Simple definition
Before the final step in a chargeback fight.
Expanded definition
The phase in a chargeback dispute before it reaches the final arbitration stage, offering one last chance for resolution between the parties.


When chargeback disputes escalate, pre-arbitration represents a final opportunity to present evidence and resolve issues before harsher consequences set in. Understanding this bridge between re-presentment and arbitration empowers merchants to seek equitable outcomes.

Defining Pre-Arbitration

Pre-arbitration occurs after an initial chargeback and denied representment, but before filing for full arbitration. Within this window, new compelling evidence can still surface to overturn disputes.

Pre-arbitration cases may cover items such as:

  • Locating documentation not originally accessible
  • Revelations of cardholder fraud
  • Delivery proofs thought to be missing
  • Policy breaches by the cardholder
  • Educating bank staff unfamiliar with merchant operations

The goal is swaying banks by finally amassing irrefutable evidence of the transaction's validity.

Strategic Pre-Arbitration Guidance

To leverage pre-arbitration successfully:

  • Thoroughly investigate for any new evidence not previously uncovered
  • Make written pre-arbitration requests to banks within 10 days of representment denial
  • Organize records concisely to remove ambiguity
  • Reiterate adherence to card network rules and standards
  • Be prepared to escalate to more costly arbitration if unsuccessful

With persistence and preparation, pre-arbitration can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The Bottom Line

Pre-arbitration represents a ray of hope when chargeback cases darken. While not guaranteed to work, it provides one last channel to reverse improper disputes by introducing overlooked evidence. For merchants, pre-arbitration done well delivers redemption.