A retrieval request, also known as First Request or Request for Information (RFI) is a request of a copy sales draft to verify a transaction. It can be instigated by either the card issuer or the card holder.
A retrieval request is usually done with the aim to clarify information about transactions that have not been recognized to verify if they are legitimate or deceitful.
Merchants are required by the card associations to file receipts for informative purposes or in case a dispute arises. The time lapse to which merchants are obliged to store sales drafts varies depending on the Card Company. In the case of Visa they have to be kept for at least 3 years, whereas in the case for MasterCard they have to be stored for only 180 days. However, when it comes to taxes, merchants are expected to preserve the drafts for around seven years.
Although RFI are non-financial queries, it is essential to promptly react to them because otherwise they might turn into a chargeback, a fine or any other pointless financial loss.
In the United Kingdom, a response has to take place in a period of 14 days from the date of the RFI. In contrast, in Canada and the United States merchants are usually given only 10 days to respond. Failing to respond to a request for information within the given timeframe will result in the loss of representation rights after a chargeback has been processed and even additional fees may apply. In other words, the chargeback and its supplementary fees will be granted to the card user and the merchant will have no recourse against it.
It is extremely important to adequately respond to a RFI by providing as much information as possible about the transaction, because there is a possibility that it could lead to a chargeback if the issuing bank considers that not enough information was provided.
Response to the request for information has to be given by means of a legible sales draft copy and it should include the following information: