PayPal Tweaking User Agreement To Remove Mandatory Robocalls

PayPal’s new user agreement — the one that gives the company even more latitude to make obnoxious prerecorded marketing calls to “any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained” — is set to kick in this week, but following an FCC warning that this policy might be in violation of federal law, and a letter from multiple senators asking PayPal to rethink its new terms, the company has agreed to make changes that “clear up any confusion.”

In a new blog post, PayPal’s general counsel acknowledges that the company “used language that did not clearly communicate how we intend to contact them. Unfortunately, this language caused confusion and concern with some of our customers.”

The company says its intention in granting itself the ability to call or text any number it might be able to locate for you (an apparent violation of federal rules that say robocalls can only be made to specific numbers that a customer has agreed to receive them on), was to better reach users in case of emergency — and of course to collect a debt.

PayPal says the newly revised terms will clarify that customers do not have to consent to robocalls as a condition of continuing to be a customer of the payment platform. Forcing a consumer to accept prerecorded messages is also a violation of the law.

“We respect our customers’ communications preferences and recognize that their consent is required for certain autodialed and prerecorded calls and texts,” reads the blog post. “Customers may revoke consent to receive these communications by contacting PayPal customer support and informing us of their preferences.”

PayPal customers should be on the lookout for an e-mail explaining these changes.

In a statement to Consumerist, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc, who sent the warning letter to PayPal, commends the company for making these tweaks.

“The changes to PayPal’s user agreement recognize that its customers are not required to consent to unwanted robocalls or robotexts,” says LeBlanc. “It clarifies, rightly, that its customers must provide prior express written consent before the company can call or text them with marketing, and that these customers have a right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls or robotexts at any time. These changes, along with PayPal’s commitments to improve its disclosures and make it easier for consumers to express their calling preferences, are significant and welcome improvements.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose Internet Bureau sent a letter to the company in early June, said in a statement that PayPal’s policy tweak another step toward protecting consumers.

“Again and again, Americans have demanded that companies stop invasive robocalling to promote their products,” Schneiderman said. “Today, PayPal, which immediately cooperated with my office’s inquiry, announced that unless a consumer explicitly consents, it will not robocall for marketing purposes. We commend the company for doing the right thing and ensuring consumers’ rights are protected.”

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