How do I get a refund on PayPal?

Money transfer

Did you receive a faulty, mismatched, or non-existent product after an online purchase? Most would rather not deal with such issues, but they can happen. That's why knowing how to get a PayPal refund is essential.

How do I request a refund on PayPal?

PayPal offers a Purchase Protection Program, so you can get your money back if there’s a problem, provided you use PayPal services.

Here’s how to get money back from PayPal.

The first step is to contact the seller to request a refund for the completed payment purchase. Do so by using the following steps to find the seller's contact details.

  1. Go to Activity from your PayPal dashboard.
  2. Choose the payment in question.
  3. You’ll then find the seller’s contact information. Use it to reach out and let the seller know you would like a refund.

If the seller issues a refund, the money will return to the original payment method (e.g., your credit card, bank account, or PayPal). However, if the seller refuses the refund, you can open a dispute using PayPal’s “Resolution Center.”

To access the Resolution Center:

  • Select Resolution Center under More in the main menu on PayPal. Note you can open a dispute within 180 days1 of the transaction.
  • The dispute will allow you to message the seller through PayPal to resolve the issue. But you have 20 days to escalate it to a claim if you still can’t resolve the problem. Disputes will close automatically after 20 days unless escalated.
  • Once it becomes a claim, PayPal’s team will investigate the case and decide the outcome for both parties.

Does PayPal refund money if scammed?

Yes, you can get a refund for scam transactions.

For example, if you bought something with PayPal and find out the transaction is fraudulent, they’ll return your money. However, the transaction must meet certain conditions, and PayPal refund time varies.

The company decides whether its refund policy is applicable on a case-by-case basis. Time also varies depending on the kind of payment method used.

Further, PayPal’s Purchase Protection Plan is only available for purchases. That means there’s no recourse if you send money to someone, such as a friend or relative. In such cases, the only way to get your money back is if they agree to refund it.

So, if someone selling a product ever asks you to send the payment via PayPal as a friend — it could be a scam.

Also worth noting is that the Purchase Protection Plan doesn’t cover some transactions. These include some vehicle types, real estate, gift cards, and donations, among others specified in PayPal’s User Agreement.2

Why does PayPal refund say pending?

If the refund shows as "pending," it usually means the seller has issued the refund, but the funds have not cleared. Most often, this is because the seller issued an eCheck, so PayPal is waiting for the clearance.

Also, according to PayPal’s refund policy, the company will only help you recover up to $20,000 of your purchase price (including shipping costs).

How long does a PayPal refund take?

The time it takes will depend on your original payment method and the nature of the situation, though it’s five days on average for most refunds.

For PayPal scam refunds, getting your money back often takes longer than the average time. This is because there’s a process that you must follow.

More specifically, if you think it's a scam, immediately contact PayPal through their designated contact page.3 You can report the scam via a form, chat, or call support. Do the same if you discover an unauthorized transaction on your PayPal account.

You can also use the Resolution Center for PayPal scam refunds. This is a good option if you're suspicious but would like to give the seller a chance to address the problem.

However, in a scam situation, you may want to do both — open a dispute through the Resolution Center and contact PayPal.

What is the refund time limit for PayPal?

PayPal case closed, but no refund? Usually, this happens when people ignore or are unaware of how long they have to request a refund. Avoid this by remembering the time limits — 180 days to file a dispute from the transaction date and 20 days to escalate disputes after they open.

As for the refund itself, it usually takes five working days4 to complete a refund transaction for a bank account. However, refunds take longer for credit or debit cards. These refunds can take up to 30 days.

Payment method Where the refund is issued Time or number of days

Bank account

PayPal balance

Up to 5 business days

PayPal credit or credit card

Credit card Up to 30 days
Debit card

Debit card

Up to 30 days

PayPal balance PayPal balance

Same day

If your refund is still pending after those days pass, contact the seller for assistance. If that fails, open a dispute or contact PayPal support.

Are there any PayPal refund fees?

For individuals, there are no fees.

However, sellers won't get back any processing fees they already paid. For instance, assume you bought a $300 product and requested a refund. The seller would receive the money minus the PayPal transaction fee of 3.49% (as of this article).5

Based on that, the seller paid $10.47 in transaction fees. If the seller has to refund the transaction amount, PayPal will take $300 from their account and give it to you (the customer), but the seller still loses $10.47.

Note that the fees described above are for voluntary refunds. Situations where you request a refund through your card issuer can involve significant costs.

For example, sellers pay a nonrefundable fee of $20 for chargeback against any transaction not covered under PayPal’s Seller Protection Program.

Can you get a partial refund from PayPal?

Yes, the seller can issue you a full or partial refund. However, PayPal disallows full refunds when you use a coupon or gift certificate to make the purchase. In this instance, the seller can only give you a full refund. 

Securing a refund through PayPal may not be an instantaneous process, but they offer multiple avenues for resolving disputes. The key is to act fast and keep all pertinent information handy to strengthen your case. Should you encounter unauthorized transactions, immediately contact PayPal.

Sources: all third party information obtained from applicable website as of September 6, 2023






This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to address every aspect of the matters discussed herein. The information in this article is not intended as specific personal advice. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory or other professional advice from IDT Payment Services, Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “IDT”), and should not be taken or used as such by any individual. IDT makes no representation, warranty or guaranty, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is current, accurate, or complete. You should obtain professional or other substantive advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the information in this article.