I recently made a purchase from a vendor, using Paypal with my AmEx card. Specifically, I didn't log into my Paypal account, so I processed the initial purchase unassociated with a PayPal account.

The purchase didn't work as I desired, so the vendor sent me a refund. The last email I have received is "from" the vendor email, however, I can tell it is an auto-generated email from PayPal and contains a transaction ID.

The problem is that it hasn't shown up yet on my credit card bill online. I initiated the refund about a week ago, and I received the final Completed Transaction email from Paypal yesterday.

I know it may seem like I'm in a bit of a rush, but I'd really like to have my refund before my statement is due. How long should I wait before I need to have someone look into this transaction? Also, who should I contact first-- American Express or Paypal?

Any tips are appreciated.


2 Answers 2


You're aware of the fact that it takes at least a day for a credit card transaction to be posted? If you received the email yesterday, it might not yet appear today, check again tomorrow. Usually, refunds take a couple of days to appear. They almost never appear instantly (many purchases might, as "pending").

If it doesn't appear after several days - you can dispute the original transaction with Amex (they'll ask you what you've done, and when the refund was issued, IIRC the requirement is to wait for a week after the refund has been issued before you're allowed to open a dispute).

Once the transaction is in dispute - its removed from your statement and you don't need to pay it, until the dispute is resolved.

I find it very effective to dispute the transactions after the refund doesn't go through as expected, instead of wasting time and effort on talking to the vendors. Once you dispute the transaction, it becomes their problem, and usually all the delays and problems are resolved very quickly.


First contact American Express and make sure that the transaction is not there and in a pending state that does not show up on the website.

Assuming there is no credit I would then contact PayPal and verify that the email you received was legitimate.

If it was then see if PayPal can help you resolve the situation. It may be that the vender credited the wrong purchase accidentally. If so you will need to contact the vendor to get your purchase credited

If you need to contact the vendor take the approach that you assume he will help to rectify the situation but he should be able to complete his part within an hour and you should be able to confirm it some way in the same.

In the event you are unable to resolve the situation with the vendor, if it has been less than 30 days since the original transaction you can request a charge back from American Express. This should be your last option and you will want to have all of the information on whom you talked to and when prior to initiating. After 30 days most companies will refuse to issue the charge back with out an effort that is like pulling teeth. If you are forced to get a chargeback you will see some short term effects of your card being declined(Especially internet purchases) and I would avoid requesting new credit. After a few months of normal use your credit should return back to the normal state.

  • No problem with disputing a 30-days and older charge. Where did that come from? I've done it myself, with Amex, without any problem. Also, what does it have to do with the credit report/score? Completely irrelevant. The whole last paragraph makes no sense.
    – littleadv
    Dec 7, 2011 at 20:20
  • I am glad you had good results not everyone is so lucky. Vendors seeing recent charge back(s) are reluctant to issue new credit due to an increased risk that the current charge is fraud.
    – user4127
    Dec 7, 2011 at 20:50
  • Chad, vendors don't see any chargebacks on your card. What are you talking about? Vendors don't issue any credit to you, Amex does. You're mixing several different and totally unrelated terms here.
    – littleadv
    Dec 7, 2011 at 20:54
  • Yes I misstated I meant creditors. And credit processors do share cards that have had recent charge backs. They are the one that will reject your card for a transaction
    – user4127
    Dec 7, 2011 at 21:50
  • And credit processors do share cards that have had recent charge backs. They are the one that will reject your card for a transaction - If they do that they can be sued. I worked in that industry and I have never heard these claims even as rumors. I have no idea where you came up with that from.
    – littleadv
    Dec 7, 2011 at 22:26

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