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Chargeback Issue - I Can't Win!

 10:12 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)


I received a chargeback where the customer states they didn't place an order for this product, and now the chargeback has credited back their account.

The funny thing is I received an AVS match for both street and zip code. I also noticed that from the merchant services letter that I received; the customer's name, phone number, and email address that they wrote matches exactly to what I have on my website.

I called merchant services and they said it was good that I have an AVS match for the street and zip code; which makes up 50% of me actually winning this case. And she said the other 50% that I would need to win this chargeback is a signature for the delivery; which I don't have.

So to make a long story short she said I probably won't win this chargeback since I don't have the other 50% that counts; the signature on delivery.

I asked her if I had a tracking number for the shipment would that count but she said no. She said only a signature delivery confirmation would make me win this chargeback.

Now my question to you guys is; how many of you actually ship with a "signature required" for all your orders?

Thank you,




 10:30 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

On another front, if the card holder truly did not place the order, then he/she is in receipt of stolen (or perhaps "fraudulently obtained" is more PC) goods and needs to return the product to you ASAP.

If the person refuses to return the product, that may tip things a bit in your favor.


 10:44 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)


That's a good point! I did receive a match for AVS; so the product was delivered to the billing/shipping address of where they live at, but what would be my best approach to ask for the return shipment of my product?

Can't they just lie, and say that they never received any product?

Thank you,



 10:56 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, they can certainly do that.

I obviously am not privy to the exact wording of the letter, but I suspect it implies that he did receive it. If he had said he never ordered it and never received it, that might be harder to argue against.

My approach would be to contact the person and say they since he never ordered the product, he needs to return it. If he refuses, then you can point out that he is in possession of stolen merchandise (or however you want to call it). Tell him he can return the product to his local police station and you will arrange delivery from there. Mentioning the police can often cause people to suddenly remember that they actually did order something. :)


 11:18 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sure they can lie. Happens all the time.

If you're shipping tangible products, require a signature. If they're downloading digital products, log IP addresses.

I've had several chargebacks reversed because I had server logs which proved the downloaded product was initiated from the same IP payment was made from.

I've had to eat a few too. You mileage may vary.


 1:37 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Even if you have a signature that still doesn't guarantee you'll win a chargeback. It wins the "I never received it" argument, but it doesn't win the "this isn't what I ordered and I already sent it back" argument.

It's rare for the seller to win. Not impossible, but sometimes you're just going to lose a few.


 9:10 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Did you have the IP address that placed the order?

It's really hard to say it's "NOT ME!" when the IP ties back to their home address.

If the IP is theirs, file a police report for CC fraud and see if it smacks the smirk off their face.


 9:17 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the IP is theirs, file a police report for CC fraud and see if it smacks the smirk off their face.

Tried this here in the UK, we have a retarded Police force, they couldn't grasp the concept of what an IP address is.

Sounds like you've lost it olimits7


 10:19 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Simply contact the recipent and arrange a pickup by a parcel service or offer to reimburse the shipping cost if they send the products back.

If they claim that they did not order AND did not receive the product, then file a claim inquiry with the parcel service and report the case to the police.

What the CC company decides is irrelevant to your claim. This only means you have to enforce payment or a return shipment yourself. If you can provide the necessary evidence, get a court order. If you do not know how, go to your local library and borrow a book. "Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court" or Small Claims Court for Dummies or someting like that. If you want to stay in business for longer you need to know how to enforce payments through small claims courts. Because swallowing losses and moving on is good advice for a once in a lifetime chargeback but not a good advice for any company.

What parcel service are you using by the way? Most parcel services require a signature all the time, those I use do not offer a service "signature required" because signature is always required. I only know extra services like "return receipt" and "Signature Confirmation" where you pay an additional charge to be able to get a confirmation online or with a paper receipt. But that does not mean the parcel service does not have a signature which can be provided after filing an investigation claim. Are you sure the recipient does not have to sign for the parcel?


 2:58 pm on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I do not ever require a signature unless it is a very large order. When this kind of thing has happened to me, it has always turned out to be that someone else in the house used the individual's card without their permission, the cardholder forgot what they ordered or didn't recognize the company name on the bill, or the cardholder forgot that they gave permission for their card to be used. I usually call the customer and say "The credit card processor says you did not authorize this transaction, yet I did not hear from you when you received the merchandise. Did you not recognize my company name on your credit card bill?" Then we go from there. When it's an unauthorized use of the card, it is often a teenager in the house who used the card, although once it turned out to be a brother-in-law who got into someone's desk and got the card info and then used it to have stuff delivered to his own house.

Jecasc is right that the cc processor is not the only way to collect on a debt. You can just ask the individual to return the merchandise or that they pay for it with another means of payment if they don't want to return it. If they refuse to return it, you can threaten to take them to small claims court and/or say that you will report it to the credit score companies. Then they usually send it back. Sometimes they decide to buy it.


 8:50 pm on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

What's worse, is that if you send it signature required they can turn around and say "That's not my signature" We had it happen on an item we sent to a PO box with signature required and it was their confirmed billing address. We lost the chargeback... I was floored.


 10:39 pm on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies guys...

I. Actually, I do have the IP address recorded for this order. I use MaxMind, and based on the report I receive it says that the IP address is 8 miles away from the CC billing address.

But how can I actually tie back this IP address to the exact home address? Does having this IP address help me in any way with this chargeback?

II. Yes, I definitely need to do some research regarding the proper steps I need to take to file police claims/reports against my customer.

I didn't ship this chargeback order with a signature required, but I guess I should have. However, on another note you never really know when an issue like this is going to occur.

But a signature required is so useless; I get deliveries all the time from UPS/FedEx and they always just leave the package outside of my home even if a signature is required...it makes no sense!

III. Did anyone ever win a chargeback by just having an AVS match, and tracking confirmation?

The merchant services rep told me that a tracking confirmation is useless to them, and I would need to have a signature for proof of delivery.

However I don't 100% believe the rep, I would think a tracking confirmation plus an AVS match should be enough; right?

IV. In the merchant services letter I received the cardholder states that her daughter (the name that is on the order) would never go in her wallet and has ********* syndrome and wouldn't be capable of submitting an order online.

However, I did my research on the ********* syndrome card she's trying to play. And based on my research this syndrome shows no signs of her daughter not being able to submit an order online; she is very capable of doing this even with the syndrome.

The part that annoys me is she never once in the letter says that she asked her daughter if she placed an order; she just assumes that this is not possible. Also, she doesn't mention if her daughter or herself ever received a package from my company.

Thank you,



 10:57 pm on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

But how can I actually tie back this IP address to the exact home address? Does having this IP address help me in any way with this chargeback?

You file a police report and/or get an attorney to subpoena the ISP.

What you want is called a "Doe Subpeona" [en.wikipedia.org] which is how you get the customers located at that IP address at which point they've run out of excuses.

If it's a big amount I'd pursue it, if it's a little amount, it's bad debt "leakage", write it off and move on or go after them in small claims court.


 3:03 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

We do, that's what they want for chargeback defense. It has to be ironclad, no possibility someone snagged it from the porch.


 2:48 pm on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Depending on what kind of stats you have, you can look on your stats and find in the access details the actual computer address of the person who placed the order. My stats munge a bit of that address now, but they didn't always, and you could probably look in the raw stats to find it. But the thing is that IME, unless you have a signature, you have nothing, and even if you DO have a signature, you still have nothing with the CC processors I have had. Basically, they have told me that as long as the customer insists they did not authorize the transaction, you are SOL.

It sounds like this person does not want to admit that their daughter used their card without their permission. Maybe it is too painful for them to realize their daughter did something bad. Don't even address how the merchandise got there anymore. Just say you want the merchandise back, and if you do not get it back, you will take them to small claims court and report it to the credit agencies as a bad debt.

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