Everything you need to know about compelling evidence for effective chargeback dispute

Here is all you need to know about Union54, chargeback fraud and the USD virtual card palava

Chargeback terminologies are everywhere: compelling evidence, time-limit, representment…it just never ends. 

Our focus for this piece is on compelling evidence. We’ll review the essential intricacies of compiling and sending compelling evidence for successful chargeback disputes.

What is compelling evidence?

Per the name, compelling evidence is the necessary and sufficient documentation to overturn a meritless chargeback and win the case.

Think of a chargeback dispute as a legal process for recovering lost revenue. To win the legal battle, you must demonstrate that the disputed transaction is valid and the chargeback unfounded. That means you need clear and definite evidence to make a compelling case that the judge (i.e., the card issuer) can use to rule in your favour. Such documentation is necessary to establish the transaction’s validity.

That’s where compelling evidence comes in.

Since it’s a make or mar tool in your chargeback representation, gathering compelling evidence isn’t a decision to take lightly. And we want to ensure you have all the facts to help you make the best decision. 

What makes compelling evidence?

First, you must understand that regulators need you to provide strong evidence that casts obvious, reasonable doubt on the cardholder’s claim to win a dispute. Without that, the case will be 100% lost. 

Second, the chargeback mechanism is consumer-focused since chargebacks are a consumer protection instrument. Hence, banks and card networks tend to see merchants as guilty by default when a dispute arises.

The burden of proof is on you, the merchant, and not the cardholder. Therefore, only some pieces of documentation will suffice in helping you pierce through the veil and overturn the chargeback. 

Again, there is no “one-size-fits-all” compelling evidence. Whatever information you provide in your representment must support your case and align with the reason code you obtained, that is, the assigned root cause of the dispute.

So, what makes a compelling evidence?

The most crucial compelling evidence is your communication with the customer. That includes emails establishing a link between the person receiving products and the cardholder or proving that the cardholder disputing the transaction has the merchandise. 

Other documentation considered compelling evidence includes the following:

  • Refund Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Order Cancellation Policy
  • Delivery confirmation receipts, 
  • Signed orders, 
  • Photographs, 
  • Contracts,
  • Sales receipts,
  • Screenshots of downloads and usage timestamps, etc.

The rule of thumb is to make your evidence precise and straight to the point. For example, when adding a customer communication, you should include a short part of the conversation where the customer admits to having the product, not the whole discussion you had with them.

Everything you need to know about compelling evidence for effective chargeback dispute

How to submit your compelling evidence

Understand this. How you submit your compelling evidence is as essential as the documentation you include. Keep your evidence relevant to the reason code. And don’t overwhelm the administrators.

Card issuers receive thousands of dispute responses daily. To create compelling responses, make your tone neutral and professional and provide only relevant facts about the purchase.

Here’s an example:

“Mark Anthony used their Visa card to purchase X item from our Shopify store on Y date. The customer accepted our terms of service and gave their authorization for the transaction to proceed. We shipped the product to the customer’s provided address on [date], and it was delivered on [date] as you can see in the W document attached.”

When submitting documents or images as evidence, it is essential to follow these recommendations to ensure they remain readable:

  •  Use a 12-point font or a larger font size
  • To highlight important details, use bold text, callouts, or arrows.
  • Avoid using colour highlighting.

To upload screenshots:

  • Crop the screenshot to focus on critical components, such as delivery confirmation or signature, and circle them.
  • Describe what the image contains and how it supports your response in the dispute evidence form.

Include a copy of your terms of service and refund policy. In case of disputes, it’s crucial to have proof that the customer agreed to your service terms or didn’t follow your return policy. A screenshot of your terms of service during checkout is necessary evidence; text copies are insufficient.

Note: Card issuers require a clear screenshot of your terms or policies. Instead of adding links, add screenshots of those assets if they are essential to your defence (e.g., a customer disputed a subscription with a minimum contract term).

How to tailor your compelling evidence to different chargeback reason codes

Sample answer manual:

Product Description:

Briefly describe your company and product here.

Additional Information:

{CUSOMER’S NAME} purchased {NAME OF PRODUCT} from our company on {DATE} using their credit card. The customer agreed to our terms of service and authorized this transaction. We shipped the product on {SHIP DATE} to the customer’s address and delivered it on {ARRIVAL DATE}.

Follow the guidelines provided below to ensure that your representment efforts produce the desired outcomes:

Transaction unauthorized chargeback

The cardholder claims they did not authorize the purchase for this type of chargeback. It’s the most common chargeback reason code merchants get. However, over 80% of these disputes are classified as friendly fraud.

You must prove that the order’s customer is the cardholder to win the dispute.

Some pieces of evidence you can provide:

  1. Customer Communication: Evidence of customer communication must include payment admission, acceptance of terms, or talking about the order on their Social Media account.
  2. Shipping Information & Address: Add shipment tracking PDFs obtained from the shipping company’s website indicating the shipment address, matching the customer’s address on your file.
  3. Previous Non-disputed Payments: Upload PDFs of earlier orders with tracking numbers, including those they didn’t dispute, in the Additional Information section. Some PSPs like Braintree or Stripe will require you to show the CVC approval, billing code approval page, etc.

Cancelled subscription chargeback

The customer claims that you charged them after they cancelled a subscription. To overturn the cancelled subscription chargeback, you must prove the subscription was still active at the billing time, the cardholder knew about your billing schedule, or did not follow your cancellation policy. 

Some pieces of evidence you can provide:

  • Cancellation Policy: Add your subscription cancellation policy.
  • Cancellation Policy Disclosure: Show how and where your customers saw the policies.
  • Rebuttal: Explain why the customer’s subscription was not cancelled.
  • Customer Communication: Provide your notification email sent to customers at least three days before the charge date. Include the records if you communicated with the customer on any other platform, such as X (Twitter), regarding the First Month Offer or a discount agreed on, and they later disputed the charge.
  • Order Receipt: Upload your receipt and order summary, if applicable.
  • Additional Information: Show that the cardholder received an email notification about the impending bill, and add evidence of shipment or access to the goods/service.

Order not delivered Chargeback

For an order not delivered chargeback to be overturned, you must provide compelling evidence showing the customer received a physical or offline service or used a digital or online product. You must also show they accessed, received, or used the merchandise or service BEFORE filing the dispute. 

Some pieces of evidence you can provide:

  1. Customer Communication: Evidence of interaction with the customer must include payment admission, acceptance of terms, or talking about the order on their Social Media account. Ensure to include the essential parts where the customer confirms receipt of the product and admits to using it, even if they complained about it.
  2. Shipping Documentation & Address: Provide a PDF of shipment tracking information for the order’s shipping location to the customer’s address.
  3. Previous Non-disputed Payments: Upload PDFs of earlier orders with tracking numbers, including those they didn’t dispute, in the Additional Information section.
Credit not processed Chargeback

For this credit/debit card chargeback category, the cardholder claims they returned a purchased product or cancelled a recurring transaction, but you have not provided a refund or credit. 

Some standard due diligence to carry out when you receive such a claim is to review the customer’s complaint and ask them to retract the dispute before issuing a refund. If they agree, save the evidence and keep the communication on file. 

To dispute a chargeback with a “Credit Not Processed” reason code, you must provide compelling evidence showing you have either refunded the customer through alternative methods or that the customer is not eligible for a refund.

Some pieces of evidence you can provide:

  1. Refund Policy: Add your refund policy. And explain where and when you showed the customer your refund policy, ideally at the checkout point.
  2. If the customer is not entitled to a refund, explain why. 
  3. Customer Communication: If you have communicated your payment policy and explained that they are not entitled to a refund according to your policy, include that correspondence as well.


Uncategorized disputes are marked as general, so you need to review past conversations with the customer to understand the reason for the payment dispute.

Some documentation required to overturn include emails and other communication transcripts where the buyer stated they had received the product, previously non-disputed payments, documentation on their previous orders, and order delivery information such as shipping information, tracking numbers, etc.

Having said all that, it’s essential to note that you can do your best to provide the said compelling evidence and still lose the case. 

Why? Chargeback representment is a tedious, time-consuming work requiring specialized skills and industry experience. Besides that, you must also adhere to stringent time limitations and protocols, some of which you can’t possibly control.

So, it’s no wonder that most merchants still lose cases regardless of the resources and time they pour into the remediation process. In fact, industry records show the average chargeback recovery chance for merchants is 12%.

Enters AI-assisted chargeback recovery.

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According to research, 40% of customers who file a chargeback will do so again within two months. Furthermore, 50% of individuals who successfully file a chargeback will repeat the act within three months.

Considering the lost time due to lengthy evidence-gathering and dispute-filing processes, protecting your owner with chargeback automation is non-negotiable. Chargeflow‘s chargeback automation software gives you lightning-speed accuracy in disputes and fraud mitigation.

Instead of manually gathering evidence and hoping to meet reason code expectations, automate your representment and let Chargeflow do the magic for you! The success-based pricing means you only pay for cases won.

About the Author:

Tom-Chris Emewulu is Chargeflow’s Digital Evangelist. With 8+ years of digital marketing experience, he crafts compelling, high-converting, high-intent, data-driven, SEO-friendly articles that put brands on page 1 of Google search. Forbes, DW, Business Insider, Businessss2Community, and many other publications have featured his works. You can find him on Social Media via @tomchrisemewulu.

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