Failed Refund, Duplicate Debits, Unexplained Delays, and a Disheartening Culture




An amount totaling $319.29, inclusive of the PayPal fee, was transferred using a debit Mastercard to the recipient's PayPal wallet at 12:20 PM Eastern Standard Time on October 26, 2023 


 As anticipated, a corresponding debit of $-319.20 in authorization (in a pending state) was promptly recorded on the credit card by the issuing bank at the same time, and the funds were deducted accordingly


On the very same day, October 26, 2023, at 12:21 PM, while the authorized transaction had not yet undergone the "Settled" status on the issuer's side (i.e my MC), as it typically requires several days, PayPal issued an email notification indicating that the recipient had initiated a full refund. The email advised, "It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account


Within the PayPal user portal activity list, this information can be corroborated and confirmed. Specifically, at 12:21 PM, it is apparent that the transaction had entered the "Start of Refund" state on the progress bar


At 2:03 PM, a notable progression was observed on the progress bar within the PayPal user portal activity list, shifting from "Refund started" to "Sent to Card" (as depicted below). In line with prior notification from PayPal, indicating that the transaction might require a brief moment to appear, the transaction on my card materialized precisely at the point when the status transitioned to "Sent to Card" by PayPal 





At that moment, I came to the realization that while the transaction on my end coincided precisely with the progression displayed by PayPal, it was, to my surprise, an additional debit authorization in a pending state. This was unexpected, as I had been anticipating a void, credit, or refund transaction in the amount of $319.20. As a consequence, my card was now deficient by a total of [Removed. Phone #s not permitted]= $638.58. This discrepancy, where the timestamp aligns across both the credit card activity and the PayPal user portal activity list, with the exact same amount involved, was the primary factor that raised concerns about the accuracy of the transaction. The expectation had been a credit transaction, but what transpired was an unexpected debit transaction.


Reporting of Incident, Enquiry, and Justification

Upon realizing this discrepancy, I promptly contacted my credit card issuer. Their response was that PayPal had initiated a debit authorization, and in accordance with the terms and conditions to which I had previously agreed, only PayPal had the authority to either cancel or rectify the transaction. Alternatively, I could choose to wait for the transaction to settle and then proceed to file a dispute for a chargeback, as detailed in my conversation with the credit card issuer, exhibited 

Given the urgent need for the balance on my card, and with the impending weekend approaching, I immediately turned to seek assistance from PayPal. However, the initial response from a PayPal support team member was less than satisfactory, stating that it would take 3-5 business days for the funds to be returned, with an expected resolution on or before November 2nd. This was in stark contrast to the PayPal progress bar, which indicated that the bank's processing would be completed by October 30th 


The weekend passed, and on Monday, October 30th, I resumed my efforts to gain a better understanding of how PayPal could improve or align with the completion timeframe indicated by the progress bar, which suggested a completion date of October 30, 2023. However, the team member essentially provided a templated response. Although I noticed the PayPal progress bar shifting to indicate an early completion of bank processing, initially, I was impressed. Regrettably, this impression quickly turned into frustration


Notably, this refund from PayPal was not the first of its kind. On July 5th, 2023, I encountered a similar situation involving a transaction of $154, paid to the same PayPal user. In that instance, the refund process, from initiation to the credit being returned to my account, was completed within just one hour. There was no waiting period of 3-5 business days, which is why I felt compelled to address the current situation as it appeared to deviate from the norm.


Encounters with Multiple PayPal Team Members, Including a Supervisor


At this point, I would like to convey the extensive and persistent challenges I have faced, along with the apparent lack of willingness and a disinterested attitude displayed by PayPal staff. Throughout this ordeal, they not only deliberately disregarded the evidence and data I provided but also repeatedly offered weak excuses while denying the possibility of such an occurrence. In between, their responses ranged from being absurd, irrelevant, and highly uninformed. This is indicative of the kind of service one might expect from this company moving forward, and it raises concerns that matters could deteriorate further. It appears that the company lacks a culture and the inclination to seriously consider customer concerns. Rather than delving beneath the surface and working with customers to resolve and enhance the evolving issues, I have yet to experience a positive, forward-looking culture.


Despite the messages and transaction updates by their computer systems, the chaotic situation that unfolded over the subsequent days is what is undermining the credibility of this company and those who stand behind it, almost turning it into a laughingstock.


In the earlier communication, I was advised not to be concerned about the date displayed by the system and instead to focus on the 5 business days, with an expected resolution on November 2nd for the funds to appear on my card. However, there was no acknowledgment of the fact that the transaction had already been reflected as a debit, rather than the expected credit


The team member's responses exhibited several significant flaws. They acknowledge that the screenshot displays two transactions of $319.29 each but then assert that only one of them is a debit. This is in spite of the fact that both transactions are identical, resulting in a $319.20 deduction from my balance. Yet, they affirmatively claim that only one is a debit.

Furthermore, the team member advised me to contact the bank and dispute the pending charge. However, anyone with experience in the billing and payment industry knows that it's impossible to dispute or cancel a pending charge. Disputes can only be initiated when a pending charge settles differently from your expectation. This misguidance sets the stage for a wild goose chase with inaccurate advice.


The justification for the duplicate charges is another issue. Earlier, it was mentioned that there was no second debit transaction, but now, another weak excuse is presented, suggesting that one transaction went through and one is pending. The screenshot clearly shows both transactions as pending, and both have affected my balance. What is not being acknowledged is that they do not appear in my PayPal account. This leads to a situation where it seems like the money is with "ghosts," and I don't see it in my PayPal account either.


Once again, there's a deceptive and misleading suggestion to go back and ask the bank to cancel. Nowhere in history or in the financial world has an issuer bank canceled a pending charge that they authorized in the first place. This gives a false sense of security and is a clear example of ill-advised information.


Lastly, there's a mention of the possibility of a source code change, but it's suggested that it's my problem to figure out. It's quite ironic that I'm being told it could be a change on the merchant's end and being implied that the merchant in question is the issuer bank. Nonsense


Growing increasingly frustrated due to the lack of willingness to resolve the issue, I request the intervention of a supervisor, hoping that this might trigger some meaningful action.


The supervisor's intervention, though confident, only adds to the confusion with a misguided and highly uninformed statement. They claim that the two pending transactions are reference transactions related to my activity and assert, with unwavering confidence, that one is a debit while the other is a credit. However, their inability to recognize that both transactions are, in fact, debits is evident. They even ask me to confirm their classification.


Moreover, the supervisor provides me with a random reference ID without taking a moment to explain how they arrived at this conclusion or what these IDs signify. Instead, they simply expect me to accept this without any clarification.


Once again, they reiterate the suggestion to go back to the card issuer to resolve the issue, making it appear as if it's solely my responsibility to deal with the situation, despite the evident complexities and discrepancies in the transactions.


As the first supervisor departs, a new one enters the conversation with the same unhelpful response. They advise me to check my email notifications, displaying a complete disregard for the entire argument and the complexities of the issue at hand.


Final Thoughts


Based on my research and the data I've gathered, it seems plausible that PayPal may have made an error in processing the transaction. While I'm not a payment expert, it's possible that instead of voiding the initial transaction, they issued a refund as a new transaction. Additionally, the slight difference in the merchant ID (sender) is a detail that they seem to be overlooking.


It's conceivable that, at this point, they might be unable to rectify the situation but are unwilling to admit to it. Their insistence on the November 2nd date could be driven by the fact that NPC (Not Present Card) transactions have a limit of 7 days, after which pending transactions are automatically dropped if not settled.


It appears that they are unwilling to take the simple step of canceling the pending transactions, and this may be a matter of pride. It seems like they are taking full advantage of my limited options in this situation.


Nonetheless, I find this situation to be quite embarrassing for them, and I'm fairly certain that with this kind of culture, the company cannot be expected to grow and improve shareholder value. I've given them ample time and remained patient, but they have yet to make any progress or show any willingness to resolve the issue


It appears that they are not inclined to escalate the matter to their development or finance team for a thorough review. The individuals I've interacted with seem to believe that they are nearly infallible and do not require any external consultation. There appears to be an assumption that their platform is entirely free of bugs and issues, which may be contributing to their unwillingness to address the problem effectively. This lack of willingness to acknowledge the possibility of system errors or flaws is concerning and could be detrimental to their reputation and customer satisfaction.


It's indeed a valid point to question why a transaction that occurred after the two pending transactions has already settled, while these two are still pending. This observation highlights an inconsistency or delay in the processing of these specific transactions. It would be reasonable to expect that someone within PayPal's support or resolution teams would put in the effort to investigate and address this issue promptly, as it raises concerns about the reliability and efficiency of their payment processing system. Acknowledging and resolving this inconsistency is essential for building trust and maintaining customer satisfaction.


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Turns out, that for all the screenshots I had uploaded as a reference to the issue I am stuck with, PayPal simply blocked those images from being displayed and wouldn't allow upload of any further image files. The team who I have been working with via chat/message center is the top-tier technical team and there is nowhere else they could escalate this issue for resolution.


It is very disappointing that no one seems to have any clue or reasoning for what has transpired and no willingness to take the challenge of finding a resolution. Simply not impressed with the culture.

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I have also an issue with non-authorizet transaction on my credita card which happened on 26.10.2023 (4:07 CEST). I think, that on this day PayPay had some problems.


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New Community Member

Sounds like you have a bear of a problem. Seems like not only were your concerns and questions considered a nuisance, PayPal missed an opportunity to resolve an issue but made it confusing and complicated by removing logical strategies. On purpose. And that is just the bringing of a host of problems with PayPal. They over look details in their company's infrastructure that can really spear head and kill and repair a problem. Simple things too like when you need to use your own words because their list of suggested responses and problems don't fit your situation. Or they should let you talk with to a voice that has a pulse and heart rate on your phone. But they don't exist. Also PayPal like many other little mega giant wannabes will come up with BS excuses to justify its illogic, confusing and over complicatiped procedures. I'm just venting because PayPal sent an email to examine some fraudulent invoice then it was was removed before I had a chance to see it. I could have been given a little peace of mind if I could have seen it. Anyway good luck with your time consuming and un necessary frustrating adventure.


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New Community Member

I am having a similar issue. I sent $400CAD to someone and paypal debited my account 4 times for the same transaction on 2 Nov 2023. I complained and on 16 November, they refunded only $400CAD to my account. They do not seem bothered about investigating complaints. They only have a mindless and robotic response to customer issues.

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After call to PayPall Support they said, that I must contact my Credit card provider. But after few days the issue was solved.

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