We get many questions from our readers regarding hotels because we aren’t running a hotel but we have a lot of experience in the sphere. And people tend to ask us some questions that some hotels won’t even think of answering.
That’s why today we want to give a detailed answer to one of the most popular questions we get in comments and in other ways: What should I do if my hotel accidentally refunded my money? This happens quite often, we should say.
So, in our today’s article, we are going to look at that question from different sides and decide what actually you should do. Also, we’ll answer such questions:
- Should you report the accidental refund?
- Can the hotel learn about their mistake after some months?
- Who should you contact in such cases?
- What can happen if you keep it secret?
Let’s dive in and find out everything about hotel refunds!
I got a refund before I actually stayed in a hotel
This is the worst scenario because it looks like your hotel doesn’t want to book your room anymore. It means that your booking is canceled for some reason.
It has happened to us several times when we booked hotels a long time before we actually were going to stay there. This situation is especially common in Europe where a lot of hotels are situated in old city centers and they need to close for redecoration and renovation very often.
So, if your hotel is closed for some reason or is overbooked, it can make a refund and you should book another hotel. This is not a sign of a good company, so you should write negative reviews or at least try to contact the hotel managers and sort it out somehow, but some bad hotels will still do this.
In this case, there is nothing criminal if you just let it go and find some other room to book. But we would try to get some explanation from the company. Accidental refunds are highly doubtful in such cases.
I got a refund after I stayed in a hotel
This sounds so cool – you have already used the service, drunk some beer in the lobby bar, eaten some breakfasts, and slept in the room. But suddenly you hear your bank application ringing to inform you of a new transaction. And you see it’s exactly the sum of money you’ve spent in the hotel.
What should you do? We have some tips:
- Call the hotel reception and ask if you can speak to a manager who is in charge of refunds.
- You can just explain the situation to a receptionist and then ask him or her that someone calls you back when they sort the things out.
- Speak to a person who is in charge of money questions in the hotel and explain the situation.
- They will give you instructions of what you should do, but be careful – always save some receipts or at least some screenshots of your transactions.
- When you send money back to the hotel, call the person you’ve been just talking to again and ask to confirm that the transaction was completed successfully.
- You may want to record the conversation with the hotel staff just in case, but you have to inform people about this first.
Now, why should you record something and why do you need those receipts? We’ll tell you in the next sections of our article.
Why can this at all happen?
Hotels make a lot of refunds. In many countries, the rules of staying in hotels may differ quite much. Most hotels will take deposits from clients. It means they will take some money in advance. And then clients may have some drinks in lobby bars and use room service whenever they want – the money will be taken from their deposits.
But quite often people don’t use up all the money they were charged before. Then the company makes a partial refund. And sometimes new managers or inattentive accountants may just send the wrong sum of money to the wrong person.
Also, the banking system may fail to provide correct payments. For example, a banking system may have been hacked by someone and instead of taking money from clients, it started sending it back to clients’ accounts.
We can name hundreds of other reasons why you could get a refund, but it doesn’t matter in the end. The fact is that it certainly happened by mistake.
Will my hotel know about it?
In short, yes, your hotel will know about the refund, but they may act differently according to the class and status of the hotel. Some companies will use all possible ways to get their money back while others can just punish the employees that were responsible for the money operations or sew the bank without even writing a letter to their clients.
Here’s how they will know:
- Banking reports will be analyzed monthly to ensure every cent is delivered to proper accounts.
- Bank may report wrong payments if the banking system was hacked and this was the reason for accidental refunds.
- Accountants will prepare annual reports for tax offices and other bodies and will find the problem sooner or later.
As you see, there is basically no way your hotel won’t know about the accidental refund. They will know, but they will not always rush to you to take their money back. Big and reputable companies will avoid disturbing their clients and will try to compensate for their losses in any other way.
What can go wrong if you don’t give the money back?
You are quite safe in this situation because you aren’t obliged by the law to check your account status every day and to control every other operation and transaction. You also aren’t obliged to use any banking software to get notified about the account changes on the go.
Refunds can’t be seen as your revenue, you shouldn’t include them in your tax report or something, so you may be unaware that some company made a refund.
But you have to know that someone will need to pay this money back. Hotels usually get their money back by sewing banks, or their employees just pay this money as fines. So we would recommend contacting the hotel and sorting out the situation.
We understand that most of you will opt for waiting. According to the law, you don’t make anything bad if you just wait for your hotel to notice the accidental refund and contact you. But according to humaneness, you should make the first step in this situation.
Can the hotel sew you if you don’t give them money back?
It depends on the country and the sum of money. Probably, if it’s about $100, nobody will even try to go to the courts and get this money back. But if the sum of money is more or less solid, they may go to court.
Here are some reasons why they will:
- In most countries, the law will allow them to get their money back if they were refunded by mistake.
- Most clients won’t be glad to participate in any court affairs, so they will just send them money back.
- If refunds were given to many customers, the hotel just doesn’t have any other choice. It will go bankrupt otherwise.
- Never ever companies will be glad to present some money to people, they will fight if it has some sense.
For a person, the easiest way to avoid court and law issues is to give the money back. But in some countries like the US or the UK, you can even go to court with a good lawyer and fight with the hotel because you didn’t do anything wrong. It will be especially appropriate if you have already spent the money without understanding that you had got a refund.
So, what should you do after receiving a refund from the hotel?
- Contact the hotel.
- Try to figure out why you got the money.
- Learn how you can give the money back.
- Record all conversations with hotel managers.
- Save all receipts and other documents.
Why should you record conversations and save receipts?
In some countries, hotels can be involved in some kind of fraud. They will refund money and then send you an invoice to pay more money or they will try to get control over your bank account. Another option – you will send money to some other accounts, and they will then sew you because you didn’t give the money back using their official account. So keep track of everything that happens in this case.
We are pretty sure that most of our readers will be just glad to find a way to return the money that doesn’t belong to them. So in this article, you will find a way to do it easily. But if you want to play some game with your hotel, you may wait – there is nothing illegal in it. Your hotel will know about the accidental refund, but they may just ignore the case and punish their staff for mistakes. So you can keep the money if you are OK with that.
But we strongly recommend following the fair path in this situation and contacting the hotel to sort out the things.