CHARGEBACK OVERVIEW | Part 1 of 2
What is a Chargeback?
A Chargeback is the process whereby a customer disputes a credit card charge. The chargeback usually occurs after the customer receives their billing statement and does not recognize the charge, is dissatisfied with the quality or service, or did not receive what was guaranteed. Generally, the customer will call the credit card company directly to initiate the chargeback without prior notification to the merchant.
What is the Chargeback process?
The bank has a time limit by which to initiate a chargeback. Within 120 days of the transaction date, the merchant will be advised that the cardholder or bank is claiming a mistake has been made and is attempting to have the charges removed from their statement. The merchant’s account is then debited for the amount of the charge and the merchant must provide evidence that the transaction was valid and in compliance with Visa and MasterCard rules and regulations.
Typical Chargeback justifications:
- Authorization not obtained for transaction
- Fraudulent or Duplicate charges
- Dispute over Quality, Service or Delivery
- Refund credit not received
5 Steps in the Chargeback Cycle:
- Presentment: The Presentment is the date at which the sale or transaction occurs.
- First Chargeback: When the customer disputes a charge to their Credit Card Company or bank and the bank responds with a retrieval request to dispute the transaction. The First Chargeback is the point at which the merchant and their bank receive notification from the cardholder’s issuing bank. The merchant has 7 days to rebut, however, the merchants account is debited for the disputed amount until the chargeback is resolved.
- Second Presentation or Re-presentment: The Second Presentment occurs when the merchant’s bank receives supporting documents from the merchant to substantiate the charge and, provided the documentation complies with Visa and MasterCard requirements, the chargeback is remedied. In some cases additional documentation may be required. If the chargeback is cleared then the merchant will be credited back the disputed amount and a letter will be sent to that affect. If the documentation does not satisfy their requirements then the merchant will receive a letter from Visa and MasterCard stating their decision and reasoning. This process can take up to 45 days.
- Second Chargeback: If the second presentment is rejected by the cardholder, the issuing bank files a second chargeback. At the time of the Second Chargeback the merchant can dispute the cardholders claim and, if necessary, escalate to Arbitration.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is the process the merchant and cardholder/issuing bank resort to when they cannot reach agreement through the chargeback process. All parties have an opportunity to present their case to a Visa and MasterCard analyst. Arbitration cases must be filed with Visa and MasterCard within 45 days of the Second Chargeback being issued. A Visa and MasterCard Arbitration form must be completed, along with a description of the grievance, and copies of all documentation submitted during the chargeback process. The losing party could be liable for fines of up to $500.00. Additionally, there is a Filing fee of $150.00 and a Review fee of $250.00 paid by the losing party (fees subject to verification). Either party can be assessed a $100.00 fine for each technical violation against the opposing party.
If you end up in Arbitration, there are several criteria the arbitrator will consider. Split decisions happen when one party offers a reasonable compromise or solution to the disputed charges. Merchants usually get an unfavorable ruling if:
- The merchant fails to address the issues raised by the cardholder
- The merchant fails to sufficiently prove that the dispute was unreasonable
- The merchant fails to present sufficient documentation to support their case