A lag in chargeback reporting can be discretely hidden by record sales. To make matters worse, the chargeback lag means your financial reports will show a distorted picture of your company’s performance. For example, sales you thought you had in December could actually turn out to be ugly losses in February, March, and April. Don Bush, VP of Marketing, Kount, explains the pitfalls of a chargeback lag and the importance of getting in front of this common hazard.
Don Bush: So the charge backs that you get today, may have come from six months ago.
Let's take a look at the Holiday season. Sales are up and chargebacks seem really low. Well, after you get through November and December, January, February and March, you may see a rise in your chargebacks. Those were hidden by high sales earlier in the year, and now you have a chargeback problem. Following chargebacks to see if you have a fraud problem, can be deceiving because they take so long to report. We call it a chargeback lag because you don't get chargebacks immediately. It could be 30, 60, 90, up to 180 days before you see a chargeback. That can cost you big time. High sales can often mask a chargeback problem, but when sales normalize, your chargeback rate seems to climb.
As a result of the chargeback lag, you may find yourself in an excessive chargeback program, which means extra fees, extra fines, all kinds of extra work for you to do as a merchant to get yourself out of the problem that you should have never been in in the first place. Merchants that find themselves in this situation really need to do a couple of things. First, look at your fraud strategy. Make sure it's up to date with your vertical, with the markets that you serve. Second, look at your fraud technology. Make sure it's up to date. What you did last year is probably not good enough for this year. Don't let the chargeback lag put you in chargeback hell.