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How to recover the damage deposit?

I have had tremendous frustration trying to contact Booking.com. My guests have trashed my house. How to I prevent them from recovering their deposit? Shouldn't the answer be easy to find? Jim

21 Replies
1408 Views

8
pibomarco

It's up to you how are you going to collect damage deposits.  Either by cash on the arrival or you could request a prepayment via bank transfer, credit card, PayPal ect...  You have quite a few options in extranet under policies. You personally handle damage deposits, not booking.com. 

1 year ago
7
Isle of Wight …

Hi James, Sorry to hear that - we had the same problem with BDC customers earlier this year.

BDC do not collect a damage deposit on our behalf, even when using Payments by Booking.com. We have to collect it ourselves via cash or bank transfer etc. BDC don't make it very clear that they don't collect it themselves - when you use Payments by Booking.com, it says that payment is collected by bank transfer, and it says the same for the damage deposit, so at first, I was under the impression that BDC collected this for us in the same way that other OTAs do. It was only later that I found out otherwise .....

BDC say they will not take damage deposits for hosts because they don't trust us .... those are the words of BDC .... they treat us like criminals for wanting to protect our properties and future guests.

If you have not taken a damage deposit manually, then it probably hasn't been paid and you can't recover anything.

BDC advised me (after having the same issue as you) to use the "Report guest misconduct" button. You can find this by finding the reservation and opening it, and the button is on the right hand side.

BDC have also advised me that although some of our listings show damage deposit is collected in cash on arrival and others say bank transfer, we can collect all of them by bank transfer. They advised that we set up an automatic message which is sent when guests complete the booking - the message includes instructions and bank details for guests to pay their damage deposit. If guests don't pay it, we firstly have to report them as non-payers to BDC, who will then phone the guest to get them to pay.

This solution only helps a bit, but also highlights another issue with BDC - guests don't read messages in their inbox. So, BDC advised that we change the Fine Print from Property > View your descriptions and then scroll down to The Fine Print and click "Can't find what you're looking for" or "Request a change". You then send the wording you want and they edit it and add it to The Fine Print. This is then displayed on the booking confirmation page which they often print out and bring with them. The booking confirmation page includes directions and other information.

Getting this far with BDC has been very painful .... they could make it so much easier by simply authorising the guest's card at the time of booking in the same way as other OTAs .... but as above, BDC are very clear, they don't trust us .....

 

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1 year ago
1
Patrick Allan

I hear you.  This sounds like a lot of hassle with the Fine Print method.

Has that worked for you?  My assumption with BDC is that they have always dealt with big hotel chains and these chains have the resources to hold, process and manage security deposits.

BDC did not account for the BnB market, hence the lack of:

1) Addressing Security Deposit collection

2) Improving message communication between guest and host

7 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

All guests so far this year have paid the deposit. I have had to discuss it with 2 of them on the phone - they were fine about paying it, but didn't understand why Booking.com were so different to AirBnB and why Booking.com make things inconvenient for guests and hosts. They've said they'll probably book through AirBnB in future, or if they stay with us again, they'll book direct with us rather than through Booking.com.

7 months ago
8
pibomarco

Which other OTAs are those (and are not HOME based platforms)? I didn't see this feature on other HOTEL based OTA's. Expedia, HRS, OSTROVOK, even Hostelworld.  If you think collecting damage deposit on AirBnB is easy, it's not (based on the comments from airbnb hosts). The fact is, that it is hard to prove, specialy if the guest does not admit his guilt. That's why it is "easier" to collect damage deposits yourself.  That's how you get paid on AirBnB for the damage caused by the guest. :)  "unfortunately we decline your request as our accounting department is unable to verify the validity of the invoice/document you provided.

I understand this is not the outcome you were hoping for. I want to reiterate that this decision was made after careful review of all documentation and communication, and is in alignment with our policies and procedures.

Please be advised that, per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with regard to these disputes. We are unable to reconsider the decision made in this case — we've issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly.

As further communication will not change the outcome of this case, we must respectfully disengage from further discussion."

 

1 year ago
1
Patrick Allan

At least with Airbnb you can submit a claim with supporting photo evidence.

This has been very effective for small losses and it keeps guests conscious of treating you place with care.

Airbnb also has a million dollar property host guarantee for up to $1 million USD

I would like to see BDC implement some of these measures now that they have entered the home based market.

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7 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

pibomarco - Oh yes, it's never easy to actually claim against a damage deposit and guests always have an option to dispute it.

We see the main purpose of a damage deposit as encouraging the guests to take a bit more care of the property. It works. They normally leave properties clean and tidy.

A few days ago, guests were cooking dinner and it "exploded" up the wall. They cleaned up but unfortunately took a bit of paint off the wall. They were very apologetic. It was only a bit of paint, took us 5 minutes to paint over it, so not the slightest bit worried. We accept that accidents happen. Of course, they get their damage deposit back and we get a maximum score review - that review is worth much more in future bookings than a few pounds to repair or replace something.

AirBnB make it easy for us to protect our properties and our future guests by collecting (or reserving the funds for) a damage deposit for us. BDC refuse to do this because (in their words), they don't trust hosts.

 

+1
1 year ago
1
Patrick Allan

I so agree with you on both.  The deposit creates awareness and causes a deterrent for guest damage. It also bought out an acknowledgement of responsibility from the guest.  Had you not have had the security deposit they would probably have never admitted to causing the damage.

Secondly, by having the guest take ownership it creates a more relaxed atmosphere and prevents the blame game on both reviews.

7 months ago
8
pibomarco

I agree. We never charged for accidentals.. In most cases I don't even collect damages, except for some specific group of guests.  I also think it's kind of fair statement. Not all hosts are fair and angels if we look at the wider picture. The same is with guests. This can be exploited. I understand why Booking.com wants to distance themselves from this. Because it's complex, hard to prove and we would be waiting even more for the customer support due to busy lines lol

1 year ago
2
James Arnold

Something has changed. My guests prior to those who trashed the house are complaining that I have not released their deposit. I have never been asked to release a deposit before. How would I do so? This cannot be related to my desire to withhold the deposit of the subsequent guests, as Booking.com has managed to keep themselves unaware of that problem. 

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1 year ago
8
pibomarco

1. How did you colect the deposit amount? 2. What is your policy in extranet regarding damage deposits? 

1 year ago
2
James Arnold

Here is the information on my account:

Damage deposit

  • Your guests pay a damage deposit of: €100
  • You collect the damage deposit by: Bank transfer 
  • You collect this from your guests: Up to 7 days before arrival 
  • You return the damage deposit by: Bank transfer 
  • You return this to your guests: Up to 7 days after check-out

... But I have never seen a deposit nor returned one.

1 year ago
8
pibomarco

This mean, that you can colect damage deposit by sending them your bank account details and a deadline (after the guest made a booking). Obviously you didn't do so. Meaning you can explain to the guest, that you didn't colect damage deposit and they can check their bank statment if so.  To receive a damage deposit, you must request it first from the guest directly.

+1
1 year ago
2
James Arnold

Thank you. Apparently, the guests' deposit is somewhere in the atmosphere, or they mistakenly believe they provided it. I'll ask them for details.

+1
1 year ago
1
Patrick Allan

This is what I was afraid of.  Possible false guest claims of having paid a deposit.

I think it's good practice to have an official 3rd party Security Deposit company collect the deposit with a standard invoice.  If the guest cannot produce a copy of such an invoice then they were never charged the deposit.

7 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

I always do it by bank transfer - I go to great lengths to explain to Booking.com that we must have an electronic record of the deposit being made and the refund being made to protect the guest and us See what I said above about the message template and The Fine Print. Don't take no for an answer from Booking.com.

+1
7 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

As pibomarco says, if you didn't send them your bank details, they haven't paid it, so nothing to return to them.

1 year ago
2
James Arnold

The guest has provided 2 documents to prove he provided a deposit.

 

1 year ago
7
Isle of Wight …

As above, Booking.com do not collect the damage deposit for you. You will need to have given him your bank details for him to pay the damage deposit. Are those your bank details shown in the photos? Is there a record in your bank account of his payment?

 

1 year ago
2
James Arnold

Ah, thank you. No, that is not my account.

1 year ago
8
pibomarco

This looks like a booking confirmation.  Let him show you bank statment where it is clearly shown that 100€ was deducted from his bank account. 

1 year ago