What are the Chargeback Time Frames for Consumers?
Consumers must abide by chargeback time frames or their disputes won’t be honored.
Chargeback time frames available to card issuers are generally limited to 120 days. The tricky part is that depending on the dispute category, the starting point of the 120 days measurement can vary. For example; if the dispute is over an unauthorized transaction, the 120 is measured from the date of the transaction, if the dispute is over merchandise that wasn’t received, then the time frame is measured from the date of last promised delivery date, if the dispute is over merchandise that was received defective, the measurement starts from the date the merchandise was received, and extension may be available in this case as long there was ongoing negotiations with the merchant, but some limitations apply to this extension. There are other features that play a great difference when determining the actual time-frames case-by-case. The bottom line is that it’s a minimum of 120 days, and in some rare cases you can make a chargeback years after the transaction date.
One other point, the time-frame above are for Visa & MC. However, Amex & Discover easily allow 6 months for any chargebacks, and make it very difficult to the cardholder when disputed after 6 months.
The cardholders bank can file a retrieval or chargeback to a merchant. The merchant is given notice and then the reply is sent back to the cardholders bank for review. The cardholders bank has 30 days to review and file if they wish to continue the case. If a merchant hears nothing further from us within 45 days from their reply, then the case, in 99% of the cases, has been dropped. We are not given any notice if the cardholders bank drops the case. We just get no further communication from them. If they wish to continue the case within 45 days, they send us the next level dispute back to us and we send the notice to the merchant. The merchant then has a chance to reply again and dispute the new level case. This can continue till the Arbitration level where both sides responses are sent to Visa/MC for their ruling and then the case is closed and finalized and we will notify you at that level, of the ruling due to the fact that we get a ruling. Only at the Arbitration level do we get a ruling thou. The merchant can always email our group or call about day 45 if they wish to check on a particular cases outcome.
As far as the dreaded chargeback ratios Risk departments will monitor cb ratio’s of over 1% and credit return ratio’s of over 5%. Depending on the business type they may move those percentages up a bit.