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Lawmakers to PayPal: Change policy on robocalls [updated]

Paypal’s new user agreement is drawing heat from a group of four Democratic Senators, who are calling on the company to reconsider a policy that would force users to receive robocalls and text messages.

After July 1, consumers will be unable to opt-out of the new terms without forfeiting the use of PayPal services.

The news of the change in PayPal’s user agreement was first reported earlier this month in the Washington Post.

“Consumers should not have to agree to submit themselves to intrusive robocalls in order to use a company’s service,” wrote Senators Ed Markey (Mass.), Al Franken (Minn.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Robert Melendez (N.J.). “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.

In their letter to PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman, the Senators ask the company to let them know in writing by July 7 know if PayPal is going ahead with the policy, or how the policy is being altered.

PayPal’s new user agreement ostensibly gets around the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits companies from sending robocalls or text messages without consumer consent. Later this week, the Federal Communications Commission, which enforces the TCPA, is looking to tighten the current rules. The agency has already sent a letter to PayPal outlining the requirements of the TCPA, which includes allowing consumers to opt-out of robocalls and text messages.

“We share the FCC’s perspective and believe that consumers should not have to agree to submit themselves to intrusive robocalls in order to use a company’s service,” the Senators wrote.

UPDATE:

In a statement, PayPal said it looked forward to responding to the Senators.

“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,” said a PayPal spokesperson.

PayPal admitted in a June 5 blog post the company hadn’t been very clear about the updates to its user agreement when they were first announced and gives users a way to opt out of “autodialed or prerecorded message calls” by clicking on a link and contacting customer support.