Retrieval Requests

hen a bank or credit card company contacts a merchant to inquire about a transaction, this action is called a retrieval request, or sometimes a “soft chargeback.” This can happen when the institution believes that a transaction may be fraudulent or if a customer does not recognize a transaction. Unlike a chargeback, this is just a request for information regarding the charge, the bank or credit card company is not currently disputing the charge.

Because a retrieval can be requested for up to 18 months since the date of sale, it is prudent to keep copies of your receipts through this period. You’ll want to contact the customer to explain the charge, and if they agree they’ll contact the bank to call off the impending chargeback. Similarly, you’ll want to contact the bank or credit card company requesting the information as well.

Once you receive a retrieval request, if you cannot contact the customer to explain the charge, it is advised that you proactively issue a refund before the bank decides to issue a chargeback. It is not advised that you wait to respond to retrieval requests, because failure to do so in a timely fashion can also result in a chargeback. From there, it is a separate process to dispute the chargeback, and this process can prove costly and time-consuming.

All businesses should be aware that their payment processor keeps track of all chargebacks in order to monitor fraud. Therefore, it is important to keep your chargeback ratio low to avoid looking suspicious. Too many chargebacks can result in your merchant account being terminated and in some scenarios your name or business can end up on MATCH.