Just as I always have, every Sunday evening I sit down and work on my vacation rental business for a few hours. I generally update my vacation rental listings, send my housekeepers an updated cleaning schedule, input door codes into my Schlage link locks, charge credit cards, send updated invoices showing that I charged the guest’s card and send directions to my guests. And last Sunday was no different than a usual.
Monday morning I received a reply email from an updated invoice from one of my guests. It said, “Christine, my credit card company called me on Sunday to verify the charges for the rental payment. I totally forgot about the rental payment and I did not recognize charge so I denied the charge. This morning, I checked my email and only now did I realize that the charge was for the rental. Can you please verify whether or not the charge went through?”
Okay so this is a first! I have never had anyone deny the charges (on purpose or by mistake). So my first call was to my credit card merchant account company to see whether or not the charges did indeed go through. As of that moment, it had. But they told me if the card holder denied the charges, it would show up on my account as a charge back. My best bet would be to call the card holder and have them immediately call their bank and see if they can authorize the charges. If the renter is not able to get the denial reversed, it would show up on my merchant account as a chargeback, which would have fees associated with it and could affect my credit standing (and rates). Since all of this happened on a Sunday, there’s a good chance that it will indeed be able to be reversed with no problems. I contacted the renter immediately and had him call his bank. This time, everything worked out—disaster averted.
But this got me thinking. I have had my personal credit card company call me to verify charges that I have made. It seems that the fraud departments are becoming overly cautious. If this happened once, it could certainly happen again.
So, yet again my rental agreement enters its next evolutionary phase—I added another clause to my rental agreement stating if the renters deny the charges (even by mistake), then there will be a $50 fee added to their balance. I have also altered my “verbal spiel” when taking reservations. I am now telling my guests that there is a chance that their credit card company may call to verify the charges and if they do, be sure to approve the charges!
After renting my homes for 15 years, even I still have to tweak my agreements on occasion.