Help! I’m having a PayPal refund problem with my rental

When Janet Davis cancels her vacation rental, she expects a partial refund. So why is she having this PayPal refund problem?

Question

I’m having a PayPal refund problem and I need your help. I made a $435 deposit through PayPal on a reservation for two nights in a vacation rental in Two Rivers, Wis., for our 40th wedding anniversary. My husband is disabled and I had to cancel the reservation this spring.

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The published refund policy says I would get a full refund for the deposit, minus a $75 fee. I have contacted the owner five times for my $360, but I’ve received nothing. — Janet Davis, Chicago

Answer

I’m sorry you’ll miss your vacation. In a perfect world, you would not have this PayPal refund problem and you’d get all your money back. After all, you couldn’t make your special trip because of a verified medical condition.

If you think this is difficult, try asking an airline for a refund. I’ve had one or two cases like that, and they’re almost impossible.

But if the owner is going to take $75 from you, then at least let it be a prompt refund. By the time you contacted me, more than a month had elapsed since your cancellation. That’s plenty of time to process a refund.

You’re probably wondering if you can apply pressure to PayPal to make this refund move faster. It turns out you can. Much like a credit card, you can dispute a transaction made through PayPal.

How to fix a PayPal refund problem

To do so, just go to PayPal within 180 calendar days of your purchase.

  • Log in to your account.
  • Open a dispute in the Resolution Center.
  • Click “Dispute a Transaction.”
  • Select item dispute.

And that’s it.

Interestingly, I had a similar problem with a vacation rental. I paid a $500 security deposit and the property didn’t send me a check after I checked out. I waited two months — still nothing. Naturally, if the tables had been turned — in other words, if I’d been late paying my rent — the manager wouldn’t have been as understanding as you’ve been.
Of course, the customer is always wrong.

But my story has a happy ending. Although the manager ignored my emails, I finally texted a sweetly worded message to his cellphone, telling him how much I loved the rental and that I wanted to return soon. (Both of those were true.) He promptly cut me a check.

How to contact a PayPal executive for help with a refund

I think PayPal might have seen this your way. And if it hadn’t, I list the names, numbers and email addresses of all the PayPal customer service managers on my consumer advocacy site.

There’s another path to your refund. You can reach out one more time to the manager — this time with the help of a consumer advocate. That’s exactly what we did.

I contacted the vacation rental manager on your behalf. The manager apologized for the delay, calling it an “oversight,” and issued a full refund plus interest.