Invalid/blocked credit card

Hi everyone

I have a few properties listed but do not meet guests on arrival as they are given a keycode.  Up to now I have processed payment at check in time.  I have a situation where a guest checked in - turned on 4 banks of lights - then left.  Seems they made multiple bookings and then choose which one they wanted.  I have been unable to process the cancellation fee as they have cancelled or blocked their card and refuse to update it.  Booking.com are not supporting us at all.  Their supposedly guaranteed card is meaningless and they put all the onus on us because we didn't process payment before checkin.  We have never had any issue with our guests.  Why do we have an option to set a cancellation fee when we can't enforce it??

I am very disappointed in Booking.com who don't appear to care.  This was right in the middle of our peak month for the year and we really feel the loss.

Has anybody else had this happen?  Tempted to remove my listings.


Aaltje B.

Hi Perlanegra,

What do you mean by : " turned on 4 banks of lights ? " Can you describe it, please

Perlanegra Bnb

We have sets of lights throughout the property, including in the bathroom. These were turned on, the blind was drawn and all looked like the cottage was occupied. They had apparently left immediately but this action delayed the realisation that they had gone.

Aaltje B.

Hi Perlanegra.

That is a nasty situation.

You may have to find someone to help you with check-in.

Here in the area, we have lots of co-hosts operating and that works.

People can then check in at different times, so you need only one co-host.

Other than that I wouldn't know what to do. The fact that there is someone taking charge will scare the bad guest off and hopefully won't repeat. If that bad guest is still not willing to go ahead or is not having the right credit card etc. at least your co-host has seen the face.

I wish you wisdom and lots of great guests!


All of the OTAs are a learning curve with their different approaches to all policies.

You need to adjust your own policies to make theirs work for you. Unfortunately this means your current loss will remain exactly that. We all learn the same way!

I would suggest introducing a non-refundable advance deposit or even full pre-payment to avoid this happening again.

Out of interest, did you check the card validity at time of booking?