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Bad news to start the day, readers. At least two Cutting for Business readers have had small business payments from Facebook Messenger frozen. Coincidentally, both were selling plush elves through Facebook Groups. This means that Facebook is holding their payments – and may suspend their Facebook pages and/or accounts.
Why? Using Facebook Messenger to collect payments in your small business is against Facebook’s Terms of Service. Read it for yourself at this link. Or, I’ve copied and pasted from Facebook (pay close attention to number 2):
“7. Person-to-Person Transfer in the U.S. and Canada. Person-to-Person transfer of funds (“P2P”) by people who are residents of or have their principal place of business in the U.S. or Canada may be made available to you in the Messenger service at our sole discretion. If you use P2P, you consent to the following applicable risks and other terms:
1. We may require that you provide more information in order to complete a transaction.
2. P2P is not intended to be used for business, commercial, or merchant transactions and such use may be discontinued without notice by us at any time. We may reverse or place a hold on your transactions or place funds in reserve if evidence of business, commercial, or merchant use is discovered.
3. If you receive and accept a P2P transfer you are liable to us for not only the payment but also any fees that may result from a later invalidation of that payment for any reason, including without limitation if you lose a claim or a chargeback, or if the payment is reversed. We reserve the right to charge your funding instrument or take any other legal action to collect the funds to the full extent allowed by applicable law.
4. P2P use is at your sole risk and we assume no responsibility for the underlying transaction of funds, or the actions or identity of any transfer recipient or sender. Disputes regarding funds are between you and the sender of a payment. If a sender files a claim for a chargeback after a P2P transaction, we are not responsible for determining the veracity of claims or the disposition of the payment.
5. Use of P2P may subject you to fees including without limitation those from third parties, such as reversal charges or other fees for insufficient funds if your attempted payment is rejected.
6. P2P must be used in compliance with applicable law and may not be used in connection with any illegal or illicit transaction. If illegal or illicit transactions are reported or discovered, we reserve the right to take action including without limitation the following, without notice to you: place a hold on your transactions; place your funds in reserve; limit your ability to use Facebook Payments; report the activity to authorities; or deactivate your account entirely.
7. Minnesota residents: To opt out of P2P, please send written notice of your choice to: Facebook Payments Inc., 1601 Willow Rd, Menlo Park, CA, 94025. Note that opting out of P2P may affect your ability to make other transactions using Facebook Payments.”
Moral of the story: If you are using Facebook Messenger to collect payments for your small business – STOP DOING IT NOW. Instead, use services like Square, Paypal, or an approved business account on Venmo.
And, always take time to read the fine print.
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