8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 7, 2018 6:20 PM by margaret RSS

    Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time

    dinamight Contributor

      I have seen various people on this forum say they ask guests for ID and I always thought that was a bit over the top. No more.


      A neighbor received a booking 30 days before the check-in date, paid in full. Two days before the reservation, the guest issued a chargeback.

      When contacted, the guest said it was a mistake and that it would be sorted out. When it still wasn't sorted out a day later, the guest tried to cancel the reservation - one day before check-in.


      They said they were cancelling because of "Issues with the payment". The chargeback reason was a code (10.4?) that translated to "Fraud".


      We're not sure exactly what was going on here but the neighbor said he was going to fight it. Otherwise, any guest who wanted to cancel at short notice (and lose their money) could just issue a chargeback and claim it was fraud. At first Homeaway encouraged my neighbor to do so but soon they backed away and Yapstone said that if he couldn't prove that it was not fraud, then he would lose. And if he lost he would have to pay at least another $200 on top of the money he'd already lost out on. They said the only way he could win was to provide a copy of the ID of the renter.


      I thought this was what we were paying Yapstone for, to process the credit card payments, check that the payment is valid (e.g. card not marked as stolen, do some ID checks). No, they don't do any of that. They just collect their fees and sit back.


      So, beware. From now on we will request a scan of the ID of anyone booking with us. I can imagine that many people, in this age of identity theft, will be hesitant to do so. But if we don't then someone could quite easily book a month with us, have a wonderful time and then issue a chargeback and claim it wasn't them - and they would win!


      We are putting our house up for sale and getting out of the vacation rental business. I cannot wait to get VRBO and especially Yapstone out of my life forever. For those who want to torture yourselves some more, please make sure you get copies of the ID!

        • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
          yosemitevalleyview Contributor

          I spoke with Yapstone today and asked the best way to prevent chargebacks and they suggested not only a scan/photo of the ID but also a scan/photo of the credit card. 

          • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
            u0999 Premier Contributor

            been requiring ID on ALL platforms for years. Just precisely for that reason - that ppl can book using stolen card and then real card ownrs issues a chargeback. Likelihood of that is diminished with ID.

              • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
                ambidextrous Active Contributor

                So, when do you ask for a scan of the cc and ID? Since we can't contact people directly until after the deposit is paid, it seems you would have to get this after the deposit. Or am I missing something?


                And, how often does a guest tell you to jump in a lake and they don't give you the images?


                Finally, it would seem that fraud would be most likely on last-minute bookings when the person who owns the stolen card does not see the charge until after the guest has left. Erinn -- is there any protection for owners who eagerly accept these scammers if there is a charge back?

                  • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
                    margaret CommunityAmbassador

                    I require a copy of a gov. issued photo ID. I have it noted in my listing, house rules and in my initial response to guests that this along with the signed RA is required to finalize the reservation. Once booked, I email the RA and require it to be returned along with the ID within 48 hrs. I don't release access info until I have the RA and ID.


                    I have never had a guest tell me to go jump in a lake. In fact, I have rarely had any push back from guests at all. Some don't return it within the 48 hr time frame, I send a reminder, that usually get it taken care of quickly. I once had a man tell me he wasn't comfortable trusting his personal info with a stranger and he felt that the fact that he had already given info to the site should be sufficient. I explained that the site doesn't own my home and that if he expects me to trust him in my home then he would have to trust me with some personal info. He replied that he had never thought about it from my point of view and returned the documents.


                    I have thought about requiring a copy of the CC but so far have not done so.

                    • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                      I do not ask for scan of CC, I ask of scan/ snapshot of ID.


                      never. and if they do, they can jump in the lake themselves and rent elsewhere. ID requirement is in my house rules, email response to the inquiry etc. If they don't give it to me, I will just cancel them. I had HA cancel one guy who,  after a week of me calling, emailing and texting never provided ID and never signed agreement. The moment HA canceled him, he rapidly "discovered" my phone and called me(a miracle no less!). I told him why he was canceled and gave option to rebook same dates IF he signed rental agreement and provided ID. never heard back from him.


                      I do not take last minute bookings. Min 3 days out.

                  • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
                    vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                    To make matters worse Airbnb actively tells guests to not do anything off platform and basically convinces them that all they need to do is click and book.  We had a lot of problems convincing Airbnb guests that we were legit and yes they had to fill out our rental agreement.  I briefly tried to get people to upload a photo of their ID using signnow but people refused citing privacy concerns.  What really needs to happen is that the booking platform or payment processor needs to collect ID and verify guests.  It would be really great if booking platforms would also have a form requiring guests to fill in the names and ages of all guests who are coming and have an electronic signature engine for the rental agreement.


                    We stopped renting this year and count ourselves lucky that we did not have any major issues.  We did have a guest that claimed to get lice from our cabin and it ended up costing us over $600 to replace all of the bed sets to accommodate a same-day turnover.

                      • Re: Warning - not asking for ID can cost you big time
                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                        The guest I mentioned who was not comfortable giving up his info was through ABB but aside from him I have had no issue getting my RA and ID from guest coming from any source. Once I explained my reason for needing it, he was very cooperative. In 8+ years I have never given a guest access to my home until I had the RA and ID. Very few have even asked a question about it being required. Maybe because I am very clear about my requirements in my listing and in my initial contact with the guests.