Help Article

How do I use IPN to track complaints or chargebacks?

The IPN complaint/chargeback process has two basic steps:
  1. A buyer files a complaint or a chargeback and you receive the IPN message payment_status=Reversed.
  2. PayPal generates a case with a case_type and reason_code.
  • case_type values include:
  • complaint: The buyer filed a complaint with PayPal.
  • chargeback: The buyer filed a chargeback with the credit card issuer.
 
  • Complaint reason_code values include:
  • not_as_described: The buyer claims that the goods or service received differ from the merchant's description of the goods or service.
  • non_receipt: The buyer claims they didn't get the goods or service.
 
  • Chargeback reason_code values include:
  • unauthorized: The buyer claims that they didn't authorize the transaction.
  • non_receipt: The buyer claims that they didn't get the goods or service.
  • duplicate: The buyer claims that they may have sent a duplicate payment to the merchant.
  • merchandise: The buyer claims that the received merchandise is unsatisfactory, defective, or damaged.
  • special: Either the buyer claims an unusual reason for the chargeback (in rare cases), or a credit card processing error occurred (more likely). PayPal will review the documentation from the credit card company to determine the nature of the dispute, and if needed, will contact the merchant to resolve it. Usually special chargebacks are processing errors and you won't have received payment.

Complaint resolution

When complaints are closed, you receive the IPN message payment_status=Canceled_Reversal.
  • The gross shows positive if the complaint was resolved in the seller's favor, and the seller gets a refund.
  • The gross shows negative if the complaint was resolved in the buyer's favor, and the funds return to the buyer.

Chargeback resolution

When chargebacks are closed, you receive the IPN message txn_type=adjustment with payment_status=Completed. The reason_code will be one of the following values:
  • chargeback_reimbursement: The gross shows positive if the chargeback was resolved in the seller's favor, and the seller gets a refund.
  • chargeback_settlement: The gross shows negative if the chargeback was resolved in the buyer's favor, and the funds return to the buyer.

Some complaints don't cause the reversal of funds. In such cases, no reversal IPN is sent and you receive a new_case IPN, as it wouldn't affect your balance. For more information about IPN, review the guide Introducing IPN.
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