PayPal Buyer Protection

Last Update: Nov 01, 2010

The policies applicable to you depend upon your country of residence. Please ensure you are reviewing the policy applicable to you.

What types of problems are covered?

PayPal's programs help you if you encounter either of these problems:

  1. You did not receive the item you paid for with PayPal– “Item Not Received” (“INR”)
  2. You received an item you paid for with PayPal, but it is “Significantly Not as Described” (“SNAD”) (further information on what is SNAD, is set out below)

If your problem is a transaction that you did not authorise, please report the unauthorised transaction through the PayPal Security Center at https://www.paypal.com/security.

PayPal Buyer Protection

  1. What are the eligibility requirements for PayPal Buyer Protection?

    You must meet all of these requirements to be eligible for a payment under PayPal Buyer Protection:
    1. Your payment must be for an eligible item and made from your PayPal account.
    2. Pay for the full amount of the eligible item with one payment. Items purchased with multiple payments – like a deposit followed by a final payment – are not eligible.
    3. Send the payment to the seller through:
      1. The eBay "Pay Now" button or the eBay invoice;
      2. The "Send Money" tab on your PayPal account by selecting "eBay Item" and entering your eBay User ID and the eBay item number;
      3. The “Send Money” tab on the PayPal website by clicking the “Purchase” tab, or the seller’s PayPal checkout flow.
    4. Open a Dispute within 45 days of the date you sent the payment – then follow the online dispute resolution process described below under “Dispute Resolution”.
    5. Keep your PayPal account in good standing.
    6. In the case of Brazil registered Users, only purchases made on an eligible eBay website are eligible for SNAD coverage.
  2. What type of payments are eligible for re-imbursement under PayPal Buyer Protection?

    PayPal Buyer Protection only applies to payments for certain tangible, physical goods that can be shipped. Payments for the following are not eligible for re-imbursement under PayPal Buyer Protection:
    1. Any item that is prohibited under the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy
    2. Intangibles
    3. Services
    4. Custom made items
    5. Travel Tickets (including without limitation, airline flight tickets)
    6. Licenses and other access to digital content
    7. Vehicles (including, without limitation, motor vehicles, caravans, aircraft and boats)
    8. Real estate (including, without limitation, residential property)
    9. Businesses
    10. Industrial machinery used in manufacturing
    11. Items which you collect in person, or arrange to be collected on your behalf
    12. Items that violate eBay’s Prohibited or Restricted Items Policy
    13. Items equivalent to cash (including, without limitation, gift cards)
    14. Items purchased using Website Payments Pro or Virtual Terminal (if applicable)
    15. Personal transaction payments
    Please note the following eligibility requirements applicable to eBay listings: Look for either a PayPal Buyer Protection message or an eBay Buyer Protection message in the eBay listing. If you see this message and you meet the other eligibility requirements, your item is eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection. You can view this message in the listing after you complete your purchase by logging into your eBay account, going to “my eBay,” then “won”, and looking at the listing. If the listing does not include the buyer protection message, then it is not eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection.
  3. How much coverage do I get with PayPal Buyer Protection?

    If PayPal determines a Claim in your favour, PayPal will reimburse you the full purchase price of the item and original shipping costs only. If the buyer protection message includes a cap on coverage, and if PayPal finds in your favor, then PayPal will reimburse you for the full purchase price of the item and original shipping costs, up to the coverage cap specified in the buyer protection message.

    PayPal will not reimburse you for the return shipping costs that you incur to return a SNAD item to the seller or another party PayPal specifies. If the seller presents evidence that they delivered the goods to your address, PayPal may find in favor of the seller even if you did not receive the goods.

Dispute Resolution

If you are unable to resolve a problem directly with the seller, go to the online Resolution Center and follow this process:

  • Open a Dispute.

    Open a Dispute within 45 days of the date you made the payment for the item you would like to dispute.

  • Escalate the Dispute to a Claim.

    If you and the seller are unable to come to an agreement, escalate the Dispute to a Claim within 20 days after opening the dispute. It is your responsibility to keep track of these deadlines.

    You must wait at least 7 days from the date of payment to escalate a Dispute for an Item Not Received (INR), unless the Dispute is for $2,500 USD (or local currency equivalent) or more. If you do not escalate the Dispute to a Claim within 20 days, PayPal will close the Dispute and you will not be eligible for a payment under the terms of PayPal Buyer Protection. You are permitted to edit or change a Claim after filing only if you wish to add further information or if you wish to change the reason of your Dispute/ Claim from INR to SNAD (but only if it relates to a single payment). Otherwise, you may not edit or change a Claim after filing it. 

  • Respond to PayPal's requests for information in a timely manner.

    During the Claim process, PayPal may require you to provide documentation to support your position. You may be asked to provide receipts, third party evaluations, police reports, or anything else that PayPal specifies.

  • Comply with PayPal's shipping requests in a timely manner.

    For SNAD Claims, PayPal may require you to ship the item back to the seller - or to PayPal - or to a third party at your expense, and to provide proof of delivery. Please take reasonable precautions in re-packing the item to reduce the risk of damage to the item during transit. PayPal may also require you to destroy the item and to provide evidence of its destruction.

    For transactions that total less than USD $250 (or local currency equivalent), proof of delivery is confirmation that can be viewed online and includes: recipient's (seller's) address, showing at least city, postal code, state, or country (or equivalent), delivery date, and the URL to the shipping company's web site if you've selected "Other" in the shipping drop down menu. For transactions that total USD $250 or more, you must get signature confirmation of the delivery.

  • How is the Claim resolved?

    Once a Dispute has been escalated to a Claim, PayPal will make a final decision in favor of the buyer or the seller. You may be asked to provide receipts, third party evaluations, police reports, or any other information or documents reasonably required by PayPal to investigate the Claim. PayPal retains full discretion to make a final decision in favor of the buyer or the seller based on any criteria PayPal deems appropriate. In the event that PayPal makes a final decision in favor of the buyer or seller, each party must comply with PayPal's decision. PayPal will generally require the buyer to ship an item that the buyer claims is Significantly Not as Described back to the seller (at the buyer's expense), and PayPal will generally require a seller to accept the item back and refund the buyer the full purchase price plus original shipping costs. If a seller refuses to accept the item, PayPal may award the Claim in favour of the buyer, provided the buyer has provided satisfactory evidence to PayPal that the item was sent to the seller. In the event a seller loses a Claim, the seller will not receive a refund on his or her PayPal or eBay fees associated with the transaction. If you lose a Significantly Not as Described Claim because the item you sold is counterfeit, you will be required to provide a full refund to the buyer and you will not receive the item back (it may be destroyed).

  • Scope of coverage

    Sellers: As a seller you are liable to PayPal if you lose a Claim from a buyer with a PayPal account registered anywhere in the world. This includes, without limitation, where you sell to a buyer who is a Full Program User and the buyer files a SNAD Claim, in which case you will generally be required to accept the item back and refund the buyer the full purchase price plus original shipping costs. You will not receive a refund on your PayPal fees. If you lose a Significantly Not as Described Claim because the item you sold is counterfeit, you will be required to provide a full refund to the buyer and you will not receive the item back (it will be destroyed).

Even if your payment is not eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection, you can file a Dispute and to try to resolve the issue directly with the seller, however, PayPal will generally not find in your favor if you escalate a Dispute to a Claim for an item which is not eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection.


Special terms for Digital Goods Micropayment Disputes and Claims.

If you file a Dispute for a Digital Goods purchase of the maximum value as set out in Section III (4) (“Receiving Payments”) in the Payments Policy or less, PayPal may, at our discretion, reverse the transaction without requiring you to escalate the Dispute to a Claim. PayPal may limit the number of these reversals you benefit from in order to help prevent abuse of this process. If these are limited, you will still be able to file a Dispute and follow PayPal’s standard dispute processes described in this policy to attempt to resolve the issue with the Merchant directly.

SNAD Definition

  • What is Significantly Not as Described (SNAD)?

    An item is Significantly Not as Described if it is materially different than what the seller described in the item listing. Here are some examples:

    1. You received a completely different item. Example: You purchased a book and received a DVD or an empty box.

    2. The condition of the item was misrepresented. Example: The listing said "new" and the item was used.

    3. The item was advertised as authentic but is not authentic.

    4. The item is missing major parts or features which were not disclosed in the listing.

    5. You purchased three items from a seller but only received two.

    An item is not Significantly Not as Described if it is materially similar to the seller's item listing description. Here are some examples:

    1. The defect in the item was correctly described by the seller.

    2. The item was properly described but you didn't want it after you received it.

    3. The item was properly described but did not meet your expectations.

    4. The item has minor scratches and was listed as used condition.

  • Relationship between PayPal's protection programs, eBay's protection programs, and Chargebacks

    Credit card chargeback rights, if they apply, may be broader than PayPal's protection programs. Please check with your credit card issuer to determine what your rights may be. eBay may offer protection programs in addition to or instead of the PayPal programs. In the event you recover under one program, you may not attempt recover or recover under another.

    You may pursue a Dispute/Claim with PayPal, or you may contact your credit card company and pursue your chargeback rights. You may not pursue both at the same time or seek a double recovery. If you have an open Dispute or Claim with PayPal, and also file a chargeback with your credit card company, PayPal will close your Dispute or Claim, and you will have to rely solely on your chargeback rights.

    If PayPal does not make a final decision on your Claim until after your credit card issuer's deadline for filing a chargeback, and because of our delay you recover less than the full amount you would have been entitled to recover from the credit card issuer, we will reimburse you for the remainder of your loss (minus any amount you have already recovered from the seller).

  • Limitations.

    1. One Claim Per PayPal Payment.  You may only make one claim under the PayPal Buyer Protection policy per PayPal payment. For multiple eBay items paid for under one PayPal payment you will be able to address all of your PayPal Buyer Protection related issues in a single claim.

    2. Correctly Identify Your Claim Type.  If your purchase meets the eligibility requirements for the PayPal Buyer Protection Policy set out in this policy, you may file a claim for either: (a) INR, or (b) SNAD. You are permitted to edit or change a Claim after filing only if you wish to add further information or if you wish to change the reason of your Dispute/Claim from “Item Not Received” to “Significantly Not as Described” (but only if it relates to a single payment). Otherwise you may not edit or change a Claim after filing it.

    3. Right to suspend or terminate PayPal Buyer Protection. PayPal reserves the right to suspend, terminate or alter the Buyer Protection policy at anytime upon notice. There are no transaction, monthly or annual caps on coverage, however, there is a lifetime payout per customer under PayPal Buyer Protection which is limited to the equivalent of $25,000 USD.