How to claim a VPN money-back guarantee

Red rubber refund stamp on an invoice
(Image credit: Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)

If you’re on the search for a quality VPN service, you’ll likely be looking to test it out by using a VPN free trial – after all, it can be quite an investment, so making sure to try before you buy is an essential part of making the right choice.

This is especially important when it comes to streaming VPN services. If you plan on unblocking particular streaming sites, it’s essential to know that your chosen VPN can actually access them. Trialling it first takes any risk out of the equation.

However, very few providers offer genuine free trials, and instead work on a money-back guarantee basis. This can seem like a hassle at best and a con at worst, so here we’ll explain exactly how to claim a VPN money-back guarantee so you can test out the best services and spend your money wisely.

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What is a VPN money-back guarantee?

Whether you want to use a NordVPN money-back guarantee, ExpressVPN money-back guarantee, or one from any other major provider, the general concept is the same.

First of all, you need to choose your plan and pay. Then, once you’re set up, you have a certain period of time to test out the software, and if you don’t like it you can claim a refund.

Most providers (including ExpressVPN and NordVPN) offer a 30-day guarantee on every plan. So, while you’re getting the best deal on longer plans, it might be worth buying a month to minimize your initial outlay.

Be aware that some providers offer longer money-back guarantees, but shorter plans may come with less generous periods. For example, if you buy a year-long plan with CyberGhost, you’ll have a massive 45 days to claim your refund. Go for a one-month plan, though, and you’ll only have two weeks to make up your mind.

Man downloading a free trial on a laptop

(Image credit: Garagestock/Shutterstock)

How to claim a VPN money-back guarantee

In the unfortunate case that you have to make use of a money-back guarantee and claim a refund, the process is very simple. All of our top-rated providers are reliable and trustworthy, and in our experience have come true on their no-quibble promises.

For the quickest response, we recommend heading to your provider’s live chat service (if it provides it). Here, you can speak in real time to an operator. All you need to do is say that you’d like a refund, and they’ll go through any steps with you. You’ll likely be asked why you’re claiming your money back, but your reasoning shouldn’t affect the outcome. The operator will then check that you’re still within the time limit, and if so, your refund will be processed.

If your provider doesn’t offer live chat, you’ll have to send an email to the support team. Replies usually come in minutes or hours rather than days, and any questions asked will likely be the same.

The time it takes for your refund to be processed may vary, but it shouldn’t take longer than a week. If you have any issues, don’t be afraid to follow up your emails – you’re well within your right to make sure your refund is processed promptly and without hassle.

How many times can you claim a VPN refund?

To avoid abuse of the system, almost all VPNs operate a one-time refund policy. So, for example, if you signed up to ExpressVPN six months ago, used the service for 25 days and then claimed a refund, you’d likely be refused a refund if you did the same thing today. If this worries you, it’s definitely worth checking any small print on the eligibility of the money-back guarantee.

However, if you claimed a refund from a provider a long time ago – we’re talking several years at least – we would expect the provider to be lenient and offer you a refund again. This is by no means a guarantee, though, so make sure to check the small print before committing if you’ve claimed before.

Hands on a keyboard using a VPN

(Image credit: Song_about_summer/Shutterstock)

Can I use the VPN as much as I want and still get a refund?

In most cases, yes. Top providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark and Hotspot Shield impose no restrictions on how much you can use your VPN within the stipulated time period. It’s true that some providers used to state that you could only use a certain amount of data before your refund would become invalid, but now these guarantees are usually unlimited and fairly standard industry-wide.

Again though, you should always read any terms and conditions to ensure your provider is on the same page.

Which VPN do we recommend?

ExpressVPN – our top-rated service today

ExpressVPN – our top-rated service today
With over 3,000 servers worldwide and excellent speeds on just about all of them, ExpressVPN is a versatile, secure solution for streaming, torrenting, and day-to-day browsing. You can test it out risk-free for 30 days and claim your money back, and now Tom's Guide readers can get three months absolutely FREE.

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.