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Innkeeper Test: Guest credit cards all declined - 'can I barter for my stay?' What would YOU do?

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seashanty

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guest credit card declined.
second card declined. guest presented me with third and last card - i ask, 'is this one going to be approved?' he shrugs. uh-oh. declined.
this is a person who does not offer to pay by check. i don't think his check would clear and have zero confidence as third card was a debit card ... that would be money coming directly from his bank account. quadruple uh-oh.
he is supposed to stay three nights ... but there is no payment on the horizon.

i collect payment at check-in so the 'guest' and i are at in impass.
he counters with, 'can i barter for my stay?'
hmmmm ... i am flying solo. i could use some help around here. he looks healthy and strong. but ..... i know nothing about this person. other than that his initial $100 deposit paid months ago is mine. what about liability issues? what about a possible injury to him? and why has he shown up at my door most likely aware he cannot pay for his stay?
what would you do???
(i will tell you what i did after i 'hear' your responses.)
 

egoodell

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I would not let him stay. Once he has stayed, how are you sure that he will do the work that you need? It's like paying a contractor before the work is done.
He sounds a bit like a con artist to me, arriving knowing full well that his card is no good.
Riki
 

gillumhouse

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I think I would be inclined to say that I was sorry, but this is a business - BUT in view of your current situation what will YOU lose? What is his barter offer? It has to be something YOU can use or else it is worthless. I am all for sticking it to your former "partner" after what you have been through. (You are so nice though that you probably did something that will benefit her.)
 

Redbirds

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I would also not let him stay. Gillumhouse, I agree. This is a business. What would retailers do if 3 credit cards were declined? He couldn't buy the merchandise. I wouldn't take a check, either. You have no explaining to do as an innkeeper. But you can ask him to pay cash. Sounds too fishy to me. I bet he knows his credit cards have been declined before. Then again, there's always the possibility of the credit cards being "demagnetized" somewhere.
So, I would tell him where a bank is and only accept cash. What did you end up doing, Seashanty?
 

swirt

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Not sure if his deposit covers his first night....if it does (or comes close), let him stay one night and then send him on his way.
 

YellowSocks

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Oooh... I like Swirt's answer.
Part of me is all in favor of barter... but I'm a hard mistress and he'd better be strong and healthy. Or have something to offer I really need.
Part of me is very dubious of anyone who has three cards who decline. Like, "call the police we have stolen cc's here" dubious. Like "the one and only murder my town had last year was a guy who had five or six different ID's and stolen cc's on him" dubious.
I bartered for my new artwork in the Art Department... but the guest was paying to stay here for eight weeks. I traded a room night for her parents and an upgrade to a much nicer room for the last three weeks of her stay for it.
=)
Kk.
 

Morticia

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I guess it would depend on what he was going to do for his side. But it seems pretty obvious he knew the cards were bad and did not offer to pay cash on his own as an embarassed person would. He wants to stay for free, bartering whatever skills he has. Interesting proposition.
Given that you are leaving in a week, I'd say, 'What the heck. Why not see where this goes.'
 

inncogneeto

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Maybe...stay one night...but only if you can get him out the next day if he doesn't pay!
Otherwise, git to steppin'!
Why are you even considering this????
Protect yourself SS!!!
NO, do not let him work for you!
 

Sanctuary

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While I do like to barter, the "introduction" of this one makes me say NO WAY. To invite a complete stranger into my home who I know doesn't have a dime and needs money/cash -NO WAY. My concerns go far beyond merely "collecting" on that one.
When I barter, it's with folks I already know, not complete strangers.
 

scrambled_eggs

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I would absolutly not let him stay. It wouldn't be a good idea having someone you don't know bartering and working for you in trade for a room. They might try and steal something or even hurt you. Having a working credit card is very important and the bill should be settled at check in so neither you or the guest has to worry about it again.
 

hawley

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I too think it sounds like a con artist. He knows the cards aren't good. If you let him stay, you will probably have to call the police to get him out.
In the time he is there he could really damage your business, steal cc numbers etc.
What can he do to use for barter. If he is going to clean rooms, then you are liable for his actions. If he is hurt, you are liable.
If it were me, I would send him on his way until he came back with cash. He probably has enough on him or in his car to take care of him, but he doesn't want to use it. I have run into that with people that can't come up with rent money when rent is due, but they have cable, they have cigarettes, they have gas, etc.
 

Copperhead

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At first I agreed with Swirt. He has covered his 1st nights lodging (?) with his deposit.
Then I started thinking ... 3 cards, one a debit, declined yet he still shows up on your door step. How did he get there? By car, plane, train, boat... what ever way it cost $ to travel. If he had no money, why was he there? No offer of a sob story or anything?
No way would I let him stay in my home with my things and especially ME under the same roof. He may be a scam artist or worse...
 

seashanty

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I told him I was sorry, no.
Was I tempted? YES!
I could really use some help.
Nice looking guy, v-e-r-y nice looking ... is this the classic con man, or what? charming you, disarming you, with a smile ....
But, sadly, this is a big, bad world and I know it. Some of those serial killers are so good looking (not that he is a serial killer).
If he wanted to propose a barter arrangement, why didn’t he contact me about it ahead of time? Or, when he got here, instead of handing me card after card (I declined to touch one more card after the third one), why didn’t he tell me his situation?
Maybe he has lost his job and is just sort of living out of his car and going from place to place.
The initial charge went through months ago for the deposit … no protest of charge … address matched bank records … so I believe the card(s) are his. But what if they are not? What if the real ‘john smith’ has a lot of credit card debt and didn’t notice the $100 charge? I know people who live on credit and don’t monitor their accounts (very un-smart). Or, like my dad. In the last months of his life, he let others make credit card purchases and bank withdrawals. Over the past two years, my dad had no idea of his financial situation.
What if this man just wanted access to the house, to see the layout, so he could return and rob it or do other mischief? He would have a key to the house, he could make a copy and then return at some point.
What if he really would have just done work around here to stay ... but was injured while working on the property? I would not be covered by our insurance.
He may have been hoping I would charge his card at checkout. I recently stayed at a place that did that. Maybe he would have been long gone early that morning. Maybe one of the cards would go through by then.
Maybe he hoped that, being a little tiny fishing village, we’d be unsophisticated and have one of the old credit card gizmos that you run the plate over the card and you mail in your batch every couple of days. Then I would NOT have known his card was no good and would have catered to him, being a guest paying top dollar for three nights in slow season.
Anyway, after I told him I was sorry he could not stay, he simply said. ‘Oh well’ … got in his NICE newish car and drove away.
I jotted down his license number and wrote down what happened. Then, after thinking it over, I called our local sheriff (that's our police dept) just to ask advice. Felt a fool -- the person at the office kept saying things like, 'so ... no crime was committed? do you want to file a complaint? what exactly are you reporting?' I left the info anyway, just in case.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Someone with three cc's declined, there might be a liability issue (theft).
I would send him away. Is he on his own or another person with him? I would give him a half hour to round up the $$ or else hit the pavement. You are not running a YMCA.
 

Penelope

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I told him I was sorry, no.
Was I tempted? YES!
I could really use some help.
Nice looking guy, v-e-r-y nice looking ... is this the classic con man, or what? charming you, disarming you, with a smile ....
But, sadly, this is a big, bad world and I know it. Some of those serial killers are so good looking (not that he is a serial killer).
If he wanted to propose a barter arrangement, why didn’t he contact me about it ahead of time? Or, when he got here, instead of handing me card after card (I declined to touch one more card after the third one), why didn’t he tell me his situation?
Maybe he has lost his job and is just sort of living out of his car and going from place to place.
The initial charge went through months ago for the deposit … no protest of charge … address matched bank records … so I believe the card(s) are his. But what if they are not? What if the real ‘john smith’ has a lot of credit card debt and didn’t notice the $100 charge? I know people who live on credit and don’t monitor their accounts (very un-smart). Or, like my dad. In the last months of his life, he let others make credit card purchases and bank withdrawals. Over the past two years, my dad had no idea of his financial situation.
What if this man just wanted access to the house, to see the layout, so he could return and rob it or do other mischief? He would have a key to the house, he could make a copy and then return at some point.
What if he really would have just done work around here to stay ... but was injured while working on the property? I would not be covered by our insurance.
He may have been hoping I would charge his card at checkout. I recently stayed at a place that did that. Maybe he would have been long gone early that morning. Maybe one of the cards would go through by then.
Maybe he hoped that, being a little tiny fishing village, we’d be unsophisticated and have one of the old credit card gizmos that you run the plate over the card and you mail in your batch every couple of days. Then I would NOT have known his card was no good and would have catered to him, being a guest paying top dollar for three nights in slow season.
Anyway, after I told him I was sorry he could not stay, he simply said. ‘Oh well’ … got in his NICE newish car and drove away.
I jotted down his license number and wrote down what happened. Then, after thinking it over, I called our local sheriff (that's our police dept) just to ask advice. Felt a fool -- the person at the office kept saying things like, 'so ... no crime was committed? do you want to file a complaint? what exactly are you reporting?' I left the info anyway, just in case..
seashanty said:
I jotted down his license number and wrote down what happened. Then, after thinking it over, I called our local sheriff (that's our police dept) just to ask advice. Felt a fool -- the person at the office kept saying things like, 'so ... no crime was committed? do you want to file a complaint? what exactly are you reporting?' I left the info anyway, just in case.
Very smart
Good for you!
 

Morticia

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I told him I was sorry, no.
Was I tempted? YES!
I could really use some help.
Nice looking guy, v-e-r-y nice looking ... is this the classic con man, or what? charming you, disarming you, with a smile ....
But, sadly, this is a big, bad world and I know it. Some of those serial killers are so good looking (not that he is a serial killer).
If he wanted to propose a barter arrangement, why didn’t he contact me about it ahead of time? Or, when he got here, instead of handing me card after card (I declined to touch one more card after the third one), why didn’t he tell me his situation?
Maybe he has lost his job and is just sort of living out of his car and going from place to place.
The initial charge went through months ago for the deposit … no protest of charge … address matched bank records … so I believe the card(s) are his. But what if they are not? What if the real ‘john smith’ has a lot of credit card debt and didn’t notice the $100 charge? I know people who live on credit and don’t monitor their accounts (very un-smart). Or, like my dad. In the last months of his life, he let others make credit card purchases and bank withdrawals. Over the past two years, my dad had no idea of his financial situation.
What if this man just wanted access to the house, to see the layout, so he could return and rob it or do other mischief? He would have a key to the house, he could make a copy and then return at some point.
What if he really would have just done work around here to stay ... but was injured while working on the property? I would not be covered by our insurance.
He may have been hoping I would charge his card at checkout. I recently stayed at a place that did that. Maybe he would have been long gone early that morning. Maybe one of the cards would go through by then.
Maybe he hoped that, being a little tiny fishing village, we’d be unsophisticated and have one of the old credit card gizmos that you run the plate over the card and you mail in your batch every couple of days. Then I would NOT have known his card was no good and would have catered to him, being a guest paying top dollar for three nights in slow season.
Anyway, after I told him I was sorry he could not stay, he simply said. ‘Oh well’ … got in his NICE newish car and drove away.
I jotted down his license number and wrote down what happened. Then, after thinking it over, I called our local sheriff (that's our police dept) just to ask advice. Felt a fool -- the person at the office kept saying things like, 'so ... no crime was committed? do you want to file a complaint? what exactly are you reporting?' I left the info anyway, just in case..
Never a dull moment is there?
You were right to call the sheriff. I doubt they're as dumb as that conversation sounded. They should know that someone trying to get free room and board by having bad credit cards IS theft of services.
Heck, we called in that 'innkeeper in distress' scam and our police dept sent someone out. They didn't DO anything except talk with us, but at least I felt as if I had tried to do something helpful, just in case the Innkeepers whose name was being used got into some sort of trouble because of the scam.
 

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