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Cash Deposit on Booking.com?

I have never used air B&B or Booking.com., I prefer locations to get full cost. But, I have had to resort to it for this trip for various reasons. It appears that Booking.com now uses apartments similar to Air B&B, maybe always did. I have a location that just started with Booking.com in February 2020, so no reviews. They are asking for $200 cash deposit when we arrive to be returned when we leave.
Is this common? Has a private booking through Booking.com ever failed? No reviews is a little unsettling.

Posted by
9447 posts

We have made many cash damage deposits and cash payments over the years, especially in Italy. I have never seen one on Booking.com and I suspect this is contrary to Booking’s rules. No reviews is a big red flag to me.

Posted by
449 posts

Hi. I have used booking for apts the last 3 years. Do not go with a new listing. I was almost scammed in December, and had to report them to booking, who promptly removed the listing.

I only book Apts with several reviews. Why did you choose this particular apt? Good price? Don’t be swayed only by price.

Posted by
141 posts

I have found that a cash deposit is not uncommon, but also not typical, it just depends on the host.
Having no reviews yet would be more of a concern for me.

Sometimes Googling the name or address of the property reveals past reviews from other booking sites.

Posted by
16997 posts

Booking.com has had apartments listed at least since 2015; they are less unusual now than they were in 2015. I've stayed in a few when they were less expensive than the hotel rooms available at the time of my (very late) booking. I've never had to pay a security deposit, cleaning fee, etc., but I've seen fees mentioned in some listings.

With any apartment that doesn't use the lockbox entry method, you are at risk of running into delays at arrival because of the need for the manager/owner to meet you to turn over the key. That doesn't always go smoothly, but everyone has always shown up in the end. But I've had issues twice with small hotels--showing up during a mid-day closure and having to scramble to find a place to leave my suitcase. Once there was a sign in the window (only in the local language), directing me to a different hotel--nicer, but farther from the train station. None of those situations was the fault of booking.com.

One of the reasons I prefer hotels is that I don't like extra deposits and fees. Personally, I would stay clear of a new listing requiring any form of up-front payment. What's the cancellation policy? Those vary from lodging to lodging on booking.com.

Posted by
138 posts

"Taxes and service charges: 10 % VAT is included. € 30 cleaning fee per stay is included. € 200 Damage deposit per stay is excluded." Just found this on Booking.com policy. I interpret that to mean they do not charge the $200., but some others may. There are no reviews because they just joined last month, February. Perhaps no one has stay there yet.Also, perhaps because this location just started - they are nervous. But I agree, follow my gut!

Posted by
11681 posts

That is standard language, stating that the price you see on Booking.com includes the VAT and cleaning fee. The €200 is a security deposit (to cover damage you might cause) that you pay directly to the owner or manager when you arrive. Presumably they return it at the end of your stay if nothing is damaged or broken. That means they should meet you at checkout and inspect the place, then hand back the deposit.

There is a fair amount of trust involved on both sides with this arrangement. It is up to you whether you can tolerate that. If there were lots of good reviews, I would go ahead if I really liked the place and the vibe of the owner. But with no reviews, there is too much uncertainty for me.

Posted by
449 posts

I read reviews before making a decision, because in those reviews (thank goodness people do them, as I do), you can find out little things. For example, one said that be aware the owner does not provide any toiletries, except for one roll of toilet paper, and it isn't always new! That alerted me to the fact that four adults heading to this apartment, would need to either pick up these things, or do so, shortly after we got in. Another mentioned that though the listing included a microwave, the microwave does not work, and the owner was not planning to replace. I prefer an apt with one, for reheating quickly, so I moved on to another apartment. Or some mentioned that with the Christmas markets, though the location was perfect, if you're a light sleeper, DO NOT STAY THERE! It was noisy and rowdy over the weekend, and our stay was for the weekend. So I moved on to another that was a little further away, but double paned windows and extremely quiet. Reviews are very important. They tell you the little things which guests noticed. Or how about an apartment where the shower was so tiny, one could hardly raise their arms above head, to wash hair! One lady said she washed her hair in the kitchen sink, and did not advise anyone who was very tall, or very big, to stay there. Or the apartment on the 6th floor, with no elevator until the 2nd floor. The listing said elevator, which wasn't a lie, but failed to mention that you still had to go up these flight of stairs, with luggage or maybe issues with climbing. Those are the details needed, much more than an apartment description.

Posted by
1516 posts

We’ve used booking for many apartments, hotels and B&Bs. (Over 30 in past 18 months)

An apartment I’d reserved for Cape Town stated the equivalent of 200€ (In SA currency) for a deposit upon checkin that we would receive at checkout. I messaged the apartment manager or owner and explained I’d have no use for South African currency as we were going directly to airport to fly back home. Explained that we are a 60 something couple and would take care of apartment. The deposit was waived for us.

We have a large villa with private pool reserved for 4 nights for our trip to Sicily. They also are asking for a €200 damage deposit. But property gets great reviews and no negatives about getting deposit back.

Posted by
760 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
Not common and a bit clumsy. I have always had my money returned in full except when I have exceeded the energy allotment. Energy allotments tend to be a Gites de France thing. I understand what with all the bachelor(ette) parties destroying rentals.

wayne iNWI