Best Practices for handling Disputes

A dispute (also known as a chargeback) occurs when a cardholder questions your payment with their card issuer.

To process a chargeback, the issuer creates a formal dispute on the card network, which immediately reverses the payment, pulling the money for the payment—as well as one or more network dispute fees—from Stripe. After that, Stripe debits your balance for the payment amount and dispute fee.

Responding to disputes

When an account owner files a dispute against a payment, their bank alerts Stripe and Stripe with the help of RGP notifies you using:

  • Email notification
  • Payment marked as Disputed in RGP Payments Dashboard with reason and evidence due date

When you receive a dispute notification, take action to resolve it before the deadline. Failing to respond to a dispute results in an irretrievable refund to the account holder and a dispute fee charged to your account. Simply respond to the dispute notification email with the attached counter-evidence or start a new email thread to where RGP Support will work with Stripe to submit your counter-evidence.


Step 1: Review the dispute category

When you get a dispute, the corresponding category or reason appears in the email notification and payments dashboard.

Each dispute category specifies different response requirements and recommendations to make it effective in addressing the root claim from the cardholder, so your first step is to review the Stipe response guidelines for the category of your dispute. Select the dispute reason from the drop-down menu in the link above to see what evidence is best suited to counter the dispute claim. 


Step 2: Work with the account owner

Click on the link in the dispute email notification to review the payment in question. For Online and POS transactions, the customer's name will appear in the payment description. For Billing payments, the Invoice number will appear.

In RGP Data Entry - View - Find Transaction you can search the invoice number to find the customer in question. After reviewing the claim we recommend trying to call and email the customer to give you insight to better understand the complaint and help you decide how to proceed.

Be sure to keep a record of all communication with your customer during this process, as it provides evidence to submit with your response.

If the customer says they will drop the dispute, please send that communication as a JPG or PDF to to submit - it takes some time for the customer to communicate with their bank, and then for the bank to communicate with Stripe. Submitting the customer communication ensures that the dispute does not auto-close before the dispute is fully dropped.


Step 3: Decide to accept or challenge the dispute

Handle all disputes through RGP Support/Stripe. You can’t address a formally disputed payment (such as by refunding the customer directly) outside this process because the issuing bank has already refunded the account owner through the chargeback process and you risk refunding the customer twice.


When you have a clear picture of the dispute details, decide whether to accept or challenge the dispute. Consider the following questions in your determination:

  • Is the account owner’s claim valid?
  • If not, do I have the evidence required to disprove the claim?
  • Can I convince the account owner to withdraw their dispute if I resolve their complaint amicably?

When you’ve decided how to respond, respond to the dispute email notification or email directly and let us know if you want to:

  • Accept dispute RGP Support will submit a response to Stripe to tell the issuing bank that you agree to refund the customer for the disputed payment and pay the dispute fee.
  • Counter dispute RGP Support will the evidence you send to counter the dispute.


Please note: You have only one opportunity to submit your response. When RGP Support submits your evidence Stripe immediately forwards your response and all supporting files to the issuing bank. You can’t edit the response or submit additional files, so make sure you’ve assembled all your evidence before you submit.

  1. Email RGP Support and say you want to Counter the Dispute with Stripe or Accept the Dispute

  2. Tell Stripe about the dispute If you decide to counter the dispute, write a short paragraph as to why you believe the dispute is in error and the product type of the original purchase. 

  3. Assemble and send your evidence Attach evidence that matches the checklist of evidence types relevant to your dispute category and counterargument. For each uploaded file, specify which type of evidence it satisfies. You can only submit one file per type of evidence, so if you have several files representing one type of evidence, combine them into a single, multi-page file. Please be aware of the evidence due date for each dispute. If the dispute evidence's due date is over the weekend, we recommend submitting evidence at least 2-3 business days before the due date.

  4. Background Details In your email to RGP Support please include your Refund policy details, Customer details (email address), and product details.
  5. Submit evidence RGP Support will work with Stripe to submit the counter-evidence by the deadline. Stripe automatically puts the evidence you provide into a format accepted by the issuing bank and submits it for consideration. At this point, you can’t amend what you’ve submitted or provide any additional information, so make sure to include every relevant detail.

  6. Under Review/Won/Lost After you submit a response, the status of the dispute changes to under review in the payments dashboard. When the issuer informs Stripe of its decision, we inform you of the outcome by email, and by updating the dispute status in the Payments Dashboard 

    • Dispute Won indicates that the bank decided in your favor and overturned the dispute. In this case, the issuing bank returns the debited chargeback amount to Stripe, and Stripe passes this amount back to you in the next payout.

    • Dispute Lost indicates that the bank decided in the account owner’s favor and upheld the dispute. In this case, the refund is permanent. The customer will keep the refunded payment given to them the day the dispute process was initiated (i.e. dispute was initiated on April 10th, and the customer will see the refund on their statement on April 10th even if the dispute isn't closed until May 15th)


Dispute Example:
For example, the customer listed Subscription Cancelled as their dispute reason. The customer claims that you continued to charge them after a subscription was canceled.

How to prevent subscription canceled disputes:

  • Promptly cancel subscriptions upon request in RGP.
  • Make it clear in your signup process that your customers are agreeing to a recurring payment. Also, make sure that your cancellation procedures and policies are clearly communicated to your customers.
    • RGP tip: Use the online membership sales terms and conditions to have a signed digital copy attached to their customer record showing they were informed of the cancelation and refund policies and have agreed to the reoccurring payment of ___ amount on the ____ date of the month.
    • RGP tip: If not on an RGP Premium Plan - have a digital Smartwaiver document that new members sign that states your membership terms and conditions. Once signed that record will be attached to the customer record. 
  • Communicate cancellation policies on billing invoices.
    • RGP Tip: A new feature as of build 134060 - Adding custom text at the bottom of Billing invoices
      This feature allows you to prove to the customer's bank/card that you repeatedly gave instructions on how to terminate their membership and the customer did not follow the instructions on how to cancel their membership/subscription.

How to overturn subscription canceled disputes:

Explain and demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • The subscription was still active and the customer was aware of and did not follow your cancellation procedure. 
    • Provide signed membership terms and conditions
    • Provide billing invoices with cancellation instructions
    • Provide any membership change request forms submitted after your cancelation policy timeline (i.e. bill on the 1st cancelation request must come in 5 days prior to billing being run)
  • You already issued a refund to your customer
    • invoice/refund payment from the customer record in RGP
  • The customer said they withdrew the dispute. Get this in writing and submit it as evidence. 
    • Always provide evidence for every dispute you hope to have resolved in your favor, even if your customer told you they’re withdrawing the dispute. Many card issuers treat failure to submit evidence as an acceptance of liability on your part. This means that even if the customer did withdraw the dispute with their issuer, you can still lose the dispute if you don’t submit evidence.

Consider the following guidelines to make sure your supporting evidence files are effective:

  • Consult the evidence recommendations for your specific dispute category.
    For example, subscription canceled evidence would be:
    Your subscription cancellation policy, as shown to the customer. cancellation_policy
    An explanation of how and when the customer was shown your cancellation policy prior to purchase. cancellation_policy_disclosure
    A justification for why the customer’s subscription wasn’t canceled, or if it was canceled, why this particular payment is still valid. cancellation_rebuttal
    The date on which the cardholder received or began receiving the purchased service in a clear, human-readable format. service_date
    Documentation showing proof that a service was provided to the cardholder. This could include their check-in history, class attendance, etc. service_documentation
    A notification sent to the customer of renewal or continuation of the subscription, or an acknowledgment from the customer of their continued use of the product or service after the date they claim they canceled the subscription (if available). customer_communication

    Any argument invalidating the dispute reason, such as a PDF or screenshot showing:

    • If the service was consumed prior to the billing (in cases where billing occurs regularly, but consumption of whatever is being billed for happens prior to the billing)
    • If the service was partially used, whether the disputed amount exceeds the value of the unused portion
    • If the customer is mistaken about what the actual cancellation date was (for example, in cases where the cancellation was set for a future date)
    • Whether you already issued the refund the cardholder is entitled to
    • Whether you already provided a replacement service
    • Whether the cardholder said they would withdraw the dispute

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  • Organize each piece of evidence according to the evidence type it satisfies - be as succinct as possible.
  • Combine items of the same evidence type into a single file.
  • Check that your evidence files don’t exceed the combined size limit of 4.5 MB.
  • Banks evaluating the dispute won’t review any external content, so don’t include:
    • Audio or video files
    • Requests to call or email for more information
    • Links to click for further information (for example, file downloads or links to tracking information)
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