How your health and fitness business can avoid disputes and chargebacks

5 min read

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the government restrictions put in place means that a number of businesses, particularly in the health and fitness industry, are at a significantly higher risk of being hit with chargebacks and disputes from their customers.

The heavy restrictions put in place by the government, while necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of all Australians, have taken a toll on our economy, with further challenges predicted to come.

We understand that now is an incredibly stressful time, with a number of businesses required to adjust their business models quickly to stay afloat.

It has been inspiring to see so many health and fitness businesses adapt to this new environment and move their services online in order to still provide value to their customers.

If you are looking for ways to take your health or fitness business online, you might be able to provide online workouts, live classes, meal plans or online personal training services for your clients. Your priority should be to try to find a way to keep your services relevant and helpful for their clients. For more tips on getting your health or fitness business online, see our guide here.

 

Virtual fitness exercises

 

However, not all of your customers will be able to take advantage of the modified services available. Loss of work, reduced hours or pay is causing a financial strain on Australians who would normally prioritise exercise from their discretionary income. It’s so important to take action now, if you haven’t already, in order to minimise future chargebacks or disputes over payments taken by your business.

Remember, under Consumer Law, it is the business’ responsibility to ensure its members have actively opted in to pay for altered services being provided during this time. We’ve put together a few quick tips to actively reduce the risk of disputes and chargebacks, including:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

Make sure you communicate to all of your customers about the changes you’ve made to your business model and operations, and how it affects them. It’s likely you will need to communicate with your members via multiple touchpoints - for example, email, SMS, phone and social media. Your lowest touch customers are the ones who are the most likely to request chargebacks during the next six months, so make sure to contact everyone, not just actively engaged members.

  • Use an opt-in model

Confirm with your customers if they are happy to still be charged for the new services you are or will be providing. We’ve seen this done in a number of ways, including giving customers the option to choose different services. For example, if you choose ‘Option A’ you will receive some form of value now, such as online courses that will be reviewed once things return to normal, with ‘Option B’ being an opt out of further payments.

Make sure you keep their responses as proof. It’s important not to assume that no response from your members means they are comfortable to keep paying. If you haven’t received a response from some customers and you’ve reached out multiple times, it may be safer to suspend their membership rather than risk getting hit with multiple chargebacks which can be time-consuming to resolve, and not always to your satisfaction.

Ezidebit’s dedicated team works to reduce the impact of chargebacks to your business. Our team members will liaise with the banks that have requested the chargeback to manage any requests you receive. Read more on how Ezidebit partners with you to achieve the best result for your business.

  • Manage your database

Some customers may prefer not to access your new altered services and products. They may be facing financial hardship or the new services may not be suited to their individual circumstances. For those customers who do not choose to continue with your services, it may be better to suspend their memberships so they will no longer be billed for your regular services. People who have not opted in or consented to pay for your new offerings will be the most likely to request chargebacks and create disputes over any payments taken by your business.

  • Keep detailed records

Make sure you keep records of all communications and responses you receive. It will be difficult to obtain complete membership reauthorisation, so it’s important to keep records of your opt-ins. Recording proof of customers authorising payments for your new services will be one of your best defences when it comes to fighting any future chargebacks.

Covering your back when it comes to chargebacks and disputes over payments may seem like just another arduous task you have to do at the moment. It might also seem counterintuitive to ‘wake your sleepers’, but having absolute confirmation one way or the other is the safest way to save yourself a lot of stress and hassle further down the line.