Aside from officially splitting from parent company eBay, PayPal is rolling out new terms of service agreements that include changes that would allow the payments company to bombard subscribers with autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages on phone numbers users provided or ones which were obtained by PayPal.
The new user agreement, which would take effect on July 1, has been released in advance to be read by concerned parties.
This updated user agreement is not an opt-in type of deal, so if the customer agrees, PayPal is allowed to contact the user for purposes such as account notification, dispute resolution, debt collection, surveys or promotions.
A PayPal spokesperson clarified that it is the policy of the company to honor customers' requests. However, if the customer chooses not to accept the terms, the only option for the user is to close the account within 30 days and thus would not be bound by the amended terms.
The service agreement can be fully read on PayPal's official website, but many experts have pointed out that some phrases are vague in definition and might be illegal under the established rules of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Examples of vague phrases include "we have otherwise obtained" and "share your phone numbers with our Affiliates or with our service providers," as PayPal could be providing debt collectors with inaccurate phone numbers since the number was not directly provided by the customer. Concerns are that PayPal could mistakenly provide a work phone number or a family member's number to debt collectors, which is prohibited unless the third party consents.
If the payment company requires contacting users to collect a debt or to resolve account issues, certainly they may call. However, unsolicited text messages and phone calls about company surveys and promotions would be offensively concerning, plus they could cost you money depending on your phone plan.
The FCC was fast to react. The agency filed a proposal, which could be effective as early as June 18 when it is scheduled to vote on the plan, that would permit phone carriers to provide robocalling blockers that would automatically halt autodialed calls. The proposal also would make it easier for consumers to request telemarketers stop calling and the company would have to respect that wish immediately.
In the meantime, concerned PayPal users who have read the updated service agreement will have to wait on the FCC vote regarding the matter, but customers should be aware that it is also indicated that "Standard telephone minute and text charges may apply if we contact you."
Photo: Steve Ganz | Flickr