Landscaping and credit card charge backs.

Imagine this scenario. You meet with a new landscape customer. You talk with that customer and listen to the job they want you to perform. You spend your time and money to complete the job. Then you process the payment through a credit card transaction. You think the money is now safely in your account. Then out of no where, you get an email saying the customer has filed a charge back. What do you do now? That is what happened to one member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and he shared with us his story on how it played out.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I want to share a story with other landscapers about the importance of saving contracts, authorization of work, emails, text and pictures.

This season, I had a mowing customer do a charge back on me based on unauthorized use of his credit card. Now this is a guy that moved out of state and was renting out his house. He asked me to perform some jobs but I did not have a signed work order.

What I did have was emails of the job description, estimate, when work would be performed and acceptance. I had phone records of him calling me and me calling him back.

When I was notified of the charge back, the credit card company put a hold on his $600 transaction but told me I would have it back real soon. I couldn’t believe he was actually doing this and I waited to see how he proved his email and phone was stolen along with his credit card. Or better yet why I would someone steal all his information and then perform work at his house?
When you have a charge back like this you pretty much have to prove that the goods or services were requested. This transaction went through paypal and paypal froze my account, took the balance left over and gave it to the credit card company. Normally you would deal with the credit card company but paypal is the middle man in this situation.

To resolve the issue, I sent them pictures of emails, phone records, as proof of agreement.
The customer acted like someone fraudulently used his credit card but he’s the one that was committing fraud.

They can hold the money for 75 days. I looked into how paypal handles this and basically they won’t fight for you. They’ll concede the chargeback and do a bull**** investigation that you end up losing.

After the 75 days passed and I hadn’t heard anything from paypal, I called them and they said it is now up to the credit card company. This is what they told me 3 months ago. Looks like I’m heading to small claims court.

I would not use paypal for credit card transactions. As this was going on I did some research and found they won’t do anything for you and they won’t reveal the credit card company so you can’t dispute the charge back yourself. Any other merchant service or bank would fight for you. Especially when you have a writing contract, emails, phone calls, and pictures to verify the work was requested and done. Without knowing the credit card company I can’t force payment if I win in small claims.”

A second lawn care business owner added “in my opinion paypal sucks. I had an issue with them early last fall. Though it wasn’t lawn care related, it taught me a lesson on these charge back issues. I sold a guitar on ebay ‘as is’ and sent the guy that bought it a ton of pictures. He later disputed the sale saying I didn’t disclose all information about guitar. Anyway both ebay and paypal sided with me in the dispute. The thing is the guy cried to his credit card company and they sided with him. The credit card company charged paypal and now paypal is charging me for something they already sided with me on. It sucks. I can’t stand paypal. They have a lock on most internet transactions and that sucks too.”

A third added “I never delete my email because of this fear. I had one client agree for me to do a large spring cleanup earlier this season, he said the amount was fair.

I go to do the job, and after he won’t answer the door when I ring the bell. I even saw someone watching me through a window the entire time.

Anyway, I call later saying I want my money and he says, ‘I never asked you to do a Spring cleanup, I have no idea what you are talking about.’ As if I’m a damn idiot. I got into a shouting match with him and told him to never call me again.

To my surprise, a few months later, he called for snow clearing during the winter, I told him to screw off.

That felt better than getting paid.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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