31 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2019 12:38 PM by thaxterlane RSS

    Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared

    rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

      I will try to make this as simple as possible.


      Exactly 10 years ago, I had an reservation by a couple with 2 kids. The good old days of straight forward inquiry, response, booking (no extra fees, response time etc) but that is not the issue here.


      The story:

      Inquiry in March 2009 for a week in summer. Smooth communication, contract signed etc. 30% non-refundable deposit paid. Balance 8 weeks before arrival (non-refundable) paid.


      A few days before arrival "loss in family" so they can't come. We decide through further communication to open the week (no chance) and offer to give them "credit" if they can re-schedule. We give them all possibilities still open in summer for the same price. Doesn't materialize.


      Mid August, they say they are trying to see if something in September or October will work. I give them all possibilities. The prices are lower so the agreement is their full payment will be applied without any refund as we could not fill fill the original summer week.


      Time passes and can't get any commitment but in the meantime, other inquires come through, some we "lose" because we are trying to accommodate these people who cannot commit. In the end they could not make it and apologized and told us to no longer "hold" anything or turn away any others


      Today, I hear back from the father, "Hi it has been 10 years! when we intended to visit your beautiful region. I even paid a certain amount in advance. Unfortunately, my relationship with xxxx broke down and was the reason why we had to cancel. We love your country and my new wife especially loves your region. Please let us know the conditions and availability in May or June." (this is for our 1-bedroom cottage and not the 2-bedroom requested 10 years back)


      So I know what most people on the forum will say.


      I have replied with availability and conditions (same as before 30%, balance 8 weeks before etc.)


      Waiting for their reply.


      Please don't read too much in "his" wording as he is not a native English speaker but the line "I even paid a certain amount in advance" stuck with me. Before I replied, He even sent me the payment request from 10 years ago so it appears he kept all correspondence.


      I too preserve most if not all of my correspondence especially ones where money has been exchanged and after reviewing, I see that all my original correspondence and payment completions were threw his "ex" so his "I paid a certain amount" sounds a bit of a hint of what may come next.


      I'll have to wait and maybe nothing will come of it but I am dreading the "do I get a credit from 10 years ago" question?


      I do not wish to get involved in who paid what between them 10 years ago but now he wishes to come with his new wife. Only the 2 of them and not even his 2 children who are of course probably grown up by now.


      Like I said, I need to just wait to see what kind of reply comes but just want to hear reactions/advice on how to prepare for the awkward request if it does come.

        • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
          twomoreyears Senior Contributor

          If he asks for a credit, I would reply you require all guests to show ID that matches the credit card or check used to make the payment.  If all the payments were through the "ex", then he's out of luck unless he invites her to stay with them.

          • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
            margaret CommunityAmbassador

            He is mentioning it in the hopes you will agree to credit him from the canceled stay 10 years ago. I would not even consider it! I may offer a small discount if it is not high season but nothing more. If he pushes it send him the correspondence saying "In the end they could not make it and apologized and told us to no longer "hold" anything or turn away any others"

            • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
              green_mango Active Contributor

              Keep it simple.  *If* he asks about a credit, kindly let him know that the credit expired in 2009. 

              • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                Just went through bank transaction records.


                Directly, we never use credit cards as bank transfers were and are still the "norm" here in Europe. Oh my thank goodness for the good old days! Direct bank transfer and all details at my finger tips and in my control!


                Anyway, transactions show initial payment 30% in "his" name and the same for "balance" 2 months later.


                But that really doesn't say much. It is "he" who probably did the physical transaction but at the "request" of his ex as she would correspond and say "I'll get it sorted out"


                Many people like myself have "joint" bank accounts and when making bank transfer, you put in anything you want in the "notes" so the transaction shows "30% with his full name"


                In language "conservative" Europe (UK, France) in both English and French, a joint bank account will be called Mr or Mrs "name of the male" (we don't need to get into that debate).


                In my original correspondence, (like with most of my family bookings) I address both the first names of husband and wife.


                The last few correspondences (when they seemed to be having trouble as I now know 10 years later) was only him and I didn't hear any more from her. The last being "We cannot commit a week but will let you know. Do not hold any dates for us."


                The was the end of our correspondence (until 10 years later today).


                I also got very busy trying to refill any of those lost weeks at that time.


                As we had already taken full payment and did our best, I was not "out" by so much (full season) so felt the ball was in "their" park so to speak and figured if they had come back possibly the next year (and out of full season), I may have thought of something at the time.


                But here we are 10 years later! Do I need to accommodate his "ex" if one day she comes on her own? And I know from our original correspondence that they were both professionals meaning a double income family. So who paid what and when for the "family" holiday is an awkward subject to get into. But to think his "new" wife gets a holiday with "half" of any possible credit paid by his ex?


                I sound like he has already requested something but in reality I still do not know.


                Like I said and has been suggested, best to wait to see if he says something. Maybe he is just fishing in the possible hope for me to "offer" something.

                • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                  ohst8er Premier Contributor

                  Unless this guy’s Name is Don Corleone I can think of NO REASON why you have an obligation to him, 10 years later.  I think he’s got a lot of nerve if he goes there.

                  • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                    feibus Senior Contributor

                    Was there anything in writing about the terms of their "credit"?  If not, then all you have to say is that the credit expired 9 years ago.  End of discussion, but thank him tremendously for remembering you and your country and he's welcome to book your home.

                      • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                        rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                        Our written contract says 30% to secure a booking (no refund) and balance no later than 8 weeks before arrival (no refund). We strongly urge people to take out any holiday insurance and provide proper documentation and receipts etc if needed for this purpose.


                        The "credit" aspect is case to case by phone conversation or email. Usually with "if we are able to fill the cancelled dates"


                        In this case we agreed to give them any week we had available within dates that this person specified and contacted him each time someone else inquired. On 2 occasions, this person did not reply promptly and we lost 2 "possible" bookings. By the time we heard back with we still can not commit, I could not "reverse" the others.


                        In hind sight, I should have booked these others within hours of not hearing back (both email and voice message). It turned out, both he and his ex both traveled a lot on business. In reality, I think the "family" issue was so big that there probably was no chance that they would be coming at all. Who knows?


                        His last correspondence to me, that is 10 years ago was,

                        "Unfortunately we don’t know yet whether we can come soon, whence we propose you must not take our situation into consideration, whenever you get demands from other people. Whenever we see the possibility to free ourselves for a week I’ll let you know immediately and then it is up to you to inform us whether there is a possibility or not at that precise moment."

                      • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                        twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                        This is completely up to you, then.  They can't do a chargeback or stop payment on the check.


                        Maybe this idea will help a little: I've stopped saying "Sorry" or "Unfortunately" for things that are not my fault.  I've started saying "I'm afraid I have to disappoint you", or "I know this isn't the way that either one of us wanted this to end".  It's a gentler way to shut them down than a brusque "no".


                        If he asks for a discount as credit for the prior payment, I suggest simply saying "I am afraid I have to disappoint you, but the credit expired when you told me to stop holding any dates for you".  Don't say anything more.  Please don't say "I can't" give you a credit- of course you can and he can come back and argue with you over it.


                        Of course, if you want to give him a little bit back, then just tell him what you will offer him.  I wouldn't - it's been 10 years, not 10 months!

                        • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                          susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                          In your OP  traveler said he couldn't make it because of a loss in his family. That would imply a death in the family. He lied, thinking loss in family would make you more sympathetic to later booking or refund than marriage breakup.


                          Based on his less than honest reason to not come, I would only rent to him with full payment at time of booking and no refunds or changes.

                          • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                            rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                            I know everybody here sees this, but the awkward part of the situation is it is not the same "family" coming from 10 years ago.


                            It is only he and his "new" wife (and not even with his 2 "children"!)


                            Does this have nothing to do with the situation even if this 10 year lapse was not the issue? I mean it is not my business but all my original correspondence and confirmation of payments were made with his ex and to her email address.


                            It is only after the first cancellation that I no longer corresponded with the ex but with him. Now that I think about it, "family loss" may have been the first problems between them and perhaps he was trying to see if things could work out for a later date. Sadly it did not.


                            But if the original full payment was made from their joint account (or assuming that all monies are joint when a couple?), wouldn't he be trying to get something off of his ex's "equal" expense?

                            • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                              rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                              Thank you everyone, still waiting for what week out of all that I gave him he will come back to.


                              Will let everyone know!

                              • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                wildiris Active Contributor

                                I don't think you have any obligation to give a credit or discount to him 10 years later.  You were under no obligation to offer a credit to him 10 years ago as he cancelled well within the non-refundable period.  You only offered the credit to rebook in 2009 because you were told that they had to cancel due to a "loss in the family."  He was not honest with you ten years ago.  I don't know if I'd want to rent to someone who I knew lied to me previously.  If you are willing to rent to him in 2019, I would not give him a credit or discount.  This is how I'd respond to him:


                                Dear "so and so:"

                                Yes, I remember your reservation in 2009.  I felt sorry that you had to cancel your reservation just a few days before it was to begin because of "a loss in the family."  I am pleased that you and your new wife would like to stay at _______________.  Here is the availability and rates for our one bedroom cottage in May and June 2019:





                                This wording politely tells him that you now know he lied to you 10 years ago.  I doubt if he'll ask for a credit or discount now.  If he does - just remind him that his 2009 reservation was non-refundable under the terms of the rental agreement.  If he responds and says, "yes - but you offered us a credit for a different week,"  just tell him that the credit was only good for a different week in 2009.  If he pushes you beyond that, I definitely wouldn't rent to him.

                                • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                  bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                  It might be too late.  This happened to us many years ago.  The guest had to cancel due to the hospitalization of the son with a serious illness.  I checked and even called the hospital and the story was true.  So we offered to allow them to change the dates as long as they re-booked within a year.  They did not, so the offer died.  That said, if we had not given a cut-off date, I think I would allow them to rebook, but only during our off-season.  If they wanted peak season I would offer a discount, but would not allow the use of the previous amount paid, but stay not used.  I think the key here is the 10-year timeframe....seriously???

                                  • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                    I Haven’t read all the responses so I am sure you have received GREAT advice, but I would just try to avoid rebooking him at all costs. The reason is this...obviously he can’t charge-back something that happened 10 years ago, BUT is it possible that after this visit (should he pay full payment) that he could??


                                    He knew when he booked your property what your contract called for, you even tried to re-rent the week that he was supposed to come, you then tried to re-book dates after that time. YOU have more than fulfilled any obligation from 10 years ago.


                                    I Had a similar situation where they cancelled 3 days before arrival, and I had made an accommodation for another time a year later, but I was NOT obligated to do so and they knew it and appreciate it very much!  I think that there is only so much that you can do and then they have to accept the responsibility for not completing the contract as originally agreed to.

                                    • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                      rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                                      I would like to thank everyone here who have posted and given great feedback.


                                      I would also like to emphasize that as of this moment, I have not heard back from this person who had asked for what week was available in May or June. I did respond with the weeks available along with our conditions (which he did ask) which are 30% (non-refundable) followed by balance (non-refundable). I made no reference to payment received before.


                                      It must be made clear that 10 years ago, the booking was made on one of the HomeAway "sister" sites and at that time as per conditions, all payments were handled directly. This was done for all inquiries in those days based on the paid subscription plan.


                                      All payments were received via bank transfer then which is as I said the norm then and even today when bookings are made directly. Europeans do not generally have any problem with this (contrary to what HomeAway is trying to tell us but this is not the issue here).


                                      I still use bank transfer today and will require this person to do so if a booking materializes. A bank transfer is all transparent with full records and if all goes smoothly, there is and cannot be a "charge back" which in reality is best for an genuine and honest owner.


                                      This person came to me directly and not through HomeAway as he has kept my contact details.


                                      I will wait to see what he asks (if he does) when he replies. I was only trying to be prepare for the "fear" I had of "what if he asked" as his wording appeared to "suggest"


                                      We will see and I think I now know how to handle this.


                                      Thank you and I will keep everyone informed!

                                      • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                        rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                                        A "small" update...


                                        This person in question contacted me after the 10 years through our web site so obviously he kept that on file.


                                        I have now heard back from him not with specific dates (yet) but asking "what are your PRICES per week now" (yes, "prices" in block/capital letters... in my book, that is emphasis while some people take it as "shouting")


                                        I kindly replied that all the information is on our site but took the opportunity to reply with our prices for the week(s) in May and June. I also attached our "Contract of Terms and Conditions" form.

                                        • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                          hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                          Run Forest Run.

                                          You do not owe him anything.  There is nothing to discuss,

                                          A hotel would not offer him anything after 10 years

                                          An airline would not offer him after 10 years.

                                          His actions are a bit manipulative.


                                          I feel he may not be a good prospect for you, move on and let him go.

                                          Politely let him know that his credit expired and you have someone else interested in his new dates

                                          • Re: Speculating, thinking too much but want to be prepared
                                            thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                            These circumstances, and the travelers overture to you, win an award - but not a stay - for the chutzpah of the traveler . . .


                                            I do believe the offer to reschedule a stay, using the monies paid at that time, expired some years ago.


                                            I would offer a small discount and forego analyzing the payments of 10 years ago.  I don't believe it holds any relevance to present day travel.


                                            Would you or I dare contact a hotelier about monies previously paid for a cancelled stay with the expectation the hotelier would happily reply, "of course, we've been waiting for your to re-contact us and enjoy a stay" . . . Ah, no.