Personal Check for deposit?

Old Dec 18th, 2001, 10:00 AM
  #1  
joe
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Personal Check for deposit?

Will be travelling abroad for the first time next year. Hotel has requested a personal check to be sent to them for deposit. I am dealing directly with the hotel and not an agency. They do not accept a credit card number for deposit but can pay with credit card once I arrive. Is this standard? Has anyone had the same experience?
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 10:22 AM
  #2  
Christina
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I wouldn't call it standard, but it has happened to me in small family-run hotels in France. I don't understand why they need a check for the deposit if you can pay by CC, but I think there is some arcane reason for it in French law/regulations re what can be charged to a CC. Not sure.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 10:27 AM
  #3  
wes fowler
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Joe,
The practice is not uncommon in Italy either. Have no idea what the rationale is.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #4  
Joanne
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I have also run into this in Wales.

Apart from national regulations, I suppose that hotels and B&B's are less likely to have to refund your deposit if they've cashed a check and you don't show up.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 10:54 AM
  #5  
Lidija
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I did this in London but I had to send a cheque in local currency. I don't get why they would want a personal cheque not one in Francs.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 11:01 AM
  #6  
janis
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Many small establishments in Continental Europe and the UK do it this way. The usual process is that they do not cash the check unless you don't show up. They prefer you to pay cash (or sometimes by credit card) when you arrive.

They have learned that getting a foreign currency check in the US is very expensive so many have worked out this system - "just send a check and we will hold it."
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 11:02 AM
  #7  
Vita
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I sent a personal check as a deposit to a pensione in Florence. It was recommended in my travel guide so I didn't question it. I don't think they did credit card transactions at all though.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 11:20 AM
  #8  
Betsy
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We have done this on two occasions, one at a hotel in Venice and one at an agriturismo outside Sienna. Had no problems either time. Both credited the amount to our stay at checkout.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 02:07 PM
  #9  
Patrick
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I think I can explain their rationale. Blame it on the ability of credit card companies these days to go to bat for you. If someone charges the deposit on a credit card and doesn't show, or doesn't like what they see when they get there, or tries to cancel after a deadline, many customers will contest the charge with their credit card company. The hotel then must do a lot of paper work trying to justify the charge, and I think many of them feel they will end of getting gyped out of their deposit.
On a couple of occassions I have sent my deposit in the form of a travelers check if possible in the local currency. I just send enough to more than cover the deposit required. It seems to be more fee friendly that way than getting hit with some bank fees for converting the currencies.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:07 PM
  #10  
GAC
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I suspect that Patrick's thesis is correct: the hotel feels it has greater protection against no-shows or late cancellations if it immediately deposits a personal check upon confirmation of the reservation rather than a relying upon a credit card deposit which might be successfully contested by the prospective traveler. Moreover, with a U.S. Dollar personal check, the hotel does not lose the credit card commission, and can additionally earn a small premium off of the exchange rate in its favor (since the check will invariably be for a slightly inflated amount). Moreover, it gets its money in advance! Good deal for the hotelier! My advice for anyone contemplating such an arrangemnet is to be 100% certain of staying at that establishment. If you cancel, you might get the deposit credited against a future stay, but not necessarily returned! As an aside, I might also point out that some hoteliers have become fed up with prospective tourists making reservations much in advance, only to cancel them at the last moment. The check deposit is one way to keep the tourist on his toes!
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:19 PM
  #11  
Andy
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GAC-the fee the bank charges to convert the check will far outweigh the 2%-4% that Visa/Mastercard or Amex charge the hotel.

Also, contesting a chargeback doesn't involve a lot of paperwork--it's part of my job, and it's just a matter of faxing the receipt back to the credit card company.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:31 PM
  #12  
Christina
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When I've done this, it was fairly casual in that the hotel allowed me to pay with personal check in USD, I just approximated one day's room rate rounding up the exchange rate I saw in the paper so as not to be stingy. GAC's hypotheses are interesting but I don't think they are the reason; certainly not in my case as none of the establishments ever cashed the check, they just held it and gave it back to me upon arrival. The CC fee cannot logically be the reason if they allow you to use a CC for the room charge. It may be the dispute issue, I hadn't thought of that, it would be a lot easier to just cash a check than deal with CC complaints if you charge a no-show fee and the client doesn't want to pay it (of course, if they don't cash it, you can always stop payment if you really want to do that). I could be totally wrong on this, but I think I did read somewhere that in France there is some kind of regulation on this, that hotels can't charge deposits on CCs ahead of time or something, they can only charge for actual services. Don't know, my favorite familiar hotel does now accept my CC in deposit but that may be for show rather than actuality (ie, taking the number makes people take the reservation seriously). I have not stayed in any hotel in Europe that charged me any deposit money on my CC ahead of the stay, although several now take the number as guarantee.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 04:12 PM
  #13  
GAC
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I'm happy to read that some hotels won't deposit the personal check in advance of the guest's arrival. However, that is not my personal experience: the hotel in question wanted money up front, or a credit card to debit up front. I declined both options, and took the risk of making a last moment reservation (knowing that this particular property would likely not be full), which reservation was accepted with no deposit or credit card number whatsoever!
 

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