How do Chargebacks work?

Chargebacks refer to a request from a customer to return his money. This scenario often happens when a customer isn’t satisfied with his purchase or if he received a different product than what he paid for. As a merchant, the chargeback system can be quite frustrating, and it may even be a threat to your business. As a customer, however, a chargeback can be used as your protection against fraudulent merchants.

To further understand how do chargebacks work, let’s first have a quick overview of the rationale behind them as well as their impact on both merchants and customers.

Chargebacks might seem like a traditional refund system, but it does have one major difference. Instead of contacting a merchant and asking for a refund, the consumer asks the bank to take money directly from the merchant’s account. An investigation then follows, and if the customer’s request is proven valid, funds are then deducted from the merchant’s account then returned to the customer. However, the customer isn’t required to return whatever he’s purchased.

Merchants won’t even know it has happened during that. Basically, a chargeback processing is leaned more towards customers with the following purpose:

  • To make customers feel more secure
  • To deter merchants from selling poor quality products
  • To make sure merchants can remain transparent
  • To protect customers from criminal fraud
  • There are several chargeback reasons that will prompt a customer to use it. They’re as follows:
  • When goods didn’t arrive or are damaged
  • When the merchant has delivered a wrong item
  • If the customer has suffered from identity theft
  • If unauthorized transactions were made on the customer’s credit card

Chargebacks can differ between payment processors. On average, it can take around 60-90 days to properly resolve. However, here’s how the chargeback process works in general:

  1. A customer makes a purchase either in person, via an app, or through an online store.

  2. In the event the customer notices an unauthorized transaction upon reviewing his credit card statement, he will then initiate the chargeback. First, he contacts his credit card company to request an investigation of the said transaction.

  3. The issuing bank will then contact the merchant’s bank and request evidence to refute the claim.

  4. After the evidence provided by the merchant’s bank is reviewed, the customer’s bank will then decide whether the purchase was valid or not.

  5. At this point, the customer should accept the proof and pay for the goods if the purchase is valid. However, if the purchase was not valid, the customer will receive a refund.

  6. There are instances when the customer will dispute the purchase and proceed to a process called arbitration. The arbitration process only happens when both the customer’s bank and the merchant’s bank didn’t come to an agreement. During the arbitration, the credit card company will review the proof from both parties. The decision made after this is absolutely final, and whoever loses will end up paying for the charges.

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