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A dispute is when a Cardmember notifies American Express about a charge on their statement that they do not recognise and request further information on the matter.

A Chargeback occurs when after investigation of the dispute, we debit your account by the amount of the disputed transaction and credit the Cardmember with the same amount. However, there are measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of a dispute happening, and steps to follow should a Cardmember initiate one.


  • Help the Cardmember recognise the transaction. Provide as much detail as possible (like the hotel room number, for example).

  • Advise Cardmembers of your returns and refunds policy. So they know what to expect if the goods are damaged, or an order is subsequently cancelled.

  • Ensure you request an Authorisation Code. Never split a charge to avoid your floor limit, or to avoid authorisation.

  • Be especially vigilant with signatures on Cards. Ensure you check the signature on the receipt against the one on the Card.

  • Check all Cards carefully. Be sure that the Card has not been altered or damaged, and has not expired.

  • Ensure your trading name appears correctly on Cardmember statements. This will help Cardmembers recognise your business and their transactions with you. To check we have your correct trading name, call our Customer Care Professionals on 0800 800 855 (Monday-Friday, 8.30am – 6.00pm).

  • Keep all records of sales and charges. This will help us to explain charges made on Cardmember statements.

  • Be suspicious. Especially of purchases with different delivery and billing addresses, orders for large numbers of identical items, and requests for immediate delivery of expensive items.

If in doubt, call the American Express team.

What you should do if a dispute arises.
If, despite your best efforts to prevent one, a dispute arises, we will attempt to resolve the matter directly with our Cardmember. However, if we are unable to do so, we may send you a ‘Request for Information’ letter.

What is a Request for Information letter?
It outlines the reason for the dispute, and lists the documents we require from you regarding the disputed transaction. Please be sure to respond by the date we ask you to, either by post or fax. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will regretfully have to deduct the amount of the transaction from your Merchant account and then close the dispute.

What happens after that?
Once we receive your response, we will investigate the dispute, after which we will make a final decision. We will then do one of the following:

  • Ask the Cardmember to pay the charge , because we consider the information you have supplied to us validates the charge.

  • Debit your account (Chargeback) by the amount of the disputed transaction, and credit your customer’s account with the same amount.

Will a Request for Information letter always be sent?
In certain circumstances, we will make a Chargeback without sending a Request for Information letter. For example, Merchants who receive a lot of disputes, or conduct transactions in what we consider to be risky business environments will not always receive one.

What about disputes involving fraudulent transactions?
Provided we have certified all of your terminals and you have followed our Card Acceptance Terms & Conditions , you will not be liable for fraudulent Card transactions made with lost, stolen, or counterfeit American Express Cards.

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