Chargeback Reason Code

American Express Chargeback Reason Code P08: Duplicate Charge

General Information about Reason Codes

In 2016, Mastercard chargeback reason codes were condensed and consolidated, in a restructuring that resembled Visa Claims Resolution. Prior to this, Mastercard‚Äôs list of reason codes was long, convoluted, and confusing; now there are fewer than ten different reason codes relevant to most merchants. All the old reasons are still there, but they‚Äôve been grouped under more comprehensive ‚Äúumbrella‚ÄĚ codes.

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American Express Chargeback Reason Code P08: Duplicate Charge

What is AmEx Chargeback Reason Code P08?

The American Express chargeback reason code P08 indicates processing errors that involve duplicate transactions. Cardholders will file disputes if they believe two or more charges to their accounts are duplicates. American Express will process a chargeback under the reason code P08 to resolve the complaints.

Duplicate charges involve the same amount processed differently. The charges will also most likely bear the same billing description. Hence, cardholders will quickly believe that the second and subsequent charges are duplicates.

Issues of this nature can be resolved through the American Express Dispute Center. Alternatively, the cardholder will contact you to dispute the subsequent charges. That should clear up the dispute and prevent a chargeback.

Some cardholders will submit compelling evidence to American Express to allow a chargeback. Don’t expect all your customers to contact you first for issues of this nature. Hence, you will incur the chargeback if American Express detects a duplicate charge from their complaints.

Cardholders can mistake recurring billing for duplicate transactions and file disputes. However, you can mistakenly submit a transaction more than once, resulting in a duplicate transaction.

Duplicate charges can still occur in recurring billing. That happens if you submit one charge more than once. The cardholder will dispute the subsequent charge if the second charge occurs before the next billing period.

If you believe the chargeback under the reason code P08 is invalid, you can represent it and reverse the chargeback. We’ll show you how to fight these chargebacks. However, we will review American Express’s acceptable conditions to process chargebacks under reason code P08.

We’ll also cover ways to prevent chargebacks involving duplicate transactions. These are things you can implement or avoid in your merchant business.

Why Did It Happen?

Chargebacks under this reason code occur when American Express believes you performed a duplicate charge to a cardholder’s account. Merchant errors are often the cause when they are legitimate. Glitches or network errors might lead to a resubmission of already processed transactions.

Forcing transactions when they decline can also cause chargebacks under reason code P08. That could occur in online and offline transactions (card-present and card-absent environments). In this case, previous trials may go through even when you process a fresh payment.

Merchant errors can lead to chargebacks under the reason code p08, but cardholders can also make mistakes. With that in mind, here are the acceptable causes of these chargebacks:

  • A transaction was submitted twice, resulting in duplicate processing
  • No credit was issued to offset the duplicate: You‚Äôll still have time to offset the duplicate transactions when they occur. Only when you fail to respond on time can American Express step in to process the chargeback for the customer.
  • The transactions have identical or similar dates, descriptors, amounts, etc. These details prove that subsequent transactions are duplicates of the first one. In this case, AmEx will process a chargeback on behalf of the cardholder.
  • The cardholder submits disputes, claiming that only one charge is valid as it involves only one purchase. Sales and delivery receipts can be proof enough for AmEx to process a chargeback.
  • The online purchase was declined: Technical issues and network errors can cause online payments to fail or become incomplete. A cardholder who proceeds to make another purchase and still gets debited for the failed one will dispute it. American Express will treat it as a duplicate charge unless there are other conditions to fall under another reason code.


Recurring Billing and Installment Payments

Cardholders may mistake recurring billing for duplicate transactions. These could be weekly or monthly, depending on the subscription plan. 

Besides recurring billing, customers may also mistake installment payments for duplicate transactions. This often occurs when the two transactions have the same amount and billing descriptor.

Mistaking recurring billing and installment payments for duplicate transactions can fall under friendly fraud. Even if you sort things out with your customer, you must still respond to American Express with compelling evidence.

We’ll explore the evidence you need. Your proof depends on why the chargeback occurred. Sometimes, you may need to contact the cardholder to understand why the chargeback occurred.

How to Fight AmEx Chargeback Reason Code P08: Duplicate Charge

We appreciate American Express’s simplified approach and room to fight chargebacks. You only need to upload the right documents to prove your point within the allowed time frame.

As with most chargebacks under American Express, merchants have 20 days to respond to P08. Here is how you can fight chargebacks under the reason code P08:

  • If it is recurring billing: provide documentation to prove that the ‚Äúduplicate charge‚ÄĚ is part of recurring billing. You can use the initial receipt that states the terms of the recurring transaction, including the agreed dates to process payments.
  • If it is part of installment payments: the same thing with recurring billing applies to installment payments. Submit evidence that proves that the ‚Äúduplicate charge‚ÄĚ is part of an installment agreement with the cardholder.
  • If there was a merchant error: accept the chargeback and implement preventive measures.
  • If you processed a credit to offset the duplicate charge: submit evidence that shows the credit transaction. That should include the amount and date to prove the transaction offsets the duplicate charge.

How to Prevent AmEx Chargeback Reason Code P08: Duplicate Charge

Chargebacks involving duplicate charges are easily preventable. Minimizing or eliminating errors on your end will prevent multiple submissions for one transaction. Nonetheless, cardholders can still make mistakes.

The following are our recommended steps for preventing chargebacks involving duplicate charges:

  • Don‚Äôt force declined or failed transactions. Check to confirm if the failed charge has gone through before attempting again. Do this for offline and online purchases.
  • Use clear billing descriptors in the account statements. For recurring billing, ensure the descriptor points to the recurring bill. Do the same for installment payments.
  • Review all receipts to see if a customer has been billed twice. Do this periodically to discover duplicate charges before they result in chargebacks.
  • Process credits to offset duplicate charges quickly. Do this when you notice the error or the cardholder contacts you.


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