Chargeback Recovery

Win Chargeback Disputes with Compelling Evidence

Compelling Evidence-Everything You Need to Win the Case

Table of Contents

  1. What constitutes compelling evidence for a chargeback?
  2. Chargebacks for retail merchants
  3. Chargebacks for eCommerce goods
  4. Chargebacks for digital goods & subscriptions
  5. Chargebacks for travel and hospitality
  6. Fight chargebacks with experience
  7. How do you win a chargeback?
  8. Are there chargeback fees?
  9. How many chargebacks can merchants have?

Whenever you receive a chargeback, you have a decision to make: You can either accept the chargeback and the loss of revenue, or you can take the case to representment to try to get that revenue back.

In order to win your chargeback disputes and recover your lost revenue, you’ll need to present compelling evidence, including proof that the transaction was legitimate and that the cardholder got what they paid for.

The standards for compelling evidence can vary depending on what business category the merchant falls under. Card networks have defined different standards for brick-and-mortar retail merchants, eCommerce merchants with tangible products, eCommerce merchants with digital goods, and travel/ticketing agencies.

What constitutes compelling evidence for a chargeback?

When a merchant decides to fight aFight & Recover Chargebacks - Get The Guide chargeback, they enter a phase called representment, which is a literal re-presenting of the transaction with evidence to support it.

When the issuing bank reverses a transaction, the funds are taken from the merchant's account right off the bat. In order to get that money back, it's up to the merchant to then resubmit that transaction with evidence proving that it was legitimate.

What constitutes compelling evidence here depends on the reason code for the chargeback. The reason code will indicate what the customer's given justification was for requesting the chargeback. If the merchant can demonstrate that the facts of the transaction don't support the customer's claim, the issuer will usually reverse the chargeback.

Some examples of compelling evidence include:

  • Receipts of purchase, especially if those receipts have signatures. 
  • Delivery documentation, if the cardholder claims they never received their product and there is evidence against that. 
  • IP address information showing that the location data matches that of the cardholder.
  • Correspondence with the customer if they discuss making any purchases or being satisfied with customer service.
  • Records of any other identity verification methods used.

There is no magic bullet for evidence, however. Different issuing banks may have different expectations for what evidence a merchant should provide, and may prefer certain forms of evidence over others.

The evidence provided must be tailored to the reason code of the chargeback. If the customer claims that their card was stolen, the merchant should submit any and all evidence they have showing that the purchase was in fact made by the cardholder. If the customer claims that they never received their purchase in the mail, your evidence package should focus on shipping information.

As you might imagine, some chargebacks are easier to provide evidence for than others, and merchants should make an effort to judge the strength of the evidence they can actually submit before deciding to fight a chargeback.

For example, a chargeback where the customer claims they didn't make the purchase, but the merchant has records showing the purchase was made from the same computer and shipped to the same location as previous purchases should be an easy win.

On the other hand, chargebacks where the customer claims the product was damaged in shipping can be much harder to represent, since the merchant will often have no evidence to disprove that claim.

Next, let's go over some examples of what evidence different types of merchants might need to submit in representment.

Chargebacks for retail merchants

For retail merchants operating out of brick and mortar stores, chargebacks are often high in value, frequently resulting from buyer’s remorse after the purchase. In order to dispute these chargebacks and recover your lost revenue, you’ll need to produce evidence that shows you physically verified the cardholder’s identity at the point-of-sale.

This evidence can include:

  • A scanned copy of the customer’s photo ID
  • An invoice
  • A transaction receipt
  • Your rebuttal letter

If you’re a retail merchant, your best bet for preventing chargebacks is to ask customers for a physical ID before processing their payment, especially for large orders. Scan the ID and store a copy in case a future chargeback occurs.

Chargebacks for eCommerce goods

For eCommerce merchants selling and shipping tangible goods and products, the main goal is to produce evidence that proves the customer received the goods and may have even used them.

The absolute best piece of evidence you can provide for these chargebacks is a signed proof of delivery.  

Here are just a few of the types of evidence you will want to provide your card network, if available:

  • Proof of delivery, ideally signed by the customer
  • Copies of any and all customer service communications
  • AVS & CVV match
  • Photos showing the customer using the product (on social media, etc.)
  • Your rebuttal letter

eCommerce merchants should always use Address Verification (AVS) and CVV match to prevent online credit card fraud.  This can go a long way in fighting future chargebacks – and preventing them in the first place.

Chargebacks for digital goods & subscriptions

eCommerce merchants that sell digital goods or subscriptions typically have the biggest challenge when it comes to producing compelling evidence – simply because it’s difficult to prove the product was actually delivered.  

If you operate in this industry, the best piece of evidence you can offer is an IP match verifying that the customer’s IP address matches the address associated with the credit card used on the transaction. 

You may also be able to use that IP address to show they logged into your system to download or use a product.  

All in all, potential evidence for digital goods merchants includes:

  • AVS & CVV match
  • IP address match
  • Location data
  • Copies of any emailed invoices
  • Copies of all customer service communications
  • Proof of usage, ideally with IP addresses
  • The terms and conditions the customer agreed to at the time of purchase
  • Your rebuttal letter

Chargebacks for travel and hospitality

For travel agencies, ticketing merchants, hotels, and vacation rentals, showing an AVS and CVV match is crucial with online transactions, while voice authorizations are the key for phone sales. 

Copies of check-in details and other communications can also be helpful pieces of evidence on ticketing and travel chargebacks.

In general, the best types of evidence in travel chargebacks include:

  • AVS & CVV match
  • Voice authorization
  • Copies of tickets and check-in confirmations
  • Confirmation of familial connections (often via social media, if family fraud is suspected)
  • The terms and conditions the customer agreed to at the time of purchase
  • Your rebuttal letter

Fight chargebacks with experience

Download the eGuide, 4 Reasons to Hire a Chargeback Management CompanyIt’s important to note that these are just general guidelines. Every chargeback dispute is different and requires custom-fit evidence to prove your case. Also keep in mind that every card network has different rules, regulations, and processes, and following these is vital if you want to see success.

In order to fight chargebacks and recover lost revenue, you must first understand how chargebacks are filed and how the dispute process works. Our guide, The Smart Way to Fight & Recover Chargebacks, will help you to fight and recover your chargebacks the smart way.

Fighting chargebacks only gets easier with experience, but if you don't have experience of your own to lean on, you can always take advantage of those who do. A good chargeback management firm will have employees with years of experience who will fight chargebacks on your behalf to ensure you recover as much revenue as possible.


How do you win a chargeback?

In simplest terms, you provide compelling evidence to the issuing bank that directly refutes the reason for the chargeback.

Are there chargeback fees?

Yes. Chargeback fees vary depending on the payment processor, but are typically between $5-$50 for most merchants.

How many chargebacks can merchants have?

While fewer chargebacks are always better, merchants can typically have a chargeback ratio as high as 1% before being labeled as a high-risk merchant.

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Get the guide, Chargebacks 101: Understanding Chargebacks & Their Root Causes