I recently had a message from PayPal telling me that my account has been permanently suspended due to 'unacceptable risk'. I have only ever used it to make small payments to eBay and such, and I have a maximum credit score on Experian. So there must be some mistake. The 'permanently' language is pretty obnoxious. I logged into my account to check and this is legitimate and not phishing

What kind of rights do I have in this situation? Do I have a right to an explanation of what the 'unacceptable risk' is? Do I have a right to know whether this decision was made by a human being or by an automated system? (It looks pretty much definitely automated to me) Do I have a right to have a human being review the decision? Do I have any other relevant rights that may be helpful for for me to know about before ringing Paypal to discuss this?

I live in the UK.

Edit; o.m. pointed out in the comments that if I am with the EU subsidiary of PayPal then the situation may be different as PayPal is considered a bank in this jurisdiction. It looks like this is the case and I am registered with the EU version

  • 3
    Are you sure it wasn't a phising mail?
    – PMF
    May 23 at 18:39
  • 2
    There is certainly a common phishing scam where people are notified that their PayPal account is suspended or otherwise suspicious and they need to provide all kinds of information to keep it open "send passport and bank details!" But it doesn't sound like this is happening here. Nonetheless, I would have to ask what PayPal's terms and conditions say.
    – Stuart F
    May 23 at 20:51
  • @PMF yes, I edited my post.
    – Jojo
    May 24 at 12:00
  • Are there any funds that they are holding and not releasing? May 25 at 2:05
  • @Acccumulation thankfully not
    – Jojo
    May 30 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


Read the terms: https://www.paypal.com/uk/legalhub/useragreement-full#resolving

These are the terms and conditions of the contract between you and PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A. (“PayPal”) governing your use of your PayPal account and the PayPal services, which we call our user agreement. It applies only to PayPal accounts of residents of the United Kingdom (UK), Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.

PayPal is a private business; the terms you agreed to allow them to suspend your account for any of the many listed reasons and stipulations in the terms. (As long as that reason is itself isn't illegal, such as discrimination against protected classes, breaking clear financial laws, etc.)

You may get some help from https://www.gov.uk/consumer-protection-rights

  • Prove that they can suspend your account for any reason simply because they are a private business.
    – paulj
    May 23 at 17:35
  • So I read from your answer: I have no rights, CAB might give me some advice, and I can use making a complaint to the ombudsman as leverage if I need to?
    – Jojo
    May 23 at 17:43
  • @paulj do you have evidence that this is not the case in practice?
    – Jojo
    May 23 at 17:44
  • 1
    In the EU, paypal is also a bank and subject to additional oversight over how they conduct their business. Would be interesting to know which paypal subsidiary the OP has a contract with.
    – o.m.
    May 23 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Joe Sorry, but you are bound by the contract you signed. The terms says PayPal can do anything it wants with your account, as long as it's not illegal to do. Just about any sort of service contact out there is the same; once you sign or agree, they have little to no liability. May 23 at 18:10

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