Tom-Chris Emewulu
Chief Disputes Analyst
As the name implies, “compelling evidence” is the necessary and sufficient pieces of documentation for overturning disputes and winning chargebacks.

If you've been in business for a while, you probably know that writing off all chargebacks as a cost of doing business is a double negative.

But suppose you choose to fight every illegitimate chargeback you get. In that case, you need to understand the specific chargeback representment procedures for each card network. And you must be able to demonstrate that the disputed transaction is valid and the chargeback unfounded.

If you can provide sufficient evidence that speaks to the above with your refutation letter, all within the given time-limit, you stand a great chance of winning the dispute.

It's a make or mar tool in your chargeback representment. And gathering compelling evidence isn’t a decision to take lightly. So, we want to make sure you have all the facts to help you make the best decision in that process. In this post, we’ll be going over some of the most compelling evidence you need to overturn a chargeback and how to streamline the representment process.

What makes Compelling Evidence and how to create a successful Chargeback representment

They designed chargebacks to protect the consumer. Hence banks and card networks tend to see merchants as "guilty by default" when a dispute arises.

To pierce through the veil and prove the dispute's illegitimacy, regulators need you to provide strong evidence that will cast clear, reasonable doubt on the cardholder’s claim. Without that, the dispute will be a 100% LOSS.

In that sense, not every piece of documentation will suffice for your case. And there is no "one-size-fits-all" compelling evidence. Whatever information you provide in your representment must support the disputed transaction's validity in line with the stated reason code.

The most crucial compelling evidence is “customer communication.”

Customer communication: This includes emails to prove a link between the person receiving products and the cardholder or proving that the cardholder disputing the transaction has the merchandise

Other compelling evidence includes delivery confirmation receipts, signed orders, photographs, contracts, and sales receipts.

Make sure to include a short part of the conversation that the customer admits to having the product, not the whole discussion.

How you submit your compelling evidence is crucial to overturning the dispute; keep your evidence relevant and to the point.

We can’t say enough how important it is to craft your representment in line with the chargeback reason code, the legitimate reason behind a dispute. 

Be aware. Card issuers review thousands of dispute responses every day. A long introduction about your product or company, complaint about the customer, or the dispute’s unfairness isn’t going to make your responses more compelling. Instead, provide only the facts surrounding the original purchase, using a neutral and professional tone. For example:

 “Fred Anderson purchased X from our company on [date] using their Visa credit card. The customer agreed to our terms of service and authorized this transaction. We shipped the product on [date] to the address provided by the customer and delivered it on [date].”

As a best practice, when submitting documents or images as evidence, use the following recommendations to make sure they can remain readable:

  • Use a 12 point font or larger
  • Use bold text, callouts, or arrows to draw attention to pertinent information
  • Avoid using color highlighting.

 When uploading screenshots

  • Crop the screenshot to the area of interest and circle any key components (e.g., delivery confirmation or signature)
  • Use the text fields in the dispute evidence form to describe what the image contains and how it supports your response.

Remember to include a copy of your terms of service and refund policy.

When it comes to disputes, valid print matters, providing proof that your customer agreed to and understood your terms of service at checkout or did not follow your policies regarding returns or refunds is critical. A clean screenshot of how your terms of service or other policies presented during checkout is an essential addition to your evidence—it is not enough to include a text copy of these.

Important Files:
  • Terms of Use validation
  • Refund Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Order Cancellation Policy

Provide clear and accurate evidence

Card issuers do not follow any links provided in a response. Instead, you must include a clear screenshot of your terms or policies as they appear during checkout or on your site. That is if they are an essential part of your defense (e.g., a customer disputed a subscription, but there is a minimum contract term that must be adhered to). 

How to tailor your Compelling Evidence to each Chargeback Reason Code

Structuring your chargeback response in line with the stated reason code makes a significant difference in your dispute representment. Below are simple checklists to help you tailor your compelling evidence to each reason code.

Sample chargeback answer manual

Product description: Provide your brief company and product description here

Additional Information: NAME purchased NAME OF PRODUCT from our company on DATE using their credit card. The customer agreed to our terms of service and authorized this transaction. We shipped the product on SHIP DATE to the customer's same address and delivered it on ARRIVAL DATE.

Use the guidelines below to ensure your representment efforts will yield the needed results.

Fraudulent

This class of chargeback is the most common reason for a dispute and happens when a cardholder claims that they didn’t authorize the payment. However, reports show that 77% of those disputes are friendly-fraud.

Required to overturn dispute: You need to provide 100% proof that the customer who has made the order is the cardholder.

Compelling evidence you need to provide:

  1. Customer Communication - evidence for any communication with the customer; it needs to be very brief and to the point. You need to add only the parts where the customer admits to paying, accepting terms & conditions, and incriminates itself.
  2. Shipping Documentation & Address - providing shipping tracking PDF’s [from shipment website] stating where you shipped to and the address the customer gave you when he checked out.
  3. Massive Evidence: Previous non-disputed payments - collect all previous orders data and tracking numbers of that particular customer that they didn’t dispute. Upload those PDF’s at the Additional Information section with information about each of their previous orders. Stripe/Braintree must show the CVC approval, billing code approval page, etc.

Subscription canceled

The customer claims that you continued to charge them after they canceled a subscription.

Required to overturn dispute: Prove that the subscription was still active and that the customer was aware of, and did not follow, your cancellation procedure. 

Compelling evidence you need to provide: 

  1. Cancellation policy - Provide your cancellation policy.
  2. Cancellation policy disclosure - Provide how and where your customers see the policies.
  3. Cancellation Rebuttal - Show your justification of why this customer’s subscription was not canceled. For example, First Month Offer [payment required the second month], the customer requested after the 1st of the month of freemium & more.
  4. Customer Communication:

a. Provide your notification email sent to customers at least three days before the charge date.

b. If there is communication with the customer on any other platform such as Messenger where you informed them of the First Month Offer, or they agreed on a discount and then disputes our charge, include the records.

  1. Receipt: Upload your receipt and order summary, as the case may be.
  2. Additional information: State that the customer has received an email notice days before the charge letting them know about the impending bill, and include evidence of shipment or access to the goods/service.

General

This is an uncategorized dispute, and as such, you need to search for previous conversations with the customer to understand why they disputed the payment.

Required to overturn dispute: You need to contact the customer if no previous conversation is available. If they don’t respond on time, reply to the dispute with at least the following evidence:

Compelling evidence you need to provide:  

  1. Customer Communication - the most critical part of this dispute reason code is that you need to include all relevant previous customer communications. That includes emails and other communication transcripts where they stated they had received the product, etc.
  2. Previous non-disputed payments - collect all previous orders, data, and tracking numbers [from Shopify or Stripe] of that particular customer that they didn’t dispute, and upload those PDF’s at the Additional Information section. Include information about each of their previous orders. Stripe/Braintree must show the CVC approval, billing code approval page, etc.
  3. Fulfill all available requested information on the order, such as shipping information, tracking numbers, etc.

Credit not processed

The customer claims they returned a purchased product or canceled a transaction, but you have not provided a refund or credit.

Required to overturn dispute: Demonstrate that you have refunded your customer through other means or that your customer is not entitled to a refund.

First, check the customer’s conversation and request the customer to withdraw the dispute from their side (and after that, you can refund them). Even if they agreed to withdraw the dispute, you still need to provide the evidence and include that communication with the customer.

Compelling evidence you need to provide:  

  1. Refund Policy - provide your refund policy.
  2. Refund policy disclosure - an explanation of when and where you showed the customer your refund policy.
  3. Description of why the customer has not received a refund - provide detailed information about your policies and why the customer isn't entitled to a refund, according to your terms and conditions & refund policy.
  4. Customer Communication - If there is communication with the customer where you informed them of your payment policy and explained that he is not entitled to a refund in line with your policy.

 Product not received

The customer claims they did not receive the products or services purchased.

Required to overturn dispute: Prove that the customer received a physical product or offline service or use a digital product or online service. That must have happened before the date they filed the dispute.

Compelling evidence you need to provide:   

  1. Customer Communication - evidence for any communication with the customer. It needs to be very brief and to the point. You need to add only the parts where the customer received the product and admits to using it (even if they complain about that).
  2. Shipping Documentation & Address - provide the shipment tracking PDF’s [from shipment website] of where you shipped the order, current location, and the address your customer gave when they checked out [from your store].
  3. Enormous Evidence: Previous non-disputed payments - collect all previous orders data and tracking numbers of that particular customer that they didn’t dispute, and upload those PDF’s at the Additional Information section with information about each of their previous orders. Make sure to highlight the address fields, showing that the address is the same and that they received those shipments.

Fasttrack your Chargeback Representment efforts and increase your Win Rate

Chargebacks have become a well-known form of e-commerce fraud that is most time-consuming and expensive to mediate. Industry records show that e-commerce businesses lose $3.94 for every $1 from a chargeback. But that’s not all. Research shows that 40% of customers who file a chargeback will do it again within two months. And 50% of those people who get away with it will repeat the act within three months.

When you consider the volume of opportune forgone and lost time due to the lengthy evidence gathering processes and chargeback representment, you realize that chargeback is an existential threat to merchants. Thankfully, Chargeflow has created a dispute and chargeback automation software that works with lightning-speed accuracy in disputes and fraud mitigation. Instead of manually gathering evidence and hoping they meet the reason code expectations, you can automate your representment. And let Chargeflow do the magic for you! That way, you can get industry-high results while focusing your energy where it yields the best results - growing your empire.

Chargeflow’s Dispute Automation software pulls from over 50 data points associated with the disputed order to strengthen your dispute. And if more compelling evidence is needed, we start the process over again to enhance your representment. Sign up to get started with our FREE onboarding package right away!

Average Dispute Amount
Average Dispute Amount
$
30
# Disputes Per Month
# Disputes Per Month
#
50
Time Spent Per Dispute
Time Spent Per Dispute
M
20
calculation
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$500,000 and save
1,000 hours every month with Chargeflow!
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