First Minor Obstacle
Ahoj! Today we meant to post a fascinating story about the opening of carp hunting season in south Moravia. Instead, we are working through issues with Paypal suspecting us to be violating Crimea-related trade sanctions.
Currently, Paypal insists on putting every payment to Krymska through a review process. Each time this takes them up to 72 hours. Only then do they release the funds. As a result, we have been shipping orders late. We apologize and sincerely regret the delays!
At the same time we take great comfort in the idea of a real physical person, determining, for every single order, by some curious procedure, whether we are really a maker of cotton bags or whether we are in fact funding Moravia’s secret ballistic missile program.
We are fully cooperating with each investigation. We have not yet been asked any questions. We are proud to say so far each verdict has been in our favor.
What do they have on us?
We have no connection whatsoever to Crimea, Ukraine or Russia. We are based in Prague, Czech Republic. The issue is we named our shop Krymska after a street in Prague that happens to be named in honor of Crimea.
Paypal’s runs a “proprietary state-of-the art [sic] systems that allow for real-time scanning of potentially sanctioned payments before they are processed.” 1
How does this highly sophisticated technology work?
It matches words. If you use a bad word such as Crimea, Syria, Persia, or, presumably, Belgium, your transaction is blocked. This is clearly an insurmountable barrier for all sorts of evil.
Rafal from Paypal customer service said “just change your name.” Otherwise, according to Rafal, Paypal’s algorithm, not a creature of nuance, would flag every single transaction until the end of time, regardless of the fact that all transactions are roughly identical, as are all our Original Czech Sailor Bags.
We thought about heeding Paypal’s advice and changing our name. Lovely streets in the neighborhood include Uruguayská, Francouská, Holandská, Ruská and Americká. But we are too attached to our traditional, established identity. And we have come to appreciate the fact that all transactions, identical as they may be, are thoroughly checked. It makes us sleep sound at night. Better safe than sorry.
We hope we will soon sell enough bags to have this turn into a fulfilling full-time position for our investigator at Paypal.
“This is a follow-up of our phone conversation regarding payment holds. Mr. Lettner , the payments you receive are put on hold for security review because of your company name ‘Krymská Manufaktura’. Crimea is restricted region in PayPal and automatic security systems try to prevent any business involving customers or businesses from Crimea. My apologies for the problems but as a global payment provider, we make every effort to comply with laws and regulations around the world. At the same time, I reported the issue of contradicting email notifications to our technical department. It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing PayPal. Yours sincerely, Rafal PayPal Copyright © 1999-2016 PayPal. All rights reserved. PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. Société en Commandite par Actions Registered Office: 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449, Luxembourg RCS Luxembourg B 118 349”
Paypal’s statement to us. The “issue of contradicting email notifications” refers to the fact that Paypal’s e-mails to us regarding each transaction state both that the transaction is on hold and that it is not on hold.