Wrath of Visa

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Bruce
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Wrath of Visa

Postby Bruce » Thu May 29, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

This is mostly rant with a question. Rant follows:

Spoiler:
I am travelling in South America and I booked a hostel (Hostel Suites Obelisco) in Buenos Aires though http://www.hostelbookers.com/. The page for the hostel is here:

http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/ar ... res/19767/

I booked 7 nights and paid my 10% deposit with a Visa card. You will notice it says the following on the above page:

-PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO CREDIT CARD REGULATIONS THE HOSTEL REQUIRES THE 3 DIGIT SECURITY CODE IN ORDER TO CONFIRM YOUR BOOKING. OTHERWISE YOUR BOOKING WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CANCELLED AFTER 24HS.

I figured this just meant it was part of the deposit process. Turns out it is not, hostel bookers do not require this. After booking I got sent this message again via email. I replied and told them I would not send this information over email as they was insecure and bad practice. I had paid my deposit and would turn up. Here was the reply:

Unfortunatelly a lot of people book trought the web sites bookers, pay the 10% in advance with credit card and finally never appear. making us loose the 90% of the booking... that´s the reason to ask for the code. We wont use it if you come and stay at the hostel in the booked dates. we only need it as a guarantee in case of no shows.
So It is not possible reconfirm the booking without this requirement, everybody is doing it every day and It is not a problem for anybody yet.

So it is not at all 'CREDIT CARD REGULATIONS' (I knew that) and this sounds highly suspicious anyway. Does that mean if you do not turn up they try to pull out the full amount? Also 'everybody is doing it every day' is a comment that always makes me angry, and they fed that to me constantly over this whole dispute. There were several more emails back and forth and I refused to provide the number and insisted I would be there.

On the day I arrived they told me my booking was cancelled and the room was not available. They offered a more expensive room and I almost took it until I found out my 10% booking fee was 'lost'. I got very angry with them and made it clear that this violated Visa policy and they just did not give a damn.


The question is, how would I go about alerting Visa about this? It is not about the money so much as getting them to do something about the practice, and at least a wrist slap for the hostel in question. If I just ring up a general number they will not care, but Visa as a company will I am sure. Also, I am unsure whether I should point the finger at hostel bookers, or get them to tell off the hostel (a delisting would hurt bad, but is not likely).
COMFORT, n.
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mobikwa
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby mobikwa » Thu May 29, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

I really don't know how to help you with this other than to refer you to a great website dealing with consumer problems. http://www.consumerist.com

They are extremly knowledgable about consumer rights and can point you in the right direction.

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hendusoone
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby hendusoone » Thu May 29, 2008 7:29 pm UTC

Call the number on the back of your credit card, get a Real Person (sometimes trickier than it sounds), explain the situation, and request a chargeback.
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Robin S
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby Robin S » Thu May 29, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

Your comment, hendusoone, reminded me of this page that I came across recently. It looks like it might come in handy.
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Bruce
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby Bruce » Thu May 29, 2008 9:34 pm UTC

I am sure I can get the money back from Visa, but I really want something to be done about the core problem, which I doubt will if I just get my money. I am also very pissed off about this whole thing, it came at the end of a very bad day and I ended up in a strange city at night with no accommodation.
COMFORT, n.
A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.

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cyberia
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby cyberia » Thu May 29, 2008 10:41 pm UTC

hendusoone wrote:Call the number on the back of your credit card, get a Real Person (sometimes trickier than it sounds), explain the situation, and request a chargeback.


I hate to be a dick, but those IVR systems are used for a reason. Half the time, if you actually listen to the prompts, you can either get your request actioned or be transferred to someone that can help you. If you just keep smashing '0' like your life depends on it then you either end up with someone who can't help you or they can help you but it will take twice as long as if you'd just gone through the IVR.

I work for a government department that uses an IVR system on our phones. When you call us, the first two options are 'get more time to pay' or 'nominate someone else as responsible'. Yet over 50% of the calls we take are for those two problems. If every one of those callers actually paid attention and followed the prompts their transaction would be faster, more painless and far easier. [/rant] *headdesk*
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby Masuri » Thu May 29, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

Gack! As someone who has been at the mercy of IVRs and had to support them for her job....

Down with IVRs! Banish them to the lowest circle of hell!

But back on topic, yes, I agree that you should call Visa, talk to a Real Person, and let them know about the situation. They may not be thrilled to have their logo plastered on this particular business.

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Bruce
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby Bruce » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:32 pm UTC

An update with this:

I have talked over the phone with Visa directly, who were not very useful, only told me that to get the money back I need to contact my bank, though I am certain the people I talked to did not even understand my security concerns.

So I talked to my bank and they told me I need a dispute form from the booking agency. I contact them and they have been sending fairly dismissive emails that say 'It is my understanding that the hostel is able to request the 3 digit
security code', so I have provided them with the Visa merchant rules document and a list of page numbers which this practice violates. Hopefully they will take that seriously, but so far it does not look like it.

I would still really like Visa to act, as I am sure they would if the right people knew, but this is very hard to communicate with them.
COMFORT, n.
A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.

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joff
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby joff » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:52 pm UTC

Go back to your bank. It's actually the bank's job to handle all this stuff. Visa themselves actually really don't do anything except for providing banks the rules by which the banks and merchants have to operate by, and protocols so all the bank systems can communicate over

Banks are (normally) only too happy to hit bad merchants with chargebacks.. too many from one merchant and it means their commission rates go up...

Information gleaned from my previous experience writing credit card payment gateway software for a couple of years... oh the joys...
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Bruce
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Re: Wrath of Visa

Postby Bruce » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:00 pm UTC

Thanks Joff but the charge back is not the main point. The booker has gotten wise and told me they have done a charge back to resolve the issue. I am surprised this did not happen earlier as the details being investigated by Visa would NOT be good for them.
COMFORT, n.
A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.


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