I had a subscription system running under WP-MEMBER for about a year before that software flaked out on me. Multiple domains caused problems that were irreconcilable. I had donations for our work in Africa coming in (not through wp-member) and a few hundred subscribers to Informer through wp-member. All said, when I switched to Suma, I had 10,000$US in my personal paypal account. That was my family’s support money as well as money for our food program in Kenya.

So I shopped around and picked up Suma. In the process, we had to switch to a business account (although I don’t understand why…wp-member was happily doing recurring payments without a business account). That’s when all hell broke loose. Paypal required a proof of non-profit status (we’re not a non-profit yet, no 501c3 paperwork from IRS) which we don’t have (I selected the wrong box I guess) a printed bank statement (harder to get than you might realize, being overseas) which because a REAL problem because the account was in my name, not the business name and other information. Because I couldn’t provide some of the info (501c3 paper) and the other info (bank stuff) took a LONG time, PayPal restricted my account, meaning my subscription payments are bouncing, and I can’t transfer money out of my account.

PayPal has frozen my assets. We have no source of income beyond the car money we just spent in Kampala on Monday. I may very well have to return to Kampala and get the car payment money back to live off of. We are stranded financially and physically without a vehicle because of PayPal.

I’ve called (Contact PayPal Customer Support toll-free at 1-888-221-1161) to lift the restrictions, but they tell me to email service. Emailing service is ridiculous, and a week goes by between responses. Last I got from them was that I couldn’t talk to them because I emailed from an address that wasn’t on the PayPal account. So I had to create another email account, and try again (a painful process).

Now they are telling me that the bank info I provided isn’t correct because the bank account isn’t in the business name. Now I have to switch bank accounts in PayPal (again, overseas, less that dial-up, VERY HARD), get another statement to them and hope they accept it.

At that point they will probably deny me again because I haven’t sent them the 501c3 papers.

I asked to switch to a for-profit account (even though we’re not) through the “PayPal resolution center” but have received no response. This would remove the requirement for the 501c3 paperwork, but I have no faith in this process because everything submitted to the resolution center must be in a graphic format (png, jpg, etc) and I was forced to take a screen cap of a text document explaining my case. (I mean seriously??) Nothing from them on switching to a for-profit account.

I’d love to go back to having a personal account, but I can’t even imagine how I would request that, how long it would take, or if it would even be possible,

The bottom line is PayPal has frozen my assets (which aren’t theirs.. how can they do this?) including all the support money my family is relying on.

I’ve spent hours on the phone (on hold) to PayPal at approximately 30 cents a minute to try to get this resolved only to be told to use email. I’m considering legal action over this.

HFC is at a complete standstill. We can not order shirts for the conference. Subscriptions are bouncing. Informer is down. Subscribers are (rightly) pissed because they don’t have what they’ve paid for. I can’t order the items for the DEFCON auction. There are too many problems to list here. The biggest is that PayPal has locked down my family’s survival money.

I have no clue what to do at this point.

Does the EFF have any leverage? I can’t tell you how tempted I am to just turn to the dark side here and…