Top chargeback reasons, and documentation to submit

To fight a credit card chargeback, supporting documentation needs to be sent to the cardholder’s bank. The bank will then make a decision based on the available information. This article lists the different reasons why a cardholder might initiate a chargeback, and the specific documentation that you need to provide, depending on the reason.

If you’ve received a credit card chargeback, Wave will contact you via email to notify you and provide details of your case, including the reason for the chargeback. The specific dispute reason is important because it helps you plan the documentation you need to counter the cardholder’s claim.

Once you submit the documentation to Wave, our Disputes Resolution Team will work on the case, and submit the required information to the bank on your behalf. To submit your documents to Wave, use the link in the chargeback notification email, or reply to the email.

If you did not receive the email, click on the help button at the bottom right corner of your Wave account, and reach out to the Support Team. To learn more about chargeback timelines, take a look at this article.

Common Dispute Reasons

These are the most common reasons why cardholders dispute credit card payments made to business owners who process payments through Wave. For each reason, we have included recommended documents you can use to respond to the chargeback.

If you don’t have some of the documentation listed in this article, consider adding them to your business process going forward, to help protect your business.

Fraud/No Cardholder Authorization

This means the cardholder does not recognize the charge, and has informed their bank that someone else has used their credit card.

This reason code can also be used if the cardholder has alerted their bank to their card being compromised. Some banks will dispute all transactions on the dates that the cardholder indicates their card was compromised. This can sometimes include legitimate transactions that the cardholder authorized. These chargebacks will come in with the reason-Fraud/No Cardholder Authorization. If you’ve confirmed with your customer the chargeback was made in error, see this section for more information on the documentation to submit.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that it was the true cardholder who authorized the transaction, and they were aware of the charge.

Documentation required

  1. Proof of the true cardholder being a participant in the purchase. Examples include:
    • Email communication from an email address confirmed to be associated with the true cardholder.
    • Pictures or screenshots of the true cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services.
    • Signature from the true cardholder on documentation relating to the purchase.
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder, and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
    • A redacted copy of the true cardholder’s photo ID and a copy of the credit card, as proof that the cardholder’s ID matches the name on the credit card.
      • These documents should be partially redacted so that the ID number is hidden, and only the cardholder’s name and the last four digits of the credit card are shown. It is important to protect your customer’s privacy and personal information.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate, then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Signed credit card authorization form from the cardholder.
  4. Proof of the customer’s details used for the purchase, matching the true cardholder’s details.
    • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
  5. Proof of the cardholder receiving the goods or services.
    • Example: Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
  6. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.

Merchandise/Services Not Received

This means the cardholder paid for a product or service, and they did not receive what they agreed to. This could be a product that they did not receive, or a service that was to be provided by the merchant that did not occur.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the cardholder is now in possession of the products or services.

Documentation required

  1. Proof the cardholder received the goods or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder making the purchase, and/or using the products or services.
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Written communication of timelines relating to the availability of the products or services to confirm the cardholder was aware of it.
  4. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.

Defective/Not as Described

This means the cardholder received something that was not as expected, to the quality that they expected, or it was broken or did not work.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the cardholder paid for and received exactly what they should have expected.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Signed document or clear acknowledgement from the cardholder approving a draft or mock-up of the product or service, and proof that the mock-up or draft matches the final product or service.
  4. Proof that the cardholder received the goods or services, and images of the final product or service just before it was provided to the customer. Examples include:
    • Images of the final product or service before giving it to the cardholder. These images should prove that the condition of the product or service is excellent and adheres to the description of the product at the time of purchase.
    • Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services.
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • Written communication or a signed document where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services, and are satisfied with it.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  5. Written communication with you addressing their complaints, offering to repair the issues, and the cardholder rejecting the fair offers.

Cancelled Recurring Payment

This is when a cardholder claims they have cancelled services or authorization to charge their card but are still being charged on that card.

This reason code is very difficult to fight, as many banks do not require the cardholder to prove the date that they cancelled the authorization to charge the card.

It is important that if a cardholder requests to cancel the service, or cancels their authorization for you to charge their card, you should not charge that card again unless you receive a new authorization from the cardholder.

Depending on the language in your contract, just because a cardholder cancels the authorization to charge their card, it does not mean they do not owe you for the work that you provided. It simply means that you will need to receive a payment for that work in a different method.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the cardholder was aware of the cancellation policy and violated it for the recurring payment, and/or that they continued to benefit from or use the product or service after the claimed date of cancellation. An example would be if they are disputing a transaction for the 1st of the month but did not cancel until the 15th of the month.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Proof of the date of authorization cancellation, and your actions regarding this cancellation.
    • Example: Written communication showing the proof of the cardholder’s cancellation request, and your response to it.
  4. Proof of the cardholder authorizing the charge on that card. If the cardholder did cancel the authorization, then you need to receive a new authorization from the cardholder to process the charge.
  5. Proof of continued use of the product or service after the claimed cancellation date.
    • Evidence that your website or app was accessed by the cardholder for purchase or services on or after the claimed cancellation date.
  6. Proof that the cardholder has not attempted to return the product or service, and still has it or is continuing to benefit from it.
  7. Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services.
  8. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.

Billing Error

This is when a cardholder has claimed that an incorrect amount was charged.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the cardholder knew how much they would be charged, and approved that amount. It is important to also provide proof that the amount charged was the correct amount.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Written communication with the cardholder where they acknowledge the amount they were being charged, and approved it. This is particularly important to include if the cost of the purchase changed between the signing of the contract and the payment. The cardholder will have needed to acknowledge the new price and confirm it.
  4. Proof that the cardholder received the goods/services.
    • Example: Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services
  5. Written communication on timelines relating to the availability of the products or services to show that the cardholder was aware of when they would be receiving them.
  6. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  7. Proof that the cardholder has not attempted to return the product or service, and still has it, or is continuing to benefit from it.
  8. Signed document or clear acknowledgement from the cardholder approving a draft or mock-up of the product or service, and proof that the mock-up or draft matches the final product or service.

Cancelled Merchandise/Services

This means the cardholder changed their mind. They said they didn’t want the product or service but still received it or benefited from it, and was charged for it.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the cardholder did not reasonably cancel their product or service before it was provided to them and that the customer was aware of, and agreed to your cancellation policy and procedure.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log or certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Proof of the date of cancellation, and your actions regarding this cancellation.
    • Example: Written communication showing the proof of the cardholder’s cancellation request, and your response to it.
  4. Proof of continued use of the product or service after the claimed cancellation date.
    • Example: Evidence that your website or app was accessed by the cardholder for purchase or services on or after the claimed cancellation date.
  5. Proof that the cardholder has not attempted to return the product/services and still has it or is continuing to benefit from it.
  6. Proof of the service attempting to be provided, and the cardholder’s refusal, if they refused.
    • Example: Pictures, emails, posts on social media or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder.
  7. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  8. Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges they have received the goods or services.
  9. Images of the final product or service before giving it to the cardholder. These images should prove that the condition of the product or service is excellent and adheres to the description of the product at the time of purchase.

Duplicate Payment

This is when a cardholder has claimed that they have been charged twice for the same service or product.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that the amount the cardholder was charged was the correct amount and that the cardholder was aware of it. It is key to include the invoice or receipt of the payment that is claimed to be the duplicate, and explain why these payments are both different and valid.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred. This statement will need to clearly indicate the difference between the two payments and why they are both valid.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the Support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. The invoice or receipt for the other payment that appears to be a duplicate of the one that is disputed.
  4. An explanation of the difference between the disputed payment and the prior one that appears to be a duplicate.
  5. Proof of the cardholder receiving both the products or services.
    • Example: Any written communication where the cardholder acknowledges the multiple payments and approves them or otherwise indicates that they are expected.
  6. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  7. Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services.
  8. Proof that the cardholder has not attempted to return the product or service and still has it, or is continuing to benefit from it.
  9. Signed document or clear acknowledgement from the cardholder approving a draft or mock-up of the product or service, and proof that the mock-up or draft matches the final product or service.

Credit Not Processed

This is when the cardholder has claimed they were promised a refund or credit and it was not provided.

To win this type of chargeback, the evidence needs to demonstrate that a refund has been issued to the true cardholder, or that they are not entitled to a refund.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred. This statement should include an explanation for why the customer is not entitled to a refund, and proof to support the explanation.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the Support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Proof of a refund being issued.
    • Wave does not recommend issuing a refund outside of the original method that was paid. However, if you have issued a refund outside of Wave, we will do our best to help you prove to the bank that the true cardholder received those funds and is not eligible for further money back. To issue a refund through Wave, follow the steps in this article.
    • If the refund was issued outside of Wave, you will need to provide the following:
      • Screenshots of the refund
      • A signature and acknowledgement from the cardholder stating that they received the refund
      • Details showing that it was the true cardholder that received the refund
  4. Proof that the cardholder received the products or services and have not returned them, or that they are rejecting fair offers to resolve any issues with the product or service.
  5. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.

Non-Specified Dispute

This is used when the chargeback reason does not fit into any of the other categories.

This section is also a good resource to learn more about the type of documentation that is good to have, in the event of a dispute.

To win this type of chargeback, provide any documentation that can address why the payment happened and what the cardholder purchased.

There may be more specific notes about this chargeback reason. For more information on that, reply to the chargeback notification email you received from Wave. If you did not receive the notification email, click on the help button in the bottom right corner of your Wave account, and reach out to the Support Team.

Documentation required

  1. A statement from you-the business owner, explaining your side of the story, addressing the cardholder’s claims, and providing clarification on what occurred.
  2. Signed documentation with a clear description of the services or products that the cardholder is purchasing, refund policy, cancellation policy, and a clear description of the price. This documentation needs to be signed by the cardholder before the payment.
    • Example: Signed and dated contract.
      • If the document is digitally signed, then a signature log/certificate is required to be included as part of the submitted document. This certificate should include access records, IP logs, timestamps, and other verifiable information. If you are unfamiliar with a signature certificate, please contact the Support team from the digital signature software that you use. If they do not include a signature certificate then it is advised to use a different software.
  3. Written communication with the cardholder mentioning clear dates of when services or products were to be provided.
  4. Written communication with you addressing their complaints, offering to repair the issues, and the cardholder rejecting the fair offers.
  5. Proof of the date of authorization cancellation or order cancellation, and your actions regarding this cancellation.
  6. Proof of the cardholder authorizing the charge on that card. If the cardholder did cancel authorization then you need to receive a new authorization from the cardholder to process the charge.
  7. Proof of the cardholder receiving and continuing to use the product or service.
  8. Pictures or screenshots of the cardholder participating in the purchase, and/or using the products or services. Examples include:
    • Pictures, emails, posts on social media, or text messages from a phone number confirmed to be registered to the cardholder, proof of delivery.
    • Before and after pictures of services being provided.
    • Shipping and tracking information, and proof of delivery.
    • If the purchase is for a digital product or service, then proof of the product being delivered and accessed by the cardholder and/or proof of the product being sent and made available to the cardholder.
      • Example: Email communication, IP logs, access logs, download logs, etc.
    • Images of in-progress drafts or versions.
      • If you are working on a project with a lot of changing requirements coming from the client, make sure to take screenshots of the progressing work. Send these screenshots by email to the cardholder (during the working process), to confirm the changes that need to be made. Include images of the completed changes as well. This helps to document the work completed, in case the cardholder revokes your access to the product or service when they dispute the transaction.
  9. Written communication where the cardholder acknowledges that they have received the goods or services.
  10. Written communication with you addressing their complaints, offering to repair the issues, and the cardholder rejecting the fair offers.
  11. Images of the final product or service before giving it to the cardholder. These images should prove that the condition of the product or service is excellent and adheres to the description of the product at the time of purchase.
  12. Signed document or clear acknowledgement from the cardholder approving a draft or mock-up of the product or service, and proof that the mock-up or draft matches the final product or service.

What to do if the cardholder recognizes the charge or disputed it in error?

Have your customer call their bank to drop the dispute and request a letter of affirmation to confirm the dispute has been dropped. If a letter of affirmation is not available from your customer’s bank, provide us with a written letter signed by the cardholder stating the dispute has been dropped, and include their photo ID.

Send this letter to Wave by replying to the chargeback notification email you received. If you did not receive the notification email, click on the help button at the bottom right corner of your Wave account, to reach out to the Support Team.

Sometimes the cardholder does not recognize the merchant’s business name that appears on their statement, which can result in a chargeback. Make sure your billing descriptor is properly reflected on your cardholder's credit card statement. It should appear as WAVE - *YOUR BUSINESS NAME

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