I am hoping to get some feedback from the community. I have omitted some of the details in order to not get too long winded....
2 days prior to the guests arrival I receive a phone call from the guest (who by the way I could not get a response from in the previous 3 months) that his wife is in the hospital and they will not be able to travel. After telling him that he is way outside of receiving a refund (mine is set as strict) I advised him to check if he purchased trip insurance. Couple text messages exchanged.
The next morning, 1 day before his arrival, I received a guest initiated cancellation which I accepted. The next day I receive a message asking for a refund of the cleaning fee since he did not come, which I promptly returned. I did all of this thinking that he must have had trip insurance otherwise why cancel at all. Then the following day I receive a message that he is going to send his daughter and family the next day for them to enjoy the vacation. I was not prepared for them to show since they cancelled and after speaking to VRBO CS on the phone I was advised to tell him that his reservation has been cancelled and therefore no one is to show up at the property. Once cancelled there is no re-instating a reservation through VRBO. There was no security deposit, the damage insurance had been cancelled and fee returned, cleaning fee already returned and no "liability insurance" through VRBO if I was to welcome the guests family now.
My "acknowledged" rental agreement reiterates the cancellation policy and also asks for the guests names. He never forwarded this information. How would I know who he was sending? It could have been anyone since he did not supply the names of his guests and I would have no way to verify. Additionally for 3 months I tried to reach him and he never returned an e-mail. I live over 2,500 miles away so there was no way for me to greet them and check. I was already uneasy with the guest because of the lack of response, and with the suggestion of sending others my gut reaction was this could only mean trouble.
Today I received the notice that the guest has done a chargeback. I have already formulated my rebuttal letter but I thought I should ask if anyone else has had any experience with this and any recommendations for things I should definitely include in the letter. I feel bad that his wife was in the hospital but it should have been his responsibility to protect his $5,0000 vacation not mine. I feel like I have one shot at getting back my income so any advice/experience is appreciated.