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Cancellation Policies - Common Issues & Questions

Our Cancellation Policies feature provides a simple yet powerful way to communicate your refund policy to guests for different properties and time periods. This article assumes you have already created policies in OwnerRez and understand the basics of how they work. Learn more by reading our Cancellation Policies Overview article.

While not comprehensive, this article provides a list of questions not found elsewhere.

I still see 'Not Set' as the policy showing on quotes and bookings after creating a cancellation policy

Like other global settings, OwnerRez will not automatically change your pre-existing quotes and bookings when you make changes to cancellation policies. This is because we cannot change what the guest has already seen or agreed to unless you specifically want that to happen. Furthermore, you may have many years of quotes or bookings in place. You typically don't want to change that historical data whenever you update your cancellation policy.

So after creating or updating your cancellation policies, you have to update any pre-existing quotes and bookings to have the same changes if you want that to be the case. You can do this by going to the quote or booking > Rules tab > Change button > make your changes and save. Or you can use the batch update button to do this from the global Cancellation Policies area. We cover this in the overview article under the individual quotes and bookings section.

The guest is still seeing 'No refund will be issued' after I created a cancellation policy

This is exactly the same as the issue above where you see 'Not Set' on a quote or booking. You probably made global changes but did not update any pre-existing quotes or bookings. Follow the same steps outlined above and in the overview article to update individual quotes and bookings.

If you're wondering why it shows 'Not Set' to you, but the guest sees "No refund will be issued", we do this as a safety precaution so that you don't run into legal trouble without realizing it. If we showed the cancellation policy as "not set" on your renter agreement and the guest signed that and booked before you noticed it, the guest could claim down the road that since there was no policy, they should get their money back. Most banks and small claim courts would probably agree. To be safe, we convert a 'not set' policy to say "No refunds will be issued". Once you set a policy, this goes away.

I only refund the deposit or a certain amount of rent or a variable amount

If your refund amount cannot be quantified by a percentage of the total booking or a flat cancellation fee, you won't be able to use our cancellation policies. For instance, some owners and PMs will only refund rent (not taxes) or only a cleaning fee. Or it might be a flat amount based on the time of year, which changes over time. Our cancellation policy feature does not support this. If you have that type of situation, you will have to define, and convey, your refund policy to the guest manually such as by typing it directly into a renter agreement or email template or listing it on your website.

Which API-integrated channels do not support my OwnerRez custom cancellation policy?

The following API-integrated channels do NOT support OwnerRez custom defined cancellation policies:

  • Airbnb
  • Booking.com
  • FindRentals
  • Golightly
  • TripAdvisor

Some of the API-integrated channels listed above provide a drop-down list of specific cancellation policies offered, and you have to select one of those specific policies. Even if your custom cancellation policy, defined in OwnerRez, perfectly matches one of these policies, you still need to select it on the API settings. Your OwnerRez cancellation policy will not sync up or affect the API setting for those channels.

Other API-integrated channels not listed above do support the use of custom cancellation policies so if you have API integrations for any channels not listed above, you can set the API settings to use the OwnerRez-defined custom policy and OwnerRez will automatically sync that across whenever the cancellation policy changes.

What about channel bookings where I don't have any API/channel integration in place?

For platform bookings - ie. those bookings that you get from channels where you don't have API/channel integration in place - this follows the same process as all other rates, rules and settings. Specifically, you have to configure your cancellation policy on the channel platform itself. We will not push or sync any cancellation policies over to the channel and what you set in OwnerRez will not affect what guests see on the channel side when booking.

I want to have different cancellation policies for different Seasons.

Sorry, you can't do that. :-(

As you can tell since you're reading this, though, we have thought of this idea - and it's a good one. We're trying to work with the channels to get this supported, and hopefully it will be available at some point in the future.

I'm a PM, and I want the cancellation fee to go entirely to the property owner.

You can set up a flat cancellation fee surcharge tied to the cancellation policy! You can do that under each Cancellation policy (or add a Cancellation Fee surcharge first and then go to Cancellation Policies and select which Cancellation Fee to tie to that policy).

How do I handle a chargeback?

Chargebacks occur when a guest disputes a transaction with their bank or credit card company, and the funds are returned to the guest. As a vacation rental business owner, chargebacks can be frustrating and time-consuming, but there are some steps you can take to handle them effectively. 

  • Chargeback transactions must be adjusted manually in the disputed booking by OwnerRez users.
  • Understand the reason for the chargeback: The first step in handling a chargeback is to understand why the guest initiated the dispute. You should review the chargeback documentation provided by your payment processor or bank, which will explain the reason for the chargeback.
  • Gather evidence: Once you understand the reason for the chargeback, gather any evidence that supports your case. This could include booking transactions, renter agreements, communication with the guest and any other documentation.
  • Respond promptly: It's important to respond promptly to chargebacks to increase your chances of winning the dispute. Most payment processors and banks have a specific timeframe for responding to chargebacks, so make sure you meet the deadline.
  • Dispute the chargeback: If you believe the chargeback is unjustified, you can dispute it with your payment processor or bank. You will need to provide the evidence you have gathered to support your case.
  • Review your vacation rental business practices: Chargebacks may be an indication that there are issues with your business practices, such as poor guest service or unclear refund policies. Use chargebacks as an opportunity to identify areas where you can improve and prevent future disputes.
  • Consider choosing a payment processor that offers chargeback support.