A lot has been written in this blog about what chargebacks are and how to prevent them. Unfortunately, no chargeback prevention system can eliminate them completely. The best we can do is to minimize chargebacks to a manageable level. Sooner or later every merchant receives a chargeback and, when it happens to you, you will have to be prepared to address the issue quickly. This article will outline the chargeback cycle and time frames for MasterCard transactions.
Following the first presentment of a card transaction, MasterCard’s chargeback life cycle includes the first chargeback and, if necessary, a second presentment (or re-presentment) of the transaction, arbitration chargeback, and arbitration case filing. The time frames associated with the generation of a first chargeback depend on the message reason code.
- Global Clearing Management System (GCMS) support of time frames. MasterCard clears transactions through the Global Clearing Management System (GCMS). GCMS edits the First Chargeback / 1442, Second Presentment / 1240, and Arbitration Chargeback / 1442 messages to validate chargeback processing and time frame requirements.
- Time frame for first presentment. Your processor has 30 calendar days to process your transaction to the card issuer. This time frame is defined as the time between the transaction date and the business date. An issuer is required to accept a transaction submitted beyond the 30-day time frame if the account is in good standing or the transaction can be honored. When calculating the number of days, do not count the transaction date as day one, but count the business date as day one instead.
- Time frame for first chargeback. The time frames for the first chargeback are 45, 60, 120, and 540 calendar days after the business date, depending on the individual reason for the chargeback. GCMS measures this time limit from the business date of the presentment, except for certain chargeback reasons.
When delayed delivery of merchandise or performance of services by a merchant results in a customer dispute about the condition of the goods or the quality of the services, MasterCard calculates the period of 120 days using the delivery or service performance date. If the cardholder claims that either the merchandise was never received or the services were not provided, MasterCard calculates the period of 120 days from the latest anticipated date of delivery or performance of services. In cases that involve interrupted services, the period of 120 days will begin on the date that the services cease. The issuer must prorate the chargeback amount to reflect the services that were received. In no case, however, can the first chargeback exceed 540 days (approximately 18 months) from the business date of the first presentment.
- Time frame for second presentment (re-presentment). The time frame for a second presentment is 45 calendar days. GCMS measures this period as the time between the business date that your processor received the chargeback, and the date the transaction is subsequently processed as a second presentment. Any re-presentment submitted more than 45 calendar days after the chargeback was received will be rejected.
- Time frame for arbitration chargeback. The time frame for an arbitration chargeback is 45 calendar days. The above rules apply.
- Time frame for arbitration case filing. If the dispute is not resolved after the first presentment was completed, the chargeback, the second presentment, and arbitration chargeback cycles, your processor can request arbitration within 45 calendar days of the business date of the arbitration chargeback.
It should not be that difficult for you to gather the necessary transaction information in a case of a chargeback and send it to your processor to use it in the re-presentment. Moreover, there is no reason to delay your response, as the sooner you get the case resolved, the sooner you will have the transaction amount back into your checking account.
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