What is a Chargeback?
A chargeback occurs whenever a patron disputes or reports a transaction via their card company. Most of the time, this happens because a patron has forgotten about the transaction and does not recognize the charge. It can also occur if the patron has reported fraud on their card within the same time period as their ticket sale. When this happens, banks can sometimes lump multiple transactions together as fraud even if your transaction is valid. They could also dispute a transaction if it is a duplicate, accidental purchase. In rare occurrences, chargebacks can occur if you have cancelled or modified a show, and the patron missed your notification or you did not issue a refund for the cancellation.
What is Arts People's procedure for chargebacks?
When the chargeback is filed by the patron, the funds are immediately taken out of our account by the cardholder’s credit card company and returned to the patron. Because the patron has already received the funds for the sale, we ask that you DO NOT process a refund for any chargeback. In addition, we are charged a processing fee for every chargeback case, usually $40 per chargeback.
It is our responsibility as your merchant provider to fight chargeback cases with the card company on your behalf. Therefore, we respond to these as soon as they come in. We submit proof of purchase with a specific notice of proof of address verification. It can take up to 90 days for a resolution to come through on chargeback cases. In the event that we win the disputed case, Arts People will notify you immediately and credit your account the chargeback amount. Please note though that case outcomes are not final until up to 90 days after the initial chargeback ruling.
What can your organization do to help recover chargeback cases?
While we fight each chargeback on the merchant side, we highly recommend that you speak to the patron directly about the chargeback. You can ask them to reverse the chargeback with their card company. If they are unable to do so, patrons can still repeat the payment with you to cover the chargeback and costs. We suggest that you process this as a donation to avoid AP fees, and you can even request a check or cash to also avoid merchant fees.
We know that you may not be used to speaking to patrons about chargebacks, so we’ve created an email template for you to use here: Chargeback Template
What can your organization do to help prevent chargeback cases?
If you have noticed an increase in chargebacks lately, it is worth speaking to one of the admin team about ways you could prevent cases.
First, each client on our merchant account is allotted a specific merchant descriptor - this is the term for the text that comes across to patrons in their statement or account activity. The merchant descriptor is used to help patrons identify your transactions. In most cases, your merchant descriptor is simply your organization name, but if you’ve updated your name recently or just want to check in, we can help! Likewise, let us know if you have updated your box office phone number recently as this number can appear on their statement as well. If the number is updated, a patron could call you directly first to inquire about the transaction.
You can also ask about our reminder emails. We offer notice emails that send the patron an email exactly a week before the performance to remind them of the upcoming show. While this may not be chargeback related, it can increase your visibility with the patron, which can help them to remember the charge whenever they open their statement.
We understand that chargebacks can be a real annoyance to everyone involved, so we try to make this process as simple as possible. By working together, we can increase the chances that existing chargebacks are reversed and decrease the frequency of new chargebacks.
If you still have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help!