Refunds are an unavoidable part of your membership business. Even if you clearly state that you do not offer refunds for membership, there will be people who dispute a charge via their bank or PayPal. Read this post for more information about how to design your membership site’s refund policy.

Here’s how we process refunds in order to maintain good data in our membership reports.

1. Locate the Member Record

If the membership is still active, you can search for the member under Memberships > Members List. I generally enter the account email address to locate the record.

If membership is cancelled (the member already cancelled their membership via the “Membership Cancel” page), the member will show up in the Members List by selecting “Old Members” from the “Show” dropdown.


2. Edit the Member

  1. In the Members List, click the member’s username to be taken to the “Edit User” admin page.
  2. pmpro_edit_user_membership_levelScroll to the “Membership” section and change the “Current Level” to “None” (or another default “Free” level if applicable for your site).
  3. Additional settings in this section include:
    • Expires: Change this field to set a different expiration date or set to “No”.
    • Send the user an email about this change: Optionally send the “Admin Change” email to the user after updating.
    • Cancel this user’s subscription at the gateway: Checking this box will cancel the recurring portion (if applicable) with the gateway. This is important to check if your are canceling the member and there is an active subscription with your gateway!
  4. Click “Update User”.

After clicking “Update User”, the membership is updated, the member is notified (if selected) and the subscription is cancelled at the gateway (if selected). Now to actually process the refund.

3. Update the Order and Refund at the Gateway

If you are using the Member History Add On, you will see a list of all invoices for the member directly on the Edit User page. This makes the refund process a lot simpler, so I strongly suggest using this add on.

  1. Locate the Order to refund. This is the last order in the “Member History” section of the User Profile. Or, navigate to Membership > Orders and search for the user.
  2. Click the “Invoice ID” to view the Order.
  3. Scroll to “Payment Transaction ID”. This is the transaction ID you will use to look up the order in your gateway.
  4. Log in to your gateway account and search for the order. This varies based on the gateway used. Remember to check the “Gateway” field on the order if you are using the Add PayPal Express Add On in addition to another primary gateway, such as Stripe.
  5. Process the refund at the gateway. Be careful as most gateways have multiple confirmation steps to approve a refund. You may have to click “Okay” two or three times to actually process the refund.
  6. Update the Order Status. On the “Edit Order” page, update the “Status” to “Refunded”. This will ensure that your Membership Sales and Revenue reports are accurate.

What about a dispute or chargeback?

The process is fairly similar for a disputed charge. You can try to respond to cases via the gateway or resolve the dispute directly with the member.

But when these efforts fail and you are forced to accept a dispute, go through the same process above:

  • Edit the user’s membership to “None”.
  • Check the box to “Cancel this user’s subscription at the gateway” if applicable.
  • Update the order to “Refunded”.