Pricing

How Houzz Pro Payments are Processed + Client Dispute Information

Once you have Online Payments set up, you can start collecting payments from your clients on documents in Houzz Pro via ACH and credit card. See other helpful articles on Online Payments at the end of this article.

When you receive an Online Payment from a client through Houzz Pro, the following occurs:

1. Houzz fronts you the funds in the amount of your client’s payment through our payment processor, Stripe. This allows us to send you the funds as quickly as possible.

2. Once your client’s payment processes successfully, those funds are collected by Houzz. 

3. Should your client dispute a payment, your customer’s credit card issuer pulls the funds back from your account and refunds your client. This can sometimes create a negative balance for your Online Payments, meaning any payments you receive in the interim, even from other clients or projects, will be used to cover this negative balance until the negative balance is zeroed out. Neither Houzz nor Stripe has control over the funds regarding a dispute. The funds and final dispute result are controlled by your client’s card issuer. 

4. To avoid client disputes, Houzz highly recommends that you discuss credit card or ACH transaction fees with your client so they are aware of them before paying online. You are able to offset these fees to your client or absorb them yourself by adjusting your project settings and Online Payment settings. More on that here - Online Payment Transaction Fee Rates and How to Offset the Transaction Fee to Your Client.

Dispute Process

It is highly recommended that you communicate directly with your client about the dispute to skip the lengthy process of fighting a dispute. You can discuss what happened with your client and they can decide to drop the dispute. You are able to resume payouts once the balance related to your dispute is paid. Your balance can be covered by other payments, via bank debit, or by winning the disputed funds back from your customer’s card issuer. The dispute process can take up to three months to complete in its entirety. Neither Houzz nor Stripe have control over this process. 

If you choose to counter the dispute, here is a more detailed overview of that process from our Stripe partner:

When a client disputes a payment, the disputed amount plus the transaction fee is pulled from your Online Payments balance by the card network until a decision is reached by the card network on who should win the dispute. Houzz Pro and Stripe play no part in the dispute decision itself, but we do provide tools to help you challenge the dispute to give you the best chance of winning. Not challenging the dispute can be seen as an acceptance of the dispute by the networks, so submitting evidence is your best chance of winning the dispute. To do this, please reach out to payment-disputes@houzz.com

When you receive a dispute, you will have one decision to make in the beginning — will you challenge the dispute or not? You should review the dispute claim to understand if you think the dispute was valid or not from the perspective of your client. On top of this, you should assess whether or not you have evidence to counter the dispute. With these factors in mind, you can make your decision on whether or not to counter the dispute. If you choose not to challenge it, you can either ignore the dispute and do nothing, or explicitly accept the dispute.

Depending on the reason your client disputed the payment, there are a number of different types of evidence that you can supply to counter the claim. This evidence should be provided directly to the Houzz Pro Disputes email listed above. For example, a payment disputed for the reason “Product [Service] not received” can be countered with evidence of delivery by the client signing for the goods or a completed work order/estimate/proposal. Regardless of the dispute reason, you’ll want to be able to provide a signed contract, clear documentation of work, documented communication with your client, and clear terms in order to win the dispute. 

The evidence you provide at this step of the process is the only communication between you and the issuer. There are no other opportunities to communicate during this process. Based on the evidence you give, the issuer will make a single, final decision about whether the dispute is won or lost.

The best way to deal with disputes is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This might not always be possible, but learning from past disputes can help prevent future disputes. 

Dispute Process FAQs

1. What is Stripe?

Stripe is a payment processor that powers payments for online and in-person retailers, subscriptions businesses, software platforms, and marketplaces.

2. What is a chargeback dispute?

Suppose your client has decided to dispute a charge they have paid to you. They feel the charge is invalid and they should be refunded for it.

3. How are you notified of the dispute?

You will be sent an email with the following information via email:

“Dispute Issued on [Invoice/Estimate/Proposal, etc. - $ amount of dispute]

Hi there, 

The cardholder related to [Invoice/Estimate/Proposal, etc.] says [Reason code of dispute].

If the dispute was issued correctly, please let us know and we will accept the dispute.  

If you believe the dispute was made in error, please reach out to the customer and have them talk to their bank. Please have your customer request a confirmation letter or email from their bank stating the dispute has been dropped. We will use that information to expedite the dispute.

If the customer is uncooperative and you would like to contest the dispute, please provide evidence and we will issue it on your behalf.  The customer's bank will then decide the final result.

As previously mentioned, the best way to resolve this is by getting the customer to drop the dispute.

Please keep in mind, the customer's bank has complete control over the dispute's result.” 

Additionally, we will begin attempting to collect the disputed amount from you in accordance with the Houzz Pro Terms of Use:

h. Payment Processing Services

ii. Disputes and Repayment Risks. If you are involved in a credit card dispute involving a payment made through or in connection with the Pro Platform, such as a chargeback, you agree to provide us and our third-party payment processor with all information relevant to the dispute. If any funds are withdrawn from Pro Accounts as a result of the dispute or chargeback, you agree to reimburse us within 48-hours of the date the dispute was initiated. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Houzz may obtain reimbursement of any amounts owed to us by instructing our payment processor to deduct such amounts from your payment method(s), deduct amounts from any of your stored payment methods, deduct amounts from future payments owed to you, or by reversing any credits to your Pro Account balance, or through any other lawful means, including by using third-party collections services. You authorize Houzz to use any or all of the foregoing methods to seek reimbursement. It is Houzz's business practice to identify and investigate disputed transactions, suspected fraud, and transactions with repayment risk. Houzz reserves the right to withhold disbursements until Houzz completes investigations of disputed or risky transactions.

4. What should you do after you receive the email?

If you would like to dispute:

  • Respond to the email with a supporting statement that will dispute the reason code the customer provided
  • Respond to the email with supporting documentation that will dispute the reason code the customer provided

If you would like to accept:

  • Pro wants to refund the customer, respond to the email to accept the dispute

5. For what reasons can a client file a dispute against a pro (“Reason Codes”)?

  • Fraudulent Charge
  • Product Not Received
  • Credit Not Processed
  • Product unacceptable
  • General
  • Unrecognized
  • Duplicate Charge
  • Subscription canceled

6. What does it mean when there’s a debit on your account due to a chargeback?

When a client files the chargeback the funds are removed from your account and held by the bank. The debit reflects this process. If the chargeback is won, you will receive the funds back. If the chargeback is lost, the funds will remain with the client. Houzz has NO control over removing the funds as this is an automatic withdrawal from the payment processor Stripe anytime a chargeback is received.

7. When can you expect to see an outcome of the chargeback?

Turnaround time for Stripe is 3 months from the dispute due date. We cannot speed up this process as we are waiting for the banks to decide.

8. After the due date can you submit additional evidence?

No, once a chargeback dispute is submitted, we can not add additional evidence. You need to send everything you would like to submit by the due date.

9. What kind of evidence should your client submit to dispute the chargeback (“Supporting Documentation”)?

Your client will see the following steps they need to fill out in to provide evidence for the dispute.

A. Why should you win this dispute? Pick one:

  • The cardholder withdrew the dispute
  • The cardholder was refunded
  • The transaction was non-refundable
  • The refund or cancellation request was made after the date allowed by your terms
  • The cardholder received a credit or voucher
  • The product, service, event or booking was canceled or delayed due to a government order (COVID-19)
  • Other

B. Description of the Product or service

C. What type of product or service is this? Pick one:

  • Physical product
  • Digital product or service
  • Offline service
  • Event
  • Booking or reservation
  • Other

D. As well, please forward us any attachments you have. Examples of this would be:

  • Supporting evidence
  • Product or service details
  • Invoices
  • Receipt
  • Client communication
  • Proof of delivery/Proof of service
  • Terms and conditions
  • Client signatures

10. Can I speak to someone on the Disputes Team regarding my dispute?

Please reply to the email received by payment-disputes@houzz.com. The Dispute Team does not take phone calls as we need all correspondence via email to submit to the bank for review. Any verbal communication the bank will not accept as legitimate evidence to win a dispute.

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