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Six Ways to Reduce the Risk of Vacation Rental Chargebacks

As a vacation rental manager, you manage a long list of tasks and responsibilities. The last thing you need to deal with is a chargeback. Vacation rental chargebacks can be very complex, frustrating, and more importantly, time-consuming. And fees come in many different types and amounts, regardless of the size of your business. Are you protecting yourself from this risk?

Understanding vacation rental chargebacks

The two main types of chargebacks are fraudulent and non-fraudulent claims. Fraudulent claims occur when the purchase was not made by the cardholder, for example, when someone else pretends to be the cardholder. Non-fraudulent claims are when purchases made by the cardholder are disputed. A few reasons for this may include not receiving the service, an aspect of the rental being “defective”, or the rental being misrepresented. 

Here are 6 easy tips to reduce the possibility of non-fraudulent chargebacks:

 1. Clearly outline cancellation policies

It's important to create and disclose a clear cancellation policy. By doing so, your guests will know what to expect if they need to cancel for any reason. Requiring them to accept these terms, and sign off, may help safeguard you from chargebacks and hold your guests accountable. Keeping a dated and time-stamped document gives you a record that you can refer back to if your guest claims they didn’t know the policies.

 2. Be transparent and provide accurate descriptions

Avoid any unnecessary surprises by creating clear, detailed vacation property descriptions. Provide unedited photos and floor plans, and be upfront with any discrepancies your property might have. By doing so, you can help protect yourself from disputes related to the condition of your property, since guests agreed to all the conditions. Remember to include different views of the property, parking availability, the size of the space, the neighborhood, and the location. Be transparent and represent your rental property honestly.

3. Keep amenities and essentials in excellent condition

Make sure that all of your amenities and appliances are in good working order. Having an item glitch may seem like a small inconvenience to you, but remember that your guest is on vacation and expects everything to function properly. Amenities like air conditioning, WiFi, and heated pools may be factors that caused them to book your property in the first place. A small issue can leave you open to a chargeback if something does not work to your guest’s satisfaction. When everything runs smoothly, however, the small details add up to create a great customer experience.

 4. Display policies clearly

Make it easy for your guests to find your rental policies, and format the policies in a way that is easy to read and understand. It's also important to make sure that everyone is in agreement. Send the rental agreement to guests to sign, and have the guest initial all clauses that you deem important. Important clauses may include a cancellation policy reminder and policies around pets and/or smoking. List out any house rules, such as not wearing shoes in the house or any rooms that are off-limits. If they have questions, make it easy for your guests to get in contact with you. 

 5. Follow a check-in procedure

It's important to collect your guest’s ID and credit card and to make sure all information aligns with what you have previously received. For example, make sure the names and emails match. Look to see if the email domain seems odd or spammy. Does all the information align with who the person claims to be? Take note of anything that seems off. By doing so, you are making sure that the person who paid and the person checking in are the same. During the check-in process, make your policies easily accessible and clear. Having your guest manually tick off a box, push a button, or sign are easy ways to have them acknowledge and accept your policies.

 6. Address guest concerns quickly – Before they escalate into disputes

Maintain a clear line of communication with your guest. If a guest contacts you during their stay, make sure you respond to them quickly. If issues arise, offering a small discount or another accommodation often satisfies the guest and may prevent a chargeback from occurring. Sometimes a little extra customer service can go a long way. The faster a concern is addressed, the less likely it is to become a larger issue that results in additional fees. If a refund is due, process it immediately. 

By implementing these best practices, communicating your policies clearly, and providing great customer experience, you can greatly reduce the risk of vacation rental chargebacks. Learn how Kigo Marketplace can help you simplify the vacation rental payment process.


This content was provided by Yapstone, a preferred payment processor that integrates with KigoPay. Yapstone is a market tailored payments solution for platforms, software providers, and marketplaces.  We specialize in partnering with companies to lower their costs, reduce their risk and liability and help them create a seamless user experience.  With over $18 billion in annual transaction volume, a market specific fraud platform, and 24/7/365 customer support in seven languages, Yapstone is uniquely positioned to provide a complete global payment solution.  Yapstone has offices in Walnut Creek, Santa Monica, and Drogheda, Ireland. To learn more, visit

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