17 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2019 11:23 PM by margaret RSS

    Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)

    fl192 New Member

      I originally started out on OwnersDirect.co.uk, then when this merged to HA had I've taken on the changes in order to keep my advert, one of the changes is accepting credit card, I appreciate the convenience for the guest etc but now that the taxes are being taken the amounts that are being credited to my bank account are a puzzle and I'm thinking it's relating to the security/damage deposit.  Wondering if anyone can tell me if the security/damage deposit I wish to be taken is credited to my account or held by HA? Reason I ask is that looking at a recent final payment a guest made I believe the money was taken from them (£200) to cover the security/damage deposit but is hasn't been credited to my account. My fear is that my account with be debited the £200.00 once they leave although I haven't received it?  Hope this makes sense!!

       

      Many thanks

        • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
          sanlord Active Contributor

          Welcome to the community!

           

          Our properties are in the U.S. and I'm assuming the deposit is handled the same way no matter where the properties are located.  The deposit is held by HA.  They will send you a message asking to report any damage.  The deposit is charged with the last payment.  Below is a recent message that was sent to me regarding the deposit..

           

          Hopes this helps.

           

           

          On Apr 24, 2019 we will be returning the security deposit for (name of guest) for Reservation HA-6M1CJG. If there is no damage to report, you do not need to do anything.

          To report any damage you must Report Damage in your Dashboard within 7 days of your guests checkout date.

          Sincerely,
          Team Vrbo

          • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
            floridarob Active Contributor

            You have nothing to worry about in this case, aside from the the loss of direct control of your deposit.  HomeAway started collecting and holding and refunding deposits some time ago. I'm not sure why they do this (unless they just like holding onto millions and millions of other people's money) but they certainly will make the refund to the guest when the time comes, AND charge you the credit card service fees for collecting the deposit!

              • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                feibus CommunityAmbassador

                Because there are a LOT of owners who don't have the infrastructure to securely take and refund security deposits.  I have a management company handling check-ins and they handle the deposit like a hotel does (an auth on the card we can charge against if damage happens), which is super convenient for my guests and for us.  But a lot of owners do their own check-ins and don't have the convenience of CC processing or an escrow account to refund those deposits if they actually take the money (and some states require an escrow account for deposits).

                 

                So... it's a convenience.  I don't use it.  ABB looks to want to force owners to use their escrow service for security deposits, which puts another entity in charge of whether the deposit is returned or used to pay a claim.  Blech!

                  • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                    floridarob Active Contributor

                    feibus

                    No owner should be in the vacation rental game without the means to charge guests directly for any service, deposit, etc. If nothing else, PayPal is always an option (although their change of policy regarding refunding processing fees on refunded deposits is a big concern), as is Stripe.

                     

                    In my view, there is simply no excuse for this. It is like an owner not putting locks on their property because it is too difficult. Either you have a vacation rental that you rent out, or you don't. Relying on third parties who want to take control of your business and your customers is folly IMHO.

                      • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                        feibus CommunityAmbassador

                        You are basing your opinion on your experiences, which don't encompass all the possibilities for owners of "places for rent".

                         

                        Just because I think ice fishing is an awful way to spend time, doesn't mean that there aren't people out there who make a business out of renting shacks on the ice.

                          • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                            floridarob Active Contributor

                            feibus With respect, what you are saying makes no sense at all. First of all, my comments are based not just on my own decade of experience in vacation rentals, plus another 25 years of other business experience, but the collective wisdom of thousands of other owners (in our mutual neck of the woods; central Florida).

                             

                            If one rents out their home as a vacation rental, one is in business. A particular owner may operate completely unprofessionally, be renting their home out for a myriad of different reasons, personal or otherwise, but it doesn't matter. The minute you provide anything for compensation, you are in business, like it or not.

                             

                            A fundamental need of EVERY business is the ability to be paid by their customers. I would take that further to suggest that a fundamental need of all businesses is the ability to be able to control their own cash flow.

                             

                            Being reliant on a third party that is not responsible to you, the business owner/manager, for providing a service necessary to the operation of your business, is a completely unacceptable position to be in, and incredibly risky. Especially if one is relying on a third party that is absolutely intent on usurping your relationship with your own customers and taking them over as their own.

                             

                            Can you imagine if Pappa John's needed to call Domino's everytime they wanted to deliver a pizza? Just so a Domino's driver could run over to the customer with a CC terminal to take the payment? Which would hand over all of the customer data and records for that pizza customer to Domino's? And what kind of service would Pappa John's get from Domino's? Would Domino's take care of their own customers first, or Pappa John's? And what kind of service would Pappa John's customers be getting while they waited around on Domino's just to pay for the pizza?

                             

                            You call a guy to come and cut down a tree on your property, which he does. You want to pay him, and he says, "Well, thank you, but we have to call my buddy Fred... he's a plumber... but he's got the bank account and the credit card machine. I've just never had my own..." You're saying this would be acceptable?

                             

                            There is no argument or circumstance anywhere, that can justify any vacation rental owner who is serious about controlling their own business, their own destiny, and their relationships with their customers, for not having the means to collect payments themselves. It is relatively easy, inexpensive, and accessible. There IS no excuse not to be able to do so.

                             

                            This is something I would describe as a 'self-evident truth'. If you really don't agree that what I have just said is a fundamental truth of being in business, not just the vacation rental business, but any business; and want to say that it is 'just my opinion'... well, I guess I can live with that.

                             

                            swlinphx If I have to go to a third outside party, and try to convince them to release funds to me, it is not my escrow. He who holds the money has the control. That is a fundamental principle that can't be denied. If there is a dispute and HomeAway decides against the owner, or an insurance company does, that owner never had the protection of that deposit, or that insurance. And that protection is precisely the reason for collecting the deposit, or taking the insurance in the first place.

                             

                            The entire purpose of the deposit is protection of the owner, If an owner doesn't hold the deposit, there is no protection, and no point in there being a deposit.

                             

                            There is a psychological difference between an actual paid deposit being held, and a credit card swipe, even if the difference technologically is not that great, which I concede. But having a third party holding that deposit changes the dynamic entirely. Now someone else's opinion matters. And the owner's risk goes up exponentially.

                             

                            Remember the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

                          • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                            swlinphx Premier Contributor
                            No owner should be in the vacation rental game without the means to charge guests directly for any service, deposit, etc. If nothing else, PayPal is always an option (although their change of policy regarding refunding processing fees on refunded deposits is a big concern), as is Stripe.

                            Although it is true that HomeAway holds the damage deposit in escrow, it is still your (escrow) account and almost as if you control the money.  It is collected and debited from the guest up front.  It just is a sort of purgatory until the reservation is complete.  However, the way AirBnB and TripAdvisor handle it is different.

                            ABB looks to want to force owners to use their escrow service for security deposits, which puts another entity in charge of whether the deposit is returned or used to pay a claim.

                            AirBnB does not collect anything up front but the guests card info.  They make the guest aware that they can charge up to the amount the owner/manager specifies to their card if there is a damage claim, but no funds are debited to the guest or held for you up front.  Big difference.

                          • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                            ohst8er Premier Contributor

                            To add to what feibus is saying, I would venture  a guess that part of the reason they took over managing our security deposits for us is that there are owners that play fast and loose with other people's money.

                             

                            For us, the money went into our checking account, and when guests would check out I sent them a paper check refund.  It was on this forum that I learned that if I refund the money via the VRBO system, I also got the 3% back from the cc fees too, so I immediately switched to this.  Our deposit is $150.00.  Multiply that by 30ish rentals and you can watch your checking account slowly dwindle down to the tune of $4,500 every season.  Now, that was never ever my money to begin with, so I never counted it as such, but imagine a less than scrupulous owner that maybe didn't always refund for whatever reason, or even an owner who means to be honest but caught themselves short and saw it as a revenue stream.  You know this stuff happened, it just had to.  A few bad apples ALWAYS spoils things for those of us who operate above board. 

                        • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                          ha-moderator-daniel HomeAway Employee

                          Hi fl192,

                           

                          First off welcome to the community! Great question, as mentioned by others the refundable damage deposit is held in escrow by the payment processors until such time as it is claimed by the owner or the selected amount of time (7 or 14 days) has elapsed and it is automatically refunded to the traveler. When being refunded to the traveler the escrow account is then debited for the amount that is owed back to the traveler. I would also like to clarify that there is only a processing charge on the refundable deposit IF it is claimed by the owner. Keep the questions coming!

                           

                           

                          Daniel

                          HomeAway Community Moderator

                          • Re: Hi, new to this community and wonder if anyone can help. I have searched but can't find the answer I am looking for (sorry if I have missed it!)
                            swlinphx Premier Contributor

                            We realize you are new to the community (welcome), but it would be best to include what your question or comment is regarding in the title/subject.  That is how the rest of us know whether or not it is an issue that interests or applies to us.  Your subject line is not only too long but it doesn't tell us anything about the topic.  Just some advice.