Recourse Against No-Show on Booking.com

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02/07/2019

We had a person no-show after the cancellation deadline via booking.com. When we went to charge their card today, nothing went through. They are a "genius booker" and were responding to texts up until the last few days. Booking said they would charge their card once they updated their information. Did they just use a pre-paid credit card?

We have all their contact info (phone #, address, etc) and they clearly violated their agreement. Do we have any legal recourse against them? 

OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

Legal liability depends on the terms of your agreement with the customer and/or with booking. It also depends on the willingness of the authorities and/or yourself to pursue and enforce that agreement. You could look at your state's innkeeping laws to see if there are any statutory remedies. If the contract the prospective guest entered into by making a reservation is strong, sure you could go to the police to make a complaint, but it seems unlikely that the police or local prosecutors would pursue it as a criminal matter -- rather they would probably turn it back to you as a civil matter. A lot depends on the value of the reservation; if it is just a few hundred dollars, is that worth the expense of engaging a civil attorney?  (I am not a lawyer)

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06/24/2008

Very hard to get compensated when the card you have has been canceled.  The OTA is only liable if they are holding the payment and not presenting it to you.

As others have said the best way to avoid this from happening again is to change your policies and take a deposit OR make the reservation non-refundable and take full payment at time of booking with all bookings through OTAs.  The OTAs do not back the accommodation so we must do all we can to protect ourselves from being screwed. 

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

With BK, we require 100% of the stay at the time of booking, and we run their card. We did this after our first year of business when we kept getting no-shows and bad cards to charge.

Of course, if anyone calls to complain, we point out that when they book directly with us, there's no advance deposit required. wink

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

With BK, we have set a non-refundable deposit of the first night, charged 4 hours after their reservation. The rest is payable 7 days in advance. We have found BK reservations unreliable otherwise.

For direct, we don't charge either... and we have only had one person cancel their card to commit fraud to not pay us... and I picked up the phone and talked to their issuer about it, to get it on file. CC companies don't like people who are willing to use their card to commit fraud, because they are also more likely to defraud them, as well.

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Recourse? No. Future bookings? Yes.

In future run the card at time of booking to verify it is good. Does booking collect the money for you? If they do, keep after them or they will 'forget' the owe you money.

If you collect the money yourself, it's better with the OTA to have a policy of taking a deposit.

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02/07/2019

So are they not legally liable for the cost of the booking if they don't show up? 

Morticia's picture
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Joined:
05/22/2008

NRV Runner wrote:

So are they not legally liable for the cost of the booking if they don't show up? 

If you have their credit card, charge them. If booking has their card, demand payment from them *even if they say the card is bad.*

If they were supposed to pay you, and their card is bad, and they're ignoring you, send a bill. But, be prepared to get nothing OR, be prepared to take them to court.

Also be prepared to fight their credit card company if they decline to accept the no show charge.

I'm pretty sure the short answer is 'no, they are not legally liable to pay for services they did not avail themselves of.'

JimBoone's picture
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12/18/2014

I've never used the OTA's so don't know how that helps or hurts in this case, but truth is some folks like to play games when they book a room they don't expect to use and of course it hurts us, but over time I generally come to the opinion that it is best to just move on and not let it hurt me more by stewing over them, fortunately most folks are nice decent folks.

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