Cloudbeds Payments - How to Handle a Retrieval or Chargeback

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According to the Payment Card Industry standards, when accepting credit cards at your business, a cardholder has the right to question or dispute any charge processed at your property via their card issuing bank.

This article will guide you through the types of retrieval requests and chargebacks that may occur at your business, address how to handle them, and cover frequently asked questions.

Types of credit card disputes: Retrieval and Chargeback

Although both retrieval and chargeback requests are disputes, they present different kinds of remedies and resolutions. Typically, a retrieval request precedes a chargeback request.

What is a retrieval request?

A retrieval request (also known as an "inquiry") occurs when a cardholder requests more information about a transaction that was processed on their card. The cardholder may not recognize the business name or amount shown on their credit card statement, leading them to contact their credit card issuer to assist in obtaining supporting documentation for the transaction in question. 

The retrieval process

What happens when a retrieval request is filed by a cardholder:

  1. The cardholder contacts their card-issuing bank and advises they are not familiar with the transaction.
  2. The card-issuing bank notifies your payment processor of the transaction inquiry/retrieval and requests supporting documentation for the transaction in question.
    • Your payment processor will not debit your DDA (Direct Debit Authorization) for a retrieval request, however, there is a $25 fee assessed for the retrieval request being ignited by your cardholder.
  3. You will receive an email from our Risk Team (risk@cloudbeds.com) with instructions on how to proceed. You will have a set amount of days (typically 10 days) to respond with supporting documents for the transaction in question. 

If after receiving a retrieval request notification you conclude that your guest is due a refund, you are welcome to issue a refund to the credit card via your Cloudbeds PMS. You will still need to respond to our Risk team that you have refunded your customer so that we can respond to the retrieval request to avoid an automatic chargeback.

Be sure to respond to the retrieval request within the allotted time frame. Failure to respond to a retrieval request can result in an irreversible charge-back. 

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is the reversal of a sales transaction for reasons such as “Fraudulent Transaction”, “Not Authorized”, “Services Not Rendered”, etc, that is initiated by a cardholder, via their card-issuing bank.

A chargeback can also occur if the bank that issued the card believes there has been a violation to Visa/MasterCard/Discover/American Express (Card Association) rules or regulations. 

Depending on the credit card type, a cardholder can have up to two years from the date of stay to dispute a charge. Most issuing banks have a policy against handling disputes that are more than six months old from transaction date,  however, a cardholder may challenge the policy. 

The chargeback process

What happens when a chargeback request is filed by a cardholder:

  1. The cardholder files a dispute by contacting their card-issuing bank
  2. The card-issuing bank identifies the transaction in question and applies a provisional credit to the cardholder while the dispute waits for a decision
  3. The card-issuing bank notifies your payment processor of the disputed charge
  4. The amount of the transaction in question and fees is deducted from your Payout balance
  5. You will receive an email from our Risk team with instructions on how to proceed. You will have a set amount of days (usually around 10 days, depending on the issuer) to contest the charge-back and supply documentation as needed or accept the charge-back and your customer will receive a refund.
  • Be sure to respond to the charge-back by the respond by date. Failure to respond will result in forfeiture of your reversal rights established by current Card Association rules and regulations
  • Do NOT refund your customer during any dispute investigation. Refunding a transaction currently being investigated can result in a duplicate refund to your guest and your account will be debited twice.

Frequently asked questions

Can I reach out to my customer to ask why they filed a dispute?

Yes, you are more than welcome to reach out to your customer if needed. However, regardless of the conversation with your customer, always be sure to respond to the dispute with supporting documentation.

No response to a chargeback will lead to a decision in favor of the cardholder and their provisional credit will become permanent. 

Why am I charged a fee and how much is it?

A standard fee of $25.00 (currency will be converted based on your country) will be assessed alongside the amount of the dispute. This fee is implemented in an effort to recover incurred costs while handling consumer retrieval requests and chargebacks associated with your account. 

This fee is nonrefundable and is not based on the outcome of the dispute.

How can I prevent chargebacks from occurring?

Although cardholders have the right to question any charge, there are best practices merchants can adopt to mitigate dispute claims. Check this article for helpful tips: Best Practices for Accepting Credit Cards

What are common reasons customers will issue a chargeback?
Reason
Description Remedy
Credit not processed 

The cardholder is stating a refund is due but has not been issued.


Provide a rebuttal letter addressing why a refund is not due to the cardholder, along with a copy of the refund/cancellation policy to support your rebuttal with proof the cardholder acknowledged and agreed to the policy.
Fraudulent 
The cardholder is stating they did not authorize the charge from your property.
Provide supporting documentation to prove the cardholder authorized the transaction and completed a stay at your property.
Not as described 

The cardholder stated there was an issue with their stay, making it not as originally advertised.


Provide a rebuttal letter addressing all of the cardholder’s claims regarding their stay.

Services not rendered 

The cardholder is stating they were charged, however, they did not stay at the property.


If the cardholder did complete a stay at the property, provide supporting documents to prove a stay was completed. If the cardholder did not complete a stay, provide a rebuttal letter addressing why a refund is not due to the cardholder, along with the refund/cancellation policy, and any additional supporting documentation.

General or Duplicate


Less common disputes, such as “general” or “duplicate”, can indicate either that your statement descriptor is not recognizable or customers are confused by the way they’re billed. 



Often time these will make up a small percentage of your total disputes. However, if any of these are one of the top three reasons, it could be an indication that some other issue is the root of the problem. For example, disputes where a cardholder believes they were charged more than what was quoted can often come in under reason code “general”.

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