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  • FIRST POST
    • PamelaNapier
    • By PamelaNapier 16th May 18, 10:40 AM
    • 3Posts
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    PamelaNapier
    £4000 taken from credit card for damages to holiday apartment
    • #1
    • 16th May 18, 10:40 AM
    £4000 taken from credit card for damages to holiday apartment 16th May 18 at 10:40 AM
    I am looking for advice. Last week my 2 sisters and I (all of mature age) stayed in an apartment in Leeds. We found this apartment on booking.com. The stay went without problem there was just one detail we felt required addressing regarding the patio doors so I emailed them and thanked them for a lovely stay just before we left. We were not the first to pick up on this problem as noted in another review. When my sister who booked the apartment looked at her email on Monday morning. The company owners of the apartment had emailed to say we had left either accidental or malicious damage to the property. It was not concerning the patio doors but they sent photographs of a shower head detached from the hose part lying in the bath. The hose lodged underneath the shower panel. It was flooding the floor. They claim the flood was reported by downstairs flat 2 stories down 50 minutes after we left. They also claim that the door was unlocked and the neighbour had been able to gain access to situation. This person went on to take photos and videos which have been sent to my sister. We are very obsessive when leaving an apartment and ensured the apartment was not left like this and the door was definitely locked. Witnessed by all 3 of us. They have taken £4000 from my sisters credit card. They claim we have damaged to 3 apartments. When booking this apartment my sister signed a contract online which talked about taking £250 if any sign of smoking in bold letters and further down states any damages will be debited from bookers card. We have asked the credit card company to dispute this and are about to complete a form. We have reported the matter to the police but they think it may be a civil court matter. Booking.com can not help. We are devastated as we know the flat was left the way we found it and have been wrongly accused. Any advice?
Page 1
    • tacpot12
    • By tacpot12 16th May 18, 12:35 PM
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    tacpot12
    • #2
    • 16th May 18, 12:35 PM
    • #2
    • 16th May 18, 12:35 PM
    If you know the hose/shower head were still attached when you left the property, I think you have to fight this through the courts. It is not unreasonable for the owner to think that the last occupants were the ones to cause the damage, so you are going to have to find out who else had a key.

    I would try to speak to the neighbours to see if they know anything, or can tell you who might have had access to the flat. You need to share any evidence you find that another person could have done this with the owner and the card company. Without any evidence you will find it very difficult to dispute it. I know you will not want to travel back to Leeds if it is any distance but given the sum involved, I would suggest that it is both worth it AND necessary. I would ask to see the damage to all three appartments and document what the extent of the damage is yourself.

    If your sister (card holder) has buildings and contents insurance she may well have access to a legal help line that might be able to provide some good advice on how to proceed.

    Worst case is you split the cost three ways so that your sister is not bearing the entire cost herself.

    The police won't get involved unless you can provide evidence that the owner knows who did cause the damage and has fraudulently claimed it off you. Your sister needs to find a cheaper way to borrow her share of the cost if she doesn't have any savings that would cover this - she doesn't want to be paying credit card rates on a large bill like this.

    Good luck with this - it's nasty problem to have to deal with.
    • pimento
    • By pimento 16th May 18, 1:12 PM
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    pimento
    • #3
    • 16th May 18, 1:12 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 18, 1:12 PM
    Presumably, the cleaner would have gone in after you left and might reasonably have been using the shower head to rinse off the bath. I would be suggesting that she flooded the flat.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 16th May 18, 1:39 PM
    • 33,409 Posts
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    Browntoa
    • #4
    • 16th May 18, 1:39 PM
    • #4
    • 16th May 18, 1:39 PM
    Ring the credit card and dispute the charge
    I'm the Board Guide of the Referrers ,Telephones, Pensions , Shop Don't drop ,over 50's and Discount Code boards which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum runnning smoothly .However, please remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
    • jonnygee2
    • By jonnygee2 16th May 18, 2:00 PM
    • 158 Posts
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    jonnygee2
    • #5
    • 16th May 18, 2:00 PM
    • #5
    • 16th May 18, 2:00 PM
    The credit card company dispute system is the way to go. Hopefully it will be successful.

    Sounds extreme, but I always have a spare credit card I use for deposits and nothing else. When I leave a flat or car rental, I cancel the card and order a new one. This kind of thing is quite common and once someone has your active card details, there's very little you can do to stop them from using them. I've seen car companies issue presentments for damages months after a car has been returned.
    • Candyapple
    • By Candyapple 16th May 18, 2:15 PM
    • 2,940 Posts
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    Candyapple
    • #6
    • 16th May 18, 2:15 PM
    • #6
    • 16th May 18, 2:15 PM
    The credit card company dispute system is the way to go. Hopefully it will be successful.

    Sounds extreme, but I always have a spare credit card I use for deposits and nothing else. When I leave a flat or car rental, I cancel the card and order a new one. This kind of thing is quite common and once someone has your active card details, there's very little you can do to stop them from using them. I've seen car companies issue presentments for damages months after a car has been returned.
    Originally posted by jonnygee2
    It wouldn't prevent a company from taking money out just because you've cancelled the card because you have already pre-authorised them to do so, so it's a pointless exercise you doing this. The same way that continuous payment authorities will still keep taking payments regardless of if you say the card has been lost/stolen.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Credit Cards, Loans, Credit Files & Ratings boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 16th May 18, 4:04 PM
    • 13,276 Posts
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    zagfles
    • #7
    • 16th May 18, 4:04 PM
    • #7
    • 16th May 18, 4:04 PM
    I'd be very suspicious of a rental that included such terms - it's not normal at all. Sometimes a limited deposit is required, maybe £100 or so, but never in the thousands (or unlimited).

    How did you checkout, what did you do with the keys? Was it physical keys, or a code, or a card? What was the problem with the patio doors, were they insecure, could someone have got in through them?

    Disputing it with the CC company is the way to go.
    • PamelaNapier
    • By PamelaNapier 16th May 18, 10:26 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    PamelaNapier
    • #8
    • 16th May 18, 10:26 PM
    • #8
    • 16th May 18, 10:26 PM
    Thanks for all your comments. We are hoping credit card company will take this on but we are also in process of seeking advice from citizens advice. Going down to Leeds is very tempting but for all I know these neighbours could be part of this set up. I don!!!8217;t think they would be keen to let a stranger into their apartments. The keys were picked up from shop keeper over road but they don!!!8217;t know which apartment you are in as code is given by us to them to release keys. The code is emailed to us before picking keys up. The patio doors are worth thinking about. They were certainly locked from inside when we left but they were definitely faulty.This is an awful situation and everyone I speak to says they have never heard anything like it. Thanks once again for your time and efforts to answer my query.
    • maxximus75
    • By maxximus75 16th May 18, 10:32 PM
    • 122 Posts
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    maxximus75
    • #9
    • 16th May 18, 10:32 PM
    • #9
    • 16th May 18, 10:32 PM
    I am surprised that they managed to come up with a £4000 figure so quickly for repairs?
    • Emily Joy
    • By Emily Joy 17th May 18, 7:13 AM
    • 150 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    Emily Joy
    We are devastated as we know the flat was left the way we found it and have been wrongly accused. Any advice?
    Originally posted by PamelaNapier
    I would go to Leeds simply to see that the damage is indeed in the apartment we've stayed in. The showers in the same apartment blocks quite often look very similar.
    • 2e0arr
    • By 2e0arr 17th May 18, 7:24 AM
    • 570 Posts
    • 326 Thanks
    2e0arr
    pre authorisation breaches the principles of the fca. the fca are currently looking at pre authorisation and the recent issues at asda. You can take your credit card company to the FO.



    I wonder if a section 75 claim can apply here or a chargeback?

    get your money back!


    Have you been charged with criminal damage vandalism ?

    Who decides you are at fault ?



    £4000 seems a rounded up figure, different to £4,097.31. its an over estimated guesstimate
    Last edited by 2e0arr; 17-05-2018 at 7:29 AM.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 17th May 18, 9:11 AM
    • 6,738 Posts
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    eddddy
    TBH, whichever way things go, I would be expecting a court case over this.

    Either...
    • The CC company will do a chargeback (refund you), and so the property owner will sue you in court for £4k
    Or...
    • The CC company will refuse a chargeback, and so you will have to sue the property owner in court for £4k.

    So it might be sensible to gather whatever evidence you can.

    I guess the first question is: It seems like somebody did this maliciously, why would somebody want to do this? Possible explanations include...
    • A feud between neighbours
    • A flat below was already water damaged - this is an attempt to hide it and pass the repair cost on to you
    • eco_warrior
    • By eco_warrior 17th May 18, 3:17 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 34 Thanks
    eco_warrior
    If nobody agreed to the £4k charge when it was being applied you have a valid dispute on either MasterCard or Visa. Any T&Cs about damage agreed in advance are not applicable.


    They must have your agreement to pay the damage costs by either signature or card payment at the time you were made aware of it.

    If you win the dispute, which I believe you will, then as others have said, you may be pursued via other means ie the courts.


    As an aside, Section 75 would not cover a charge you did not authorise.

    Best of luck
    • PamelaNapier
    • By PamelaNapier 22nd May 18, 11:13 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    PamelaNapier
    Progress so far with £4000 taken from credit card
    Thanks again for all advice. So far we have spoken to the police. There is nothing they can do. Itís a civil case. My sister is in process of completing dispute form to credit card company. I will look into section 75. We have not been charged with malicious or criminal damage. You would think they would have contacted the police. She did not give us datails of damages but on the day we left she took £4000 off the credit card in quite a lot of different transactions. She sent an email saying she had done so. These were pending transactions when my sister contacted credit card company but they said they couldnít stop them. Credit card company said it had not appeared suspicious as my sister had already used credit card to pay this company for the flat rental which was around £350. All very frustrating. Only hope the dispute will end in our favour but we are not that hopeful as they say the company only have to detail the damage and amounts spent. Which I am sure they will provide. They say the only other person with a key was the cleaner but she was on the other side of town and keys canít be copied. So we are being blamed but with no hard evidence. We would not have had a motive as the photographs of the shower set up definitely point to malicious rather than carelessness. We know we left apartment the way we found it and locked. Our word against theirs. Next time I am on holiday will take photos and videos before I leave.
    • DevilsAdvocate1
    • By DevilsAdvocate1 22nd May 18, 11:24 PM
    • 1,603 Posts
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    DevilsAdvocate1
    Thanks again for all advice. So far we have spoken to the police. There is nothing they can do. Itís a civil case. My sister is in process of completing dispute form to credit card company. I will look into section 75. We have not been charged with malicious or criminal damage. You would think they would have contacted the police. She did not give us datails of damages but on the day we left she took £4000 off the credit card in quite a lot of different transactions. She sent an email saying she had done so. These were pending transactions when my sister contacted credit card company but they said they couldnít stop them. Credit card company said it had not appeared suspicious as my sister had already used credit card to pay this company for the flat rental which was around £350. All very frustrating. Only hope the dispute will end in our favour but we are not that hopeful as they say the company only have to detail the damage and amounts spent. Which I am sure they will provide. They say the only other person with a key was the cleaner but she was on the other side of town and keys canít be copied. So we are being blamed but with no hard evidence. We would not have had a motive as the photographs of the shower set up definitely point to malicious rather than carelessness. We know we left apartment the way we found it and locked. Our word against theirs. Next time I am on holiday will take photos and videos before I leave.
    Originally posted by PamelaNapier

    Last year I was on holiday with a friend. One of us managed to leave the tap on and when we got back the apartment was flooded. Although it was our fault, the owners had insurance and we just paid the excess. Think it was £200.


    Surely they should have insurance? This is what insurance is for.
    • DCFC79
    • By DCFC79 22nd May 18, 11:30 PM
    • 32,318 Posts
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    DCFC79
    Could you have a friend enquire about said apartment eg the 1 you stayed in, see if its availanle to book.

    Im just thinking its been 6 days since your first post and maybe the damage hasnt been repaired.
    Last edited by DCFC79; 22-05-2018 at 11:49 PM.
    • chattychappy
    • By chattychappy 23rd May 18, 9:18 AM
    • 6,860 Posts
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    chattychappy
    It is for a CC to prove that a transaction was authorised, not for you to prove it wasn't. Here you authorised the merchant to recover the cost of damage to the property from your card with no specified limit and they have charged the suspiciously round sum of £4000. Hopefully the CC will reverse the transaction on the basis it is unauthorised and the merchant cannot prove that you caused the damage and this is an appropriate amount.

    I think you will get nowhere with the police. They are very good at saying something is a "civil matter". The fact is we don't know. This sounds like an attempt to defraud you, but really the police aren't interested in looking into such matters. If the landlord argues criminal damage/acts of malice, then you probably have a defence in that the police didn't take up their claim (and they probably didn't even report it).
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 23rd May 18, 10:08 AM
    • 739 Posts
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    BBH123
    I so hope you get a resolution to this, re the cleaner issue it really is an avenue to develop as there is an alternative explanation and of course she wouldn't want to lose her job so wont own up.

    This has taught me a lesson to take photo's before I leave not just a rental car but any hotel room or anywhere I have stayed.
    Last edited by BBH123; 23-05-2018 at 10:11 AM.
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    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 23rd May 18, 5:59 PM
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    zagfles
    This has taught me a lesson to take photo's before I leave not just a rental car but any hotel room or anywhere I have stayed.
    Originally posted by BBH123
    That would be ridiculously paranoid and completely useless in a case like this. Possibly even counterproductive.

    If malicious damage is being alledged, they could just say you set the shower up to flood the apartment straight after taking the pictures. And going to the unusual step of taking pictures might indicate that you were trying to provide yourself with an alibi.

    Personally I'd just avoid booking any accomodation which states that they can charge for damage, unless there's a reasonable cap/deposit eg £200 or so.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 27th May 18, 11:26 PM
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    zagfles
    Just posted this in another similar thread - Barclaycard guide for hotels/lodgings etc. They say hotels can't charge for damage to the room: https://www.barclaycard.co.uk/business/files/Lodging_or_Accommodation.pdf
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