BEST PRACTICE: Avoiding Chargebacks

Chargebacks occur when a customer calls their credit card company or bank to dispute a transaction. Because the merchant is responsible for proving that the customer was rightfully charged, chargebacks cost time and money. For Doubleknot’s clients, the most common reasons for chargebacks are:

  • The customer doesn’t recognize the transaction. This can happen when a spouse makes a charge without telling their partner, who can’t identify the purchase on the credit card statement. Another common cause is simply forgetting that they made a purchase through your system.
  • The customer didn’t receive the goods or services they ordered. For example, if you cancel a class and do not promptly refund your customers, or if someone orders an item in your online store and you don’t fulfill and ship the order in a timely manner, customers may have a legitimate reason to begin a chargeback.

Once a dispute enters the chargeback system, the disputed amount is withheld from your account. Even if the credit card company or bank resolves the dispute in your favor, you may still be assessed a chargeback fee typically ranging from $15 to $30. Here are a few guidelines to reduce the chances of chargebacks:

  • Act quickly. When someone calls or emails you to inquire about a charge, be sure to respond quickly. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, customers are more likely to escalate the issue to their credit card company or bank.
  • Make sure that your products match their description. This applies to events, memberships, programs and reservations as well as to merchandise: if the facility rental wasn’t as described, or they didn’t learn what you said they’d learn in a class, you may be liable for the chargeback.
  • Provide excellent communications and customer service. When customers feel that you’re responsive and open to communications about their orders, they’re much more likely to work with you directly to resolve an issue than to call their credit card company or bank.
  • Make sure your cancellation and return policies are clear. This helps customers understand when they’re entitled to a full refund, a partial refund or no refund at all.
  • Issue refunds ASAP. If a customer is owed a refund, issue it as quickly as possible. If you agree to refund a purchase and the customer doesn’t see evidence of the refund soon, they are more likely to get their credit card or bank company involved.

To help reduce chargebacks for clients who use the Doubleknot merchant services account, your customers will receive an email six days after each transaction to remind that their statement will show a charge for the purchase from Doubleknot.

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