Every streamer heard of donation chargeback at some point, even if they didn’t suffer from it themselves. And most of them encountered fake donations during their career.
These are horrible to deal with, especially if you didn’t prepare yourself preemptively. You can end up with a negative balance on PayPal, get hyped up for nothing, and eventually face legal issues depending on the situation.
1- Donation chargebacks
When a viewer donates money, purchases a subscription, bits, or other merchandise from your channel, they use a credit card. However, depending on the bank and network of the card, these users can dispute the charge so that they don’t have to pay.
According to credit and finance law, consumers have protections against fraud that allows them to dispute charges. But they don’t always do this to prevent fraud, and that’s the very issue. The most common reasons that a cardholder might dispute a transaction are:
If their credit card was stolen and the thief used it to buy Twitch services, then you may see a chargeback. Though there isn’t much you can do in this case since it has to do with legal purposes, keep track of the donations, and make sure to present the evidence to PayPal.
This is when something accidental happens, like when a kid made purchases on Twitch without asking his parents, or just because they pushed the wrong button. People will often warn you in this case, they’ll feel guilty about it and won’t want you to get in trouble because of them.
This is when the customer made a purchase and then claimed fraud, even though they made that purchase purposefully. This is the most annoying case of all, since the donator is clearly meaning to get you in trouble.
While disputes kept internal to PayPal can be resolved through communication in the PayPal Resolution Center (with PayPal serving as the final arbiter), fighting chargebacks (and winning) is all about presenting the right evidence.
To beat a chargeback, you have to show that the charge was valid, the cardholder was not misled, and that you met your obligations as the receiving party.
What kind of evidence is required when the disputed charge is only a plain donation, without any other meaning? This is what we recommend gathering and sending to PayPal:
- The transaction ID and confirmation email associated with the charge. Many streamers use third-party tools that facilitate receiving tips and donations from external payment platforms. Any documentation you receive that confirms the details of the transaction should be part of your evidence packet. (These are often received by mail, and can even be found within the tool, in your dashboard)
- Screenshots, clips, or chat logs showing the donation, or discussion about the donation. It’s always a good idea to thank your fans for their financial support—not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it can prove that the cardholder made the donation intentionally.
- A screenshot of your stream or donation page that includes a disclaimer stating that tips and donations are strictly voluntary, that you do not provide any goods or services in exchange for them, and that they are non-refundable.
While following these practices can’t guarantee you won’t get hit with chargebacks or win every time you fight them, they can provide a good foundation from which to prove to issuers and payment platforms that you aren’t engaged in any shady behavior.
And while you have 10 days only to file an appeal after a chargeback, viewers can file chargebacks 120 or more days after the donation was sent. While it’s usually resolved within a few weeks, it can sometimes take over 75 days.
To conclude with Twitch donation cashbacks in general, here are a few tips you should always apply to protect yourself effectively:
- Don’t cash out right away (whether it is from PayPal or somewhere else)
- Customize your donation panel by adding a few lines of text below: “Donations aren’t needed but highly appreciated. Also they’re non-refundable”. It adds a layer of protection to the eyes of law.
- If you’re tired of encountering issues with “classic” donations, there are other ways to receive money that CAN’T be chargeback:
- Twitch bits are non-refundable on the platform, turn off your donations and tell your chat to send you bits instead!
- Gimbl’s Challenges feature is also a great way to receive donations from your audience: they can add conditions to their donations (like making a certain number of kills in a game), all the actions are automatically detected and recorded, so they’re non-refundable.
2- Fake donations on Twitch
There are a few methods on how you scam a streamer by pretending to donate to them, utilizing three major tools – chat, fake credit cards, and chargebacks. Misintentioned viewers have found ways to make a donation seem real, and unfortunately, Twitch hasn’t been able to find ways to protect streamers from them.
How to identify Twitch fake donations?
While it’s not always the case, there is a general pattern within these trolls. Be careful to these signs, you might actually find out about their intentions:
- The user is a new viewer who has never visited your stream in the past.
- They donated almost immediately after joining your stream.
- Several donations were made throughout a stream from the same person.
- The viewer tried several other ways to capture your attention and take over chat.
Even if a viewer is donating to you with actual funds, there are a few ways where you can assume these funds will be charged back. While you should never call someone out for being a scammer (as there are exceptions to every rule and you don’t want to offend a true fan), you can “write off” the donations immediately in your mind, which will make it less frustrating if a chargeback happens in the future.
How to fight chat fake donations:
It is rather easy to fake a donation through your chat using the /me command, or by programming a bot to do so for you. So I recommend all new streamers ban the /me command from their stream, either in their Twitch backend or through your chatbot. Banning the command ensures that viewers simply can’t use it against you.
Pay attention to details!
There a few really simple ways to make sure you don’t get tricked by fake donations in your chat:
- Look at Your Stream Alerts for Donations, Not Your Chat
If a troll uses the /me command, a donation will not appear on your Stream alert UI. Open up your UI on your second screen or program it into your Stream Deck so that you can double-check your alerts. If a donation doesn’t show, you know that the one in chat is fake.
- Use Different Sound Alerts for Followers, Subscribers, and Donations
Real donations are often accompanied by alert sounds if you set them up properly. Many “clever” trolls will immediately follow your stream after sending a fake donation to make it seem more real. You can combat this by setting up different sounds for each alert.
- Ignore the Fake Donator
Regardless of the reasons why they are there to send you a fake donation, they are looking for your reaction. They want you to either be excited or angry. They don’t want you to completely ignore them.
If you have enough reasons to think the donation is fake, you can ignore them. They will either go away, or try other ways to get you to acknowledge them. Depending on the severity of their subsequent actions, you should either continue to ignore them, mute them, or ban them from your stream.
But in any case, if you’re witnessing such actions, you should report them to Twitch immediately for them to punish the trollers.
Every voice matters to fight it!
Even as a viewer, you should be able to file a report on the Twitch Support page.
- File a User Report With Twitch to Report Donation Fraud
Take screenshots of the donation and any other relevant information you can find pertaining to the fraud, then contact Twitch by filing a user report. Twitch should work with you to correct the situation either by banning the user’s IP address or by taking further steps to the proper authorities.
- Only Accept PayPal or Cryptocurrency Twitch Donations (bits)
While there are issues with PayPal donations, they are typically more difficult to fake than credit card donations. Donations made with bits cannot be charged back or cancelled.
To sum up, you might not win every time when it comes to chargeback, but there are multiple ways to protect yourself on Twitch! Keep tracks of your donations, every piece of information is important to win the fight. And as for fake donations on Twitch, if you’re experiencing this a lot, make sure you turn off the /me command and set up your alerts properly to nullify the trolls’ tricks.
If your defense is rock solid, they’ll get discouraged eventually, and you’ll be able to enjoy your streams and your audience freely!
Stay tuned for another set of tips and tricks to help you develop the best community on Twitch.