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PayPal Praised for Marketing Call Move

PayPal was getting praise from the FCC and the hill for changes to its user agreements that clarify that their users have to opt in to marketing calls.

A quartet of Democratic senators two weeks ago had asked PayPal to change its new user agreement, which goes into effect July 1, because it requires consumers to agree to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and texts if they want to use the service. PayPal had said at the time it already clarified that it is not a requirement for using the service. But it also said that users had the choice to opt out of the calls, which suggested the default setting was getting them.

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau had also contacted PayPal to remind it about the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requirement that "the use of a service cannot be conditioned on consent to receive robocalls that fall under the TCPA."

As of Monday, said Enforcement Bureau Travis LeBlanc, PayPal had made it clear that accepting the calls was not the price of using the online payment system, and "clarifies, rightly, that its customers must provide prior express written consent before the company can call or text them with marketing, and that these customers have a right to revoke their consent to receive robocalls or robotexts at any time."

In separate statements, two of the four senators who pushed PayPal to change were celebrating.

"PayPal made the right move by clarifying its terms of service, because consumers in Minnesota and around the country shouldn’t be forced into these type of invasive agreements," said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

“I applaud PayPal for reversing course and recognizing that consumers have the right to say no to intrusive robocalls or robotexts,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “I hope this reversal sends a clear message to other companies – consumers should not have to agree to submit to intrusive robocalls in orders to use a company’s service.”

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.