Earlier this year, PayPal parted ways with eBay. After this split, PayPal decided to roll out a new and improved user agreement which only managed to cause an uproar among users. The payment platform’s new agreement included a clause which granted PayPal the right to pester clients with unsolicited robocalls, text messages and other marketing solicitations.
But an immediate backslash from critics caused PayPal to reconsider its initial position. After all, granting itself universal permissions isn’t a move that would ever please the masses.
In the platform’s new terms of service, a new clause stated that PayPal was allowed to contact its clients via pre-recorded or autodialed calls or texts. But the more troubling art of its terms of service policy was the fact that PayPal also granted itself the universal right of sharing phone numbers and personal information with its marketing partners and affiliates.
Of course, in case of being contacted, you would be the one paying the applicable charges.
And the worst part was that nowhere in the terms of service could users find any mention of an opt-out mechanism for all such marketing actions. PayPal users distressed with the company’s new policies asked whether opt-out possibilities existed. They were offered instructions on closing their accounts instead.
Luckily, PayPal later released a statement in which opt-out possibilities were explained:
“PayPal customers can opt-out of receiving auto-dialed or pre-recorded calls.”
The legality of this new measure, which is expected to go into effect next month, was questioned by countless PayPal users, especially since these pre-recorded calls would also be directed towards telephone numbers that the company had managed to “otherwise obtain”.
PayPal’s amended terms of service included several reasons for which customers could be contacted, from account issues and troubleshooting to debt collection and dispute resolution. Of course, another essential reason is marketing: after all, advertising, promoting and conducting surveys is a big part of the business, or so PayPal believes.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has enforced several regulations regarding automated calls. In this respect, such robocalls are only legal in the case of a previously-obtained consent form (written or oral) from the targeted consumer.
Certain nonprofits have already started to rally against PayPal’s blatant disrespect for customer privacy and have drafted a letter to the FCC. This letter intends to clarify whether PayPal’s terms of service act as a legal, written and previously-obtained consent form.
Additionally, the same letter, drafted by the National Consumer Law Center aims to prove that withdrawing one’s consent for such robocalls cannot constitute grounds for contract termination.
PayPal users view this move as intrusive and inconsiderate of the end-user’s personal time, but most of all disrespectful for not offering opt-out choices. In response, the payment platform underlined that it wishes to create a positive relationship with its customers and that harassment is clearly not the goal of this action.
In one of PayPal’s most recent blog posts, the Senior VP, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Louise Pentland, attempted to ensure the company’s customers that their relationship with PayPal would not be altered.
The blog post highlighted that customers shouldn’t fear having to receive excessive or unwanted text messages or calls.
“We value our relationship with you and have no intention of harassing you,” the same blog post wrote.
In the meantime, Federal Regulators are also preparing to vote on a similar matter, especially since telemarketing and robocalling aren’t practices that only PayPal wishes to adopt. On June 18th, the Federal Communications Commission will decide on how to best address the issue of consumer complaints regarding the difficulties in avoiding marketing calls and texts.
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