If you haven’t already, please be sure to check out our guide What is a chargeback? to learn about how chargebacks work and how they can affect you and your payments.
Ultimately, there is nothing you can do to stop a customer if they decide they want to pursue a chargeback with their bank. Most banks and credit card companies will allow a credit card payment to be charged back up to 6 months after the date of payment.
However, you can do a lot to reduce the chances of a chargeback:
- Clear, ongoing communication with your customers can go a long way toward avoiding unintentional chargebacks. Sometimes customers will see a charge they don't recognize on their credit card statement and call their bank to report the charges as fraudulent. But if you are in regular contact with your customers from the start of a project until the end, and even beyond in some cases, it will often help to reassure your customers and avoid this type of chargeback.
- A signed letter of completion or a signed letter of satisfaction from your customer can also help to protect you against future chargebacks. A customer who signs a document like this will be less inclined to file a chargeback at some distant point in the future and you can always remind them about the letter if they express dissatisfaction after the project is completed.
- If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Keep in mind there are unfortunately fraudsters out there who target hard-working contractors with chargeback scams. If a customer offers to overpay for a job, if you never actually meet the customer in person, or if they offer to pay in full up-front, it could be a warning sign and you should proceed with caution.