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Cancellation Policy

 
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Sandra J



Joined: 30 Aug 2015
Posts: 46
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:49 am    Post subject: Cancellation Policy Reply with quote

A guest booked for August wanted to know my cancellation policy. Since handling rental enquiries myself for the last 4 years there have been no cancellations. Once I sent the information she said that she did not want to cancel the booking AT THIS TIME. I am now concerned that she will cancel later and leave less time for the dates to be let. At present our cancellation policy is full refund of the deposit minus an admin charge up to 6 weeks before the start of the holiday.

Should I have a non-refundable deposit? Any advice would be welcome.
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Cymraes



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 348
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I require a non refundable deposit. If a guest stands to lose money then it concentrates the mind wonderfully.

If you offer a full refund up to 6 weeks before the start date you risk getting the chancers who book several properties months ahead and then decide which of them they fancy as the date gets closer.

I strongly recommend insurance in my booking emails in case a guest does have to cancel for a genuine reason rather than because they've changed their minds.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5984
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, state that once the deposit is paid if the guest cancels then any refund will be dependent upon being able to relet the property for the same dates, and the amount of the refund will take into account any additional advertising costs or discounts and admin costs.

Second, increase your balance due time to 8 weeks before arrival which gives you more time if a guest does cancel.

Strictly speaking you can only make a deposit completely "non-refundable" if it only covers reasonable admin costs which may well not be enough to focus the mind. Beyond that amount a “non-refundable deposit” would be regarded as an unfair term and wouldn’t stand up in court - but that’s only if it ever got that far; most people won’t know that and may well assume they’ll lose the lot if they cancel (which definitely would concentrate the mind!)
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petitbois



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 334

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had someone recently who asked about our cancellation policy before she sent deposit. I told her that the deposit is non-refundable & balance required 3wks prior to stay. She then came back & asked what if we need to cancel once I have paid final balance, to which I replied, non-refundable unless able to re-let & we recommend that guests take out travel insurance to cover. She then came back & said she would investigate insurance before she sent deposit at which stage I said 'I am afraid I cannot accept your reservation if you are considering cancelling - we have a high percentage of regulars who come every year now for over 10yrs, so if you are that unsure as to whether you want to spend time with us, then maybe our property is not for you.' Yes I lost the booking, but probably for the best.....a regular guest then contacted me, so gave them a discount, deposit paid within the hour & they are looking forward to coming back for another enjoyable holiday. Everybody happy!!
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kg1



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2346

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You definitely need a safer policy to protect yourself. This is ours-

If a cancellation is requested more than 6 weeks in advance of the letting period the balance of any monies paid, less the booking deposit, will be returned to the tenant. If a cancellation is requested within the 6 weeks prior to the letting period the owner will retain the booking deposit and also reserves the right to retain the balance of the rental payment, should it not be possible to re-let the property. We will always endeavour to re-let the property though and if successful will refund any monies paid less any charges/fees for additional advertising or discounting. We strongly advise you to arrange insurance cover against cancellation for any reason. The security deposit will be refunded for all cancellations.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1314
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
Strictly speaking you can only make a deposit completely "non-refundable" if it only covers reasonable admin costs which may well not be enough to focus the mind. Beyond that amount a “non-refundable deposit” would be regarded as an unfair term and wouldn’t stand up in court - but that’s only if it ever got that far; most people won’t know that and may well assume they’ll lose the lot if they cancel (which definitely would concentrate the mind!)

What greenbarn has just said 'concentrated my mind' enough to check what my own T's and C's say on the subject of a non-refundable deposit. They say:

A 25% non-returnable rental deposit is payable straightaway and the Owners’ receipt and acceptance of this deposit secures the booking.
The balance of rent is not due until 8 weeks before the start of the tenancy, or immediately when there is less than 8 weeks to run. Non-payment of the balance of rent by the due date might invalidate the booking.


My thinking is that if you make it clear that the initial deposit also counts as an upfront part payment of the rent you would be all right. Although "rental" as an adjective can mean "of or relating to rent", I should reword the above to put matters beyond doubt:

A 25% non-returnable rental deposit is payable straightaway as a part payment of the rent. The Owners’ receipt and acceptance of this deposit secures the booking etc...
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Stewart



Joined: 11 Jun 2011
Posts: 85
Location: Fife, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From none during our first year, cancellations are increasingly frequent (currently four or five per year). I think that more customers make bookings knowing up front they may cancel. We have an explicit "no deposit refund" policy that we waive for convincing sob stories but keep in mind that such bookings reduce the advertising window for "unexpectedly re-available" dates and in our case have impacted revenue. Travel insurance is a product for a reason and I don't think the supplier should subsidise a flimsy booking made on a whim.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5984
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stewart wrote:
... I think that more customers make bookings knowing up front they may cancel. We have an explicit "no deposit refund" policy that we waive for convincing sob stories but keep in mind that such bookings reduce the advertising window for "unexpectedly re-available" dates and in our case have impacted revenue. Travel insurance is a product for a reason and I don't think the supplier should subsidise a flimsy booking made on a whim.


Bang on the nail. It’s an attitude that’s encouraged by the big sites, with Booking.com as historically the worst offender but the others catching up fast.

All together now: We are not a charity...
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Sandra J



Joined: 30 Aug 2015
Posts: 46
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will update my T&C's to a non-refundable deposit. Spent last night looking at the terms for some agencies and most have a non-refundable deposit and booking fee. Thank you to those who have replied to my post. Your advice is much appreciated.
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