The Role of Compelling Evidence in Chargeback Investigations

Backspace Tech
5 min readMar 24, 2023

Being prepared always matters, but it matters even more when you need to defend yourself at the right moment. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly the role of compelling evidence when fighting a chargeback. The stronger the evidence, the higher the chances of the merchant winning the chargeback claim.

Before we delve into what role compelling evidence plays in contesting a chargeback or how important it is in a representment package, let’s unfurl its meaning.

In a literal sense, the word “compelling evidence”, points to that irrefutable evidence, either digital or physical in nature, that proves the truth or accuracy of a claim or argument. It is convincing and persuasive enough to support a particular conclusion or hypothesis.

In a legal context, compelling evidence is the one that proves a case to be beyond a reasonable doubt. If looked at from a scientific perspective, it proves a theory to be valid as it can withstand intense scrutiny and analysis.

In short, compelling evidence from any perspective is the hard truth that proves a theory, innocence, or intent behind an act.

What is compelling evidence in a chargeback cycle?

Having convincing proof is critical in the chargeback process. A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a charge made to their credit or debit card, and the issuer reimburses the contested amount to the customer. There are various reasons why chargebacks can happen, including fraudulent activity, billing mistakes, or dissatisfaction with the purchased goods or services.

Moreover, merchants must respond to chargeback notifications promptly and follow the chargeback process carefully to increase their chances of success. To fight the merchant must provide convincing proof that may include signed receipts, shipping or delivery confirmations, email or chat logs, and any other records that show the customer’s agreement to the purchase and receipt of the goods or services. If the merchant is unable to provide compelling evidence, the chargeback will be upheld, and the merchant will be responsible for the disputed amount, as well as any associated fees or penalties.

What constitutes compelling evidence for a chargeback claim?

Compelling evidence in the realm of chargebacks encompasses any data or records that can substantiate the validity, authorization, and satisfactory fulfillment of a transaction. The specific evidence demanded may differ based on the reason for the chargeback, but usually, these are the commonly gathered documents when putting together a representment package:

Evidence of delivery: This could be a receipt for shipping or tracking information that demonstrates the delivery of the item to the customer’s address.

Customer communication: Any correspondence between the customer and the merchant, such as emails, text messages, or other forms of communication that show the customer agreed to the transaction or was content with the product or service provided.

Identification proof: Any documentation that confirms the customer’s identity, such as a government-issued ID or a utility bill.

Service agreement or contract: If the transaction was for a service, a copy of the contract or agreement outlines the terms of the service.

Refund policy: A transparent refund policy that was conveyed to the customer before the transaction was made.

Measures for fraud prevention: Any evidence of fraud prevention measures that were in place at the time of the transaction, such as AVS (address verification service) or CVV (card verification value) verification.

For evidence to be accepted or even to be regarded as compelling, it must be relevant to the chargeback dispute, dependable, and persuasive to the issuing bank or payment processor responsible for reviewing the case.

Also, the compelling evidence presented should match the reason code, and every requirement varies according to this code. The reason code indicates the chargeback reason provided by the customer when filing the dispute.

Typically, if the merchant can provide proof that contradicts the customer’s statement regarding the transaction, the chargeback will be reversed by the issuing bank.

What is the process of Compelling evidence submission?

Understand the reason for the chargeback:

The acquirer or merchant should understand the reason for the chargeback and its details, such as reason codes, to determine the right set of evidence to be gathered.

Gather all relevant information:

The acquirer or merchant should put together all relevant information and documentation that supports their case. This could include shipping receipts, customer communication, proof of identity, a contract or service agreement, a refund policy, and fraud prevention measures.

Organize the evidence:

Organizing the evidence in a clear and logical manner is a must so that it is easy for the issuing bank or payment processor to review it.

Write a clear and concise response:

The acquirer or merchant must write a response that clearly explains why they believe the chargeback is invalid along with the submitted evidence. The written response must address each point made by the customer and the reason for the chargeback. This written response is also known as a "chargeback rebuttal letter."

Submit the evidence:

The acquirer/merchant must submit the evidence and response to the issuing bank or payment processor within the said timeline, which in most cases is within 28 days from when the chargeback is raised.

Follow up:

After submitting the evidence, following up with the issuing bank or payment processor is critical to ensure that the compelling evidence is received and is in the process of being reviewed. During this period, the acquirer/merchant should be well prepared to answer any questions or provide additional information if necessary.

Wait for a decision:

The issuing bank or payment processor will review the evidence submitted and make a decision. If the chargeback is successfully disputed, the funds will be returned to the merchant’s account. If it is upheld, the merchant can initiate an arbitration protocol that will appeal against the decision taken by the issuing bank or payment processor.

In a nutshell, to effectively dispute a chargeback, the merchant must present compelling evidence that supports their argument that the charge was legitimate and authorized by the customer.

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Backspace Tech

Backspace Tech offers Fintech-as-a-Service to automate,simplify, and disrupt the payment industry by handling chargeback requests through a plug-and-play model.