While not exactly the level of dilemma handled by The Ethicist (check out The New York Times Magazine), here’s a question where I’d like a modern age Emily Post to weigh in with an opinion. When collecting money from friends via PayPal is it okay to gross up the amount requested in order to compensate for the service fees?
Important distinction – I’m not talking about selling something to a friend and then taking on a service charge. I’m geared solely towards the repayment of debts such as splitting of a restaurant bill. Historically I’ve always eaten the PayPal surcharge myself but here’s how I’m going to proceed going forward.
If I ask you to pay me via PayPal: Request the actual amount owed and I’ll eat the fees
If you insist paying me via PayPal: Gross up the amount owed to offset the fees I’m charged
If there hasn’t been a method of repayment discussed: Offer a cash/check option for the actual amount or a PayPal option for the amount plus fees
Next week, whether it’s okay to register URLs of your friends names and offer them for resale at inflated prices.