How to Handle a Donor Dispute

You might find your organization receiving a donor dispute on a donation. We have some best practices of what to do if this happens.


This article explains how to properly handle and respond to a donor dispute initiated by one of your donors giving via Bloomerang Payments.

Of note, if you are using a payment gateway other than Bloomerang Payments, any disputes would be handled directly within that payment gateway's portal.

Linked Articles:

- Bloomerang Payments Guide

- Bloomerang Payments FAQ

What Does This Mean?


A dispute (also known as a chargeback) occurs when a cardholder questions your payment with their card issuer. The issuer creates a formal dispute which immediately reverses the payment. The payment amount, along with a separate $15.00 dispute fee (for users in the United States) levied by the card network, is then deducted from your account balance.

There is a dispute resolution process through which you can respond and submit evidence to make your case that the payment was valid. If the dispute is found in your favor, the disputed amount and fee is returned back to you. If a dispute is upheld, the card issuer’s decision is final and the cardholder’s payment remains refunded.

What Can I Do?

Typically, the best way to resolve a dispute would be to contact the donor and attempt to clear things up. If you would like to refund the donor, the only way for you to be able to do that is if the donor first withdraws the dispute. But, perhaps this donor just doesn't remember making this payment, or doesn't recognize the charge in the way that their bank is displaying it on their statement.

If the donor does not withdraw the dispute, you can submit evidence that is was not "fraudulent" (as they have claimed it was). Here is an article that gives you guidelines on what constitutes "good" evidence:

You can submit that via email to Kindful Support via a new support ticket, and we will submit this evidence on your behalf.

By far, the easiest path forward will be if you can establish communication with this donor, and have them withdraw the dispute.

Can I Just Refund It?

If you try and refund a disputed transaction, you will likely see an error message. Once the donor initiates a chargeback with their bank, the transaction is locked, and Stripe is holding that money until the dispute is resolved. So, the donor and the donor's bank have made it so you can't refund this. Ideally, you would hope that these donors reach out to you before doing a chargeback, since that's easier for everyone.

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