What you need to contest a chargeback

Business records will help you respond to a chargeback. The type of documents you need to submit will vary depending on the reason your customer initiated the chargeback. This article will review recommended evidence for a variety of situations to give you the best chance of winning your case.

If you’ve received a chargeback, Wave will contact you via email to notify you and provide details of the case, including the reason for the chargeback. This “reason code” is important, because it helps you plan the documentation you need to counter the customer’s claim.

Common reason codes

These are the five most common reason codes Wave receives, along with recommended documents you can use to respond to each one. If you don’t have some of the items listed, consider adding them to your business process going forward to help protect your business.


The customer did not authorize the transaction.

  • Contracts
  • Email or other written communications with the customer
  • Credit card authorization forms
  • Government issued photo ID from the cardholder (especially if your relationship with the customer is remote and the transaction was completed without meeting in person)
  • Any other documents or communication with the client that proves you were given permission to charge the card

Services not provided/Merchandise not received

The customer did not receive the services or products purchased.

  • Contracts
  • Expected and confirmed delivery date (what you promised the customer). If services were delivered before payment, include this information in your dispute response.
  • Details of how the services or products were delivered
  • Method of delivery and/or tracking information
  • Evidence that services were received successfully (signature of receipt, signed work order, emails)
  • IP address information indicating the cardholder accessed digital services, activation key or license usage
  • Email or other communications

Defective/Not as described 

The customer received damaged or defective merchandise, or is claiming your business otherwise misrepresented the sale.

  • Contracts
  • Any Terms and Conditions the customer agreed to

If your terms of service or any public communications state that you provide a 100% money back guarantee, you do not have the right to dispute a defective/not as described chargeback.

  • Email communications showing an attempt to resolve any discrepancies the customer communicated
  • Evidence showing the order was repaired or replaced
  • Evidence proving the products or services were delivered as described or promised
  • Customer approved design mockups or proposals
  • Timeline of events from first interaction with customer to date of chargeback
  • Third party expert letter to show quality of workmanship

Credit not processed 

The customer claims they are owed a refund and have not received it.

  • Contracts
  • A copy of your refund policy
  • A copy of your cancellation policy
  • Terms of service
  • Email or other written communication with the customer
  • A written statement explaining why the customer is not owed a refund

Cardholder does not recognize transaction

The customer does not recognize the billing description or charge amount on their credit card statement.

If you received this type of chargeback, you may want to consider changing your billing descriptor (the name that appears on the cardholder's statement) to match the business name that your customers recognize. Wave can help you verify your current billing descriptor and assist in updating it.

  • Invoice(s)
  • Email or other communications
  • Service & pricing descriptions
  • Contract

Key points and things to remember:

  • Time is of the essence. The faster you can provide Wave with your supporting documents, the faster we can represent your case.
  • Format your documents so they are legible and easy for the bank to read. We recommend PDFs.
  • When building your case, you are telling a story. The more information you provide about the client, the product or service you sold, and the situation, the more information the bank will have to make a decision.
  • Make and keep files on clients including their contact information, ID verification, and evidence that ties the individual to the transaction and credit card.
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