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Protect yourself and your money by adopting a few smart business practices to avoid misunderstandings, and even chargebacks.
A chargeback is "a demand by a credit card provider to make good the loss on a fraudulent or disputed transaction." Most chargebacks are due to “friendly fraud,” when a client chooses the simplicity of issuing a chargeback over the effort of contacting the business with a question or concern. Although chargebacks are rarely due to true fraud, there are some simple ways to prevent chargebacks:
- Put your Return Policy in writing. (Add something about Contracts to go with Invoices and Terms of Sale to go with Products)
- Make sure to clearly document change fees (for retouching, for example). This could be a contract amendment or a detailed email sent with e new invoice.
- Trust your instincts. If you don't feel a potential client is trustworthy, seems like a scam, or makes you uncomfortable, decline to work with them.
- Use questionnaires to obtain contact information before entering into a contract. This creates an effective virtual paper trail, should it be needed later.
- Use highly detailed invoices with clear line items. This leaves no room for later interpretation.
- If someone other than the client is paying (for example, a bride's parent), use a Third Party Payer Contract. Find a template in the ShootProof Marketplace.
Read this ShootProof blog post for more information about chargebacks.
Q: What should I enter for “doing business as” and why does that matter?
A: The text you enter in this field helps your customers identify your company.
Q: What does it mean if a payment is “disputed”.
A: This means that your client has created a chargeback. There are many different reasons clients dispute charges.
A dispute (also known as a chargeback) occurs when a cardholder questions the payment they made with their card issuer. The card issuer creates a formal dispute which immediately reverses the payment. The payment amount, along with a separate dispute fee levied by the card network, is deducted from your account balance.
Q: My client disputed a charge. What happens now?
A: When a dispute is opened by a customer with their bank, the following events occur:
- The customer’s bank notifies ShootProof of the dispute.
- The bank automatically deducts the disputed amount and a $15 dispute processing fee from ShootProof.
- ShootProof removes the funds from the Photographer’s account balance to cover the dispute deduction.
- ShootProof notifies the account owner of the dispute, passing along the information received from the bank related to the dispute. This communication occurs via the Dashboard and by email to the ShootProof account owner's email address.
Once the dispute is opened and the funds have been deducted from your account, you'll have the opportunity to submit evidence in order to prove the charge was legitimate, and potentially overturn the dispute.
Q: How do I challenge a chargeback?
A: If you believe the dispute is in error and want to challenge it, you can upload evidence supporting the validity. This information is sent via email to ShootProof. When you submit this evidence, ShootProof will immediately send the evidence to the cardholder’s bank for review.
Some things to keep in mind about submitting dispute evidence:
- Banks only review evidence once, so evidence can only be submitted once.
- Tailor the evidence submission to the type of dispute it is.
- The bank will make a decision somewhere between 60-75 days after the evidence due date. The decision is the bank’s alone and the outcome is final.
If the dispute is decided in your favor, the funds will be returned to your balance, including the dispute fee.
Q: Why is there a fee associated with a dispute?
A: When your business receives a chargeback, the payment amount and a separate dispute fee levied by the card network will be deducted from your account balance.
Card networks apply this additional dispute fee to help protect cardholders and discourage dishonest or fraudulent business practices that could lead to chargebacks. The network fees are imposed regardless of whether you choose to dispute the chargeback, and regardless of the outcome of the dispute. In the event that a dispute is ruled in your favor, ShootProof will refund this fee to you at our expense.