972.415.3450 or 512.694.9146 Sally@PaymentOperationsGroup.com

Welcome back to our ‘Preparation for Chargeback Season’ conversation! Not the time of year you get excited about? Completely understandable. Maybe it is the time of year you actively dislike because of the various Brand Programs related to excessive disputes. You are not alone.

Let’s spend a few minutes talking about revenue impacts such as subscription cancellations and refund requests. First off, it is completely unfair to ask any merchant to provide product and not get paid. Full stop. And you will do it – we all do.

This is part of dealing with consumers who either purchase without understanding the product/ramifications, true fraud situations, or those who purchase with no intention of actually paying. There are a lot of conversations available to address Refund Fraud – bricks, empty boxes, used returns, etc. We are not going into detail there because each product type needs to be addressed in its own way – Refunding an incorrect burger order and a 60” plasma screen are two different actions, and their approaches vary wildly. We are going to take a quick look at the related processes to see where we can address issues and retain both control and consumer confidence.

  1. Cancellation Loops – Are you making the online cancellation process for recurring relationships as easy as the original purchase process? Are you also confused about why customers are not cancelling through you but instead are issuing a chargeback? Customers are used to missing customer service phone numbers, emails that don’t get responses, and difficulty navigating websites, so they are trying less and less often – Be the change.
  2. Refund Requests – Does your refund process, especially the online process, require the consumer to leave your site, log in to an account they were not aware they previously created, or complete more forms than the IRS requires? It is a common position for some merchants to complicate refund request processes to reduce completion. It is an even more common position for some merchants to complicate refund requests because they need more information – no nefarious intent, just data. Remember that merchants make online sales easy because they presume the product research and selection happened before the checkout began. How can you take this same approach to refunds to simplify it for your consumers while getting your information through a more palatable means?

Sometimes it’s a simple volume situation or layered revenue protection conversations. No matter what the cause, remember that customers need to know they are being heard immediately. They also need to know you will act ASAP. Simultaneously, however, you need to maintain control and collect the correct information. Yes, it is a careful balance but consider a seasonality approach.

  1. If you can simplify a seasonal sales approach, do the same for these non-sales requests.
  2. Use custom links in emails to bypass or simplify account look-up/logon, action/form launch.
  3. Provide as many pre-loaded refund/cancellation fields as possible to expedite the process.
  4. Work through positivity to retain the consumer even while you reverse or cancel the sale. Making it too hard guarantees they will not return – switch that script.
  5. Watch out for fraudsters seeking to leverage this change in requirements. Apply your fraud prevention rules to this site/form as you already perform for the sales channel.

Remember you were deliberate as you built that positive sales experience. Your refund and cancellation processes are also built deliberately. What are these processes saying?

Payment Operations Group is a consultancy of Payment Professionals who ran away from home to join the circus. But seriously, if you would like to pursue a Strategy for your processing future or any payment engagement at all, contact information is provided below.

Payment Operations Group, LLC

Payments…Navigating, Educating, Strengthening.

Christine Wade



Sally Baptiste