27 Replies Latest reply: Mar 3, 2020 11:15 AM by sanlord RSS

    Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?

    sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

      Problem: Guest's second payment, $278.88, was deducted from one of my vrbo settlement payouts and refunded back to my guest in error. On 12/23 guest checked out. It was a great stay with positive reviews on both sides. On 12/29 his security deposit of $400 was refunded to him. On Jan 2 vrbo deducted $278.88 from one of my payouts and refunded it to that guest, as well. I called vrbo and spoke to Kurby, who said it was due to the known security deposit glitch that was triggering erroneous refunds. He started case #24870565, and sent me a follow up email that same day, saying my $$ would be returned to me “shortly”. I didn't hear anything more. So I called today to follow up. The customer service rep today, named O’Neil, refused to take down the previous case # when I offered it, saying it wasn’t relevant. He would start a new case #25129882 and escalate it. He said he would call me back as soon as he escalated it. That was yesterday morning, and I didn’t receive any call back. In both cases the customer service reps reviewed my account and agreed it was an erroneous refund and should not have been deducted from my payout nor refunded to the guest. But no real action has been taken. I feel like I’m getting the run around. Has anyone else experienced this? Is this one of their known recent glitches?

          • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
            sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

            Thank you for your reply. I did do the search option here yesterday and today before posting. The search told me it found no matches. I knew that there is the issue of double refunds of security deposits, which is not my case. I also see, in those previous threads you recommended to me, that there has been no resolution. If the problem is ongoing, or spreading, or worsening, then it should probably be posted about here until it is actually resolved to the hosts' and guests' satisfaction. Going from double-refunding security deposits, to taking second payments from hosts and refunding them to guests post-stay, is an escalation of a serious financial breach. The fact that, in the two threads you recommended, hosts have not expressed that they actually had any satisfactory resolution, means the issue has not yet been resolved, And, again, those threads are about the security deposit issue, which mine is not.

              • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                wildiris Senior Contributor

                I apologize - I didn't read your original post correctly.  What you are experiencing appears to be a new permutation of the "glitch" (debacle) of Vrbo refunding a guest's damage deposit twice.  I'm curious - Was the second payment (that Vrbo used to refund Guest A's damage deposit twice) the second payment made by Guest A or did Vrbo take the money for the duplicate refund for Guest A from the second payment of an unrelated guest (Guest B)?

                 

                Added - In thinking about this, I'm not surprised that HomeAway took money from a second payment to issue a duplicate refund of a damage deposit.  As the damage deposit had already been refunded, there was a "zero balance" in the guest's damage deposit "account."  HomeAway has to look elsewhere in an owner's account to find the money to refund the damage deposit for a second time.

                  • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                    sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                    On Dec 29 the $400 security deposit was refunded to the guest.  On Dec 30 the guest's entire payment #2 (payment 2 of 2 for the original booking) for $287.50 was also refunded. So the 2 are probably related, even though the original payment dates and amounts did not match. On Jan 2nd I received a settlement breakdown email from homeaway online payments showing that $278.88 was deducted from my batch settlement, and the line item for that debit included the guest's name and the reference number for his reservation. (The 278.88 being what was left of the 287.50 after deducting processing fees.) I guess the thought is it is part of the double-refund glitch with security deposits. But I struggle to understand a computer coding mistake that would cause an automatic refund of a security deposit AND a reservation payment. Computers only respond to code, and what coding error would cause a computer to reach back for additional random funds and return them to guests? Rhetorical question. But we have 4 very active rentals on vrbo and now I spend all kinds of extra time sifting through settlement emails, reservation pages, bank statements, making sure things are as they should be. I don't like the distrust this fosters. Not to mention I want my money back.

                    • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                      sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                      Wildiris said "I'm not surprised that HomeAway took money from a second payment to issue a duplicate refund of a damage deposit.  As the damage deposit had already been refunded, there was a "zero balance" in the guest's damage deposit "account."  HomeAway has to look elsewhere in an owner's account to find the money to refund the damage deposit for a second time."

                       

                      I'm confused by your logic.  The "damage deposit had already been refunded" automatically by vrbo, not me.  I didn't refund the deposit. It was refunded automatically on the vrbo automated refund schedule. Why do you think it is normal for the computer to look for it twice, and take it twice.  My thinking is that, once the vrbo automated security deposit refund takes place, the computer would see that "a "zero balance" in the guest's damage deposit "account"" is perfectly normal and correct. Why would the computer even "double check" it's own work, smack itself in the forehead and tell itself "oops I must have missed this one, was sure I already refunded this, now the damage deposit account is empty, and so I have to take money out of the reservation payments".  If you are sensing my frustration with the "logic" surrounding these issues, you are correct.

                        • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                          wildiris Senior Contributor

                          To clarify, I did not say, "[I] think it is normal for the computer to look for [the damage deposit] twice, and take it twice."  I don't think that there is anything "normal" or "correct" about HomeAway refunding the damage deposit twice. 


                          When I said that I was "not surprised," I was referring to the logistics of where HomeAway found the funds for the incorrect and improper duplicate damage deposit refund (i.e., from the guest's second payment).  I was simply noting that as HomeAway had already refunded the damage deposit, there was no money left in the guest's "damage deposit" account to incorrectly refund the damage deposit a second time.  That is the reason that HomeAway improperly took the money from the guests's second payment to incorrectly issue the second damage deposit refund to the guest.

                  • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                    hunterhaus Contributor

                    Not sure what's going on with payouts but I'm in my own refund hell right now, for a booking 3 months ago.

                     

                    Homeaway this really needs to be taken care of - there is not a lack of sites to list rental properties on and I'm quickly losing my trust in this platform, if I haven't lost it already.

                    • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                      hmmmm Senior Contributor

                      Iris is correct.

                      Please contact the guest right away and let them know there was a error in the refund.

                      Keep the vacationer in the loop.

                       

                      QC is the issue, always the issue.

                        • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                          sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                          I don't agree. Do we want the hosts AND the guests to lose faith in the system?  Not good for business.

                            • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                              hickmanhideaway Contributor

                              I had to have my guests in the loop to get their deposit refunded to them. They checked out Jan 2, we let vrbo know to refund the guest's deposit on Jan 3 and the system said it did. But the guest didn't get the refund. After several calls to CS, where we were told they couldn't talk to us about the situation, just to the guest, I finally got Randall, a CS who took the time to call the guest and got it cleared up. If the guest has not received their deposit back, or has received too much in error, they have a right to know.

                                • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                  sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                                  Ok, I just wrote to the guest. This is what I wrote to him just now:

                                  "Hi, [guest name redacted]. I hope this message finds you all well and enjoying the New Year. I'm writing to ask about a Vrbo glitch. They tell me they inadvertently returned your second payment to you. The one for $287.50. I know they did subtract it from my account. And they say they returned it to you, accidentally, as part of your security deposit refund. They tell me they accidentally refunded you $687.50, instead of $400, due to a computer error. Would you be able to confirm this for me? Thank you for your help in this matter. [my name redacted]"


                                  I then added, for clarification:

                                  "Continued: to clarify, they apparently refunded you $400 on December 29 (your security deposit), and erroneously refunded you $287.50 on December 30th (which was payment 2 of your rental fee payment). Again, thank you for your help in confirming this.'

                                    • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                      hunterhaus Contributor

                                      Good luck, I hope they're honest.  Luckily for me and my issue, the guest is very helpful and forthcoming with all information.  Much more so than Homeaway actually, which is concerning.

                                       

                                      Can I ask, how did Homeaway 'subtract' the money from your account?  Did they short another payment to make up the difference or did they actually debit it from your bank?

                                        • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                          sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                                          They had already paid me for the reservation.  So, on December 30th, they took back the $278.88 from me by debit-ing a bank batch settlement, by taking it out of money coming in from other, unrelated, guests. The line item for the debit on the batch settlement included the name and reservation code for the guest who was mistakenly refunded the extra money. I used the term "subtracted from my account" to simplify, but it's the same thing.

                                           

                                          Personally, I felt uncomfortable approaching the guest about this, but I was taking some heat for not doing so. In my opinion the guest has no clear obligation to return the money. And, how would he return it anyway?  Paypal? Personal check? Bank transfer? To me this sort of falls under the "Bank error in your favor, collect $200", as far as the guest's windfall is concerned. I don't think it's my place to correct vrbo's error by potentially alienating my guest. But, on the other hand, I do want vrbo to give me my money back.

                                            • Re: Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                              wildiris Senior Contributor

                                              sunandsnownorthwest wrote:


                                              In my opinion the guest has no clear obligation to return the money.

                                              The guest does have a legal obligation to return the money.  If a financial institution makes a mistake and deposits money into your account that does not belong to you, you cannot just say, "Whoopee!  It's my money now and I'm off to Tahiti!"  Legally, you have to return the money.  If you don't, you are guilty of conversion.  Here's the legal definition of conversion -  "Conversion is when someone wrongfully uses property of another for their own purposes or alters or destroys it. In an action for conversion, the taking of the property may be lawful, but the retaining of the property is unlawful."

                                               

                                              The logistics of how the guest returns the money are another matter.  I'll be interested to see how HomeAway handles this.

                                                • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                  hunterhaus Contributor

                                                  I just totally disagree that this is between guest and host. 

                                                   

                                                  First of all, Homeaway's TOS literally prohibit guests and hosts from doing such transactions:

                                                  "No member may request any traveler to mail cash, or utilize any instant-cash wire transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram in payment for all or part of a property rental transaction. Any violation of this term or any other unacceptable payment methods that may be posted on the Site may result in the immediate removal of the non-conforming listing from the Site without notice to the member and without refund."


                                                  Secondly, consider this example.  You (the host in this example) give your friend (Homeaway) $20 to go deposit in your bank account for you.  Your friend loses the $20 somewhere on the street.  Are you going to accept from him that you should go find the person who found it, and charge him with conversion?? No.  Your friend owes you twenty bucks.  They were supposed to handle this transaction for you and they botched it.

                                                    • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                      wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                      I agree - this is not between the guest and the host.  HomeAway created the problem and should be responsible for fixing it.  IMO, HomeAway should immediately reimburse the owner for the amounts that HomeAway improperly deducted from the owner's funds.  Then, it should be up to HomeAway to contact the guest and seek to recoup the money that HomeAway over-paid the guest.  If the guest doesn't voluntarily repay, then HomeAway can decide whether or not it wants to sue the guest for the money owed and not reimbursed or just report it to the credit bureaus as an unpaid debt that the guest refuses to pay.

                                                       

                                                      The only point I was making in my earlier post is that I believe sunandsnownorthwest is incorrect that the guest has "no clear obligation to repay the money."  Legally, the guest IS obligated to repay the money. 

                                                  • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                    hunterhaus Contributor

                                                    Understood thanks for the feedback.

                                                    I agree with you totally, I was very uncomfortable asking this guest to provide me all the info I needed - they meant to book a relaxing family vacation and ended up staying at an unsafe house, eventually relocating to mine after countless hours talking to HA, then fighting HA to refund them for the original reservation over the course of 3 months.  Finally they thought they were done and I show up telling them I'm about to get stiffed.

                                                    And this whole 'figure it out with the guest' stance is so against the whole 'you must do all transactions on our platform' stance. 

                                          • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                            hunterhaus Contributor

                                            What if the guest isn't an honest person and doesn't want to refund the almost $300 dollars that HA gave them by accident?  Is the host just supposed to accept that?  That seems incredibly wrong to me and is not how other rental sites operate.

                                              • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                                                I agree 100%. Personally, I felt very uncomfortable approaching the guest about this, but I was taking some heat for not doing so. In my opinion the guest has no clear obligation to return the money. And, how would he return it anyway?  Paypal? Personal check? Bank transfer? To me this sort of falls under the "Bank error in your favor, collect $200", as far as the guest's windfall is concerned. I don't think it's my place to correct vrbo's error by potentially alienating my guest. But, on the other hand, I do want vrbo to give me my money back.

                                            • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                              puttermac10 Contributor

                                              HA/VRBO is making a total mess of lots of issues like this and several times I have had to let the guests know that it isn’t me it is HA/VRBO unfortunately travelers and owners are seeing the messes.

                                                • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                  hunterhaus Contributor

                                                  What a mess.

                                                   

                                                  I mean, homeaway is not so different from ebay in a lot of ways - it's a place for two parties to exchange cash for goods with some sense of security, and the site is supposed to handle the payment.

                                                   

                                                  Could you imagine if ebay just started randomly depositing and crediting different members accounts, and their response was 'not our problem, go talk to the person who has your money.  programming error! lol sorry maybe we'll fix it soon idk'

                                                   

                                                  The level of CA about this, and the lack of any response from HA here or elsewhere is so concerning.

                                                • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                  sanlord Active Contributor

                                                  Just happened to me also.  Guest was just refunded final payment on an upcoming stay in March.  He paid on 2/1 and was refunded today (2/5).  I just got off the phone with the guest who was worried that I had cancelled his reservation.  This is beyond words!  I have a 4th property about to go live on VRBO and to say I'm worried is an understatement.  Who's watching the store?

                                                  • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                    upnorthrental New Member

                                                    Has anyone had this resolved by HA yet? We reported the issue the first week of January when I noticed it in a disbursement withdraw instead of deposit. I have emails from HA on 1/13

                                                    Thank you for contacting HomeAway Billing Support.

                                                    I understand you had a damage deposit get refunded twice. We are aware of the error and our team is working on getting this fixed. As soon as they update us on this error, I’ll let you know.

                                                    If you have any questions, please let me know.

                                                    and 1/26

                                                    Our technical team is currently working on a resolution to the Damage deposit issue. As soon as that is fixed, all refunds will be processed back to your account. I do not have a timeline on when this issue will be fixed at this time. We will update you when we have more information. I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. 

                                                     

                                                    Funds still have not been returned to our account. I suppose I should do an "audit" of the funds from our two properties to make sure there are not other instances I haven't caught.

                                                    • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                      sunandsnownorthwest Contributor

                                                      This issue has been resolved to my satisfaction.  Vrbo refunded the guest's payment to me today.

                                                      • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                        upnorthrental New Member

                                                        Got this message today, still haven't been refunded. Who knew it would take 2 months for them to route my support email to the correct department.

                                                         

                                                        "Your case was transferred to the correct department and you are going to receive a notification from the billing department.

                                                        Do apologize for the long wait. If you have you have additional question or concerns do not hesitate to call our Customer Support Department 1-877-202-4291.."

                                                          • Re: Guest's second payment refunded to him in error after check out. Is this a "known glitch"?
                                                            sanlord Active Contributor

                                                            I have a similar problem.  Guest paid final payment on 2/1 and was refunded on 2/5, he thought I had cancelled his reservation.  He checked with his credit card company and discovered VRBO/Expedia had charged him twice for the final payment and refunded one (only one) payment back.  He sent me a copy of his statement and that's exactly what they did.  Called CS TWICE regarding this and both times were told they would look into it - so far nothing!  Hopefully the number you have provided will get this taken care of.  This kind of thing never happened when I was in control of my own payments.  This forced system of payments through VRBO/Expedia was supposed in inspire trust in both the guests and owners.  Really?  I've lost all trust and so has my incoming guest.