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A scam or stupidity?
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Managing your guests
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:45 am    Post subject: A scam or stupidity? Reply with quote

A slight variation on another thread here about lack of communication with guests etc.

Every booking this year has been 'difficult'. Guests not replying to e-mails, changing e-mail addresses, guests paying by bank transfer with no name or date reference to identify themselves. General lack of communication even though I ask them to let me know when they have sent a cheque or made a bank transfer.

The latest: A guest sent her booking form but no payment. I chased for the payment and she said her husband had forgotten to do the transfer. It arrived after a few days. I sent a receipt confirming the final payment amount and date for payment - £1,415 this weekend.

Yesterday evening we get a panic e-mail and phone call that they have paid £1,000 too much by bank transfer and can we send it back asap. They have paid "£2,280 instead of £1,280".

I can't understand how they came up with that figure, why they didn't check their receipt for the amount due nor why they are so 'careless' as to pay a totally random amount and 'overpay' by a £1,000. I have replied that when the funds have cleared I will refund the appropriate amount (not £1,000). The guest has now sent her bank details for me to do this and added that their payment to us has taken them over their overdraft limit so can I do it asap please.

I have said it will take a few days for things to clear through and then I'll deal with it.

I can't see how this is a scam but I am almost speechless at a seemingly cavalier attitude to transferring money - and especially when they clearly didn't have it in their account to send.
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Dusty



Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 351
Location: St Cernin de Labarde, Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sympathise GiliianF, people do seem to communicating less and less, maybe they are busier these days, or have more complicated lives or are just too used to the 'nanny state' looking after them when things go wrong. This could be a classic over-payment scam so I think you're right to be wary. Can you contact your bank and talk it through with them.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just checked our online bank account and the payment (no name or reference to it) is there but not the amount she said so she can't even get her mistake right!

I'm going to phone my bank and find out how long funds take to clear and am in no hurry to refund money until I'm sure about this.

Amazing behaviour. Can I trust her with our property for two weeks?!
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 4991
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My scamometer is in the red zone.

I do not believe that you can make a bank transfer that would take you over the overdraft limit.

Also double check with your bank that in the immortal words of Theresa May "cleared means cleared" and that there is no clawback possible and I mean NO clawback at all at all. Something at the back of my mind is niggling about this, and that there may be some circumstances when it can (and does) happen..... Sorry I cannot be more specific.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I entirely agree. I don't think this is a scam but I do have something in my mind where funds which seem to have cleared can be called back.
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RichardHenshall



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 400
Location: Luz, Algarve

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand. You're owed £1415, which they've paid and you've acknowledged with a receipt.

Why would you refund anything? Or did they make a second payment of a random amount?

Do the details of the account to which you're being asked to refund match the original sending account? If not, be worried.

Do you have another guest who owes you £1415?
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guest paid a deposit initially some time ago. I sent a receipt for the deposit detailing that the balance to pay (this weekend) would be £1415 to include the damages deposit of £200.

The guest e-mailed yesterday that they had paid £2,280 which they said was £1,000 too much. I've checked our bank and they have actually paid £2,215 which is £1,000 more than the balance NOT including the damages deposit. So, we owe them £800 over-payment.

I've checked with my bank and, apparently, the payment is cleared and cannot be refunded so we can reimburse them the over-payment with no risk. Our bank were surprised the guest was able to make a transfer for more money than they had on their overdraft and it cleared.

To add to the confusion the guest has sent me her bank details twice - the first time with her name for the account and the second time with her husband's name.

The guest really does not seem to know which way up she is ……..
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Goscar



Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 85
Location: Pembrokeshire

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, it does seem odd. That said, we have a guest who returns with his family fairly frequently. The one thing we can be sure of is that our bank account will be peppered with seemingly random amounts. What's more, he doesn't seem to know when to stop. It's pretty bizarre, but something we have become reconciled to.
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RichardHenshall



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 400
Location: Luz, Algarve

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does seem that they don't quite know what's going on but they may now be overdrawn because they've paid someone else (too much?) by cheque or direct debit rather than by paying you too much by transfer.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest, I couldn't care about their overdraft.

They were a little slow paying their deposit to confirm their booking because Mr. 'forgot' or was 'busy'. But, they paid the initial deposit back in March and I sent a receipt immediately with details of the final payment so they have had plenty of time to save up, organise funds etc. If they paid me too much and went overdrawn it is entirely down to them and when I am comfortable that the money really is safe in my account I will reimburse the over-payment.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6086
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the amount had been paid by cheque I’d be screaming “Scam alert”. The standard scam scenario with a payment into a UK bank of a cheque drawn on a non-UK bank is that the payment can be clawed back some weeks later (I don’t how/if it works in other countries, but I imagine it’s similar).
With a UK to UK bank transfer, AFAIK if it shows as cleared then that’s final, so no opportunity for a scam - BUT I’d still want confirmation of that if it was in any way odd, which it seems to be.
Stupidity or scam is a good question!

As for their overdraft, that’s their problem; it’s totally reasonable for you to have confirmation of cleared funds before rectifying their mistake.
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aussiefrog



Joined: 10 Dec 2012
Posts: 405
Location: Languedoc, France

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GillianF, I’d check again with your bank, sometimes you get different advice from different people. If they say the funds are definitely cleared, can you get it writing? This still smells a little fishy to me.
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Zingara



Joined: 09 Apr 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Antibes, PACA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A claw-back request can be made by the depositor's bank if they claim that they made the payment 'in error', and then you have to prove that the money was due to you.

I had this happen recently with a rat-bag of a tenant who decided he'd claim his last month's rent back (even though he didn't leave promptly at the end of his contract). I had to send my bank a copy of his tenancy agreement, showing that his rent was due until the end of the contract. After 6 weeks or so, they confirmed that I could 'keep' the money.

This was not an overpayment amount, though, and a somewhat different situation. Do you have secure messaging service through your online banking, that you can have a 'written' exchange confirming the funds are cleared, and then refund the balance ?
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Circé



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I smell a scam... or idiot behaviour! I agree, people are getting scattier and we could all do without the hassle.
I don't see any need to rush to refund them, it's their error, and you need to protect yourself.
A suggestion: tell them you could (not will) organise a refund when they are here on holiday, if they can show you their online bank statement(s) where it clearly says what money was sent to you and when. This of course means they will have to login online at your place, but they can do that without your seeing their details.
You could then compare their bank debits with your credits.

Would that work?
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 804
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had endless e-mails from the couple and a phone call on Saturday morning. I explained the funds had to clear through my bank before I could refund and that I would do it asap.

I actually did it this morning having been assured, again, by my bank that the funds are cleared.

The guests are pleading poverty because their overdraft is costing them a daily fee and whilst I have some sympathy with that situation it should have made them more careful, very careful, about making the transfer.

In the circumstances, I didn't feel I could make them wait until they came on holiday - although I was tempted.

It does make me wonder if they can afford the holiday at all!

We have a few weeks before they arrive so if I see their payment disappear from my account I will withhold the key until it is sorted.

Fingers crossed this is just stupidity - theirs in overpaying and not mine in refunding …………….
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