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Paypal is restricting payments to merchants selling tardigrade-related items

Some merchants are complaining that Paypal is restricting payments to its tardigrade-themed items.

Image by CopyrightFreePictures from Pixabay

Tue, 15 Sep 2020, 05:50 am UTC

Paypal is one of the most popular online payment systems with millions of users worldwide. However, the firm is also known for censoring merchants and organizations such as when it censored Wikileaks, which forced the latter to start accepting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC), according to Bitcoin.com.

Recently, Paypal was once again caught censoring merchants selling items with the name “tardigrade.” Apparently, the reason for the restriction was because of a similarly named Balkan arms dealer.

Archie McPhee, a Seattle-based gift seller, was one of the first to notice Paypal’s censorship, according to Vice.com. The businessman was selling tardigrade-themed products such as an ornament and tardigrade mints.

But when some customers tried to pay their purchases using Paypal, they were prompted with an error message. “This transaction cannot be completed because it violates the PayPal User Agreement,” the message reads.

“Just an FYI— Paypal is currently blocking all transactions containing the word ‘tardigrade’ in the product name or description,” McPhee tweeted on September 11, 2020. “We’ve contacted them and they told us we should just stop using the word tardigrade.”

According to Vice, the reason for the ban is Shobodan Tesic known as “the biggest dealers of arms and munitions in the Balkans.” The problem is that Tesic owns a company called Tardigrade Limited used for exporting weapons to African and Arab clients.

McPhee then changed the name of the page selling the item to “Water Bear Ornament.” He also pointed out that shoppers can also opt to use other payment methods such as Shopify instead of Paypal. “You can still purchase all our tardigrade items with a credit card through Shopify, but not through Paypal,” the gift seller said.

However, he complained that merely changing the name isn’t a perfect solution. “If we can’t use the word ‘tardigrade’ in the text on the page, tags, or in the URL, how can customers find it?” McPhee complained. “This is not limited to Archie McPhee. This is ALL OF PAYPAL. And they give a message that the USER is violating their agreement. It’s scaring customers away.”

It’s not only McPhee’s business that was affected by the restriction. A small business called Two Photon Art also had to change is tardigrade enamel pin to “water bear” to get around Paypal holding its payments.

“We had to rename the Tardigrade pin to ‘Water Bear Enamel Pin’ because Paypal is holding our payments....they probably think we are sending actual tardigrades,” the company tweeted.

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