Poor Product Descriptions and Ship Times Will Cost Merchants

Sydney VaccaroEcommerce, Physical Goods, Reason CodesLeave a Comment

Poor Product and Shipment

Accurately conveying the product that you are selling online may seem obvious, but it is easier said than done. The customer buying your product only knows what you have told them about it. They have never touched, tried on, held, or even truly seen the product until after they completed the transaction and the product is shipped to them. This is why product photos and product descriptions are so important for ecommerce merchants. If the customer feels like the product does not match the description they could have merit to dispute the transaction.

The other challenge that ecommerce merchants face is shipping the product effectively and quickly. With expectation set like Amazon Prime's two day shipping, customers have a lessened tolerance for long shipping times. If your product takes too long to ship the customer may think that you never shipped the product to them. Once again they have merit to dispute the charge.

Poor product descriptions and slow shipments are not only putting merchants at risk for chargebacks. It can now affect their reach on Facebook as well.

It Can Hurt More Places Than You Think 

Facebook is starting to monitor merchants on their site closely. Specifically how many complaints the merchant receives. The new feature that Facebook is rolling out will allows customers to give a survey of their shopping experience after a Facebook ad. If a company receives a lot of poor feedback on their products or shipping times Facebook will take action. First they will give the merchant time to address the customer complaints. But if feedback doesn’t improve then Facebook will reduce the amount of ads seen by users or just ban the merchant all together.

The purpose of this feature is to stop merchants that are trying to rip off customers. But it is easy to see how bad product descriptors or ineffective shipping could get a honest merchant put on the restricted ad list.

What Disputes Can Happen? 

Not only will you get in trouble with Facebook, these ecommerce mistakes can cause customer disputes as well. Below are the reason codes associated with a dispute that the merchandise received is not what was expected:

Merchandise Does Not Match Expectation 

American Express Reason Code C31

Description: “Goods or services not as described”

Meaning: The cardholder claims to have received goods or services that are different than the written description provided at the time of the charge.

Discover Reason Code RM

Description: “Cardholder disputes the quality of goods or services”

Meaning: The cardholder claims the goods or services delivered by the merchant were not of the quality or condition agreed-upon.

MasterCard Reason Code 4853

Description: “Cardholder dispute” with the transaction modifier “Not as described or defective”

Visa Reason Code 13.3

Description: “Not as described or defective merchandise or services”

Meaning: Either the goods or services did not match what was described on the transaction receipt or other documentation presented at the time of purchase. OR the merchandise received by the cardholder was damaged or defective (All excluding France Domestic). OR the cardholder disputes the quality of the goods or services (All excluding France Domestic).

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If your company receives many of these disputes you should take a look at your product descriptions and pictures. Of course you want your product to sell, but you also need to accurately describe the product to your customers. Paint them a picture of your product keeping in mind that they have never seen, tried on, or actually laid eyes on your product.

Slow Shipping Disputes

Slow shipping of a product can make a customer think that you never shipped it to them or they never received the item. The following reason codes can be a result:

American Express Reason Code C08

Description: “Goods or services not received or only partially received”

Meaning: The cardholder claims to have not received (or only partially received) the goods/services.

Discover Reason Code RG

Description: “Non-receipt of goods, services, or cash”

Meaning: The cardholder challenges the validity of a transaction due to non-receipt of goods or services.

Mastercard Reason Code 4855

Description: “Goods or services not provided”

Meaning: The cardholder claims they have paid for an item that was to be delivered, but has not yet been received.

Visa Reason Code 13.1

Description: “Services not provided or merchandise not received”

Meaning: The cardholder participated in the transaction, but the cardholder or an authorized person did not receive the goods or services because the merchant was unwilling or unable to provide the goods or services.


If you are receiving customer disputes with these reason codes you should take another look at your shipping process. Try to find the most effective way to handle shipments and make sure you are communicating with your customer through the shipping process.

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