The Chargeback Process

The chargeback process allows you to retroactively cancel a credit card or debit card transaction.

Every time you use a credit card or debit card you are initiating a transaction that is controlled and regulated. If it’s a Visa or Mastercard, your transactions are governed by terms and conditions that they adopted and published. These terms and conditions define rights and obligations for you, your bank, the merchant, and its bank.

For example, if your card was lost or stolen and you see unexplained transactions on your account, you can immediately request your bank to reverse the charges. Visa and Mastercard mandate your bank take that action to protect you from fraud. Even when you willingly make a purchase, you are protected should your purchase not materialize or you receive something other than what was promised.

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What Is a Chargeback?

A chargeback is, in the simplest possible terms, the retroactive cancellation and refund of a charge made  on your credit card or debit card. You request a chargeback from the bank that issued the card itself. But you can do so only under one of two conditions:

  • There was an unauthorized transaction, or
  • The authorized transaction was for goods or services that the merchant did not deliver as per a contract, receipt or some other written agreement

The entire process, from your initial request to the final resolution, can take up to six months. Our experience is that in most cases it takes three-to-four months.

The Issuing Bank and the Acquiring Bank

Visa and Mastercard guarantee that you can apply for a chargeback at any time within 120 days from the date of the transaction. Under certain conditions, that period can be as many as 540 days. In some jurisdictions, the law provides you with even more time.

American Express® does not impose any time limit on its cardholders.

The chargeback process begins when a cardholder submits a request to dispute a transaction with the merchant to the bank that issued the card. The technical term for your bank is the issuing bank. Once the issuing bank accepts your request, it will raise a dispute with the merchant’s bank. The technical term for the merchant’s bank is the acquiring bank. The issuing bank alerts the acquiring bank through the credit card company’s dispute resolution center scheme. The acquiring bank then informs the merchant. In certain cases, the sum you challenge may at this time re-appear in your account as a temporary credit. If so, DO NOT use it. Wait until you win your case and the temporary credit becomes permanent. 

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The Chargeback Process

Representment

Once issuing banks raise disputes, merchants have either 20, 30 or 45 calendar days (depending on the card company) to respond. They do so by submitting a document called a representment. The representment is the merchant’s opportunity to rebut your reasons for a chargeback. If the merchant does not file a representment, your temporary credit will be re-classified as permanent once the deadline passes. In the event you did not receive a temporary credit, the funds will automatically appear in full in your account at this time.

When the merchant files a representment, however, your bank will receive it in a reverse process. Your bank will then either request that you submit a response to the representment, or it may respond on your behalf. It may do so without notifying you. It also has the right to close the case on its own. If you used a Visa card, the merchant may choose to submit a second representment to rebut your response. In that event, a new period of 30 days, known as pre-arbitration, begins. If afterwards the acquiring bank still does not agree to the chargeback, the issuing bank can elect to move to arbitration.

If you used a Mastercard, the merchant has 45 days to respond. Should the merchant submit a representment, the cardholder then has 45 days to rebut it. If the issuing bank allows the cardholder to respond to the representment, the acquiring bank can elect to move directly to the final stage of the chargeback process, which is arbitration.

American Express and Discover®  (and Diners Club International®, which it owns) employ an internal chargeback process. Merchants have 20 days to respond.

Arbitration

Theoretically, the losing side can appeal under exceptional circumstances. The appeals process is known as arbitration. The arbitrators are neutral professionals employed by the credit card companies. Their ultimate decision is final.

One example of an exceptional circumstance is if the arbitrators clearly base their decision on a misrepresentation of the facts of the case. As a general rule, the bank that loses the dispute will pay for the costs of the arbitration. Not the cardholder.

MyChargeBack will accompany you throughout this entire cycle.

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MyChargeBack’s Value Added Service

What makes MyChargeBack different from other fund recovery firms is the value added service we provide by accompanying you throughout this complicated process. Upon engaging our services, we will ask you to supply us with the following information:

  1. The names of all merchants, including the URLs of the domains, with whom there is at least one disputed transaction.
  2. A comprehensive list of all deposits and withdrawals processed with each merchant.
  3. A comprehensive list of the relevant credit card details for each transaction.

Our financial professionals will then review this material, chart an appropriate strategy and prepare the document you will submit to your bank. Should it be necessary, one of our experienced recovery agents will then join you in as many conference calls with your bank’s dispute resolution center as are necessary. Our recovery agent will explain to your bank your reason to dispute a transaction. In the event the merchant challenges your request, we will, of course, prepare a point-by-point response and continue to work with you in pursuing your case leading up to a successful dispute resolution.

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