Paypal began closing accounts of companies involved in the sale of e-cigarette products last year.
Vape companies have had issues with PayPal in the past, not the least of which was the problem of funds being frozen on accounts for a significant amount of time - leading to serious concerns for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Now reports are mounting of businesses across Europe and beyond being barred from using PayPal.
Recently, eliquid company Supergood reported that its account had been frozen for up to 180 days. "Cash is king and holding the cash of any small business is detrimental to their ability to operate. They don't want to allow the sale of products related to vape. They don't think there is enough scientific evidence to make sure the products are safe. The science is there for all to see," they told Vapouround.
In France, it is reported that "PayPal decided that the sale of products related to electronic cigarettes was no longer ethical for the company" and that it is now closing accounts "without notice and definitively".
NicoVIP's account has been closed and it said that the funds will be held for six months to ensure that any future customer refund claims to PayPal can be met in full. Breakingvap also said that its account had been suspended.
FastTech in China also informs its customers that it will no longer use PayPal for orders. It writes: "We are very sorry to inform you that PayPal has officially revised the Acceptable Use Policy regarding e-cigarette products, transactions with most e-cigarette products will be banned from sofort. Other payment methods such as cryptocurrencies and gift cards will not be affected. Non-e-cigarette products on our website are also not affected.
"PayPal claims that e-cigarettes are among the activities that require a permit. But the fact is that there is no way to get the pre-approval after we confirm it with PayPal.
"We are in the process of connecting with new credit card payment processors and will try to get them online as soon as possible. At the same time, we remain in constant communication with PayPal. As soon as there are further updates to this policy, we will make an announcement.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause and thank you for your understanding and continued support. Please feel free to contact our customer service if you have any questions as we will be happy to assist you with anything you need."
In the meantime, users of the Planet of the Vapes forum have started listing all their favorite sellers where the option to use the PayPal payment system is gradually being removed.
While customers who have a credit card receive online payment protection, many express concern that they are now being asked to make a bank transfer when purchasing goods. Such a system leaves customers in a vulnerable position should something go wrong with a device or the eliquid not meet their requirements.