I can’t get back the £20,000 I accidentally paid via PayPal | Silver

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I accidentally overpaid my tuition fees at the University of Birmingham.

I am a self-funded PhD student and my fees are £2,998 for one year. I accidentally paid £22,980.

As it was via PayPal I was unaware of my mistake until the money was about to come out. My bank declined the payment but it went through anyway and my PayPal account shows a debt of £22,980.

The university’s finance department confirmed that it returned the money to PayPal.

I disputed the transaction via PayPal’s online resolution center but, without consulting me, it changed the reason to “wrong invoice” and asked me to send a receipt, which I cannot TO DO.

I’ve been clear all along it was my mistake but my dispute is now closed with PayPal ruling in favor of the university and confirming that I owe them £22,980.

I don’t know where the money is, but I have now received a letter stating that I will be sued for this debt.

I’ve done everything I can and it’s extremely stressful. I have no idea what to do now. I can’t pay £22,980 that I don’t owe.

A M, Nottingham

Your mistake set off a nightmarish chain of events as it proved very difficult to reach anyone at PayPal who would listen to you or, in your opinion, believe you.

In the end, it took two months to help you solve this problem.

You found that PayPal paid no attention to the information shared by you, or the university, in the dispute resolution portal, and even when we got involved and the situation was moving towards resolution, you were upset to receive a letter from a debt collection company responsible for chasing the money.

The money had been in PayPal’s coffers all along, because the university did as it said and returned the money. Unfortunately, the transaction was not associated with your account.

Once the university bank provided a reference number for the transaction, PayPal was able to locate the funds. But, rather than crediting them to your account, he returned the money to the university, so they could credit the refund to your account, a step that prolonged your agony.

PayPal says: “This was an unusual case and it took longer than we would have liked to reverse the overpayment. We made a goodwill payment to say sorry for the delay.

You accepted the £510 compensation, but donated it to charity.

It has put enormous pressure on you and your family, and we are happy to have helped put an end to it.

We welcome letters but cannot respond individually. Email us at [email protected] or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters are subject to our terms and conditions

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