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5 Min. Read

How to Get Money Back From PayPal Transactions

How to Get Money Back From PayPal Transactions

In a perfect world, you’d never have to ask for your money back. Products would never be defective, shippers would never make a mistake, and vendors would always be legitimate. But sooner or later, all of us are going to have a bad experience with an online purchase. And there’s a good chance that purchase was made via PayPal.

On PayPal, it’s absurdly easy to make and accept payments. You can even send invoices and track expenses. Getting a refund is a bit more opaque, but it can be done. Here’s how to get money back from your PayPal transaction.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Cancel the Transaction

Ask For a Refund

Use the PayPal Purchase Protection Plan

What If My Money Got Stolen?

Key Takeaways

Cancel the Transaction

You can cancel some transactions from your end. If you look at your payments and the payment shows that it’s in “Pending” status, there should be a Cancel button right next to it. Click that button, and the payment will be canceled. It will also cancel itself automatically if the vendor doesn’t claim it within 30 days.

Unfortunately, a transaction will only be pending for one of two reasons. The first is if you sent it to an email address with no associated PayPal account. The second scenario is if the seller has put a preemptive hold on some transactions. For example, some merchants put a hold on overseas purchases so they can verify customs and other info.

Other than pending payments, other prior transactions cannot be cancelled. That said, you can cancel future automatic payments at any time. From the payments screen, click "Manage pre-approved payments," and cancel the one you want.

Ask For a Refund

There’s no button for refund requests on PayPal. However, sellers can manually issue a refund up to 180 days after a transaction. If you haven’t, contact the seller and ask for a refund.

If they’re not sure how to issue one, all they have to do is look up the transaction in their records. They click the “Issue a Refund” link next to the transaction, and the money is returned. This takes around 3 business days for bank and PayPal transactions. Credit card refunds can take as long as 30 days to process.

Use the PayPal Purchase Protection Plan

If the seller is uncooperative, the next step is to get PayPal involved. Most PayPal purchases are covered by PayPal’s Buyer Protection Program. There are some limits to this, though.

To begin with, PayPal’s purchase protection program only applies to purchases. It does not apply if you’re sending money to a friend. For this reason, never send money to a vendor as a friend. Scammers will claim that they want to do it that way to keep transaction fees low. Don’t listen. Only make a purchase as a purchase.

In addition, certain types of purchase aren’t covered. Some categories are fairly simple. Real estate and gift cards aren’t covered, while jewelry and electronics are. Gift card transactions are also not covered. Other categories are more complex. Bicycles and cars are both vehicles, but bicycles are covered while cars are not.

If you want to make a buyer protection claim for an eligible purchase, you’ll need to do it within 180 days of the transaction. You’ll need to show proof that you attempted to contact the seller, and that you did so within the last 20 days. You’ll also have to show evidence that the product or service was defective or not as described. You can’t file a buyer protection claim just because you didn’t like the item.

Buyer protection claims are usually resolved within five business days. That said, more complex refund requests can take as long as a month to process. Add that to the time it takes for a credit card company to process the refund, and the dispute resolution process can take as long as two months.

PayPal approves or denies most refunds in full. That said, they may sometimes mandate a partial refund. Depending on the transaction, they may also ask you to cover return shipping costs.

PayPal is the final arbiter of buyer protection claims. If you still feel like you deserve a refund, you can ask your debit card or credit card provider for a chargeback. Whether or not this works will depend mostly on your card issuer.

What If My Money Got Stolen?

In the event of an unauthorized transaction, you can circumvent the refund process. This means that someone has hacked your account, or otherwise managed to use your account for payment. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re talking about fraud.

In that case, you should immediately call PayPal customer service at (888)-221-1161, and alert them to the situation. If calling is not possible at the moment, you can reach them using this web form.

Key Takeaways

Getting money back from PayPal can take time, but the buyer protection programs are robust. If a product was actually defective or not as advertised, you should get your money back. And you’ll typically see that money in just a few business days.

Want to learn more about small business finance? We’ve got scores more articles in our resource hub. Head on over and check it out!


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