Chargebacks are often a foreign concept for small business owners. When faced with a chargeback for the first time, these small business owners might be caught off guard. When a consumer disputes a charge on their credit card, and subsequently contacts their issuing bank for a refund, they initiate the chargeback process. When the issuing bank delivers a refund to that consumer by reversing the charge back to the merchant’s bank, or the acquirer, it is referred to as a chargeback.
But, the chargeback process does not always end there. If the chargeback was unfair, and the first charge was justified, the merchant can re-present the chargeback to the consumer. Merchants will only go through with the re-presentment process if it seems like it will be a good investment of their time and money.
No two merchants or chargeback situations are created equal. The specific chargeback details of each case will, inevitably, be different. You, as the business owner, need to evaluate these specific details to determine whether it’s worth it to go through the re-presentment process. By issuing a chargeback, the consumer is “charging” the merchant with mishandling their money. Regardless of intent, financial institutions view all chargebacks in the same light: as the fault of the merchant. The banks want to maintain a strong reputation with their cardholders, and one way to do that is to respond quickly, and affirmatively, in favor of their cardholders, when faced with chargeback disputes. Financial institutions can also issue merchants stiff penalties if they accumulate chargebacks, while failing to address or respond to them.
How to Approach the Re-presentment Process
- Work in accordance with the issuer’s reason code. The consumer’s card-issuing bank, through their reason codes, can help a given merchant understand the specific reasoning behind the chargeback. If you want to have any success in the chargeback re-presentment process, you must have some knowledge with respect to the cause of the chargeback. Visa, Mastercard and other credit institutions issue a numeric code that accompanies each chargeback. As the business owner, in each chargeback situation, look up the code and examine the details to gain insight into the consumer’s experience, and to understand why they filed the chargeback. Before going through with the process, make sure you have a case for chargeback re-presentment.
- Determine the cost of the original charge, the chargeback and the re-presentment. If the initial chargeback isn’t a huge financial burden on your business, then it might not be worth it to go through the chargeback re-presentment process. You must consider the costs to your business’ reputation as well. Before going through with re-presentment, consider all relevant gains and losses in order to decide if it will be worth your time and effort.
- Gather the evidence. Receipts for purchases and shipping can support a merchant’s case as they prepare to present the chargeback to their bank for re-presentment to the cardholder’s bank. Business records, including a pdf, digital file or hard, paper copy of any transactions or consumer card information are valuable pieces of evidence in the re-presentment process. If you choose to go through with this process, collect all relevant evidence to support your argument.
- Act promptly. The re-presentment process must be completed within a limited amount of time, usually specified by the issuer. After the chargeback is issued, the merchant is given a certain number of days with which to re-present that charge to the issuer. All time limits are specified in order to the keep the entire process—charge, chargeback, re-presentment and any further disputes—from continuing indefinitely. Merchants should proceed quickly to complete the chargeback process.
If you can prove that a transaction was completed appropriately, and the subsequent chargeback was issued inappropriately, you can likely recover lost revenue through the re-presentment process. As a business owner, it’s worth your time to explore any, and all chargebacks, decide whether to re-present and file a chargeback re-presentment in a timely manner.