PayPal User Agreement requires US merchants to publish contact information

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Over the weekend the US have seen some changes to the PayPal User Agreement. One of those changes requires merchants to publish customer service information so that customers are able to view and access this information if needed. The amendment that goes into effect on the 12th of March can be seen below:

Amendments to the PayPal Account User Agreement (Effective March 12, 2020)

  • We are requiring that merchants publish customer service information, including at least one email address or customer service URL, and a telephone number, which must be readily accessible for review by merchants’ customers.

“Been there, Done that”
– UK & European merchants

The new PayPal user agreement has caused some panic among US merchants who don’t like the idea of sharing their personal information with the general public but if you’re going to use PayPal as a business, you’ll have to disclose your contact details whether you like it or not. If it’s any consolation, US PayPal is simply playing catch-up with a user agreement already in affect throughout Europe.

What does this mean for eBay merchants?

At the moment it is not entirely clear whether the PayPal agreement includes eBay sellers as merchants who need to ‘publish customer service information’ as the eBay contact information policy makes it complicated.

In the UK sellers have the option to make either a business or personal account. On a business account users can then input their business contact details without any ban risk, they’re also not forced to put their mobile number up for the world to see. As eBay US only have one account type there is currently no way for users to submit their contact details without the risk of getting banned.

It’s much more likely that this change is directed towards merchants who sell on their own websites and if not, eBay and PayPal have some talking to do.

3 Responses

  1. There are a tremendous amount of small sites and business that accept Paypal for their internet business. Paypal buttons allow for basic websites to have cart-like functionality and card processing in one place. The issue with this new change is that you have to have both an email or contact form and a phone number. It’s the AND a phone number part I object to as I have an internet business and no desire to publish a phone number. There seems to be some unwritten rule (perception from the 50’s) about being in business requires the use of a phone. Which isn’t true. I disagree with being tied to a phone and with technology there is no reason at this day and age that a customer can’t get customer service via email. I know several small internet business that started out having a phone but ended up taking it off because of constant “help me” calls that only increase the time it takes to make a sale and do not increase the amount of sales. Cell phones have made phone service for a business terrible, since it’s effortless and cost less to make long-distance calls now people will just take the easy button and call when they should really just read and perform self service. There is a time and a place for phone, and not all business requires one for all purposes. Now, if Paypal wants to require a phone number for internal use to contact merchants to get information when there is a dispute or charge back in process, that’s ok.


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