If I Cancel a Batch on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), Will I Get a Refund for Unallocated HITS?

If you have ever used the amazing and wonderful Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), you may occasionally create a new batch of HITS, and need to cancel the batch due to a variety of reasons.

Reasons vary including – poor performance, need to increase payout per HIT to get better results, correct an error, etc.

You may be wondering, if you cancel a batch will you get a credit or refund for unallocated hits?

The answer is yes, you will get a credit/refund for HITS that have not been started/completed by workers.  You should see a credit by going to “my account” and you will see the remaining credit on your account.

Your balance will look something like this:

In a recent example, I started a project with 100 available HITS for 1 cent each.  The total cost if all were completed was $2.00.

The response was very poor – only two workers completed a HIT.  Normally the same project type at 5 cents a hit would be completed in minutes compared to pretty much zero activity.

Instead of waiting days, weeks or months for all tasks to be completed, I decided to cancel the batch and start a new one, paying more per HIT.

My goal is to get the maximum results for the least amount of money.  Usually I am pretty generous, but just out of curiosity I thought I would see how far I could push the envelope.

So, I cancelled the batch and was only charged $0.04 for the two HITS.

I do recommend that you pay all workers for HITS that have been completed (regardless of quality).  This should help avoid any delays with receiving a credit.  Of course, this depends on how large your project is.  For huge, expensive projects you may want to only pay for tasks that meet your standards.


If you have create a new batch/project on Amazon MTurk, you will occasionally need to correct errors or increase/decrease your payout to each worker.

You may wonder if you will lose your money if you have prepaid for your HITS, but there is no need to worry.  Simply pay everyone that has completed their work, then cancel the batch and a credit should appear in your account.

From there you can make corrections and start over again.  A better way to keep this from happening in the future is to start a project with only a few available HITS – perhaps 5 or 10.  This way you can test the performance to see how willing people are to do the work for the lowest cost.

Keep in mind though, sometimes if you don’t pay enough, the quality will go down.  As is everything with life… you get what you pay for.  Anyway, I hope this has helped.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at any time.