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PayPal donations is prohibited
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IceMan
Founder
Founder

Posts: 621
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: PayPal donations is prohibited Reply with quote

Hi everyone.

I am very sad to inform you all, that PayPal has forced me to remove all content related to PayPal.
MyEpisodes is prohibited from receiving donations through PayPal.


It all started Saturday morning, when I received an email from PayPal stating that my account had been limited.
First of I thought it had to be spam or a fraudulent email, but just to be sure, I logged into my account where I was shocked the see that my account actually had been limited.

Then I started reading and searching for answers and so on. I was sure it had to be a mistake or an automated action triggered by a peek in donations.

The email told me that I had violated their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – but it was not very clear on the actual violation – so I downloaded their Acceptable Use Policy and read it like 10 times – I was still unable to see which part we had violated.

This just made me even more confident it was a mistake, made by PayPal or maybe someone had reported our site and thus this was just temporarily limitation until PayPal had reviewed our site.
First of I quickly wrote an email to the department that handles the legal disputes, stating that I was unable to see how we were in violation of their AUP and asking for detailed information regarding the violation.
Monday morning I still had not received a reply to my enquiry, so I called PayPal trying to figure out what was causing the limitation and how to remove it.

I talked to a sweet support team member, but she was only able to give me non-specific violation stating it was a “Copyright” issue. My next question was of course – What copyright were we violating? From my point of view MyEpisodes has no picture, is not selling any items and is actually basing its service on factual information. So yet again I was nowhere closer to knowing what was actually going on and the support team wouldn’t comment on the actual case – just stating that only the AUP legal team could give me more answers.

I then wrote another email to the legal team, stating all of the above.
The next day I still had not received any response, and I only had until October the 22nd before PayPal would escalate the limitation even further.

Logged into the PayPal resolution portal, it had three steps requiring completion, before the limitations of my account would be lifted:

  1. Send Acceptable Use Policy affidavit.
  2. Check Your Primary Email for More Information.
  3. Remove PayPal as a payment option.


The first one was easy – you just accept the rules set forth by the Acceptable Use Policy.

The second one had me baffled, because it did not really state in any clear form - what information I was expected to give PayPal, seeing as they referred to the initial email. I wrote up a legal document detailing what MyEpisodes is, how it works and how to use it. Plus I explained why we were not violating any copyright. I also asked why suddenly after 10 years, we were violating a policy that never had been an issue before. I requested to be contacted by their legal team with detailed information regarding the violation and limitations. I printed the document, signed it, scanned it to a PDF and uploaded as a file to the case.

The third step was clear and easy to understand but not something I was willing to complete without a fight. Removing the buttons - removes the only income the site has, which in turn is what is keeping it alive.
I did complete the step, stating that we were not selling any items and as such could not remove any links.

Tuesday I received another automated email from PayPal stating that they still had not heard from me, and that my account would stay limited until they did hear from me. I was baffled yet again, because by this time I had send them three emails and talked with the support team multiple times.

This morning (Wednesday) I called the support team, because I was worried that they would escalate the case before I ever received a response from the legal team. The support team told me that they had registered my appeal and reassured me that no escalation would occur before the legal team had reviewed my appeal.

Just about an hour ago (15:45) the legal team finally called me. They told me that I had not violated any copyright, but informed this:
Quote:

In this regard, we would like to remind you of our policies.
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, you must obtain pre-approval to accept payments for file sharing, BitTorrent or usenet websites as well as for newsgroups or similar services.

What the fuck???? You compare us to illegal sharing sites and streaming/downloading content? Shocked Question Exclamation Question Exclamation Question Exclamation

He informed me that I could not even appeal the ruling and this was final!
The representative who called, said that he too was shocked and he was very sorry about everything – but unfortunately, he was unable to do anything, because he himself had tried to appeal the case – but apparently, someone higher in the system had overruled it.
He would not comment on the fact that MyEpisodes had been a loyal customer for more than 10 years; we have not even had a single incident or dispute.

This whole deal really made me very sad Crying or Very sad – I had a lump in my throat, I was speechless when they told me that I could not appeal the ruling and there was no way to get the site pre-approved, unless they changed their policy.

I have always tried to keep the site clean – exactly to remove any doubt of illegal activity.
The whole case is a joke – I cannot believe that a company of such magnitude can act so unprofessional. The legal handling is ridiculous. It is like comparing apples and oranges and claiming that the two are the same. Evil or Very Mad

The site will not shutdown – so do not worry about that – but we need some way of accepting donations to keep the site alive.

Please do not send anymore PayPal donations – because they would be in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy.


If any of you people have some advice on how we should proceed - please give feedback. Question




First letter from paypal, limiting the account:
Quote:

After a recent review of your account activity, it has been determined that you are in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy regarding your sales/offers on http://www.myepisodes.com.
In order to comply with our Acceptable Use Policy and avoid the limitation of your account, you will need to:
- Remove PayPal as a payment option, as well as all references to PayPal, including the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart, from http://www.myepisodes.com.
- Submit the online Acceptable Use Policy affidavit.
The PayPal User Agreement states that PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to limit an account for any violation of the User Agreement, including the Acceptable Use Policy.
The complete Acceptable Use Policy can be found at the following URL:
https://cms.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=ua/AcceptableUse_full&locale.x=en_GB
To learn more about the Acceptable Use Policy, please refer to our Help Centre page here:
https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/helpweb?cmd=_help
This is not intended to be an all-inclusive review or list of your website/s and auction/s. Furthermore, the violations of the Policy described above are not intended to be an all-inclusive list. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that all transactions comply with the
Acceptable Use Policy.
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 Centre" 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.
We encourage you to login and return your account to good standing as soon as possible.
Failure to respond by the following date will result in the further escalation of this issue: October 22, 2015 We appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure meant to help protect you and your account. We apologise for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, please contact the PayPal Brand Risk Management Department at [email protected].
Sincerely,
Carla Dante
PayPal, Brand Risk Management


Second letter from PayPal (the legal team):
Quote:
Please note that your use of PayPal for further sales that are in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy may result in a higher or even permanent account limitation.
In this regard, we would like to remind you of our policies.
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, you must obtain pre-approval to accept payments for file sharing, BitTorrent or usenet websites as well as for newsgroups or similar services.
In the future, if you have any questions regarding what items are prohibited under PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy, please see the following URL for the complete text:
https://cms.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=ua/AcceptableUse_full&locale.x=en_GB

Again, we thank you for your cooperation and understanding in resolving this matter and appreciate the fact that you chose PayPal to accept payments for your business. If you have any further questions, please contact the PayPal Brand Risk Management Department at [email protected].

Sincerely,
Paul
PayPal, Brand Risk Management


Last edited by IceMan on Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ibwolf
Tester

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm very sad to hear this. I've always known PayPal was ... less than nice (to put it mildly), but this is beyond the pale.

The only alternative that pops to mind is bitcoin, but that has, unfortunately, a much higher barrier to entry.
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the_man_stephen
Moderator

Posts: 140
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh my, that sucks! Is there no way to now appeal further and higher up!
The website here has nothing to do with filesharing, bittorent or usenet/newsgroups. We're a personalised TV guide!

I really hope we can find a way to resolve this!
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Troik


Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you were still able to get all previous donations out of their system.

If you start searching the net about paypal, there are a lot of horror stories out there. If it weren't so damn convenient and enabled me to not give every page on the net my CC data, I would quit using it myself. One can only hope that with Apple pay, Google Wallet and all the other payment methods that are coming, that this will offer other valid options.
For now I can only think of the classic money transfer via bank account. As far as I know, basically all banks have adopted IBAN, so international transfers aren't that scary anymore. Registering a small separate bank account for ME should be easy. But yes, still a much bigger hassle than Paypal.
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IceMan
Founder
Founder

Posts: 621
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troik wrote:
I'm sorry to hear that, I hope you were still able to get all previous donations out of their system.

If you start searching the net about paypal, there are a lot of horror stories out there. If it weren't so damn convenient and enabled me to not give every page on the net my CC data, I would quit using it myself. One can only hope that with Apple pay, Google Wallet and all the other payment methods that are coming, that this will offer other valid options.
For now I can only think of the classic money transfer via bank account. As far as I know, basically all banks have adopted IBAN, so international transfers aren't that scary anymore. Registering a small separate bank account for ME should be easy. But yes, still a much bigger hassle than Paypal.


I already put that up on the donation page again.
So you can always use an IBAN transfer - the problem is that it is not "EASY" for the general user and as such they may choose not to do a donation for this reason. Sad
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IceMan
Founder
Founder

Posts: 621
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_man_stephen wrote:
oh my, that sucks! Is there no way to now appeal further and higher up!
The website here has nothing to do with filesharing, bittorent or usenet/newsgroups. We're a personalised TV guide!

I really hope we can find a way to resolve this!


According to their internal legal department, there is no higher appeal.
I am wondering if we have a lawyer here? One that could help figure out if we could sue PayPal for damages to the site?
They are calling the site illegal and pretty much comparing MyEpisodes to illegal activity.
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Teloriun


Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That blows. Sad

What about something like Skrill https://www.skrill.com/en/? Not sure whether that's a suitable alternative..

I know bit coin has been mentioned, but I see no reason to use a more 'under the radar' method when the site doesn't provide any illegal services. It's a sexeh tvguide! Wink

Only other thing I can think of is....a paid for app. Looking at the unofficial app on Google play, it's had between 10,000 and 50,000 downloads. If you sold the app for £1, and assuming only 10% of the above bought it (some people don't like to pay for apps), that's between £1,000 and £5,000 - which I would like to think is a decent amount towards hosting the site?
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mike4001


Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you at least got my 5 € I sent you on the 18th of October .. Smile

I am also sure there are many other ways out there to receive payment via credit cards. You will find something for sure.
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Spoon1


Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sucks shit - PayPal are wankers.

It will be the spike of donations that you've received no doubt - they've seen that and done a dumb check and classified you as a torrent site. So stupid.

I have used Skrill to make a payment before but have no idea if they're any better than PayPay or would even suit your needs - probably worth a look though.

I hope you get all the money at least.
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Spoon1


Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, if you're in the US I wonder if WePay might be a goer? I was reading here that US users can accept international credit cards.
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cobbly


Posts: 24

PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sucks, paypal really are the worst, treat their customers like crap.

Amazon maybe? https://payments.amazon.com/merchant

Or google wallet?


EDIT: found this - http://beebom.com/2015/04/paypal-alternatives
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NLNico


Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBH, not surprising, typical PayPal Sad

Last edited by NLNico on Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ofir
Tester

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Omg that's so confusing. A really big WTF on that whole story. It's like they don't even know why they did it.
I think any (safe) way that accepts Credit Card will probably work for everyone.
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tvjan


Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out https://stripe.com if you're looking for alternatives.
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Cassiebsg


Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesus!

What did they do? Look at the name "myepisodes" and thought "this is an illegal download site, shut it down. Period!" Shocked

Bunch of idiots! Evil or Very Mad

IBAN isn't that easy, mostly cause of bank "fees"...
If you donating small amounts it might even cost Iceman (or you) more money! Or they'll just eat up the money and put it on their fat pockets. Sad
So careful with IBAN!

EDIT: Just checked your donations page, and noticed that you only have the IBAN number. Some banks require you to add user data, like name and address of the recipient.
Also, remember that Denmark is not in the euro zone, and your bank will probably charge you a fee for getting IBAN transfers. Like 80 dkk for each transfer! So sender either have to think about this and send more to cover this fee, or choose to pay the fee self... Shared costs (normally the default if ppl don't change it) means you will get to pay 40 ddk and the sender will pay the remaining on his currency.
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feenix1363


Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astonishing.

When you replied to Paypal, did you make it clear that this was a listing site, similar to RadioTimes in the UK, or TVGuide in many other countries?

There must be some form of appeal, hopefully one of the users of this site will be able to advise you on further avenues of appeal, and even help you draft the appeal, as Paypal clearly misunderstand exactly what this site is/does.

Good luck.
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PpR


Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if this is an option, but i remember seeing a few people on twitch that use this website to collect donations https://www.patreon.com/ hope something works out for you.
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Myz0r


Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out Stripe and WorldPay.
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Darkflame


Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PayPal is famous for this sort of shit. Really sorry to see it effect one of my favorite sites.
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psspss


Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paypal has always sucked with customer service and cut and paste responses..

and never resolving issues.. shame its gone as it will make paying you harder from now on.

they seem to add new rules all the time.. I would swear theyre part of NSA
rather then a payment service..

suspect anything to do with copyright might be a issue.. seems the web is full of this issue as per torrentfreak and paypal closing accts on blogs and forums dealing with tv (I read you encountered that after I posted)

perhaps bitcoin is the new FUTURE

- Have you thought of telling your story to torrentfreak this really shows what donkeys paypal are.. probably some MPAA robot posted your site for illegal streams (perhaps youre site was linked from a stream site or tracker torrent domain)

they are so evil all these MPAA, MAFIAA PAYPAL BANKS
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DreamingLissy


Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:32 pm    Post subject: Can you set up a payed subscription? Reply with quote

I'm not saying make features that you need to pay for. But I've been using MyEpisodes for a long time, and I'd be heartbroken if it had to go down. I'd be willing pay a monthly of $1-$5, if you know how to set something like that up. An automatic thing. I'm sure plenty of people would sign up to be "monthly supporters" or something like that.

I never really look at the forums, I just checked it out because of the changes I saw, but I hope you can figure something out. Thank you so much for providing this website, it's a lifesaver.
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IceMan
Founder
Founder

Posts: 621
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone.

Thank you for all your feed back.

We have setup at Patreon page for MyEpisodes.

Please start supporting the site this way:
https://www.patreon.com/myepisodes

I promise to make it worth your donation. Smile

I have alot of features for all the new VIP users.
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ibwolf
Tester

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi IceMan.

Looks like I'm your first patreon Smile And, ironically enough, I'm paying via PayPal Smile

Hope this goes well. I do have a couple of thoughts:

1. Perhaps include some background information about what Patreon is. I'd never heard about it and I'm averse to giving random Internet companies my CC details.

2. Until now, donations didn't "get" you anything. With this they are tied to some "privileges". This might be a little off putting to those who donated to you just before PayPal cut you off. I'm actually one of those people and that was my initial reaction until I reminded myself that I used this site for years before I started donating regularly. Others might, however, have a less positive reaction.
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IceMan
Founder
Founder

Posts: 621
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ibwolf.

First of, thanks alot for being the first - I really appriciate it. Smile

I will add more info on Patreon asap - I already updated the donation page.
I just had to go to work, and haven't sleept for two days. :p

The users who donated within the last few months will of cource get the same features for a period.

This setup is made in such a way that I am trying to get users to give a continuing small donation, but at the same time actually get something for supporting the site.
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facedancer
Moderator

Posts: 451

PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Examples of information sources I follow, that are supported by patreon :-

https://www.patreon.com/acedtect?ty=h
https://www.patreon.com/veritasium?ty=h
https://www.patreon.com/smartereveryday?ty=h
https://www.patreon.com/minutephysics?ty=h
https://www.patreon.com/minuteearth?ty=h

Also
https://www.patreon.com/cordkillers?ty=h
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