Chargeback Response

December 23, 2021 | 10 min read

4 Easy Steps to Win Your Next Chargeback Response

Let’s face it: chargebacks aren’t going anywhere. As consumers make more large-scale purchases like automobiles, appliances, and furniture online, chargeback rates will only continue to rise.

This is a serious problem. The cost of the average chargeback is more than three times the initial transaction price. So, how can you effectively navigate this shifting landscape and manage chargebacks without breaking the bank? How can you put together a solid chargeback response that will help recoup your revenue?

In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step approach to a successful chargeback response. We’ll provide the information you need to include, along with some tips to help you save time and recover more money.

What is a Chargeback Response?

Chargeback Response

[noun]/* chahrj • bak • rə • späns/

A chargeback response is the process through which a merchant attempts to fight and overturn a chargeback. Also known as ‘chargeback representment’, in which the merchant literally ‘re-presents’ the transaction to the issuing bank for reconsideration.

A chargeback response is called for when the details of a dispute don’t match transaction records. For example, if a cardholder claims they did not authorize a purchase, but you have proof that they did, then you should submit a chargeback response.

Understanding the chargeback process is key to your success. Once the bank is in possession of your representment package, or the chargeback response forms…that’s it. Whether you win or lose is up to them.

The best shot you have to win your dispute is to provide as thorough a response as possible. You need to curate the details of your claim very carefully, and be sure you don’t overlook anything.

Fighting chargebacks isn’t easy…but picking up the phone is. Find out how much you could save today.


Inaccurate or erroneous disputes might be easy to spot from your perspective. To the bank, though, it may not be so obvious. Additionally, issuing banks are not keen to tell their cardholders that they can’t have their money back after that person claims to be the victim of fraud or abuse.

Chargebacks can be a bit of a ‘gray area’ for banks. It’s difficult for them to discern certain details that might decide the issue for either party. So, it’s up to you to ensure that you provide a timely and compelling reply. Formulating an articulate, detailed, and actionable chargeback response can be a daunting process if you aren’t sure how, or don’t know where to begin.

Preparing for a Chargeback Response

In your chargeback response, the power of your argument will hinge almost entirely on the evidence you can provide, and the way in which you provide it. Issuing banks receive thousands of chargeback representment packages every month. The swiftest way to ensure that you’re preparing a response that won’t be discarded is to be as thorough as possible, but keep it brief and to the point.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you get started:

Pay Attention to Reason Codes

The bank will have supplied a reason code with your chargeback notification letter. This reason code will detail why the dispute was lodged, as well as the type of evidence the bank will require to disprove the cardholder’s claim.

Understand the Process

There are some facets of the process that you can pre-assemble, which will save you a bit of time. While this can streamline the process don’t get carried away. A chargeback response template is unreliable, because each case has different circumstances.

Prepare a Rebuttal Letter

Another important piece of the puzzle is the chargeback rebuttal letter. While it is true that the bank will decide your case based on the quality of the evidence you supply, your rebuttal letter is what seals the deal. In your rebuttal, you’re going to explain your side of the disputed transaction. Those details need to be delivered in a professional, succinct manner—no filler and no fluff.

Automate When Appropriate

Most facets of the chargeback process resist automation. However, there are points at which you can strategically deploy templates for the purpose of partially automating chargeback processes. This can save reams of time and money depending on how many chargebacks you receive each month.

Now that we’ve covered how to prepare, let’s dive into your chargeback response package.

Types of Chargeback Evidence to Include

When prepping a chargeback response form, evidence is the name of the game. Here are some examples of evidence you might include in your response:

  • Photos or other visual documentation
  • Authorization codes to prove the purchase was legitimate (with time stamps)
  • CVV number and/or AVS verification
  • Biometric data (if available)
  • Email or other conversations with the cardholder
  • Fulfillment, tracking, and shipment confirmation details
  • Any signed contracts or other documents shared between the parties

You need to have a careful eye on the reason code supplied by the issuing bank in their chargeback notification letter as you gather evidence to support your case. That sounds easy enough, but the type of evidence you send to the bank must be specific to the provided reason code. It must also follow certain criteria.

Remember: even in cases of friendly fraud, you still have to refute the claim made by the cardholder, as represented by the reason code.

Four Steps to Submit a Chargeback Response

After compiling your evidence according to the provided reason code, it’s time to organize your response for submission.

Pay close attention to how you arrange your file. The documents you submit are essentially telling a story that you want to relay to the bank. You want to ensure that it’s easy to read, on topic, and easy to understand.

These four steps can drastically improve your chances of winning your claim:

Consult the Advice Letter

Consult the Advice Letter

Your chargeback response package should start with the Chargeback Debit Advice Letter. This will include details about the chargeback, and will help you interpret what needs to be addressed in each particular case.

Pro Tip:
Rules and procedures vary between issuers and card networks. Be sure that your chargeback response is in line with the rules, as well as the timetables, required by each entity.

Gather the Evidence

Gather the Evidence

Here is where you will provide the information related to the transaction, from verification codes to photo documentation. Walk the bank through the purchase from the initial login through card authorization, then relay any shipping and delivery confirmation you might have. If your evidence is complete, these details should tell the story of the faulty transaction on their own.

Pro Tip:
Having a plan beforehand can help you remain on track without bogging the bank down with irrelevant details that could distract from your argument. A good rule of thumb is to follow the transaction from login to delivery and include only relevant information.

Draft the Rebuttal Letter

Draft the Rebuttal Letter

In your chargeback response letter, you will explain the cardholder’s buying process and your shop’s policies or terms and conditions as they relate to the transaction being disputed. If the cardholder is in error or the reason code the bank provided is not factual, you will explain that discrepancy in your rebuttal letter. Again, use a professional tone, and get to the point without extraneous detail. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your response as brief as possible.

Pro Tip:
Remember the who, what, when, and why’ of the transaction, and lay your rebuttal out in exactly the same format. Never use flowery or incendiary language. Tell the bank what happened, when it happened, and why the cardholder is in error. Simple and sweet.

Review & Submit Your Response

Review & Submit Your Response

Review your information and check for any last-minute details. You can include customer service notes, previous transactions with the cardholder, or anything else which might further clarify the situation for the bank. Remember, the issuing bank is not eager to tell a cardholder they are not getting their money back. It’s up to you to prove your case. Then, finally, you’re ready to submit your chargeback response to your acquirer, who will then review the documents and forward them along to the issuer.

Pro Tip:
Each bank and card network have their own requirements for submission. Some want information transmitted via email, while others expect you to mail a physical copy. Some even insist on fax as their preferred method. Be sure you get the packet to your acquirer, through the proper channel, before the allotted time frame runs out.

These four steps will help you prepare a comprehensive, to-the-point chargeback response that can win your case.

It’s important to understand that not every representment package you submit to the bank will be a winner. This is true even if you follow the rules closely. You have to remember, though: for every friendly fraud case to which you don’t respond, you’re guaranteed to lose.

It’s essential that you learn when to fight and when not to fight. On that note, let’s discuss what you shouldn’t include in your chargeback response.

Chargeback Response Mistakes to Avoid

It’s important to fight legitimate chargebacks as often as possible. However, there are some finer points of which you need to be aware. Not every case is worth the effort, and knowing the difference can save you time and money.


  • Ignore Deadlines: Banks don’t provide extensions or exceptions for disputes or responses, and always set firm deadlines. A late submission is a guaranteed loss.
  • Fight Legitimate Chargebacks: Not every chargeback is a four-alarm fire. Some are caused by non-malicious extenuating circumstances, and some are the cause of errors built into your practices. You shouldn’t ignore any chargeback, but you should choose your battles wisely with representment.
  • Submit Incomplete Responses: If you don’t have all of the evidence you need, don’t send the bank anything at all. You’ll be wasting your time, as the issuer will toss incomplete representment packages away.
  • Assume All Banks are the Same: Each institution has their own rules and procedures. You need to submit chargeback responses in the manner they outline, or they will simply reject your submission.

Have additional questions about chargeback responses? Or, are you in need of help managing your chargeback situation?

Chargebacks911® can help you prepare your chargeback response from start to finish. We have the industry’s best proven record for end-to-end chargeback management and response.

Like What You're Reading? Join our newsletter and stay up to date on the latest in payments and eCommerce trends.
Newsletter Signup
We’ll run the numbers; You’ll see the savings.
Please share a few details and we'll connect with you!
Over 18,000 companies recovered revenue with products from Chargebacks911
Close Form