How to Spot & Fix an eCommerce Fake in One Step

Every day we seem to hear about a new online scam. Queensland Police recently shut down 3 fake trader websites selling barbecue and fitness equipment, users followed the payment instructions but no goods were ever received.


We’ve read about SSL certificates and displaying your ABN as good ways to proclaim your eCommerce legitimacy and it’s decent advice. But when it comes to convincing your customers you’re legit you only need one thing – an easy, transparent dispute resolution process.


Having one boils down to choosing the right payment method.


Some payment gateways include buyer and fraud detection features that make dispute resolution almost as easy & transparent as the purchase itself.


Paypal Buyer Protection


Paypal has a policy called Buyer Protection helping anyone that purchases an item through Paypal dispute an order that is wrong or never arrives. They also do a pretty good job of treating both buyer and seller equally, requiring proof and agreement to a final decision. The system works very well for small goods purchases and importantly is clear and well-documented.


Stripe Dispute Management


Stripe processes transaction payments in checkout, deducting them directly from the purchaser’s credit card. If a transaction is disputed the buyer must do so directly through their credit card company, Stripe responses with a hold on that transaction amount while a formal dispute resolution process is undertaken. The Stripe interface allows you to submit evidence and in general behaves like the Paypal dispute process for the store owner providing clear documentation to help each party finalise the resolution.


Paypal and Stripe provide a transparent process for when transactions don’t go according to plan, but what about other payment gateways?


Bank Payment Gateways


If a customer does not recognise a credit card charge they can lodge a dispute with their card issuer. This triggers a chargeback scenario where the dispute is eventually lodged with the merchant. If you as the merchant are using a payment gateway that deposits funds directly into your bank account then you will need to lodge evidence on your own behalf. The processes here are legitimate and secure but interbank chargeback process can be long and protracted with no one place to see where the dispute resolution process is up to.


Third Party Payment Gateways


Also secure and legitimate these gateways have a general policy of letting the bank chargeback process take over when disputes arise. And while some popular gateways have good fraud detection features for merchants, you and the buyer are in the same boat as if you were using a bank payment gateway.


Transparently Not Fake


Fake sites make all eCommerce merchants look bad, but in reality most sites are reputable and real. Your best defence is a good offence, so make sure you have a easy, transparent dispute resolution process included in your payment options. It’s that final reassurance in checkout that removes any buyer nerves or doubt from the transaction.


And don’t forget to tell your site shoppers early and often about your return and dispute policies – as online merchants we must go the extra mile to deliver transparency and trust.