PayPal: Goods n Services VS Friends n Family

I regularly purchase items online from John Q. Public and after confirming the purchase and sending me the total cost with their PayPal address they often sheepishly ask me to click the ‘Friends and Family’ button on the payment to save them some money.

This makes me a little uncomfortable. I appreciate the ‘sticking it to the man’ sentiment, but I don’t know these people from Adam and there’s some concern that it will be more difficult to recoup a payment later if the product isn’t delivered. This has happened on occasion. I guess I mostly consider PayPal’s cut the cost of doing business and am happy to eat the expense in the purchase price. Asking a stranger to cheat PayPal is unprofessional and even if this isn’t a job for these sellers I’d like them to act professional with my purchase.

Are my fears about recouping loss after pressing the ‘Friendds and family’ button unfounded? How do you guys feel about it when you’re asked to do this?

You’re correct in that you’re largely waiving your ability to have Paypal intervene if you send your money as a gift rather than a payment. I’ve done the “gift” thing for people I knew well enough and had other controls (mainly small purchases made on a forum with its own feedback mechanic) but I wouldn’t do so for a larger purchase via eBay or some other place.

I’ve used Paypal for years, from both sides (customer/donor and treasurer managing the organization’s account) and find it to be amazingly confusing. The last time I tried the “friends and families” thing, there was no way to skip the fee. It only gave me the choice of paying the fee myself or letting my recipient pay the fee (meaning that Paypal yanked it out before sending the rest on to my recipient).

As best I can figure out, the current policy is that Paypal only waives the fee if both parties have Paypal accounts tied to their bank accounts.