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The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
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mark-in-dallas
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The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-20-2017 8:21 AM

Don't get your hopes up, but I think a little Obama era program called Operation Choke Point may have been the reason why Liquid Alchemy Labs lost their merchant account, and why Strype and a number of other credit card merchant processors began refusing to accept pheromone companies.

And as of last week, Operation Choke Point is now DEAD!

I'm sure some of you will remember several years ago seeing in the news that the Obama Administration was attempting to force banks to end relationships with Gun Dealers. Well, that was the Operation Choke Point program and it was greatly expanded upon, to include and suffocate many other legal and legitimate businesses to which the Obama Administration was ideologically opposed, such as business that sold Tobacco, Lottery Tickets, Coin Dealers, Pay Day Loan Companies, Dating Services, Pornography, Pharmaceutical sales and a whole slew of other businesses. An expanded but still incomplete list can be found here: Operation Choke Point High Risk List

The good news is that Operation Choke Point is DEAD and "All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again." Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in the Aug. 16-dated letter, calling it a "misguided initiative" from the prior administration.

What does that mean for Garry and Liquid Alchemy Labs and other pheromone vendors? Well my hope is that Banks and merchant processing companies will begin working with them again, without fear of intimidation or coming under investigation by a federal agency run amok!

From FOX News:

FOX News Wrote:The Trump Justice Department is ending an Obama-era program that had attempted to cut off credit to shady businesses but came under fire from Republicans for unfairly targeting gun dealers and other legitimate operations.

Just days after top House Republicans had pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shutter Operation Choke Point, the department confirmed in a response letter that the program is dead.

“All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in the Aug. 16-dated letter, calling it a “misguided initiative” from the prior administration.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and the other GOP lawmakers had written to the DOJ last week asking the administration to formally “repudiate” the program’s guidelines.

Goodlatte and others behind the letter applauded the reversal Friday, saying in a statement: “The Obama Administration created this ill-advised program to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses. … By ending Operation Choke Point, the Trump Justice Department has restored the Department’s responsibility to pursue lawbreakers, not legitimate businesses.”

The program, launched when Eric Holder was attorney general, attempted to discourage banks from offering financial services to “high risk” customers – a list that included short-term lenders and firearms dealers – but was accused of hurting legal businesses in those categories.

REPUBLICANS PRESS DOJ TO END OBAMA-ERA PROGRAM

"Operation Choke Point was an Obama Administration initiative that destroyed legitimate businesses to which that Administration was ideologically opposed (e.g., firearms dealers) by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses," the GOP lawmakers wrote last week.

The lawmakers called for formal policy statements from several agencies to end such practices.

Boyd’s letter to Goodlatte and other lawmakers, obtained by Fox News, seemed to answer their call.

“We share your view that law abiding businesses should not be targeted simply for operating in an industry that a particular administration might disfavor,” Boyd wrote.

Boyd noted that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation earlier had rescinded its list of supposedly “high-risk” merchants, and said the Justice Department “strongly agrees with that withdrawal.”

The letter from Republican members of Congress last week said that list had hurt the ability of some businesses to borrow.

The letter also said Obama administration attorneys, over the course of six months in 2013, issued as many as 60 administrative subpoenas to banks doing business with gun-related entities including payday lenders.

And, another interesting Report by the House Oversight Committee from May 29, 2014:

Quote:REPORT: DOJ’S OPERATION CHOKE POINT SECRETLY PRESSURED BANKS TO CUT TIES WITH LEGAL BUSINESS

PUBLISHED: MAY 29, 2014

Key Findings

· Operation Choke Point was created by the Justice Department to “choke out” companies the Administration considers a “high risk” or otherwise objectionable, despite the fact that they are legal businesses. The goal of the initiative is to deny these merchants access to the banking and payments networks that every business needs to survive.

· Operation Choke Point has forced banks to terminate relationships with a wide variety of entirely lawful and legitimate merchants. The initiative is predicated on the claim that providing normal banking services to certain merchants creates a “reputational risk” sufficient to trigger a federal investigation. Acting in coordination with Operation Choke Point, bank regulators labeled a wide range of lawful merchants as “high-risk” – including coin dealers, firearms and ammunition sales, and short-term lending. Operation Choke Point effectively transformed this guidance into an implicit threat of a federal investigation.

· The Department is aware of these impacts, and has dismissed them. Internal memoranda on Operation Choke Point acknowledge the program’s impact on legitimate merchants. Senior officials informed Attorney General Eric Holder that as a consequence of Operation Choke Point, banks are exiting entire lines of business deemed “high risk” by the government.

· The Department lacks adequate legal authority for the initiative. Operation Choke Point is being executed through subpoenas issued under Section 951 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989. The intent of Section 951 was to give the Department the tools to pursue civil penalties against entities that commit fraud against banks, not private companies doing legal business. Documents produced to the Committee demonstrate the Department has radically and unjustifiably expanded its Section 951 authority.

· Contrary to the Department’s public statements, Operation Choke Point was primarily focused on the payday lending industry. Internal memoranda and communications demonstrate that Operation Choke Point was focused on short-term lending, and online lending in particular. Senior officials expressed their belief that its elimination would be a “significant accomplishment” for consumers.

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08-20-2017 8:21 AM
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DtheGreek
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RE: The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-20-2017 2:19 PM

Why now? That's been in effect for a long time already and it hasn't affected other companies.

I'm guessing this is just paypal trying extra hard to be really careful. Having a product named overdose probably didn't help.
08-20-2017 2:19 PM
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WereWolf666
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RE: The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-21-2017 2:49 AM

I don't understand why only LAL seems to have been affected Wacko
My only suspicion was the fact that my orders from them were marked as candles Whistle3 or maybe because he lives in Hawaii and maybe in Hawaii there are more shady businesses.
(This post was last modified: 08-21-2017 2:53 AM by WereWolf666.)
08-21-2017 2:49 AM
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xtraspecial
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RE: The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-29-2017 3:32 PM

But WHY only LAL?????? What about every other Pheromone vendor in the US? Androtics has been operating out of the Beverly Hills Country Club forever, and many others in the US.

What about the millions of vendors selling counterfeit products on Ebay????

I'm sure there's much more to Garry's money problems than just pheromones. Probably tax or other money related issues. Not my place to judge, I have my own problems with the IRS.....
08-29-2017 3:32 PM
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blitz
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RE: The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-29-2017 8:29 PM

I've worked in the merchant account industry and highly doubt this is the reason, my gut instinct tells me that because his site features "sexual" photos whichever bank was underwriting his account flagged it as an adult/porn/sex toys site and many banks that won't underwrite for adult sites because they have a much higher rate of fraud and chargebacks - 3% vs the standard 0.4% rate for non-adult sites.

From there he was probably added to the terminated merchant file so he was essentially blacklisted for 3-4 years from most major merchant account providers right off the bat. There is no appeal process and only the bank that put you in the file can take you off so he'll either need to work it out with his bank or find a merchant account provider who specifically offers accounts to sites on the terminated merchant file but will charge a slightly higher fee. There are many out there, once 3 years passes he'll be automatically removed from the TMF and can get an account from anywhere he pleases.
08-29-2017 8:29 PM
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mark-in-dallas
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RE: The REAL reason why LAL lost their merchant account?
08-29-2017 9:08 PM

(08-29-2017 8:29 PM)blitz Wrote:  I've worked in the merchant account industry and highly doubt this is the reason, my gut instinct tells me that because his site features "sexual" photos whichever bank was underwriting his account flagged it as an adult/porn/sex toys site and many banks that won't underwrite for adult sites because they have a much higher rate of fraud and chargebacks - 3% vs the standard 0.4% rate for non-adult sites.

I was a Regional Marketing Director for 2 different Credit Card Processing Companies, then later owned an ISO and had processing agreements with a couple of different Banks. And, although that was many years ago I am still rather familiar with Merchant underwriting standards and will outright say that I think you are wrong.

And just an FYI, but merchants do not get placed on the TMF for being in an industry that a Bank disapproves of or because its considered high risk. That list is reserved for merchants that have committed fraud against a Bank, compromised user account information, had excessive chargebacks, violated PCI compliance standards, or a number of other tangible reasons that would place a Bank or card holder in jeopardy.

Sympathy for the Devil only results in victimized angels.

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08-29-2017 9:08 PM
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