Due to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, we appreciate that managing and responding to disputes during this unprecedented time is posing a hardship on all involved. To minimize impact, Visa is modifying existing dispute compliance programs and introducing the COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program to address an increase in consumer-related dispute volumes. It is important to note Visa is not changing dispute rules in response to COVID-19, and cardholders are still expected to work directly with sellers to resolve inquiries prior to initiating a dispute.
Excessive Disputes Programs During COVID-19
Effective April 1, 2020, Visa modified its dispute compliance programs as follows:
- Visa Dispute Monitoring Program (VDMP) and Visa Fraud Monitoring Program (VFMP) have been suspended for sellers in the Travel & Entertainment (T&E) Merchant Category Codes (MCC’s) through the July compliance cycle.
- Visa Acquirer Monitoring Program was also suspended for disputes related to T&E sellers through the July compliance cycle.
- Regional Visa Risk teams have been empowered to suspend and/or waive VDMP or VFMP fees for non-T&E sellers who can demonstrate they have been directly impacted by the pandemic.
COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program
Visa’s COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program is focused on consumer-related disputes (e.g., travel, entertainment, etc.) and ensuring disputes initiated into the system are consistent with Visa rules.
- The program will monitor dispute volumes for Airlines, Entertainment, Lodging, Transportation, and Travel Services.
- Issuers submitting more than 50 invalid disputes daily will be flagged. A dispute for goods or services not received by the cardholder is considered invalid if:
- There is insufficient dispute reason detail
- The seller is able to provide the service
- The cardholder has not attempted to resolve the dispute directly with the seller
- Issuers flagged by the program will be required to reverse invalid disputes within three business days.
Now more than ever, it is critical for sellers, acquirers and issuers to work together to drive a strong payments ecosystem. In response to the COVID-19 impacts, many sellers are increasing flexibility around return and cancellation policies. We encourage our partners to be flexible when addressing disputed transactions and offer the following best practice guidance:
- If you’re unable to provide the product or services purchased by your cardholder, contact them proactively to advise and make arrangements to refund or provide alternative delivery options.
- Process refunds immediately when processing a return or cancellation, and proactively notify the cardholder of the refund details (refund amount, date issued, reason for refund).
- Sellers are responsible for providing refunds to a cardholder on seller-initiated cancellations. Credit vouchers are an acceptable alternative if agreed to by the cardholder in advance.
- All parties should exercise good judgement when initiating disputes to ensure only valid disputes are submitted.
Visa is actively monitoring and will develop additional programs as needed, sharing updates as the situation evolves. Verifi and Visa are working closely together to support reducing the strain of disputes on all stakeholders during this trying time. Please reach out to your Relationship Manager or Verifi Client Support with any questions.
We wish you, your team members and families continued good health and safety.