How about as a seller? Someone offered to pay me the "gift" so PayPal wouldn't take a percentage. Is that right, they don't unless I request it? Is there anything else a should be concerned about as the seller?No, it's not that simple, and I'd never do a transaction that way as it doesn't protect the buyer. The gift option does give you the ability to add the fees on, which is why it's recommended. I think pricing it to include any fees (since different accounts and countries have different fees) is more appropriate.
But wouldn't PayPal take the money anyway regardless if it was a gift or a payment for goods?I would only send gift or accept payment if I personally know the other party, or am well acquainted with them on this or pentaxforums (i.e. a long post history, direct discussions and extensive feedback). As a buyer, you have no protection - a gift is just that, and is a payment for goods - if they skip out on sending it, you are SOL. As a seller, a fraudulent account could be used to make the payment, then when it comes back, paypal will take that money right out of your account.
And any alternative would charge you a very similar rate for what they offer. It might not be foolproof, but as an intermediary, they at least offer some layer of protection in case transactions go awry. If you can suggest a better method of doing things that would be sustainable with little/no fees applicable to either party, I'd love to hear it?I detest PayPal. Their customer service is opaque and awful, their fees are way too high, and they love to suspend your account and freeze all your funds for no reason. (This happened to me just a few weeks ago, actually.) The only reason I ever use them is that I sometimes have no other choice, because they have a virtual monopoly over person-to-person online payments, thanks to getting bought out by eBay and rammed down all eBay users' throats with devious advertising designed to scare sellers away from any other payment method lest it reduce their chances of selling. Their dominance is the only reason they get away with what they get away with, so I have no problem maneuvering within their own set of rules to ease the crappiness of the experience in situations where a seller isn't comfortable dealing with a postal money order or a direct bank transfer.
I mean, they try to present themselves in a bank-like manner, even claiming to have "FDIC proxy insurance" (whatever that means). What bank takes 3% of your money when you pay for something? The only compensation my bank asks for in exchange for providing bank services is getting to keep all my money, which is the whole point of a bank.
The world badly needs a serious PayPal alternative.