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How do people pay?


jsb

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We're planning on renting out our chalet in the alps during the winter months and I'd like to know how people normally pay.  We live here all year round and the income will be declared here in France, although I am expecting most of our customers to be from the UK.  Is it worth getting a CB machine, or do most people prefer paying into a UK bank account?  I will be asking for a deposit and am thinking of asking for the amount to be paid in full before arrival.  That way there are no money worries on either side.  Any opinions?   

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If you have a UK bank account then it is very simple. Presumably you will be asking for a signed booking form (very important as you can include a clause that states the rentor accepts your terms and conditions etc.) so just ask them to send you a UK bank cheque. Then all you need to do is post the cheques, with a paying in slip, to your UK bank branch. Some people may prefer to pay by internet banking transfer which is fairly simple too.

The problem with having your own CB machine is a) the cost to you, b) the "foreign transaction" cost to your rentors making a Euro payment and c) you will have to have a business account which will probably cost you more.  Paypal is another option favoured by some but if you ever find yourself in dispute with a client (cancelled booking etc.) then it is very easy for the client to complain to paypal and you will find that they can take the money back again. For some businesses (hotels, b&b etc.) a c/card facility is more important but for self catering accommodation you should find it quite easy to manage without.

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I have been using Paypal as a way for my guests to pay for two years now, and touch wood I have not had any problems. On a few occassions people were not able to pay using Paypal because they had gone over their limit, then they did a bank transfer and that also worked out fine.
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[quote user="ThomasD"]I have been using Paypal as a way for my guests to pay for two years now, and touch wood I have not had any problems. On a few occassions people were not able to pay using Paypal because they had gone over their limit, then they did a bank transfer and that also worked out fine.[/quote]

We to use PayPal and it's quite good. I asked my bank about a CB machine and we went through the costs with the guy in the bank and the amount of money we would be putting through it. It actually worked out cheaper using PayPal than a machine. I admit not much cheaper but the guy in the bank said why bother with a machine. The good thing now with PayPal is people don't need to have an account to send you money.

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Thanks for that, you mentioned the signed booking form which was going to be another question.  In an age where more and more people seem to blame everyone else for problems and accidents which are just that, how do you cover yourself for any claims?  My plan is that the chalet would be self catered, but I don't want anyone saying for example: that the open fire burnt little Johnny when he put his hands into it, or that someone fell off the mezzanine.  The house is built to all norms and standards, but having worked in a bar where people would claim that they were due something as they'd banged their heads on a stone archway, nothing would surprise me.  Is it legal to put that we're not liable for any incidents which take place? 
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My website states that by paying for the accommodation agreed with me you accept the terms and conditions there. I have been advised this is as binding as someone signing a statement to say they have read and accept the T&Cs. There is another discussion forum where these T&C forms have been discussed quite a bit.

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When I posted about my using Paypal I was aware that there are other websites that offer the same sort of service as Paypal. I could not find one at the time. Having just renewed my advert with Owners Direct I note they use Worldpay. Has anyone got any experience with them? I have read somewhere that Paypal fees are high in relation to some of the others, but they have a good reputation.
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jsb,  it is always better to have a signature on a written contract, that way there can be no dispute as to who the contract is between.  Make it clear that the contract is between you and the person signing the booking form (which somethimes may not be the same as the person shown as the lead party member or the person making the payment). Also make it clear the the person signing the booking forum/contract is responsible for the other party members - if there is any dispute then this way there is only one person who can be held responsible and with whom you need to deal with.

If you live in France then make it clear that, where the contract is concerned, French law prevails. This may not stand up if challenged but it may be enough to put some speculators off challenging you for something spurious.

You cannot absolve yourself of all responsibility for guests safety but as long as you are sensible then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. You will need to notify your French insurance company that you will be holiday letting and they will provide you with the necessary third party cover. Invite your broker (always useful to deal with a local company) to visit your chalet and advise you if he/she believes there is anything that needs your attention.

Don't worry too much about all this as common sense usually prevails. Problems with guests are few and far between thankfully.  Good luck with your venture.

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