I paid for my vacation rental. Can I get a PayPal refund?

paypal refund

When Janet Davis cancels her vacation rental, she expects a partial PayPal refund. So why is she not getting it?

Question

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. Can you help me get a PayPal refund? — Janet Davis, Chicago

Answer

I’m sorry you’ll miss your vacation. In a perfect world, you would have received a full refund. After all, you couldn’t make your special trip because of a verified medical condition. 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. To do so, just log in to your PayPal account and open a dispute in the Resolution Center within 180 calendar days of your purchase. Here’s more information about disputes and dispute escalation.

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.

A PayPal refund for your vacation rental

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.

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.