How do disputes work?

Disputes are confusing. Period. In fact, we spend most of our time answering this very question. Basically, a dispute is filed by a cardholder or issuing bank, and received by the acquiring bank who passes the information to the merchant. The card networks sit at the middle of the process, facilitating the movement of funds between the parties. For more insights on how disputes work, be sure to read The Dispute Lifecycle (for Analysts).