My First Real Crooks...I think

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

After just over 5 years in business, I think I've run across my first real crooks. So, I guess that's not too bad, but that doesn't console me!

ResKey, my reservation system, collects the first night as a deposit when they book. Using the stored CC info, I have ResKey collect the balance due for the stay on the day of arrival.

Friday I had a 2-night reservation arrive (I'm not there, but I know when they arrive because the door keypad sends me a text message when they enter their key code). As usual, I ran the card on file for payment of the balance. About 1 in 100 are declined, and this one was. Usually it's a reservation made months ago, and they've changed cards or it expired or something. This one sort of stood out because the reservation was made just last month.

I always fear the worst, and my first inclination is to cancel their door code so they have to contact me. But ALWAYS in the past, shortly after I send a "your charge card was declined" email, with an online payment link, the payment comes through, along with an email or text message of apology and explanation. So I'm always glad I don't follow my first inclination, to lock them out until they pay (for one thing, I'm afraid they'll break a window to get in to their stuff).

So Friday night I sent the "your card was declined" email. No response. ResKey shows me when they open an email I send, and it was never opened. I re-sent it Saturday. They didn't open that one either. OK, understandable. They are traveling and probably not checking email. But ResKey sent them an automatic receipt at 4 a.m. today, and they DID open that one! Uh-oh!!

The ones they didn't open have subject "Your charge card was declined" along with the name of my inn (so they don't think it's spam). The receipt email they did open just has the subject "Your MY INN receipt".

So I drove down to the inn at 8 a.m. and of course they are gone, along, apparently, with the $204 they still owe me. They may be waiting until they get home to deal with payment, but I doubt it. If I were the confrontational sort, I'd have knocked on their door Friday night when the card was declined. But I'd rather take a beating than confront someone, so I've taken my well-deserved financial beating. I want to punch somebody, but I know I need to be punching myself.

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All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

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What is your cancellation policy?  Ours is 14 days and if they cancel under 14 days then no refund.  So I run their card once there is less than 14 days before they arrive.  That way I'm guaranteed they are paid in full before they show up.

Arks's picture
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MidwestBB wrote:

What is your cancellation policy?  Ours is 14 days and if they cancel under 14 days then no refund.  So I run their card once there is less than 14 days before they arrive.  That way I'm guaranteed they are paid in full before they show up.

Had not thought of it that way before, but yes, after the cancellation deadline, they owe the money whether they show up or not.

Arks's picture
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He texted me today at noon, saying he'll make the $204 payment this evening when he gets home. I let him know it's only $54 still due.

He's still a crook in my book. He left knowing I hadn't been paid, and he ignored the emails I sent about it. But he's not the worst kind of crook. He didn't spray my driveway with water and charge me for sealer.

Lee2014's picture
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  Glad to hear that things are working out over there!

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Anon Inn's picture
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Arks wrote:

 He didn't spray my driveway with water and charge me for sealer.

LOL I knew a lady who got taken by that one.  Sad

Morticia's picture
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We had a couple leave early without paying. 3 nights. I called and got no answer. For hours. Then they landed. Called right back, appalled that the card was bad.

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Arks's picture
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Morticia wrote:

We had a couple leave early without paying. 3 nights. I called and got no answer. For hours. Then they landed. Called right back, appalled that the card was bad.

If something is missing at my home, I always think, that housekeeper took it! Then I find it a few days later. Every time.

Same with the guests at the inn. Every time something is missing, I assume they've taken it, then it turns up a few days later.

It's wonderful, and we're very lucky, that almost everybody who walks in the door is as honest as we are. I wish I could trust them more, but I don't know them!

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06/24/2008

It's wonderful, and we're very lucky, that almost everybody who walks in the door is as honest as we are. I wish I could trust them more, but I don't know them!

99.9% are honest.  We just don't know when that .01% is going to come through the door.  sadly our policies have to be set up to cover that small percentage of people.

Glad all worked out for you. 

 

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

Yay ... I think they just maxed out. Just didn't want to talk to you about it because they were embarrassed and/or had no way to come up with the 204.  Hopefully you will get the remainder soon.

Pass the beer!

 

 

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Wow, some great advice! I'd given up without a fight. I was assuming the card was cancelled or something.

I tried running the $204 again. Still declined.

So I tried $100. It went through! Cheers

So I tried $50 more, and IT went through!

Tried $25 more but declined. So they're right at the edge of the credit limit. Maybe I'll get the last $54 in a few weeks. I'll keep trying. Thanks for the advice! I will sleep well tonight. 

Anon Inn's picture
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Yay!  Happy for you.  yes

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Some people still do not know that the car rental holds a large deposit on the rental. They don't realize that hotels do the same and don't always release the money on checkout.

Be careful hitting the card for small amounts. That triggers security calls to the card holder. They may then tell the credit card people they did not authorize those payments.

PhineasSwann's picture
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Keep trying to run the card manually for the next six months. Assuming the whole number isn't invalid or changed, they might slip up and actually leave enough balance to pay you. 

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InnSemiRetirement's picture
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Just a suggestion, and of course, you don't want to create all sorts of rules for one bad apple.

Every unhosted place I've ever stayed requires payment in full before the day of arrival - at least a week, and often a month. Maybe now is the time to make that change? 

 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

That stinks. And, it's the reason no one gets the code here if their card is declined.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Morticia wrote:

That stinks. And, it's the reason no one gets the code here if their card is declined.

They paid for the first night at booking time, so had to give them the code for the night they paid for. But in the future I MUST get up the gumption to go get that balance due if the card's declined for balance payment.

I held out some hope that they left a check for the balance after opening the receipt showing the balance due. No such luck. At least they didn't trash the place!

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Did you try the card for a lesser amount?

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