Processing chargeback disputes is a routine activity for Wells Fargo. As of February 2022, Wells Fargo was reportedly the 6th-ranked credit card issuer in the U.S. based on Outstanding Balances, and 8th-ranked based on purchase volume. So, they handle tons of this disputes every year.
Yet the details of exactly what Wells Fargo's dispute-handling process entails are strangely hard to come by. (Actually, there's an entire website dedicated to recounting one former Wells Fargo customer's...let's say, horror story with Well Fargo's chargeback disute process; but, obviously, as a source for details on what Wells Fargo's chargeback dispute process is supposed to be, or should be, it's not very instructive.)
👉 So, in this article, I'll give you quick, step-by-step overview of what Wells Fargo's typical process is once you file a chargeback dispute.
Step 1 - confirmation
Although most major banks nowadays give online banking users the option to dispute charges from within the online banking app, for whatever reason, most people still tend to file chargebacks dispute over the phone.
Either way, though, once Wells Fargo "accepts" you chargeback dispute--which basically just means that they've agreed to investigate the matter--you will typically receive some sort of written confirmation from Wells Fargo of this "acceptance event." (Most of these confirmations that are sent by email, specifically from email@example.com.)
The written confirmation will typically include the following six pieces of information:
- Dispute Number: 40420883
- Date Posted: 12/16/2021
- Merchant Name: AMAZON
- Amount of Transaction: 300.00
- Card Number: XXXXXXXXXXX4509
- Status: Credit is Temporary
For each piece of information listed above, I've also included example values. As you can see in the sixth example, in the written confirmation of acceptance, the Status will often be that Wells Fargo has temporarily credited your account for the amount in dispute.
Because Wells Fargo will assign each dispute a "dispute number," as also shown in the list above, the written confirmation of acceptance will usually include a unique dispute number. This unique dispute number allows you to easily reference the dispute later in any pertinent correspondence.
Step 2 - notification to merchant
Because Wells Fargo's goal in a chargeback dispute investigation is to try to determine if the disputed charge is valid (or not), Wells Fargo will usually begin its investigation by notifying the merchant of your dispute--usually, this notification passes through one or more additional entities before it eventually makes it to the merchant, but the notification finds its way to the merchant nonetheless.
By notifying the merchant of your dispute, Wells Fargo is essentially asking the merchant to provide evidence showing that the dispute charge is valid, despite your filed claim that the charge is not valid. That way, Wells Fargo can give both sides in the dispute a fair hearing.
However, this request is not open-ended. Wells Fargo will specify a deadline by which the merchant must respond to the request.
💡Pro tip: by asking Wells Fargo to tell you what this deadline date is, you can not only have some sense of the overall timeline for the dispute process, but also a sense of the timeline surrounding this key milestone in the dispute process: when/whether the merchant responds to the dispute.
...because, if the merchant chooses to not respond at all, or fails to respond by the deadline, Wells Fargo will typically find in your favor, and the overall timeline for the dispute process could be shortened, just because there would be no merchant-submitted evidence for Wells Fargo to review before eventually deciding whether the disputed charge was valid or not.
Step 3 - representment
If the merchant responds by the deadline, then representment will follow (this portion of the dispute process is called "representment," because the merchant will typically be submitting evidence to Wells Fargo to show, or try to show--or "represent"--that the charge was valid, despite your filed claim to the contrary).
You can think of this as the "he said she said" part of the process, because, by this point, you would have already stated your position to Wells Fargo, and the merchant would have just stated theirs. So, Well Fargo must then decide whose position is more credible or correct.
Step 4 - outcome
Once Wells Fargo makes a decision for your dispute, you will typically receive an email notification just like the written confirmation you first received when your dispute was accepted. Here's an example:
As in the example email above, if you "win your dispute," you'll typically receive written confirmation that the credit to your account which Wells Fargo had previously issued on only a temporary basis has been made permanent.
That's it. That's the typical Wells Fargo charge dispute process.