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Refunds

Please, if you have a non-refundable reservation of any type don't ask for a refund right now. Businesses have enough to do with people that have refundable reservation. Plus why do you think you deserve a refund when you brought non-refundable?

I'm not writing this to be mean or anything. It just gets to me how many people feel they are owed something when they're not. Then they complain about such and such business didn't give them any money back or they only gave back part of it. If you brought non-refundable it's on you, not the business. Remember that the little mom and pop b&b you reserved that was non-refundable and you are demanding one? That mom and pop was depending on your reservation for their income. And if for some reason they do give you a refund then be sure to thank them and write a good review.

Posted by
24 posts

Thats a tad bit harsh during these times when no one has control of the circumstances. I guess reservations, going forth after all this, will be looked at in a different way by both the traveler and the hotel owner.

Posted by
168 posts

Maybe it is a bit harsh. But if you owned a small b&b and made most of your income during the summer and had a no refund policy, would you just go ahead and refund the money and then have to do without yourself? Non-refundable is just that, non-refundable.

Posted by
6542 posts

I'm supposed to be in Berlin as I write this, however our flights were cancelled by the airlines and a full refund is in process.
We've been receiving some cancellation notices and a payment credit is coming from a hotel on a non-cancelable reservation.
I also received notice that Auschwitz has closed temporarily, and a payment credit is in process from them.
It appears some European governments have instituted regulations requiring prepaid rooms and tours to be repaid to travelers under the current situation.
Our trip will be taken at a later date, whenever that is.

Posted by
52 posts

Some people may have already been laid off and need every penny to survive.

Posted by
10899 posts

If a person has no money in reserve, they shouldn't have been booking rooms in Europe. I give this one to the business owner.

Posted by
168 posts

I'm not trying to stir the pot, but if the accommodations will not be available, then a refund is appropriate. For example, if you have a hotel booked and the hotel is closing due to the Corona virus (or any reason, really), your deposit should be returned, regardless if it's "non-refundable."

Posted by
5019 posts

Many folks seem to be oblivious to the distinction between what you might want, and what's legally required. These are two different things, and are frequently unrelated. What's legally required is almost always pretty clear. What you want may be less black-and-white but whatever it is, don't confuse that with what you can expect. There's also a whole range of gray covered by "doing the right thing" (which is in the eye of the beholder).

For example, let's say you have a trip to France planned. Your flight is canceled (or there's a ban on foreigners entering France), but your hotel is open. And when you paid for that hotel, you agreed that it was non-refundable. In that case, you should not expect to get a refund. It's not the hotel's fault that your flight was canceled. It's not the hotel's fault that you can't get to France. And when you paid, you agreed to pay knowing you would not get a refund if you don't show up.

You might (probably do) want to get a full refund. But you are not entitled to one from a legal standpoint.

You might think that the hotel should "do the right thing" by refunding your money anyway. The hotel would like it's bank to "do the right thing" too by not collecting the mortgage payment that month because it has no customers. You might get some sympathy if you ask nicely, you might not - same as the business when they look at who they have to pay.

Bottom line: you can always ask (and if you do, ask nicely and recognize that you are asking for a favor which will come at the expense of someone else). Sometimes you get lucky, but if you are not entitled to a refund - from a legal standpoint - don't expect (or demand) one, and if you are not legally entitled to one, don't be outraged.

Posted by
10899 posts

Okay, everyone sit down, take a deep breath and get ready for disturbing news. All is not right in the universe .... are you ready?
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I agree with David.

Posted by
168 posts

Ray - "Some people may have already been laid off and need every penny to survive."

What about the business needing to survive? They have bills just like you and are trying to keep their employees working.

marctshark - I agree, if the accommodations will not be available then a full refund should be given. However, a lot of businesses are still open but people are cancelling due to reasons like not being able to travel. That is not the business' fault so why should they give a refund.

Bottom line: If you what full refunds then either paid more for refundable reservations or buy travel insurance with a 'cancel for any reason' cause.

Posted by
74 posts

Sounds like two separate camps. And I very much doubt the two sides will agree.

I am not badgering Inn keepers for charging me when their borders are closed. However when this is over I will leave scathing reviews in every medium where they advertise. Most have been great (and these will get good reviews), some have held to policy...even though this is a different situation than we've seen before. These Inns are NOT incurring some of their cost, whether it's administrative or cleaning and as such should work with the clients. If they don't attempt to...well bad on them and your future business will be impacted if there is anything I can do about it. I really don't care if there is a 30 day cancellation period, that criteria was agreed upon in a different world. I'm all for negotiation and compromise, but when these people hold the line and don't try to meet in the middle...well in my opinion there is no excuse.

Posted by
5019 posts

I really don't care if there is a 30 day cancellation period, that criteria was agreed upon in a different world.

So, all legal contracts that you signed earlier than a few weeks ago are now null and void, all laws are no longer in effect, previous agreements are gone, and all bets are off, because we are in a different world now?
Hmmm.

Posted by
1076 posts

Ricki
I can tell you have never been in business for yourself. There are so many bills (taxes, utilities, insurance, mortgages, suppliers, staff) that many of these businesses will be lucky to come through this without going bankrupt. The terms you agreed to are valid and I would ignore any bad review you left on this basis.

Posted by
460 posts

2 camps. Honest people and Cheats who believe the world is all about them.

If the government (local) is shut down a city/country and closes hotels then the provider cannot provide you with what you bargained for (your room). They would be in breach of contract if they didn’t not return your nonrefundable deposit. And I have not heard of hotels refusing under such circumstances.

When you book with a nonrefundable deposit you accept the risk. YOU. And a note from mommy doesn’t get you out of it. Usually in exchange for a discount you provide money upfront. That money belongs to and is used by the provider in their normal cash flow. It is not kep in an envelope marked “Bob” awaiting for your arrival.

Any business who ignores the contract (and has the cash flow) and refunds anyway has done you a huge favor-digging into their pocket, at financial harm to themselves. Any provider who follows the terms of the contract has done nothing wrong; and this pathetic bashing needs to stop. The fault is squarely with those demanding people/entities give them money they are not entitled to (again, does not apply why the state has shut the hotel down).

The true problem is we have become of world of failed adults who have never grown up (Trump etc) and simply refuse to take responsibility for their own decisions and know nothing but excuse followed by excuse....the dog ate my homework, I’m scare and don’t want to go but you should lose and not me, I’m a princess, rules what rules........

Nonrefundable is exactly that. Nonrefundable- period. Grow up. There are no exceptions—as long as the provider can provide what you contracted for (hotel room). Period. It is one of the most simple principles in Contract law. Often taught very early during the 1st year of law school. The government shuts the hotel down- full refund. The hotel burns down- full refund. An earthquake reduces the hotel to a pile of rubble- full refund. Do you understand the principle- in each the hotel was unavailable and beyond the owners/operators ability to provide. This equals refund. That is it. Simplest test in the world.

Your airline cancels. Nope, get a different flight or grab a row boat. You get sick. Nope- hotel room still awaits.

Real simple concept.

Posted by
168 posts

Okay Ricki, lets say you have a small hotel and back in December I booked the whole place for 2 weeks for a company function starting April 10th. So I call you today and tell you I'm cancelling and want my money back. So even with your no refund policy you would still refund it because this is different times? And you know you may not be able to fill those rooms now. Gee, what a nice person you are! Even with a mortgage, utility bills and other expenses you do that hoping maybe you will get a good review.

On the other hand you won't do it so I'm going to write bad reviews because you are following your policies. Which sounds more reasonable to you?

Posted by
460 posts

You folks are forgetting the Princess rule. I’m the Princess, you really don’t think the rules apply to me; the rules only apply when they benefit me......it is all about me. LOL

Posted by
2819 posts

If hotels are open but the guest cannot reach the hotel for reasons unrelated to the hotel operation, then, normally, refunds are not owed. Ditto for other hospitality arrangements, and in-situ service providers in general.

However, at least in Europe, if a service provider cannot deliver the service - such as a hotel being shut down by government regulations -, reimbursement of prepaid costs are due (but not necessarily other losses, pain & suffering etc. in cases where the operator/provider has no option).

I feel some people are trying to be ultra-sanctimonious about refunds here, but within all EU countries I know about, a business that takes personal customer money on the mass market and cannot deliver the service is liable to refund it. The money paid by the costumer, before/during/after the deliver of said services, is given in exchange for a reasonable provision of services.

Refunds are issued often in situations such as a day-trip for scuba-diving canceled due to high-seas, or a bungee jump that is not operating because of winds, or a museum that is completely shut down because of some urgent repair.

The non-refundable clauses on reservation of lodging is a binding commitment to a contract for lodging services. If said services cannot be delivered on the providers' side, then there is a breach in contract, and customer law in the Civil Law/Napoleonic Law region will require a refund.

Things get a little more complicated when you have a thrid-party purchaser, such as a hotel consolidator that buys hotel rooms in bulk and re-sells them (this doesn't apply to mere reservation services like Booking) to personal costumers. There, the third-party might substitute for the provider as the customer-facing liable-to-refund agent.

Things also get tricky in regards - for instance - of services partially delivered, such as a hotel with a room that had plenty of street noise due to a protest happening there, or a resort where rain poured so much the swimming pool and mini gold were unusable.

If you have plenty of money such that refunds from a small family-operated Agriturismo stay would be just an ignored transaction on your budget, then by all means feel free to be nice to the lodging operator, but don't barge at people asking for a refund. If you can ask for a credit to use within one year, go ahead as well. Don't berate those who are unlikely to be able to use the voucher within the next months.

A shady hospitality business that skirts the law with legal tricks is the cruise industry, which still operates on the premise of decades-old treaties meant for a time where they act as transportation more than leisure.

Posted by
2819 posts

Okay Ricki, lets say you have a small hotel and back in December I booked the whole place for 2 weeks for a company function starting April 10th. So I call you today and tell you I'm cancelling and want my money back. So even with your no refund policy you would still refund it because this is different times? And you know you may not be able to fill those rooms now. Gee, what a nice person you are! Even with a mortgage, utility bills and other expenses you do that hoping maybe you will get a good review.

This is a non-sequitur.

The argument here is about hotels that cannot offer the services because they were outright closed by authorities, or because large gatherings such as a company function are prohibited, or because the hotel is in a medically-restricted zone.

Posted by
5397 posts

However when this is over I will leave scathing reviews in every medium where they advertise. Most have been great (and these will get good reviews),

This reminds me of many Forum users’ preference to book their lodgings through Booking.com, as apparently only people who have actually stayed at a given lodging are able to review a property.

Posted by
168 posts

Andre L. - if the business is still open and you are cancelling a non-refundable reservation then why should you receive one? Even if the government closes it's borders, unless the government told them to shut down they are still doing business. Therefore they have the legal right to follow their policies. It isn't their problem that you can't/won't travel.

I live in Alaska and if you came for a visit you would have to be self-quarantine for 14 days. For most people that's their whole vacation time. So what some of you are saying is that while the hotels are open, you should receive a full return of your money just because you can't fully enjoy your vacation. I can understand that but YOU made the choice to purchase a non-refundable or lose a deposit reservation. It's called a contract and you should read it before agreeing to it.

Now if the business cancels on you then yes you should receive any money paid to them. Next time either purchase a fully refundable or buy travel insurance with a 'cancel for any reason' cause.

Posted by
921 posts

"If a person has no money in reserve, they shouldn't have been booking rooms in Europe. I give this one to the business owner." - Agreed.

"if the accommodations will not be available, then a refund is appropriate........your deposit should be returned, regardless if it's "non-refundable." - Agreed

"a lot of businesses are still open but people are cancelling due to reasons like not being able to travel. That is not the business' fault so why should they give a refund." - Fair point.

"Your airline cancels. Nope, get a different flight or grab a row boat." - There's a general consensus that hotels should refund if they cannot provide the service they offer, even on nonrefundable bookings. Why should airlines be different? (Unless it was a joke on your part?)

Posted by
142 posts

So seriously that is really mean. I have lost $7000 dollars and I did buy travel insurance for this trip to Australia that I cannot take. ( I was able to cancel $4000- this was money that was due before the trip but wasn't due yet). We were going unless one of us was sick or injured, thus the travel insurance ( had to have medical evacuation also). One hotel reservation I canceled before Australia shut down the hotels, I am out that deposit, I can live with that. One hotel ($300) is returning my money, per government closing down the hotels. This was the only hotel that I opted for the cheaper nonrefundable room and they are actually refunding me. Another hotel ($700-there was no option to purchase at a refundable rate or just pay a deposit, Uluru) is refusing to return my money even though they will be closed during my prepaid time to use the room. Delta only will let me rebook by the end of this October. One year from my original purchase date. Is that even possible to travel then, not thinking so. My Qantas tickets are only usable until 9/30/20. Again, don't think that is going to be possible. Virgin Australia has cancelled both my flights with them but will only give me travel credit, without telling me the terms and conditions until after I apply for the travel credit. Keeping my money for a service they will not even give me if I was there. I also have not gotten a response on how to get travel insurance for a trip when you have to purchase it within 14 days of the first expense to include preexisting conditions and you have to use credits that were paid for 6 months ago. For now I am happy we are healthy and my husband is still employed. We all have our sob stories and it sucks on so many levels for so many people, but to say people shouldn't ask for a refund is crazy. The hotels are shut down and the flights are cancelled and they won't give me my money back, that is my problem right now.

Posted by
5019 posts

We all have our sob stories and it sucks on so many levels for so many people, but to say people shouldn't ask for a refund is crazy.

I don't believe anyone ever said you can not ask for a refund.

But if you agreed to a contract that said your money would not be refunded, then you shouldn't shouldn't expect or demand a refund, and you shouldn't be shocked or outraged if you don't get one.

Posted by
1920 posts

Ricki--

I hear your frustration but hope that you'll find kindness in your heart for owners who likely are very concerned about their ability to survive this crisis.

Posted by
84 posts

I used to own a small 6 room b&b. I loved a large part of running it but this topic reminds me of what I didn’t like about it. We had a legally well-crafted, easily understood, and highly visible cancellation policy. Every season, there were always a few guests who felt that the terms only applied to ”other people”, never to them. And if they had to cancel outside the clearly stated window, well I was expected to make an exception and refund because they felt their reason was unique. And if I didn’t, I would be firebombed with negative reviews. This was the nature of the business. I’ve heard hundreds of reasons for cancelling a non refundable booking. When needed, we implemented our cancellation policy and dealt with the threats, tantrums and pleas that followed.

But we never went thru a pandemic either. I would like to believe that if a pandemic and “no travel order” had been declared back when I owned it, I would have given refunds to any guest who asked. I wouldn’t have liked it but I would’ve done it. A pandemic is a unique circumstance that is an exception to business as usual.

I’ve been on both sides of this issue so I read every word of the terms and conditions, and the cancellation policy before I book. If possible, I always book refundable lodging. But if it’s not possible, a Cancel For Any Reason travel policy is well worth the cost.

Posted by
142 posts

David-
I am asking for a refund because the hotel has been shut down, they cannot offer me the room I have paid for. ( I am not going back to the hotel that I canceled before the shut down and asking for the deposit back, I know I have no recourse there.) And two of my flights have been cancelled and I am not being refunded my money or being offered an a different flight, to provide the service I have paid for. I figured if the travel insurance was useless I would need to wait for the services I had paid for to not be offered and then and only then would I get at a refund. Honestly did not expect it to go this far, my gut in January said we would be banned from entering Australia in April, had no idea flights and hotels would be closed.

Posted by
395 posts

People are allowed to ask. Owners are allowed to say no. I got cancel for any reason travel insurance. Most of my reservations are non-refundable. 3/5 Airbnbs gave me a full refund. American gave me a full refund for my paid ticket, refunded me the fees for my FF tickets, and didn’t charge me the $525 to reinstate my FF miles. These tickets are still outside the period of tickets being refunded.

I didn’t ask for a refund. Clearly some businesses are giving refunds (even small businesses). So it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Posted by
10899 posts

they shut down cause you arent coming. If you show up at their door step they better let you in or refund.

Posted by
168 posts

Back in December I planned my trip to Europe. While I could have saved about $400 by buying non-refundable airline tickets and non-refundable hotel rooms I didn't. I look at it this way, either I save $400 now and take a chance to lose thousands of dollars later if I have to cancel for any reason. Or I could buy travel insurance with a cancel for any reason clause and not worry about anything.

Point is it was my choice how to spend my money and to take a chance or not. In reading just the RS forum many of you feel that you should receive refunds that you aren't entitled to. You had the same choices as I did, take a chance or not. Now if a business cancels on you then by law they must compensate you some how.

Posted by
6752 posts

I'm in the same situation as northwestern, but am waiting on 4,500 instead of 7,000. Two refundable flights: Emirates request went into a black hole though it was a refundable business class fare. Second: Delta cancelled the return flight, so the ticket is refundable according to DOT rules. Yesterday they said I was getting a voucher. I responded that I want the refund allowed by DOT; I won't be able to travel until there is a treatment or vaccine.

Unable to upgrade, change flights myself on line, reach anyone by phone, messenger, or FB, I (fortunately) bought a biz class seat to come home on what turned out to be the last direct flight to Detroit. Hence, a refund that covers 23% of the cost is justified in my eyes. The phone message said all these refunds would be executed. Interesting how my husband's miles were easily re-banked and taxes refunded.

All situations aren't so black and white.
I find that some responses to northwestern are full of too much--you shoulda, I woulda, and you coulda.

Posted by
5486 posts

Refunds of non-refundable bookings may be depend on who is canceling. I had two Expedia non-refundable bookings at the Hotel Berna in Milian - two nights on arrival before 10 days in the mountains, then 5 nights before leaving Italy. Both Berna booking were lower priced no refund bookings.

Expedia's website basically said you get nothing back if you cancel. A day before our second booking scheduled arrival at the Hotel Berna, I started getting voice messages on my cell phone and an email about the Hotel Berna closing because of the government decree. At some point in time, Expedia wass calling my cell every several minutes until I was able to pick up the call. The Expedia agent offered to find us alternative Milan lodging or offered a full refund. I took the full refund and my credit card wall credited witin a day.

Bottom line is if you cancel, you do not deserve a refund of a non-refundable booking. If the property closes, you may be entitled to a refund. In in either case, we were happy not be to trapped in Italy during the COVID-19 crisis and not being a burden on the overwhelmed Italian health system.