What are chargebacks and how do I dispute them?
Learn more about chargebacks, why they occur, related fees and how to prevent them. Select a question to see its answer:
- What are chargebacks?
- How do I know if I have a chargeback?
- What are chargeback fees?
- What can I do if I have a chargeback?
- How can I prevent chargebacks?
What are chargebacks?
A chargeback, also sometimes known as a payment dispute, occurs when a card-issuing bank reverses a charge you made to their cardholder. Chargebacks are meant to be a form of cardholder protection as they allow cardholders to dispute possible unauthorized charges.
The cardholder can initiate a chargeback for a variety of reasons, including:
- Item not received: Customer claims they didn’t receive the product they ordered and paid for.
- Item not as described: Customer says the item they received is considerably different than what they expected based on the description.
- Unauthorized transactions: Customer claims that the purchase was made without their consent.
Once a chargeback is initiated, an investigation follows. If the bank feels the request is valid, funds will be removed from your account and returned to the cardholder. However, the bank could decide that a further investigation is required, in which case you will be asked to provide additional information.
How do I know if I have a chargeback?
If one of your customers files a chargeback, we'll send you a notification email. The email will include details of the transaction in question and a request to provide additional documentation, such as fees, receipts, description of product, warranty info, or other documentation by a certain date.
What are chargeback fees?
Effective November 8 2023, if your customer files a chargeback, you will incur a fee of $15 per chargeback. This fee is charged to cover the administrative costs of processing the chargeback.
Like other GoDaddy Payments fees, the fee will be subtracted from the amount you receive in your next payout. If you are not scheduled to receive a payout on that day, the fee will be subtracted from your GoDaddy Payments account balance. The chargeback fee is non-refundable. You will be able to view the fee in the Fees section of your payouts report. Learn more about GoDaddy Payments fees.
What can I do if I have a chargeback?
After a customer has filed a chargeback, we will initiate an investigation into the charge and notify you via email of the outcome. Note that finishing the investigation may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
If you decide not to dispute the chargeback, you can simply reply to the notification email and no further action is required on your part.
How can I prevent chargebacks?
As a merchant, it is important to know how to reduce legitimate chargebacks and eliminate preventable ones. Here are some ways to avoid chargebacks:
- Transact in person when possible: Unauthorized activity is more likely to happen when transactions are made without a physical card. Transacting in person, while following best practices such as collecting a signature and checking the card for signs of tampering (e.g. damaged magnetic stripes, unfamiliar holograms), can significantly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized payments and chargebacks.
- Avoid manually keyed transactions: Manually keyed-in transactions can increase risk. If possible, have cardholders check out online or send them an online payment link.
- Clearly describe refund/cancellation policies: Make sure your refund and cancellation policies are clear and easy to find. Ideally, your refund process should be easier and more straightforward than the process of filing a chargeback.
- Ensure you have a transparent fulfillment policy: If you are unable to fulfill a customer’s order as described in your fulfillment policy, it is always good practice to notify your customer of the timeline adjustments to avoid a dispute:
- If you are shipping a product to your customers, they should be aware of when to expect their product to be delivered.
- If your products are on backorder, your customer should be notified of this before they make their purchase.
- If you provide your customers with a service, your customer should be aware of your timeline to fulfill these services.
- Clearly describe products and services: Cardholders not receiving what they expected is one of the most common reasons they file a chargeback. Clear product and service descriptions help prevent this: provide photos from multiple angles and include information about quality, color, size, weight and processing time. Adding information about what is not included can be just as important as what is included.
- Reduce anxiety during processing times: Clearly explain processing timeframes during the checkout process so the cardholder is aware of when their product will ship.
- Make it easy for customers to contact you: Provide multiple points of contact so the cardholder can get in touch however they prefer. If you have delayed response times, this should also be clearly explained with your contact information. If you are difficult to reach, they may contact their bank instead.
- Check the billing descriptor: Run a test transaction and check your bank statement to see what a cardholder would see when purchasing. Check the statement on your bank’s website, instead of an app, which may be inaccurate. Make sure your business name is correct to reduce chargebacks from cardholders who may not recognize the transaction.
- Ensure charges are accurate: Re-check the transaction amount before charging to avoid the appearance of overcharging or deceitful billing practices.
- Do not re-run charges on declined cards: If a card is declined, ask the cardholder for a different payment method or have them contact their card issuer. Having multiple declined transactions can have an impact on your merchant reputation.
- Keep detailed records of every transaction: Detailed records of a transaction are invaluable when winning a chargeback dispute. Keeping written agreements or digital acknowledgements of interactions between you and your customer can help protect your business. Information that may be asked for during disputes may include, but are not limited to:
- Signed invoice/order receipt containing order details and cardholder information
- Proof of delivery or that the service was rendered
- Proof that the cardholder was aware of cancellation/refund policy at the time of the sale
- Proof that credit has been issued
- Be on the lookout for chargeback notifications: If you receive an email from GoDaddy with the subject line GoDaddy Payments Chargeback Notification, please respond to this email immediately with all information related to the transaction(s) being disputed.