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New PayPal policy could mean unwanted robocalls and ads for users

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Ken Wolter
No one likes robocalls, so the fact that PayPal is asking its millions of users to accept new terms of service that give permission for it to make such calls has puzzled many. First spotted by the Washington Post, the revamped user agreement asks PayPal members to accept that the company, along with its affiliates and service providers, may “contact you using autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages.”

Perhaps more astonishing is the fact that by agreeing to the new policy, you’ll also be giving PayPal permission to contact you with calls and texts via numbers “we have otherwise obtained.” In other words, through numbers you didn’t even give to the company.

The new terms, which take effect on July 1, also offers information on the various reasons why PayPal might get in touch. While most are perfectly understandable – to “troubleshoot problems with your account,” for example, or “resolve a dispute” – others could turn out to be rather annoying. These include to “poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires,”and, more worryingly, to “contact you with offers and promotions.”

The likelihood is that up to now you’ve never received a call from PayPal. While it’s hard to imagine that come July 1 we’re suddenly all going to be bombarded by annoying robocalls from the company, if anything like that does happen, it’s possible disgruntled users will start deserting the service in their droves.

In fact, as the Washington Post points out, the savior may come in the form of new rules further restrict unwanted calls that are expected to be approved by federal regulators in the coming weeks.

[UPDATED 6-8-15: Responding to reports, PayPal has clarified how it contacts users of its service. In a statement released on 6-5-15, the company said it has “no intention of harassing users,” though may contact them “as part of our fraud prevention efforts to keep your PayPal accounts safer and more secure.” Customers who do not wish to receive autodialed or prerecorded message calls can opt out by contacting customer support, the company said. PayPal’s full statement can be viewed here.]

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