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SiteMinder Payments, our official payment processing solution: reservation payment disputes and chargebacks frequently asked questions
SiteMinder Payments, our official payment processing solution: reservation payment disputes and chargebacks frequently asked questions
Updated over a week ago

💡 Important to know:

  • This article answers frequently asked questions about reservation payment disputes and chargebacks in the context of SiteMinder Payments, our official payment processing solution.

  • To access SiteMinder Payments, go to Payments.

What is a payment dispute?

When a cardholder has an issue with a payment made using their credit or debit card — because they do not recognise it, for example — they can contact their bank or card issuer to dispute it.

For you, this cardholder could be a customer, a guest, or someone who believes that their payment card was used at your property without their permission.

Human error, fraudulent activity — no matter the cause, it is your responsibility to help prevent, and if necessary resolve, any payment disputes concerning your property.

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is a refund transmitted by a cardholder’s bank or card issuer to reverse a payment made using a credit or debit card.

If a bank or card issuer initiates a chargeback for a payment dispute on behalf of one of your customers or guests, the disputed amount will be withdrawn from your SiteMinder Payments balance immediately.

What is the payment dispute process?

  1. The cardholder disputes a charge via their bank or card issuer.

  2. The cardholder's bank or card issuer initiates the dispute process.

  3. The disputed amount is withdrawn from your SiteMinder Payments balance immediately.

  4. SiteMinder Payments sends your property an email informing you of the dispute. This email contains key information, such as how — or if — the dispute can be challenged, as well as what evidence you need to submit, and when the deadline is due ( usually in 7–21 days’ time).

  5. You reply to the aforementioned email you received from SiteMinder Payments, attaching your necessary evidence.

  6. SiteMinder Payments submits the evidence on your behalf to the cardholder’s bank or card issuer.

  7. The cardholder's bank or card issuer reviews the evidence, which may take up to 75 days.

  8. The cardholder’s bank or card issuer makes their decision, and SiteMinder Payments sends your property an email notifying you of the outcome.

  9. If the dispute is resolved in your favour, the funds are returned to your SiteMinder Payments account; if it is not, the funds are kept by the cardholder who raised the dispute.

💡 Note:

  • You can partially win a dispute, in which case you and the cardholder each receive a portion of the disputed amount.

  • There are some instances in which a cardholder cannot challenge a dispute — however, the SiteMinder Payments will always notify you if a dispute can be challenged.

How do I challenge a chargeback?

You need to submit evidence to SiteMinder Payments — who will then send it on to the cardholder’s bank or card issuer — proving that the cardholder did in fact make the payment in question. To do this, simply follow the instructions in the email sent to you by the SiteMinder Payments (assuming that the chargeback can indeed be challenged).

Here are some examples of evidence:

  • Check-in document signed by the guest.

  • Invoice.

  • Photograph of the guest’s personal identification documents.

  • Records showing the guest’s booking process, communications with you, and their stay at your property (if applicable).

When do I need to submit evidence challenging a chargeback?

As soon as possible: most banks require you to submit evidence within 7–21 days, otherwise the cardholder who raised the dispute will win by default.
SiteMinder Payments will notify you, via email, of the deadline.

Who determines the outcome of a dispute?

The outcome of the dispute is decided by the cardholder’s bank or card issuer.

Although SiteMinder Payments plays a role in presenting your case and submitting evidence to the cardholder's bank or card issuer when challenging a dispute on your behalf, we do not — and cannot — determine the outcome.

Once an outcome has been decided by the cardholders’ bank or card issuer, there is no further recourse to reopen the dispute, even if new evidence is discovered.

How can I prevent chargebacks from occurring?

It is impossible to prevent chargebacks from ever occurring, but you can take steps to reduce the number of chargebacks you receive:

  • Use SiteMinder Payments to take payments automatically, rather than manual payments which are more prone to human error.

  • Provide accurate photographs and descriptions on your room types, so guests will know what to expect when booking.

  • Provide up-to-date terms and conditions on your direct booking engine.

  • Provide contact details to your guests so they will be more likely to contact you before raising a dispute.

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