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How to Fight Chargebacks in 4 Basic Steps

Fight the complexities of chargeback disputes with a step-by-step guide, from gathering evidence to compelling responses. Learn how to avoid

While avoiding chargebacks is best, sometimes fighting them is necessary.

For merchants like you, most transactions go smoothly. But occasionally there are problems. Any time fraud or misunderstanding might be involved—jeopardising your reputation and possibly your entire business—resolving any chargeback disputes in your favour is worth fighting for.

It helps to know what you’re doing when entering into a chargeback conflict. This four-step process gives you an advantage in winning the dispute. While this process is not guaranteed, it is a logical, responsible, and compelling method for defending yourself.

If you can’t avoid a chargeback, let’s look at how to win the fight.

The four-step chargeback defense

In a chargeback situation, the bank doesn't don't know who's telling the truth. Your business's reputation is on the line. A strong defence is in order.

Your whole strategy depends on understanding why this charge is being disputed. The evidence you offer must support the conclusion that you are right and the cardholder has failed to prove their case.

These are legal matters. You must think like both a prosecutor and a defence attorney.

  1. Gather overwhelming evidence and organise it convincingly.
  2. Prepare your rebuttal letter.
  3. Submit the dispute package promptly. Deadlines come quickly.
  4. Follow up immediately on any further actions required of you.

That’s how you win.

Let’s examine these steps one by one.

RELATED: Try our automated Dispute Assistant tool! Answer a couple of questions, and we’ll help you out with a winning strategy.

Step 1: Gather and review evidence

Understand the reason code

You must understand the reason the dispute arose in the first place.

All disputes are assigned a reason code based on the cardholder’s complaint. Understanding the reason code and its implications is crucial to mounting a winning defense. Gather all your information and documentation based on this code.

Collect documentation

The details that you captured during the transaction are now highly relevant. They might include:

  • Credit card authentication reports.
  • Order invoices.
  • Tracking confirmations.
  • Signed delivery receipts.
  • Proof of service provided.
  • Communication records and correspondence.
  • Terms and conditions, with a copy of your checkout page showing the cardholder’s agreement to your T&Cs.
  • Records showing correct authorisation and processing on your part.
  • Any other relevant documentation supporting your defense and the original transaction’s legitimacy.

Step 2: Prepare a compelling response

You must argue your case to the issuing bank, but it can’t be overly long or emotional. Bloated letters to bank officials won’t convince them to believe you. Only cold, hard facts can do that.

Organise your evidence

Arrange your evidence in a clear, logical, and compelling order. Make sure it directly refutes the reason code for the chargeback. Make it evident that you've complied with the letter and intent of the law and fully followed all procedures.

Write the rebuttal letter

Now comes the opportunity to tell your side of the story.

The rebuttal letter should be concise, factual, and directly related to the reason code. Clearly explain why the chargeback is unjustified and how your evidence supports this.

Step 3: Submit the dispute package

Each bank or credit card network has specific guidelines for chargeback disputes. Ensure your response follows these guidelines, including any formatting or submission requirements.

Give a timely response

Deadlines are very strict and inflexible. To miss a deadline is to lose the case. Be sure to respond no later than 7-10 days after being notified and always before the deadline.

Use the correct submission channel

Don’t send the package to the wrong place. It sounds obvious, but it happens. Don’t let it happen to you.

First, contact your payment processor or acquiring bank to initiate the chargeback dispute. Then—following their instructions carefully—submit your documented evidence and rebuttal letter.

Step 4: Monitor and follow up

Keep immaculate records

Keeping complete records of the dispute is not only a wise thing to do for legal purposes. It also protects your reputation as a professional and trustworthy business. Plus, you’ll need these records in the case of a future pre-arbitration challenge.

Track the dispute’s progress

The bank may offer an online portal to track the progress of your dispute while their decision is pending.

But at this point, with your dispute package now submitted, there’s nothing more to do but sit back and wait for a decision.

The final outcome

Win or lose, you can move forward if you have done your best to counter this chargeback with logic and professionalism. As long as the integrity of your business is intact, you are on the right track. You live to fight another day.

Should the losing party appeal, the case goes into pre-arbitration***,*** which means a second chargeback. Some card networks allow this second challenge, and some don’t.

Be prepared to fight again.

Preventing chargebacks: fighting the winning battle

Fighting chargebacks may be a necessary cost of doing business.

However, the experts at ChargebackStop.com believe that the best chargeback defence strategy is to avoid chargebacks in the first place.

ChargebackStop.com provides an all-in-one solution to reduce the costs associated with chargebacks, boost payment conversion rates, and protect their subscribers from the negative impacts of excessive chargebacks.

They are particularly beneficial for businesses with a significant volume of online transactions.

Contact ChargebackStop.com today to book a free demo or get answers to any chargeback questions you may have.

FAQ: How to Fight Chargebacks

What types of evidence are most effective in disputing a chargeback?

The most compelling evidence is based on the chargeback reason code but generally includes proof of product delivery or service fulfilment, customer communications, and transaction authorization records.

How can I use the chargeback reason code to my advantage?

Understanding the reason code helps tailor your response and evidence to address the specific issues raised in the chargeback. Focusing on the reason code is crucial to winning your fight.

What should I do if the chargeback is upheld despite my dispute?

Analyse the bank's response to understand why the dispute was not successful. Use this information to improve your processes and prevent future chargebacks.

Can I prevent chargebacks before they happen?

Yes. Services such as ChargebackStop.com aim to prevent chargebacks from happening in the first place. These sophisticated online tools reduce chargebacks, increase payment conversion, and protect from the negative impacts of excessive chargebacks.

About the author

Don is an expert technical content writer and researcher. He works with ChargebackStop to write informative and digestible content on the topic of chargebacks, payments and more. His writing is crafted, not computed.

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