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 MarkeyEd MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally UK moves up deadline to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel vehicles MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (D-Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Trump appointee sparks bipartisan furor for politicizing media agency Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds Grassley, Wyden criticize Treasury guidance concerning PPP loans The FCC is trying to govern content moderation: It doesn't have the authority 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.