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how to take damage deposits?

I use paypal currently for taking damage deposits, but have just had a very bad experience with this. Guest stayed in our apartment and caused significant damage. We tried to with-hold the deposit but paypal returned it to guest and found in their favour since the guest claimed 'goods were not received' despite me explaining this was a damage deposit to paypal and providing photos of damage and invoices of costs incurred to repair and clean the apartment. Paypal did not consider any of this evidence, only that I could not provide a tracking number!

 

I need to rethink the way I take deposits. How is everyone else doing this please? This experience has really put me off!

50 Replies

2
Jkangarloo

We make sure that we have a validated credit card on file, and have the guest sign a disclaimer at check-in that says they are liable for damages. Then we are able to charge the card if there is any damage. I've had guests dispute the charge, but showing Visa the signed disclaimer is sufficient.

You can also ask for cash in the currency of the guest's choice. This makes it easy to return to the guest at check-out (assuming someone is there to check the room). This seems to be popular with airbnb rentals.

1 year ago
7
pibomarco

Collecting damage deposit on the time of check-in by cash. Refundable at the check-out.

’the only person you can trust is yourself’

1 year ago
2
Jack Alty

Cash is definitely the best, however it still has some cons. Paying at the check out is a problem - what if you find a damage later?

10 months ago
2
Jack Alty

That is why I think - bank transfer. Payable back 7 days after the check out time.

10 months ago
2
Houda Auclair

Collecting the deposit in cash is my only solution, I don't have any other mode of payment but one out of two customers refuses to pay at the time of check-in. For the tourist tax it is the same story.
Once in the room, I cannot ask the guest to leave my accommodation, so they stay without paying the tourist tax and deposit.
I can't take the credit card, so I'm trapped.
My welcome email has become an unwelcome email. I must remind you of the check-in and check-out times, the deposit to be paid in cash on arrival, the tourist tax to be paid in cash on arrival. In the end, few clients respond and when they arrive they refuse to pay or sign the inventory ;-((

10 months ago
2
Jack Alty

That's the problem when it comes to collecting in cash. Once you let them in - you can simply remove them. Well, I would do that - but it is my administrator who doesn't want get involved in conflicts.

I just set up a payment by bank transfer, up to 3 days before arrival. If they don't do it I will be sending them e-mails they rather should not come as they will get no keys and will be fully charged - as there are Terms&Conditions on the webpage they accepted when booking they stay.

10 months ago
2
Jack Alty

By the way - I just wonder - is asking which nations cause most of the the damage at your properties "racist"? The problem is statistics still look the same...

10 months ago
7
pibomarco

Houda Auclair:
I beleive Turist tax is same as City tax?

You (or BC) must put the amount of your local city tax in the system. And you choose if it is included in the price or excluded. Even if it is excluded, City Tax is calculated in the TOTAL price on the guest confirmation. In this case guest can not refuse to pay city tax.

Jack Alty:
Saudia Arabia & Izrael

10 months ago
2
Jack Alty

What about Saudi Arabia and Israel?

10 months ago
7
pibomarco

Oh I didn't notice that it was a retoric question?
From these guests I experienced a messier place and higher amount of damages, they also usually have more kids then average. That's why I don't accept children anymore. :) Not puting them all in the same basket though. Some guests are fine.

10 months ago
2
Jack Alty

Kids - yes, it can be some problem. However - I had no damages caused by Scandinavians, Poles, Swiss, French, Belgians, Irish, relatively few by Brits. Even with the kids.

My property is in Spain.

10 months ago
2
Houda Auclair

Hi Jack

Yes city tax. Here call it tourist or stay tax ;-)

I think it depends where we are. I'm in Paris, 500 m from a major station Gare du nord. I receive customers from all over the world for one night and more. Sometimes it is a last minute reservation.
I ask 150 € that I give back at the check-out when the customers give back the key. I give the pass of the common building (35 € that I have to deactivate if someone leaves with + the key of the main secure door to make a copy I need 57 € without counting that a person will have access to my house + the room key) It has already happened that a customer leaves with the keys and refuses to send them because it costs a lot, then stop answering emails.
For the city tax it is clearly written on the site and I make a reminder by welcome email but I have already had as an answer: ask you 4 € haha, I pay but only with the credit card, I have no change or it is not me who booked but an agency and she told me that everything is paid.
I feel like a beggar or tax collector and it's very unpleasant ;-((

10 months ago
7
pibomarco

So your bookings are pre-paid? In that case I would suggest to higher up little the rates and make city tax included. It's worth it.. less stress, less "bad moods", less frustration and it sure is UNPLEASANT. Why would you put yourself in this position on daily basis because of a few euros?

10 months ago
2
Houda Auclair

Pibomarco

In France, the tourist tax does not have to be increased by commission. I was thinking of increasing it a little bit and including it, but the person in charge of accounting refuses to do so because a client can dispute and he will be right.

10 months ago
7
pibomarco

I don't understand. The only reason why not I see is being "greedy". You either pay a commission on city tax or you act as a tax beggar, tax collector and be put in unpleasant situations. :)

10 months ago
2
Houda Auclair

The matter is not greed, it's law infringement. The very principle is that you must not charge a commission on whatever taxes. If you do so it is an offense.

10 months ago
7
pibomarco

In this case this is an offense to Booking.com. You are not charging the commission, Booking.com does. By this logic you should also exclude VAT from the rate, right?

10 months ago
2
Houda Auclair


Booking.com is not responsible for the laws of each country, it is up to each user to find out.
I cannot talk about VAT, I am not subject to this tax.
Thank you for taking the time to answer

10 months ago
1
Eriholliday1905

I cant believe that Booking.com leave us to deal with the damage deposit.

It is very inconvenient as you want a good relation with the guests and if any damages found there is going to be arguments when trying to get that sort it right there if is a cash payment.

Even with Credit card is difficult as I do not have the machine to get Credit Card payments and with Paypal can be difficult as one of the owner mentioned.

I prefer the way Airbnb deals with all the process. Lets hope Booking.com takes this into consideration and do something about it.

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

I 100% agree. It’s ridiculous booking.com leave us to deal with this. Air bnb far superior to deal with just generally in my experience.

9 months ago
2
Jack Alty

I agree. However, I have different problem. Although I am in Airbnb too - 95% of my bookings come from booking.com. I don't know why.

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

We are the other way around. Not sure why that would be? Pricing? We deliberately price booking.com significantly higher to compensate increased hassle involved

9 months ago
2
Jack Alty

I have almost same prices on both platforms. I mean, I reduce them a bit on Airbnb.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

PayPal is BIG NO to everything connected to services. They claim they are IT advanced, when in fact they didn't create a single policy for digital goods.

No to PayPal. In 101% they return money to clients. And be careful, their Protection Program in some countries runs for 6 months! Many people wouldn't mind to earn some money on you, whos face is well forgotten. People, who worked for that Propection Program, if you didn't know, who is that person who shoots well prepared automated templates for such serious topic as your huge expense? No, thats not attorney at law. Its an underpaid Indian guy, who has never been to USA.

So, here are some points (please, share your experience! After discovering many stolen items, I am revising our policies and excited to listen to your Help)

1) you can't collect from any guest, who was dishonest from the very start. Even if magic will happen (you collected!), its not worth of your money and health

2) No to PayPal.

3) No self check out

4) Be brave! Close the door in front of their face, if they don't want to give cash deposit :)

5) everything connected to damages should be done prior and never After. For instance, Booking keeps deleting my posts about stolen items and losses. The question is why, if they are not responsible for them anyway?

6) signing house rules is not a solution for us. My units are for flight layover and next day our client is in another country. Please, correct me, if I am wrong but for police your "house rules" is nothing, it's not an evidence or prove of a crime.

6) taking the guest credit cards details and charge him after? If I am the guest, I would prefer to change the place instead of sharing my credit card details. Host is not a God. Being myself a guest, I experienced Super Businessmen hosts, that were just going crazy over my money.

Besides, hotels are meant to spend money and apartments to save. In the first place we already have a client, who is actually saving his money.

7) some items can be insured. However, I have never heard about insuring towels and bath robes. Who doesn't know, really good ones cost a fortune.

8) Airbnb is not a solution. At least for us. We have clients every day. Airbnb wants that there was no guest After the thief. And where did you see thieves being caught by ala police hosts right during crime? They run away like rats.

UPDATE: after writing this post, Airbnb sent me a surprise (they sent me this not because they read it here) :

"As a valued host, I have taken necessary action and processed your payment request."

I am not removing my post, simply because I am "valued". After removing 5 properties from them...suddenly became valued :)

Jokes aside, it is a Newbie is the one, who needs money most. That's why I am not removing this post.

I honestly do not know who performs better Airbnb or Booking. As Booking keeps distance from that problem. But Airbnb uses our money for advertising and marketing strategy as they brag about their insurance budget. So, partially they are responsible for our damages.

9) Booking is deaf ears. My posts about Reality and not sweet lies that Booking wants to see here, are being deleted

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

We have had a few instances of damage due to air bnb guests and after showing photos of damage and original purchase receipts we were given full payment by air bnb. Paypal absolutely useless as are booking.com. We have now started using worldpay and so far so good.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Hi Beth.
May I know your country of registration with Worldpay? Does it mean you accept credit card payments on your website through Worldpay? As all my properties are located in 3rd world countries, well... I spent several years submitting documents to similar companies and no success. Obviously I am here because Booking created 6 months of stress, not few years.
Kindly share your experience with Worldpay.

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

Hi Katerina, country of registration is UK. We don’t have a website and simply advertise our apartments on booking.com and air Bnb. We send the guests a link to make payment via world pay a week before they will arrive, and refund the payment following departure. Not had any issues yet, other than occasional complaint about fees (if people pay by credit card rather than debit card then 3% and if currency exchange also required may not be a favourable rate. We only pay back what is received (-fees) but warn guests regarding this.

9 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Wait, how do you advertise your payment by Worldpay on Booking and Airbnb? Is your listing for cash or credit card? It's being a big problem for us, that guests do not read (or pretend) messages on Booking. Not to mention Airbnb as people there do not like any additional payments (so diplomatic here, heh)

9 months ago
2
Jack Alty

Sounds good to me. I think you can provide them with a link to payment even via mobile phone - they cannot say they didn't get it.

Anyway, Beth the Dentist, how do you sign up to Worldpay? Are there any problems with it? Is it straightforward?

9 months ago
2
Keba Wilson

I am having same problem on booking.com
How to charge the guest.I use PayPal.me to collect money for first time an it wasn't bad..I would like to try worldpay..if it is international service u can collect money any where in the world on it..these guest they hard work
I like know I get some money from the guest ..before they arrival

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

Hi, as mentioned you can’t advertise that you can take worldpay payments but we just send and e-mail and make sure we outline a damage deposit payment is required prior to arrival in our property policies. People sometimes don’t read it. But they will not be allowed to check in without making payment of damage deposit, so they have to read and respond in the end if they want to stay. Worldpay can accept payments from anywhere in the world. I am based in UK but I am not sure if they have other offices worldwide. I have found them to be very helpful to deal with both via e-mail and on telephone. If you google worldpay paybylink services you will find it. I also have virtual terminal through them, so can take payment over the phone, but hardly use this now as much more hassle especially when people do not speak same language.

9 months ago
2
Keba Wilson

Well try an introduce
To them I am in UK too.for a payment I would like to know how u .download.worldpay to connect to your bank account an percent they charge to use there service.this is my biggest problem on B.D.C payment from guest..

9 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

I would suggest you contact worldpay directly and they can answer any questions accurately

9 months ago
1
Sosmedical

I just want to state that I am 110% with Katerinka. Everything she outlines I've done prior to reading this post and a little bit more that has improved tremendously the collections of deposit monies; nevertheless; through BDC there is ALWAYS a tortuous path for for the host and the guest and unless BDC realizes that they need to do something quickly; other more seamless & progressive portals will have a better effect on attracting all audiences. At this point, I only receive the majority of reservations from BDC in December & January, and they are not significant enough for me to be able to say that I MUST be registered with them or I will loose a lot of business. I have stayed primarily due to SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, because for this they are really good and it helps improve my property rankings in Google.

I'm sharing the below bullet points in hopes to help others in the same boat as me: I'm in Miami, USA, so some of what I experience might or might not be unique to USA; nevertheless it helps.

1.- You must state in the fine print that there will be a collection of $XX as damage deposit and which will be collected 24 hours prior to the reservation. Now; in the payment details; BDC has added a new "clickable tab" which opens up 24 hours prior to the reservation and stays open up to 24 past the reservation date. In BDC "Lala Land's World", they are naive enough to believe that all guests will pay after their departure....this is the biggest joke!

2.- Write yourself a reminder to send a payment request to the guest for additional monies 24 hours prior to their arrival.

3.- Super important to have a "strict" policy in place at all times. This is the only "savior" when you have people that refuse to pay the deposit because what happens is the following:

a.- since you have the strict policy in place, and the exact deposit amount listed in the fine print, the guest can be at your door and you can deny entry if this is not paid. Yes; I just lived through this to the tee: The guest claimed all his party was super tired, they needed to enter because they had already paid for the room, but did not want to accept the "retention" of the deposit money. They claimed that the site was not working and basically begged me to give them entry. I refused and was not even present, I send them the # to BDC, and also called myself to see what was happening. Amidst all this; the guest discloses that he has a pet. I also list in the fine print that there is a $40 dog fee per stay, so then I found myself sending him another request for the $40, which he also refused to pay. The agent from BDC stated to me not to grant him access, and that due to all my requests being stated clearly in the fine print of the listing, BDC would back me up 100% with the monies from that reservation. Bottom line: he lost his reservation money and my property was not held hostage to any guest.

Please note that if you need to collect other fees for which there is no option, like a pet fee, it's also important to write them in the fine print and as ANOTHER SEPARATE line item. You need to write them, then send them for approval to the editing department at BDC and they will re-write in shorter what you expect. It's up to you to proof-read and correct until you're happy with the results.

DO NOT make only one collection of fees; as an example: just one payment request of $240 inclusive of pet fee and damage deposit fee, because here's what happens:

In the "backwardness" of BDC, you are not allowed to claim the deposit in a partial way. If the guest damaged some towels, and all you need to collect is $40 from a $200 deposit, you need to collect the whole $200, or ask the guest again through the "request additional fee tab" post their stay to pay you the exact amount due for the towels. Of course, they would be crazy to do this! Basically it's your call to either keep the whole amount or take up your losses.

I'm truly hoping that my words can make a difference so this portal can correct their money collection method overall because it truly sucks! I don;t even know if they understand how much money they are leaving on the table! At the end of the day; if the deposit monies are all we're going to get for massive damages because BDC doesn't have a host insurance program like Airbnb (it's not perfect, but at least you'll be loosing less for sure), then they should make every attempt to fulfill a very basic need for all hosts with short term rentals, especially because we are not hotels and the expectations are grandiose.

The last guest that I had from BDC stole my TV and did drugs. I did not grant them access unless they paid the deposit. Bottom line $200 that I collected was not enough for ionizing the place, buying another tv, guest book and 6 totally damaged towels, but at least I got the deposit which didn't add to the torture.

4.- When you get a guest through "instant Booking", once the guest accepts the deposit money request, it is automatically delivered to the host as part of the reservation money, so if the guest left the place with no damages, then the host needs to find a way to return the deposit because BDC will not do it once it's in your account. How backward is this??? Keep in mind that you were charged a "transaction processing fee" to receive those funds to begin with, so let's say you now send them back through Paypal or World Pay, they charge fees to receive money, so no guest will receive back the exact money they left as deposit . Totally Brutal Business Practice!

Anyway I hope this helps and leads to a more progressive path of changes within this subject matter from BDC.

Thanks to all that read it and contribute.

Annie

7 months ago
1
Trudi

Hi All, I am on Swiss Bed & Breakfast (only 4 star in ZUrich), an Airbnb superhost, and new to booking.com. 25% of my booking guests so far have cause damages, non of them intentionally, but that does not matter to me because I have paid the bills. I changed my automated reply today to alert Guests that I will collect CHF 150 on arrival as a security deposit for keys and damages that they will get back when they check out based on the suggestions in this thread, thanks. On an aside: Booking is a nightmare, I have increased my prices significantly to compensate for the extra admin, cash flow and costs - the extranet is complex, not able to refuse guests or have damage deposit prepaid, the cash flow is highway robbery (guest pays 50% in Feb when they make a reservation, stayed March 25-April 1 and because the check out is April I will not get a cent until May 15) ...... I am considering shutting down my property here, but as one in the thread mentioned a high percentage of my bookings are from here. I believe that this had a lot to do with the fees and price comparisons, because the host pays, yet the booker sees the low price as opposed ot other properties. SO I have just increased my rates here and am charging for everything, including breakfast that my guests form airbnb get included.

3 months ago
1
Festapamela

I believe that booking should stop being always on the guests' side and start listening to our problems, even if small damages exist and are frequent. booking should in my opinion create as arb bnb the possibility to review the guests and give an opinion on their stay, this invites people to have a decidedly more civil behavior and certainly to have less damage to the structures. the guest feels more controlled and like everybody works to make a good impression and have a dignified behavior!

3 months ago
7
pibomarco

Well you are allowed to collect damage deposits on the arrival by cash, credit card,... ect.

3 months ago
1
Festapamela

it is true, but as you well know this is an annoying thing to ask the customer, and above all it also conditions the check-out because often we do not check out and above all it would seem really rude if in front of the customer one gets to do the hound in home to the discovery of minor damage to his presence that may be in a hurry to leave. I think that booking. should also take care of collecting the security deposit and keep it for at least a week on our behalf.

3 months ago
7
pibomarco

Policies are clear as a day and people understand those conditions.
AirBnB is home rental based platform. BDC is hotel based platform. That's a difference.
Also it's not that easy to collect damage costs on AirBnB, once both stories are presented. So it's more effective to collect damages directly with guests. Also I would never charge a fee for just a minor damage.. In this case I understand why would be annoying or rude.. because it is. Just my opinion.

2 months ago
1
Festapamela

in fact it is annoying that one has to drive around the house and check for any damage in front of the customer, damages that are often not even immediately visible at first glance, so I think that the deposit withdrawn in this way is perfectly useless. let's say we think differently !!

2 months ago
7
pibomarco

Our policy: We collect 50€ damage deposit at the arrival. But we actually mostly don't. Only for particular guests (some) such as AE, India, Israel (bigger families with children) based on the "negative" hosting experiences in the past years. Basicly in 15 years we never had a damage worth the mention caused by the guests and our property accepts up to 50 guests. The only problem worth mentioning that happens (rarely though) is smoking, a broken glass,.. or flooded bathrooms (AE) which annoys me the most.

My suggestion would be that prevention is always the most effective. By that I mean, having strict policies, sending house rules info before their arrival and setting your damage amount higher. You can still collect the money and return it without checking. Once you take the deposit, statistcly the guest will behave because they expect the money to be returned.

Well depends also who are you hosting.. If I would be hosting mostly drunk students ect I would probably change my tactics, but for now everything is fine.

Also you can read on forum how some hosts had difficulties to collect damage deposits on AirBnB, specially when guest say "we didn't do it!".

2 months ago
1
Festapamela

the problem is that it does not seem to me that on booking you can choose who to host ... that's why I think that introducing guest reviews is a useful thing for the whole host community, so that you know who we are hosting at home, and so that guests are concerned about proper conduct!

2 months ago
7
pibomarco

Because you are comparing BDC with AirBnB. Different business model, different guest structure, different policies, different service.. once you'll aknowledge the difference between those two structures (hotel vs home) perhaps you'll understand. Stick to home rentals based platforms then.

2 months ago
5
Mashi Niwarthana

Collecting the deposit in cash is my solution. Otherwise there are no any ways.

2 months ago
2
Tony Clout

So where do we stand with BDC and with the law if the damage is deliberate.

We just had guests who drew faces over a chair which we didn't spot until they had gone and was to late. This amounts to criminal damage in the UK but with an overstretched police force they have more important things to deal with.

It's annoying but going to have to take it on the head as no back up from BDC.

Airlines keep a data base of disruptive passengers which they share amongst themselves perhaps this is something these booking platforms should consider

2 months ago
1
Eriholliday1905

I think Booking.com should take responsibility of this issue and not just making profit from our property.
Airbnb has the damage deposit in place without a problem and it works great for both sides.
The guests then look after the holiday home as they know they’ll have to pay for any damage and the reviews will affect their profiles too.
I had to put prices up to cover damages..

2 months ago
2
Tony Clout

I agree . Although they are more for hotels they still charge us holiday home owners 15% commission so therefore should work with us to stamp out this sort of malicious damage.

If we have to keep putting up,our prices then we will end up not attracting guests and BCM will lose out too so its in their interest to listen to our concerns.

I'm sure the big hotels also have the same but are in a better position to swallow up the losses but for us small business its harder

Whether its a big pricey hotel or a small BandB deliberate damage to your property is totally unacceptable !!

2 months ago
7
pibomarco

Yes they charge 15% but they bring you guests right? If it is so easy to fill your capacities perhaps would be easier to stop selling on BDC and just stick to AirBnB?
Once I was suspended for few months from BDC and that was the time I realized I need them more then they need me. So get of your high horse folks.

2 months ago
1
Beth The Dentist

I started this thread as we had guests stay in our apartment who caused massive damage, to flooring furniture, bedding, towels. We had photos of all this, invoices provided by trades people showing cost of repairs and receipts for new furniture, towels and bedding we had to buy and despite all this evidence Paypal still refunded the deposit payment taken. I received no support whatsoever from booking.com, this guest had no penalty whatsoever. It’s criminal. I deliberately set prices on booking.com significantly higher than air bnb to account for hassle involved but really wish booking.com would review how they support property owners. I now take deposits through Worldpay and, fingers crossed, since I swapped to them I have not had to withhold one, but they have reassured me they are much more supportive in such circumstances. Time will tell.

2 months ago