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PayPal faces lawsuit for freezing customer accounts and funds


Three PayPal users who’ve allegedly had their accounts frozen and funds taken by the company without explanation have filed a federal lawsuit against the online payment service. The plaintiffs — two users from California and one from Chicago — are accusing the company of unlawfully seizing their personal property and violating racketeering laws. They’re now proposing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all other users who’ve had their accounts frozen before and are seeking restitution, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.

Lena Evans, one of the plaintiffs who’d been a PayPal user for 22 years, said the website seized $26,984 from her account six months after it got frozen without ever telling her why. Evans had been using PayPal to buy and sell clothing on eBay, to exchange money for a poker league she owns and for a non-profit that helps women with various needs. 

Fellow plaintiff Roni Shemtov said PayPal seized over $42,000 of her money and never got an acceptable reason for why her account was terminated. She received several different explanations when she contacted the company: One customer rep said it was because she used the same IP and computer as other Paypal users, while another said it was because she sold yoga clothing at 20 to 30 percent lower than retail. Yet another representative allegedly said it was because she used multiple accounts, which she denies. 

Shbadan Akylbekov, the third plaintiff, said PayPal seized over $172,000 of his money without giving him any explanation why the account got limited in the first place. Akylbekov used the account of a company his wife owns to sell Hyaluron pens, which are needle-less pens that inject hyaluronic acid into the skin. After the money disappeared from the account following a six-month freeze, PayPal allegedly sent his wife a letter that says she “violated PayPal’s User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) by accepting payments for the sale of injectable fillers not approved by the FDA.” It also said that the money was taken from her account “for its liquidated damages arising from those AUP violations pursuant to the User Agreement.”

PayPal has long angered many a user for limiting accounts and freezing their funds for six months or more. One high-profile case was American poker player Chris Moneymaker’s who had $12,000 taken from his account after six months of being limited. Moneymaker was already in the process of asking people to join him in a class action lawsuit before his funds were “mysteriously returned.” 

Part of the complaint reads:

“Plaintiffs bring this class action against Defendant PAYPAL, INC. (“PayPal”) to recover damages and other relief available at law and in equity on behalf of themselves, as well as on behalf of the members of the class defined herein… This action stems from Defendant’s widespread business practice of unilaterally seizing funds from its clients’ financial accounts, without cause and without any fair or due process.

PayPal places a “hold” on Plaintiffs’ own funds in their own PayPal accounts. PayPal has failed to inform Plaintiffs and members of the class of the reason(s) for the actions PayPal has taken, even telling Plaintiffs and members of the class that they will “have to get a subpoena” to learn the simple information as to why PayPal was holding, and denying Plaintiffs, access to their own money.”

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Comcast tests the first multigigabit cable modem


Comcast is now considerably closer to making multigigabit cable internet a reality. The company has successfully tested the first 10G modem capable of multigigabit speeds. The Broadcom-built prototype used the full duplex DOCSIS 4.0 standard to provide download and upload bandwidth topping 4Gbps. For context, maintaining that performance would let you download all of Call of Duty: Vanguard‘s recommended install size for PC (61GB) in just over two minutes.

While this was a lab test, it’s still a significant step forward. The company previously reached those speeds using a virtualized system, and in October 2020 was ‘only’ managing 1.25Gbps with the new DOCSIS technology. The new format is notable for not only improving downstream speeds, but enabling symmetric uploads and reducing lag.

The telecom didn’t offer a timeline for when you might see customer-ready DOCSIS 4.0 multigigabit modems. You may have to be content with 2Gbps service for now. However, the larger question is whether or not you’ll get to make use of a 4Gbps-plus connection any time soon. You’ll need a speedy route across the internet, of course, but there’s also the question of Comcast’s data caps. While it wouldn’t be surprising if Comcast raised or even waived caps for multigigabit users, it might be difficult to take advantage of the larger data pipe if any caps discourage sustained use.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

ISPs must accept gov’t subsidy on all plans—no more upselling, FCC chair says

A stack of three $10 bills

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | maogg)

Less than a year after Verizon and other ISPs forced users to switch plans in order to get government-funded discounts, a new federal program will prevent such upselling by requiring ISPs to let customers obtain subsidies on any Internet plan.

With last year’s $50-per-month Emergency Broadband Benefit that was created by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission let ISPs participate in the program as long as they offered the discount on at least one service plan. The FCC said it did so to encourage participation by providers, but some major ISPs drastically limited the subsidy-eligible plans—forcing users to switch to plans that could be more expensive in order to get a temporary discount.

Congress subsequently created a replacement program that will offer $30 monthly subsidies to people with low incomes. The program also specified that ISPs “shall allow an eligible household to apply the affordable connectivity benefit to any Internet service offering of the participating provider at the same terms available to households that are not eligible households.” The FCC still has to make rules for implementing the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), but that requirement prevented the FCC from using the same one-plan rule that helped ISPs use the program as an upselling opportunity.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Brodkin

Your brand needs a Discord community — here’s how to build it

My main gig is writing marketing content, but I also wear lots of hats for an independent media criticism site called Unwinnable. I’ve been managing their social media, writing articles for them, and serving as an editor for five years now. At Unwinnable, we use a classic-turned-modern publishing model. We have online articles, but our main operation is our magazine: a monthly PDF that you subscribe to like a print magazine. So we’re always looking for ways to make our subscribers’ experience better. Earlier this year, we revamped our subscriber Discord server into a proper community, and I learned a…

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Zapier

Timberline solar roof gives Tesla’s tiles some competition

Timberline solar panels on roofRoofing company GAF Energy has announced Timberline Solar, a new solar roof option for consumers who want to decrease their dependence on the electrical grid and their home’s carbon footprint. Timberline Solar is a new product poised to take on Tesla’s Solar Roof in a big way, not the least of which is due to GAF Energy’s massive presence in … Continue reading

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brittany A. Roston

The Heart of Google’s Pixel Watch Might Come From Samsung

New leaks suggest that Google’s first Pixel Watch won’t run on a Snapdragon or Tensor processor. Instead, it may use a Samsung-made Exynos W920 chip, the same processor behind the new Galaxy Watch 4. Additionally, the Pixel Watch could finally introduce on-device Google Assistant speech processing to Wear OS.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Dogecoin Surges 18% After Elon Musk Says the Crypto Will Be Accepted at Tesla


Tesla will soon accept dogecoin as payment for merchandise, according to a tweet from Elon Musk early Tuesday. The announcement caused dogecoin’s price to surge over 18% at a time when most cryptocurrencies have been plunging.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Novak

Microsoft seizes domains used by “highly sophisticated” hackers in China

A motherboard has been photoshopped to include a Chinese flag.

Enlarge / Computer chip with Chinese flag, 3d conceptual illustration. (credit: Steve McDowell / Agefotostock)

Microsoft said it has seized control of servers that a China-based hacking group was using to compromise targets that align with that country’s geopolitical interests.

The hacking group, which Microsoft has dubbed Nickel, has been in Microsoft’s sights since at least 2016, and the software company has been tracking the now-disrupted intelligence-gathering campaign since 2019. The attacks—against government agencies, think tanks, and human rights organizations in the US and 28 other countries—were “highly sophisticated,” Microsoft said, and used a variety of techniques, including exploiting vulnerabilities in software that targets had yet to patch

Down but not out

Late last week, Microsoft sought a court order to seize websites Nickel was using to compromise targets. The court, in the US District of Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, granted the motion and unsealed the order on Monday. With control of Nickel’s infrastructure, Microsoft will now “sinkhole” the traffic, meaning it’s diverted away from Nickel’s servers and to Microsoft-operated servers, which can neutralize the threat and obtain intelligence about how the group and its software work.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dan Goodin

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry’s transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society’s fight against climate change.

Driving the news: Soaring costs for minerals and other raw materials could push the average price of a lithium-ion battery pack to $135 per kilowatt-hour in 2022, according to researchers at BloombergNEF who specialize in studying the energy transition.

  • The projected 2.3% hike would mark the first price increase in a decade.

What they’re saying: “This creates a tough environment for automakers, particularly those in Europe, which have to increase EV sales in order to meet average fleet emissions standards,” says James Frith, BNEF’s head of energy storage research, per Bloomberg.

  • “These automakers may now have to make a choice between reducing their margins or passing costs on, at the risk of putting consumers off purchasing an EV.”

What’s happening: Electric vehicles are about to flood dealer showrooms.

  • Last year, there were just 24 EV models for sale in the U.S.
  • By 2025, consumers will have 146 EV models to choose from, according to IHS Markit’s forecast.

Yes, but: High sticker prices, along with worries about the availability of charging stations, are still obstacles to public acceptance.

  • Automakers have responded by introducing cars with a longer driving range — which requires a larger battery.

Where it stands: Battery pack prices have been falling steadily since at least 2010, when the average cost was $1,200 per kilowatt-hour.

  • The latest data shows battery prices fell another 6% from last year, to $132 per kilowatt-hour.
  • The industry has been aiming for $100 per kilowatt-hour, which would put the purchase price of an EV on par with their gasoline counterparts.

What to watch: BloombergNEF says that $100 target is still possible by 2024 but could take a few years longer because of the higher commodity prices.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joann Muller

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