New PayPal, eBay Privacy Policies Face Legal Questions

PayPal and eBay have released new user agreements that allow the (soon to be separate) companies to call users about offers and promotions, opinion surveys, or debt collection. The new agreement, which takes effect today for eBay and July 1 for PayPal, states that such calls may be placed to any phone number either provided by a user, or which the company has “otherwise obtained.” Under the PayPal agreement, consumers who call the payment processing company will be considered to have provided the number to the company.

“Consumer choice and privacy preferences are protected by state and federal laws — including laws that specifically aim to stop companies from using invasive robocalls to promote products to consumers who do not wish to receive them,” said Melissa Grace spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann, whose office sent a letter to the companies last week.

The letter from the New York Attorney General outlined a number of legal concerns for the companies to answer. Among the concerns raised is how users can provide consent for calling a phone number that the user does not know the company has obtained. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires companies to obtain consent prior to calling consumers for marketing purposes. Another issue expressed in the letter is that consumers will be unable to opt out of marketing calls without giving up the services entirely.

On June 18th, the FCC will be voting on a proposed change to telemarketing rules which would clarify existing regulations and allow wireless carriers to provide consumers with technology that blocks all automated communications. Read a brief overview of the proposal here: “Tired of Those Robocalls and Automated Texts? You May Soon Be Able to Block Them.”


Read more here – “EBay, PayPal Release New User Agreements, and Hit a Nerve,” (David Streitfield, New York Times).

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