Tis the Season - For Chargebacks

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GoodScout

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I love the post-holidays.

Tis the season when all the people who got charged because they cancelled their Christmas-week stay (the busiest and highest-priced week of the year for us) the day of or day before their arrival, discover on their credit card bill what we already told them: That they were going to be charged for the whole stay.

Then they initiate a chargeback and I spend the weeks submitting all the documentation while their money is sucked out of our bank account. In the past, I've won a few and lost a few of these. (Handy tip: If your online booking engine has a mandatory checkbox that says they accept your cancellation policy, and the guest booked online, it's hard for them to convince the cc company they didn't agree to your terms). But the gall of blocking out long stays during my holiday week, my turning away dozens of other guests, and then them leaving me with a big empty hole of $350 a night lost revenue is amazing.

So far I have three chargebacks- two of them were out-and-out last-minute cancellations within days of arrival. The third was where the guest called us an hour after their scheduled checkin time to try and cut their 2-day stay to 1 and get a full credit for the first day.
We were nice enough with one of two Christmas cancellations to reschedule them to January ... and then they cancelled on us again three days before arrival! They were shocked! shocked! that we wouldn't run the risk of losing the revenues from a third five day weekend for them!

I'm worried that playing the covid card may get them what they want from the cc companies. The double-reschedule twice told us their kids had covid, first one and then another. I'm not sure why I should lose $2,000 in revenues twice because they can't wear masks and keep their teenagers vaccinated, masked and safe.

Ah, looking forward to seeing if I'm a chargeback winner or loser. It's like going to Vegas, except I don't get any free drinks or hookers.
 

Arks

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I hear you. There are no Solomons out there trying to split the risk. The guests want it all their way, with 100% refund and would never consider anything like a 50-50 split. I'll bet airlines and big hotel chains don't lose many chargebacks on their no-refund deals. When they say no, the customers know it means no.
 

Arks

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I'll bet airlines and big hotel chains don't lose many chargebacks on their no-refund deals. When they say no, the customers know it means no.
Whew! I just fought my way through this with Hilton. I had booked 3 nights at the train station Hilton in Memphis. I picked the no refund reservation because I KNEW we were going to go, or die, the night before our train left for New Orleans at 6:45 the next morning. (Boarding a paddle wheeler for 7-night "cruise" NOLA to Memphis.)

Then we got a message from AMTRAK Saturday: your reservation has been canceled. We're planning track maintenance that day.

OMG!! So I rebooked our train trip for the day before, and contacted Hilton and said, I'm not asking for a refund (total reservation for 3 rooms $800+). Just need to move it to the previous day.

No way, Jose. The deal was, no cancellation, no changes. BUT, they said there's a loophole. If you book a non-refundable Hilton reservation anywhere in the USA, any date, we'll refund your reservation for a $50/room fee. So I booked the cheapest Hilton I could find, a reservation I'll never use, and bit the bullet. So, it cost me a $300 to get a refund of $800+. I came out ahead, and so did Hilton.

I'm not real happy, but it could have been much worse. I'll never take a non-refundable rate again. Just too many variables and headaches. Not worth it.
 

GoodScout

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Our new answer when guests ask "what happens if we have to cancel less than 30 days before arrival?" is we send them the links to travel insurance companies.
 

muirford

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American Cruise Lines? We were supposed to do that cruise two years ago, and were planning the same thing. I was really glad to have trip insurance then but it still cost us over a grand to cancel and not reschedule.
 

Generic

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...BUT, they said there's a loophole. If you book a non-refundable Hilton reservation anywhere in the USA, any date, we'll refund your reservation for a $50/room fee. So I booked the cheapest Hilton I could find, a reservation I'll never use, and bit the bullet. So, it cost me a $300 to get a refund of $800+....

We had two bookings in Europe for the Summer of 2020. One was for a single night, the OTA cancelled the reservation and tried to pocket the money. We discussed with MC and followed their instructions and filed a chargeback on the day or arrival for the reservation.

The other booking was for a week, non-refundable. I have a cousin who lives not far, so I asked if we could just change it to his name, considering the pandemic. Hotel said sure... OTA said no. Well, I reminded the OTA that I'm a partner. They came back with an offer of charging me 10% to move it to a credit instead. Hey... better deal. We took the credit and used it for 2 vacations.

Personally, we have giving GC to guests for non-refundable reservations depending on how soon they notify us and the reason. If they are regular guests, we are letting them cancel at N/C, since it's a long term relationship.
 

Arks

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American Cruise Lines?
No, American Cruise was too expensive. COVID permitting, we're doing NOLA to Memphis in March on THIS BOAT from the American Steamboat Company. They say it's the largest steamboat ever built, though I seriously doubt it's steam-powered!

None of the travel insurance plans I looked at provide coverage for cancellation due to COVID, but I'm sure there are some...at very high cost. Extremely risky to book travel right now.
 

Silverspoon

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No, American Cruise was too expensive. COVID permitting, we're doing NOLA to Memphis in March on THIS BOAT from the American Steamboat Company. They say it's the largest steamboat ever built, though I seriously doubt it's steam-powered!

None of the travel insurance plans I looked at provide coverage for cancellation due to COVID, but I'm sure there are some...at very high cost. Extremely risky to book travel right now.
Arks, you might check out this company. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coverage | Travelex Insurance
 
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