Sunday 12 May 2013

UPDATED - Paypal Effectively Destroys My Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign For The Blog

Update - Sometime in the middle of the night I was woken by a phone call from Paypal saying they had reopened my account, and apologising for closing it, so everyone can start donating again. Many thanks to everyone who contacted Paypal over this, and thanks to Paypal's president David Marcus for taking special interest in my case.

Around a month ago I was offered a well-paid job as an analyst at a private security firm that would have required me to stop writing about Syria and related conflicts on the Brown Moses Blog.  As sad as I was to stop blogging my financial situation required me to accept the job, and it was an excellent opportunity.  However, as I announced I was quitting the blog I was offered a very generous donation that took me some way to having enough money to continue blogging, full-time.  So I turned down the job offer, and planned to raise the rest of the money I'd need.

The rest of the money I needed was going to be raised by an Indiegogo campaign, and as part of that I was required by Indiegogo to start a Paypal account for donations.  I've heard of Paypal's unreliable service in the past, but assumed Paypal wouldn't have a problem with donations linked to an Indiegogo campaign.  Unfortunately for me that appears not to be the case. 

With 6 days to go in my fundraising campaign I had raised just over half of the total I had aimed for, and this morning I received a very generous donation of £1000.  This seemed to trigger something at Paypal, which limited my account and queried the £1000 donation.  Paypal requested various information, which I provided, and I assumed that would clarify any outstanding issues, and my account would have the limit removed.

Then I received this email:
Dear Brown Moses Blog,
For the safety and security of the PayPal network, we often review accounts
for potential risks. After reviewing your account, we have decided to close
it because of security issues.
We are making every effort to minimise any disruption to your business.
If your PayPal account balance is zero, and you have no unresolved buyer
complaints or chargebacks, your account will remain limited.
Disbursement options
Option 1. If you owe refunds to any of your buyers, you can use the money
in your PayPal account to refund them.
To refund your buyers:
1. Log in to your PayPal account
2. Click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page.
3. Click "Contact Customer Service."
4. Under "Choose a Topic," select "Sending/Receiving Money."
5. Under "Choose a Subtopic," select "Refund/Cancel a Payment."
6. Click "Continue" and follow the instructions to refund payments.
Option 2. Money in your PayPal account will be held for 180 days. After 180
days, we'll email you information on how to receive your funds.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
Yours sincerely,
So all the money I had raised through the Indiegogo campaign is now locked inside that account, which I'll apparently be receiving in six months time, which just happens to be the exact amount of time period I was raising funds for to support my work.

The question now is what can I do to fix this? I've no experience with this sort of thing, so if anyone has any advice or any way to help I'd appreciate if you'd contact me on the details below.

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at


  1. Hi,

    I discovered yoyr post with the maxkeiser websitw. As far as I know, if you open a merchant account and ask for support it should be prety quick.

    They closed your account maybe for fear of money laundering. Who knows exactly atm..

    Look for a payment gateway provider or open another paypal account... if you dare.

    Anyway, Ill be glad to help if needed.

    Regards and good luck,

  2. You should have asked for your donations in Bitcoin. With Bitcoin you are the bank and there is nobody between you and your money.

  3. Brown Moses I didn't know you existed either until Keiser posted your plight up so maybe some good may come of this.

    Saying that you sure you weren't originally called Brown Musa or even Brown Turban because boy Moses they don't just wan'o leave you in the Red they seem determined you're go'n'o end up in the brown.

    And there's all them philosophers wond'ring for endless aeons whether there's a god or not and whether his name's Fred or Sasparilla and how powerful or sane he is but now we finally know.

    There is a god it's all powerful totally arbitrary in its decisions it's an egomaniac and it's insane.

    Oh yes and it's called Paypal.

    Absolute power eh?

    Ain' i' a bugger!

  4. Wow, that's a tough blow! Have you figured out what you will do?


  5. Hello,

    Next time look us up we could have helped you! we are a Crowdfunding platform for Bitcoins:

    Bitcoins is the future for crowdfunding. Good luck with everything!

  6. You may as well have solicited your gifts in Bitcoin. With Bitcoin you are the bank and there is no one between you and your cash. raise money online

  7. I had the most annoying time trying to get a simple refund from Paypal on an item I never got, after miles of file work I just gave up on getting my money back,I had to or I guess I would be claiming forever, or until I disappeared up my own arsehole!

  8. We only recently launched our campaign at Indiegogo (about a week or so ago) and we've only had 2 people actually use paypal so far and I noticed there is a 30% rolling reserve! No way. We've already disabled collecting funds with Paypal now. When someone contributes to your campaign via paypal Indiegogo is automatically paid from that amount. Ok Cool. So why didn't Indiegogo stand up for IT's customers and say they won't do business with Paypal unless they stop holding any portion of the funds being raised? These companies are always just looking out for #1. After this campaign is over, we're going to stick with raising funds via our fiscal sponsor only.