A chargeback is the term for a disputed charge by a customer to their card issuing bank. See some of the reasons customers ask card issuing banks to issue a chargeback on a merchant and tips to avoid and dispute chargebacks.

The chargeback process

The typical chargeback process consists of the following steps:

  1. Your customer contacts the card issuing bank to dispute a specific charge.
  2. The card issuing bank contacts the appropriate credit card association, which then notifies Google of the chargeback.
  3. Google alerts you of the chargeback via email and requests supporting documentation to contest it on your behalf. To dispute a chargeback, you must reply to this email by the indicated reply-by date.
  4. Google reviews the details of the chargeback and the documentation provided by you ("the evidence").
  5. Google submits the evidence to the card issuing bank, if possible, in an attempt to reverse the chargeback.
  6. If the card issuing bank rules in your favor no further action is required.
    If the card issuing bank does not resolve the chargeback in your favor, you may be liable for the chargeback (i.e. you forfeit the disputed payment plus incur a chargeback fee).

The card issuing bank determines the resolution of the chargeback, not Google. If the chargeback dispute is not resolved in your favor: 

  • You receive a credit for the transaction fee from Google
  • The full amount of the chargeback is withdrawn from your account and refunded to the customer by the card issuing bank
  • The refund plus any applicable fees will appear on your earnings report marked as “Transaction Type: Chargeback.” 

Things to remember if you receive a chargeback notification

  • Card issuing banks require that any documentation be received within a certain number of days. Therefore, prompt replies to our information requests are necessary if you have any substantial information to contest the chargeback. Once this time frame has expired and the card issuing bank has resolved a chargeback in the customer's favor, they will not review any additional documentation.
  • The final status of a chargeback may not be determined for several weeks or occasionally several months after it is initiated. However, if your account is debited at any point, you will receive an email notification.
  • The card issuing bank is ultimately responsible for determining the resolution of a chargeback. Google can only attempt to reverse the chargeback on your behalf by gathering supporting documentation from you and submitting it to the card issuing bank. 

Tips to avoid and successfully dispute chargebacks

  • Respond to our requests for additional information as soon as possible so that we may fight the chargeback on your behalf.
  • Include all communications you've had with your buyer when responding to our requests for additional information.
  • Include tracking numbers for all your orders. Upon receipt of a chargeback, include the relevant order's tracking number in your response to the chargeback inquiry.
  • Make your business policies visible to customers before they place an order. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) entitles buyers to issue chargebacks regardless of a merchant's own business policies. However, if there is evidence that the customer had the option to view a merchant's policies before placing the order, your chance of winning the chargeback is greatly increased.

Fair Credit Billing Act

The federal Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) entitles consumers to issue disputes for any billing error. Billing errors can include unauthorized transactions, non-delivery of the item, item delivered not as described or defective, and failure to post payments/credits for returns. Keep in mind that orders can be disputed per the FCBA regardless of the merchant's own business policies. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website to earn more about consumer rights under the FCBA.
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