This article will explain what a chargeback is, why it can happen, how it can be prevented, and the steps involved in disputing it.
The information in this article is relevant to businesses using PhorestPay through Stripe.
In this Article
What is a Chargeback?
A chargeback (also known as a dispute) happens when a client disputes a transaction and requests a refund from their bank or credit card issuer, potentially resulting in funds being returned to them.
How Does a Chargeback Happen?
The specific steps and timelines may vary depending on the payment processor, bank, or credit card issuer involved in the chargeback process. However, below is a general overview of how a chargeback happens.
- Dispute: The cardholder identifies a transaction they want to dispute and contacts their bank or credit card issuer to initiate the chargeback process.
- Investigation: The cardholder's bank or credit card issuer investigates the dispute by reviewing relevant information, such as transaction records and supporting documentation provided by the cardholder.
- Communication: Throughout the process, there may be communication between the cardholder, the bank or credit card issuer, and the merchant to clarify details, provide additional evidence, or resolve any outstanding issues.
- Resolution: The bank or credit card issuer makes a decision based on the investigation findings. They may either side with the cardholder and issue a refund or deny the chargeback if they find the transaction to be valid.
- Funds Retrieval: If the chargeback is approved, the funds are debited from the merchant's account and returned to the cardholder. If the chargeback is denied, the funds remain with the merchant.
Why Do Clients Raise Chargebacks?
Below are the most common reasons for clients raising chargebacks.
- Unauthorized transaction: The customer claims that they did not authorize or participate in the transaction.
- Unrecognizable business name: The customer does not recognize the business name associated with the transaction and disputes its legitimacy.
- Fraudulent activity: The customer suspects that their payment information was used fraudulently without their knowledge or consent.
- Dissatisfaction with product or service: The customer is unhappy with the quality, delivery, or performance of the product or service they received.
- Billing errors: The customer believes there was an error in the billing process, such as being overcharged or charged multiple times for the same transaction.
- Non-receipt of goods or services: The customer claims they did not receive the ordered goods or services or were not provided as described.
How Do I Know if a Chargeback Has Been Raised?
If one of your clients raises a payment dispute with you, we (Phorest) will notify you by email.
A fee is also charged (example above). This fee is charged by the card network.
What Do I Do if a Chargeback is Raised?
If you would like to challenge the chargeback, you can do so by completing the Disputes and Chargeback Form, which is linked in the email notification you received from Phorest.
When submitting the form, you will need to supply evidence to prove that the charge was valid.
This form must be submitted before the deadline specified in the email (example above). If you miss this deadline, you will not, under any circumstances, be able to challenge the chargeback.
The chargeback process can differ between payment processors and traditionally takes between 60–90 days to resolve. We (Phorest) will notify you of the outcome by email once a decision has been made by the client's bank or credit card issuer.
Please note that you will not be provided with the reason or rationale for why a dispute was won or lost. You will only be informed about the final outcome of the dispute. It is important to understand that Phorest does not have access to this information either, and as a result, we are unable to provide you with any further details.
What Evidence Can I Submit?
When challenging a chargeback, the following examples may be useful to support your case:
- A receipt for the purchase made by the client. If you need to find out how to reprint a receipt, click here.
- A record of an appointment confirmation and/or appointment reminders being opened by the client. These can be found on the client's profile in Phorest under Communication.
- Any additional records of communication with the client about the transaction.
- Client testimonials or Reviews left by the client. If the client left a review, it can be seen under Marketing > Reviews.
- Any documentation signed by the client relating to the transaction, e.g., a Consultation Form. For information on viewing a client's completed consultation form, click here.
- Before and After photos, if any, were taken.
The above examples are only suggestions and can not guarantee that you will win your case.
What Can I Do to Prevent Chargebacks?
While there is no guaranteed way to stop chargebacks from happening, below are some steps that businesses can take to try and prevent chargebacks.
- Have a clear, easy-to-understand return policy.
- Have a recognizable business name on credit card statements.
- Clear communication: Ensure that your business provides clear and accurate information about products, services, pricing, and policies to minimize misunderstandings or customer dissatisfaction.
- Quality control: Maintain high standards for the quality of your products or services to reduce the likelihood of customer complaints or dissatisfaction.
- Prompt customer support: Respond promptly and effectively to customer inquiries, concerns, or complaints to address issues before they escalate to chargeback disputes.
- Dispute resolution policies: Establish clear policies and procedures for handling customer disputes or complaints, including a process for resolving issues directly with customers before they initiate chargebacks.
- If you plan to initiate a series of recurring payments, be sure to obtain a signed credit card authorisation form.
- Regular staff training: Train your staff on proper procedures, customer service skills, and fraud prevention techniques to minimize errors, misunderstandings, or fraudulent activities that could result in chargebacks.
- Accurately describe items. Customers who receive items that are not as described have valid grounds for a chargeback.
I think the chargeback is valid, and we should never have charged the client. What should I do?
You don’t need to do anything. Once the deadline passes without contesting, you’ll be deemed to have accepted the chargeback.
What happens if I don’t contest by the deadline?
The chargeback will be closed, and you cannot contest it later.
What happens if I contest a chargeback and lose?
The decision is final and cannot be challenged under any exceptions.
Will I receive an explanation for why I won or lost a dispute?
You will not be provided with the reason or rationale for why a dispute was won or lost. You will only be informed about the final outcome of the dispute. It is important to understand that Phorest does not have access to this information either, and as a result, we are unable to provide you with any further details.
How is the money taken?
A debit is performed on your PhorestPay account - this will include the chargeback amount and the fee charged. If you contest a chargeback and win, we’ll credit your PhorestPay account the same amount.
Can I refund a chargeback while the dispute is open?
No, you will be unable to issue a refund on a disputed charge while the dispute process is still open. If you attempt to refund or void the sale in Phorest, you will receive the following error. You can press Esc on your keyboard to close the error.
You can wait for the chargeback to be resolved through the process or ask the client to withdraw their dispute, and once withdrawn, you can then issue a refund.
Will I see chargebacks on my Sales screen or on the PhorestPay Transactions screen?
No, chargebacks are not a sale or transaction through your till, so they will not appear there. They will appear on your PhorestPay payout export only.
If a client used their PIN, does that protect me from the client charging back the transaction?
Yes and no. If a client uses their PIN, you’re protected from a dispute by claiming fraud, but chargebacks can occur for other reasons. For example, a client could claim they never actually received the service.
If a client paid online for a good or service and authenticated themselves using 3D Secure, does that protect me from the client charging back the transaction?
As mentioned in the point above, the client can’t claim fraud, but they can charge back for other reasons, for example, claiming the product they purchased on your Online Store was never delivered.