I paid my rent with Paypal but something went wrong!

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By Christopher Elliott

Kelly Stout is in trouble. She made her recent rent payment via PayPal, but something went terribly wrong and her landlord never received the funds. Can we figure out what happened here?


I need help with a missing PayPal payment. I made my rent payment recently through PayPal. PayPal withdrew the money from my bank account but my landlord never received it.

I contacted PayPal, which traced the money and promised to return it to my account. But I haven’t seen the money. My landlord says he never received my rent payment through PayPal. He is demanding the payment right away and I need those funds returned ASAP. He is threatening me with eviction. Can you help me get PayPal to return my $951? — Kelly Stout, East Rochester, N.Y.


I’m sorry your money is missing. PayPal should do everything it can to find and refund the missing money quickly, especially since you could get evicted. Under state law, the next step would have been a 14-day eviction notice, which fortunately you didn’t receive.

Paying your rent with PayPal is a little controversial. PayPal offers two kinds of accounts: a personal account and a business account. Some landlords, in an effort to skirt PayPal’s fees, accept rent payments through their personal accounts. That’s a violation of PayPal’s terms. PayPal may also hold the money when the amount is suspicious. In other words, your payment might not go through. (Related: Emma Cottons never sent my quilts. Is this a scam?)

You kept a thorough paper trail of the correspondence between you and PayPal — good job. But as I reviewed the efforts you took to fix the problem, jumped out that might have helped to resolve the situation. Here’s my guide on how to get an unauthorized PayPal charge removed.

Making a payment for your rent via PayPal shouldn’t be this hard

At first, you were polite in your communication with PayPal. But then PayPal incorrectly claimed it didn’t take the money because of insufficient funds in your bank. After a representative refused to immediately refund your money, you became combative. (“YOU TOOK THE MONEY. I want my money back now. And I will be contacting a lawyer.”)

OK, I understand you were upset. But when a company says “no” you need to be extra polite. It isn’t so much the yelling (ALL UPPERCASE) but the legal threat that could have really thrown your case under the bus. When people threaten to take a company to court, the complaint often goes straight to the legal department, where it dies. But you were lucky. That didn’t happen to you (Related: I didn’t make a PayPal donation. So where did my money go?)

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Another reason you might want to remain calm and cordial: At some point, you may have to forward your paper trail of correspondence to a manager at PayPal. We list the names, numbers and email addresses of the PayPal executives on in our database.

My advocacy team and I contacted PayPal on your behalf. It found that it had indeed taken your money but that your landlord never claimed your payment. PayPal refunded your $951.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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