Senators Ask PayPal To Change Obnoxious RoboCall Clause In User Agreement

Two weeks ago, we told you how PayPal’s revised user agreement expanded the company’s already-intrusive existing permission to send pre-recorded robocalls and spam texts, and how the company gave users no apparent way to opt out. Then the FCC chimed in, telling the company that its terms appear to violate federal law. Now, several U.S. Senators are asking PayPal to rethink its terms before they go into effect on July 1.

A brief refresher: PayPal’s new terms, which the user must accept in order to use the payment platform, don’t just allow the company to robocall/text the number you provided when you registered, but “any telephone number… that we have otherwise obtained,” an apparent violation of the requirement that express written consent for robocalls must include the telephone number to which the company will be authorized to make those calls.

Additionally, since PayPal doesn’t give users any way to opt out of this clause during the process of accepting the agreement, that makes acceptance of robocalls a condition of purchasing the service, which would be another violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

This morning, Senators Edward J. Markey (Massachusetts), Al Franken (Minnesota), Ron Wyden (Oregon), and Robert Menendez (New Jersey) sent a letter [PDF] to PayPal president Dan Schulman asking him to rethink this nonsense.

“This new policy could adversely affect consumers by exposing them to a barrage of unwanted calls that are unstoppable unless consumers choose to discontinue using PayPal,” reads the letter, which references the recent FCC admonition.

“We share the FCC’s perspective and believe consumers should not have to agree to submit themselves to intrusive robocalls in order to use a company’s service,” concludes the letter.

PayPal notes that it does now have a way to opt out of robocalls — by going to this website — but that process occurs after you accept the user agreement. That means that you must still first accept the robocall clause as a condition of using the service.

The FCC warned PayPal that if the company is found to be in violation of the TCPA, it could face fines of up to $16,000 per call or text message.

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