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 MarkeyMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Joseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs MORE (D-Mass.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again MORE (D-Minn.), Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid House passes temporary immigration protections for Venezuelans Senate panel advances bipartisan bill to lower drug prices amid GOP blowback MORE (D-N.J.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPrediction: 2020 election is set to be hacked, if we don't act fast Wyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google 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.