4 Evidence Gathering Tips for Digital Goods Subscription Dispute Responses

Sydney VaccaroDigital GoodsLeave a Comment

4 Evidence Gathering Tips for Digital Goods Subscription Dispute Responses

Subscription billing can be a wonderful way for merchants and customers to experience a frictionless checkout. But there are elements of digital goods and the subscription billing process that puts merchants at a higher risk for disputes.

If you’re a merchant who provides digital goods on a recurring billing model, this post is for you. Read on to find out 4 specific pieces of compelling evidence required by the card networks for subscription digital goods disputes — and where to find it.

Creating a Recurring Billing Digital Goods Dispute Response

Depending on the card network, reason code, and transaction modifier, the evidence needed in a dispute response varies. However, for recurring billing disputes, there is specific compelling evidence that appears across all card network requirements.

But again, not every piece of evidence will be required by every card network or for every reason code. If you need help drafting responses or knowing what you should put into each response you can check out our customizable response templates for help.

1. Proof of a Legally Binding Contract

When a customer agrees to subscription or continuous billing, they need to enter a legally-binding contract in which they agree to the recurring charges. A legally-binding contract may sound intense, but your goal is to clearly show where and how the customer agreed to the recurring billing.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

An excerpt or highlight the relevant portions of the agreement the customer made, and include a link (if possible) to the full agreement.

Find the terms and conditions they agreed to. These terms and conditions will most likely live at the checkout process where you can add a link to your response. You may also want to check your company’s documentation to find them.

Details on how customers indicate their agreement to the contract terms.

Include screenshots of the checkbox clicked upon checkout. You can use screenshots to show whatever process your company uses to get the customer to agree to the recurring billing process.

If the customer claims they canceled the automatic payment prior to being charged, provide evidence in the contract that makes clear that the disputed payment couldn’t have been avoided by cancellation on that date.

Review the terms and conditions the customer agreed to. For example, if the customer agreed that the service must be canceled 15 days before the next payment and then failed to do so.


You must provide where in your terms and conditions it states this and show how the customer failed to follow the agreement.

2. Recurring Contract Dispute Rebuttal

Merchant’s can use recurring contract dispute rebuttal evidence to show how the customer accepted the recurring billing terms. Using the below evidence makes it clear that the customer agreed to the terms and was aware of the cancellation policy.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Documentation that the customer accepted a legally-binding contract.

Include screenshots of the checkbox clicked upon checkout — or whatever process your company uses to ask the customer to agree to the recurring billing process.

Clearly lay out key milestones such as:  

  • When the customer agreed to the contract.
  • Whether previous payments were made that weren’t disputed.
  • When customer cancelled the recurring payment when that cancellation would go into effect according to the contract.
  • When the disputed payment was made.


  • Link or screenshot of the cancellation policy.
  • Have an explanation of your procedures for disclosing the cancellation policy to the customer.
  • Give details explaining how the cardmember did not follow the cancellation policy.
  • Show the date in which the cancellation will go into effect as stipulated in the contract. For example, the service must be canceled by the 5th of the month to stop the upcoming transaction on the 15th. Any cancelation after the 5th will go into effect the following month.

All of this evidence should be found in the merchant’s recurring billing terms and conditions, understanding the checkout process your customer goes through and/or in the cancelation policy documentation.

3. Cancellation Policy Noncompliance

Inside the terms and conditions or in a separate dedicated policy, merchants should clearly explain how to cancel their service. In the cancellation policy noncompliance evidence, merchants should show how the customer did not cancel in accordance with the merchant’s policy.

This Evidence Should Include Either

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Proof that the cardholder did not cancel the reservation in accordance with the merchant's published policies.

Give the relevant highlights or your whole cancelation policy. Then go through and explicitly state how the cardholder did not comply with the policy.


Remember, it will be a real person reviewing your dispute response, so make it clear and easy for them to understand how the cardholder did not follow the policy.

4. Evidence of Product Usage

Because there is no shipping evidence to provide like with physical goods, digital goods can instead provide evidence of product usage.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Provide evidence that the customer has possession of, or has access to, your product or service — with as much detail and context as you can provide. It may be necessary to include several items to evidence to make your case.

Include logs of customer usage or communications you have had with them discussing the product or service, screenshots from your customers social media with products from the order pictured or displaying works created using your product or service, links to or screenshots from eBay or Craigslist showing the product listed for sale by the customer.

Don’t have the Right Evidence?

If any of the evidence we listed above is nonexistent at your company, make sure to make note of this and make the changes to the website, check out process, etc. to include the elements needed to fulfill the compelling evidence requirements. Without the proper evidence in your response, it will put your company at a large disadvantage to gain any revenue back.

Respond Less by Stopping Disputes from Happening

Creating compelling responses to digital goods subscription disputes is time-consuming and challenging. But you can reduce the number of dispute you recieve (thereby creating fewer responses!) with Real-time Resolution QuickStart.

With RTR QuickStart, you can go live and start preventing disputes in under 30 days. It enables the real-time communication of enhanced information to card issuers, which they relay to the cardholder in the event of a dispute inquiry. This enhanced information deflects between 10% and 20% of inquiries from becoming valid disputes. Learn more about RTR QuickStart here!

Subscription billing can be a wonderful way for merchants and customers to experience a frictionless checkout. But there are elements of digital goods and the subscription billing process that puts merchants at a higher risk for disputes.

If you’re a merchant who provides digital goods on a recurring billing model, this post is for you. Read on to find out 4 specific pieces of compelling evidence required by the card networks for subscription digital goods disputes — and where to find it.

Creating a Recurring Billing Digital Goods Dispute Response

Depending on the card network, reason code, and transaction modifier, the evidence needed in a dispute response varies. However, for recurring billing disputes, there is specific compelling evidence that appears across all card network requirements.

But again, not every piece of evidence will be required by every card network or for every reason code. If you need help drafting responses or knowing what you should put into each response you can check out our customizable response templates for help.

1. Proof of a Legally Binding Contract

When a customer agrees to subscription or continuous billing, they need to enter a legally-binding contract in which they agree to the recurring charges. A legally-binding contract may sound intense, but your goal is to clearly show where and how the customer agreed to the recurring billing.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

An excerpt or highlight the relevant portions of the agreement the customer made, and include a link (if possible) to the full agreement.

Find the terms and conditions they agreed to. These terms and conditions will most likely live at the checkout process where you can add a link to your response. You may also want to check your company’s documentation to find them.

Details on how customers indicate their agreement to the contract terms.

Include screenshots of the checkbox clicked upon checkout. You can use screenshots to show whatever process your company uses to get the customer to agree to the recurring billing process.

If the customer claims they canceled the automatic payment prior to being charged, provide evidence in the contract that makes clear that the disputed payment couldn’t have been avoided by cancellation on that date.

Review the terms and conditions the customer agreed to. For example, if the customer agreed that the service must be canceled 15 days before the next payment and then failed to do so.


You must provide where in your terms and conditions it states this and show how the customer failed to follow the agreement.

2. Recurring Contract Dispute Rebuttal

Merchant’s can use recurring contract dispute rebuttal evidence to show how the customer accepted the recurring billing terms. Using the below evidence makes it clear that the customer agreed to the terms and was aware of the cancellation policy.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Documentation that the customer accepted a legally-binding contract.

Include screenshots of the checkbox clicked upon checkout — or whatever process your company uses to ask the customer to agree to the recurring billing process.

Clearly lay out key milestones such as:  

  • When the customer agreed to the contract.
  • Whether previous payments were made that weren’t disputed.
  • When customer cancelled the recurring payment when that cancellation would go into effect according to the contract.
  • When the disputed payment was made.


  • Link or screenshot of the cancellation policy.
  • Have an explanation of your procedures for disclosing the cancellation policy to the customer.
  • Give details explaining how the cardmember did not follow the cancellation policy.
  • Show the date in which the cancellation will go into effect as stipulated in the contract. For example, the service must be canceled by the 5th of the month to stop the upcoming transaction on the 15th. Any cancelation after the 5th will go into effect the following month.

All of this evidence should be found in the merchant’s recurring billing terms and conditions, understanding the checkout process your customer goes through and/or in the cancelation policy documentation.

3. Cancellation Policy Noncompliance

Inside the terms and conditions or in a separate dedicated policy, merchants should clearly explain how to cancel their service. In the cancellation policy noncompliance evidence, merchants should show how the customer did not cancel in accordance with the merchant’s policy.

This Evidence Should Include Either

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Proof that the cardholder did not cancel the reservation in accordance with the merchant's published policies.

Give the relevant highlights or your whole cancelation policy. Then go through and explicitly state how the cardholder did not comply with the policy.


Remember, it will be a real person reviewing your dispute response, so make it clear and easy for them to understand how the cardholder did not follow the policy.

4. Evidence of Product Usage

Because there is no shipping evidence to provide like with physical goods, digital goods can instead provide evidence of product usage.

This Evidence Should be Included

Where to Find / How to Show This Evidence

Provide evidence that the customer has possession of, or has access to, your product or service — with as much detail and context as you can provide. It may be necessary to include several items to evidence to make your case.

Include logs of customer usage or communications you have had with them discussing the product or service, screenshots from your customers social media with products from the order pictured or displaying works created using your product or service, links to or screenshots from eBay or Craigslist showing the product listed for sale by the customer.

Don’t have the Right Evidence?

If any of the evidence we listed above is nonexistent at your company, make sure to make note of this and make the changes to the website, check out process, etc. to include the elements needed to fulfill the compelling evidence requirements. Without the proper evidence in your response, it will put your company at a large disadvantage to gain any revenue back.

Respond Less by Stopping Disputes from Happening

Creating compelling responses to digital goods subscription disputes is time-consuming and challenging. But you can reduce the number of dispute you recieve (thereby creating fewer responses!) with Real-time Resolution QuickStart.

With RTR QuickStart, you can go live and start preventing disputes in under 30 days. It enables the real-time communication of enhanced information to card issuers, which they relay to the cardholder in the event of a dispute inquiry. This enhanced information deflects between 10% and 20% of inquiries from becoming valid disputes. Learn more about RTR QuickStart here!

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