How To Win A Chargeback Dispute

While chargebacks offer a layer of protection to consumers, they can prove problematic for merchants. In many circumstances, merchants can do things to win a chargeback dispute

This article will break down the steps merchants can follow to fight and win fraudulent chargeback disputes. You likely landed on this article because you are dealing with a high number of chargebacks, and you are looking for solutions.

Most merchants probably have somewhat of an understanding of what a chargeback is, but in case you aren’t sure, let’s do a brief recap on what they are.

Note: If you are having trouble winning chargeback disputes or your chargebacks are simply out of control, we believe we can help you reduce your chargebacks significantly with our proven tool.

What Are Chargebacks

A chargeback is protection put in place to protect customers. If the cardholder files a dispute due to concerns about fraudulent transactions, the issuing bank will investigate the case to determine its legitimacy before concluding. The two biggest reasons your customers file a chargeback are as follows:

Friendly Fraud

Friendly fraud is when the chargeback is not technically considered fraudulent. Let’s take a look at a list of reasons someone might file a chargeback that would be regarded as friendly fraud. 

  • They forgot to cancel a subscription (Netflix or Hulu)
  • They don’t recognize a purchase they made, even though they made the purchase
  • The customer is dissatisfied and contacts the bank directly, rather than the merchant
  • The customer orders an item, is happy with it but claims that the product is ineffective to the bank

Legitimate Fraud

In this case, chargebacks do exactly what they were intended to do – allow customers a quick solution to report fraudulent transactions on their credit/debit card statements.

Most Common Chargeback Reasons

Before we get into the steps merchants can take to win chargeback disputes, let’s quickly go over the most common reasons merchants get chargebacks.

  1. The purchase was made via a stolen credit/debit card
  2. The product never arrived to the customer
  3. The merchant shipped the wrong product
  4. The product took far longer than the merchant said it would to arrive
  5. The customer wasn’t satisfied with the product
  6. The product didn’t match the merchant’s description
  7. The customer was billed twice or charged the wrong amount
  8. A family member purchased the cardholder (a son/daughter uses their parent’s card without telling them)

While there are other reasons for chargebacks, these are the most common reasons we see in the industry.

How To Win Chargeback Disputes And Lower Your Overall Chargebacks

Now that we have covered the basics of chargebacks and why they occur, let’s get into the purpose of this article, to help you increase your chances of winning chargeback disputes.

The trickiest thing for merchants to deal with when it comes to chargebacks is that chargebacks are meant to protect the customer. But unfortunately, it makes it that much harder for a merchant to win a dispute.

For this reason, we always stress to our clients the importance of limiting the chances that a chargeback is filed against them. 

Merchants can significantly reduce their number of chargebacks by implementing the following:

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Clear terms and conditions policies
  • Clear billing practices, especially for subscription merchants
  • Implementing fraud detection tolls
  • Implementing a secure payment gateway
  • Implement CB-Alert Chargeback Mitigation Services, which includes Ethoca & Verifi Alerts

Chargebacks are normal for online businesses as this implies CNP purchases (card-not-present). One of the alarming facts is that most customers who file a chargeback against a merchant and win will file another one within 90 days.

When you do the math on a large scale, you can see how this can snowball and become incredibly problematic. 

When it comes to winning the actual chargeback dispute, this is what we recommend.

1) Verify The Reason Code

The most compelling evidence a merchant can provide to reverse the chargeback will depend entirely on the reason code for the specific chargeback.

Check the reason code for the chargeback, and then begin to gather the evidence that proves your case. 

Every card network has its reason code system, which is why you will need to know which card brand was used for the transaction.

Now that you have the reason code, it is up to you to prove that the merchant is being untruthful with their dispute. 

2) Gather Evidence And Maintain Customer Records

While we stated above that disputes typically favor the customer, gathering evidence will significantly aid in disputing a chargeback for merchants.

It’s important to note that this step needs to be implemented early on. While this doesn’t help you fight against an active dispute, this will help minimize future chargebacks.

To do this, you will need a system that carefully documents all transactions. For example, implementing confirmation emails, invoices, and follow-up emails such as tracking details to the customer will show the bank the purchase might have been legitimate. Another thing you can do is send a follow-up email to customers asking how they are enjoying their purchase.

Always ask for signatures when items are shipped to customers. If you can prove the item was delivered, this can help combat any claims that the item was never delivered.

If the customer has purchased online, collecting their IP address and the time and date of the transaction can prove pivotal to winning the dispute.

Merchants should make sure they gather/assemble the following:

  • Proof delivery – signed by customer
  • Provide copies of customer service communications with customer
  • Photos of the customer using the product
  • Rebuttal letter
  • AVS and CVV match
  • A scanned copy of the customer’s photo ID
  • An invoice
  • A transaction receipt

3) Implement 24/7 Customer Service

Customer service not only prevents disputes from occurring, but it can also help when it comes to resolving disputes as well. If we break down chargebacks, we know that they are usually the result of an unhappy customer.

If customer service can quickly respond to the customer and provide them with refund policies, they can significantly reduce their chargeback numbers.

Once a chargeback is filed against your business, you will usually have between 7 and 10 days to fight back. During this period of time, you can contact the customer and try to resolve it with them. If they are happy, they can undo the chargeback with the bank.

Should their claim be accurate and reasonable, it’s always better to refund them directly rather than attempt to fight the chargeback and lose. 


4) Try To Resolve Issue Quickly

Once you are alerted about the chargeback, you must act quickly. Time will be limited when putting together your rebuttal, so you must gather all of the information at once when filing the rebuttal. 

It is wise for merchants to have a go-to pre-written template at their disposal to speed this process up. 

5) Craft Your Rebuttal Letter

Most chargeback disputes that are won include a solid rebuttal letter detailing why the merchant was wronged. In addition, the letter should include a brief overview of your evidence and explain why it shouldn’t be a chargeback.

6) Find A Company That Specializes In Chargeback Disputes

At CB-ALERT, we understand the importance of mitigating chargebacks. We are confident that we can significantly reduce your chargebacks and save your business money on processing fees swiftly.

My Merchant Account Was Terminated/Frozen For Having Too Many Chargebacks

This is something we often see at CB-ALERT. If your account was explicitly terminated due to chargebacks, the first thing you need to do is implement a system that helps you reduce chargebacks. 

You will likely have to pay more in processing fees until you bring down your chargeback ratio.

Chargeback Fees

When you sign a contract with a payment processor, the chargeback fee will be listed in the contract. They typically vary between $5 and $50.


Merchants can implement all of the steps mentioned above to fight against and win chargeback disputes. If you believe you are a victim of friendly fraud, always oppose the chargeback, as you might be able to get it reversed. 

Reach out to us using the link below to determine how much we can help your business regarding chargeback disputes. Not only can we help you overturn chargebacks, but we can also put procedures in place that will significantly reduce your chargebacks.

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