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Selected examples from Visa of dispute related scenarios

Airline Tickets

Scenario 1: If a cardholder purchases a plane ticket and chooses not to fly, and there is a refund policy between the merchant and the cardholder, a dispute would not be warranted as the merchant’s policy will prevail. The exception to this would be if the merchant’s cancellation policy was not properly disclosed at the time of the transaction. If the policy was not properly disclosed, a dispute right is available under cancelled services.

Scenario 2: If a cardholder purchases an airline ticket and the airline cannot or does not fly, the cardholder can initiate a dispute through their issuer if they are not able to get the merchant to provide a refund.

Hotel Reservations

Scenario 1: If a cardholder does not cancel a hotel reservation by the required deadline (due to the fact they are unable to travel to the merchant because of a travel restriction or because the cardholder chooses not to travel) and the cardholder is charged for a no-show or a prepayment transaction, it is the merchant’s refund policy that will prevail. While Visa highly discourages hotel merchants in affected areas from billing the cardholder for a no-show transaction, it is the merchant’s discretion as to what action, if any, they would take if the cancellation policy was properly disclosed at the time of the transaction.

Cruise Tickets

Scenario 1: If a cardholder is unable to reach the cruise line embarkation port due to a cancelled flight or disruptions in transportation, the cardholder does not have a right to dispute. Many cruise line merchants will offer cardholders credit for future cruises as a goodwill gesture; however, if the merchant properly disclosed a limited cancellation policy at the time of purchase, the issuer would have no dispute right.

Scheduled / Ticketed Events

Scenario 1: In certain cases, a cardholder has tickets for an event such as a sports match, a concert or a theatre performance that was cancelled and rescheduled. If the cardholder is unable to attend the rescheduled event on the alternate date, the issuer may pursue a dispute if the merchant refuses to credit the cardholder.

Scenario 2: If a cardholder cancels tickets for an upcoming large event, such as a sporting event, conference or festival that is still planned to take place and the merchant properly disclosed a non-refundable cancellation policy, then the cardholder does not have dispute rights. However, the merchant is urged to be flexible and allow cardholders to change or cancel, regardless of cancellation policy. If services / tickets were purchased through third-party resale sites, the refund policy of that third-party sale would apply, not the refund / cancellation policy of the original merchant.

Government Travel Restrictions

For cardholders impacted by government travel restrictions, the ability to raise a dispute is dependent on whether that merchant is still able to provide its service. If a travel restriction is imposed such that cardholders from one country are not allowed to travel to another country, general guidelines are as follows:

  • If the airline has cancelled the flight, the cardholder has the right to request a refund. If the merchant does not provide a refund, the issuer can pursue a dispute.
  • If the airline has not cancelled the flight, the cardholder must contact the merchant and request a refund. In many cases, the merchant may be willing to refund or issue a credit for future travel. However, if the merchant is not willing to refund, the cardholder is subject to the cancellation policy properly disclosed at the time of purchase.
  • For cardholders that have purchased travel or event tickets in a country impacted by the travel restriction such as a prepaid hotel package, a cruise package where the departure begins in a country impacted by the travel restriction, the cardholder does not have dispute rights if the merchant’s cancellation / refund policy was properly disclosed to the cardholder. The merchant is still able to provide the service, even though the cardholder cannot travel to the merchant location because of the travel restriction impacting the cardholder.

Non-delivery or Delayed Merchandise or Services

Scenario 1: If a cardholder does not receive services or merchandise ordered, such as flowers, food products, furniture or clothing within the agreed delivery timeframe due to the merchant’s inability to complete its normal delivery process, the acquirer is responsible for services not rendered. Issuers should attempt to honor the transaction if the merchant and the cardholder can agree on an alternative delivery method and/or timeframe.

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