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c0p0n writes "Tom Cosm is a big name on the underground electronic music scene, particularly on psychedelic trance, and very popular among live electronic artists due to his tutorials on every aspect of electronic music production and performance.
Today I received this newsletter:
A few weeks ago, I worked on a tune with Circuit Bent (below). We were discussing ways that we could distribute this tune, and came to the conclusion that we would try and do a nice thing by offering a high quality download of the tune in exchange for a donation. Once the donation pool reached one thousand dollars, we would give that money to the Doctors Without Borders, a non-religious charitible trust that is currently undergoing medical aid in Haiti.
Using the Chipin widget, and my Paypal account, we quickly started raising money. Everything was going smoothly and everyone was feeling good, until I got an email from Paypal saying I was not eligible to run such a fundraiser, and that I needed to provide various documents (proof of charitible status etc) in order for my account to be restored.
I instantly contacted Paypal's support explaining the situation in detail, showing them that I was not in fact a trust, but was gathering money to give to a trust, as well as asking them what direction I needed to take to resolve the situation. Their automated system told me that it would take up to 72 hours for a reply, so I waited.
After 72 hours I still had not heard, so I contacted them again with the same story, and stating that I still had not yet recieved a reply, something I was concerned about as I understood very well how this could jeopardise my account and business.
Finally I recieved a reply, however I got this reply on the same day as another automated email saying that due to my failure to comply with their request my account was now set to "Limited" status, meaning all funds are frozen and I could not receive any more money into that account.
I quickly removed the fundraiser and refunded everyone who had donated in full. I emailed them explaining that I had done this and that I was waiting for their advice until I could comply with their request, however this waiting time for them to reply had meant my account had been frozen, something I thought was quite unjust.
I received some replies saying that by law, there was now nothing I could do and my account would be frozen for 180 days while under investigation. They were quite firm on the fact that there was nothing I could do.
Over the last 6 years I have been a very loyal customer to Paypal. I have transfered tens of thousands of dollars, always paying their high fees, and have resolved any issues or disputes instantly. This means nothing to them. They have frozen my account and managed to completley fuck up the last 6 hard years of work building a vibrant and popular online subscription service, which is this projects main source of income.
Each day, all of the subscribers that have payments due on that day get defaulted and their subscription gets cancelled. Each day, I am loosing customers, and there is nothing I can do to change this.
I have managed to divert DVD sales to my partners account (which according to the support people, is allowed) however all subscriptions are just going to have to die out, and I am going to have to rebuild the last few years from scratch.
Ouch. I have a lot of loyal subscribers, and I am sure you can imagine that trying to get everyone to resign up again once I find a new system is ultimately going to loose the project a lot of money.
I feel very betrayed by all of this, I know it was my screw up not looking into the fine print when it comes to accepting money for a fundraiser, but I felt that because I was collecting money personally, and then would make a personal donation to a charity, it wouldn't apply. Wrong wrong wrong.
We had nothing but the best intentions for this. All three of us are musicians trying to make it in an industry that keeps on changing, and none of us have much money or help we can offer to the people of Haiti, so this was our idea. Offer our talents and services to try and do some good, and get everyone feeling happy.
So theres the story.
I am asking anyone out there for any advice at all. I have come to the conclusion that it is not worth arguing with Paypal anymore, I get rough emails back which are very impersonal, and they have said straight up that this is the end of the matter, so I am going to move on.
So dear internet, please help me in the comments, please help me get some suggestions to get back on track. Each day I am not only loosing payments I used to get, but I am loosing subscribers for ever (apart from you awomse ones who will sign up again when it's sorted, eh eh?)
... with articles like those we don't believe we can develop a good collaboration with you, therefore we cancel the invitation to come over to our offices and take a look at C&C 3...
Part of the answer from the blog's author:
...Well, it's true that we are small, but we are independent. And we are not having any company trying to make us biased on what we publish. We are not either allowing them to think they can act with impunity, with no one daring to comment it publicly in fear of losing advertisement incomes or first hand access to information.