With lots of controversies surrounding PayPal’s new terms of usage which it released at the beginning of the second half of the year, the FCC stepped in to make sure the company isn’t violating its policies.
PayPal’s new User Agreement, which went into effect on July 1st of this year, revealed the company’s intent to go against user’s privacy. The new User Agreement would allow PayPal to both robocall and text users on any number they can find, potentially even telephone numbers not associated with the users’ accounts.
According to PayPal, they claim the calls and texts have a variety of uses, including using it for marketing calls. We all know how disturbing such marketing techniques could be for users in the long run. It was this unnecessary invasion of privacy and undue disturbance that made users to raise objections and take it to FCC to help solve the issue.
Advocacy groups were alarmed that the new agreement seems to force users to allow these calls, as well as surveys and promotions, without any ability to opt-out. This makes users feel a bit handicapped and tied down without having some form of right in using their services. The only way people could disagree with the new terms of service seemed to be by not agreeing to the new terms. It was not clear if that meant anyone who disagreed would then have to stop using the company’s services.
A letter was sent to the attorney of PayPal, Louise Pentland, by the FCC as soon as it got information about this new User Agreement from PayPal. They told the company that they would not be allowed to make many of these types of calls to their users because they can be costly to consumers and are generally considered a nuisance.
The letter reminds PayPal that federal law restricts or prevents any calls that might be considered harassing or intrusive, and that they cannot send unwanted messages via text or through phone calls. They can only make such calls or texts after receiving explicit permission from their users for such telemarketing calls, and that they specifically had to get either oral or written permission to call cell phones if it was for telemarketing purposes. This was one of the main points addressed in the letter by the FCC to PayPal’s attorney.
One can say the letter recorded some level of success since PayPal, because of the outcry, has apologized and claimed that it was a matter of confusion. They are planning to rewrite the controversial section (1.10) in an attempt to clarify many parts of it; including exactly what they intend to do with these calls. By reviewing this part of the User Agreement, its users are more knowledgeable about what to expect when these robocall and texts are eventually sent.
The company has also clarified that the calls and/or texts will only be made in cases of fraud detection or to provide notice on account activity, as well as debt collections for delinquent PayPal accounts.
After the section is rewritten, PayPal intends to send email reminders of the newly edited agreement to its readers. The email, according to Pentland, will emphasize that PayPal’s focus is on the users of the site and protecting them, as well as try to restore users’ faith in the company. This was no doubt a good response from PayPal as it put many of its user’s minds at ease. It also showed that the FCC is truly committed to providing fair services to users by all players in the industry.
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