Chargeback and dispute management relating to coronavirus

4 min read


Through our partnership with Elavon, a leader in payment processing they’re actively working with card brands to bring you the most up to date information in relation to chargebacks. Dispute policies have not changed but they’re encouraging business owners to actively manage and attempt to resolve disputes as they arise.

Chargeback and dispute management relating to coronavirus

Best practice guidelines

  • Consider not charging cardholders for goods or services that have not been provided.
  • Attempt to reschedule the booking for a time that is agreed upon with the cardholder in order to avoid cancellations.
  • A cardholder is entitled to a refund if you are unable to provide the goods or services (e.g. a cancelled flight or show). Cardholders are under no obligation to accept credit vouchers or alternative bookings in such circumstances.
  • If possible, do not charge customers a ‘no show fee’ or other relevant fees for travel or services not utilised. In cases when cardholders are adamant to cancel the service, it is recommended that cancellations are accepted and late cancellation/no-show fees are waived.


Working examples

These examples are provided for guidance only and you must refer to the Elavon Terms of Service and chargeback documentation for each dispute.

Valid chargebacks

  1. When goods or services cannot be provided by the merchant, including when they are cancelled due to government restrictions or other exceptional circumstances.
  2. When a cardholder is not offered a refund in the event of cancellation of goods or services – even where the cardholder accepts a credit voucher.  The cardholder still has chargeback rights if they later change their mind. If the voucher had not been utilised, it is recommended that you cancel the voucher and accept the chargeback.
  3. When a cancelled flight/hotel stay is part of holiday package. Even though the remaining services may still be available for use, the cardholder will have a valid chargeback claim.
  4. For Intra-EEA and domestic European Transactions only where a travel service is covered by a bonding authority or similar scheme according to local law, but the bond is insufficient or the request for reimbursement is declined.
  5. In the case of an event (e.g. concert, sport event) planned for a specific date being rescheduled due to pandemic, the cardholder may choose to attend the event on the rescheduled date, but if they are unable to do so for any reason, chargeback rights exist.
  6. If the goods are not delivered by the agreed date due or other factors not dependent on the merchant (e.g. cardholder’s quarantine, delays in delivery), according to Card Schemes, it is always the responsibility of the merchant to deliver the goods by the date that has been agreed upon by both parties.

Chargebacks can occur, but might be defended, in the following example situations.

  1. When the cardholder chooses not to use a service that is available.
  2. For Intra-EEA and domestic transactions only – when a travel service is sufficiently covered by a bonding authority or similar scheme according to local law.
  3. When there is applicable legislation or government regulation aimed at addressing pandemic-related disputes.
  4. If the cardholder is unable to use a service (e.g. hotel reservation, car booking) due to a missed flight. In such events, properly disclosed merchant’s Terms and Conditions and Cancellation Policy may be used for defence. However, Card Schemes recommend cooperation directly with cardholders in such instances.


Useful links

Elavon – Managing Chargebacks
Mastercard – Dispute Resolution Management during Covid-19 (Updated 9 April 2020) 
IATA – Customer voucher information for airlines
UK Finance – Chargeback and Section 75

Information provided by Elavon, for more details visit:


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