37 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2019 1:22 PM by koko RSS

    Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh

    dinamight Contributor

      Hello All, glad for any advice / comments you can give.

       

      We had a family of four stay at our vacation rental, booked 4 nights. Two hours after arrival they said they wanted to leave because the 12yo daughter wanted to go elsewhere because she was "paranoid" and they wanted a refund. We said we were sorry to hear that but we can't give refunds on that basis and we hoped she would feel better after a good night's sleep.

       

      They left the next morning and again asked for a refund - they also gave a variety of different reasons (house too warm, nothing to do etc). We countered each of their arguments (explained how to cool the house, gave a list of activities etc). She then said she wanted her damage deposit back immediately so she could give us a review.

      Obviously she was threatening us with a bad review and indeed, she gave us a 1-star review and called us dishonest, the house was filthy etc. Okay, it upset us at the time but we now think a 1-star review is almost inevitable in this business.

       

      Now, 3 months later, she has issued a chargeback against us. There were two separate payments, the first about $880, the second about $1200 (including $500 damage deposit, which we refunded in full). She has issued the chargeback against the second payment only, and for only $380. That's not the amount of one day, two days or three days so we have no idea why she picked that amount. I thought I had also read once on here that people can only do chargebacks on the full amount or nothing.

       

      First of all Yapstone told us there was no reason given for the chargeback. After we called them twice they revealed to us that the woman had stated that "the area was unsafe for children". I had a look back at the lengthy email exchange we had (through VRBO) at the time and nowhere did she mention safety. It was only in her review that she brought that up (along with many other made-up complaints) because we are on the oceanfront (rocky cliffs) and we have a swimming pool - something which is of course mentioned in the listing.


      The only sticking point is that we say that we don't allow children under 13 but as so often happens, people ask if they can bring their 11yo or 12yo and we usually say yes.

      In this case she did not specifically ask if bringing the 12yo was okay and now I suspect she intends to use that against us, by pretending to have not realized the restriction.

      But can she really do this 3 months after the fact? And for such a random amount?


      Thank you 

        • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
          dinamight Contributor

          Just to add some context:

          - we are somewhat familiar with the chargeback procedure, having helped a neighbor fight one (and win) when guests stayed at his place and tried to get a refund later because of a supposed bug infestation. That was an open-and-shut case but still took months.

          - we are a Premier VRBO listing with 48 5-star reviews, one 4-star review ("restaurants too far away") and the one 1-star review mentioned previously.

          • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
            feibus CommunityAmbassador

            Consider yourself lucky so far.  Out of $2K, you only lost $380.  I'd move on instead of trying to chase it.

            • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
              bestsiestakeyrental Contributor

              Sorry to hear you're having to deal with dishonest guests and a chargeback. I had a similar experience and got nowhere with Yapstone. They issued the refund to the guest, regardless of the circumstances. It's a no-win situation for us, the hosts. As another host suggested, just try now to move on and forget it.

              • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                sage Senior Contributor

                Generally a chargeback may be filed within 60 days of the date the charge appears on a billing statement. The first payment of $880 may have been outside that window, so it may be only the $1200 second payment for which a chargeback might be filed.

                 

                As for filing for $380, perhaps there was some rationale, and a chargeback may be for less than the full amount of the payment. For example, if

                you ordered 10 boxwallers, each costing $95, but you received only 9, and the seller refused to send the missing boxwaller nor to refund the cost of the missing one, you might fairly keep the 9 and file a chargeback in the amount of $95 for the missing one rather than for the full $950 for all 10.

                 

                It certainly would help to see exactly what was submitted in the chargeback application, but it is possible that by asking for that you would open yourself up to be hit with the chargeback fee, typically $25, on top of the $380. The terms and layout of your rental agreement could be critical in determining whether the credit card issuer would decide in favor of you rather than their customer.

                • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                  green_mango Active Contributor

                  I vote for NOT letting it go - submit your info - emails, texts communication etc., contract. 

                   

                  As for the random amount, a cardholder can dispute any amount, up to the amount paid, so that's good that they only disputed a small portion. 

                   

                  I'm currently waiting to hear back on my 1st chargeback - could be up to 90 days...  guests seem to be gaming the system, that's for sure

                    • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                      dinamight Contributor

                      Thanks! What reason was your chargeback for?

                        • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                          green_mango Active Contributor

                          My guests signed a contract with a certain # of guests and guest names, but there were some "last minute changes" which meant 5 extra adults would be in & out for a few nights of the main group's week long visit - so instead of following my contract and kicking everyone out, I tried to be nice and offered to charge them a prorated charge for the extra guests ($600).  They paid at time of visit.  The guests stayed.  Then 2 months later they decided they didn't want to pay anymore. 

                            • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                              dinamight Contributor

                              Did they give a reason? If they stayed the whole time then I think you have a very very good chance of winning.

                                • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                  green_mango Active Contributor

                                  Oh yes, they stayed the whole time - paid $300 upon arrival for 1 extra set of guests, and paid $300 for additional set of guests upon departure (told me they changed minds and weren't coming, so don't charge them - but my cameras showed they came, and so I sent them a bill & they paid).  Reason given was "product not as described" - but yes, they stayed in full, paid in full, and then disputed. Both additional invoices were paid by guest (not just automatically charged by me), and both said "non-refundable additional guest fees" and both had contract attached.  Sometimes credit card companies just don't care - but I hope it works out as it should. 

                              • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                bestsiestakeyrental Contributor

                                Guests booked a stay about two months in advance and paid only the first installment (half the total). Although they received reminders from HA and from me, they never responded. I even called the guest's phone number and when asked for her by name I was rudely told she doesn't live there and was hung up on! The day before their arrival date I called HA to confirm they hadn't paid, hadn't any further communication, and the booking was considered cancelled due to non-payment. But the next night I received a call from someone (NOT the name of the guest who booked, NOR the name of the person who paid the first payment!). She rather aggressively said they couldn't get in and how fast could I get over there to let them in the condo! I explained the reservation was cancelled due to non-payment. At first they denied, then lied, then said they'd like to pay me cash for the balance owing. I explained it doesn't work that way. I overheard communication among at least 3 adults. It all sounded like trouble. Oh, and they told me the reason I got hung up on when I had called their provided number... they assumed I was a bill collector! Then they said they'd call HA and make the 2nd payment and could I come now and let them in. I got on the phone with HA and had excellent customer service. While talking with HA, the guests called me back, and the HA rep offered to wait on hold. The guest lied and said they'd just spoken with HA and paid and all was good and could I just get over there now and let them in! HA confirmed that none of it was true. When I told the guests that HA just confirmed to me that the reservation was indeed cancelled and the guest had not phoned or paid, they stumbled and said they'd call HA and get right back to me. I never heard from them again.

                                BUT... then I got the chargeback notification from Yapstone and it all went downhill from there. Yapstone clearly has no interest in hearing anything out. They will always honor chargeback requests. I think hosts on HA are screwed when/if they encounter scam artists. I lost money, but I'm really glad they didn't get access to my condo.

                                  • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                    vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                                    You may have lost money but it sounds like you would have had a ton of damage and still had the chargeback if the guest had stayed. As much as it must have hurt to get the chargeback and not earn revenue for their stay it sounds like you really dodged a bullet!.

                                    • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                      coopercirclehouse New Member

                                      It is important to realize that the person you spoke to is almost certainly not the person who is asking for the money back.  That person is the person whose card was stolen by the jerks on the phone.  Kudos for keeping them out of your house, too bad you were still out the entire amount...assuming you weren't able to rent it.  The system is ripe for stolen credit cards and homeaway/vrbo appears to be doing nothing about it.  I was just threatened by a vrbo customer service rep that if iIcanceled in advance a guest who would not give me a photo ID,  it would be counted against me.

                                        • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                          feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                          Well, if you cancel, it's counted against you.  It's not a threat, it's just what happens.  You may have perceived it as a "threat", but the CS rep is just telling you the rules.

                                           

                                          On the other hand, if the guest won't give you a photo ID, I don't see any reason to let them into your home.  Hopefully you have all this spelled out clearly in your rental agreement, so that when it comes time to refuse them entry, you can keep their money as well, since they violated your agreement.

                                          • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                            Far better to have a ding by Homeaway then a legal disaster or someone in your home that should not be there and dealing with that issue.


                                            The payment, the signed contract and reservation name should all match always.

                                            • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                              green_mango Active Contributor

                                              If the requirement is in your House Rules (ID within X amount of time), and a guest flat out says they won't provide it, then you should qualify for a "cancellation waiver" and I'd ask to be escalated. 

                                               

                                              "House Rules violation - A traveler has violated or says they cannot follow your House Rules and will not request a cancellation via their traveler account. House Rules must be set up on your listing under Rules & policies to be eligible. You are required to provide the following supporting documentation:

                                              • Email or text correspondence with the traveler indicating they cannot follow or have already violated your House Rules

                                              Keep your communication with travelers on platform to make it easy for you provide the necessary supporting documentation"

                                               

                                              What if I need to cancel a reservation for a reason outside of my control? | HomeAway Help

                                      • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                        timthek Active Contributor

                                        Yapstone, paypal or any other payment processor has no control over a chargeback. They get notified by the cardholder's bank/CC company and the funds are automatically withdrawn. Some processors are better about helping with fighting chargebacks or at least communicating, others are not. Yapstone is really just an intermediary here. You need to dispute the chargeback and present your evidence. Yapstone will have to assist you with that process, but they really have no control over it nor any say in what happens to your money. That is 100% up to the cardholder's bank. AND you better have an agreement in writing for all of your charges.

                                          • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                            ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                            I am not sure that I understand your statement about no control; when I was able to use my own payment processor, I would be notified via email from my processor and asked to authorize the return of funds or submit a reason for refusal PRIOR to funds being withdrawn from my account.  I know that this is a fact as I double-billed a guest once and I have a paper trail regarding the chargeback she initiated. 

                                             

                                            That is why I liked my processor and dislike Yapstone.  My contract with my processor protected ME.

                                              • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                tnmountainmama Contributor

                                                This is true.  My husband has run an internet based business for 20 years,  and funds never get withdrawn from our account until we agree with the chargeback.  If we submit our reciepts, funds remain.  Does Yapstone withdraw the money before you can submit your paperwork?  If so, I agree, that isn't the norm.  We have had many payment processing companies over the years.

                                                  • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                    feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                                    Yapstone's T&C which we all have to agree to says they remove the money in event of a chargeback and we have to chase it.

                                                      • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                        ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                                        HomeAway should get a BETTER contract with Yapstone.  I would not have contracted with Yapstone had I had a choice (like I used to).

                                                          • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                            dinamight Contributor

                                                            Yes, HomeAway surely has some clout with Yapstone. They could always pick another company if Yapstone doesn't serve its customers better.

                                                             

                                                            When someone issues a chargeback (and, one day, it will happen to you!) then poof, goodbye money. You then have to appeal and it will be rejected, because the bank almost always takes the side of the cardholder, probably without even looking at the case. Then it is up to you to appeal again and this time they will tell you that 1) you cannot appeal again unless you provide NEW evidence (so always hold something back from the first appeal) and 2) they warn you that if you lose then it will be an additional $250 to $500 on top of the money you've already lost. It's not for the faint of heart.

                                                             

                                                            The above is judging by what a neighbor went through and also how this case has progressed so far.

                                                             

                                                            Nevertheless, I hope everyone fights frivolous chargebacks, before they strangle this whole industry.

                                                              • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                                sage Senior Contributor

                                                                HomeAway surely has some clout with Yapstone. They could always pick another company if Yapstone doesn't serve its customers better.

                                                                I have little good to say about Yapstone. However, to be fair, when it comes to chargebacks, it is not the merchant's card processor that makes the determination, but rather the cardholder's issuing financial institution. It probably is to be expected that the card issuer would have some preference for keeping their customer happy rather than a merchant who is a stranger to the card issuer. Perhaps Yapstone could be better at keeping passing information between the owners and the card issuers. But this is all pretty much the realities of doing business.

                                                            • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                              tnmountainmama Contributor

                                                              I never said I didn't agree to it.  I said it wasn't the norm.  I just don't look forward to when it happens.  Those are the stakes though when running a business!

                                                          • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                            timthek Active Contributor

                                                            That was when you had your own processor. Yapstone and Paypal don't ask permission, they just yank the money back. As do most 3rd party processors. I am pretty sure Stripe and Square are the same. Pull first then tell you how to contest it. I'm going off of what I've read not personal experience.

                                                        • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                          dinamight Contributor

                                                          Update: We now got ANOTHER chargeback, now it was on the initial payment of the same booking (we have 50% payment upon booking and the rest 2 weeks beforehand). This payment was processed 7 Months ago!


                                                          This has been quite a learning process for me, I thought I had read that people only had 30 days or 60 days or 3 months to do a chargeback but apparently there is no time limit. Note that the rental itself was just over 3 months ago, I'm not sure if that has any bearing on this.


                                                          I'm not sure if I want to continue in a business where people can suddenly reclaim money paid for services potentially years ago and I have to fight to get it back every time.

                                                            • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                              green_mango Active Contributor

                                                              Ugh - just seems way beyond any deadline for chargebacks.  I wonder what credit card/bank they're using - maybe I should I get a card there!  Sorry - please fight it and keep us posted on the outcome. 

                                                                • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                                  dinamight Contributor

                                                                  We called Yapstone and they said the limit was 4 months after checkout. We then called Homeaway and they said the limit was 6 months after checkout.

                                                                  When we inquired further they said that actually it depends on the bank issuing the credit card (not the credit card itself) and so basically we have no way of knowing what the limit is in each case.

                                                                   

                                                                  I think I'll just play the stockmarket instead, less hassle and only marginally fewer dishonest people.

                                                                • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                                  georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                                                  they might have paid with 2 different cards.

                                                                  Good luck in fighting this.

                                                                    • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                                      dinamight Contributor

                                                                      Thank you. No, they were both from a Visa card from the same person so I assume it was the same card.

                                                                      I think it makes sense, you have to do one chargeback per charge.

                                                                       

                                                                      Homeaway seems to think we have a good chance of winning. The guest is claiming they cancelled after check-in.

                                                                      You can't do that and even if you could, you can't demand a refund. The reason she gives on the chargeback ("safety') was never mentioned while she was here.

                                                                  • Re: Just got a Chargeback, arghhhhhhh
                                                                    koko Contributor

                                                                    The charge back rules change often and differ per issuer. The same with processors. Some take the money no asking some will email ahead of time. The advantage of a GROUP processing should be:
                                                                    1. No charge back withdrawal unless it is obvious that the owner/management company is not replying in time or has definitely made an error like double charging etc.

                                                                    2. HA should DEFEND the owner vs the guest - the owner makes the money multi fold for this company vs the guest.

                                                                    3. The owner is a CUSTOMER of HA, not a partner, since partners do not dictate to each other what they can do and have to do. So let's call it what it is, a forced agreement which stipulates that the owner has to use that particular processing outfit at the behest of the platform. When you make the rules you also have responsibility.

                                                                    4. The above mentioned case has a lot of holes the owner can explore and I hope will explore. There should NEVER be an attitude to "take your losses and move on" if you are in the right. Doing so will create more of the charlatans, cheaters and users of a system which supports them anyway.

                                                                    Standing up for what IS right and true and for YOUR rights is the most important thing you can do to keep your and everyone's business alive.

                                                                    Here some more info re charge backs

                                                                    https://chargebacks911.com/chargeback-time-limit/