E-Liquids UK customers have contacted us asking what happened to the option to pay for orders by PayPal. Unfortunately, this has become an industry-wide issue and we responded promptly to ensure that secure alternative options are available. This article explains the events that led to this point.
We first faced problems with PayPal back in October 2019 when they permanently froze our account 3 times in a single week, back then we relied on them to process our credit card payments as well. This had a detrimental impact on our business as a lot of you may remember we couldn’t take payments for over a week.
Ultimately PayPal never unbanned that account and we were forced to setup up Not Blowing Smoke Digital Limited at a great expense in order to secure a new PayPal account and begin processing payments for our customers.
Our newest PayPal account was only just recently banned a few weeks ago but reports began surfacing in October last year that a few vendors were having their PayPal accounts frozen. By November, a number of major brands we work with were experiencing similar issues.
When PayPal freezes a company’s account customers are no longer allowed to use the service to pay for products and the account owner loses access to the funds held in the account for 180 days. This makes it very difficult for businesses – especially trying to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Independent British Vape Trade Association noted the seriousness of the situation, saying: “With the continuation of restrictions due to Coronavirus, businesses who sell online need to have their websites operating with minimal downtime and disruption due to issues such as their payment transaction gateway.”
The situation wasn’t confined to the United Kingdom. Breaking Vap reported that in France: “PayPal has decided that the sale of products related to electronic cigarettes was no longer ethical for the company”, and was shutting down accounts “without notice and definitely”.
Next, online suppliers in China found they were suffering the same fate including FastTech.
What does PayPal say?
PayPal was contacted by multiple sources for an explanation about what was going on. Sources said how PayPal denied that this was about closing down vape store accounts and blamed the situation on independent payment processing operators who had failed to understand PayPal’s rules.
Meanwhile, members of the Planet of the Vapes Forum were reporting more and more businesses being hit. It was clear that there was a disconnect between what PayPal was saying and what it was doing.
Why is PayPal closing vendor accounts?
The answer here is pure guesswork given that after five months PayPal still hasn’t accepted that it is targeting vape businesses.
The general feeling is that this comes down to where PayPal has its head office: California. The American state is home to the most fervent anti-vape would be prohibitionists, some of the worst pseudo-scientific research, and the worst anti-tobacco harm reduction legislation being regularly covered by the local media.
So how can I pay now?
Not Blowing Smoke has left the rest of the vape industry in its back mirror by securing agreements with some of the financial industries most trusted and secure payment options, now allowing customers to secure credit and spread the cost of their vape orders.
- American Express
- Diners Club
- Apply Pay
- Google Pay (Planned for Q3 – 2021)
- PayM / Bank Transfer
- Coinbase Commerce (Cryptocurrencies)
Visit our ways to pay page to learn more about the trusted and secure payment gateways we now use.