Complaint Management Guidelines

Complaint management is an important part of offering and overseeing a card product. You must follow these guidelines for managing complaints. While you will handle day-to-day customer service inquiries [other than those regarding collections], all customer complaints must be submitted to Stripe (, either directly by your customer or by you on your customer’s behalf. If you elect to forward complaints on behalf of your customers, you must do so within three days after you receive them. Stripe will work with you to resolve any program related complaints received.

So, what is a complaint? A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction with a product, service, policy, or employee related to the Program except those expressions made by card holders who are employees of your company.  

Given that you are responsible for day-to-day customer service, while Stripe is responsible for managing and resolving complaints, it is important to distinguish between customer communications that you should resolve, versus those that you should forward to Stripe for resolution. We hope that these guidelines will help you distinguish between customer service inquiries and complaints. If you are ever unsure, please forward the customer inquiry to Stripe and Stripe can determine whether the communication constitutes a complaint.

Complaint Channels

Complaints may be received through various means, including via telephone, in person, social media, email, a regulatory agency, and direct written communications. Complaints must be forwarded to Stripe via email. If you permit your customers to raise complaints through means other than email, you should either direct your customer to send the complaint through email, or you may summarize the user’s complaint and forward the complaint to Stripe.

Complaint Types

Complaints may relate to a legal or regulatory matter, a financial product or service, a procedure of Issuing or the Bank Partner, or a privacy/data security concern. Most complaints will fall into two overarching types - Product or Service Complaints and Privacy/Security complaints. Product or Service Complaints are Complaints related to your Card Program’s customer service or card product functionality, while Privacy/Security complaints are complaints related to fraud, identity theft, criminal activity (such as robbery or theft), unauthorized product enrollment or access to the customer’s information, honoring opt-in/opt-out and do-not-call requests, etc.  

Complaint vs. Customer Service Inquiry

A Complaint differs from a “customer service inquiry.” A customer service inquiry can be verbal or written and include a request to you for information and assistance related to a card product. This could include address changes, account inquiries, questions about a product’s availability in certain jurisdictions, technical inquiries related to your platform, Stripe’s platform, or a third party’s platform that has been integrated with Stripe’s platform, or request for refund of fees.

The key distinguishing factor that turns an inquiry into a complaint is the customer’s expression of dissatisfaction, which may manifest either in the use of specific phrasing (“trigger words”) or in the customer’s general tone in communicating.  

There are certain “trigger words” that may help distinguish a complaint from a customer service inquiry.

Abuse / Abusive Marital Status (Married/Single/Divorced
Angry Military / Servicemember
Annoyed Mislead
Attorney National Origin
Attorney / Lawyer Opt in / Opt out
Bias / Prejudice Predatory
Deceived Privacy
Disclosure / Disclose Problem
Discrimination / Discriminate Race / Minority / Color
Disgraceful Redlining / Redline
Exploit / Manipulate Regulator / Regulatory
Fairness / Unfair Religion / Age / Disability
Financial Injury Ridiculous
Foul language / curse words Sex / Gender
Fraud / ID Theft Sexual Orientation
Hide / Hidden Sue
Lawsuit Unauthorized
Litigation Unbelievable
Low income / Poor Unfair
Ludicrous Unhappy / not happy

In addition to the trigger words, consider the tone of the communication and reference the examples below when making a determination and consider similar circumstances for Complaint identification.   

Examples of what is NOT a Complaint:

Errors / Disputes

As part of providing customer support, you may be notified of suspected errors or disputed charges. If you or your customer believes that a charge was unauthorized, or if you or your customer believes that an account statement contains any errors, you should contact Stripe immediately. At the latest, you must report any disputed charge or error no more than 60 days after the disputed charge has been posted to your program account. In order to dispute a charge or provide notice of an error, you must provide Stripe with specific information, including details about the authorized user, details about the disputed charge and transaction, and an explanation of your belief that the disputed charge was made in error or was unauthorized. We will review the information you submit as soon as we can, and we will provide updates to you as soon as possible. To avoid late fees and sustained reduction to your available balance, you can choose to pay the disputed charge while we determine the validity of the dispute. If the dispute is deemed valid, we will credit the disputed charge amount back to the appropriate account.