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Best Practices for Submitting Evidence for Charge Disputes

Invoicing & Online Payments

How Evidence Submission Works

There are multiple parties involved in the dispute process. Although Aisle Planner and our payment processor, Stripe, is not involved in deciding the outcome of the dispute, we play a role by conveying your evidence to our financial partners. In turn, our financial partners are obligated to pass your evidence on to the card issuers if they deem it sufficient. These are necessary steps in the evidence submission process.

Our acquirer reviews the evidence and decides whether to close the dispute or continue the process by forwarding the evidence to the card issuer. They review the evidence and make a final decision.  As the card issuer has final say, the acquirer’s decision to forward the evidence does not by itself guarantee a resolution in your favor.

Refer to the evidence submission guide on “what to submit” below if you regularly lose disputes.

What To Submit

The evidence you submit should be appropriate to the reason for the dispute. Web logs, email communications, shipment tracking numbers and delivery confirmation, proof of prior refunds or replacement shipments, etc., can all be helpful. For example, a response to a dispute with the reason “product not received” should have evidence that includes shipping information and any screenshots of package tracking. Aisle Planner electronically submits this information to your cardholder’s issuer and notifies you of any updates to the dispute.

When you respond to a dispute, Aisle Planner formats the evidence you provide into a format accepted by card issuers. This includes all mandatory payment information (e.g., amount, date of payment), CVC or postal code verification results (if available), and any additional information or documents that you provide.

You can prepare a suitable response that has the most relevant evidence using the following best practices. These can help ensure you have the greatest possible chance of a dispute being found in your favor—and your funds returned.

Keep your evidence relevant and to the point

Card issuers review thousands of dispute responses every day. A long introduction about your product or company, complaint about the customer, or the unfairness of the dispute isn’t going to make your responses more compelling. Instead, provide only the facts surrounding the original purchase, using a neutral and professional tone. For example:

Jenny Rosen purchased X from our company on [date] using their Visa credit card. The customer agreed to our terms of service and authorized this transaction. We shipped the product on [date] to the address provided by the customer, and it was delivered on [date].

You may want to take some time to investigate the dispute while collecting evidence to submit. For instance, you can take a look at Google Maps and Street View to see where your delivery took place, or check social media like Facebook or LinkedIn to help establish the customer as the legitimate cardholder.

Many merchants also include email correspondence or texts with the customer, but it’s important to be aware that these exchanges do not verify identity. If you’re going to include them, make sure only the relevant information is included (e.g., if you’re going to include a long email thread, redact any text that is only quoting previous emails).

Your evidence should be factual, professional, and concise. While providing little evidence is a problem, overwhelming the card issuer with unnecessary information can have the same effect.

Provide clear and accurate evidence

The bank professionals handling the review of your response are going to decide fairly quickly whether or not the evidence is sufficient to refute the cardholder’s claims. You can make it easier for important information to be noticed by circling or calling out important points, keeping things brief wherever possible. For responses with multiple pieces of evidence, you can also include a table of contents and give each uploaded image/PDF an attachment number or letter. A lengthy Terms of Service or refund policy that has the relevant information highlighted can make your case much clearer.

Card issuers do not follow any links provided in a response. Instead, you must include a clear screenshot of your terms or policies as they appear during checkout or on your site if they are an important part of your defense (e.g., a customer disputed a subscription but there is a minimum contract term that must be adhered to).

Include proof of customer authorization

Fraudulent disputes account for over half of all disputes. Proving the legitimate cardholder was aware of and authorized the transaction being disputed is vitally important in such cases. Any data that shows proof of this is a standard part of a compelling response, such as:

  • Signed receipts or contracts

Aisle Planner and Stripe always includes any address verification/CVC results as well as the purchase IP address, but if you have any other evidence of authorization be sure to include it.

Include proof of service or delivery

In addition to fraudulent disputes, claims from cardholders that products or services never arrived or happened, were defective or unsatisfactory, or not as described are also potential dispute reasons. Assuming that all is well on your side (the product was not faulty, was as described, was shipped and delivered prior to the dispute date) then you’ll want to provide proof of service or delivery.

For a merchandise purchase, provide proof of shipment and delivery that includes the full delivery address, not just the city/town and ZIP code code. Choosing a carrier or delivery method that requires a signature on delivery provides the best defense against product not received or fraudulent disputes where you’ve shipped to a verified billing address that has passed AVS and ZIP code verification.

If your customer provides a “Ship To” name that differs from their own (e.g., gift purchase), be prepared to provide documentation explaining why they are different. While it’s common practice to purchase and ship to an address that doesn’t match the card’s verified billing address, this is an additional dispute risk.

If your business provides digital goods, include evidence such as an IP address or system log proving the customer downloaded the content or used your software or service.

 

Include a copy of your terms of service and refund policy

When it comes to disputes, fine print matters. Providing proof that your customer agreed to and understood your terms of service at checkout, or did not follow your policies when it comes to returns or refunds is critical. A clean screenshot of how your terms of service or other policies are presented during checkout is an important addition to your evidence—it is not enough to simply include a text copy of these.

Formatting documents and images to upload

Dispute evidence is often transmitted through several legacy systems and most card issuers are still utilizing paper faxing. Before sending your response, ensure that any text or images are clear and large enough to show up clearly in a black and white fax transmission.

While you can zoom in on your electronic documents, the card issuer will not be able to do so. Any evidence that is too small to transmit clearly won’t be considered by the card issuer, so it’s better to have large, full-page images than try to fit too many on one page.

When submitting documents or images as evidence, use the following recommendations to make sure they can remain legible:

  • Use a 12 point font or larger
  • Ensure that documents are US Letter or A4 size, in portrait orientation (screenshots can still be added to your documents in landscape orientation)
  • Use bold text, callouts, or arrows to draw attention to pertinent information
  • Avoid using color highlighting

When uploading screenshots:

  • Crop the screenshot to the area of interest and circle any key components (e.g., delivery confirmation or signature)
  • Use the text fields in the dispute evidence form to describe what the image contains and how it supports your response

Any illegible text or data that is submitted with a response will be considered incomplete by the card issuer and not reviewed.

 

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