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Nonrefundable hotel reservation chargebacks / refunds

Nonrefundable hotel reservation chargebacks / refunds

Old Apr 13, 20, 9:30 pm
  #1  
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Nonrefundable hotel reservation chargebacks / refunds

What's the general consensus on nonrefundable hotels and chargebacks when the hotels themselves are closed and the hotel's policy is no refunds?

I have a reservation at an H10 hotel for the beginning of May in Barcelona. Most (if not all) hotels in Spain are currently closed, and if I had to guess, will probably be closed for the time of our reservation (2 May - 5 May).

H10's policy on this as it stands right now is that they will re-book your stay for another date up to a year in advance. This is fine, and we could make it work, but frankly I'd rather have my $750 back since I have no idea whether this particular hotel is even going to be around in another year if closures are prolonged. They haven't yet extended this policy beyond 30 April but I expect they will in the next week or so. I previously contacted them through email and they weren't particularly helpful.

I charged this to my AMEX back in January. Given the uncertainty around whether hotels will be open in the beginning of May, is a chargeback the right route to go here? Should I wait until our reservation passes to confirm the hotel is indeed closed, or should I file one right away?

Or, is the chargeback the wrong route, and should I instead take them up on their offer to re-book?
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Old Apr 14, 20, 1:12 pm
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There's a reasonable chance you will lose your chargeback claim if the hotel is still open on the dates of your reservation. I would give it another few days to see if you will have clarity from the Spanish authorities on whether the hotel will be allowed to remain open or not. If it's closed, that's a clear(er) refund to you from AMEX. If they're open, try and work something out with the hotel?

Originally Posted by sullim4 View Post
What's the general consensus on nonrefundable hotels and chargebacks when the hotels themselves are closed and the hotel's policy is no refunds?

I have a reservation at an H10 hotel for the beginning of May in Barcelona. Most (if not all) hotels in Spain are currently closed, and if I had to guess, will probably be closed for the time of our reservation (2 May - 5 May).

H10's policy on this as it stands right now is that they will re-book your stay for another date up to a year in advance. This is fine, and we could make it work, but frankly I'd rather have my $750 back since I have no idea whether this particular hotel is even going to be around in another year if closures are prolonged. They haven't yet extended this policy beyond 30 April but I expect they will in the next week or so. I previously contacted them through email and they weren't particularly helpful.

I charged this to my AMEX back in January. Given the uncertainty around whether hotels will be open in the beginning of May, is a chargeback the right route to go here? Should I wait until our reservation passes to confirm the hotel is indeed closed, or should I file one right away?

Or, is the chargeback the wrong route, and should I instead take them up on their offer to re-book?
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Old Apr 15, 20, 2:58 am
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CCs are saying that as long as you accepted that a fare was non-refundable when you booked, you have no claim for a chargeback. When I tried, I was asked to show the terms and conditions of my booking and as soon as the word non-refundable appeared on there, it was over.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 8:10 am
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That is kind of surprising to me. So, if I have a reservation at a hotel that says 'nonrefundable', and the hotel is closed, the chargeback will fail?

I'd completely understand a chargeback rejection if the hotel is open and I am unable to get there and use it. That's on me. But it seems wrong that a hotel can be closed for whatever reason and they have no legal obligation to return our money.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 2:18 pm
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National or local innkeeper laws could play a role here.

Can we assume that the OP booked directly with the hotel and not through a third party TA, vacation package, or website?
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Old Apr 15, 20, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by sullim4 View Post
That is kind of surprising to me. So, if I have a reservation at a hotel that says 'nonrefundable', and the hotel is closed, the chargeback will fail?

I'd completely understand a chargeback rejection if the hotel is open and I am unable to get there and use it. That's on me. But it seems wrong that a hotel can be closed for whatever reason and they have no legal obligation to return our money.
I guess you'd maybe have a more valid claim if you could say you went there, knocked on the door, and they were shut? But if you never had any intention of going then it might be different? My credit card certainly was not very keen on it. With the number of chargebacks they must all be getting, I imagine the barriers are high.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 3:36 pm
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Credit card issuers are sticking much more closely to the rules because there is merchant vendor pushback and the issuer is left holding the bag.

If the property is open and operating during OP's stay, then he is stuck with the terms of his booking. If he can rebook, that is the best he will do. On the other hand, if the property is closed, then he at least has a fighting chance (although Spain may well join France in granting properties up to a year to issue refunds).

The key is to have everything in writing and to be able to demonstrate that the service cannot be provided.
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Old Apr 17, 20, 9:00 am
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Just got two nonrefundable hotel reservations refunded. I booked through Expedia though. It took about 30 days for them to show up on my CC.
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Old Apr 17, 20, 12:01 pm
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Long story short, AirAsia cancelled my flight, I proved to them and my CC that their terms and govt terms in Thailand say I am entitled to a refund, they approved a refund, they went back on their word and issued a voucher. Despite all this, this is what my CC is saying. Seems like chargebacks are not easy, at all.

I will explain why I wouldn’t be able to process a chargeback as it’s entirely out of my control.



We process our chargebacks through Mastercard and they in turn go out to the merchant (in your case AirAsia) to see if they have already sorted this dispute out with you, although this is not what you asked for.



As they have given you a line of credit, your chargeback would be declined on the basis that the airline have already given you a line of credit.



To sort this issue out you would have to contact AirAsia and ask them to take back their line of credit and send us proof of this and proof that they are refusing a direct refund.



With this I will be able to assist you.
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Old Apr 18, 20, 1:42 am
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Originally Posted by Dan1113 View Post
Long story short, AirAsia cancelled my flight, I proved to them and my CC that their terms and govt terms in Thailand say I am entitled to a refund, they approved a refund, they went back on their word and issued a voucher. Despite all this, this is what my CC is saying. Seems like chargebacks are not easy, at all.
Out of curiosity, which bank do you use?
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Old Apr 18, 20, 2:58 am
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Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL View Post
Out of curiosity, which bank do you use?
TSB - though obviously they are blaming a MasterCard policy here.
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Old Apr 18, 20, 8:00 pm
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If a hotel sells you a “non refundable” rate, but then closes to occupancy before you either decide to go or not, you are simply owed a refund. I realize this is not popular with innkeepers struggling to survive, but that is why opening a business has great risks and correspondingly great rewards. The reservation is not a contract that applies only to the consumer; the lodging has a duty to perform their side of the bargain, and OTAs like Hotels.com need to enforce this for their clients, no questions, or they are liable as well. I will be suing hotels.com on this shortly.

it is different if you cancel, instead of the hotel. But where the hotel announces in advance that they are CLoSED so don’t come, you have been scammed and your agent, who sold you the product, is jointly and severally liable. They need to make all this class of cases right, or standby for endless litigation, as well as loss of consumer trust in their brand and business impairment for good.
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Old Apr 19, 20, 9:01 am
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Originally Posted by SST View Post
If a hotel sells you a “non refundable” rate, but then closes to occupancy before you either decide to go or not, you are simply owed a refund. I realize this is not popular with innkeepers struggling to survive, but that is why opening a business has great risks and correspondingly great rewards.
This is exactly where I am right now. The hotel has since sent an email saying they will indeed be closed until 31 May. They insist a credit is all they are willing to offer.

Sadly, from AMEX's page here, it seems they view this as acceptable: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-u...xpcomm-covid19
Please be aware that if you do go ahead with the dispute and the business has already refunded, or is offering to provide a credit for future use, we will rebill the charge to your account.
I'm really disappointed in AMEX here if this is what they apply to a potential chargeback. For a company that supposedly stands up for its cardmembers, a credit for future use when a merchant cannot hold up their end of the contract doesn't seem right. This is like buying a car, paying for it, and having the dealer say, "We don't have the car you ordered, but we aren't giving you your money back. You can use it on another car that might be here a few months from now. And by the way, we might be out of business by then."

It also means that I'm a lot less likely to shy away from the "big brands" that actually stood up for their customers, like Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc. Their hotels might be cookie cutter but at least they are doing the right thing.
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Old Apr 19, 20, 9:14 am
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I would never rely on broad-based information pages. One has to drill down. There are many people initiating chargebacks when the vendor (in this case a hotel) is open & providing the service, but the consumer cannot or does not wish to travel. In that case, a flexible COVID-19 policy offering a rebooking or credit for future use for an otherwise non-refundable booking is more than adequate.

On the other hand, if the vendor is not offering the service at all, that is a horse of a different color.

If you look at the various threads on the topic, you will see that the people who provide the clearcut, factually precise, and well-documented chargeback requests, almost always prevail. In your case, the property has told you that it will not provide the service. Properly documented and kept to 1-2 short sentences, a chargeback ought to be relative clearcut, e.g. "I have a prepaid reservation for May 31, the property has advised that it will be closed and unable to provide the service I paid for, and it has refused to refund my funds."
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Old Apr 20, 20, 9:31 am
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Thanks - I have gone ahead and initiated the chargeback with AMEX.

FWIW, we've only had issues with 2 smaller hotels/chains on this trip we planned. I have about $1600 in hotel stays between the two of them - the second one is through Expedia who hasn't yet extended their flexibility beyond April 30. All of our activity vendors, museums, etc (who presumably are in the same boat economically) have refunded us without us even asking because they're ethical, and presumably know it's not right to hold onto money for a service they can't provide while closed. Good on them.

Like I said before, this experience has soured my views on smaller properties. There's a snowball's chance in hell I will book a nonrefundable rate in the future with any of them, even though this is a fairly exceptional event. As I'm planning our future trips, I've been selecting the major chains whenever possible. You live and learn.
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