Credit Card Chargebacks

I will be one of the first to admit that my products are not perfect.  And, not every customer will love the item they purchased right out of the box.  Since I want to try and keep customers happy, I will try and work with them when this happens.  As the seller, I usually think I get the worse end of the deal, but if the customer is mostly happy, then it hopefully all works out.

As I opened my email this morning, I received one of the worst type of emails I could receive. A customer had initiated a chargeback for the item he purchased.  Because I had no idea of the problem he had with his sign, this was very disturbing to me.  I immediately emailed the customer to try and find out what problem  he encountered.  I also logged into my credit card processor to provide the proof of shipping and receiving information that they required.  I then went about my day with a less than positive attitude.

When my email was checked a few hours later, the customer had responded.  He let me know he had emailed me 10 days ago and addressed his concerns.  (I never saw it until this morning.) After I did not respond, he told me he had no choice but to file the chargeback.  Did he have the right to file the chargeback?  Of course!  Did he have a choice?  Well, if his phone worked he did!  It is hard to try and resolve an issue if you don’t know the issue exists.  And, if you are about to make a decision that affects another persons ability to do business (my credit card company haq “frozen” funds for the total cost of his purchase until the issue is resolved–sometimes this takes 2-4 weeks), it seems like a phone call and voice mail is the minimum step any customer should go to before choosing to initiate a chargeback.

I have filed chargebacks in the past.  Before I have done it, I have sent numerous emails and left several messages.  If they don’t respond to voice mails, then the assumption is they don’t want to be reached.  Rarely (if ever), do I send one email to a person and automatically assume it goes through.  If they don’t respond, I send another or I call.  When you assume, neither one of us is completely innocent.  And, I believe customers need to take some responsibility…especially if the sale is over $1,000.

The additional irony with this sale was this:  After the customer placed the order, I called him (yes, with a phone) within 2 hours of the order being placed to confirm what he wanted with the sign.  I guess he didn’t remember my phone worked after the sign arrived….