McDonald's Order Not Picked Up
McDonald's Order Not Picked Up

This is actually a VERY common scenario. You place an order on the McDonald’s app thinking it’s for the McDonald’s location that’s right down the street from you. But when you show up to McDonald’s they say they can’t find your order. What?!?! After some digging, you find that the App led you to order at a previous location from your history. Can you transfer the order? No. Can you cancel the order? Nope. Is there a way to get a refund? Keep reading.

Does McDonald’s Offer Refunds For Orders Not Picked Up

Officially: No, but with a caveat. McDonald’s terms & conditions state that once an App order is placed it’s final and the charges cannot be reversed. But McDonald’s only says this to protect themselves in situations where the food was made. McDonald’s isn’t trying to scam you out of your money with this policy.

The advice they give is to call the local restaurant to see what they can do. But in actuality, most of the time you won’t be charged for the order if it was never made. If the McDonald’s you accidentally placed your order at is an ROA location (Ready On Arrival) then there’s a very high chance that will be the case. After about 24-48 hours, your order will drop out of the system and your refund will automatically be processed. Read on to see how it works and what you need to do or not do.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Refund Policies: Learn about McDonald’s refund policies for app orders.
  • Real Customer Experiences: Insights from actual customer interactions and experiences.
  • Practical Solutions: Step-by-step guidance on how to secure a refund.
  • Legal Perspectives: Know your rights and legal options in refund scenarios.
a mcdonald's restaurant is lit up at night

How To Get A Refund

The first step is to call the local restaurant your order was placed at ASAP. They will be able to guide you through the process and can possibly cancel the order on their screen if it did go through. Ask to speak to a manager and most of the time they can work something out. In case they can’t, however:

Steps: ROA (Ready On Arrival) Locations

Ready On Arrival McDonald’s locations use your phone’s GPS to determine when you are within range. Once you are, your order is transmitted to the local restaurant for processing. What that means is that if you aren’t in range, your order never gets transmitted through.

  1. Don’t check in or go near the McDonald’s location of the order
  2. Don’t click the ‘I Am Here’ button on the App
  3. Wait 24-48 hours for an email from McDonald’s

If you placed a McDonald’s App order to an ROA location and never get close to the restaurant AND never click the “I Am Here” option on the app to tell the staff to start preparing your order, your order will get automatically refunded in 24-48 hours.

This is a good feature by McDonald’s, but it’s a little nerve-wracking as you have no idea what is happening until you get the cancellation email. It would be nice to have visibility into the refund process in the future.

Steps: Locations That Don’t Support Ready On Arrival

If your location doesn’t support ready on arrival, that means your order will likely be transmitted immediately and start being prepared. In this case you should:

  1. Call the location immediately
  2. See if you can cancel the order before they process it.
  3. If it’s processed, ask the manager if they can do a courtesy refund
  4. If not, call McDonald’s Customer Service at (800) 244-6227

Because in this scenario your order was likely processed and made, McDonald’s is under no obligation to refund you. They did what they were supposed to do. But the problem is – their App is misleading. McDonald’s is one of the worst Apps when it comes to making the order location clear to you. If you complain about how the App misled you into ordering at the wrong location (if that is what happened) then they may offer you a courtesy refund or credit.

McDonald’s App Order Refunds: The Basics

When you order through the McDonald’s app but fail to pick up your order, the refund process can be a bit complex. Based on insights from Reddit users and other sources, here’s what you need to know:

  • Order Placement and Charges: If the order is placed for Drive Thru and isn’t paid on the screens, it will be refunded after a few days. However, if you’re not close enough to the restaurant, the order might not be charged at all.
  • Refund Process: You will receive an email with refund details, but it’s not immediate. The refund period is typically stated as 5-15 business days.
  • Drive Thru Orders: These orders don’t charge until they are called up in the store. For pickup orders, if you override the automated distance tracker, it would charge you.

Customer Experiences and Solutions

Real-world experiences from customers provide valuable insights into handling refund situations:

  • Refund Challenges: Some customers have faced challenges when seeking refunds, often being sent in circles between the app support and the store.
  • Credit Card Chargebacks: As a last resort, some customers have successfully used credit card chargebacks to get their refunds.
  • Store Refunds: In some cases, stores have provided cash refunds or offered coupons as compensation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Refund

  1. Contact the Store: Start by contacting the store where you placed the order. They might be able to process the refund directly.
  2. Use the App: Check the McDonald’s app for options to dispute or request a refund.
  3. Customer Service: If the store and app don’t resolve the issue, contact McDonald’s customer service for further assistance.
  4. Credit Card Chargeback: If all else fails, consider a credit card chargeback, especially if the amount is significant.

Legal Considerations

While legal action is an option, it’s often not practical for small amounts. It’s advisable to exhaust all customer service channels before considering this route.

Real-World Scenarios

  • Scenario 1: A customer orders through the app but finds a long wait time at the store. The store is unable to process a refund, and the app support sends them in circles.
  • Scenario 2: Another customer faces a similar issue but opts for a credit card chargeback after inadequate responses from both the store and app support.

Tips for a Smooth Refund Process

  • Documentation: Keep all receipts and correspondence related to your order.
  • Patience: Understand that refunds may not be immediate and can take several business days.
  • Clear Communication: Be clear and concise when explaining your situation to customer service.

Additional Resources

Incorporating User Feedback

User feedback is crucial in improving the refund process. Sharing your experiences on platforms like Reddit can help others navigate similar situations.

McDonald’s App Features and Limitations

  • Order Tracking: The app allows you to track your order but doesn’t provide direct options for refunds.
  • Payment Methods: Various payment methods are accepted, but refunds might be complicated depending on the method used.


Getting a refund for an uncollected McDonald’s app order can be a bit tricky. It requires patience, clear communication, and sometimes, persistence. Understanding the process and knowing your options can make a significant difference.

FAQs on McDonald’s App Order Refunds

  • Q: How long does it take to get a refund from McDonald’s app?
    • A: Typically, it takes 5-15 business days to process a refund.
  • Q: Can I get a refund directly at the store for an app order?
    • A: It depends on the store’s policy, but some stores do offer direct refunds or compensation in the form of coupons.
  • Q: What should I do if the app and store both refuse to refund?
    • A: Consider contacting McDonald’s customer service or, as a last resort, initiate a credit card chargeback.
  • Q: Are there any legal actions I can take for a refund?
    • A: Legal action is possible but often impractical for small amounts. It’s best to resolve the issue through customer service channels.

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