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Dispute flow and process

Review the general flow and learn how the dispute process works.

A dispute goes through a number of stages after it is raised by a shopper. Before you defend a dispute, it is important to understand how the dispute process works.

Dispute process

The process can begin with:

  • Optional: Notification of Fraud (NOF) - To notify you of fraud activity, Adyen sends equivalent of a Visa TC40 and Mastercard SAFE (System to Avoid Fraud Effectively) report. This is not a dispute, and no money is withdrawn from your account. This transaction can become a chargeback if there is no 3D Secure liability shift.
    Suggested actions:

    • Actively review the NOF and proactively issue refunds (to avoid a chargeback).
    • Block the shopper.
    • Stop the shipment of goods if possible.
  • Optional: Request for Information (RFI) - The issuer requests more information about the transaction. At this stage, no money is withdrawn from your account. However, if you do not respond to the RFI in a timely manner, a chargeback may take place, and money may be withdrawn from your account.
    Suggested actions:

    • Provide the requested transactional information to the issuer.
  • Notification of Chargeback (NoC) - A chargeback has been initiated by the issuer, and can be defended. The NoC may follow a RFI, or occur immediately after the payment status is set to Settled or Refunded, skipping the RFI step. The chargeback debit usually occurs a few days after you receive the NoC.

    Adyen will automatically defend chargebacks that don't require action on your part, for example fraud chargebacks for which there was a liability shift. To defend a chargeback that can't be automatically defended, you need to upload your defense documents. You can do this either in your Customer Area, or by using the Disputes API.

From there, the dispute continues through the following stages:

  1. 1st Chargeback - The disputed amount is withdrawn from your account. If you accept the dispute, or fail to upload your defense documents, this is the final stage.
  2. InformationSupplied - Adyen receives the supporting documents and forwards them to the scheme. It is no longer possible to change these documents.
  3. ChargebackReversed - The disputed amount is transferred back to your account. In this stage, the issuer reviews the defense. If they accept the defense, or the issuer response timeframe expires, this is the final stage.
  4. Pre-arbitration (Only Visa, Mastercard, Diners) - If the issuer declines your defense, they open pre-arbitration, which Adyen will review. 
  5. 2nd Chargeback - If the issuer declines your defense, or Adyen accepts their pre-arbitration case, a second chargeback occurs. You can not upload defense documents. This is the final stage.

General flow

The following diagram illustrates the flow of a dispute:

Defense timeframes

Each issuing bank has different timeframes for handling the dispute process. If a dispute is raised, and the bank initiates a chargeback, you need to respond and provide defense documents within the specified timeline to defend the chargeback. After that, you can expect a final decision.

In general, a cardholder has a maximum of 120 calendar days from the transaction date to dispute a transaction. This is the moment that the cardholder expects the product or service to be delivered or fulfilled. In some cases for Visa and Mastercard, the cardholder has a maximum of 540 calendar days from the transaction date to dispute a transaction. For example, when the product or service is not immediately delivered or fulfilled, such as a pre-order or transactions related to travelling.

The timeframe (in calendar days) to exercise and defend a chargeback:

Stage Visa Collaboration Visa Allocation Mastercard American Express Diners Discover CUP JCB 1 Klarna 2
Your response
(from RFI date)
n/a n/a n/a 14 18 18 30 18 14 days/ 7 days/ 96 hours
Bank initiates 1st Chargeback
(from transaction date)
120 120 120 120 120 120 180 120 n/a
Your response to 1st Chargeback
(from NoC date)
18 18 40 14 25 25 30 40 n/a
Final decision: ChargebackReversed or SecondChargeback
(from defense date)
60 45 70 50 3 60 80 20 50 n/a

1 You can defend a JCB chargeback only through the Adyen disputes team. Follow the general defense requirements, and contact us with your defense documents a few days before the defense timeline ends. We will manually upload your defense documents. You can submit only one defense document per dispute.

2 In the Klarna disputes flow, you can only respond to the dispute at the Request for Information stage.

You need to respond to the Request for Information (RFI) within the following timeframes:

If the dispute is lost or if you fail to upload the documents, the Chargeback journal is booked, your account is debited, and you receive a CHARGEBACK webhook. You cannot defend this chargeback. This is the final status, and the dispute is lost.

3 For an American Express chargeback, a ChargebackReversed status is optional. If you defend a dispute, it stays at the Information Supplied stage and the last financial event is a chargeback. A Chargeback journal is booked. If American Express rejects your defense, you lose the dispute and this is the final status. Only when you win the chargeback, the status changes to ChargebackReversed. The ChargebackReversed journal is booked and the disputed amount is transferred to your account.

In exceptional cases, American Express can reopen a dispute that was previously closed in your favor. If that happens, the SecondChargeback journal is booked, and your account is debited. This is the final status of the dispute.

See also