Silicon Valley payments company Stripe is under fire worldwide after it prevented small family businesses from using its services.
The $50 billion payment processing company enables merchants to accept credit and debit card transactions online.
But Alastair Muir, who runs a rural goods retailer in Britain with his wife and son, says his account was recently canceled because he sells legal air rifle accessories.
The 60-year-old used the service to run his online business Farm Cottage Brands for about two years, seemingly out of nowhere, it was shut down after Stripe claimed it was selling items that violated regulations.
And he’s not the only one. Against a backdrop of growing complaints about organizations ‘de-banking’ customers due to political and religious views, the company, based in San Francisco and Dublin, Ireland, is facing increasing criticism from business owners in the US and Great Britain Britain who claim has been wrongly targeted.
Online payments company Stripe has a headquarters in San Francisco (pictured). It provides online payments for businesses around the world
Alastair Muir (pictured), 60, is managing director of Farm Cottage Brands, an online retailer of rural goods that he runs with his wife and son
According to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by DailyMail.com, the Federal Trade Commission has received 1,591 complaints about Stripe since January 1, 2020.
Mike Glover, a prominent Utah “prepper” who sells both survival gear and online courses, also claimed in March to have been banned for selling “guns, ammunition and related products.”
He wrote online: “We do not sell firearms through Stripe and do not accept payments for ‘ammunition’ or ‘related products.’ We provide online education.’
In January 2021, Stripe also made headlines after it stopped supporting payments to Trump’s campaign website shortly after the Capital campaign. riot.
Farm Cottage Brands was founded by Muir in 2011 as a subsidiary of a larger e-commerce company, which he runs with his wife Lindsay and son Edward.
It sells air rifle and shotgun accessories and other country-themed items such as cufflinks, stocks, cards and mugs.
Muir claims he was targeted as part of a campaign led by parts of the financial services industry against people passionate about British rural activities, including shooting.
“We are not a firearms retailer, so we do not sell rifles or shotguns, but accessories such as targets, cleaning kits, pellets, magazines and oil,” Muir told DailyMail.com.
He explained how, after two years without any problems, he received an email from Stripe in August stating that Farm Cottage Brands was in violation of its policies.
Farm Cottage Brands was founded in 2011 by Alastair Muir. It sells several country-themed goods, including . The photo shows some of the online marketing material, such as walking sticks, cufflinks, bottles, cards and mugs
He was told to remove from his website the listing of a 10-round plastic magazine containing lead air pistol pellets.
After failing to comply, Stripe suspended service at its store earlier this month.
“We are writing to inform you that we have determined that your company is…in violation of the Stripe Services Agreement,” the September 11 email said.
“In particular, we cannot accept payments for weapons, ammunition and related products as listed on our restricted business list,” it added.
Stripe does not allow the sale of firearms, explosives and hazardous materials and lists “weapons, gunpowder, ammunition, weapons, fireworks and other explosives” as prohibited items on its website.
However, this list does not refer to gun-related products such as the air pistol magazine – which is designed to feed pellets into the chamber of an air pistol.
“There were no issues until we got an email from them saying we had to remove certain items related to aerial shooting and clay shooting – which is an Olympic sport,” Muir said.
‘It’s just unbelievable. It is an international organization that tries to control what people can and cannot do.
‘It must be stopped. They try to stop people from going about their business. They are trying to impose their views on people,” he added.
After DailyMail.com contacted Stripe on Muir’s behalf, Farm Cottage Brands was told the account would be reinstated.
Stripe told Muir that his “account was improperly closed” after a “routine review,” but declined to comment further on the case or the review process more broadly.
Instead, it pointed DailyMail.com to a section of its website that states that “basic economic infrastructure, such as bank accounts or the services Stripe provides, should be widely accessible and provided in an impartial manner.”
Online payments company Stripe was once the most valued private company in Silicon Valley, but suffered from the demise of the internet economy after the pandemic
The review of Muir’s bill comes amid a growing debate around organizations that debank customers – and after British politicians spoke out on the issue of financial services providers offering legitimate and legal gun clubs in Britain.
British politician Nigel Farage, who has been at the center of a high-profile de-banking controversy, told DailyMail.com last month that he thought the phenomenon was a growing problem in the US.
“The situation in America is absolutely as bad as it is in Britain,” he said. ‘Banks have become political campaign organizations.’
Last month, DailyMail.com reported on a conflict between Bank of America and an ultra-conservative Christian charity that provides necessities to Ugandan orphans.
Memphis-based nonprofit Indigenous Advance Ministries has filed a complaint with the Tennessee attorney general’s office over concerns that the accounts were closed because the bank disagreed with its “religious views.”
Bank of America denied closing the bank because of these views, telling DailyMail.com that “religious beliefs are not a factor in an account closure decision.”