What Are My Chances of Successfully Fighting a Chargeback?

If You Choose to Dispute a Chargeback, Be Prepared for a Lengthy Battle

While most merchants believe the majority of chargebacks are the result of criminal fraud, the truth is that unauthorized transactions accounts for less than 10% of all chargebacks. The vast majority of chargebacks are the result of friendly fraud and merchant error.

While there is not much merchants can do about chargebacks resulting from criminal fraud or merchant error, there is a process in place for disputing friendly fraud.

Fighting a chargeback is possible—but not easy.

Identifying Friendly Fraud

Friendly fraud is also known as chargeback fraud because consumers manipulate the chargeback process to engage in cyber shoplifting. Illegitimate chargebacks are filed to circumvent the merchant’s return policy or as a convenient alternative to the customer service department.

Unfortunately, the rise of friendly fraud has brought an unnerving discovery: reason codes are no longer an effective way to determine chargeback triggers. Consumers can hide friendly fraud behind any reason code.

The majority of reason codes used by consumers and issuing banks imply criminal fraud (unauthorized transactions). However, the real source of chargebacks—often more than 80% of issuances—is friendly fraud.

Therefore, merchants need a new and more effective way to analyze and manage chargebacks. To date, the only guaranteed way to distinguish disputable friendly fraud from criminal fraud or merchant error is Chargebacks911’s Intelligent Source Detection.

ISD-home-iconIntelligent Source Detection uses a combination of proprietary technology and expert human forensics to determine the true source of any given chargeback. Our analysis doesn’t rely on the misleading and deceptive reason code assigned to a case; we are able to identify the real reason behind the reason code.

The intel provided by ISD enables Chargebacks911 to create more compelling chargeback disputes and effectively reduce chargeback issuance rates. If you’d like to determine the real reasons for your chargebacks and start creating disputes with the highest win rate possible, contact Chargebacks911 today.

It should be noted that effective representment doesn’t damage customer relationship; tactical representment recovers revenue while improving customer retention rates.

Eliminating All Other Threats

Before addressing friendly fraud and fighting a chargeback, merchants must first eliminate merchant error and criminal fraud. That means merchants must always abide by business best practices, including:

  • Answering the phone in three rings or less
  • Offering live customer service as many hours a day as possible (ideally 24/7)
  • Providing order fulfillment information, including confirmation emails, tracking numbers, and backorder notices
  • Identifying suspicious transactions, such as multiple high-ticket items ordered in quick succession and shipping to the same address
  • Utilizing fraud prevention tools such as fraud filters, chargeback alerts, AVS codes, CVV, Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode
  • Providing delivery confirmation to verify that the package was delivered to the address specified

If you’d like help eliminating merchant error and reducing the risk of criminal fraud, our Merchant Compliance Review can help. We’ll inspect 106 different elements of your business, identifying ways your current policies and practices could be increasing your chargeback risk.

Fortunately, once merchant error and criminal fraud have been prevented, representment rights will kick in against friendly fraud.

Knowing Your Representment Rights

There are several steps involved in the chargeback representment process.

First, merchants must collect compelling evidence. This means compiling and presenting records that demonstrate the business employed best practices, and that the cardholder’s claim is not true. Compelling evidence may include:

  • A copy of the original sales receipt
  • Order forms
  • Tracking numbers
  • Any communication with the customer, including emails or social media interactions
  • Proof of the customer receiving, owning, or using the merchandise in question
  • Proof that the merchandise delivered was not damaged or defective

The more compelling the evidence, the more successful the dispute.

Once compelling evidence has been accumulated, it will be added to the rebuttal letter. A debit or credit card chargeback rebuttal letter is a formal presentation of the merchant’s case that disputes the cardholder’s claim. It must be accurate, persuasive, professional, and free of errors.

The Realities of Representment

Before engaging in the representment process, merchants need to understand what they are up against.



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First, the entire representment process will be time consuming. Understanding the card networks’ representment requirements, assembling the necessary compelling evidence and writing a rebuttal letter all demand valuable resources. Those resources would be much better spent appeasing loyal customers and generating new leads.

Also, the process will continue for quite a while; representment cases can sometimes take as long as 90 days to resolve. That’s a long time for funds and other resources to be in limbo. If a second chargeback is issued after the first representment is filed, the process will be extended and more resources will be lost.



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Second, a poorly crafted representment can actually make the situation worse. If the merchant submits a defense that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading, the issuing bank will take note. The merchant, who appears to be unprofessional, will suffer reputational damage. This will result in more future chargebacks. The bank will approve chargeback requests quickly and easily because the merchant is supposedly committing grievous errors.



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Third, managing chargebacks is an ongoing assignment. Businesses that don’t eradicate merchant error and criminal fraud will continue to receive indisputable chargebacks. And because no one can account for unreasonable consumer behavior, friendly fraud will continue unabated too.

Focusing on one individual chargeback is an inefficient use of resources—it’s just a treatment for the symptom, not the actual problem. Merchants need to determine the root cause of their chargeback issues, rather than continually operate in reactive mode.



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Fourth, DIY efforts are simply not effective. Studies show merchants spend as much as 20% of their operational budget on chargeback management, but card networks report merchants win just 21% of their disputes. Professional strategies, tools and products are needed to effectively mitigate risk.

Get Professional Help

Fighting a chargeback is a complicated, highly involved process. Most merchants simply do not have the time, the resources or the expertise needed to prepare a winning representment case.

Chargebacks911® offers a 100% guaranteed ROI on all services. Not only will we help you combat chargebacks more effectively, we can also prevent future chargebacks before they happen.

Contact Chargebacks911®. You focus on growing your business; we’ll manage the chargebacks.


Prevent Chargebacks.

Fight Fraud.

Recover Revenue.

Mar 23, 2016   302   cb911    Friendly Fraud    
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