Pay With PayPal And Return Stuff, Only Get Store Credit

Cora has a warning for the Consumerist community: while you can pay on using your PayPal account and then return it, it’s not necessarily a good idea. You’ll get your money back, but it won’t be automatically credited back to your PayPal account. Instead, you’ll receive the balance on a Target gift card. This can be either frustrating or convenient, depending on the amount of the order and how often you shop at Target.

Like many people across America, I was eagerly awaiting Target’s Missoni collection on September 13th. And also like many people, I had a hard time getting the website to load so I could add items to my cart and checkout. After numerous tries over the course of the day, I was finally able to get in and fill my shopping cart.

To expedite the checkout process and avoid losing the merchandise I wanted (again), I opted to checkout via Paypal.

Unfortunately, when I received the items, several didn’t fit. I thought, “No problem. I’ll just return them and get my money back.” What I didn’t know, however, is that Target has a policy of not refunding your money if you purchase via Paypal.


I saw this policy on the checkout page (the attached image) as I was buying my items, but since the checkout page only refers to Target stores, I assumed it only applied to Target stores. In other words, if I returned my items to, I thought I’d still be reimbursed via my actual method of payment (the way most other businesses do).

So imagine my surprise when I called and they told me that they’d only be able to issue me a Target gift card as well. “That policy isn’t on your website,” I stated. They insisted that it was and directed me to this page. As you can see it says nothing about Paypal.

Then they told me to visit their checkout page, but that says nothing about the gift card return policy either. It turns out that policy is on their website albeit a couple of clicks away from any of the pages their customers regularly access.

I can’t lie. I feel a little bamboozled here. When someone sends you payment via a certain method, it’s not unreasonable to expect a refund via that same method…especially when so many other stores (such as ModCloth) have no problem refunding Paypal purchases. And if you have a policy that insists certain kind of refunds can only be made via gift card, that policy needs to be obvious and explicit on both your main returns page and your checkout page. It’s unreasonable to expect your customers to hunt through your website for what basically amounts to an abnormal policy.

I thought Consumerist readers and particularly Target shoppers should be aware of this policy. I wish I’d known beforehand.

Paying with PayPal when shopping online can be convenient, but may backfire when you need to return items. Generally, you should verify policies before making your purchase. PayPal customers have to wait longer for their refunds even at consumer-loving Zappos.

This advice wouldn’t have helped Cora in this case, but may save you time and aggravation in the future.

Target Unprepared For Fashionista Barrage, Suffers Site Crash
$35 Missoni For Target Boots Listed On eBay For $31,000. Seller Thinks Someone Will Pay

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.