In recent months, we have seen “friendly” fraud take center stage as Facebook and Fortnite became victims to rampant friendly fraud. In fact, friendly fraud continues to be a problem for ecommerce merchants, not just the high-profile companies. A recent report from Juniper showed that 34 percent of merchants had experienced friendly fraud.
“Friendly fraud” refers to chargebacks that arise out of legitimate transactions. When a customer doesn’t recognize the charge on their bank statement, or when they later come to regret the transaction, they may contact their bank to have the charge reversed without going through the merchant first to inquire about the charge or ask for a refund. The “fraud” part may or may not be intentional, but the chargeback process is being misused by the consumer.
Chargebacks from friendly fraud is on the rise, and they present a growing problem that ecommerce merchants cannot ignore. Merchants and banks lost a combined total of $31 billion dollars due to chargebacks in 2017, and that only represents the actual transaction amounts. When factoring in the time, labor, and money spent in dealing with chargebacks, their actual cost is much higher. Some chargebacks have a legitimate basis and can’t be avoided, but friendly fraud chargebacks can—and should—be vigorously disputed.
Banks must shoulder some of the responsibility for friendly fraud growing to become such a problem over the last few years. In trying to keep their customers happy, they have eliminated fees and minimum required payments associated with chargeback requests, and do not critically investigate the reasons customers request them. By making it so easy to ask for a chargeback, banks have encouraged customers to use it as their go-to response to an unfamiliar or regretted purchase.
How to Prevent Friendly Fraud
Friendly fraud can be difficult to prevent because any valid transaction can potentially lead to it. Typical security measures, like AVS and CVV matching, won’t prevent it at all. Even a longtime, faithful customer can perpetrate friendly fraud.
However, there are concrete steps to reduce the likelihood of it occurring. Here are seven tips found to be effective at combatting friendly fraud.
When Outsourcing Makes Sense
When friendly fraud chargebacks make it through the best prevention efforts, businesses should fight them through the chargeback re-presentment process.
Outsourcing the chargeback management to a company that specializes in such things can be a worthwhile, cost-effective approach for many businesses. These companies can not only help optimize the tools and practices that will prevent friendly fraud, they can also provide immediate responses to incoming chargebacks, write compelling rebuttal letters, and compile the right kind of evidence that will increase the odds of successfully disputing fraudulent chargebacks.
Friendly fraud is not going away, so it is imperative that merchants use the best methods at their disposal to stop these chargebacks from costing them their hard-earned revenue.
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