Be careful when you sign PayPal's soon-to-be-updated user agreement: new wording in the document means the company could soon be able to make phone calls and send text messages to numbers of yours that you didn't give them. As noted by The Washington Post, the new agreement updates a clause that means PayPal can now contact you with "autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages," on numbers the company has "otherwise obtained" from other sources.
While the new agreement sounds invasive, it should be noted that under the current document, PayPal could also technically obtain numbers from various sources. The existing agreement specifies that the ways users provided a telephone number "include, but are not limited to" providing a telephone number at account opening, adding a telephone number to your account later, giving it to an employee, or by using it to call PayPal. The new document expands on these specific examples, making it clear the company can also draw numbers from data lists and match them to users.
The FCC might vote in rules banning PayPal's calls
The updated user agreement is due to come into action on July 1st, but PayPal account owners may still be spared the irritation of sales calls entirely. The Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules last month to protect people against exactly the kind of spammy phone calls and text messages PayPal's terms enable. The strict rules would make it easier for people to opt out of sales calls by simply telling the salesperson to stop calling them, and would clarify the definition of an autodialer, making it tricky for companies to skirt the regulations.
The commission is set to vote on the proposed rules on June 18th. If they are adopted by the FCC, then PayPal account owners in the US can breathe a sigh of relief, as they should make PayPal's plan to pester people with unwanted sales calls tricky to pull off legally. If they don't pass, then you'll have to trust the PayPal spokesperson who told The Verge that, in the US and UK, "PayPal will honour any customers’ requests to decline to receive marketing outreach over the phone, SMS or email."
Update June 4th, 12:22AM ET: Updated to included statement from PayPal spokesperson.