File a Dispute

Try this last resort to get your money back.

Sometimes all the diplomacy in the world won’t convince a seller to refund your payment [Hack #40] . In cases such as this, it’s good to know there are other ways to get your money back.


Often, disputes are caused by nothing more than email problems (spam filters, full mailboxes, etc.). You may find that filing a dispute is the only way to get a message through to the seller [Hack #9] .

If a seller misrepresented an item, never shipped it in the first place, or refuses to refund your money after you return an item, here are the tools you can use in your attempt to recover your money:

PayPal buyer complaint.

If you paid for the item with PayPal, you can use PayPal’s Buyer Complaint Form; log in to PayPal, go to Help Contact Us Contact Customer Service. Then choose Protections/Privacy/Security Buyer Complaint Process. Unfortunately, PayPal’s Buyer Protection Policy covers only purchases you never received.


Despite the presence of the “Item Not as Described” option, don’t use it: it’s a trap! If you select “Item Not as Described” during the process, PayPal will close the case and you won’t be given a second chance.

eBay Dispute Console.

At one time, eBay had a “nonpaying bidder” complaint form, yet no way to report a “nonshipping seller.” In early 2005, eBay created the Dispute Console to take care of both tasks.

Go to My eBay Dispute Console ( to file a dispute ...

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