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How to defend against chargebacks

You can try to minimize the risk of chargebacks and it’s surely recommended and worth doing. But it is nearly impossible to completely avoid them. Chargebacks just happen. Even if you never make any mistakes, your deliveries are on time and your policy is absolutely transparent – chargebacks are a matter of time. The good news is that you can defend against them, especially if you have done nothing wrong and the chargeback request was uncalled for.

How does defending against a chargeback look like?

This may vary depending on your acquiring bank, payment processor etc., but the general process should look more or less as follows:

1. You receive a chargeback request

A customer initiates a chargeback. You should be notified about the request (for example at PayLane we would automatically send you an email; you also get to view such requests in our Merchant Panel). It’s quite important that you make sure you actually get such notifications as quickly as possible, so you can react in time.

2. Defend against the chargeback

If you think that the chargeback request is unfounded and you are able to prove it – defend. Usually you have about 7 days to react. You’ll have to present your “version of events” and support it with some kind of evidence if possible. Your goal here is to prove that you provided the service or delivered the product like you were supposed to – show a bill, server logs, a delivery confirmation of whatever may help in your case.

3. (What if) The customer strikes back

You may defend against the chargeback successfully, but the customer may react as well. If you’re really determined, you may try to defend one more time and undermine the arguments from the customer’s second “attack”. That goes more or less the same way as your first defense, you just have to adjust your arguments and proofs to convince the bank that you are the one who’s right.


Of course either side may resign at any stage of this dispute (and frankly, someone usually does). There are also specific time limits for reactions, so one may not manage to respond on time. This also may increase your chances of defending a chargeback.

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