VISA Guide for Hospitality Merchants

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Don Draper's picture
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This maybe should go in as a resource, I'm sure MD/Disc/Amex each have their own too.

http://visa.ca/merchant/resources/acceptance/pdf/tips-for-hotels.pdf

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We have discussed this here before. Yep, I remember reading it, that you can ONLY charge them the one night, even if they booked 7 and agreed to your policies!

I seem to recall it falling into the "you can't charge them for damages on the credit card they gave you" thread.

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Hillbilly's picture
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I'm guessing most people do not know about these rules. We all didn't. You could probably keep your policies and hope for the best. Just keep in mind if a charge back comes in under their guidelines and not yours you will just hav to look the other way and take it!

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Don Draper's picture
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That was what I asked our processor "When was I informed of these policies that I am supposed to abide by?"  She didn't have an answer.  It just stings because it's like playing with a stacked deck, and never knew.  

And the way it is written, my cancellation policy DOES comply with their rules.  I do plan to call and see what I need to change to be "more compliant", whatever that means.  It does seem from this document though, that no matter what if the guest continues to fight the charges, the hospitality merchant will eventually lose.  

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Don Draper wrote:

That was what I asked our processor "When was I informed of these policies that I am supposed to abide by?"  She didn't have an answer.  It just stings because it's like playing with a stacked deck, and never knew.  

And the way it is written, my cancellation policy DOES comply with their rules.  I do plan to call and see what I need to change to be "more compliant", whatever that means.  It does seem from this document though, that no matter what if the guest continues to fight the charges, the hospitality merchant will eventually lose.  

The other thing that got me was the fact that even though you won the initial chargeback, you still had the $25 fee, I do not understand that fee.  Ours states that if you loose, there is a fee.  I would have fought that charge.  Anyone can do a chargeback for any reason - true or a lie, why should the merchant be charged a fee unless they loose the argument?  Again proof the CC companies are only out to make money any way they can.  

Don Draper's picture
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copperhead wrote:

Again proof the CC companies are only out to make money any way they can.  

Unfortunately this is the stark reality of the whole situation.  I wish I could afford not to take cc's, but it's just not practical with our occupancy and level of competition in this area, we'd lose for sure.  

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Don Draper wrote:

That was what I asked our processor "When was I informed of these policies that I am supposed to abide by?"  She didn't have an answer.  It just stings because it's like playing with a stacked deck, and never knew.  

And the way it is written, my cancellation policy DOES comply with their rules.  I do plan to call and see what I need to change to be "more compliant", whatever that means.  It does seem from this document though, that no matter what if the guest continues to fight the charges, the hospitality merchant will eventually lose.  

Mostly because you are one small purchase on that credit card. If the owner of the card never pays the full balance the cc company is making way more money on her than they are ever going to make with cc fees. They don't want to lose her as a customer. They don't care about you because you can't decline to take cards from that particular bank.

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06/24/2008

All this reminds me of a conversation I had with a hotel owner a few months back.  He stated that while they had all these policies, they never charge for a no show or late cancellation (etc).  He stated it was too time consuming to fight the chargeback.  At the time it astounded me, now I understand.  Given they are a large well known chain, 1 late cancel or no show does not break their bank and is likely they can refill the room with in hours if they had been sold out. 

And this is the reason for what we would consider lenient (for the customer) policies as Visa is thinking of the big high-rise hotels with Neon signs touting well known names on major highways.  They are not thinking of the small mom and pop businesses with less than 10 rooms, rooms that when left empty really hurt our bottom line. 

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06/24/2008

Another interesting point, this being how Visa Hotel Reservation service requires your online reservation system to be set up in regards to your policies

Display your cancellation policy during the reservation process.
– This allows the guest to review your cancellation policy before making
a reservation commitment. You can reduce guest inquiries and disputes
by informing your guests in advance of the terms and conditions of your
cancellation policy, and the amounts of fees that will be assessed if
booked hotel reservations are changed.
– The cancellation policy must be:
- On the same screen view as the screen that is used to present the
reservation details, or
- Within the same sequence of web pages that the guest accesses
during the checkout process
– The cancellation policy cannot be a separate link.
• Require that the guest use either the “click to accept” button, or type in his or
her initials to accept the cancellation policy disclosure statement.
• Design your website so that the cancellation policy cannot be bypassed and
must be accepted before the reservation is completed

 

I know with ResKey you have to click a link to read the policies. 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

My policies are right on the reservation form, same page as all the info entry. No links to other pages.

Innkeep's picture
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06/04/2008

I'm set up as a retail account instead of a hotel account.  Do you think that might be a way to get around things?  That's the way Tom W does things.  I must say that I haven't been faced with a chargeback, nor do I take deposits, so I can't say whether that is better or not.

Madeleine's picture
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Innkeep wrote:

I'm set up as a retail account instead of a hotel account.  Do you think that might be a way to get around things?  That's the way Tom W does things.  I must say that I haven't been faced with a chargeback, nor do I take deposits, so I can't say whether that is better or not.

way back, a million years ago, I was told that a retail account with 'low' numbers gets charged more per transaction than a hospitality account with the same low numbers. Not sure how true that statement is at present.

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Madeleine wrote:

Innkeep wrote:

I'm set up as a retail account instead of a hotel account.  Do you think that might be a way to get around things?  That's the way Tom W does things.  I must say that I haven't been faced with a chargeback, nor do I take deposits, so I can't say whether that is better or not.

way back, a million years ago, I was told that a retail account with 'low' numbers gets charged more per transaction than a hospitality account with the same low numbers. Not sure how true that statement is at present.

When we were 1st set up we were set up as retail, a few years ago I changed that because they stated I had better protection from chargebacks etc.  Given the 'new?' requirements, I am not so sure of that.  I may be placing a call to my processor.  It may be worth a slight % change if those policies can be avoided. 

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WHO remembers getting notice of any of this from their processor in 2011?  I certainly did not. 

A very confusing document!  It appears that there are 2 services which a hotel can sign up for:   read the * at the bottom of page 19 where it says;

"*A merchant may participate in either the Hotel Reservation Service or the Advance Deposit Service (ADS). A merchant may not, however, apply both of these services to one transaction"

Personally I did not sign up for either!  I wonder if the processor does that?  And if so, seems THEY should go over that with you prior to selecting. 

Under the info for Hotel Reservation Service On page 19, #3 states:

Explain your cancellation policy. Let the guest know if the rules below (or other  rules) apply:
• Cancellation notification may be required up to 72 hours before the scheduled arrival date.
• If the cardholder makes the reservation within 72 hours of the scheduled arrival date, the cancellation deadline must be no earlier than 6:00 p.m. (local time) on the scheduled arrival date.
• Guaranteed rooms must be held until check-out time on the day following the scheduled arrival.
If the room is not claimed or cancelled on time, the cardholder may be billed for one night’s stay (plus tax).
Point to Remember
If your deadline is earlier than 6:00 p.m. (local time) on the scheduled arrival date,
confirm with the guest the date and time of your deadline, then send a follow-up mailing
with the cancellation policy.

KEY words here are "OR OTHER RULES" -

The rules under ADS are less regimented but it states in the 'Point to Remember' on page 24, that a signed ADS contract must be on file.

Then later on page 25 it states the 72 hr cancel policy AGAIN and if the reservation is made within 72 hrs cancellation deadline must not be any earlier than 6pm on day of arrival. 

Needless to say this all SUCKS!

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

What I don't understand is why hospitality is subjected to these rules and no one else is? Reserve tickets for the theater? No money back if you cancel. Ditto an airplane ticket. So, maybe the cancellation FEE should be the same as one night's stay.

And, did you notice at the beginning that they state we cannot add on charges for damages after the guest has left?

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

OK, on page 19 at the very bottom, does it not say 'If your policy is different...' (Never mind, this seems to only apply to the 'earlier than 6 PM deadline policy.)

And given what they said about more than 1 page of policies, should the cancellation be the first policy listed? Which apparently makes no difference, either given the hang up here is 72 hours.

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