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.

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“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 MarkeyEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSpending bill faces Senate scramble Republicans raise concerns over Biden's nominee for ambassador to Germany Biden sets off high-stakes scramble over spending framework MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill Senate confirms Park Service director after years of acting heads 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.