How to boost your chance of winning a chargeback

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Client Agreement

You’re working with a client who seems happy with your services until one day, out of the blue, they issue a chargeback through their credit card company or Paypal.

A chargeback feels like going out for a run at the park on a gorgeous spring day and realizing that you ran right through a pile of stinky dog doo-doo… and it’s now stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Not fun. 💩

What’s a chargeback?

A chargeback is when the client reverses the credit card charge for your course or program. You have no advance notice…and now you have no payment for your services.

What should you do if you get a chargeback?

If you’ve had a chargeback, you know that they’re tricky situations. (Like stepping in dog doo-doo.)

Chargeback laws are actually designed to protect the PURCHASER, not you as the seller.

If you get a chargeback, follow the dispute process of the credit card company or Paypal.

Follow their directions exactly and provide as much proof as you can. You may be asked to provide proof of:

  • their payment of the course or program
  • the client agreeing to your legal terms or client agreement (which is a good reason to have a written agreement!)
  • their access to or use of your program or course
  • delivery of your services as promised
  • e-mail communication that the client was satisfied with the services
  • or other evidence.

The possibility of a chargeback alone is a good reason to be sure you’re keeping good business records and receipts, using legal documents (of course!), and organizing your email so you can find proof when you need it.

Know that chargebacks aren’t always reversed though…even when you provide all of the information above.  I know that’s frustrating. And it doesn’t feel “fair”.

But, that’s because the intention of the law is to protect “small” consumers against powerful “big” business owners. Even if you run a tiny 1-person shop, the law perceives YOU to be the “big” business owner so sometimes they still rule against you.

So is there anything you can do to boost your chance of winning a chargeback?


Get signatures.

I know so many coaches and small biz owners who run online courses like to use checkboxes and have clients agree to legal terms (like my Terms of Use).

But, you’ve probably heard me say (many times!) that the “gold standard” is using a written Client Agreement that both you AND your client sign.

Legal Love™ Tip: Get signatures to boost your defense in a chargeback situation.



Have a high-end program with high investment?

Like a 1-on-1 coaching program or VIP Day?

Then use a written client agreement with signatures rather than a checkbox.

Many people like the convenience of having clients agree to the terms using a checkbox, but it’s weaker legal evidence in a chargeback situation than a client’s signature.

Since the law is already stacked against you as the seller, using a signed client agreement for high-end programs can boost your chance of winning a chargeback.

Your Action Step: For higher-priced programs with a 1-on-1 component, use these legal docs (because you have a lot to lose!):

I know it’s not fun to send agreements back and forth – or to use an electronic signature program. (For recommendations of electronic signature companies, have a listen to the Legally Enlightened Podcast episode 10 here called “Do You Have to Print & Sign a Contract?”)

But, when chargebacks happen – like when we step in doggie doo-doo – it feels really crappy.

Remember you aren’t helpless. There are steps you can take. Just like grabbing some soap, rinsing off your running shoes, and getting back out there on your next run.👟

Questions about chargebacks? Feel free to hit reply. We’re happy to help.

Here’s to getting legally covered – and to boosting your chances of winning chargebacks! 🎯