Free PayPal returns and refunds: here's how to get free returns

Paypal returns

Online shopping can be a lifesaver, and there's nothing I love more than the postman arriving with my latest purchases, but all too often that feeling can be short lived when an outfit doesn't quite fit, or it's not the colour you were expecting! Now comes the task of returning the item, and if the retailer doesn’t offer free returns, then that means an extra charge…… or does it?

What is PayPal and how does it work?

You could be excused for immediately thinking of eBay when someone mentions PayPal, and yes, PayPal is the preferred payment option for eBay transactions. However, it is also amongst one of the top payment methods widely accepted by thousands of online retailers around the world

To put it simply, PayPal is a convenient, and hassle freeway to send and receive money, but also to pay for your online purchases. As an online payment system PayPal acts as a sort of middleman for payments between two people with registered accounts, or between you and online retailers.

If you shop online at all, no doubt  you have already heard of, and used PayPal. 

PayPal Logo

How does PayPal work?

You will need to link your bank account, credit card or debit card to your PayPal account so you can use PayPal to make purchases online with participating stores. When shopping online look out for the PayPal logo on the website you are visiting, this indicates that you can pay for your order using PayPal.

One of the great advantages of using PayPal to pay for goods online is that you don’t need to enter your card details every time to complete your purchase. Just select PayPal as your payment choice, and log in to your PayPal account to authorise the payment at checkout.

What is PayPal Returns?

PayPal offers a free returns service called 'PayPal Return Shipping On Us’ and is available at no additional cost to PayPal account holders who have activated the service, and pay for their purchases using PayPal

This service is free to activate via your PayPal account, and means that PayPal will cover the cost of up to £15 worth of shipping fees per item should you need to return your items. This can be used for up to 12 eligible returns per year worldwide on your PayPal purchases.

There is a cap of £15 per refund request, if the return shipping costs are more than this (which should be very rare) you will have to pay for any additional costs above that limit.

Paypal app
Source: Marques Thomas / Unsplash.

Why would I need PayPal Returns?

While a lot of online retailers now offer free returns, many do not. But there is a way to get around just that.

Whether you’re buying new trainers, a pair of jeans, or the latest electronics online, if a store charges for returns, but accepts PayPal, you're in luck. Pay with PayPal & they will refund the cost of your return postage should you need to return your item. 

The Return Shipping on Us service can be used whenever a free or refunded return option is not available from the seller you made your purchase from.

Use PayPal Returns to return your purchases

Activate the Service

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure to activate the refunded returns service on your PayPal account.

Go to the Paypal refunded returns information page & click the blue 'Agree & Activate Now' link.

Once activated, you just need to remember to pay with PayPal when you shop!

How to use the PayPal Return "Shipping on Us" service

PayPal on PC
Source: mohamed_hassan / Pixabay.
  1. Return your item. Follow the seller’s return instructions for your purchase and keep a copy of your return shipping receipt. (proof of posting)

  2. Submit a PayPal Refund Request. Log into your PayPal UK account, select the purchase you returned and click on “Get Return Shipping on us” 

  3. Submit the return shipping request form, along with proof of your return within 30 days. The ‘proof' you need to submit includes: The receipt from the post office or courier service; and Proof that the purchased item was returned to the seller. If this information is not included on the original return shipping receipt,  you can provide a photo of the return package with the seller’s address visible.

  4. Receive your refund. If your PayPal refund claim is approved you will receive a refund of up to £15 to your PayPal account within 10 business days.

How long does it take to get my PayPal Returns refund?

The process is very straightforward, and PayPal is really good at keeping you up to date via email at every stage:

  • Confirmation of receipt of your refund request

    You should get this the same day, or the first business day after your refund request was received.

  • Notice of approval or rejection of your refund request

     You will receive an email within 5 working days to say whether your refund request was approved.

  • Refund

    Your refund should then be paid directly in your PayPal account within another 5 working days of your refund request approval. 

PayPal Returns FAQs

Will the PayPal Return Shipping on Us service cost me anything?

No. The  PayPal Return Shipping on Us Service is completely free to use.

How long do I have to request my refund?

How many refunds can I get via the PayPal Return Shipping on Us service?

What is the cost after the free 12 returns per year?

Does paying via PayPal offer me protection on my purchases?

Can a PayPal payment be cancelled?