the announcement of the new policy, PayPal began freezing the accounts of publishers, writers, and even readers of erotic romance. Brenna herself knows of four publishers, five self-published authors, and two review sites that had their accounts frozen by PayPal.

    What happened to warrant such drastic action? PayPal was investigating them for violations of their Terms of Service (TOS). When an account is under investigation it can be frozen for up to 180 days.

    Though those under investigation often disagree, Amanda Pires says that the investigation is "not an invasive process." PayPal doesn't contact the vendor until they've decided it's violating the Acceptable Use policy. They will, however, investigate sites on the basis of a single complaint. According to Amanda, this is because PayPal "encourages people to let them know because the Internet is so large." She adds, though, that while a single complaint is enough to start an investigation, that single complaint isn't enough to get PayPal to take action against a vendor. As part of this investigative process, PayPal staff review both the sites and the content. In the case of an electronic publisher, they might ask for downloads of the books. In a case like that, the process could take longer because they have to evaluate books rather than just evaluating a web site.

    The evaluation process involves trying to determine "whether or not the sexual content is a small or insignificant part of the book." Ms. Pires adds, "We allow PayPal to be used to sell a book, not based on length or number of loves scenes, but on the topic or intent of the book. If the sexual scenes or content is part of the story line but not the primary purpose of the book, then PayPal can be used to sell the book." Staff members performing this evaluation must decide whether the books adhere to the Acceptable Use policy. When performing these evaluations, the staff members "try to be as fair as possible."

    Many authors and publishers of erotic romances who have been investigated disagree that PayPal treated people in their industry fairly. According to Brenna Lyons, no warning was given to small publishers and self-published authors that they were about to be investigate. Their PayPal accounts were suddenly frozen. "Just wake up one morning and have your account frozen. If you happened to have most of your working capital in there, you were screwed. Pardon the frank language. Here's the cute part. When they started going after the big boys, they gave them
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Step 1: Buy an eBay share (Unless you have some already). They own PayPal.

    Step 2: Sue the company for abusing minority shareholder rights. I mean, in what way is it in the shareholder's interest for the company to pursue some kind of wonky moral agenda?

    (They do have this concept for publically traded companines in the 'States right?)

    • When you sue a major US corporation, the only people who win are corporate lawyers (well, and the corporation).

      Consumer power lies in taking business elsewhere, not in direct legal assaults. The economics of the American legal system are heavily weighted against individuals and even groups of individuals.

      Another minor point: your plan requires buying eBay stock, which means you are helping to fund the entity you intend to attack. One share may be economically insignificant, but the situation is still absu
  • by ellisDtrails (583304) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:28PM (#10221418) Homepage
    Use FIREPAY or NETTELLER (google them for info). They are RELIABLE and they aren't interested in being Big Brother or monitoring your online habits.

    F Pay Pal.
    • by McDutchie (151611) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:45PM (#10222176) Homepage
      Use FIREPAY

      "FirePay [firepay.com] is a Web-based cash account that can be used by anyone who has a U.S bank account." Woops, I'm in the Netherlands and I need to accept payments in euros. <sigh> Next...

      or NETTELLER (google them for info).

      Their site [netteller.com] is so utterly content-free and/or badly designed I cannot even find a sign-up link or terms of service, so I have no way of knowing if they'd even accept me. But I doubt it since there's no reference to international accounts anywhere. Also it seems they cater to financial institutions and not mere mortals like me.

      Seems PayPal is still the only choice I have. But if anyone has any other suggestions I'd appreciate them.

    • For micropayments, check out BitPass. [bitpass.com] Their biz model is unique in the fact they sell the equivlient of prepaid phone cards. You can buy a $3 BitPass virtual card and use it to pay sites as little as a penny at a time. (Not affililated with them, just implementing a project using their system).
  • Closed (Score:3, Informative)

    by LordK2002 (672528) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:30PM (#10221426)
    Paypal account closed as of today.

    They can have whatever policy they want, but they are not going to impose fines on me for breaking it.

    Incidentally, the "Mature Audiences" category includes "items that you have to be 18 or over to purchase", which would seem to include any 18-rated film whether pornographic or not.

    K

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:52PM (#10221549) Homepage
    Private parties cannot assess fines. From a New York court decision: [nycourts.gov]
    • The rule is now well established. A contractual provision fixing damages in the event of breach will be sustained if the amount liquidated bears a reasonable proportion to the probable loss and the amount of actual loss is incapable or difficult of precise estimation. If, however, the amount fixed is plainly or grossly disproportionate to the probable loss, the provision calls for a penalty and will not be enforced. In interpreting a provision fixing damages, it is not material whether the parties themselves have chosen to call the provision one for "liquidated damages", as in this case, or have styled it as a penalty. (citations omitted.) Such an approach would put too much faith in form and too little in substance. Similarly, the agreement should be interpreted as of the date of its making and not as of the date of its breach.

      (Truck Rent-A-Center, Inc. v Puritan Farms 2nd, Inc., 41 NY2d 420, 425 [1977]; see Fingerlakes Chiropractic, P.C. v Maggio, 269 AD2d 790 [4th Dept. 2000]; Benderson v. Poss, 142 AD2d 937 [4th Dept. 1988]; Pyramid Centres & Co. v Kinney Shoe Corp., 244 AD2d 625 [3d Dept. 1997].)

    It's up to a court to decide whether $500 is proportional to the actual loss incurred by PayPal. You usually don't get to count administrative time as costs in contract disputes; it has to be an outside expense.

  • by danknight (570145) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @02:07PM (#10221625)
    We are moving to a cashless society, even McDonalds is now accepting credit & debit cards. While I initally resisted using a debit card, the fact is I use it all the time now and often only keep $10 or $20 in my wallet simply because just about anything I purchase can be made with the debit card. It makes tracking my finances much easier. Now while I wouldn't expect to buy smack from the local drug dealer with a card, I would expect to be allowed to purchase anyting legal. Credit card companies stopped processing gambling debts years ago due mostly to government pressure, (and chargebacks, I know) But the bottom line is gambling is generally illeagal unless it is 'sponsored' by the state. It is a scary idea that any finacial company starts down the path of restricing money transfers based on morals. I think others will follow...
  • Sexy Losers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkDust (239124) * <marc@darkdust.net> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @02:15PM (#10221674) Homepage

    PayPal's questionable policy has also hurted the artist of the excellent adult comic "Sexy Loser". PayPal has shut down his account although he doesn't sell any adult oriented material, he only asked for donations on his site.

    PayPal currently is the MicroSoft of micropayment, it seems... which is very sad. Why they piss of their customers like this is beyond me. I can't understand how they could NOT like to make more money ?! Excluding adult material is surely a big financial loss, isn't it ?

  • Contract or no, from what I understand they can't levey fines. The can demand losses, but they can't assess penalties. Only the Gov't can do that. I seem to remember Video Stores losing over this, which is why they stopped charging late fees and switched to just billing you for another rental.

  • this is a good thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maxpublic (450413) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:22PM (#10222060) Homepage
    Now that PayPal's intent to control not only your money but your morality is clear, their 'strategy' practically begs for a competitor to rise up against them - one who markets based on the fact that they WON'T tell you how you can and cannot spend your money.

    Max
  • by samantha (68231) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:06PM (#10223973) Homepage
    The fine can also be levied for ordering prescription drugs fron any firm online which isn't certified re:

    " Under the new policy, prescription drug sellers who do not have Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites certification from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and the people who buy from them, also face fines and possible legal action if they do business using PayPal."

    So if I buy Piracatem over the net as it is not available without a prescription in the US, PayPal can fine me and otherwise bring legal action against me? A convenient financial middleman is now a pimp of the FDA and Big Pharma as well as for Religious Nuts attempting to take over the US government?

    This is way, way too much. If this is not rescinded then I am pulling all funds out of Paypal and closing my account. I don't pay bloody creeps for their malicious behavior.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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