How to Protect Against Chargebacks for Item Not as Described

We’ve talked about a lot of different types of chargebacks here at Disputifier, from the compliance chargeback to the chargeback for services not rendered, friendly fraud chargebacks, and more.

But one of the easiest to prevent is item not as described chargebacks. This dispute often arises when businesses overpromise and under-deliver, leaving customers frustrated and seeking remedies.

Today, we’ll show you how to protect against chargebacks of item not as described to avoid the headaches, financial losses, and reputational damage that could arise as a result of these disputes. Here are some of the tips we’ll cover:

  • Write more detailed product descriptions
  • Provide higher-quality images, videos, and demos
  • Offer superior customer service and communication
  • Make your return policies accessible and clear
  • Improve your product or service

All that being said, there will undoubtedly come a time when you’re faced with one of these chargebacks and the customer is simply trying to pull a fast one and exploit the chargeback process. That’s why you need Disputifier as part of your dispute management arsenal.

As the best chargeback company, we prevent up to 95% of issues in the first place and can even help fight chargebacks on your behalf without you having to lift a finger, boosting your win rate to as high as 70% and allowing you to narrow your focus on core business activities. Start your free trial today!

What is a Chargeback for Item Not as Described?

Chargebacks are designed by financial institutions to protect cardholders, allowing them to dispute transactions and request a reversal of funds from the merchant. 

This process is initiated when a customer feels they have been wronged or did not receive what they paid for. In some cases, it’s used when a cardholder’s details have been compromised and an order has been placed on their card fraudulently.

The chargeback process is managed by the issuing bank, which investigates the claim and determines its validity based on evidence provided by both the customer and the merchant.

This specific type - chargeback for item not as described - is used when a customer feels the product or service they received does not match the description provided at the time of purchase. This can happen for several reasons:

  • Discrepancies in Product Description: The item may not have the features, quality, or specifications that were advertised.
  • Quality Issues: The product may be inferior in quality compared to what was promised.
  • Misleading Advertising: The company may have created unrealistic expectations that the product did not meet.
  • Incorrect Items: The customer may receive a different item than what they ordered.

In some cases, it’s a matter of businesses overpromising and underdelivering, which is the result of shoddy marketing practices. In others, it’s unrealistic customer expectations and no fault of the business - but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem for your company.

These chargebacks can have serious implications, ranging from revenue loss to chargeback fees, higher processing costs, wasted resources, eroded customer trust, and strained reputations with financial institutions.

Given all this, it’s worth learning how to protect against chargebacks for item not as described. So, allow us to share some of the things you can do today to prevent this issue going forward. 

How to Protect Against Chargebacks for Item Not as Described

In our complete guide on how to prevent chargebacks as a merchant we talk a lot about using fraud prevention measures and chargeback alerts to stop these disputes before they occur. 

But when it comes to item not as described chargebacks, usually, the issue is with your marketing, customer service, return policy, or the product itself. While you can’t stop 100% of chargebacks, you can take steps to mitigate them - here’s how.

More Accurate Product Descriptions

The worst thing you can do as a business is overpromise and underdeliver. There’s a fine line between effectively promoting features and benefits and making unrealistic claims about your product.

Providing accurate, detailed, and honest product descriptions is the first line of defense against chargebacks for items not as described. Make sure every aspect of the product is covered, including dimensions, materials, colors, and features. Avoid overly positive or exaggerated language that might mislead customers.

You also need high-resolution images that show the product from multiple angles. Include close-ups of important features and any variations available. 

If it makes sense, show the product in use to give customers a clear understanding of how it functions and looks in real-life scenarios. Better yet, invest in video assets that offer a more thorough look at how the product works, its benefits, and any setup or installation processes. 

Be sure to include customer reviews as part of your product descriptions as well - both the good and bad. Address any recurring issues mentioned in reviews by updating product descriptions accordingly.

Elevate Your Customer Communication

Communication is key, which is why you should engage with potential customers before they make a purchase. Offer live chat support and easy access to customer service representatives via phone. 

Answering customer questions promptly and accurately can prevent misunderstandings and ensure they are fully informed before buying. You may even consider setting up a FAQ section on your website or on product pages to help set expectations.

Send detailed order confirmation emails with product descriptions, images, and estimated delivery times. This reinforces what the customer ordered and sets clear expectations.

After that, be sure to keep customers informed throughout the shipping process with regular updates. Provide tracking information and notify them of any delays or issues. 

After the product has been delivered, follow up with customers to ensure they are satisfied with their purchase. Address any concerns or issues promptly to prevent dissatisfaction from escalating into chargebacks. Encourage feedback to identify areas for improvement.

This can be automated through an email sequence that sends:

  1. An initial email thanking the customer for their order and telling them what they’ve gotten.
  2. An order delivery email letting the customer know their goods have arrived.
  3. A follow-up email 7-14 days after delivery making sure everything is good.

While you may end up dealing with customers complaining in your inbox and subsequent returns, this is much better than the hassle of a chargeback.

Clear and Transparent Return Policies

Speaking of returns, you should make it effortless for customers to access your policy and actually go through with the process. This can be a sticking point for many businesses because returns are a headache. But trust us - you’d rather deal with returns than a chargeback.

Clearly outline the steps customers need to take to return an item, the conditions under which returns are accepted, and any associated costs or fees. 

Ensure that your return policies are fair and reasonable. Avoid overly restrictive conditions that might frustrate customers. A generous return policy can build trust and encourage repeat business, even if it occasionally leads to returns. 

You may even go as far as providing prepaid return labels, but that’s up to you based on your margins and the scale of your business.

Make a Better Product!

If you’re dealing with tons of chargebacks for item not as described, there’s a good chance it’s not your customers - it’s you! 

Regularly review customer feedback and return data to identify areas where your products can be improved. Address common complaints or issues to enhance product quality and reduce the likelihood of chargebacks due to unmet expectations.

If you don’t suspect it’s a product design flaw giving you issues, it could be a quality control problem. So, implement stringent quality control measures to ensure that products meet the described specifications. Regularly inspect and test products to catch defects or inconsistencies before they reach customers.

Tips on Managing Item Not as Described Chargebacks When They Occur

Hopefully, our advice on how to protect against chargebacks for item not as described will help you avoid the issue going forward. But if you’re currently dealing with one of these, don’t stress. We have insights on how to win a chargeback as a merchant.

Review the Chargeback Notice

The first step is to carefully review the chargeback notice you receive from your acquiring bank, as this includes information such as the chargeback reason code, the amount disputed, and the timeline for responding. 

Understanding the reason code helps you identify the specifics of the customer's complaint and the type of evidence you need to collect. From there, you can start to assess whether or not there is any validity to the claim.

Assess the Claim

Compare the customer's description of the issue with your product listing, order details, and any communication you’ve had with the customer. If they provide photos of the product they received, look to see where the issue is.

The goal is to determine whether there was a genuine discrepancy or misunderstanding, or if the customer’s claim is unfounded. This way you can determine if you missed the mark as a company and need to make it right, or if the customer is trying to pull a fast one.

Determining Whether to Refund or Fight the Claim

While you never want to lose revenue and the cost of your product/service, sometimes, it makes more sense to refund the customer and move on. 

The chargeback process can be a hassle and your attention is better spent elsewhere. We’ll talk more about this in a moment, but this is why you should leverage a chargeback company like Disputifier to handle all disputes on your behalf so you can focus on what matters most.

That being said, it might be best to refund the customer if you find that there was a genuine error in the product description, or if the customer received a defective or incorrect item. Maybe you can even just send them a new product to avoid missing out on the sale.

Consider the customer themselves, too. If you think there’s a chance that providing exceptional service and refunding/exchanging the order can lead to repeat purchases, it’s worth the slight loss.

On the other hand, if your product description was accurate and the customer’s claim seems unjustified and lacks merit, it’s worth fighting the chargeback. 

Assess whether you have enough evidence and be realistic about your chances - a chargeback leads to additional fees and can affect your relationship with financial institutions. 

Gather Supporting Evidence

Should you determine you’re going to fight the dispute, you’ll need to take the time to gather all relevant evidence that supports your case:

  • Transaction Records: Order confirmations, invoices, and payment receipts.
  • Product Descriptions: Screenshots or copies of the product listing that was visible to the customer at the time of purchase.
  • Communications: Emails, chat logs, or messages exchanged with the customer showing your efforts to address their concerns or clarify the product details - or, their lack of effort to reach out to you to resolve the issue or request a refund, resorting to the chargeback as their first step.
  • Proof of Delivery: If applicable, tracking information and delivery confirmation show that the product was delivered as described.

Craft Your Rebuttal Letter

Be sure you’re aware of the chargeback time limit so you can get your rebuttal letter submitted before the deadline. Then, come up with a clear, concise, and professional rebuttal letter.

Address the chargeback reason code directly and outline the evidence you are presenting to refute the customer’s claim. You can follow this chargeback rebuttal letter example:

  1. Briefly introduce the case, including the transaction details and chargeback reason code.
  2. Provide a factual summary of the transaction and the steps taken to fulfill the order.
  3. Present your evidence logically, referencing attached documents and highlighting key points that support your case.
  4. Conclude with a request to reverse the chargeback based on the evidence provided.

Be sure to avoid emotional language throughout the letter. As frustrating as this experience may be, keeping your cool will show professionalism and support your case.

Pre-arbitration and Arbitration

Now, what happens if you lose a chargeback on the first attempt? You have the opportunity to initiate pre-arbitration, which is like a second attempt at the chargeback.

Here, the acquiring bank and issuing bank attempt to resolve the dispute. You can restructure your rebuttal package and ideally, offer more information supporting your case that you didn’t have access to the first time around.

If pre-arbitration does not result in a favorable outcome, the case may go to arbitration, where the card network makes a final decision. Be aware of the consequences here, as the card network’s ruling is final and can result in exorbitant fees for the losing party.

Trust Disputifier for Chargeback Management and Prevention to Save Money, Time, and Stress!

Disputes are a constant headache for business owners - one that can lead to lost revenue, eroded trust, and wasted resources. Fortunately, you can avoid item not as described chargebacks by leveraging our comprehensive, automated solutions.

Disputifer works around the clock to automatically stop fraudulent transactions and reduce chargebacks through VerifiTM and EthocaTM alerts that give you early warnings so you can take steps to refund the customer before the chargeback goes through.

It also features AI-powered fraud scanning that stops 99% of fraud in the first place. We also provide "Order Not Received" mitigation tools to keep customers informed and satisfied. 

If you ever do experience a chargeback, we’ll work relentlessly to fight it on your behalf without you having to lift a finger. Our automated chargeback recovery handles everything from evidence collection to response drafting, ensuring higher win rates. We guarantee an increase in your win rate, or our service is free. Plus, you only pay when we win your chargebacks.

So, how often do merchants win chargebacks with Disputifer? Up to 70% of the time! Contrast that with the industry average, which only ranges from 10-30% depending on the level of risk associated with your business. 

Get started with a free trial to protect your revenue against chargebacks for item not as described and focus on growing your business with Disputifier today!

Closing Thoughts on Item Not as Described Chargebacks

That concludes our guide on item not as described chargebacks. These are often the result of miscommunication, or overpromising and under delivering as a business owner. Thus, preventing them is as simple as fine-tuning your marketing methods, product descriptions, customer service channels, and your product itself.

In other instances, it’s simply a customer trying to take advantage of the chargeback mechanism to get a free product. In these cases, you can rely on our tips to set yourself up for success in managing the dispute effectively.

Learn more about ethoca alerts, what happens if merchant does not respond to dispute, merchant chargeback insurance, chargeback vs dispute, and other topics in our blog to continuously improve your dispute management process.

Better yet, put the stress of item not as described chargebacks in the past by leaving it to the experts at Disputifier. Let us handle everything on your behalf so you can avoid the time and stress associated with chargeback management. Your free trial is just a few clicks away!

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