PayPal: accept robocalls and automated texts, or close your account

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 3, 2015
Updated • Jul 2, 2015

PayPal and eBay are splitting up on July 1, and PayPal has just published a preview of the company's new privacy policies that it will release on the same day.

An announcement on PayPal's current Privacy Policy page indicates that the company will release an updated privacy policy that will supersede the current policy on July 1.

Update: PayPal pedals back on new policy.

The temporary page listing the new policy in full highlights major changes at the top, and the very first entry lists call and mobile telephone number changes that include the following sentence:

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.

The paragraph lists several cases where PayPal may phone or text you:

  1. notify you regarding your account
  2. troubleshoot problems with your account
  3. resolve a dispute
  4. collect a debt
  5. poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires
  6. contact you with offers and promotions
  7. 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

While some entries are understandable, some put customers at a clear disadvantage as PayPal does not seem to offer opt-out options.

PayPal then states that users consent to receive SMS or text messages if they have provided a mobile telephone number, and that it may share phone numbers with affiliates or service providers.

PayPal customers agree furthermore that these affiliates or service providers may also use auto-dialed or pre-recorded calls, or text messages if they have been contracted by PayPal to do so.

In addition to all that, standard telephone and text charges may apply.

PayPal gives customers only two options when it comes to these new terms: accept them in their entirety or close the account before July 1.


It is unclear at this point in time if PayPal will provide opt-out options, and whether the new terms apply to all regions or only the US.  Information about updated terms of service agreements are posted on regional PayPal sites as well and while some jurisdictions may prevent PayPal from calling or texting customers without consent, it is clear that the company is serious about these contact options.

Now You: are you a PayPal customer? Will you accept the new terms?

PayPal: accept robocalls and automated texts, or close your account
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PayPal: accept robocalls and automated texts, or close your account
PayPal's updated terms of service and privacy policies will go live on July 1 when the company splits from eBay.

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  1. Inderjeet said on June 18, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    In the UK i think they have opt out and unsubscribe options.

  2. Dennis S said on June 9, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I cancelled my account and will tell everyone I know to do the same.
    It is obvious that Paypal thinks they can do whatever they want and the public will just put up with it.
    If we the users make it clear by cancelling then their clients will eventually also look to other options.
    All it takes is a few emails saying I was going to buy your product but will not as it is not worth giving up my privacy.
    Get another payment method and you may get my order!!!
    Their opt out policy is woefully inadequate.
    Getting spam and letting them do what they want with your info should be an opt in option not an opt out.
    Also it shows extreme arrogance on their part.
    So even if they change the policy I would require them to apologize and state that they have learned a lesson.

  3. beachbouy said on June 7, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    PayPal obviously isn’t much of a pal. Their new terms of use agreement is a shameless exploitation of people’s right to privacy. You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. PayPal has decided to be part of the problem.

  4. Jim.m said on June 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    GOOD BYE PayPal. We will be “pals” no more!

  5. MartinPC said on June 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I just filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission requesting pre-emptive action if the revised policy falls within their anti-robocall and anti-spam jurisdiction, and referral to the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Board if it doesn’t. So now the question is, will any of these agencies take action, or will one or more of the public servants working for them take a sweet revolving-door payoff from PayPal or one of its affiliates? With former FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker (and ~50% of members of Congress) as my lodestar, I know what my money’s on.

    1. MartinPC said on June 10, 2015 at 8:51 am

      In case anyone is interested, I just got a reply from the FCC saying that they don’t act on individual phone complaints and that my complaint had been closed and was being archived.

  6. ~e said on June 5, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Interesting, was the 2013 TCPA ruling overturned? It requires: “Disclose that the consumer is not required to provide consent as a condition of purchasing products or services.” And has a $500-$1500 penalty (as noted above).

  7. Jaymoon said on June 5, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Dwolla. Spread the word, and get your friends and family OFF Paypal. Lead by example.

  8. John said on June 4, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    So now they have my cell number where I totally ignore any call from a strange number.. Have fun trying to contact me, Paypal..

  9. Ken said on June 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Square is fabulous.

  10. PETE D L. said on June 4, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Just had a look at updated policy and not sure how it will effect me in the UK and those in Austria and Germany as it states “This Privacy Policy applies to Liechtenstein, San Marino and all European Union countries except Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom.”

  11. R said on June 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Here is to Hoping this doesn’t get buried because I know EXACTLY why they are doing this. TCPA legislation is ridiculous and it basically prevents the use of auto dialers for anything including texting or calling you when explicit consent is given. Look up some of the lawsuits on this stuff it’s bull. For instance if you give PayPal your number and explicit consent to text it and lets say you fat fingered it and they text the wrong number. That’s a $1500-$5000 fine for them for ONE mistake and that’s not including legal costs when someone sues them for it. And there are a TON of scumbags suing for this right now.

    To;Dr- they’re not evil they are protecting against people who make a living filing lawsuits on outdated TCPA legislation.

  12. kalmly said on June 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Appalled am I. I’ve depended on PayPal for many years. Besides, thinking they are/were trustworthy, $ can be deposited into my account, and I don’t know any other service that does that. BUT I’ve never given them my cell phone number which is on Do-Not-Call — which makes little difference because certain sellers ignore that and call anyway. PayPal only has the landline number — which is on Do-Not-Call, yaddah, yaddah.

    I’ve seen that same wording about accepting phone calls and text messages on any phone # provided on most of my new credit card agreements in recent years. Because I NEVER provide my cell phone# to anyone but friends, I haven’t been bothered much by telemarketers, but lately a few have gotten through. Hugely irritating because I have to pay for text messages. Worse, more and more I get calls from numbers that trace back to “phone hobbyists” so there’s no blocking them at all.

    Anyway, on the day I upgrade my cell phone and drop the landline, I will close the PayPal account . . . or just leave the old number on their forms.

  13. Krishna Pavan said on June 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Oh my goodness….I use paypal and I always thought that was secured..

  14. PeterPowder said on June 4, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Can’t I use the “check out as a guest” option” ? Will NOT having or NOT setting up an account with these clowns keep them away from bothering me by simply checking out as a guest ? Of course this does not change my opinion about their barefaced attitude.

  15. Mountainking said on June 4, 2015 at 9:46 am

    How hard is it to cut the call on their faces? “F@#$ off, bye” cut call :D

    1. Amanda J. said on June 4, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Yeah but it’s not just them, it’s anyone they are affiliated or partnered with. And it’s not like PayPal only have 1 phone numbers. Blocking the numbers to them means blocking them endlessly, particularly with auto-dialing software.

      For example, my local hospital/healthcare network has a pool of numbers that show up on my callerID, no matter which of my physician/office calls me. I’ve got almost a dozen numbers saved under their network contact in my phone.

      Add into that pool the affiliates’ varieties of numbers and you’re going to spend most of your time adding numbers to the block list. If they play their cards right, they can have a nearly limitless pool of phone numbers between them.

  16. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries said on June 4, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I have a PayPal account, but I despise PayPal, and I never use the account unless: a) the seller provides no other payment option, b) I can’t live without the product, and c) I can’t buy it from a different seller.

    I use two-factor on my account, so I’m stuck with allowing access to my mobile phone On the other hand, I have call-blocking, and I never hesitate to use it. PayPal has no reason–ever–to call me unless they’re trying to sell me something, so PayPal can go straight to Hades.

    Google Wallet is my preferred payment method. Google does not try to make my life hard, and more than once, it has gone way out of its way to make my life easier. (For example, there was that time my then-5-year old grandson purchased $866 worth of coins for Angry Birds Epic. I’d mistakenly set the security to allow all purchases within a 30 minute time span, and I left him unattended with the phone to play with the $4.99 in coins I’d just bought for him. Needless to say, I was not entirely calm when I realized what he had done, but Google fixed it for me by refunding each purchase he’d made. I got back every dime almost immediately. And in an utterly magnanimous gesture, Google allowed my grandson to keep his coins.)

    So yeah, no to PayPal (which has never solved a single problem I’ve put to it), and yes to Google (which has never let me down).

    1. Doug said on June 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      But to be fair, Google has every bit of info about you that you ever posted anywhere on the net and probably a heck of a lot that you thought was personal, so it’s not like you can run and hide if you were to actually try to scam them for 866 of Angry Bird coins. Paypal might actually have to use an old fashioned collection service if they didn’t have your cell number to hound you with.

  17. mrask said on June 4, 2015 at 1:43 am

    I called PayPal about this. After a few minutes talking with a rep I got bumped up to a supervisor. She recommended that on or after July 1, log on to your account and check your notifications settings and make sure that the promotional stuff is unchecked.

  18. Shawn said on June 4, 2015 at 1:41 am

    By all means let them call me I love wasting people money. My paypal account can’t even be reset due to the poor methods their system provides to delete one so the minute theses A-Holes get on my phone they are going to have the time of their lives as I have a small disclaimer when you call my phone it says I can treat you like shit and you pay me for it =) you have to select 1 before even my main phone rings.. Best advice I got from a friend lawyer and I will be re-activating this option just for theses douche bags.

  19. Dwight Stegall said on June 4, 2015 at 12:11 am

    I’ve always avoided buying from any website that uses Paypal. i had a feeling they were trash. I see was right.

  20. interstellar said on June 4, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Time to find
    an alternative and secure,
    consumer-friendly service.

    But…as easy to use as PayPal?.
    Is there one?

    Martin, perfect time
    for a Ghacks “in-depth”
    investigative reporting post
    on PayPal alternatives.

    Good-bye PayPal…

  21. br0adband said on June 3, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    They’ve already updated most of their pages on the site with the implied authorization BS – I saw this article (thanks for it, btw, as people really do need to be made aware of this) and logged in to change the number on file to a Google Voice number I have – and saw the following on the page where the number is actually entered:

    “Adding my number confirms that I’m authorized to add this number and consent to receiving autodialed and prerecorded calls and texts for the reasons described in our Privacy Policy. Standard rates may apply.”

    So they’re fully committed to pushing this new agenda on their customers, sadly.

    I won’t kill my PayPal account just for this but it certainly doesn’t give me a reason to go around recommending the service to anyone. I’ve had issues in the past with PayPal and will most likely have them in the future, but for now the GV number will be enough.

  22. GranoblasticMan said on June 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    “any telephone number that you have provided us OR THAT WE HAVE OTHERWISE OBTAINED.” (emphasis mine) So simply not giving them your phone number doesn’t appear to be an option…

  23. dante said on June 3, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    I only provide my Google Voice number to retailers. This way I get to put them on the SPAM list with Google. And if Google Fi takes off, these retailer jerks may very well find themselves on the telephone equivalent of a spam filter. Which will be fun.

  24. RottenScoundrels said on June 3, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Tom, may want to check your msoft agreements. It’s all in there too, although I wouldn’t know if they actually contact the numbers as I use a fake number for all those things. I use the correct Area Code and Prefix then 0000 as that never seems to work when I dial it, so robo-calls are not bothering anyone. :)

    Besides, I would never use paypal again. They got me for 300-bucks about 10 years back with an auction-scammer. Easy money for them, but I have the memory of a pachyderm.

    1. Tom Hawack said on June 3, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Microsoft doesn’t have any of my phone numbers, no Microsoft account and not registered (and no plan to) for Windows 10 upgrade.
      Concerning PayPal, I could have found a work-around, so my decision to close the account was more based on the principle than on plain pragmatism. When I opened the account I don’t know why I provided a mobile phone number (don’t recall if it was mandatory or not) and the number I had provided, a true number, had not been confirmed. But having a look on my PayPal account’s settings I noticed that I could add a phone number but not remove the one provided (I could have if I had provided another phone which means that at least one phone was mandatory, now anyway). But what the heck… I dislike having to accept a deal appearing to me as unfair for the sake of an account, of a service whatever it be. Free, free, free the big Internet word when nothing is free (which is not the problem) but when the price of free is an unfair deal most of the time : I’m not going to undress myself just to have a free lollipop. Never. I’d take off my shoes but only if the carpet is worth it, no more.

  25. Eli said on June 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    This is probably one of the dumbest things to get worked over about.

    1. JD said on June 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Just because you enjoy receiving robocalls and text messages and having your information spread around to every third-party (which is then passed around to more in the name of profit) doesn’t mean that everyone should be calm about this.

      If you don’t value your privacy, that’s on you. Many people DO value their privacy. Don’t try to “shame” them into rolling over like a dog begging to have a belly rub, like you do.

      1. Troll said on June 4, 2015 at 10:10 pm

        Don’t feed the troll…

  26. Josh Iam said on June 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Is there a paypal like service worth switching to?

    1. Jasper M said on June 5, 2015 at 12:28 am

      Skrill seems like a good way for it

      1. Maxie said on June 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

        I have a PI license and have worked in the system for some years. As a business that may be trying to collect a debt or perform some other allowed business transaction with you, PayPal has access to wonderful tools that can find any phone number or address you ever had (ever!). They can find your associates, neighbors, relatives, prior and present employers…..there is no where to hide. What distresses me is that a robo call can be made to any of these numbers, regardless of who they belong to now. Correct?

    2. Jim Schmidt said on June 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Not that I’ve found so far. Google Wallet, maybe. It’s still nowhere as integrated or ingrained as PP, though. It’s gonna bum me out if I have to close my account, since I’ve had it since the days.

      1. Chris said on June 5, 2015 at 6:07 am

        same here since had the bank card and everything.

        what bothers me is not that they will spam and robocall me but they can use ANY NUMBER THEY FIND FOR ME BY ANY MEANS.

        so not simply the number I give them but if I kill that number and get a new number I don’t give them they use and share this number if they “find it” by any means.

  27. Tom Hawack said on June 3, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the info. I had a look on those PayPal new TOS applicable as of July 1st, 2015
    I disagree with my phone number being shared with affiliates or service providers. Logically I should close my account. So I did.
    This is not the first time I close a PayPal account. Last time was when that narrow-minded company decided to block help funds for ProtonMail.
    And should PayPal nevertheless contact me by phone, I can promise you they’ll hang up before I do.

    Who the hell do they think they are to impose the user’s ratification to have his phone number shared with affiliates? I’m seldom radical in life, I am on very few but leading principles. My phone numbers here in France are on a so-called red-list to avoid telemarketing so it’s not to have foreigners come and hassle me. No way.

    Privacy is more than ever an aim on the user’s side because it is less and less on the business side. I admit that I happen to be increasingly concerned with this problem, that I manage to keep my environment free (more or less) of International Scum & Associates, and that I happen as well to wonder what another life far, very far from so-called civilization could look like. No media, no computer, no phone, nothing but people, friends with whom we would communicate as we do since man is man. I am getting sincerely fed up. Most people don’t realize what techies know since networks exist, what I’m discovering as I make my little way into this area, this volume, this universe…

  28. 1 said on June 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    “It is unclear at this point in time if PayPal will provide opt-out options, and whether the new terms apply to all regions or only the US. ”
    Well, this would be illegal in Canada. So clearly not all regions.

    1. Jenksy said on June 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Not illegal in Canada. Like Matt said above, having a relationship with a business gives them the right to communicate to you. Learn the law, people…

      1. 1 said on June 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm

        Wrong. You are forgetting about Canada’s anti-spam legislation (see They may be allowed to phone me, or send physical mail, but to email or SMS me they need my consent. Implied consent does not count. Even sites that have a check-box granting permission must have the check-box unchecked by default. I believe fines for companies like PayPal are up to 10 million dollars. Any Canadian receiving a promotional SMS that they did not ask to receive can report it at

  29. Jeff said on June 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    “if they have provided a mobile telephone number”

    So … don’t give them one?

    The one they have from me is an old (now defunct) number. It has never been an issue. Maybe you can just go into your account and change the number to a fake one? or give them pizza hut’s number or something.

    1. Mr Ascii said on June 4, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      “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**.”

      It sounds like if they can scrounge your phone number up, they will.

    2. clas said on June 4, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      yep, i just did exactly that…changed my phone #…they have my email and that is plenty.

    3. Chains The Bounty Hunter said on June 4, 2015 at 2:47 am

      Puts everyone in an awkward position to report fraud when they are committing it themselves, no?

  30. Doc said on June 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Earlier today I called PayPal and opted out of both calls and text messages (they have my home number only, but I intend to shortly get rid of it in favor of a cell number only). I also reiterated that my number is on the US Do Not Call Registry, and “robocalls” for advertising and debt collection are prohibited. We’ll see what happens…

    1. Kasey said on June 4, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Once you go cell only…..

      You should just be able to let them call once and then blacklist the number.
      Also there is an app called TrueCaller (or TrueCall) that has a national registry of spam, marketing, collections, etc. type callers and will automatically block them. Then if you DO get a call like that, you can with a couple touches, add that number to the registry and no other users of the app (including you) will ever be bothered by that number again.

      Happy Blacklisting, y’all ;)

    2. Matt said on June 4, 2015 at 1:28 am

      Being on the Do not call registry does not matter. If you are a customer or have a relationship with the company, they are free to call you regardless if you are on the registry or not. Might want to look at the DNC registry terms and policies

      1. Alex said on June 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        But if you tell Paypal to add you to their internal DNC registry, they must comply.
        “And, regardless of whether there is such a relationship, if the consumer asks to be placed on your internal, company-specific DNC list, you then lose the right to call the consumer, regardless of whether the consumer continues to do business with you. In other words, a DNC request trumps an established business relationship and prohibits marketing calls, even if the individual continues to have a established business relationship with you. “

  31. KevinC said on June 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Goodbye PayPal !

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