If you have an eBay account, you might want to review your communication preferences now.
Effective immediately for new members, and on March 26 for existing members, eBay has permission to send you robocalls and text messages for marketing and promotional reasons.
Here’s the relevant segment of eBay’s new user agreement:
The agreement notes that eBay may contact you for account-related reasons, and for “marketing, promotional, or other reasons that you have either previously consented to or that you may be asked to consent to in the future.”
StubHub, which is owned by eBay, has given itself the same liberties in its most recent user agreement. Paypal, an eBay subsidiary, allows for robocalls in its user agreement, but doesn’t explicitly say it’ll call for marketing reasons.
It’s possible that eBay’s robocalling policy went into effect earlier. As an August blog post from Edward Hasbrouck notes, a previous user agreement allowed for autodialing and text messages, but didn’t spell out why those contact methods were necessary. Now, the policy is crystal clear.
I reached out to eBay this morning for clarification on how often the company plans to robodial its customers and why it’s doing this now. So far, I haven’t heard back.
Fortunately, you can opt out of all marketing communications from eBay, and phone calls in particular. Here’s how:
- Sign into your eBay account and click the “My eBay” link near the top-right part of the screen.
- On the summary page, hover your cursor over the “Account” tab, which appears right below the bold text reading “My eBay: Summary.”
- From here, click “Communication Preferences.”
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click “Show” under the section for “Promotions and Surveys.”
- Uncheck the “Phone updates and promotions” option. Or just uncheck everything.
Sure enough, when I went to my communication preferences, the box allowing for phone updates was checked, though I can’t remember ever giving consent for this type of contact. A few other boxes were checked as well, for survey invitations, seller e-mail promotions and postal mail catalogs and promotions. I’ve now unchecked all of them.