Stuck Without Refund, Should I Listen To Walmart Or PayPal?

J. is stuck between two commercial titans and regular Worst Company in America contenders: Walmart and PayPal. After he returned a defective tablet for a refund, Walmart held on to the money. J. filed a PayPal dispute, and has been told to drop the dispute in order to get a refund from Walmart. PayPal says not to drop the dispute. Who should J. trust?

I purchased this Lepan Android Tablet from Walmart’s website & paid for it through paypal on 5/11/12. I received it on 5/16/12 it kept freezing up so I tried to return it to a Walmart store and was told I would have to send it back [and] that they couldn’t refund my money at the store. I mailed it back to Walmart on 5/19/12 per their instructions.

On 6/05/12 they sent me an e-mail confirming they had received the tablet and as soon as it was scanned in I would recieve my refund. I inquired again on 6/10/12 and was told they would research this and get back to me in 2-3 days. Not a word from them. On 6/13/12 I filed a dispute case with Paypal. I received an e-mail from Walmart on 6/17/12 stating they had issued the refund & it would post to my paypal account in 5-7 days. On 6/19 I received a call from Walmart stating the refund could not be processed until I cancelled the dispute with Paypal. I called Paypal and was advised not to cancel the dispute.

To date I still have not heard a word or received my refund.

Balancing out the two companies, the safer bet may be dropping the PayPal dispute and letting Walmart issue the refund. If Walmart’s payment system isn’t compatible with PayPal dispute resolution, though, what business do they have accepting PayPal as a method of payment in the first place?

The safest bet, in future, is to use a credit or debit card, if you have one, to shop online.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dave B. says:

    He should trust everyone here when they tell him to stop using paypal…

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    This is what happens when you introduce middlemen into the transaction. If I paid by credit card, I would return the tablet and my card would be credited; a simple transaction indeed. With Paypal involved, everything seems to turn into a clusterfu*k of incompetence and problems. How does using Paypal make the transaction easier? What’s wrong with just using your credit card to purchase something since the credit card company is actually regulated, unlike Paypal.

    • Velifer says:

      The credit card company and PayPal are both middlemen. One just happens to be under government regulation while the other operates in a Rand Paul/Reagan/Somalia styled unregulated market.

      • Robert Nagel says:

        I am willing to bet that the owners of PayPal are raging liberals. Businessmen know that their word is their bond and that if they don’t keep it they will have a hard time doing business with others. Why would you equate Ronald Reagan, an honorable man, with dishonorable business practices. can you provide examples of his failing to make a good faith effort to keep his word? It would have been better to connect PayPal with Bill Clinton, John Kerry or our present leader.

      • Skyhawk says:

        Which is good, because if those government ‘regulated’ banks ever started doing shady stuff, it could really hurt the economy. Oh, wait.

    • Kait says:

      Have you ever had your credit card # stolen by a “trusted vendor”? I have. Twice. Still cleaning up the mess the second one created. I use PayPal because no vendor gets my info. People love to hate on PayPal, but it works well for me.

  3. Coffee says:

    I would trust Walmart more than I would Paypal…Walmart is an enormous company, and there are times when things like this move sluggishly through. If you have documentation that they said they would process the refund, then they most likely will if you escalate. Paypal, in contrast, is just fucking evil…they will likely resolve the dispute in Walmart’s favor, then tell you that you’re not allowed to receive a refund at all. Ever.

    • Jawaka says:

      If he was able to trust Walmart then he would have had his refund already and wouldn’t have been forced to file a dispute with PayPal in the first place. If PayPal is telling him to not cancel the dispute then I’d listen to them. A dispute takes about a week or so to take its course as they tend to give the seller a chance to respond. As long as he has proof that he returned the product PayPal will issue him the refund.

      • matlock expressway says:

        “As long as he has proof that he returned the product PayPal will issue him the refund.”

        Either that, or confiscate his funds and suspend his account indefinitely.

      • Robert Nagel says:

        Walmart doesn’t want PayPal to refund the money because they will then hit Walmart with a fee for having had to do it. When you offer to simply have the credit card company or PayPal reverse the transaction through a charge back you are costing the merchant real money and it does give you some leverage.

  4. Charles Edward Winthrop III, Esquire, Investigator of the Unknown Music says:

    Having been through this with Wal-Mart and PayPal, DO NOT DROP THE DISPUTE!

    The minute you drop it, the refund will magically disappear, and Wal-Mart will claim to know nothing about it!

  5. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    There is no possible excuse for trusting PayPal…ever. Walmart may be inherently evil…but they’re like an angel compared to PayPal.

  6. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I would trust Walmart far more than Paypal. If something more goes wrong with this transaction, Walmart will be reachable. Paypal will not.

  7. valkyrievf2x says:

    Anyway he can get either of them in writing? Can’t say I trust either one of them…

  8. OSAM says:

    Why did the OP not attempt to contact Wal-Mart again after the initial 3-day wait? Jumping directly to a PayPal dispute seems to be a bit rash, given that things may have gotten cleared up with a phone call to Wal-Mart then and there.


    • ugly says:

      I also find this behavior with all of the chargeback advice. Seems like a serious contingent of people feel like a chargeback is a “trumps all return policy” wherein they don’t need to exert any sort of effort and just get money back.

      I wonder if someone has ever run a story on chargeback failures and how frequent they are. It seems with the recent spate of chargeback abuse that it’s a tool that’s going to get taken away fairly soon and rightly so.

    • kobresia says:

      I think when the automated email confirms receipt and that an action will happen in a specific timeframe, it doesn’t, they contact W*M directly, they’re again promised action in a specific timeframe, it doesn’t happen, I think it’s reasonable at that point to go the chargeback or dispute route. Either the incompetence is too great to overcome or it’s a stall tactic. I have very little patience for that manner of bumblefuckery, it’s fine if something is proving to be difficult to sort out, but they have to at least communicate that proactively, not make me take it upon myself to pester them for something they should be able to do on their own.

      I suspect that the CSRs at W*M are not able to login to the corporate PP account so they can’t issue refunds, either unilaterally or under a dispute. Knowing PP, even if they have something they claim are “corporate account tools”, it’s a painful process using slipshod utilities to try to manage transactions, much less a dispute process. Heck, they might be too incompetent to even *respond* to PP disputes and let it just go to the default judgment for the buyer regardless of how absurd the claim is.

  9. FearTheCowboy says:

    Why on *earth* would you use Paypal to… well, do *anything*? If that’s the only option a company has, I simply do no business with them (and always tell them why).

    If you have an option other than Paypal, why would you *ever* use that? Has anyone *ever* had a dispute handled appropriately from Paypal? EVER?

    Serves the OP right. Hope you learned a lesson.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      I would have to agree with that. Especially with a normal retailer like Walmart. There’s no possible excuse for using PayPal in such a case. Unless you’re just dying to get f%cked over.

    • raydee o'bugg says:

      Damn right. Same for websites that only allow you to make purchases through a Facebook account.

    • longfeltwant says:

      I’ll bite on that. First let me say that I never use PayPal for receiving money, or for holding a balance. That would be begging to be defrauded by well-known criminals (PayPal).

      But I pay for purchases through PayPal with a credit card. In this way I contain the number of websites which hold my credit card information. Whenever there is a PP option, I click through and use PP to complete a credit card transaction. It is convenient because I can choose which of a few
      cards I want to pay with.

      Is that foolish? Do I somehow lose my credit card protection by using PayPal? If so, let me know and I’ll stop doing that. But the way I see it, instead of giving my credit card number to random one-time-purchase website, I protect myself from their potential poor security or criminal enterprise by running payments through PayPal. If I ever needed to protest a charge, I could still protest it with my credit card, couldn’t I?

      • KyBash says:

        Read PayPal’s policy about chargebacks.

        Basically, if PayPal doesn’t think you should get a refund, they’ll refuse the chargeback, charge you a fee for that, and close your account permanently.

    • theconversationalist says:

      He bought a Lepan Android Tablet. Knowing that decision already tells us:

      1. He’s suffered enough.
      2. His life is filled with hard lessons learned.

  10. Hi_Hello says:

    Listen to walmart, if they still don’t refund your money, take them to same claims court.

  11. dobgold says:

    Don’t listen to Laura. Using a debit card is a real bad idea for online transactions.

  12. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    If my choices are to choose to trust PayPal or WalMart, I choose to have myself committed to an asylum and heavly medicated.

  13. whylime says:

    I think the OP kinda jumped the gun with filing a PayPal dispute. Walmart said they would get back to him in 2-3 days. The OP gave them exactly 3 days to respond, before filing the dispute. He didn’t even attempt to contact them again before doing it. Had he reached out to Walmart again or been a bit more patient, everything would have been sorted out much sooner.

    That being said, don’t trust paypal!

  14. Smiling says:

    I would retract the dispute. If they don’t come through, do as someone else suggested and take it to small claims. You will win.

  15. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The best way to slow down a refund is to issue a chargeback while it’s being processed.

  16. thomas_callahan says:

    I would strongly advise NOT dropping the paypal dispute unless Walmart says, in writing, that they will refund you if you do. If you drop the dispute, very likely if you don’t end up getting resolution from Walmart, Paypal will be “unable” to help you. They’ll say the time limit on filing a dispute has passed, or you can’t file a dispute twice, or some other garbage.

    If you do maintain the paypal dispute, keep pressue on, I’ve had several disputes fail because of time limits, usually caused by the person who the dispute is against failing to respond in a timely manner.

    And, obviously, never shop at Walmart, never use Paypal, and for the love of all that is holy do not mix the two!

  17. Robert Nagel says:

    If you drop the dispute, can you renew it if Walmart doesn’t live up to its’ end of the bargain? I like Walmart, but that doesn’t mean every Walmart employee.

  18. mcgyver210 says:

    Wal-Mart probably knows you can’t once dropped you wont be able to start it again or at least that is the way PayPal used to be.