Disputing a charge on your Shopify Balance account

As a Shopify merchant, it's important to maintain oversight of your financial transactions, including those on your Shopify Balance account. If you encounter a transaction you believe is incorrect, then you have the option to dispute it.

Understanding the difference between a dispute and a refund

A dispute arises when you identify an error or issue with a specific charge on your account, declaring that either the billing was incorrect, or the vendor failed to meet the agreed terms of service. This could involve cases of incorrect billing amounts, dissatisfaction with the quality of goods or services, or non-delivery of goods or services. The dispute process involves you formally contesting the charge through Shopify Balance (card issuer), who then investigates and mediates with the vendor to resolve the issue.

In contrast, a refund is a straightforward request made directly to the vendor for the return of money on a purchase, typically due to your change of plans, dissatisfaction with the purchase, or a decision to return the goods based on the return policy. Unlike disputes, refunds don't involve the card issuer in the initial stages and are handled directly between you and the seller.

Eligibility for disputing a charge on your Shopify Balance account

Before initiating a dispute, it's important to understand the eligibility criteria:

  • Transaction status: Only posted transactions can be disputed.
  • Time frame: Disputes must be filed within 60 days from the date the transaction was posted.
  • Dispute categories: Eligible disputes fall into specific categories, and can vary depending on the type of transaction (card transaction or Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer).

You can only dispute a purchase. Refunds can't be disputed.

Eligible dispute categories for Shopify Balance card transactions

You can dispute a charge on your Shopify Balance card for the following reasons:

  • canceled
  • duplicate
  • fraudulent
  • merchandise not as described
  • not received
  • service not as described
  • other reasons

Eligible dispute categories for ACH transfers

To be eligible for a dispute, an ACH transfer must fall into one of the following categories:

  • duplicate charges
  • incorrect amounts
  • unauthorized transactions
  • wrong receiver name
  • wrong account number or routing number

Compromised Shopify Balance cards

If you believe that your Shopify Balance card has been compromised, lost, stolen, or used fraudulently, then you should cancel the card and order a new one immediately upon detection.

Pre-dispute actions

Before disputing a charge, consider contacting the vendor and reviewing transaction details:

  • Contact the vendor: In many instances, reaching out to the vendor directly can lead to a quicker resolution. Consider attempting to resolve the issue with the vendor prior to filing a dispute. If you need a transaction ID, then you need to contact Shopify Support.
  • Review transaction details: Ensure the transaction has been posted and verify that the transaction date is within the eligible dispute window (not older than 60 days).

Dispute a charge

  1. Access your account: From your Shopify admin, go to Finances > Balance.
  2. Identify the transaction: In the Transactions section, find the transaction you want to dispute and click on it to view detailed information.
  3. Evaluate and gather documentation: Collect relevant documentation that supports your claim. For example, receipts, correspondence with the vendor, proof of return, and service agreements.
  4. Contact Shopify Support: Connect with a Shopify Support Advisor and provide details about the transaction, the reason for the dispute, and any additional evidence required by Support.
  5. Submit your dispute: Confirm that all information is accurate and ask Shopify Support to submit your dispute.

Canceling a dispute

If you want to cancel a dispute, then you have 24 to 48 hours of the dispute being created to request that the dispute be canceled. After the dispute has been canceled, you can't attempt to dispute this transaction at a later date.

Resolution timeline and final decisions

Disputes can take up to 90 days to be resolved, depending on the complexity and the specifics dictated by network rules (for example, Visa).

After you submit your dispute, the dispute will be reviewed by Shopify Balance's banking partners. You will receive email updates regarding the status and outcome of the dispute investigation. If the dispute is resolved in your favor, then your account will be adjusted accordingly.

The decision made at the conclusion of the dispute process is final.

Understanding different types of card disputes

The following table categorizes various types of card disputes, describes each dispute type, outlines the required documentation that may be required for processing, and provides examples of situations where disputes are acceptable or unacceptable.

Dispute typeDescription of dispute typeRequired documentationAcceptable dispute examplesUnacceptable dispute examples
FraudulentCharges made without the cardholder's consent.
  • Explanation (Required): Description of the transaction and why it is disputed.
  • Additional documentation: Relevant documents, such as card statements and return shipping tracking, in PDF or JPEG format.
Unrecognized transaction appearing on statement.Dispute on a transaction you forgot about.
Not receivedGoods or services paid for but not delivered as agreed.
  • Product type (Required)
  • Product description (Required)
  • Expected at (Required)
  • Explanation: Specify if the product arrived late.
  • Additional documentation: Screenshots of emails or text messages.
Paid for a product that was never delivered.Dispute for a delay when the delivery has occurred.
DuplicateSame transaction charged more than once.
  • Submit exactly one of the following:
    • Cash receipt: Receipt of the cash transaction.
    • Check image: Image of both sides of the check.
    • Original transaction: Token showing the first transaction.
Two identical charges appearing on a statement.Charges for two similar transactions made on purpose.
Merchandise not as describedItems received are different from what was described at the time of purchase.
  • Received at (Required)
  • Return status (Required): Outcome of return attempt.
  • Returned at (Required)
  • Return description (Required): Details of the return process.
  • Explanation (Required)
  • Additional documentation: Screenshots of correspondence.
Item received is a different color, model, or size than what was ordered.Dispute due to buyer's remorse or change of mind after receiving item as described.
Service not as describedService provided is different from what was purchased.
  • Received at (Required)
  • Canceled at (Required)
  • Cancellation reason (Required)
  • Explanation (Required)
  • Additional documentation: Screenshots of correspondence.
Service significantly deviates from advertised quality or content.Service complaints based on subjective experiences not promised by merchant.
CanceledCharges for services or goods canceled according to merchant policies.
  • Product type (Required)
  • Product description (Required)
  • Expected at (Required)
  • Cancelation policy compliance (Required)
  • Canceled at (Required)
  • Cancellation reason (Required)
  • Returned at
  • Return status
  • Explanation
  • Additional documentation: Screenshots of correspondence
Charged after order was canceled in accordance with the cancellation policy.Dispute after canceling the service or product outside the cancellation policy window.
OtherDisputes that do not fit into the standard categories.
  • Product type (Required)
  • Product description (Required)
  • Explanation (Required)
  • Additional documentation: Screenshots of correspondence
Unexpected charges without a clear description or category.Not applicable as the other dispute category covers a broad spectrum, each case needs specific review.
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