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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


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pibomarco 4 years ago

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. 

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Isle of Wight … 4 years ago

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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Patrick Allan 3 years ago

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

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Isle of Wight … 3 years ago

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.

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pibomarco 4 years ago

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."

 

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Patrick Allan 3 years ago

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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Karen Buchanan 3 years ago

Some of those sites I've never heard of are any worth trying? HRS, OSTROVO,Hostelworld?

 

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Isle of Wight … 4 years ago

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.

 

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Patrick Allan 3 years ago

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.

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pibomarco 4 years ago

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

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James Arnold 4 years ago

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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pibomarco 4 years ago

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

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James Arnold 4 years ago

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.

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pibomarco 4 years ago

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.

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James Arnold 4 years ago

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

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Patrick Allan 3 years ago

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.

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Isle of Wight … 3 years ago

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.

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Isle of Wight … 4 years ago

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

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James Arnold 4 years ago

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

 

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Isle of Wight … 4 years ago

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?

 

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Stephen Barnett 8 months ago

I think it wrong for guests to pay cash or pay a bank transfer to the host (rather than a third party or independent party) in respect of damages deposits. I have been asked to hand over 600 Euros in cash to a French host (with no feedback history) but the decision about it being returned to me is entirely subjective and unilateral.
Should the host unilaterally deign that I not have the cash returned at the end of the week, that's it!
Booking.com would not be involved in the transaction and they are not obliged to arbitrate should the host be unreasonable or fraudulent.
 

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James Arnold 4 years ago

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

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pibomarco 4 years ago

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. 

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Juanita Rogers 1 year ago

I state in my listing that guests are required to fill in our booking form and self-verify through Superhog, or pay a Refundable Damages Deposit RDD before we will release their access details. This is the equivalent to making a hotel booking via booking.com, then turning up to the front desk of the hotel and them asking for your ID and a credit card imprint.  As we have a no-contact check-in, this fulfils this step.  

Not every guest wants to do this but as it is in our listing (booking.com refused to put it in their "Fine Print" we insist on this for every booking. It's the only way to safeguard yourself from the 1% rogue guests.  If they don't want to do that then we don't accept their booking.  Sadly even last minute bookings also have to adhere to this, so if they don't like it, and they haven't read our listing properly, they find themselves in a very tight spot.  

Superhog works across many self-catering accommodation providers, so once they have verified your guest, they are verified for good, unless they cause issues anywhere.

Don't rely on OTAs to take deposits or claim damages off your guests.