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Do we need to pay back refunds?

Question:

Dear Din Online,

I live in Israel. Our postal service here is notoriously poor.

Because English-language books are hard to find locally, I sometimes order from internet websites.

On occasion, these have not shown up for such a length of time (3 months!) that I have assumed that they got lost in the postal system. After contacting customer service, I was issued with a refund.

On the couple of times that the book has subsequently shown up I have gotten back in touch with the company who asked that I sent the money back through Paypal.

My question is whether this is required?

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

From what you are describing, this sounds like hashovas aveida, because the company reimbursed the money to you, and now it is their lost item. Therefore if the seller is Jewish, the money should be returned to them. If the seller isn’t, then essentially you wouldn’t have to return it, but it is a good idea if you will be able to make a kiddush H-shem by doing so. In your situation, where you asked them and they saiud to return the money to them, then that it what should be done, other wise it would be a chillul H-shem.

Best wishes

 

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