New policies may allow eBay and PayPal to automatically call users. The New York AG says they reportedly raise issues under consumer protection laws. Fred Katayama reports.
eBay may call you to try to sell you something, and the New York Attorney General is alarmed. The AG's office reportedly sent letters to the online auction site and its payments subsidiary, PayPal, saying their new user agreement "raises issues" under consumer protection laws. Here's why the AG's concerned: the revised agreements allow the companies to phone users with offers and promotions, to collect debt, or conduct polls. The letters said the only way to opt out of those calls or text messages was to stop using the sites entirely, according to the New York Times. The AG reportedly wants to know how users can opt-out and how the companies plan to use the robocalls. A PayPal rep told Reuters its customers could choose not to receive autodialed or pre-recorded messages. The company said it would respond to the AG's letter. eBay didn't immediately respond to our requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal cites an official at the AG's office as saying the companies' new policies may run afoul of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That law limits how corporations can target consumers with automated calls and requires them to obtain written consent to make prerecorded calls. Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria thinks consumers don't need to feel locked into using PayPal, saying, "The argument that a customer can't turn down the terms of the agreement because of PayPal's leadership does not hold water in my opinion. Consumers can always shop elsewhere or use their credit and debit cards to pay." eBay's user agreement takes effect Monday. PayPal: July 1.