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. The dispute can be a retrieval or chargeback request.
This article helps you understand the dispute process and what to do when you receive one.
What is a retrieval request?
A retrieval request (also known as an inquiry) occurs when a cardholder requests more information about a charge they don't recognize on their card.
The cardholder can contact their credit card issuer when they do not recognize your business name or the amount shown on their credit card statement. The card-issuing bank will assist them in obtaining supporting documentation for the transaction in question.
- The cardholder contacted their card-issuing bank to advise about an unknown payment and ask for more information.
- The card-issuing bank notified Cloudbeds Payments about the retrieval request and asked for documentation to prove the transaction.
There is no fee associated with a retrieval.
- You will receive an email from our Risk team (email@example.com) with instructions on how to proceed. You will have a set amount of days (typically ten days) to respond with the supporting documents for the transaction. Be sure to respond to our Risk team within the allotted time frame. Failure to respond to a retrieval request can result in an irreversible chargeback.
If you conclude that your guest is due a refund, you can issue the refund to the credit card via Cloudbeds PMS. Note that you must still respond to the Risk team and notify them that you have refunded your guest to avoid the automatic chargeback.
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 that there has been a violation of the 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 more than six months from the transaction date, but a cardholder may challenge this policy.
- The cardholder files a dispute by contacting their card-issuing bank.
- The card-issuing bank identifies the transaction in question, and provisional credit is applied to the credit card while waiting for the result of the dispute.
- The card-issuing bank notifies Cloudbeds Payments of the disputed charge.
- The amount of the transaction and the non-refundable chargeback fee are deducted from your account.
- You will receive a notification from our system along with a list of helpful documentation to provide for the specific dispute reason.
- You will have a set amount of days (determined by the card issuer) to contest the chargeback and supply the documentation as needed or accept the dispute. If you accept the dispute, the provisional credit provided to the cardholder will become final.
- Respond to the dispute investigation before the set date in the notification (example: Respond by February 22nd, 2022). 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 under the investigation can result in a duplicate refund to your guest, and your account will get debited twice.
- If you win the dispute (chargeback reversal), you will get back the amount disputed minus the non-refundable chargeback fee. If you lose, the money will return to your guest, and you will still get charged the non-refundable chargeback fee.
- The card issuer is the deciding party when it comes to disputes. Cloudbeds does not determine if you win or lose a dispute. It is important to provide as much information about a transaction as possible when a dispute has been opened to ensure you have the best possible chance to win the case
The chargeback fee will be assessed alongside the amount of the dispute. The fee is implemented to recover incurred costs while handling consumer retrieval requests and chargebacks associated with your account. This fee is non-refundable and not dependent on the outcome of the dispute.
If you have any questions about the fee, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to prevent chargebacks from occurring
Although the cardholder has the right to question any charge, there are best practices merchants can adopt to mitigate dispute claims. Check this article for helpful tips: Cloudbeds Payments - Best Practices in Accepting Credit Cards
Common chargeback reasons and solutions
Below you can find the common reasons for chargebacks and their remedies. You may also reach out to your guests to ask why they filed a dispute.
Regardless of the conversation with your customer, always 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.
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 a proof that the cardholder acknowledged and agreed to the policy.
The cardholder is stating that they did not authorize the charge from your property.
Provide supporting documentation to prove the card holder 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 the stay at your property, provide supporting documents to prove the stay was completed. If the cardholder did not complete the 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 should 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, a dispute where a cardholder believes they were charged more than what was quoted can often come up under the reason code “general”.