Online Therapy Has a Chargeback Problem
Online therapy has taken off in recent years, getting a big boost from the pandemic. Companies like BetterHelp, Online-Therapy.com, TalktoAngel and others connect therapists to clients from around the globe seeking solace over the web. These sites enable payment to therapists via credit card as paying with check or cash is impractical online. However, that also means that with the rise of online counseling has come chargebacks from dissatisfied credit cardholders.
The problems credit cardholders have with online therapists can be placed into two categories: authorization issues and quality of service.
Claims that the therapy provider was not authorized to charge a customer’s credit card usually stems from the business model of these websites, which rely on subscriptions and sometimes provide free trials. Contributors to online discussion boards allege one major online therapy provider charges users during their trial period. They also claim that the checkout page is misleading and designed to charge a weekly based subscription a year in advance. Elsewhere, on Reddit, a user claims that the same website charged them for a subscription even though they had unsubscribed.
Needless to say, if these alleged tactics are proven true they would be grounds for a chargeback.
Receiving poor quality service
As far as quality goes, one would need to prove that the service is significantly not as described to get their money back through a chargeback. For example, the previously mentioned website has a complaint against it with the Better Business Bureau that says, “The amount of contact time I had with my counselors was less than a half hour for the entire month, and hardly moved beyond basic greetings. I essentially paid $260 to have brief introduction text messages with a counselor, be stood up, and then receive awkward late night apology texts.”
Factors affecting chargeback success
What will also affect the likelihood of chargebacks for online therapy is the ease of seeking a refund. Some services will refund you your money if they are unable to find you a therapist within a certain number of working days. Others enable refunds for appointment cancellation with at least 12 hours’ advance notice before the appointment time.
On the other hand, some sites that sell time packages or subscriptions refuse to provide refunds for unused time, except on a case-by-case basis in the event of medical emergency or legal circumstances.
Sites that provide an adequate avenue for recompense in case a refund is requested are less likely to lose chargebacks cases. Companies that make refunds difficult will have more difficulty defending against payments disputes.
In fact, there is a company called DoNotPay that offers to help customers initiate payment disputes with merchants, including against online therapy providers. This makes it significantly easier for customers to request chargebacks, with a company handling the bothersome paperwork and providing advice on what reason to provide for the chargeback request.
Defending against chargebacks
For therapy sites dealing with high chargebacks rates, the first step to getting your chargeback problem under control is making sure your refund policy and terms and conditions are clear.
There should be minimal confusion over what clients will receive when they purchase your service and what they should do when they want to end the service and/or are unhappy with the results.
However, many of the chargebacks you will receive will be illegitimate. To regain this lost revenue without losing focus on your main activity – providing therapy – you should seek the assistance of Justt. We have experience with tricky chargeback topics like subscription billing and we customize our solution to meet your specific needs. With Justt, you will have a hands-off chargeback mitigation solution that enables you to grow your business without getting distracted by the credit card payment dispute process.
Contact us to find out more about how Justt can help you.