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Non-receipt of balance payment

 
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 616
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:18 pm    Post subject: Non-receipt of balance payment Reply with quote

For us, this year has been the worst ever for guests 'forgetting' to settle their balance payments. Already four sets of guests booking via our own sites or contacting us via OD and opting for offline payments have failed to pay up before the final payment deadline elapses.

We have twice now in the last couple of months had to call guests to ask them to transfer the balance after reminders/requests by email to do so were ignored.

On each occasion, cancelling the bookings was not really an option for us (it was around 6-7 weeks before arrival each time) as we were unsure whether we would fill the availability with a last minute booking. We only had a 30% deposit to hold onto anyway.

All four bookings did eventually go ahead, with all the guests finally paying up. They all had the usual excuses - 'we're currently on holiday right now. Can we pay you when we're back in 10 days?' - with a week going by after the new deadline and you still don't have the balance payment
..Or, 'Sorry, we've had internet problems over the last couple of weeks and couldn't get onto our online banking' and 'Oh, totally forgot about it. Very glad you sent us a reminder!'

We're wondering how other LMH'ers handle this. Have you ever cancelled a booking when the guests didn't send the balance payment, after maybe emailing or calling them first? Or, do you just be patient and give them extra time?

Many owners are against online payments, but it does prevent the feeling sometimes that we owners are some kind of collection agency...
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 755
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have my sympathies.
To have four sets of guests paying late should be particularly bad luck.
I increased my deposit this year (although it is a fixed amount per week, so not as much as 30%) after reading about difficulties around the time balance payments were due.

You have the stress of worrying if you will get a replacement booking or the stress of your late paying guests being irresponsible whilst in your property, and I'm not sure what is worse!

I have had peolple forgetting to pay the balance payment on time, and usually sent an email saying "gentle reminder" that their payment of "x" is due on "y" date. I go on to say if there is a problem with the booking to let me know asap or else I will consider their booking cancelled.
Is there some way in which you can be a bit firmer with the language that you use when you send your reminders??

I have only once cancelled a guest after numerous promises to pay, then emails telling me the guest would pay on a later and then an even later date. I learnt a lot from that experience - it was a peak week and I did not get a booking to replace them.

If you think this is an emerging pattern, then some on LMH appear to take a 50% deposit, and I would go that way if necessary.
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ianh100



Joined: 10 Jan 2013
Posts: 474
Location: Sherborne Dorset

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have had this on 2 occasions recently, we only ask for final payment at 30 days so already getting tight to resell.

We send a reminder 10 days before payment is due and then start to chase from the payment due date. It is tricky as we don't want to look aggressive but we also want to know that people are going to pay.

I think a lot of people just live life that way and pay bills when they are chased. Some of the big listing companies take bookings by credit card at the T&C just mean they take that money when it is due. Perhaps there is an option like that for us? Can you make an initial T&C state that if you don't "actively" cancel in writing before the final due date that the final payment is due no matter what?
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 616
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zebedee wrote:
You have my sympathies.
To have four sets of guests paying late should be particularly bad luck.
I increased my deposit this year (although it is a fixed amount per week, so not as much as 30%) after reading about difficulties around the time balance payments were due.

You have the stress of worrying if you will get a replacement booking or the stress of your late paying guests being irresponsible whilst in your property, and I'm not sure what is worse!

I have had peolple forgetting to pay the balance payment on time, and usually sent an email saying "gentle reminder" that their payment of "x" is due on "y" date. I go on to say if there is a problem with the booking to let me know asap or else I will consider their booking cancelled.
Is there some way in which you can be a bit firmer with the language that you use when you send your reminders??

I have only once cancelled a guest after numerous promises to pay, then emails telling me the guest would pay on a later and then an even later date. I learnt a lot from that experience - it was a peak week and I did not get a booking to replace them.

If you think this is an emerging pattern, then some on LMH appear to take a 50% deposit, and I would go that way if necessary.


Thanks, Zebedee. We have had to use increasingly 'less-friendly' reminder templates this year with some of our non-payes. Really stating that we expected payment by x deadline, and were not able to extend it further. It seemed to have mobilized these guests into thinking that if they didn't pay up soon then they would lose their holiday.

We do tend to think, when looking at some of the actual dates that their payments finally come in, that alot of the late-payers are waiting on their salaries arriving towards the end of the month. It seems that they really do not have the capability to pay otherwise, with many probably having no access to credit cards (our late-payers this year have been three local groups and one German group).

The 50% deposit is a good idea - we only recently increased it from 25% to fall in line with OD's online booking system, otherwise we would have had to offer guests the option to pay offline with different terms and conditions! We see more and more sites asking for full payment on booking (ABB and Wimdu for example). It may put some people off booking by having to pay so much upfront (if it's a year in advance, for example), but it certainly solves this problem!
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kyreniagirl



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2320

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ianh100 wrote:
We have had this on 2 occasions recently, we only ask for final payment at 30 days so already getting tight to resell.

We send a reminder 10 days before payment is due and then start to chase from the payment due date. It is tricky as we don't want to look aggressive but we also want to know that people are going to pay.

I think a lot of people just live life that way and pay bills when they are chased. Some of the big listing companies take bookings by credit card at the T&C just mean they take that money when it is due. Perhaps there is an option like that for us? Can you make an initial T&C state that if you don't "actively" cancel in writing before the final due date that the final payment is due no matter what?


30 days is really tight. We are 6 weeks and thinking of increasing to 8 inline with many others owners.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5902
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kyreniagirl wrote:

30 days is really tight. We are 6 weeks and thinking of increasing to 8 inline with many others owners.


Agree - 30 days is pretty much zero contingency unless you’re lucky enough to be somewhere with such high demand that you can always sell.

The norm of 8 weeks allows some breathing space; as AngloDutch’s experience shows, a week or two of that can rapidly disappear in back and forth communication.

We send a reminder out a few days before the due date which simply says it’s “now due” so maybe people will just get on and pay it. “Due in a week’s time” doesn’t have any urgency and drops down the list (or maybe it’s just me that’s guilty of that sort of behaviour.... Embarassed ).

I can only speak for the UK where I’m sure that money is much tighter for most people at the moment and “waiting for pay day” is probably genuine - which doesn’t help us of course! Taking credit card payments removes that problem in most cases; our guests get a payment link included in the reminder so there’s not a lot of heavy thinking for them to do...
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Moonshine



Joined: 30 Jun 2016
Posts: 29
Location: South Devon, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do one-third of the total rent deposit and then two months for final balance. And I say when I acknowledge the deposit: 'Please don’t rely on us to send reminders – the date the balance is due will be on our booking confirmation. Non-payment by the due date will be treated as a cancellation.' I don't remember when I last had to send a reminder so must have been a long time ago. But then the amounts of money I'm requesting are fairly modest, so that must help.
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Sam V



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 1610
Location: Villa in Gale, Algarve, Portugal. At home in Fetcham, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coincidentally I just cancelled a booking last week. I take a 30% deposit with final balance due at 8 weeks. This guest booked two weeks with us direct last year for two weeks this September. Since his booking I've sent him several emails to complete our booking form via PIMS and I send a balance due reminder a month in advance. I've not heard anything from him since he booked and as he never completed his booking form so I have nothing than his email to contact him. So a week after not receiving his balance I emailed a final time to let him know I've cancelled his booking. Still nothing from him and I've since booked three nights of his dates. I have a gut feeling I'll hear from him about a week before he was due!
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