Visa Chargeback Reason Code 53: A Closer Look

Emily VuittonReason Codes1 Comment

Visa Reason Code 53

Don’t be frightened of a chargeback being categorized under Visa reason code 53. You are not alone. On average, you’ll see 22 percent of chargebacks from Visa categorized under product or service issue reason codes. Visa reason code 53 is an example of Visa’s group of reason codes that represent these particular issues.

Visa Reason Codes Chart

Chart via the Chargeback Reason Code Encyclopedia

What do these product or service issue chargebacks mean? For the cardholder, they represent problems ranging from product descriptions to defective merchandise. Visa reason code 53 can be used to describe both of the aforementioned situations.

Visa Chargeback Reason Code 53 – Not as Described or Defective Merchandise

Visa reason code 53 is defined as ‘not as described or defective merchandise’. Before the issuer will process a chargeback under this reason code, the cardholder must have made a legitimate attempt to resolve the dispute or return the merchandise. If the attempts proved to be fruitless for the cardholder, the issuer will move forward with the chargeback.

There are six different potential reasons a cardholder might contact her issuer that result in a categorization of reason code 53:

Possible Chargeback Condition #1 The merchandise or services did not match what was described by the transaction receipt or other documentation presented at the time of purchase.
Possible Chargeback Condition #2 In a card-not-present (CNP) transaction, the merchandise or services was not the same as the merchant’s verbal description.
Possible Chargeback Condition #3 The merchandise arrived damaged or defective.
Possible Chargeback Condition #4 The merchandise’s quality is disputed.
Possible Chargeback Condition #5 The merchandise was proved to be counterfeit by the owner of the intellectual property or authorized representative, a customs agency, law enforcement agency, other governmental agency or a neutral bona fide expert.
Possible Chargeback Condition #6 The terms of sale were misrepresented by the merchant as interpreted by the cardholder.

What Causes Visa Chargeback Reason Code 53?

From the merchant’s point of view, there are a variety of actions that could have lead to a Visa reason code 53 chargeback:

For Products:

  • The wrong merchandise was sent to the cardholder.
  • The merchandise was damaged during shipment.
  • The merchandise’s description was inaccurate.
  • An attempt to return the merchandise was not accepted.
  • The returned merchandise was accepted, but the cardholder’s account was not credited.
  • The merchandise is counterfeit.
  • The Terms of Sale were misrepresented.

For Services:

  • The services were not performed as described.
  • The Terms of Sale were misrepresented.

Can Visa Chargeback Reason Code 53 be Remedied?

Of course! As a merchant, you can submit evidence, such as photographs or emails, to prove that the cardholder disputing the transaction is actually in possession of the merchandise and/or is using the service.

If the cardholder returned the merchandise and you processed a credit to the cardholder’s account, you simply need to provide you acquirer with evidence of the credit. On the other hand, if you have not received the merchandise or the cardholder has not cancelled the service and the cardholder has disputed the transaction, contact your acquirer and explain the situation. For transactions in the United States and Canada, the cardholder needs to make a valid attempt to return the merchandise or cancel the service before the issuer can process a chargeback.

The specific chargeback conditions under this reason code will also point to compelling evidence you should provide to your acquirer to prove the chargeback is invalid.

Remedying Visa Reason Code 53 – Conditions 1 and 2

If the merchandise was as described, provide specific information and invoices to refute the cardholder’s claim to your acquirer. This data can include screenshots of product descriptions, customer service communication transcripts, transaction receipts and invoices.

If the service was performed as described or carried out before cancellation from the cardholder, you need to provide as much information and documentation as possible to refute the cardholder’s claim to your acquirer. Visa advises to specifically address each and every point made by the cardholder.

Remedying Visa Reason Code 53 – Condition 3

For chargebacks that occur because the merchandise arrived damaged, you need to provide evidence that the merchandise was repaired or replaced by you. However, it’s necessary that the cardholder first requested the replacement or repair to occur.

Remedying Visa Reason Code 53 – Condition 5

In this case, you’ll need to provide evidence to your acquirer that proves the merchandise is not counterfeit and is indeed as you described it to be. As with refuting conditions 1 and 2, screenshots of product descriptions, customer service communication transcripts, transaction receipts and invoices all qualify as potential evidence.

Can Visa Reason Code 53 Chargebacks be Prevented?

Again, of course! Merchants can take a variety of actions to prevent chargebacks that occur due to product or service not as described or defective issues. These simple yet critical safeguards include:

  • Describe your merchandise or services offered accurately, completely, and not at all misleading.
  • Shipping and handling processes should be reviewed regularly to ensure accurate fulfillment.
  • Hold quarterly review sessions with staff on the proper procedures for taking and filling orders.

As with all chargeback reason codes, Visa reason code 53 is absolutely preventable and winnable by merchants. You just need the right knowledge and the right safeguards. Check out our Chargeback Reason Code Encyclopedia to learn more about the other reason codes your business sees and how you can respond.

Download the Encyclopedia of Reason Codes