How to get a refund from PayPal?

Adam Rozsa

Maybe you’re wondering how to get a refund on PayPal if your item didn’t turn up, or perhaps you want to know how to get a refund from PayPal if the product that arrived is faulty, broken or not as described by the seller.

This guide covers all you need to know about getting a refund from PayPal. Let’s dive right in.

But first, a word.

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PayPal’s Purchase Protection

First, the basics about how to request a refund on PayPal. The good news is that PayPal offers purchase protection¹ on more or less anything you might buy using PayPal. The only exceptions are usually:

  • Motor vehicles
  • Industrial machinery
  • Real estate
  • Prepaid cards
  • Items that violate our policies

The PayPal Purchase Protection for buyers means you can make a PayPal refund request directly to a seller if the item they sent you doesn’t meet your expectations. This may be because it never arrived, doesn’t work, is the wrong size or doesn’t match the seller's description, for example.

If the seller refuses to pay, you can escalate your claim to a dispute within PayPal, and PayPal will investigate what’s happened. PayPal will make a decision about what a fair resolution is, which could mean that you get a refund of your purchase repaid directly to your card or bank account.

How do you get a refund from PayPal?

Here’s how to request a refund from a PayPal seller if you’re unhappy with your purchase for some reason²:

  1. Log into your PayPal account
  2. Go to your summary page, and select the transaction you want to get a refund for
  3. Find the seller’s contact details, and email them to ask them to issue a refund

If the seller does not want to issue a refund for your purchase, you can go to the PayPal resolution center and open a dispute. In this case, you’ll be asked to enter details of the transaction and explain what the problem was. PayPal can then intervene to ask the seller to resolve the situation. If a refund is agreed, it’ll be paid back to the card or account you used to fund the purchase in the first place.

How do I get a refund from PayPal if I was scammed?

If you think you might have fallen victim to a scam or fraud on PayPal, you’ll need to report it right away. The same basic steps apply if you’ve received notifications about PayPal transactions you didn’t make, or if you’ve bought something and think the seller may be fraudulent. Here’s an outline of what you need to do to get a PayPal refund³:

  1. Log into your PayPal account
  2. Go to the Resolution Center and click Report a Problem
  3. Select the transaction you want to dispute
  4. Select the best description of the problem:
    1. I didn't receive an item I purchased
    2. The item I received was significantly not as described
    3. I want to report unauthorized activity
  5. Click Continue
  6. Follow the onscreen prompts to file your dispute

PayPal will investigate your complaint and let you know what the next steps are, which may include getting a PayPal refund.

How long does it take for PayPal to refund?

If you’re getting a refund from PayPal paid directly to a credit card, it may take up to 30 days to arrive.

If you make a payment from a linked bank account, PayPal may be able to cancel the payment before it’s processed, if you realize shortly after ordering that you no longer want the item. In this case, the money will never leave your account. However, if the bank transfer has already been processed, it’ll take a short while for the PayPal refund to be deposited into your account.

The vast majority of transactions on PayPal are completely safe, simple and convenient. However, every now and again things go wrong, and it’s good to know what can be done to get a PayPal refund when your transaction falls through. Use this guide to request a PayPal refund and lodge a dispute if you need to - and good luck!

Sources:
  1. PayPal Help - purchase protection
  2. PayPal Help - how do I request a refund?
  3. PayPal Help - reporting fraud

All sources checked on 7 June 2022


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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