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FCC Has 'Serious Concerns' About PayPal’s New Robocall Policy

The New York Attorney General's office is also looking into the new robo-call plan.


PayPal and eBay’s recent announcement that their terms of service are changing to allow them to make robocalls or send text messages to users has now caught the attention of both federal and state officials.

In a letter Thursday to PayPal (which for now is still owned by eBay), Federal Communications Commission enforcement director Travis LeBlanc said the agency has “serious concerns” about the changes that may “violate federal laws governing the use of autodialed, prerecorded and artificial voice calls, including text messages.”

FCC officials offered a pointed reminder to PayPal officials about federal rules on robocalls and text messages in the letter, but didn’t request information from the company. That’s an important distinction, since an FCC request for information is the first step in a formal investigation.

However, the New York Attorney General’s office asked the companies for more information earlier this week about the new terms of service and robocall policies.

PayPay and eBay recently unveiled the new terms of service, which would apply automatically to consumers who opt in to the new user agreements (which are required to use the sites).

The new user agreement goes into effect July 1.

Under the new policy, PayPal and eBay would be allowed to contact users to resolve disputes or collect debts. But the companies could also do it to “poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires” and “contact you with offers and promotions.”

Last week, PayPal tried to explain the new move, saying that it understood some users are concerned they would start receiving “unwanted, excessive or expensive calls and text messages from us.” In a blog post the company said it has “no intention of harassing you.”

A PayPal spokesperson said in a statement that the company had received the FCC’s letter and would “look forward to responding.”

“We strive to be as clear as possible with our customers and clarified our policies and practices last week,” the company said in its blog post. “Our customers can choose not to receive autodialed or prerecorded message calls.”

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