The More Things Change, The More Commercial They Become
Things change, and on the internet things change even faster. Remember when anyone could post an item for sale on eBay, without being a professional eBay salesperson? Well, eBay’s subsidiary company PayPal is making some changes as well. And the effect for the end users in the Unites States is that their upcoming Service Agreement will have two options: Let us, and our associates, make robocalls to your phone number, or close your account. Not only is this function not Opt-In (as would be required in Europe); it does not even offer an Opt-Out! When companies reach this level of strong-arm tactics, the appropriate response (as with any bully) is to call them on their threat. I did this with Google when they consolidated all accounts, to better farm your personal information. And I haven’t used any Google function requiring a Google account since.
Opt Out Entirely
To that end, I have just closed my PayPal account, which I have had since 2011. There are other internet payment options these days, which was not really true in 2011, and while it may occasionally be inconvenient to not have a PayPal account, I find it even more inconvenient to be force-fed robocalls from a range of companies, with no opt-out option. This is only part of PayPal’s over-reach. They are pushing to have your cell phone number these days, so I fully expect this would include robocalls on my iPhone as well. They also have a line in their Account page suggesting (and this sends chills down my spine) “Add your Social Security Number”.
Why We Need To Do This
We each need to act according to our conscience and our needs. Some have no good alternative to PayPal. To those, I say: Start looking. Many of us don’t have an active need for PayPal, and to those I say: Seriously consider deleting your PayPal account between now and when the new Terms of Service go into effect. End user response, on a large scale, is the only thing that keeps large companies in check.
How To Close Your Account
The next question is how to eliminate your account. A quick search for “Delete my PayPal Account” links to a few old articles showing an outdated interface on a Windows computer, and listing tab names that simply don’t exist today on the web version of PayPal that shows up on my Mac. So here are basic directions for deleting your PayPal account:
First, take screenshots of any transactions of importance, for future reference; part of what PayPal is banking on, is users’ unwillingness to lose their transaction history by deleting their account. Command – Shift – 4 will allow you to draw a rectangle around any section of the Mac screen and save a screenshot of it to the desktop.
Next go to your account page (Mac version shown below). At the lower left you should see a link called “Close Your Account”. Clicking on this, after a warning about the catastrophic results of such an action, will eliminate your account. This results, in my experience, in an infinite loop, with a waiting icon circling endlessly. After all, how can you be on a PayPal account page, if you don’t have a PayPal account? Give the server a minute to process your request, then simply close the never-ending page. Open a new window, navigate to the PayPal main page, type in your PayPal User Name and Password. This should result in a ‘Some information you entered isn’t right” message, which is as close as PayPal will come to confirming “No Such Account”. Then sit back, and enjoy your new-found freedom from PayPal, eBay, and associated robocalls.
If enough US residents take this step, perhaps PayPal will take notice, reconsider, and at least add a clearly available Opt-Out option to robocalls in their Terms of Service; and we can open new PayPal accounts again. If not, I’m prepared for Life Without PayPal.
C. David Tobie