Chargeback Form Templates: Building a Better Chargeback Response
As a merchant, you have the option to submit a response and try to recover your funds any time you receive a chargeback. This process is called representment, and it involves submitting several items, including a chargeback form template commonly referred to as a rebuttal letter.
Despite the reference, a chargeback rebuttal letter is not actually a fill-in-the-blanks form, but rather a document that typically follows a certain format or template. Confusing matters even more, the term “chargeback form” can also refer to other documents normally submitted in response to a chargeback.
To illustrate all this, it helps to understand a little more about the chargeback representment process. So, let’s take a quick look at the steps involved and the documentation you’ll need to submit with your chargeback response.
Chargeback Forms: What Do I Need to Submit?
When people say “chargeback form,” they usually mean the rebuttal letter. Your rebuttal letter gives you the opportunity to lay out your case and explain to the bank why the disputed charge was legitimate and should be upheld. A good rebuttal letter will reference certain key pieces of information, including:
- The reason code attached to the dispute.
- The dollar amount in question (e.g., the full disputed amount, or a partial amount).
- A list of the evidence and documentation you’re submitting.
- A brief summary of the case you want to make with that evidence.
Chargeback Rebuttal Letters
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As you might’ve guessed, a rebuttal letter isn’t the only document you need to complete the representment process. Other important items are usually required, but because some of them are literal forms, the term “chargeback form” can sometimes be used to identify these items as a group. Items you need to submit along with your rebuttal letter include:
Chargeback Debit Advice LetterYour acquirer may send a form with instructions and advice for how to proceed with your chargeback case. This is called the Chargeback Debit Advice Letter; depending on the acquirer, some or all the following information will be included:
- Chargeback reason code.
- Transaction amount and the chargeback amount.
- Any action(s) already completed by the acquirer.
- Deadline for submitting representment documents.
- Adjustment date.
- Case number assigned to the chargeback.
- Cardholder number (or credit card number) for the transaction.
- 23-digit identification (or reference) number assigned by the card network.
Chargeback Adjustment Reversal RequestThis form from your acquirer will provide instructions in the event you want to challenge the chargeback. The form will include essential information about the dispute, including the reason it was filed, the reason code, and the amount disputed.
You will be asked to provide some very basic information on the Chargeback Adjustment Reversal Request form to indicate your interest in responding to the cardholder’s claim.
Compelling EvidenceIt’s one thing to say you want a chargeback reversed. It’s another thing entirely to present evidence illustrating why it should be reversed.
Any documentation you provide that will help disprove the cardholder’s claim(s) may fall under the heading of compelling evidence. Some of the most common documents provided include:
- Sales receipt or order form
- Proof of delivery
- Evidence the customer is satisfied with the purchase (a positive review, photos of the buyer using the item, etc.)
- Evidence the purchase was made by an authorized member of the cardholder's household
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Chargeback Form Templates
We can think about templates in a couple of different ways in reference to a chargeback form like a rebuttal letter. For instance, each individual rebuttal letter should:
- State all facts that contradict the cardholder’s claim or clarify any point of confusion.
- Avoid emotionally-charged language; stick to the chargeback facts.
- Present your claim in a clear and concise manner.
- Be brief, stating your claim in just a couple of short paragraphs.
If you’re interested in keeping this information handy, we’ve prepared some sample chargeback form template guides to use. You can download our Chargeback Rebuttal Letter Template and Checklist to help you script and format the necessary documents for the next dispute you receive.
Many merchants and most third-party solutions take the word template to mean a ready-made, cut-and-paste form that can be used for any representment case. Unfortunately, using this kind of templated response is a bad idea.
The chargeback process is very dynamic. Each case is unique; a representment submitted last month may be significantly different from a case filed next month, even if they seem identical. You can’t make a few superficial changes and submit a generic chargeback form letter as your response…at least not if you expect to win.
The premade templates we mentioned above can help with structure and phrasing. However, these should just be a jumping-off point. For maximum ROI, you need a unique rebuttal letter for each case that comes your way.
We need to make something very clear before you begin building a representment case: you should not respond to every chargeback request, even if you technically have the right to do so.
The chargeback process was introduced as a means of consumer protection against fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, cardholders often use the chargeback process itself as a tool to commit fraud, rather than recover from it. This is a practice commonly known as friendly fraud.
You should only submit a chargeback response for cases in which a cardholder commits friendly fraud by filing a false chargeback claim. If the customer dispute is legitimate, challenging the chargeback is a waste of time and resources for everyone involved. It can also damage your reputation; you’re essentially re-victimizing a cardholder whose already been a victim of fraud.
Something else to keep in mind is that time is a major factor in the chargeback process. The timeframe allotted for each stage will change based on the chargeback stage, as well as the part involved. Cardholders may have up to 120 days after a purchase in which to dispute the charge. You, however, might be expected to respond within just a few days.
In most cases, you’ll be expected to compile all the necessary chargeback forms in less than a week. This includes the evidence you need to counter the cardholder’s claim. Again, using a chargeback form template as a starting point can speed up the process, but using a generic form for each chargeback will do more harm than good.
Before you submit your chargeback forms, take a quick look at this checklist to make sure you’ve optimized your response:
- Read the Chargeback Advice letter carefully. Be sure you understand the cardholder’s claim. Check the chargeback reason code.
- Consult the applicable network’s guidelines for examples of acceptable compelling evidence. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express all list compelling evidence by reason code.
- Craft a clear and concise rebuttal letter.
- Choose the representment amount. Merchants have the option of disputing the entire chargeback amount or a partial amount.
- If your policies help prove your case, print them out, attach them to the rebuttal letter, highlight the applicable section, and note where the published policies can be found. Reference the policies in the rebuttal letter, mentioning something along the lines of: “We’ve highlighted the section of our policies that Sally Smith agreed to and violated with this chargeback.”
- Locate the necessary compelling evidence. Write the case number at the top of each document before submitting it.
In this post, we learned a little about chargeback rebuttal letters, as well as the other items you need to submit alongside this chargeback form template. We also learned about the overall representment process and explored the items you need to double-check before submitting your dispute.
Even with this information, though, the chargeback representment process can still be very difficult to handle on your own. If you need help, try reaching out to the experts at Chargebacks911®—our team of skilled chargeback management professionals can help you recover revenue, prevent chargebacks, and ensure sustainable, healthy, long-term growth.