After you receive notification from Weave that a customer has submitted a dispute, there are a few different actions you should take. 

For every dispute notification start by:

  1. Reading the notification and attachments carefully
  2. Using the information provided to locate the transaction on your Weave Portal
  3. Locating any additional information about this transaction with any other software your offices use
  4. Talking with the office staff to see if anyone remembers the transaction

You will then be prepared to continue the process:

Communicate with the Customer

Now you are prepared with all the information your office has about the transaction, reach out to the customer. Always do this by email or text so you can later show the communication to the bank if needed. Don't worry if they do not respond or respond rudely. It is important to the card issuer that you attempt to contact the cardholder and show that your office is professional and willing to work with them to resolve disputes. 

Keep your message simple and professional. Here's an example:

{Hello, This is Linda from your dental office. We have been notified that your last payment for Jacobs cleaning made on Jan 1st for $189.17 was taken back by your bank due to “the product being unacceptable”. What happened and how can we make this right?} 

However you format it, make sure you include the important highlights:

  • The amount of the payment and the date it was taken
  • The service/good and who it was provided to
  • The dispute and reason for it
  • Most importantly, ask or offer to help

Allow some time for the cardholder to respond. If you have not heard back within 24 hours, try giving them a call or quick follow-up.

Find a Resolution

When you get a hold of the cardholder, keep the conversation solution-based. Listen to them intently and validate their concerns. Inquire if they have any suggestions to fix the issue that your office could accommodate. Avoid countering their accusations or defending yourself, but don't be afraid to define your needs. If your office has expenses related to goods or services, be sure to explain them.

Offering to exchange a product or redo a service may not always bring an immediate profit but will help to build a more positive customer relationship and can pay off in the long run. If an honest mistake was made, or you are not able to offer what is wanted, returning the funds is only one option. You can offer other products or services. You can offer credits or vouchers for future products or services. You may also want to consider a re-negotiated price. 

For instance, if the reason for a dispute is “Product Unacceptable” and the client claims “your service made things worse not better,” you could respond, "We want to make sure all the risks are understood before we perform any service. We are very sorry that the outcome was not what you expected. We worked hard to meet your expectations. In this case, because we could not meet your expectations, our office would be willing to offer 50% off the balance." Although this may not be the ideal solution, it may be better to recover some of the funds and some of the client's trust.

Note: Because the cardholder already disputed, if a resolution is agreed upon you will need to take some additional steps and precautions: 

  • Get the cardholder to sign (or acknowledge in text/email) an agreement stating that they will withdraw the dispute 
  • Email that to Weave on the same email thread as the notification 
  • Ask the cardholder to contact the bank and withdraw the dispute 
  • Keep in mind the bank has the money, and they have already taken it back once

The dispute may still take months to be decided and you have no guarantees of winning the dispute 

Make a Decision

A dispute has only two options. You can accept the dispute and allow the card issuer to keep the funds to return to the cardholder. You can counter the dispute, by asking the card issuer to return the funds to you.

Accept a Dispute

This means you will not contend the dispute or provide evidence to counter the dispute in any way. Essentially, you are not disagreeing with the chargeback, and the card issuer is free to take the money back from the transaction and return it to the cardholder. To accept a dispute, simply respond to the Dispute Notification Email that you would like to accept the dispute.   

Pros:

  • The dispute is resolved in short order 
  • The cardholder may receive the funds much faster
  • Your office will not need to gather evidence or create a statement/narrative  

Cons: 

  • When you “accept,” the dispute is immediately lost
  • You can not undo this action
  • Lost disputes count against the merchant
  • Having a high number of lost disputed transactions can lead to increased costs for transactions, fees, and, in extreme cases, the loss of the ability to use card networks
  • You will not have an opportunity to share your side of the story with the card issuer
  • This may be seen as you agreeing to the reason for the dispute

Accepting the dispute can be a good idea in a few situations.
The amount of the disputed transaction may outweigh the cost of countering it.

For example, if the amount of the disputed transaction is $10.00 and your office staff spends a total of an hour reviewing the information, contacting the patient/client/customer, and gathering the evidence to counter the dispute, you may spend more paying the staff than you will make from winning the dispute.

You may not be likely to win the dispute.

For example, your patient told you they would be paying for the transaction “with their aunt's card,” and your office staff ran the payment without ever contacting the cardholder, or you did not have the cardholder sign agreeing to pay for the service, all the evidence you have will not match the cardholder, so the bank may not decide in your favor no matter how much evidence you have. 

You believe some form of fraud was committed.

For example, a regular client contacts you through email or text and purchases a product or service, but when you speak with the client in person, they report they did not request the service. It can be frustrating to lose money because of fraud, but the card network will not return the funds to you if the cardholder was not aware of or did not agree to the charge. 

The reason for the dispute is correct. 

If the customer has already repaid you for the disputed amount, it is best to ask that they withdraw the dispute. There may be times when you have already been repaid, and it does not make sense to counter the dispute.

Counter a Dispute

This means you disagree with the dispute and will contend for the funds. In order to counter a dispute, you will need to respond to the Dispute Notification Email with evidence, statements, and narratives. 

Pros:

  • You may be able to win the dispute
  • This is the only way you can get the funds back from this transaction, though losing a dispute does not prevent you from collecting the funds by other means
  • You will have an opportunity to submit your side to the card issuer 
  • Winning a dispute removes the negative effects from the merchant and helps prevent additional cost for transactions and fees

Cons:

  • You have no guarantee of winning, meaning you may do more work to reclaim money already due to you and still not get the funds by this means
  • You will have to prove to the card issuer (who is already predisposed to favor the cardholder) that you are due the funds, and the reason for the dispute is invalid
  • Disputes are lengthy, and it may be 90 days or longer before you know if you won or lost and regain any funds

You should be countering every dispute where you:

  1. Do not agree with the reason for the dispute
  2. Provided goods or services and are entitled to the transaction as fair compensation

Learn how to Counter a Dispute

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