Traveler Chargebacks

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How to Avoid Traveler Chargebacks

Traveler-related chargebacks

The vast majority of guests treat rental units as their own homes. However, it's a good idea for hosts to take the extra step to protect themselves against chargebacks and potential damage. For all traveler inquiries and bookings initiated on our site, it is up to the host to carefully screen their guests. Having intentional guest screening and ID verification protocols in place can minimize chargeback obstacles.

With thousands of credit card networks, the outcome of a dispute can never be guaranteed, and credit card networks own the final decision. Fortunately there are few travelers that abuse chargebacks, and credit card networks have built-in protections to prevent fraudulent behavior. 

Want to know the best way to prevent traveler chargebacks? Examine the situation from the traveler's perspective and take steps to address concerns before a chargeback is initiated. Ask yourself: if you were in a traveler's shoes, would you expect a refund or feel misled by the advertised listing? 

Host Tips to prevent chargebacks
  • Establish and follow your House Rules and Cancellation Policies. The best way to protect yourself is to be upfront about what you expect from travelers before they book. If a situation arises hosts should honor their refund and cancellation policies.
  • Provide an accurate description and up to date photos of the property, as well as a list of current amenities.
  • Guests should always stay at the vacation rental that they reserved. If you need to relocate a traveler to another property, make sure to discuss this well in advance and offer to cancel with a full refund if they refuse. Otherwise this produces a valid case of "not as described" that will always lead to a traveler winning the chargeback.
  • Review payment status' via your payment processor. Some payment platforms like Stripe have a 'Risk Evaluation' associated with payments. Be sure to review each guest's payment status to avoid potential chargebacks on stolen credit cards prior to a guest's stay.
  • In your booking process you can think about minimizing risks by sending guests a check-in form requiring them to upload a photo ID. You can also send Rental Agreements to your guests to collect their legally binding e-signatures, which reduces your vulnerability to fraud, damage, and unwanted guest behaviour. Some hosts are also asking for a selfie to validate against the government ID.
  • Run a background check on guests to avoid any potential criminal activity on your property premises. By making sure your guests are who they say they are and screening their rental history you can avoid accepting bookings for anyone who intends to use your rental for illegal purposes.
  • Be proactive and respond quickly to traveler issues. Answer guest concerns in a timely manner before they escalate into a dispute.
  • Credit card payment network rules give very little time (in some cases as little as 72 hours) to respond to chargebacks. Respond quickly using facts and relate them to your house rules and cancellation policies. Collect and provide evidence where possible to support your dispute claim.
  • Ensure you document all your conversations with the traveler before, during, and after the stay in writing and through our secure messaging platform. Confirm policies and agreements in writing, including any partial or full refunds.
  • Occasionally it may be necessary to discuss potential disputes with travelers face to face or via phone call(s). In this case, ensure that you create a summary of the conversation afterward for documentation.

If the idea of taking extra precautions yourself is daunting think about using third-party software like Superhog to run traveler verifications for you for an extra fee.

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