About Scams in General

How do I get money back from a scammer?

So the worst has come to pass… you realise you clicked on that order button too fast, and the site you used was a scam… what now?

Well first of all don’t despair!!

The first port of call when having an issue from someone you’re not sure is a scammer is to simply ask for a refund. This is the easiest method of gaining a refund if they are in fact a legitimate store.

However, if this did not work you can resort to other methods. The first step to helping you get your money back is to pick the payment method you used from the list below (as detailed by Which?, a consumer protection charity based out of the UK):

  1. Credit Card

  2. PayPal

  3. Bank Transfer

  4. Debit Card

  5. Wire transfer


By using PayPal you have a strong chance of getting your money back if you were scammed. On their website you can file a dispute. This is valid within 180 calendar days of your purchase.

Conditions to file a dispute

The simplest situation is that you ordered from an online store and it has not arrived. In this case this is what PayPal states:

If your order never shows up and the seller can't provide proof of shipment or delivery, you'll get a full refund. It's that simple.

- PayPal

There are further scenarios that can be solved through opening a dispute:

The scammer has sent you a completely different item

- For example you ordered a Playstation 4, but instead received only a Playstation controller.

The condition of the item was misrepresented on the product page.

- This could be the item was stated as brand new, yet has obvious signs of use.

The item is missing parts or feature and this was not disclosed

- You purchase a shelf including all screws for assembly, yet on arrival these are not included.

The product you received was a counterfeit version of the product, and was sold as genuine.  

Payment via debit card/credit card

If you have paid the online store via a debit card or credit, your best bet is to go through your card’s bank, and check if they have a section on ‘disputed transactions’ or mention the ‘chargeback’ process. This process can be rather complicated… as demonstrated perfectly by this infographic by Chargebacks911.

But just what is chargeback? Money Saving Expert states that chargeback is useful for when you buy something online and the goods/services are: faulty, not provided, not delivered to you as the company went bust. Your bank will go directly to the merchant’s bank to refund the amount back to your account (if the claim is valid). The period is which you have to ask for a chargeback is 120 days of when you paid or noticed the issue.

For UK consumers

For those of you from the United Kingdom you have a friend in Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (if you’d like to know more, check out the full legal text over at Money Saving Expert).

What does it mean for you? Well this piece of protection means that if you paid more between £100 – £30,000 you can get your money back if you don’t receive the item ordered or something was as it should have been. The difference between this and chargebacks s that this isn’t a voluntary scheme from the card providers. These protections are enshrined in law.

Why we at Scamadviser think this protection is great for consumers is that it also protects users from a company who has let you down and then goes bust.

Note: Be careful not to use a third-party such as PayPal when paying by credit card. This can invalidate your right to claim under Section 75. For further details look here.



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