Reservation refund - how hard is it?

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Okay everyone here is one you might find interesting. I didn't. Since it happened to me.  Here goes:

I reserve one week away this summer, it has to be prepaid, I booked it 6 months ago as this place fills up fast. Yes you can cancel, yes you can be refunded (within 30 days of course of the booked date).

So I have to cancel.

I call.

"This will go back on your credit card." reservation 'counselor' says

Me "I am sorry, that credit card # was stolen, so I have a new CHASE VISA you can use, or you can mail me a refund check."  

Them "We will need to put it back on the same card, that is how it works." 

Me "Well my card # was absconded, the account has been closed, and in fact I recommend no one ever use Capital One Visa again!" 

Them "We will have to send a letter to the financial institution to place the funds back on that card."

Me "You can't, it is closed, there is no card."

Them "Well we will find that out, and then send a letter to the financial institution and they will reply certifying that the account is closed. We will then issue a refund check."

Me "How long is THIS going to take?"

So my $1000 is out there, and I cannot get it back, when I want it back. I am not pleased. I need a clear head to come at this again. If it goes through rapidly, then that would be great, but this is a credit card company we're dealing with (which is why I said Don't use Capital One the "hassle free" is ALL HASSLE!)

Lord I hope none of you make it this difficult. What do you do if someone cancels and no longer has the same card? Refund by check? Or would you do that anyway?

 

 

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JB, glad to know it is 'on it's way'.   You may have received notice during the next billing cycle of the card, even though it was a closed account.  But the issuer of the refund should have sent you notice of how it was handled - poor customer service, IMHO.     CC companies are the worst for customer service and will use that money to make more interest prior to sending it to you.  We were told up to 6 weeks for refunds through our processor as well, can make for unhappy cardholders but little can be done on our end - money leaves our account within 24 hrs of issuing the refund. 

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copperhead wrote:

JB, glad to know it is 'on it's way'.   You may have received notice during the next billing cycle of the card, even though it was a closed account.  But the issuer of the refund should have sent you notice of how it was handled - poor customer service, IMHO.     CC companies are the worst for customer service and will use that money to make more interest prior to sending it to you.  We were told up to 6 weeks for refunds through our processor as well, can make for unhappy cardholders but little can be done on our end - money leaves our account within 24 hrs of issuing the refund. 

I try to let the guest know it is NOT us holding up the transfer. I come right out and tell them that I have refunded them and the money has been taken out of my account. That the cc companies are happy to take money away but not so happy giving it back.

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PS Capital One rep said this is how long it takes to issue a refund. I said I own a business and can issue one RIGHT NOW. One minute after I tell the person I am doing it!

 

Generic's picture
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Actually, it's a game that the CC companies play. You see, until the refund comes, they can charge interest. Visa/MC rules say that they only have to process the credit at the end of the month, not immediately, even if they have the whole thing electronically. So they do, because it gives them a better chance of making money.

Same as the nonsense with the cheques. they process all the withdrawls first and see if you are in overdraught. Then after they process all the deposits. So they have a chance to charge you for NSF, even if you have money to cover it.

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Same as the nonsense with the cheques. they process all the withdrawls first and see if you are in overdraught. Then after they process all the deposits. So they have a chance to charge you for NSF, even if you have money to cover it.

I will say this for my bank...they process deposits first and then withdrawals. Lucky for me! But, I do know the big name banks want you to 'fail' so they collect all the fees. This is a small town bank so maybe they operate differently. (Still no interest on my savings, tho. Basically it's just there instead of here in case of fire or theft, otherwise it would be doing just as well under the mattress.)

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I remember a time when interest rates were so high and the banks were prevented from paying anything over 5% that they were promising you toasters and other stuff if you opened up term deposits. My parents once got a coffee maker in Florida.

Madeleine's picture
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When I issue a refund via a cc I tell the guest it may take 6 weeks.

Madeleine's picture
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When I issue a refund via a cc I tell the guest it may take 6 weeks.

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Madeleine wrote:

When I issue a refund via a cc I tell the guest it may take 6 weeks.

and yet, when we go to Lowe's which we do, often, the refund is there within 48 hours. Amazing, aye. I guess GETTING THE MONEY is the issue. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

When I issue a refund via a cc I tell the guest it may take 6 weeks.

and yet, when we go to Lowe's which we do, often, the refund is there within 48 hours. Amazing, aye. I guess GETTING THE MONEY is the issue. 

When we decided to start taking deposits I called the processor to find out the best (read cheapest) way to do that. We went over the deposits and the refunds and that's when they told me it might take 6 weeks for the bank to refund the deposit. I really don't know if it has ever taken that long. Maybe because we're not big time like Lowe's, etc?

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And so the saga continues...

I am actually getting my $1000 back in the form of a check by the credit card THAT WAS CLOSED, in 14 days from today, hopefully.

They issued a credit back to the CLOSED credit card. There is no email or snail mail notice telling me this. I call and find the $1000 credit sitting there, on this closed account. The credit will be refunded via a check in 60-90 days.

MY MONEY! I paid it all already, now another 60-90 days! I did all of this on Jan 24, it is not Feb 11. They said, well if you have any charges then it will go against the credit. THE ACCOUNT IS CLOSED!

Anyway, my money, my reservation is almost back to me...not that we need it or anything in the flippin' off season!!

Madeleine's picture
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So if you hadn't checked you wouldn't have gotten the money for anotheanotheranother 3 Months?

Pardon the typing...my tablet does not like the forum.

seashanty's picture
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ps  with all the credit card fraud out there, SURELY the banks have a system in place for legitimate refunds!  

and yes, new and naive and wanting to do the right thing, i felt so bad being accused of trying to charge her twice is why i rushed to send a refund.    frown

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Our US bank accepts Canadian checks and will give us face value IF the writer of the check has noted "US" next to the dollar sign or after the amount. If they don't do that, then we are hit by the exchange rate. I don't think we have any other fees for Canadian checks.

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Generic's picture
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Except that if I took deposits, they would be in CAD. And the person would be hit with not just that exchange, but also a loss or gain on the exchange based on the rates of the dates of those transactions. Plus of course the banks 1% to 3% on the exchange. All around a losing proposition for them. And if I wrote out the cheque, my loss on the credit card transaction fees as well. It's a big losing proposition for everyone.

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JB, since I don't take deposits as normal course, I wouldn't have had the problem. But if I did, my procedure would have been to tell them that I have to process it immediately to the card. If the bank refused it for any reason, I would call back at the number listed on the reservation and we could proceed from there. I would want to make sure that I'm speaking to the right person. And I would want to make sure that it couldn't be charged back.

There is another problem that I have that you wouldn't, which is foreign currency exchange. Because I don't know what you would do with a cheque in foreign currency at your bank and I don't have a business account in your currency. At that point, I would have to get (and pay for) a draught in your currency. (See one of the reasons I don't want to deal with deposits, foreign currency problems and arguments.)

I likely would actually have called my processor, who would have put me through to your processor who would have verified the closed account, before I called you back, though.

Just my being prudent. I don't even talk to a bank when they call me. I ask for their extension and call back the main switchboard and then dial through to their extension, just to make sure that they are, in fact, my bank. Yup, I'm that suspicious. Amex has called me several times and I always do the exact same thing, they all understand and know why I do it and sometimes I have even had them thank me for being so careful.

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Let's say 'if' you had sent her a check in Canadian funds and she brought it to her US bank...it's $20 to cash that check here. It has to go thru the Fed and they charge $20.

We had a check issued on a US bank from a Canadian company and they not only charged us the $20 they also didn't pay us the face value of the check saying they had to do a currency exchange into Canadian and back to US because the company was Canadian even tho the bank was US.

We lost money all the way around. (Except that it was a totally unexpected windfall from a beloved tante.)

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for myself as the customer - I would ring the bank and ask for a charge back - we had a similar situation  and I could smell money laundering a mile away - chap booked over the internet while we were out at the cinema (ie no phone answering) rang 4 times while we were in the cinema just sent it to voice mail - he rang a 5th time after we got out super insistant that his card be charged straight away as it was a university issued card and it was going to expire - said I would be said to dh if he doesn't cancel in three days ill eat my hat - 2 days later he rang to cancel (what a shocker) wants the money transfered to XYZ account - said I am not doing that as it is money laundering plus the money hasn't cleared in my account and I am not refunding it till ive got it! plus it is a $40 fee for international  transfers. Told him to go to the bank and ask for a charge back - 2 more women also rang in connection with this - told them my bank said to tell you to do a charge back (which they had) never heard anything and kept the money! bonus!

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sorry, jb!  what a mess!

while innkeeping, i took payment by credit card from a woman ... not knowing that her husband had given payment over the phone the night before ... different names, different credit cards.  he said it was for a stay 'next weekend' which i took to mean the following weekend.

i misunderstood and thought it was a future stay and reserved the same room for him and his wife for the next weekend.

(reason #1001 for not trying to do it all by myself)

being naive and new to it all, when the wife called middle of the following week  ... extremely upset that i had been 'paid twice' ...

i explained what happened, cancelled the nonexistent reservation (and then had my best room wide open) and she wanted her money back NOW so i mailed her a check.

you guessed it.  she didn't even wait for receipt of the check i mailed, she filed a charge back with the credit card company. 

by the time i discovered that she had filed a charge back ... she had cashed the check i sent. 

i could not get the money back from her for the check ... she kept saying that was her refund and i would say 'but you are getting your money back from the credit card company, too ..... so i won't be paid at all.'

and i went round and round with my credit card merchant account  people who scolded me soundly for not refunding by the credit card i was paid with.  i have lost track and i don't know if i ever recovered the $250 from the cc company. 

hard lesson to learn but after that i would not issue a credit card refund by any other means unless i had proof in hand that the card was defunct.

just telling you this whole thing to see that side of it.  but i really really hate the way the credit card system works sometimes.  your money will come back 'eventually' and can take months!

 

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seashanty wrote:

just telling you this whole thing to see that side of it.  but i really really hate the way the credit card system works sometimes.  your money will come back 'eventually' and can take months!

 

Whenever I issue a refund I send a confirmation of refund email. I tell the guest that it make take up to 6 weeks for THEIR credit card company to give them back THEIR money. If I speak with the guest on the phone I tell them the same thing and add, 'Yes, they take the money away from you immediately, wait 4 days to give it to me and then take it away from me immediately and wait 6 weeks to give it back to you.'

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I think that I would do the same thing as Copperhead. 

I have to tell you that I had a couple of outstanding gift certificates when we closed and I sent a letter on my inn letterhead with a refund check from my biz account to the purchaser.  I never heard "thank you" or anything else from them.  I did have to make sure that they cleared my account before I closed it.

Cap One is the worst!  My son got one when he went to college to use for emergencies.  They were awful on fees, etc. and I had to intervene and help him to get these bogus fees removed.  I wrote more than one letter!  He was young and didn't know what to do.  Unfortunately, it was a good lesson for him. angry

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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I recently read an article by a consumer advocate recently that's similar to what you're going through. Check this out

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

I recently read an article by a consumer advocate recently that's similar to what you're going through. Check this out

Interesting.

I just wanted a check mailed since the card is no longer valid. Yes 6 seconds to charge a card, 6 to 8 weeks to get a refund, go figure. 

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Thinking about this a while, this is what I would do.  I would take all the information and say I would get back with them.  I would wait til the next day and call the number(s) I had on file for that guest.  Once I was assured that I had been speaking to the actual guest, I would attempt to run the credit to the card on file.   Once I received the can not process (denied or what ever), I would call the card company to verify the card was not valid.  Then I would go ahead and issue a refund by check and send it to the address on file.  I would never issue a credit to another card.  That seems to be enough verification to me; but I am small potatoes, larger companies may have had more issues.  Sad we live in a society that we can no longer trust.  

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I also hate Capital One. Got my statement and paid it off. THEN the next month I got another bill for "interest" on the amount I had paid off the month before. Chop - chop - chop resolution of that card!!

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I had that happen with JCP eons ago only worse, we owed about 15 on the bill, but their min. payment was $20.  We sent in $15, they refused as they required $20 min.  Said they would put it as a credit for future.  Nope, not on my DH account.  We called they finally agreed, by that time there was interest we were unaware of.  Got another bill for the interest, there again min due $20.  - JCP lost a good customer!

Capital One, terrible banking practices.  They bought out my bank a few years ago, all our accounts for the entire family & my club accounts were there.  They pulled a number on our sons account - cost him several $100 dollars until Mom and Dad went in.  They nixed the fees after we pointed out their error - something they would not hear by our son.  Closed all our accounts.  Clubs closed theirs & many club members did as well.  Each stated our Son's name and the issue as the reason.  Sure it didn't have any affect on the bank, but that branch manager knew what hit em!

 

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So if this were a guest calling, would you do the same?

Yeah, I understand why. Heck when I am at the school, there are no two parents who were the original two parents of like any kid there. That sounded weird, but the kids have diff last names, the parents, the guardians, the grandparents, there is always a dispute of some kind.  So I wouldn't trust either. I have not had it happen to me yet. I don't think. I think I would send the original person a check. I have had people NOT the reservation name pay for a room or rooms, then have to refund them.

Still not happy.

I blame blasted Capital One for this too! They were horrid. 

Madeleine's picture
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What I might do is just call in the number. Like I was trying to run the card and it didn't work. Just call the processor and get a confirmation that the card is declined. I don't think they would tell me the card was canceled but if I had an auth number I would feel better about that. THEN I could send you a check. It would cost me $1 but you're gonna pay the cancellation fee so I'm all set. Eye-wink

Madeleine's picture
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Unfortunately, I would also want proof that the card has been canceled. A couple of reasons:

  1. That it is really the person who made the rez canceling it and not someone just wanting your $1000 for themselves. (Same thing for a GC someone wants the money from...we put it back on the card we took it from.)
  2. That, once I mail the check, the person is not going to double dip and call their cc and say we won't issue them a refund. Sure, I could show the cc company the canceled check but it's a big hassle for me to have to do that and to notice that the funds were removed in the first place.

Still, I understand what you're saying. If only everyone were as honest as we are we wouldn't have these crazy hoops to jump thru.

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