It's time to remove "PayPal Friends & Family" as a payment option

It has always bothered me that you can even list this as an option for stores as it is an outright violation of the PayPal user agreement & TOS to accept payment for goods this way. Same with anyone asking buyers to pay a surcharge for PayPal Goods & Services transactions. I’ve heard way too many stories about folks having accounts banned/locked, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is often the cause.

Regardless of your feelings on PayPal as a payment processor as a whole, it reflects badly on everyone that this is seemingly so widespread that it’s openly advertised on MM stores. So, I’d like to ask that, since things are being changed, this goes, too.


I agree that it’s not ideal and I don’t use it personally. Too many people are onto the chargeback thing on all these payment platforms, and we’re getting slaughtered out here. I can list waaaayyyy too many horror stories from myself and friends where the customer gets the animal and gets their money back. It really sucks. The most recent one, at the Puyallup show in January, someone bought a high end bearded dragon from a friend of mine (with a dozen witnesses). She claimed it was a fraudulent charge and got her money back. In 2022 Brian Bodie got a chargeback on a $15,000 ball python sale, nothing he was able to do to recover the money or the animals. I’ve personally had it happen at least a half dozen times on paypal over the last 8-9 years. Had it happen on Venmo once and square ince as well. We have almost no protection from the customer beyond the honor system.

I suppose we could start taking photos of our customers and requiring more methods of verification but they’ll always find a work around it seems.


I’ve also heard issues with people not even being covered under the protection offered by PayPal goods and services. It seems PayPal has historically been very indecisive on whether they cover live animal sales or not.

So it seems like in general, PayPal doesn’t offer much protection. It seems like people just use friends and family as a method of avoiding the fee and that’s it.


It is definitely frustrating with the charge backs.
But PayPal does not mess around. I have a friend who ended up with her account frozen and they weren’t able to access the remaining funds (thankfully only a couple hundred) because of the TOS. If they find out you are using F&F to dodge the fees, they won’t hesitate to freeze funds.

I don’t mess around with it. I always get my funds when it starts adding up. I also use the invoice option and list that the sale is non-refundable on the invoice. I don’t know if things like that help in the long run, but it’s better than having them freeze funds.

Edit: Zelle may be a good alternative since it’s an account transfer… But it takes time for funding to move. It’s non-refundable much like PayPal F&F so buyer beware for that one I suppose?


I’ve been playing around with the idea of scanning IDs & having a signed purchase agreement for in person sales when I do those for these reasons.

Too true, too true. I just figure it’s worth it to remove an option that openly flouts another site’s TOS and to remind sellers that as much as they hate the fees, if PayPal does find out, there’s a good chance your money will be gone with nothing to be done about it.

I feel like there should really be better guidance for people who actually use these apps for business, they basically expect you to CYA all by yourself and know every in and out of the platform while frequently changing the user agreement & TOS. Hopefully what you’re doing is good protection.

Personally I stopped using PayPal after they withheld a payment from me that I needed in order to ship an animal. After contacting them they told me they couldn’t release it, because it had to do with new regulations. I pointed out that those had been delayed and altered, they told me they still couldn’t. I had to pay the shipping myself, managed to get the animal where it needed to go but lost money I couldn’t spare. I gave up, only to log in a couple months later to find they’d released my $ and just never informed me. Not about to give them a second chance to make me miserable again.


Zelle for me has always been instant. The funds may say pending in my account, but they’re usable. I frequently use Zelle, and have done it for some purchases as well for reptiles


That is why I love it!


WHen it comes to changes like this, it is very helpful to tag @eaglereptiles so he can have an idea the discussions are going on and contribute :grin:


When I was selling ornamental fish, I had friends that used Zelle.

Their problems came when they were hacked into and entire accounts drained.

Advice if using Zelle is create an account only for the funds you need. If you get hacked they get little or nothing from that specific account.


As sales take place privately, we do not, at this time, have any rules against asking for any payment method, but we do caution buyers to try and avoid using F&F…or, at the very least, understand the risks involved when you do.

But I agree we need to rethink it being an option you can display on your store.

You can find our thoughts on most common payment methods here:


I agree. MM is a platform, not a store. People can pay in bitcoin or in potatoes for all it matters, thats a seller vs buyer issue, not a MM “rule”.


Yes but as a platform they can still recommend following PayPal TOS by not letting F&F be listed as an option on store pages that can be easily searched. Leaving it as an option in private messages is all that’s needed.

If there was a reason for PayPal to pay attention here, it wouldn’t be hard for them to find accounts to freeze.

Heck, I had one site that uses PayPal as a processor block a friends account because of a NSFW link they had posted. That’s how much people don’t want to mess with PayPal TOS


Trying to cover all the comments here, bare with me:

Honestly you could just switch it (back? Can’t remember if it was singular previously) to there being one “PayPal” option that doesn’t differentiate between F&F/G&S and everything would be golden.

I’d also say the safe purchasing guide is quite telling, imo, in the fact that MM lists PP as a “Neutral Recommendation” and specifically notes that they were downgraded due to seller accounts being suspended.

Another note is that for all the warnings & guides MM offers for buyers including on payments, there is zero mention anywhere notifying sellers that using F&F risks getting their PP account frozen. I’m actually noticing there’s a notable lack of broader information for sellers on protecting themselves overall.

MM is a platform, yes, but it comes with its own TOS we are expected to follow, so there shouldn’t be a MM-provided option that is a flagrant violation of another sites UA/TOS. This isn’t about what currency people use, it’s about protecting MM and the buyers/sellers who use this platform. I think Christina said it best with this:

One search and MM basically hands PP a free list of 2030ish accounts to investigate and possibly freeze. I’d say that’s not just a seller vs buyer issue. Especially when MM openly admits sellers may be using F&F specifically to avoid fees & chargebacks in this fun little blurb:


All those reasons are reasons not to use paypal at all if i were MM. F&F is abusing it but so is the other way how ive seen it be used. We use it for what? Protection? The buyer protection in general is not a guarantee, warranty or insurance and has it’s limitations. Paying 3% to paypal to just have them suspend your account for using it doesnt exactly sound like a good option either. The platform shouldnt be recommended by reptile keepers at all if we are going to dig deeper into it. Paying 3% just means the package makes it to you. not healthy, dead, or alive, yet we file claims if its unhealthy or arrives dead even if someones terms dont guarantee live arrival. Its a false sense of security that they dont technically stand by what most claims would fall under if we go by love animal standards and genetic guarantees. Then we dig deeper into health, wildcaught or not, and beyond.


This was advice my mom gave me when I started doing art commissions and I think everyone should consider it! I have a bank account seperate from my checking/various savings and its the one linked to all of my banking apps (Paypal, venmo, etc).

That way if my banking apps get hacked…yay for them, maybe I forgot to transfer a $10 commission earning out of the account, no big loss!

Obviously it doesn’t solve any of the very real refund scam issues, but its a nice practice for anyone buying/selling anything over banking apps