How to Get Your Money Back if You’ve Been Scammed Online.

r5It can be an absolutely terrible feeling when you get scammed online, especially if it’s your first time. I’ve become numb to knowingly buying bad products that try to weasel me out of money and I do it because it’s part of my business, but I’ve also gotten very good at figuring out how to get my money back and the simple truth is that it’s easy, though annoying to handle.

I get a ton of questions on my website regarding scam products and most of the time, besides people sharing their negative experiences, the other common thing is about them wasting their money on those product/s too and wanting to get back their money so in this article, I will show you many different ways you can go about getting refunds.

Sometimes it will involve dealing with the merchant themselves, and many times, perhaps more often, you will have to do it through another means such as getting in touch with your credit card company.

First let’s address that unfortunately, false purchases can be made by the customer too!

There are many rules that are made to give buyers safety when buying products which I will discuss can also be used to your advantage when getting a legitimate refund for an illegitimate product you purchased but unfortunately there are groups of people who while knowing these rules use them for abuse.

They knowingly buy good products and then use the refund policy to get it back. It happens in offline and online purchases all the time and I want to make it clear that this article is NOT for these types of people. I am only writing this article to help people who have legitimately been scammed get their money back so if this is not you, please go away and rethink your principals.

Next, let me address what I consider a justified reason to request your money back:

As I said, I buy many products. Since I run multiple websites dealing with different niche topics, I review a lot of products and buy many of them as well and yes I spend a ton of money for this. However, how do I decide if the purchase is illegitimate? Here’s how:

  • If the product I ordered is damaged or not as the ad described, there’s a reason.
  • When I buy products in say the make money online department which is mainly programs, if I see the information is undervalued compared to it’s price, it’s justification to request a refund. Ex: I buy an ebook for $99 that talks about making money online, but it’s information is outdated, extremely basic and found in other, free sources or I personally know it can could write my own thing about it (like here) and sell it for less or give it away for free.
  • Program or service I purchased came with a money back guarantee, but then I discover when requesting it that the guarantee only applies to a certain case or there was an update they hid on another page that wasn’t obvious to see. In other words, the money back guarantee is not actually guaranteed. I could use that as a means to say I was lied to.
  • I buy a product and then get up sells (happens a lot) without knowledge they would be there. In many cases up-sells can be both optional and required (yes it’s an oxymoron) because many products sold are “incomplete” without the up-sells so while it’s optional to buy them, you don’t get the most high quality version until you buy ALL the things, but if this isn’t mentioned on the original sales page, it’s a reason to request a refund.

Now let’s get into getting your money back, starting from legitimate organizations:

When you make online purchases, there’s 2 types of places you can make it from: Organizations that are strict and honor a money back guarantee making it easy to get the money back and those which aren’t.

In this section, we will cover the legitimate ones:

Amazon: Amazon is amazing at providing a great customer service especially with refunds. You can be assured that ANY purchase you make there will be safe even if you’re not happy:

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Whenever you order something on Amazon, there is an “orders” page available to you where you can select the return option, which will take you the above page where you can choose a reason why. Obviously, make sure you have a good reason before requesting this. 

This type of policy is also similar in other websites/organizations like Walmart, Best Buy, ect

Clickbank: Despite there being many products on Clickbank I personally do not consider good, they also offer an incredible 30-60 (I think it’s 60 now) day guarantee and you don’t really have to go through a loop to get it. All you do is visit the Clickbank website, click on customer support, then refund, then enter the order number you were given and then go from there. I have NEVER had a problem getting a refund back from Clickbank.

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And it’s interesting too that MANY things you may buy online may come from Clickbank and the way to tell is if you visit a website, SCROLL down to the very bottom and see if there is a disclaimer that the product is from Clickbank. If it is, know you’re good to go on buying the product.

In these examples, when you want your money back, you can do it through the vendor (in this case the big name of the company). 

What to do if you’ve been scammed online:

Now we get to the hard ones, where you have to try and get your funds back from bad places:

When dealing with merchants that are not associated with big names, are independent or have you buy through online means, and have weird looking “money back guarantee” stamps, be very careful. 

For example, if you deal with any companies that are NOT associated with Amazon or the other big names I mentioned, do this:

  • Absolutely READ the disclaimer on how much you’ll be charged. See if there are monthly fees or reoccurring charges and compare it to the sales page where you buy the product from. Did the sales page say it’s monthly? If you see some kind of timer on the checkout page, ignore it, it’s bogus and meant to distract your attention from reading the REAL information. 
  • Take a screenshot if the sales page claims contradict the checkout cart page. Use monosnap, a great program for taking screenshots or if you’re not that good with those programs, use your phone to take a picture. Every product I buy that falls into questionable purchases, I always take screenshots, before, during and after the purchase.
  • See if after the purchase was made, if you were led into a up-sell page where you had more to buy. Did the original sales mention there would be more purchases? Take a picture of that too and then take a screenshot/picture of the up-sell.
  • Was the product itself LESS than the hype you saw on the sales page? What if the homepage said you were going to learn a million dollar idea and then after the purchase was made, you just got basic information on say coming up with an idea and writing an eBook on it? That’s the info anyone will tell you, so if you paid for it, you got scammed.
  • Did the product page say it was free and then on the checkout cart or somewhere they said there’s a trial you need to buy or pay for shipping? That’s a clue that there’s some scam going on. Again, take the screenshots.

Why are you doing all this?r1

Well if the product or service you purchased sucked, you can use all those screenshots as EVIDENCE/insurance to make a claim for a refund IF the request isn’t honored by the merchant.

I’ve had times where I sent 5+ pages of reports to my credit card company highlighting all those little bullet points above which make it easy for your situation. 

First try to contact the merchant:

Before you go into the next option which is probably going to be the only thing that works with scam products, do note that many places such as Paypal and your credit card company will ask if you’ve tried to connect with the merchant. 

There are times when simply requesting a refund through a support desk or emailing the support email of the merchant will be enough to get you the refund.

But…

Unfortunately some sleazy places like to:

  • Take their time with their responses. Either the support really sucks or they do it on purpose to stretch out the period you’re in the program to claim you used it to revoke your request. Don’t wait more than 24 hours, any customer service request that isn’t honored before that is bad quality in my opinion.
  • Sometimes even give you some default answers or take you for a loop in trying to get you to keep the program. They’ll send you replies to your requests every few days and then after you think you’ve gained some progress, they just send you another default email/response you saw before. Be sure to ALSO take screenshots of this.
  • Some of them may even be rude to you. As long they are not addressing your request to get money back, that’s enough evidence to take to the next options…

If going through the merchant doesn’t work, then here’s your “guaranteed” option that will:

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When you do contact them, get in touch with the dispute department and let the agent/s know exactly what occurred and say you have the evidence (obviously the ones you compiled from the tips above).

IF you’re already in a situation where you didn’t gather evidence, your best option is to let the customer representative know why you feel you were scammed and if necessary, link them to the page where you purchased the product or explain that it was deceptive. 

In some cases, a form is sent where you have to complete why you are disputing the purchase. Usually having screenshot evidence attached to the form is going to help you.

Usually in many cases what happens is the purchase you made is “temporarily” refunded until an investigation takes place. Usually the merchant is also contact by your cc/bank to allow them to make their case and if they don’t respond, your payment which was returned is permanently restored. 

The good news is that in many cases, scam companies don’t even bother to speak with your companies because they know they won’t be able to make a claim and will lose so rather than waste their time and resources, they just try to scam someone else. 

My final thoughts:

Know that when it comes to online purchases, there are many safety precautions available to you especially by your credit card company to protect you from getting scammed so if you did have a problem, don’t let it bother you, take the time to let the right people know. 

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In every single instance I have had a problem with a program I purchased, I have always been able to get my money back and stop the merchant from charging me again. 

In some cases, to prevent future charges, you may have to change your credit/debit card number which is why I said earlier it can be very annoying, but at least you won’t be scammed further.

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honest review

19 Comments

  1. isaac

    Great stuff Vitaliy. I’m not a frequent online buyer but I still occasionally but things online especially those not readily found in stores near me. Fortunately I’ve never been scammed online. I’ll take extra precautions using your tips (the snapshots are very important) and I’ve bookmarked your post in preparation for any untoward incident in future 🙂

    Many thanks for this very informational post!

  2. alisonklingvall

    Hi Vitaliy

    I’m trying to get a refund from a company for a VPN that never seems to connect and always needs to shut down. The worst thing is I let it go for a long time and didn’t realize I had the thing on auto renewal so now I have it for another year. I am trying to chase it up through paypal now.

    Paypal had me contact the company direct (again) but as they haven’t responded I guess I will get back in touch with paypal..and following that my bank..is that the right way?

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Alison, unfortunately the only cases where it’s tough to get refunds is in this particular one. If you’ve been involved with this company for so long, odds are, whatever money back guarantee they offered, if past.

      This is also past the.same period of time (90 days is probably as far as you can go) that banks, paypal and credit card companies will accept you reason.

      However, if this company is indeed illegitimate and they’ve been charging you for an X amount of time without your consent, that is grounds enough to let paypal know or whatever other method they are charging you through.

      Generally Paypal has you speak with the merchant and them as a last resort, and if they are the ones who process these payments, you should keep trying to persuade them and if it’s your bank, persuade them also.

  3. Sunny

    Hi Vitaliy,

    I was scammed twice and yes, it was a terrible feeling. When you start realizing that the product you have purchased is not working, especially if it was meant to help you create your own online business. However, I got my money back! $97

    The another one was $1 and they asked me to buy something more to start and it turned to be the same product I have already returned lol

    However, I was scammed a couple of times regardless the ”online business products”. I got my money back each time. Those tips you gave here are great! Thanks!

    Sunny

  4. Mike

    Thank you so much for this – I’ve been a victim of a scam from an independant trader and had no idea how to go about getting my cash back. This is a really useful overview on what to do. I think it’s probably too late for me with this one, but I’ll be sure to follow your tips if I get stung in the future.

    • Vitaliy

      How long ago did the scam take place Mike? If it was under 2-3 months, in most cases, you may be able to convince your credit card company of the scam, provided you can prove that the trader you were dealing with gave you fraudulent advice and/or can gather information from other people who have not been happy with the person’s business.

  5. Riaz Shah

    Hey there Vitaliy,

    Another great post by you, I really hate it when sellers take advantage of our innocence. Knowing our rights is important for buying things online.

    Another way to help yourself be organised is to create an excel sheet for things we buy online. I usually write the date of purchase, the warranty end period, some notes, program name vendor name, ID etc so that I can keep track of everything.

    I also create a folder filled with screenshot pictures of everything so that when everything goes wrong like for example when the seller lies, I write a long argument on my blog to help people stay away from them, and I use the pictures as proof.

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Riaz, in my opinion that’s a lot more than you need to do but in your case, you do run a blog so certainly having all that extra information benefits you, but for the general visitors, screenshots and an explanation of why they didn’t get what they saw on the site is more than enough.

  6. Geoff

    Hey there Vitaly. Thanks for the info packed article. I bet the majority of people who get scammed online never do get their money back, which is why I find your post so important.

    People either give up too easy, or don’t know the way to go about it as you’ve explained so thoroughly. It’s a shame too because that’s exactly what the scammers are counting on.

    It’s also a shame that people abuse the process and practice false buying behavior. I spent many years in retail and can affirm that it is a problem.

    Have you ever found a case where you could not get your money back? Thanks again for explicit detail on what to do if you get scammed. Hopefully I won’t need it, but you never know. Geoff.

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Geoff, the only case where even credit card companies may not be able to help you is if you buy a product and decide to request a refund many months after the money back guarantee ends. I have only met 1 person who did this and even though he claimed he was scammed, I told him that you can’t just wait that long…

  7. Grace

    My friend was recently scammed online from a purchase she thought was legitimate. It’s a big catastrophe, because she made a big purchase and she needs help. After helping her research, I found this helpful article and shared it with her. She feels so much better after reading the logic of your post and she will follow the steps closely.

  8. ariefw

    Hi Vitaliy,

    I have been very careful to purchase anything online. That’s why I only purchase from a well known merchant like Amazon.

    I also use only PayPal. They have a great team that will help you get your money back if something went wrong.

    I never trust a website that does not use PayPal. But that is just me.

  9. Marcus

    It’s great that you have never had a problem getting a refund from ClickBank. I’ve heard of some ClickBank products where people struggled to get refunds, but maybe they tried to contact the seller directly rather than doing it through the ClickBank website.

    Regarding your point about people who constantly get refunds, I read several years ago that ClickBank can end up labelling people as persistent refunders, then those people won’t be able to buy ClickBank products in the future.

    • Vitaliy

      CB has always honored it’s refund policy in my experience Marcus. I’ve never heard of that policy where they don’t give them out to people who abuse refunds, but if I were a businessman and someone was doing that, I would also flag them for that behavior and probably not let them buy from me anymore.

  10. Alec Terry

    I definitely understand where you are coming from with all the different scams out there that people run just to try and make a quick buck. It’s good to know that there are ways that i can get my money back even when I buy into a scam or buy a very overvalued product such as the ebook you were mentioning.

    I think as consumers we tend to forget that not all purchases are final. There is some wiggle room. And if you don’t get what you pay for then you should absolutely be able to get your money back if need be.

  11. Taylor Willis

    Very informative article. Many of the scams or schemes I have dealt with, I end up going to hell and back trying to get my money back. A very small amount of places ever considered the refund while others I just had to go straight through the credit card company.

    • Vitaliy

      Generally it’s the scam programs which make getting refunds as difficult as possible Taylor. Like I said, don’t wait and let them dictate how things are going to work. If you got ripped off, you deserve to get everything back.

  12. Kerry

    I recently purchased products online, I actually bid on a few items that were ridiculously cheap! Once I went to make a payment they added on a crazy shipping charge, now I know how much our standard delivery charges are and questioned the supplier, he stated that he needed to pay for the products that he had shipped in to his business and that he needed to recoup his costs? Really? I thought I was paying for the product, not his business costs, anyway he filed a complaint against me, and now I have a red dot on my very good buying history. I think I should look into this further and see if I can have this resolved.

    • Vitaliy

      Aren’t you also able to rate the vendor in this case Kerry? If so, then you should share this on their report and warn others to watch out for the high costs.

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