Mastercard Chargeback Reason Code 4808 – Expired Chargeback Protection Period
Mastercard chargeback reason code 4808 is one of the numeric labels assigned by banks to each customer dispute, indicating the given reason for the claim. We say the given reason because it may or may not reflect the true reason.
Under certain circumstances, Mastercard may allow consumers to reverse a payment card transaction by filing a chargeback. Chargebacks were designed to be a “last-resort” for disagreements that cannot be resolved with the merchant. However, they’re more often used as a loophole to commit fraud.
Reason code 4808 indicates the broad category “Authorization-related Chargebacks,” which generally means something went wrong in the authorization process. The code can be used in multiple specific situations; when necessary, an additional message will be provided along with the reason code to inform the merchant which type of chargeback applies to the claim.
In claims featuring a 4808 reason code, one of the possible causes is “Expired Chargeback Protection Period.”
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What Is an Expired Chargeback Protection Period Chargeback?
If a business receives a reason code 4808 chargeback, it simply means an authorization-related error was cited as the reason for the chargeback. In other words, authorization for the transaction in question was required, but was not properly obtained or is invalid.
Several different situations could cause this. In the case of a chargeback with an expired protection period, this means the merchant settled a transaction after the deadline for settling the account had passed. The issuer then determined that the cardholder’s account is not in good standing, or is closed.
Merchants have a limited timeframe to present transactions to Mastercard and “settle” the account after a payment card transaction is processed. This is usually done on a daily or weekly basis. If the merchant waits too long, though, they may set themselves up for an expired chargeback protection period dispute.
Expired Chargeback Protection Period Chargebacks: Conditions
Two conditions must be present for a chargeback due to expired protection period to be valid. First, Mastercard must have deemed the cardholder’s account to be invalid in some way (in Europe, the account must be closed).
The other condition has to do with authorization and presentment. The merchant requested—and received—authorization at the time of the transaction. Also at this time, the transaction may be identified as pre-authorized, meaning the issuer put a hold on the cardholder’s account in the approximate amount of the transaction.
If this authorization is identified as a pre-authorization, the merchant has a maximum of 30 calendar days to present the transaction to Mastercard for payment. If the transaction is not pre-authorized, the merchant only has seven calendar days after the transaction authorization date.
Waiting for over four weeks to settle a transaction is a bad idea in most cases. If the merchant waits too long to try and settle the transaction, the account in question may end up being closed by the cardholder or identified as “not in good standing.” At that point, the issuer could file a chargeback and claw back the funds.
That said, issuers are under time constraints as well. Chargebacks resulting from an expired chargeback protection period must be filed within 90 calendar days of the transaction processing date.
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Can Expired Chargeback Protection Period Chargebacks Be Prevented?
The second most-common source of customer disputes is merchant error. This includes any chargeback-triggering misstep in the merchant’s policies or practices. Luckily, these types of chargebacks are often entirely preventable.
Reason code 4808 chargebacks are a good example of this. In legitimate claims of expired protection period, the responsibility is all on the merchant. The chargeback only happened because the merchant waited too long to settle the account.
As we alluded to earlier, consumers may utilize a false reason code to mask an attempt at friendly fraud. Disputes with an expired chargeback protection period reason code, however, come straight from the issuer. Barring some type of technical error, the transaction’s electronic “paper trail” will clearly show the dispute is valid.
Obviously, if a business regularly receives chargebacks with a Mastercard reason code 4808 – Expired Chargeback Protection Period indicator, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed by the merchant. But again, merchants can prevent nearly all legitimate chargebacks with this reason code by simply implementing best practices:
- Request authorization for all transactions prior to processing.
- Settle all transactions within 24-48 hours whenever possible.
- Be aware of timelines and limitations for settlement.
- Settle all preauthorized transactions within 30 calendar days (fewer is better) and all non-preauthorized transactions within seven calendar days.
Chargeback Prevention: A Wider View
While merchants can take many steps to help prevent legitimate claims, fraudulent chargebacks are another matter. Friendly fraud is post-transactional in nature, meaning there’s no sure way to identify it beforehand. Merchants can do everything “right,” yet still have a dispute filed against them.
It’s generally more efficient to take a proactive stance when it comes to chargeback management. However, a truly-effective strategy must encompass both preventing chargebacks and disputing cases of friendly fraud.
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