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Merchants: How to Win a Credit Card Chargeback Dispute

Updated on May 28, 2013

In my previous article, How to Stop Fraudulent Chargebacks, I explained methods you can you to help prevent the chargeback from happening, BUT if the chargeback has already happened, then preventing a future one is only protective measures to help you not face this issue again, however, it doesn't solve your current problem. So in today's article we are going to discuss How to Fight Back, and win your dispute.

THE FRAUDULENT CHARGEBACK ARRIVES...*Sigh*

Yeah, it may feel like one of the worst moments of your life, especially if the chargeback is for thousands of dollars. Heck, even a $50 chargeback ruins my day. BUT the good news is, you DON'T have to "just deal with it", you can, and must fight back no matter how angry or depressed you are because you can stand a strong chance of winning the dispute. So compose yourself and get ready for battle.

STEP 1: GATHERING EVIDENCE

First you need to try your best to "take emotion out of it" and focus on making your case solid. You need to act quickly because most credit card chargeback disputes give you limited time to submit your side of the story.

Your chargeback will state the transaction date and amount as well as a code for the reason of the chargeback. Before you even get into looking up the code, first pull up the customers order, shipping information, tracking information and see if there is any correspondence from the customer that you somehow may have missed. It helps to print out all of this information.

Now it is time to look up the reason for the chargeback. As you will see from the provided link, MerchantConnect.com has provided a complete list, broken down by credit card issuing company that shows the code and what it means. For example, if you look at this list (here is an excerpt from multiple pages):

Source

Visa "Code 90" means "Services Not Rendered - ATM or Visa TravelMoney Program; and the meaning of a Code 90, in detail is:

"This chargeback occurs when a customer claims they have paid for items that were to be delivered from your establishment but have not yet been received. This chargeback may be reversed by supplying proof that the customer has received the expected merchandise or evidence that credit was issued. This chargeback can be avoided by waiting to process the charge to the customers credit card until the merchandise has been shipped."

As you will note, it clearly states that you can have the chargeback reversed by supplying information showing that the merchandise was delivered or that a credit was issued.

A "Code 90" may not be your issue, but you can use this guide to likely find your exact chargeback reason.


NEXT: Find your proof and go the "extra mile"....


WRITING A LETTER ABOUT THE CHARGEBACK

I ALWAYS respond to a chargeback by writing "SEE ATTACHED" in the explanation area on the chargeback page then including all of my information AND a professionally typed letter.

In my letter I state all of the facts that contradict the bogus claims. For example, if the chargeback states the customer was "missing items", as I mentioned in my other article, I will pull the identical order and weigh it to prove no items were missing. I will also be sure to include that the customer has made no effort to contact us, despite our email, phone number and address being on their invoice and shipment notification / tracking number. I will go onto express that we do a wealth of transactions and recommend that the bank look into our outstanding history that lacks claims of this nature.

Never make your letter emotional; just stick to the facts and make it VERY CLEAR that the claims against your company are untrue. I have even went as far as calling the buyers local post office and speaking to a manager who states the parcel was delivered, then including his/her name, number and employee ID.

IF your website has policies about anything related to the issue, be sure to print them up to and include what page of your site the policy can be found on.


THE BANK MAY BE IN YOUR CORNER

According to TheConsumerist, The Top 10 Reasons a Chargeback is Denied consist of many things, but most importantly, quote "NOT GIVING THE MERCHANT A CHANCE TO FIX THE PROBLEM" and "DISPUTING THINGS FOR THE WRONG REASON"

So, as long as you have evidence of the chargeback being bogus, you stand a great chance of winning! Get into lawyer-mode!

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HOW TO FIGHT A CHARGEBACK... USE YOUR BRAIN

Now that you have the Chargeback Code, the evidence and you're in "Lawyer mode", it's time to combat the bogus claims. Think of whatever you can to go "above and beyond" to disprove the claims. Here's just a few ideas that may or may not apply to your issue:

1. Do you have receipts for the items to show they are authentic?

2. Proof you have tried to do everything reasonable for the customer and he/she is looking to get "freebies"

3. Send photographs of the item if need be (for example, if you only have one piece of it, and you took 8 photos, including closeups, send them!)

4. Weigh the items if need be

5. Prove the customer chose not to insure their purchase, although offered insurance

BASICALLY, whatever the chargeback code reason is, figure out how to prove the opposite.


CONTACTING THE CUSTOMER = LOST CAUSE

The dispute has already been filed, you WILL be charged for it regardless. Attempting to "work things out" after the dispute is pointless because everything is in the banks control. The customer filed their complaint and you must respond, to the bank. There's no point in trying to negotiate anything directly. Let the bank do their investigation; just give them the fuel they need to rule in your favor.

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      2 years ago

      Thank you for the link to the consumerist column. We received two chargebacks from a former client totaling almost $1000 this past Thursday. I spent my entire workday on Friday gathering appropriate documentation and crafting an emotion-less, fact-based response, which is a lot harder than it sounds. (The principle of this kind of fraud eats away at me. It was a debit card, so I think s/he just wants the money back in his/her account, with the 1st of the month approaching.)

      The consumerist column plus the information from the Visa site itself give me hope that we will win the chargeback owing to the fact that the chargeback came out of the blue. We never heard anything about any dissatisfaction with our services, and we were never contacted to try to resolve the dispute first before s/he filed the chargeback. Visa reason code 53 requires this (from Visa's guidelines for merchants on chargebacks located here: http://usa.visa.com/download/merchants/chargeback-... so I'm hoping that means it'll get shot down right away, and s/he won't re-file a chargeback. If s/he wants to dispute the quality of our services for the price paid, there are other avenues, and we'd be happy to go through those, as they are truly not heavily weighted in favor of one side or the other. However it's nice to be contacted first so we are at least given the chance to make the former client happy rather than have the money ripped out of our account with just an e-mail to let us know.

      We do have other defenses, for the record, but I am putting that guideline reference front and center.

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      chargeback expertz 2 years ago

      Awesome article nice to read it, we are also chargeback expertz and handling all frauds of USA. i was just searching for new techniques and tricks and i find this ,its totally unique and understandable for every one! You can visit our website too, their is many blogs i wrote, i am sure you like them. :)

      Chargeback Expertz - http://www.chargebackexpertz.com

    • merchantdoctor profile image

      merchantdoctor 4 years ago from Reno

      Great article - thanks! All too often merchants give up on fighting charge backs because they are too busy. Unfortunately consumers have realized that they can easily commit fraud by simply charging back their items so it is important to always fight chargebacks. If there is less fraud then the card issuing banks can/should lower their interchange fees and everyone wins! It is also important to note that all chargeback notices have tight timelines that need to be met so make sure that you respond quickly!