Senators jump on PayPal user agreement

Senators jump on PayPal user agreement
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Four senators are pressing PayPal over a new user agreement that requires customers to automatically opt-in to robocalls when signing up for an account. 

The Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau sent a warning to the payment processing company last week that its terms of service slated to take effect next month might violate the law.


“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,” the senators wrote in a letter to the company on Tuesday that expressed "concern."

The letter was signed by Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyThere's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US Advocates hopeful dueling privacy bills can bridge partisan divide MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Take Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact MORE (D-Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills Congressional leaders unite to fight for better future for America's children and families McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug bill MORE (D-Ore.). 

“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,” according to the senators. 

FCC rules prohibit companies from requiring robocall consent as a condition of purchasing a product or service. It also requires companies to notify customers of their right to refuse. 

The agency noted that consent must be based on specific phone numbers. Paypal’s terms say it can make robocalls to “any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained” appears overly broad, according to the FCC. 

The user agreement has caught widespread criticism since The Washington Post first reported on it. The news comes as the FCC is slated to vote on a number of proposals to crack down on robocalls this week. 

“We have received a letter from the United States Senate and look forward to responding,” A PayPal spokesman said in a statement. “We strive to be as clear as possible with our customers and clarified our policies and practices two weeks ago on the PayPal blog. As stated in this blog post,  our customers can choose not to receive autodialed or prerecorded message calls and may continue to use and enjoy PayPal’s products and services.” 

— This post has been updated with a statement from PayPal.