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Warning - Paypal payments


Marie

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Just a quick word of warning to any of you who might want to use paypal as a meaning of accepting payment. We had a late booking for our gite, and due tio the lack of time, suggested a paypal payment as a means of instant payment. Our renters were more than happy with this, and made the payment immediately.  The first problem was that Paypal refused to allow a payment for the full amount as the renters were new customers.  They managed to work round this by using one account each for husband and wife - all OK. Or so we thought!

The message from Paypal came through on Friday evening saying the payment had been made, so we duly dispatched the keys the next morning.  Saturday afternoon (more than 12 hours after we were told the payment was there) Paypal informed us that the payment was on hold, and would not be released until the customer had received and entered a PIN number, which would be sent by within 4 working days! After several hours of phone calls both by us and our renters, Paypal refused to release the money until the renters had been verified through the use of this PIN.

After much backward and forwarding, we have agreed with the renters that they will pay us cash on arrival, as coincidentally we will be arriving the same day. I have to say this has been a real stress for all concerned, as we were anxious that having released the house keys, we were minus a payment we thought we had, and the renters were anxious that they weren't going to get their holiday.

To top it all, when my husband rang Paypal today to say that we had made other arrangements and the payment order should be cancelled, Paypal said that there was only a 1 in 10 chance that the payment would have been made, as 9 out of 10 that are placed on hold are returned unpaid! Our renters have had the money deducted from their debit card, and are now trying to get it back.  They believe that what Paypal have done is tantamount to theft, as they are holding the money, and neither side can get access to it.

I would strongly warn other gite owners against using this as a payment method, unless your renters already have a verified account with Paypal, or you have plenty of time to spare waiting for Paypal to sort things out! We will be going back to them once we return from France to complain. It is unacceptable for them to say a payment has been made, and then decide to withold it over 12 hours later.

Marie

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This is a well known problem with Paypal.  The problem arises when, during the registration procedure and prior to making the payment, people decide to join Paypal as "certified users" or some such - can't recall the exact term.  Paypal encourages people to do this but it is not necessary.    If you tell the payer NOT to be tempted to register with Paypal as a "certified"/"bona fide" or whatever it is user, they can make the payment instantly online to you without this stupid faffing about waiting for a PIN number on the user's credit card transactions.   I speak as one who fell into this trap when paying for something via Paypal, but got out of it by going back in and registering with Paypal again as another identity.

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Agreed -- for last-minute bookings, I would never suggest PayPal if someone were new to the site. I also would be wary of taking cash on arrival. Bank transfer would be my payment method of choice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am pleased to say, that having just got back home, the cash on arrival worked out fine - but it certainly tested my nerves.  I had imagined every possible disaster, including trying to evict non-paying guests who had arrived before we did (which they did!), and then refused to hand over any cash - cue several sleepless nights before our arrival in France. As it turns out, they couldn't have been nicer about it, and the money was all handed over within 30 minutes of our arrival!

This is not a route we will pursue again, as it really is too risky, but on this occasion, we had to take the risk because of the delay in Paypal telling us the payment was on hold.  Bank transfer is our preferred method, but as more and more people leave it until the last minute to try and book, is there any guaranteed way of getting cash transferred instantly? Being UK based, we need enough time to get the money banked, and send out a key - very difficult when people seem to think they can just get up one morning, decide they fancy a holiday in France the next day, and expect a hotel style instant booking system for a gite.  What do other people do in similar situations? What is the shortest time you allow between booking and arrival?

 

Marie

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If you are getting lots of last minute bookings do you not have a caretaker who can be there to let people in and take the money?  I think in these days of computers people do expect to be able to do everything last minute and I for one would find it odd if someone had free space but couldn't take me because I hadn't booked far enough in advance.  I also think it is possible to worry too much - most people are nice, do pay, and don't ruin the place.   I know there are exceptions but as most people do pay up in advance it is probably better to trust the last minute bookers than to spend every minute fretting about it.
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[quote user="Cerise"]most people are nice, do pay, and don't ruin the place.   I know there are exceptions ...[/quote]

Sometimes, the exceptions tend to stick at the front of the mind!  How're the wedding preparations going?

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