A Guide to Chargebacks for eCommerce businesses

chargebacks management

Chargebacks have always proved to be a hassle for eCommerce businesses. Statistics reveal that 40% of consumers filing chargebacks are expected to repeat the action within 60- 90 days.

Banks and Credit Card companies look to resolve disputes in the customers’ favour while eCommerce companies are expected to shell out money.

Those managing an eCommerce shop are bound to deal with these situations regularly, even after they do most things right. An eCommerce chargeback refers to charges by online stores, disputed by the buyers as they believe that the charges are invalid. Chargebacks cost these online stores not only lost revenue but even huge processing fees incurred to dispute it.

In case of chargebacks, cardholders report chargeback to the bank or credit card company, who return their payments. The bank or credit card company then negotiates the dispute with the online retailer, determining the nature of the disputed transaction.

Top Reasons for Chargebacks

  • Fraudulent transactions from malicious affiliate marketers to cash out before their crime is made aware
  • Fulfillment issues arising out of faulty packaging, shipping, and delivery processes
  • Miscommunication or lack of customer service leading customers to feel confused and unsatisfied with the purchases
  • Authorization issues from the payment processor’s end

Chargeback Costs

Chargeback costs have impacted all kinds of online retailers, negatively affecting their bottom line. Retailers are charged fees with every chargeback occurrence leading to wasted marketing effort to entice customers to buy from them.

  • Acquiring Bank Fees
    With every chargeback, the acquiring bank adds a fee between $ 20 to $ 100 to cover costs, based on the associated risk. Acquiring banks monitor relevant chargeback ratios to help protect against risk. Online retailers that experience high chargeback ratios have to shell out higher costs as the seller is deemed “risky.” They could be blacklisted too.
  • Operational costs
    Operational expenses involved in the value of product lost, packaging labour, time and cost included in shipping and delivery, inventory costs, and expenses involved in fraud detection systems are lost for every chargeback.
  • Marketing Expenses
    Marketing and advertising expenses involved in selling the product are lost whenever retailers incur chargebacks.

Every business is attached with good or bad chargeback rate based on their domain, sales history, and product type. Every company is expected to have a chargeback rate of less than 1% of their total sales. A chargeback rate above the benchmark will get the online retailers to be labelled as high-risk, costing them business.

Chargebacks Filed – what next?

It is usually a waste of time to dispute chargebacks. Most eCommerce businesses feel that filing a dispute will help in rectifying the situation. In theory, it sounds like a good action plan. But the chargeback process by banks and credit card companies has been designed for customer protection and is tough on the online retailer; even if not at fault.

Research reveals that 80% of consumers file chargebacks without communicating with the retailer for getting a refund. This instance is referred to as “friendly fraud” wherein the customer unwittingly commits fraud without realizing that it is illegitimate.

Here are some steps to handle chargebacks efficiently:

  • Respond to chargebacks as soon as possible, as it adds to the customer service experience. Delays in response could appear unprofessional.
  • Retailers should ensure full authorization for orders with proper verification based on the dollar value of the order. Get authorization for orders before shipping them out.
  • Refund information should be provided with every shipment, making it easy for customers to ask for refunds in case they are not satisfied with the service. A refund is less costly and consumes less time than disputing chargebacks.
  • Online retailers should have a process that requires a signed proof of delivery for each shipped package that can serve as evidence, in case of chargebacks.

Again, you shouldn’t expect to have a high success rate with your disputes. But if you’d like to deal with this process, it’s best to have chargeback experts like KiRi Accounting do the heavy lifting for you instead of dealing with the banks and/or credit card companies directly.

Avoiding Chargebacks

eCommerce businesses need to prevent the chargebacks problem by dealing with it directly so that the problem does not happen regularly in the future. Below are some pointers that can help keep the chargebacks in check:

  • Excellent customer service should be the first priority. Help the customers to get access to representatives through multiple channels, including live chat and a customer service number displayed clearly on the website. Monitor social media comments regularly and have someone to respond to them actively with low turnaround time.
  • Monitor transactions for all kinds of fraudulent activity with a robust address verification system that curbs criminal activity, nipping it right in the bud. With an address verification system, criminals with access to stolen cards won’t be able to make purchases without knowing zip codes.
  • Send post checkout emails directly to customer’s email addresses, about the billing of their purchases with the right brand name and credentials mentioned on them. Customers need to be familiar with companies charging them on their credit cards or else they will file chargebacks. Get feedback on the orders after delivery.
  • Sometimes, orders are still on the way and not delivered in time leading the customer to commence on the chargeback process. They could receive the order later, but the damage is already done. Hence, do not promise deadlines you can’t meet. Let them track shipping online instead and communicate, in case of any delivery delays.
  • Subscribe to chargeback alert notification system like Ethoca, Verifi, etc. that can provide valuable time to avoid chargeback before a transaction actually turns into a chargeback.

Well, it is next to impossible to avoid chargebacks altogether. However, by taking some adequate measures, as mentioned above and with chargeback management services from professional organization like KiRi Accounting, one can avoid and manage chargebacks efficiently to a great extent.

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