As you know, I offer to send postcards from spectacular places for a small donation. This helps to keep this blog going, and it brightens up your life when one evening after a long day at the office you find a postcard from Easter Island.
Recently I received a message from Paypal that one of the donations was “suspicious” and that they needed to “investigate”. I though it was from someone who didn’t have enough money in their account, or from a drug dealer or one of these suspicious Nigerian princesses that hand out millions.
But no. It was just a reader who specified that he didn’t want a postcard from Iran.
That was enough for Paypal to contact him and ask him what the heck he was thinking to put the word “Iran” into the note. His explanation that he would prefer a postcard from anywhere else was not enough to convince Paypal that this payment had nothing to do with Iran, didn’t originate from there, wasn’t destined for there, and in any case that 15 $ couldn’t really contribute much to a nuclear weapons program.
So Paypal refused to transfer the payment. The donor tried again two times, without any note, and the payment was reversed again.
Probably we are both on some terrorism watchlist now.
Paypal, you really need to relax a bit.
One can only imagine what would have happened had he written that he specifically WANTS one from Iran. The mind boggles.
Oh yes! I hope no one tries that or we will all have our bank accounts frozen.
Actually, they are probably legally required to watch out for any mentions of Iran and few other countries that are subject to sanctions.
Of course, and I absolutely understand that. But the person who sent the money explained everything to Paypal and they still refused to make the transfer.
Just because there are sanctions against Iran doesn’t mean that all payments are banned that include the name of the country in the subject line. I mean it’s also still OK to use your cards to pay at Iranian restaurants or to buy an Iranian carpet.
And seriously, does anyone expect to catch sanctions-busters by looking out for the words Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan? That’s like the NSA looking for the words “planned terrorist attack on US soil”.
I haven’t tried to use my card in an Iranian restaurant, so I’m not so sure it would work.
Andreas, this is $1000 from Habibullah Homeini in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is money from Iran we send you as a donation for our cause to keep Iran nuclear bomb and terrorist free. We will send it soon to your Paypallah account as soon as we know your Paypallah email. Allahu Akbar!
Hahahahaha! Maybe I should indeed consider Paypallah as an alternative. :)
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