Chargeback: what is it and how to start the procedure


Have you paid for an online purchase by credit card, and the products have never been delivered, despite your reminders? Do you know the chargeback procedure or chargeback, which can allow you to be reimbursed?

Two prerequisites for initiating the chargeback procedure

There are two conditions for initiating the chargeback process:

  • the purchase must have been paid exclusively by credit card (payments by check or bank transfer are excluded),
  • The cardholder’s contract must explicitly provide for the chargeback guarantee in the event of non-delivery of a good, or of service, of a defective product. For this, it is advisable to refer to the general conditions of the contract.

What does the “chargeback” procedure consist of?

When a professional does not respect the consumer’s rights, the chargeback companies allow the buyer who has paid for an online purchase by credit card to be reimbursed directly and free of charge by his bank or the brand of his bank card.

Some credit card companies also offer reimbursement of sums paid by card in the next cases:

  • theft of the card;
  • card hacking;
  • proven fraud;
  • the bankruptcy of the company;
  • Non-delivery by the professional.

In the event of the merchant’s bankruptcy, stop the payment by card as soon as possible. If the account is already credited, it is necessary to implement the “chargeback” procedure.

To know the guarantees offered by “chargeback company” it is necessary to refer to the conditions presented on their site, which are not identical.

Who to contact and how to start the chargeback procedure?

Contact your bank.

Explain your situation by communicating the proof of fraud, undelivered product etc. Then ask the banks to contact the brand of your bank card to obtain the reimbursement via the “chargeback”.

Contact your bank card company.

In the event of no response or failure of the bank, contact the customer service department of your bank card brand directly via their online form.

You must first connect online with this company (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) via its referral form to make the request.

In the form, you must then explain your complaint and provide all the evidence proving that it is justified.

To identify the different cases, these companies have defined “Reason Codes” which correspond to a complaint. They are different depending on the card’s affiliate company.

You will need to summarize your complaint and send it a “Reason Code”. This code is a number corresponding to the nature of the problem encountered. Without harmonization, these numbers change from one payment company to another. The full list of codes for Visa and Mastercard is available online.

Your refund request must be submitted before the expiration of a period of 8 weeks from the date the funds were debited.

Within ten working days following receipt of the request, the payment service provider either refunds the total amount of the payment transaction. Or it justifies its refusal to refund, indicating the possibility of resorting to the procedure of payment mediation.

If your chargeback request does not result in a refund, you can:

  • appeal to your bank’s mediator;
  • Contact the consumer rights protection centre in your jurisdiction in charge of persistent disputes with a professional established abroad.
  • You can also contact a consumer defence association.

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