After getting heat for a new service agreement that allows the company to bother users with robocalls and text messages, the online payments service said Friday it will allow users to opt out — by contacting customer service.
The proposed agreement, made public earlier this week and slated to go in effect on July 1, would even have allowed PayPal to employ phone numbers that the user did not disclose — meaning, one assumes, your other phone numbers discovered through data matching.
The agreement provided only one way to opt out: close your account.
On Friday, general counsel Louise Pentland posted “An Update on How We Contact You” on a PayPal blog.
Pentland wrote that there is “some confusion and concern in the media and with some of our customers,” asserting that the section is not new and the relationship with customers doesn’t change.
“We value our relationship with you and have no intention of harassing you,” she wrote. PayPal just wants to be able to contact users, she said, for such things as “our fraud prevention efforts.”
If you don’t want such “autodialed or prerecorded message calls,” a link to contact customer support is provided in her statement.
The link leads to a form that doesn’t specify the opt-out, but is simply a log-in to your account. There have been reports from users that customer support isn’t helpful in providing these opt-outs, although PayPal has apparently sent out an internal memo on the subject.
As of Saturday morning at 8 a.m. PDT, the posted agreement still contains the following clause, and does not indicate that users can opt out in any fashion:
You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained. We may place such calls or texts to (i) notify you regarding your account; (ii) troubleshoot problems with your account (iii) resolve a dispute; (iv) collect a debt; (v) poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, (vii) contact you with offers and promotions; or (viii) as otherwise necessary to service your account or enforce this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you.
The agreement also gives PayPal the right to share the number with affiliates who can “assist us in pursuing our rights or performing our obligations.” Since those rights and obligations include contacting the user with promotions or surveys, it appears the agreement allows PayPal’s vendors to also hound users with robocalls and texts.
We won’t share your phone number with third parties for their purposes without your consent, but may share your phone numbers with our Affiliates or with our service providers, such as billing or collections companies, who we have contracted with to assist us in pursuing our rights or performing our obligations under this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you.
Last month, PayPal — still a unit of eBay — agreed to pay $25 million in restitution and fines to settle claims from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it “signed up consumers for its online credit product without their permission and failed to address disputes when they complained.”