Handling Payment Disputes

If you are a sports organization account administrator or a team owner accepting payments, you may occasionally have to deal with payment disputes (aka chargebacks) from your registrants and team members. This can be a frustrating experience, but we are here to help! Below, we have assembled all the information you need to understand and handle payment disputes appropriately to resolve them as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

In this article

What is a payment dispute?

Payment disputes are transactions disputed by the payment cardholder to their issuing bank. They are a form of customer protection provided by the issuing banks, which allows cardholders to file a complaint regarding fraudulent transactions on their statement. Cardholders can dispute a transaction in cases where they don't recognize the charge on their statement, the received purchase doesn't match the advertised description, or the services/items weren't received at all, among other reasons. Once the cardholder files a dispute, the issuing bank investigates the complaint.

Payment dispute process

  1. TeamSnap is notified of the payment dispute by the cardholder’s bank.
  2. The cardholder's bank automatically reverses the charge, debiting the funds from your merchant account. If the payment dispute is decided in your favor, the funds are returned to your merchant account.
  3. TeamSnap's Payments team will contact the League Owner or contact the email provided during the initial setup of your integrated payments.  The notification will come from payments@teamsnap.com. 

How to avoid payment disputes

  1. Provide clear descriptions and pricing.
  2. Display a clear refund policy in as many places as possible.
  3. Provide contact information and encourage direct contact for any questions or concerns.
  4. Regularly communicate with participants about season dates and changes to

It is also highly recommended to make your contact information visible so that participants with any issue can reach out directly before submitting a payment dispute. You'll want to ensure that you are in regular communication with your participants to keep them updated on season start dates and changes, and you'll want to ensure that you are responsive to inquiries from your participants.

You can include this information in your registration confirmation message, on your organization's website, and in a digital agreement as part of registration. You also want to make sure you can show the participant attended/participated/received service/or that the service was available to them.

Preparation is key

Understanding dispute procedures safeguards your organization even in the absence of disputes. Required documentation includes:

  • Date and documentation indicating the issuance of any credit, if applicable.
  • Proof of cardholder awareness and agreement to policies.
    • Signature on a sales receipt or other document that states your return policy.
  • Signed contracts, agreements, or terms of service.
  • Ensure refund policies are visible on your website.
    • A screenshot of the policy on your website (include the browser URL in the screenshot).
  • Service terms agreed upon during checkout.
  • Itemized receipts.
  • Evidence of service rendered or product condition.
  • Digital receipt to the cardholder’s email.
  • Correspondence records (emails, texts).

What to do if you receive a payment dispute

Payment disputes can strain your organization's time and resources. Since they are structured as a consumer protection process, these disputes often favor the customer, mainly if your refund policy and/or the statement of services you provided is unclear.

If you are notified of a payment dispute, TeamSnap will advise you of the dispute's reason. The most common reason for payment disputes is that the cardholder never authorized the payment or the goods/services were not delivered as described. Any contesting evidence must refute the payment dispute reason. You can then decide whether to concede or contest the payment dispute.

Here are some steps you can take to help resolve payment disputes:

Step 1: Resolve any issues directly with your members before they escalate into a dispute.

Step 2: Review this guide and prepare evidence if notified of a dispute.

While following these guidelines lowers dispute chances, online payments always carry risks. If a dispute arises, TeamSnap will provide information and guidance to you.

Dispute response options

As the transaction merchant, you can either concede or contest the dispute:

  • If you concede the payment dispute, you are accepting responsibility. The payment dispute is resolved in favor of the cardholder, meaning the funds debited from your integrated payments account are returned to the cardholder, and the payment dispute is complete.
  • If you contest the payment dispute, you must provide supporting evidence proving that the payer's claim is false.
    • TeamSnap then submits the supporting evidence to the credit card network (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc.) for their decision on the payment dispute.
      • The funds are not returned if the credit card network rules in the cardholder’s favor.
      • The funds are returned if the credit card network rules in your favor.
      • TeamSnap will notify you of the credit card network’s decision in both scenarios.

Common Questions

How long does resolving a contested payment dispute usually take?

Card networks receive hundreds of thousands of payment disputes yearly. Due to timelines for card networks and issuing banks, the final decision on a contested payment dispute can take up to 45 days to be received.

Once a payment dispute has been resolved in my favor, can it be resubmitted by the cardholder?

If you win the payment dispute, the cardholder can still dispute the transaction again. This occurrence takes various names depending on the card network. Visa refers to it as "pre-arbitration," while MasterCard calls it a "2nd chargeback". The entire payment dispute process begins again with the filing of a second payment dispute. Once the process finishes, the issuing bank determines whether to rule in favor of you or the customer again, and it won't necessarily come to the same determination as the first decision.

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