We’re hearing this again and again: knife makers who happily sell kitchen knives suddenly get their accounts suspended. The reason? They’ve been found to violate the Terms of Service for selling “weapons”.
Of course, these makers haven’t suddenly started selling combat knives—they have been selling ordinary kitchen knives. Until one day, boom, their account was frozen.
Not just the account—a maker told us how he battled to get $1,500 unfrozen for days while the suspension was pending review:
We recently had a similar issue with our payment platform. We use Square and apparently they have an issue with selling knives. We received an email from them saying that they would suspend our account for selling “weapons” and could hold our money “hostage” until we appealed their decision. They released the funds to us after we appealed and said we were selling tools and not weapons. 😡maker with a suspended account on Square, July 2021
Definitely not something you want to happen to your main income stream! That is the reason why we advise against selling knives only on Instagram, and why we think it’s a good idea to own your domain and create a newsletter. Read more about the topic of reducing your business risk here.
What to do when your account is suspended?
One of the big issues is that you’re at the mercy of those platforms when something like this happens. Depending on their customer support, this can be resolved quickly, or you end up running in circles with automated emails. (Hello Instagram. )
The truth is that more likely than not, you better have a plan B. Or: you avoid the problematic platforms to begin with.
So it’s time to spell it out: When choosing a platform for an online shop or a payment processor for accepting money you have got to take into account how they treat knife makers.
Of course, this isn’t surefire and platforms can change over time. So what we can’t give you are 100% surefire answers. We don’t have reliable statistics, just accounts of community members who got into trouble for selling kitchen knives. But that we can share: patterns we see from platforms that are again and again mentioned.
Website/ Online Shop
The platforms that make it easiest seem to cause the most problems for knife makers
Here are those that seem to be fine:
There are many (many!) others, of course, but from these three we hear believable accounts that they do or do not cause issues.
If you are using WordPress, using Woocommerce gets you around having to use one of the ecommerce platforms above. Of course, then you still need a place to host WordPress—and a payment processor.
Stories of angry makers
Whenever we hear of someone having trouble we reach out and collect those stories and publish them in the next SUNDAY NEWS. Hop over there and subscribe if you’re interested in real-life accounts. Why we don’t share them here? Because we don’t want those makers to get into more trouble.