How to dispute chargeback for services not received

Try to get a refund from the company first; if that doesn’t word, detailed documentation of the services not received will help you get the chargeback approved


If there’s a service you were charged for but never received, you’re entitled to a refund. But if the company won’t abide, you can contact your credit card issuer and request a chargeback.

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Dear Your Business Credit,

I am a small-business owner who wants to know if I qualify for a chargeback for services I did not receive. I opened an ad in an online directory that promised $300 towards my first promotion.

I realized the ad was not generating traffic and I canceled it long before my bill reached $300. My computer said that my ad had been canceled. I am pretty thorough, so I checked about every five to six days to check if my company was listed with an ad, and it was not.

At the end of the month they charged me $525, claiming I didn’t cancel the ad and the ad was still running. I have screenshots to prove that I was not listed as an ad. On top of this, I was not discounted $300 in the least bit.

Lastly, when I called to dispute it, the representative said there’s nothing they can do and because of their company, customers were calling my business. I explained to her that the information she just gave me let me know that they fabricate the services they give you, as my business only has an email and not a phone number.

The representative stated that I must have removed the number, which I didn’t.

And to top it all off they didn’t even send me an invoice. I was wondering if this is enough cause to issue a chargeback for services not received and being misled about the promotion, as I didn’t receive any discount? – Bilquees

Dear Bilquees,

I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through. You’ve heard the old saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” The same sometimes holds true in the online advertising world.

Small business owners need to be very careful when they accept any offer of free advertising, to make sure they will not be charged for it in the future. One tip-off that you may be charged is a request for your credit card number. Why would they need a credit card number if the ad is truly free?

Check out all the answers from our credit card experts.

Ask Elaine a question.

See related: Chargebacks and how to dispute a credit card purchase

Steps to take before requesting a chargeback

In your situation, I would make one more attempt to contact the platform and seek a refund. Call and ask for a supervisor and explain what happened. A call center employee may not be empowered to help you.

Take careful notes on the conversation, including the date and time of the call and the name of the person you spoke with – even if they will only give you a first name.

If you cannot get anywhere with this approach, then yes, it seems perfectly reasonable to report this to your credit card company and dispute the charge.

Documentation helps disputing a charge

The more documentation of the situation you can provide, the better. For instance, if you can find the agreement you signed to get the ad, that will give you evidence that the ad was supposed to be free and you were incorrectly charged.

If you kept a screenshot of what you saw on your computer that indicated the ad was canceled, that would help you make your case, too. Any screenshots showing the actual ad that ran – highlighting the fact that you only included an email address – should reinforce your message as well.

It’s a shame that the ad platform would treat a customer this way but fortunately, many credit card companies are responsive if you can provide data that proves your case. Good luck!

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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