A chargeback is a disputed charge by a customer to their card issuing bank. Learn more about the reasons customers ask card-issuing banks to 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 issuer contacts the appropriate credit card association, which then notifies Google of the chargeback.
  3. Google sends you an email to alert you of the chargeback and requests supporting documentation to fight it for you. 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, to try to reverse the chargeback.
  6. If the card issuer rules in your favor, no further action is required.
    If the card issuer doesn't resolve the chargeback in your favor, you may be liable for the full chargeback amount (i.e. you forfeit the disputed payment plus a chargeback fee).

Note: The card issuer determines the resolution of the chargeback, not Google.

When a customer charges back: 

  • We credit you the transaction fee.
  • The card issuer withdraws the full amount of the charged back transaction from your account and refunded to the customer.
  • You'll see the refund plus any applicable fees on your earnings report marked as “Transaction type: Chargeback.” 
Things to remember if you get a chargeback notification

When you get a chargeback notification, keep the following in mind:

  • Card issuers require they get any documentation ("evidence") within a certain number of days. If you have any substantial information to contest the chargeback, reply to our information requests promptly. After the card issuer's deadline for submitting evidence in a chargeback passes and they've resolved a chargeback in the customer's favor, they won't review any additional documentation.
  • The card issuer's determination may take several weeks, or even months, after a customer charges back. However, if your account is debited at any point, we'll email you.
  • The card issuer is ultimately responsible for determining the resolution of a chargeback. Google can only attempt to reverse the chargeback for you by gathering supporting documentation from you and submitting it to the card issuer. 
Tips to avoid and reverse chargebacks

To avoid and reverse chargebacks, we recommend the following:

  • Respond to our requests for additional information quickly so we can fight the chargeback on your behalf.
  • Include all communications you had with your customer when responding to our requests for information.
  • Include tracking numbers for all your orders. Include the relevant order's tracking number in your response to us.
  • Make your business policies visible to customers before they place an order. The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) lets customers issue chargebacks regardless of a merchant's own business policies. However, if there's evidence that the customer had the option to view a merchant's policies before placing the order, your chances of reversing the chargeback are better.

Fair Credit Billing Act

The federal Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) lets consumers 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 learn more about consumer rights under the FCBA.
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