What is a Chargeback?

A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a transaction on their debit or credit card. This action triggers the card-issuing bank, or financial institution, to recover the funds from the merchant.

It is a costly process for merchants and merchant account providers. Because of this, many merchant account providers close merchant accounts for having multiple chargeback occurrences or decline applications for a history of chargebacks.

Why do chargebacks happen?

It is important to understand why chargebacks happen so you can establish a quick plan of action. These are the three main reasons a chargeback may occur:

1. Credit card fraud

Oftentimes, a chargeback occurs because the cardholder has fallen victim to credit card fraud. This means someone was able to obtain their card information and use their card without the cardholder's knowledge. If the card-issuing bank determines a transaction was an act of credit card fraud, the chargeback will be deemed valid and will be very difficult to dispute.

2. Merchant fraud

A chargeback can be deemed merchant fraud when the merchant fails to deliver on the goods or services that were agreed on for the transaction. This includes not fulfilling a delivery, not completing a service as expected, and charging more than what was agreed on without proper adjustments to the invoice. In order to dispute merchant fraud, you must provide very clear documentation showing that you successfully delivered the goods and services agreed upon.

3. Friendly fraud

Sometimes, merchants deliver goods or services without a hitch but the customer still files a dispute. This situation is called friendly fraud and can either be an accidental or intentional dispute made by the cardholder. These are the types of chargebacks that merchants should focus on fighting as they incur the most losses.

While most friendly fraud is intentional, it can sometimes be accidental! For example, your customer didn't recognize the charge on their card and decided to dispute it or they failed to authorize the transaction with their card provider.

How You Can Reduce Chargebacks

Chargebacks happen! However, that shouldn’t deter you from processing card payments. There are steps you can take to protect your business from chargebacks and prepare to fight them if they should occur.

The following steps will help you optimize the payment processing system within your GoSite dashboard and, in turn, reduce chargebacks:

1. Have clear return and refund policies visible to customers.

Making your refund and return policies as clear as possible can have a huge impact on reducing chargebacks, especially if your company accepts credit card payments. Displaying your policies on your website and/or providing a terms of service with your invoice provides transparency throughout the customer journey. This also gives you proactive protection against friendly fraud. Always communicate with your customers and be sure to provide them with the appropriate steps to follow if they are unhappy with the provided service!

2. Implement a post-sale process.

Sometimes, you leave the job site only to find out too late that your customer was unhappy. A post-sale process will help you avoid this and can be as simple as openly communicating with your customer during and after your service.

In addition, you may take photos of completed jobs, ask for review or feedback, and provide clear and itemized invoices for payments you request. Closing the loop with your customers will not only make them happy, but also gives you an opportunity to address anything unsatisfactory before they issue a chargeback.

3. Utilize invoices and tools to formulate proper protocols when taking payments.

Whether it's credit card fraud or friendly fraud, using the tools available on your GoSite dashboard can greatly reduce chargebacks and also provide you the documentation to dispute them.

GoSite's ContactHub, Booking, and Reviews tools integrate with Payments to give your business the opportunity to take proper steps in payment processing. Providing your customers with an established process for booking a service, requesting the payment, and finalizing the transaction can help you identify inconsistencies and potential fraud before a chargeback can occur.

Meanwhile, scheduling services through the Booking tool, saving the customer’s contact information on ContactHub, requesting feedback through Reviews, and having clear, detailed, and itemized invoices can give you all the information you need to appeal a chargeback dispute.

4. Provide a great customer experience.

Cultivating an easy and enjoyable experience for your customers is a good way to build loyalty and a good relationship with them. Building a good relationship with your customers can also help in preventing them from disputing a payment they’ve made.

Provide clear information about the services you perform and efficiently communicate with customers before and after the sale process. Most importantly, ask for feedback! GoSite’s tools are geared towards helping your business throughout the sale process so that you can ensure that your customers have a great experience.

How to Handle Chargebacks

With GoSite's Payments tool, you don't have to fight chargeback disputes alone. A member from our processing partner, CCN, will reach out to you immediately after a chargeback has been submitted to assist you in the process. Contact us at [email protected] if you believe a chargeback may be filed against you and GoSite will help you get in front of it.

Please keep in mind that not all chargebacks can be reversed. Unfortunately, banks do not require much proof from customers before filing a chargeback, which can make fighting these disputes a complicated process. The below-listed steps will help you determine if you have all of the information necessary to fight a chargeback dispute.

1. Choose your battles!

Some chargebacks are easy to win, while others are simply not worth fighting. For example, someone paying with a fraudulent credit card might be a hard fight to win.

If you have all the necessary documentation for the transaction and didn’t fail to deliver the service, you have all the things you need to fight a chargeback. However, if you are missing proper documentation then fighting a chargeback dispute will prove very difficult.

Before deciding to fight a chargeback dispute, review the transaction that was charged back. Do you have documentation on this transaction? Did you follow strict protocols in completing this service? If the answer to both questions are "yes," then this is a battle worth fighting.

2. Gather up all the information you have regarding the transaction.

When you choose to fight a chargeback, you will be asked to provide a variety of information regarding the transaction. This information may include the cardholder’s contact information, correspondence with the customer, proof that you’ve completed the service, and a transaction receipt or invoice. With GoSite, all of this information can be easily gathered from your dashboard. Always perform the best practices and follow strict procedures for taking card payments!

3. Book-keeping is important.

Keeping a detailed record of your transactions is especially important when you're taking multiple forms of payment. Customers have up to 60 days to dispute a transaction you’ve made on their card and you have 20 days after they’ve filed the dispute to fight it. Ensuring you have a good record of your transactions will save you lots of time and frustration.

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