Got banned by PayPal, Venmo, Zelle for guns?

Got banned by PayPal, Venmo, Zelle for guns?

Many people don't realize that all payment platforms prohibit gun-related transactions. That includes the most popular platforms: PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle. If they catch you sending or receiving payment related to guns, they will suspend your account. But we can help you make the best of it. Let's talk about the terminology, consequences, and solutions.

Different terms for the same thing

Different platforms use different terms for the same thing. Depending on the platform, your account might be:

  • Banned
  • Discontinued
  • Frozen
  • Limited
  • Suspended

Customer service agents will often prefix their term of choice with "permanent", like "permanently limited".

Here is an actual example from PayPal:

After a review of your account activity, we've determined that you're in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. As a result, your account has been permanently limited and you won't be able to conduct any further business using PayPal.

Here is an actual example from Venmo:

Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with Venmo's User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account.

What happens when you get suspended

Generally, a suspension means a few things:

  • You can't log into your account anymore. If you had multiple accounts on the same platform, you probably can't log into any of them. If you had accounts on a sibling platform (PayPal and Venmo are siblings), you probably can't log into those either.
  • In some cases, your immediate family members can't log into their accounts either.
  • You can't access any funds you had on the platform for up to 180 days. (Any affected family member accounts are subject to the same timeline.)

Yes, they will really seize your funds for up to 180 days. Not just the funds from the transaction that triggered your suspension – all the funds in all your accounts. This can be very financially painful for some people, but it's very difficult to get around. So buckle up for some financial strain, and be prepared for it to last the full 180 days, because it often does.

Yes, suspensions are for life. There is a small chance you can get a suspension overturned, which we will discuss below, but you should assume your suspension will be permanent.

Yes, you violated their policy

First, don't let your attitude be an obstacle to a solution. It's amazing how many people make a suspension worse by arguing they didn't do anything wrong, when they obviously did. "Yeah, the payment was for guns – so what? Second amendment!" But the second amendment doesn't apply to private companies. They make their own rules.

It's no secret that payment platforms prohibit transactions related to guns. That's why people in the gun community insist on fake or empty "item descriptions" when using a payment platform. They are trying to fly below the radar in dangerous territory. Even if you didn't know about that, you definitely know guns are a sensitive subject. A quick Google search for "paypal gun policy" tells you everything you need to know. They strictly prohibit gun-related transactions.

It doesn't matter whether you feel their anti-gun policies are fair or reasonable. It only matters what their policies are. If a payment platform suspends you for a gun-related transaction, it is well within its rights. You screwed up. Maybe you screwed up by accident, but you still screwed up. Arguing otherwise will only make a bad situation worse.

Depending on the evidence, there may be some hope of appeal

The payment platforms often suspend accounts based on suspicion rather than hard evidence. For example, maybe they suspended you because of an item description like "payment for item on GunBroker". Most items on GunBroker violate their policies. However, not all items – things like clothing and stickers are not prohibited. If you can provide evidence that you didn't violate their policies, you may be able to get your account reinstated.

If the payment platform does not have clear evidence that you violated their policy, you can follow their procedure for appealing your suspension. To do that, you can call their customer support, or send them an email, asking to appeal your suspension. Keep your explanation short and to the point, then share your evidence that you did not violate their policy.

If you want to play hardball

If your appeal is denied or ignored, or you have some other legitimate grievance regarding your suspension, there is one final option: arbitration.

Generally payment platforms require you to agree to settle disputes through arbitration instead of litigation. Arbitration is nice because it's less formal than litigation. You don't necessarily need an attorney (although it's still advisable) and arbitration moves much faster than the court system. If you have a dispute to settle with a payment platform, you should find the arbitration clause in their terms of use and follow the instructions.

Alternatively, if you want help getting started, you can use DoNotPay to send an automated "demand letter" to initiate arbitration. For example, see their Venmo option.

If you don't want to suffer this problem again

All the payment platforms prohibit gun-related transactions, and that's why GunTab was created. It's like "PayPal for guns," except much better than PayPal. In particular, it fully protects both buyers and sellers from scams. It also provides step-by-step guidance for every transaction, to help you stay within the law when buying guns, ammo, lower receivers, magazines, etc. The best part: it's cheaper than PayPal.

There is no reason to risk getting banned by PayPal/Venmo/etc. Just use GunTab. Try it now.