PayPal users may get break on unsolicited robocalls, texts

Critics are upset that changes to PayPal's terms of service will let it ping users in these ways for marketing purposes

PayPal's logo.

PayPal's logo.

After a backlash from critics, PayPal seems to be reconsidering a plan to give itself unilateral permission to ping its users with robocalls and text messages.

The controversy started when PayPal recently indicated in proposed amendments to its user agreement and privacy policy its intention to engage in this type of communication with its customers. There, it also stated that the only opt-out recourse for those in disagreement with its plan would be to close their accounts.

The plan drew attention from critics who, in blogs and on social media, questioned the prudence and legality of the new policy, which is slated to go into effect July 1. If the changes are adopted, PayPal would be able to make autodialed and prerecorded calls, and send text messages using any telephone number account holders have provided to PayPal or that the company has "otherwise obtained."

PayPal says it may contact users for numerous reasons, which include troubleshooting account problems, resolving disputes and collecting debts. But the calls may also be made to advertise offers and promotions, or to conduct user surveys.

Federal Communications Commission rules state that unsolicited robocalls are only legal if a company has obtained written or oral consent from consumers. In a post on financial education and services site Credit.com, syndicated columnist, book author and self-described consumer advocate Bob Sullivan questioned whether a change in PayPal's terms legally constitutes consent.

Plus, the policy, as it reads, provides no way for users to opt out, aside from closing their account.

But on Friday, a PayPal spokesman sang a different tune. Our policy is to honor customers' requests to decline to receive auto-dialed or prerecorded calls," he said.

The spokesman wouldn't say how users would be able to opt out, or when. He said the company is planning to provide more details and address this issue in a blog post, although he couldn't say when that will be published.

The new stance comes as PayPal prepares to split from parent company eBay, and establish itself as an independent publicly-traded company.

Federal regulators are also preparing to vote on new rules that would make it easier for consumers to say no to telemarketing and robocalling.

More than 10 years ago, the national Do Not Call registry was created to let consumers exclude their phone numbers from telemarketing databases. The FCC is voting on June 18 to address consumer complaints that it's still too hard to avoid marketing calls and text messages.

The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on PayPal's new policy.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicestelecommunicatione-commercepaypalmobileinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?