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What is a copy request?
Card issuers typically initiate copy requests when cardholders question or dispute transactions appearing on their billing statements. They may also initiate a copy request for legal reasons such as to comply with a subpoena. An issuer sends the request to the appropriate acquirer for fulfillment. The acquirer has 30 days from the date it receives a copy request to deliver a copy of the related sales receipt to the card issuer via a method that shows proof of delivery. Your acquirer will advise you of the number of days you have to respond to a copy request. You must follow your acquirer timeframe.
How to respond to a copy request
Depending on where sales receipts are stored, your acquirer may be able to respond on your behalf or may need to send the request on to you for response. If you receive a copy request, retrieve the appropriate sales receipt, make a legible copy of it, and fax or mail it to your acquirer within the timeframe specified. Your acquirer will then forward the copy to the appropriate issuer. Upon receipt, the issuer will then send the copy to the requesting cardholder. The question or issue the cardholder had with the transaction is usually resolved by this means.
What happens when you don’t respond
Fulfilling copy requests is very important, as is copy legibility. When copy requests are not fulfilled, or not fulfilled in a timely manner, or the copies are illegible, they could result in a dispute or compliance action. So, if you store sales receipts, it is always in your best interest to respond promptly and properly to copy requests.
Keeping copy requests to a minimum
To minimize the number of transaction receipt copy requests, follow these guidelines:
- Ensure that the transaction information on the sales receipt is complete, accurate, and legible before completing the transaction. A receipt which produces an illegible copy may be returned because it cannot be processed properly. The growing use of electronic scanning devices for the electronic transmission of copies of sales receipts makes it imperative that the item being scanned be very legible.
Make sure your establishment name is recognizable to your customer.
- Verify that the name your merchant bank shows for you on the statement is the same as the name you show on the receipts you give your customers. (Generally, the name used for settlement should be the name you use for your business signage.)
- Double-check your establishment name by purchasing an item in each of your outlets on your Visa card and check the merchant name and location on your monthly Visa statement—will your customers recognize transactions made at your establishment?
Avoiding illegible transaction copies
When your acquirer requests a copy of the transaction receipt from you, it must be photocopied and/or image-scanned. The copy should then be mailed or electronically sent to the acquirer. If the transaction information on the original transaction receipt is too light, too small, or on colored paper, the receipt will not copy or scan legibly. Since an illegible copy defeats the purpose of the copy request, the transaction may be returned to you as a chargeback for “Illegible copy.” Unless the readability of the transaction receipt can be improved, you may end up taking a loss on that transaction. To avoid causing illegible transaction receipts:
- Change point-of-sale printer cartridge routinely — Faded, barely visible ink on sales receipts is the #1 cause of illegible receipt copies.
- Change point-of-sale printer paper when colored streak first appears — The colored streak down the center or the edges of printer paper indicates the end of the paper roll and diminishes the legibility of transaction information.
- Keep white copy of sales receipt — Give customers the colored copy. Colored paper does not copy as clearly as white paper and often results in illegible copies.
- Handle carbonless paper and carbon/silver-back sales receipt paper carefully — Silver-back paper appears black when copied. Any pressure on carbonless and carbon-back paper during handling and storage causes black blotches, making copies illegible.
- If your establishment microfilms sales receipts, make copies from the microfilm at the same size as the original receipt — Reduced images result in blurred and illegible copies and could result in “illegible copy” chargebacks.
- Position the company’s logo or marketing messages on sales receipts away from transaction information — Your company name, logo or marketing message printed across the face of sales receipts can make copies illegible and cause you to receive “illegible copy” chargebacks.