Vacation Apartment Rental: Refund Now...or Credit to 12/31/2020?

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Apr 9, 2020
3
0
1
On 2/26/20, I booked an apartment in Dublin, Ireland, for a stay from 5/10/20 to 5/15/20 through Sweet Inn (sweetinn.com). The Booking No. is . The cost was 1,574.60 EUR or $1717.87 at the exchange rate for that date. The full amount was charged to my credit card on 2/26/20. [Note: At the time I booked, I saw nothing on the Sweet Inn website that stated my credit card would immediately be charged the full amount of the stay and I was not otherwise informed that this would be the case. I assumed that the credit card number would be used to hold my reservation and would be charged only at the end of the stay or if a cancellation were made within 14 days of the check-in date.]

Sweet Inn emailed me a reservation confirmation on 2/26/20 and informed me that should I need to amend the reservation, I should email the company. Included in the confirmation was the statement, "Cancellation Policy, Moderate: Cancel for free 14 days before check-in." In addition, Sweet Inn's website stated, in pertinent part: "Sweet Inn allows guests to choose between two cancellation policies when booking an apartment. Moderate: Guests receive a full refund upon cancellation more than 7 days prior to the check-in date. In the case of cancellations or changes in booking within 7 days of the check-in date, no full or partial refund will be granted."

On 3/18/20, I received an email from Paul Besnainou, Sweet Inn's Founder and CEO, stating, "[w]ith the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now declared a global pandemic, we are thinking of you, and care deeply about your safety and wellbeing...". With respect to new bookings, Sweet Inn stated it had "introduced flexible cancellation policies, which means a Sweet Inn credit for the full value of the booking on cancellations made any time before arrival, no questions asked. Credits can be used towards future reservation and are valid until the end of 2020." With respect to existing bookings, Sweet Inn stated, "If your travel plans are impacted by COVID-19, and you have an upcoming booking with us please contact [email protected] and we will provide a Sweet Inn credit for the full value of the booking. Credits can be used towards future reservations until the end of the year."

After waiting to see if travel and health restrictions would be lifted to permit safe travel, on 4/4/20, my family decided to cancel the booking. I first looked for an option to do so on Sweet Inn's website, but there is none. I then sent an email to [email protected] requesting the cancellation and a refund to my credit card of the full amount paid, 1,574.60 EUR or $1717.87. In the email I noted that my request was made "in accordance with Sweet Inn's 'Moderate' Cancellation Policy as written in its 2/26/20 email to me confirming my booking..., as well as with its 'Moderate' Cancellation Policy as it appears on its website...[full refund if cancelled more than 7 days before check-in, as I noted above]".

A Sweet Inn representative replied to me by email on 4/4/20: "Thank you for your message. We are sorry to hear that you need to cancel your reservation. Your booking is successfully cancelled, you should receive the confirmation of cancellation soon. We are looking forward to host you in future!"

On 4/4/20 I emailed the Sweet Inn representative, thanking her for her prompt reply and requesting that she confirm that the full refund amount I'd noted will be applied back to my credit card. I thanked for the cancellation and wished her well in light of the pandemic.

As Sweet Inn had not responded for several days--and as I was becoming more anxious about getting a refund--on 4/6/20 I emailed [email protected], repeating my earlier request for a full refund and referring to the applicable "Moderate" Cancellation Policy in effect at the time of my booking. I acknowledged that Sweet Inn Customer Service personnel "must be very busy at this time," but that I did expect the company to confirm that the full refund due me under its "Moderate" cancellation policy "has been, or within 24 hours will be, applied to my credit card account." I closed by noting that if Sweet Inn needed any information to fulfill my request, to please notify me.

To date, I haven't been contacted by a Sweet Inn representative and a full refund for the booking has not appeared in my credit card account.

Based on a reasonable understanding of Sweet Inn's "Moderate" Cancellation Policies as represented to me at the time of booking (in its email reservation confirmation [cancel for free 14 days before check-in] and on its website [receive a full refund upon cancellation 7 days before check-in]), and my cancellation on 4/4/20, 5 weeks before check-in, I would like to receive a full refund of the amount paid. Furthermore, the company's offer of a credit until 12/31/20 is neither generous nor viable.

Edited by moderator to remove reservation number.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,008
22,965
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I would suggest that you write to them one more time telling
them you will be contacting your credit card company if you don’t receive a refund per their reservation policy at the time you booked within 7 days. If you don’t have it in 7 days, contact your cc company. You have the cancellation policy in writing to back up your dispute and you also have emails showing you tried to work it out with the hotel.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,008
22,965
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I read the terms and conditions on the website and from what it says, it indicates to me you are charged at the time of booking and you have to check off that you read the terms before you can book. As long as you chose the moderate rate, you should be good.

After the Tenant selects the apartment and the extra Services, he will complete the reservation process by paying with a credit card or via the Paypal secure payment module directly on the Website. The prices are in euros and the commission on extras proposed by SWEET INN varies according to the proposed Services. SWEET INN offers the secure payment system PAYPAL. The cost of credit card payment is entirely the responsibility of the Member. The proposed method of payment is SSL secured payment. This payment protocol is standard and recognized worldwide for the protection of data transmitted over the internet. It is available on almost all Internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Navigator V1.1, Netscape, Firefox etc.). The information Members provide of their credit or debit cards (number, expiration date of validity, etc.) is encrypted before the sending of the email to the transactions payment server. The amount of the reservation will be charged by:
 
Apr 9, 2020
3
0
1
Thanks for your reply. I will try writing the company one more time as you suggested to request the refund.
 
Apr 9, 2020
3
0
1
Post Script: Yes, Sweet Inn's notice of its credit card payment policy is made under its "Terms and Conditions". That said, it takes some sleuthing on Sweet Inn's website to locate its "Terms and Conditions" and the applicable article, Article 6. I don't find this to be the most transparent notice to customers about up-front payment, especially to those customers accustomed to being clearly notified that their credit card information is being taken only to hold a reservation, not to pre-pay for it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,008
22,965
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I clicked on it and read it before I went to book - you can't book without checking off that you read the terms. But at this point, it's neither here nor there - if you chose the moderate booking, you have the right to cancel and receive the credit - they can't change the policy after you book. And it is what you need to show your credit card to be able to file a dispute.

The credit card company will want to see the policy and want to see that you have attempted to correct this directly wit the hotel. You have that so I hope this will make it easy.

The only thing to worry about is when you booked it - some credit cards sticklers about the date your card was charged but if that happens, I would argue that the date they need to go by is the date you canceled and they wouldn't provide the refund. Let us know how you make out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Patina

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,730
10,524
113
San Francisco
I hope this gets worked out promptly, Templar. Bear in mind that routine tasks often take much longer than before with a travel provider, they're swamped. I would be very leery of a credit at a company that's just a website, so asking for the refund is the proper thing to do.

FOR ALL OUR READERS Whenever you're dealing with an internet entity, be extremely wary of entering your credit card information. Once you do that, as Templar found out, you may be charged contrary to your understanding. At the very least, read the terms and conditions, read all of them before you proceed. When I am booking travel, I assume that they're going to charge me the minute they get my CC info, so I am super-careful about the terms.