Getting back at chargebacks

We all know this horror story: an honest merchant receives a substantial order for a product or service, only to find out a few days after that the customer has disputed the transaction, claiming there was no transaction in the first place. Horrifying, messy, and a big hassle to customers as well credit card companies, chargebacks keeps merchants up late at night and hampers them from accepting credit cards.

What is a "chargeback"?

A chargeback happens when a customer disputes a transaction for a variety of reasons, resulting in a refund from the merchant's account back to the customer by the credit card company. A merchant can do a "reversal" of chargeback with a proof of purchase, customer's signature, etc. On top of that, merchants get a chargeback fee aside from the transaction amount.

Reasons for chargebacks (and how to avoid them)

The most common reason for a chargeback is fraud. Frequently, this happens to card-not-present transactions thus the higher rates for merchants applying for a free merchant account or Internet account. Proper knowledge of chargebacks can not only save you money, it saves you time and spares you the trauma chargebacks bring.
  • Non delivery of purchased item

Occurs when an item purchased isn't delivered to the customer despite authorizing the purchase. Avoid this by making sure the item has been shipped to a PERSON at the correct delivery address with sufficient identification from the person you've delivered the item to.

  • Unauthorised Mail Order/Telephone Order Transactions

Mail Order/Telephone Order(MOTO) transactions fall under Card not present transactions so the risk of fraud is high. A chargeback of this type occurs when the customer denies that any transaction took place. It would be wise to keep delivery receipts in order to dispute this kind of chargeback from the merchant's side.

  • Duplicate Processing

Scenario: customer claims they only had one transaction when there were two credited to their account. Unfortunately for Internet merchants, this kind of chargeback is hard to dispute. Hope isn't entirely lost - call your free merchant account provider immediately when two transactions occur. If it's an honest mistake, then the merchant takes the fall but avoids the complications, and the potentially damaging dispute to follow.

  • Transaction Not Valid

This one's for those careless merchants who are so excited at making a sale they completely processed INCORRECTLY. It can be an incorrect account number, transaction amount, or the transaction receipt has an addition or transposition error! Being careful in ensuring calculations and transactions are correct goes a long way - even if they call you slow, its better to be slow than sorry.

  • Invalid Account Number

Ever came across a credit card number that seemed dubious? This chargeback happens when the cardholder's bank can't find the account number for that customer's credit card. Avoid chargebacks of this type by verifying that the account number on the receipt is correct.

  • Expired card (or not valid!)

Stop right there. Before you swipe that card, or process that transaction, always double check the card expiration date. It'll take less than 10 seconds to check. For card not present transactions, always obtain authorization before processing transactions.

These are just some of the chargeback reasons you might come across if you aren't careful. Look up Visa and MasterCard sites for other chargebacks not listed. Remember: Awareness is key. If you feel that you've been charged unreasonably, then by all means, dispute the charge. Not only would you be cleaning your reputation, it serves as a warning to all potential fraudsters and customers out there that you won't be made a fool - you refuse to be part of any chargeback horror story.

Like this article? Add to Onlywire!