PayPal Holdings, Inc., may pay out millions in damages to users who were locked out of their accounts and their money withheld if three Paypal customers who have filed a federal lawsuit against the company for unlawfully freezing their accounts and taking their funds without explanation win.
The three who hail from California and Chicago in the United States say the firm has violated racketeering laws and are now pursuing reimbursement, as well as punitive and exemplary damages, on behalf of all other users who’ve had their accounts frozen in the past.
Lena Evans, one of the plaintiffs, said she had been using Paypal for 22 years before the company froze and later seized $26,984 from her account without explanation. Evans had been using PayPal for her clothes business on eBay, as well as to transfer funds to a poker league she runs and a non-profit that assists women with a variety of needs.
The company’s practice has drawn the ire of some well-known users, including Chris Moneymaker, the winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker, who had threatened to sue after he said PayPal placed a hold on $12,000 of his money.
Less than 10 days after tweeting the threat, PayPal “mysteriously returned his money” so Moneymaker couldn’t be used as the main plaintiff in the current lawsuit, said Eric Bensamochan, the lawyer for the people who sued Thursday.
In October the American multinational financial technology company operating an online payments system in the majority of countries that support online money transfers was forced to delete a Tweet after sparking major backlash from disgruntled users all over the world who had lost money on the platform, to the platform.
Among the claims in the lawsuit, PayPal is accused of committing conversion — the act of dominion wrongfully exerted over the personal property of another — of civil violations of federal racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO), breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.