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How To Get a Refund From PayPal - Quick and Easy

Updated: March 30,2022

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We’ve all been there, unfortunately. Perhaps you’ve bought a new streaming webcam, paid for it with PayPal, and then never received it at all. Maybe you’ve even gotten the goods, but they’re damaged, and the seller isn’t responding to your claims. It’s a bad situation, but there’s a silver lining - PayPal can help you get your money back.

If you’ve ever wondered how to get a refund from PayPal, we’ve compiled a guide that covers the entire process. By following our guide, you’ll learn the requirements for getting a refund, how long you will have to wait for one, and finally, where you’ll have to submit your request.

Before You Request a Refund

PayPal has a specific set of rules and requirements for refunding a payment. Otherwise, everyone would do it all the time, and chaos would ensue. The first and the most important rule is not to abuse the system. Don’t do a chargeback just because you can - if you refund a PayPal purchase that was legitimate (i.e. you weren’t scammed) and the item arrived in proper condition, you will be considered a scammer by the seller. On most online stores, refunding a transaction on your own without requesting a refund from the store results in suspension of the account. This is especially true for digital items and electronics that come with some sort of one-time activation procedure.

But, let’s say you have an actual issue with your purchase. Even PayPal itself recommends contacting the seller first and trying to dispute the sale with them. The seller should be able to issue a PayPal reimbursement to you, refunding your entire purchase without any fees (they pay all the transaction fees in this case). If that fails, well, the platform has got you covered.

PayPal Purchase Protection

Like any payment processor, PayPal has certain safeguards in place to protect its users from scammers. One of them is purchase protection, a set of policies and tools designed to prevent or help with cases of fraud. The site also helps with any disputes for transactions made through its system. However, certain requirements need to be met first.

Refunding a PayPal transaction is possible within 180 days from making a purchase. Your account needs to be in good standing, meaning that you shouldn’t have any outstanding debts to any sellers or the service itself. In the case of fraudulent transactions, the refund window is 60 days from the day of the transaction. Whichever’s the case, PayPal will issue a full refund for the item and any accompanying shipping fees.

What Purchase Protection Covers

The most common reason to initiate a refund process is getting charged for something you didn’t purchase. Alternatively, lots of people end up requesting a PayPal refund if someone used their account to make unauthorized purchases.

There are several other reasons why you may claim a refund:

  • Your order never arrived.
  • You received a completely different item, for example, a GTX 1050Ti instead of an RTX 2080.
  • The item is defective or missing vital parts, for example, a wireless PC controller without its battery.
  • You’ve received the wrong quantity of items ordered.
  • The item was damaged in transport.
  • The item was obviously used but was advertised as brand new - a common issue with purchasing RTX graphics cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You received a counterfeit item.

How to Get a Refund From PayPal

You’ve checked the transaction, and your purchase complies with the coverage PayPal offers. What’s next? First, go to your account and click on Transaction Details for the transaction you wish to claim a refund for. If the seller hasn’t claimed the transaction, you’ll see a Cancel button next to it. Likewise, the transaction is automatically cancelled if the seller fails to claim it within 30 days.

Once you’ve located the information about your transaction, there will be a button for contacting the seller on the Summary page. If the seller doesn’t reply to your message or refuses to refund your purchase, you can then dispute the PayPal charge. To do this, visit PayPal’s Resolution Center in your web browser and choose the Report a Problem option. From there, locate the transaction and select the reason for your dispute: whether you got, say, a USB stick instead of an external drive for your Mac, the product was visibly damaged, or you haven’t received the purchased item at all.

The seller can then respond to your dispute and, hopefully, resolve your issue by either sending a replacement item or issuing a refund. In rare cases, the dispute needs to be escalated into a claim, and that’s when PayPal gets involved in deciding the outcome.

PayPal Refund Time

After PayPal confirms that it’ll refund a payment, it may take up to 30 days for the money to reach your account. It all depends on your payment method. Naturally, the fastest option is paying directly with your PayPal account’s balance, in which case the refund immediately gets transferred into your account.

Refunds on bank payments take three to five business days to process and go into your PayPal balance first before being transferred. The slowest option is card payments, as they take up to 30 days, counted from the date that the buyer agrees to refund a transaction. Those refunds will return to the card you used for the transaction or the associated bank account if the card is no longer active.


How to get a refund from PayPal?

Within 180 days of your purchase, you’ll need to open a dispute on the transaction you wish to refund by going into the detailed view on your PayPal account. There will be a button for requesting a refund which will notify the seller of your request.

Can you get your money back from PayPal if you get scammed?

Yes. If it hasn’t been more than 60 days from the transaction, just contact PayPal with a refund request, stating that you never made that purchase, and the site will cancel the transaction for you.

How does a PayPal refund work?

When you wish to refund a transaction, you can either cancel it if the seller hasn’t claimed it yet, or open a dispute. Once you get a confirmation for the refund, the money will be returned to either your PayPal account balance or the card/bank account used for the transaction. The entire process should take around 30 days at most but is usually much quicker.

Will PayPal give me a refund?

Refunds aren’t given instantly, as that would lead to abuse. Instead, PayPal recommends contacting the seller first to try to solve the issue you have with your purchase. Only if the seller ignores the request can you then escalate the problem to PayPal’s fraud team, which will decide whether your request is a legitimate one and issue you a refund. That, in short, is how to get a refund from PayPal.

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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.

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