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A scam or stupidity?
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Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 718
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: A scam or stupidity? Reply with quote

GillianF wrote:

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....
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".
...... but I am almost speechless at a seemingly cavalier attitude to transferring money

We have noticed that guest communication is getting even worse than it used to be. Just received our first booking via BC and emailed the guests a few weeks ago to ask them to transfer Ä200 security deposit plus tourist tax to our bank account. No reply and no transfer received. If it's not forthcoming, I have an idea that we're going to have an interesting conversation when they arrive, something along the lines of 'Didn't have to pay a security deposit when we last booked a night at the Holiday Inn through'.....

About your over-payment, we are also completely shocked at how careless people can be with transferring money.
We have received all kinds of strange amounts over the years and they can be so frustrating to have to entangle sometimes. Often guests seem to type in the figure in the incorrect order - such as, 1450 instead of 1540 or they just decide to round the deposit amount up or down (normally down) to an amount which they decide - such as 250 instead of 257.

Last year, we had a booking from the UK from a very scatty family who got in a real mess with their payments. They decided long after paying the deposit to add an extra night. I updated their invoice and when it became time to pay the balance payment, we received first the entire full amount of the adjusted booking (so, including the deposit which they had already paid) and then the next day, a second payment which was the original balance payment before the extra night had been added. Both payments came from different bank accounts. Neither had any date or surname note. Both bank accounts couldn't be matched to any lead booking name we held. We identified the payments only because we were expecting a balance payment around that date from the UK.
I ended up transferring some GBP900 back to them and they didn't even realize that they had made an error until I emailed them about it.... Shocked
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Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 300
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not specifically a payment for holiday accommodation but i recently sold something expensive on eBay (£3K's worth) to someone in Denmark. Before I listed the item and decided how a buyer should pay for this i visited my bank. I wanted to see a specific person, someone i know and someone thatís worked at the bank forever. Someone i've trusted in the past and has shared a trick or two with me when i've needed it.

She was having lunch so i spoke to someone else who said once a BACS payment has cleared, it's cleared and cannot be pulled back. On my way out i actually bumped into the lady i wanted to speak to who was on her way in. She said monies payed by BACS, card and by cheque can be clawed back up to six months after payments clear and longer in some situations. Not easy to do but it can be done if the sender is determined enough.

She went on to say that although overpayment is a common mistake a deliberate overpayment is a common scam, scammers want their money back plus the overpaid amount ASAP. (Usually get the overpayment from you first then claw back the original payment). Typically called "A Short Con".

If this fails they usually move on and take a loss, a small loss to them in the greater scheme of things, too much hassle and trouble for them. The bank accounts, card accounts that they use are typically frozen and closed long before thereís any chance of them getting anywhere.

To be absolutely sure she said take payment by either, Firstly Western Union Transfer to be transferred in full in GBP, Secondly by BACS or cheques and thirdly by cash on collection in small GBP notes. She went to say always make sure BACS and cheques fully clear and always return monies if required by exactly the same way it was received to exactly the same account, never a different person or account number. Never take monies by BACS and return all or a part of it by cheque or cash etc. Never take a payment from Mrs Smith and pay back in full or part to Mr Smith either.

She agreed with me that PayPal are not to be trusted, there eBay and Paypal buyer / seller protection schemes are all about protecting eBay and Paypal firstly then the buyer and the seller last. The seller always looses out.

She finished by saying receiving monies by BACS should be considered 99.9% safe once cleared and if you think youíre a victim of a possible overpayment scam get the person to go to their own card company or bank and claim back the full amount and then pay the correct amount. A scammer may claim back the original monies and then not pay the correct amount afterwards. If it's not a scam asking them to do this may very well lose you that booking though as they'll feel very much inconvenienced.
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