Wednesday, 23 March 2016

What do chargebacks cost a business?

This article lists the real costs of a chargeback on a business.


The cost of a chargeback is measurable in direct costs, time and opportunity cost. In addition, if your business is hit by multiple chargebacks, your merchant may suspend your account. This will result in a temporary or permanent restriction on online trading. This is the most serious impact of chargeback costs as it could prevent your business from functioning.



Costs of chargebacks



  1. Direct cost of a lost sale; profit and revenue impact
  2. Sales processing time costs
  3. Cost of shipping out and possibly inbound depending on your return terms
  4. Processing time as goods are double-handled and returned to stock / written off
  5. Packaging materials and handling
  6. Time spent negotiating / in dispute with consumer and  / or card issuer
  7. Opportunity cost of dealing with chargeback at the expense of other activity
  8. Opportunity cost of lost stock if goods cannot be resold
  9. Manufacturing costs of goods and replacement goods
  10. Training time to teach staff chargeback process / staying up to date with process changes
  11. Time spent reporting internally on chargeback status
  12. Time adjusting accounts if sale / chargeback fall between trading periods
  13. Unlucky for some. Suspension of trading.


Logically, the more you trade online the more often you may be hit by chargebacks. Businesses selling goods that are relatively low value (<$150) are more likely to be hit than businesses selling high value items. Also, businesses providing digital services are more likely to be hit than businesses shipping physical goods. This is because physical goods are easier to trace and it’s harder to deny receipt.

Stop bad email addresses at the door

Two pieces of advice for the digital service provider: have clear logging systems so that you can be as robust as possible if you refute a chargeback claim; and prevent people who use disposable email addresses from buying your services. We see a clear link between chargebacks and the use of disposable email addresses.


For more reading about chargebacks, including steps to prevent them read our blog articles about chargebacks.

it's not always easy to find chargeback information via banks and merchant account providers. Most of the information readily available is consumer facing, rather than business facing. This article from web-merchant gives some useful detail. www.web-merchant.co.uk/chargebacks.asp

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