American Express Chargeback Reason Code C08: Card Member Disputes

chargeback reason code c08Merchants who receive a chargeback for a transaction placed with an American Express card may encounter reason code C08, which indicates a disputed transaction that the cardholder does not believe they should be responsible for paying. The actual underlying cause of this chargeback is usually either friendly fraud or merchant error. Merchants who believe they have received an invalid chargeback under reason code C08 may be able to represent the transaction and reverse the chargeback with the right compelling evidence.

What is American Express Chargeback Reason Code C08?

American Express chargeback reason code C08 falls under the “Card Member Disputes” category. The shorthand description is “Goods/Services Not Received or Only Partially Received.” With this reason code, the cardholder is claiming that they did not receive the goods or services they purchased, or that they were only given a partial delivery of what was promised.

This chargeback can result when the merchant really does fail to deliver, but it can also result from miscommunications or assumptions on the customer’s part—and of course, from friendly fraud too.

What Scenarios Might Lead to This Chargeback?

When merchants miss promised delivery dates, fail to show up to provide services, don’t bother to inform customers of delays or setbacks, or otherwise neglect to uphold their own terms of purchase, they can expect to receive this chargeback.

However, this is not an uncommon reason code in friendly fraud cases either.

Unfortunately, many cardholders will take their complaints directly to their issuer instead of trying to work out solvable problems directly with the merchant.

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

What are the Important Timeframes?

The acquirer and/or merchant have 20 days to respond to this chargeback after it is filed. No special timeframes apply to the cardholder.

How Can Merchants Fight this Chargeback Code?

Merchants can fight this chargeback with the right evidence, which is dependent upon which transaction modifiers, if any, are included.

If the chargeback includes the “Airline Transaction” modifier, your response must include at least one of the following:

  • Proof that the cardholder or designated passenger participated in the flight (for example: a scanned boarding pass or flight manifest).
  • Proof that frequent flyer miles were earned during the flight.
  • Proof that the flight was still available during bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Proof that additional purchases related to the original transaction were made (for example: seat upgrades, baggage fees, or in-flight purchases).

If the chargeback includes the “Digital Goods” modifier, your response must include at least one of the following:

  • Proof that the cardholder’s IP address at the time of purchase matches the IP address belonging to the user that downloaded the digital goods.
  • Proof that the email address the cardholder provided at the time of purchase matches the email address used to download the digital goods.
  • Proof that the cardholder accessed services from your website or app after the initial transaction date.

If the chargeback includes the “Site to Store” modifier, your response must include the following:

  • If the merchandise was paid for online but picked up at the store, provide a signed pickup form and proof that the cardholder’s identity was verified.

The following evidence can be submitted for all chargebacks bearing this reason code:

  • If the cardholder shopped for someone else, provide evidence to prove a link between the person who received the goods or services and the cardholder, such as photographs or email correspondence.
  • If good were delivered successfully, provide proof that they were delivered to the address provided by the cardholder and that the goods were received in their entirety.
  • If services were offered, provide a completion of work order that was approved, dated, and signed by the cardholder.
  • If the cardholder claims to have returned merchandise or canceled services, provide proof that refutes the claim.
  • If you have already processed a refund for the transaction in question, provide documentation that proves you have credited the cardholder’s account.

How Can Merchants Prevent this Chargeback Code?

The following best practices can help you avoid this type of chargeback:

  • Abide by the delivery date you promised.
  • Have merchandise ready for pickup at the time you specified it would be available.
  • Make sure you accurately describe the services that will be provided.
  • Don’t charge the card until the merchandise has been shipped.
  • Notify the customer as soon as possible if merchandise is out of stock or the delivery will be delayed.

About American Express Chargeback Reason Codes

Reason codes are alphanumeric codes that provide the justification for granting a chargeback. Pursuant to the Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974, cardholders have the right to dispute unauthorized or erroneous charges and issuing banks must reverse a disputed transaction of the cardholder’s claim is valid.

When a cardholder contacts their issuing bank to dispute a transaction and receive a chargeback, the dispute is assigned a reason code that most closely matches the substance of the cardholder’s claims. The reason code provides the merchant and other stakeholders in the dispute with a concise explanation for why a chargeback has been granted.

Each card network—Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover—defines and maintains their own unique set of reason codes, which are applied to disputes by the banks that issue credit and debit cards under their brands.

As both a card network and an issuer, American Express specifies 34 reason codes under the categories of Fraud, Authorization, Processing Errors, Card Member Disputes, and Inquiry/Miscellaneous. Each American Express reason code consists of one or more letters, indicating the category, and a number that identifies the specific dispute reason.

Understanding chargeback reason codes is one of the most essential parts of effective chargeback management. Identifying the chargeback reason code and the evidence required to fight it is the first step in chargeback representment, and analyzing your chargeback reason codes can provide you with insights into what types of disputes are causing you the most trouble. With this information, you can determine the root causes of your chargebacks and take action to prevent them from reoccurring.