Technology Klarna accused of cutting off ‘unethical’ rifle suppliers

Klarna accused of cutting off ‘unethical’ rifle suppliers

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Buy now, pay later provider Klarna has been accused of cutting off rifle suppliers from finance after declaring them unethical.

A number of shooting and countryside sports retailers have had their Klarna partnerships cancelled after being told they infringed the company’s ethics policies.

Richard Stebbings, managing director of Centaur Target Sports, which sells Olympic-grade target air rifles, ammunition and specialised clothing, said the company has been cut off from Klarna’s services, which he used to offer finance on sporting accessories.

Two other target shooting suppliers who encountered similar problems with Klarna declined to be identified.

An email from Klarna to Mr Stebbings said: “Firearms are considered weapons, even though it has another purpose, like in your case for sports. Restricted segment means that there are some rules involved. One of the rules/restrictions is the country that we allow it in and unfortunately, the UK is not that country.”

Mr Stebbings said: “I challenged it and said [my products] are sporting equipment but they replied that they’re ‘weapons’. Now you violate their ethical policies if you sell shooting stuff.”

A statement on Klarna’s website reads: “Some products can be categorised as products of dual use, meaning that they may have a legitimate use, but also an illegitimate use.

“When assessing partners providing products of dual use, Klarna will try to determine if its typical end customers intend to use the product in an illegitimate way and if the partner supports such use. Klarna shall make an overall assessment of the partner, its business practices, its conduct in general and its product portfolio.”

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said there was “no justification for refusing financial services to law abiding businesses connected to the shooting sector.”

They added: “Klarna’s sudden, perplexing ‘computer says no’ style response to legitimate business owners within the sector is wholly inappropriate.

“We sincerely hope that Klarna swiftly familiarises itself with UK firearms law and reverses its divisive and unnecessary position immediately”.

A Klarna spokesman said Centaur had “used our auto onboarding process” and claimed “the merchant did not comply with our policy”.

“We have never allowed firearms requiring a license to be sold via Klarna in the UK,” he added.

Guns and ammunition cannot be legally sold in the UK unless both buyer and seller have a police-issued firearm certificate.

Holders of such certificates are vetted against police and criminal records databases.

Figures from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation showed that 59pc of its trade members have encountered difficulties obtaining credit.

It comes after Coutts, which is owned by NatWest, came under fire for closing former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s bank account because of his political views.

Simon West, executive director of the Gun Trade Association, said its members are advised to copy Mr Farage and request copies of data their banks hold on them if their services are withdrawn.

He said: “I think it shines a light on the thinking of banks so we can see what it is they don’t like about us.”

In August, The Telegraph revealed that a third of shooting businesses have already had their accounts closed down by banks such as HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and NatWest.

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