Have you ever been Ear-marked?

Last evening I heard something scary. I was listening to the radio. BBC Radio 4, the Money Box programme. It is now back for a new season. I often find it informative. I have yet to discover how to get those old pennies out of my Money Box; they never seem to cover that topic! I might have to resort to a tin opener!

One of the topics last night told how some Credit Card customers are running into problems at hotels. They explained how one “standard practice” in the way card payments are reserved can sometimes affect your ability to spend. Perhaps you International Travellers out there are well aware of the practice. If not you can listen to the piece on the above link.

When a person checks into a hotel they are asked how they will be paying. Most of us now for simplicity and ease proffer our Credit Card. At that point the hotel *Earmarks* a sum of money to include the daily rate for the number of days we hope to stay, plus the cost of our anticipated spending e.g. breakfast, dinner and use of the Mini bar plus an extra to cover accident.

One caller told of his checking into a hotel, but later changing his mind for some reason and booking into another one. When He handed over his card at the second hotel he was told there was a problem. His limit was not sufficient to cover the bill.

He contacted his Credit card company and was told the first hotel had *Earmarked* £1500 to cover his stay and when he booked into the second hotel they wanted to *Earmark* a similar amount.

Another person checked into an Hotel as per normal and then went out for the remainder of the evening to shop and have a meal. The next time he tried to use his card it was rejected.

We learned that it is a common practice for hotels to do this, yet nowhere is it advertised or are we advised.

Now you are warned! Take note.

I wonder does my Elly know.

7 thoughts on “Have you ever been Ear-marked?

  1. That is a great heads up Grannymar.

    One of the happiest days of my life so far was when I finally got rid of my credit card five years ago.

    The only thing is that some hotels are completely unprepared for someone who will be paying cash. I’ve been asked many times how was I going to pay my bill (on checking in) and I said that it would be by cash. I would then asked for my credit card for some reason. When I tell the recptionists that I don’t have one, they invariably tell me that I can’t get a room without a credit card! While looking at me like I have two heads.

    Then I have to ask for the manager who sorts things out for me. This happens to on a regular basis. The same with booking flights and even restaurant reservations! People think it is weird that I don’t have a credit card. I usually tell them that I feel sorry for those that do.

  2. Good tips, Grannymar! Another thing I heard recently is that you should not return the plastic cards that they use in place of keys in hotels these days.

    The black band across the back of the plastic key has all of your information on it. Name ,Credit card number,etc.

    It is only worth about 10 cents so you are not doing any financial damage to the hotel by keeping it. They erase that info and use the card over again. Also, do not throw the card in the trash either. Someone might take the info and use it to your disadvantage.

    Maybe someone who is in the hotel business and who is reading this will write you and tell us if these things are true.

  3. That’s happened to me but only on those Debit Visa cards where they can actually tell how much money is in your account. With a credit card, they can’t see your ‘limit’. ClareBear shouted me a room in a fancy apartment for mothers day, made sure she had the cash in her debit card account and they rejected it for that reason . . . I ended up having to use my proper credit card . . .it’s sneaky but shows you how many patrons either do a runner, trash stuff, pinch the fluffy dressing gowns or replace the mini bar liquor with cold tea! (I didn’t tell you that)

  4. That can’t be legal. Unless the hotel informs you that there is some kind of cancellation penalty they could not do that. For any sales contract to be valid there has to be consideration, in that there is exchange of money for a service etc. In Ireland the Sales of Goods Act would protect you I’m sure other countries have something similar.

  5. It’s a common-place practice that I’ve run into many times. The hotel are simply ensuring that they can get paid at the end of your stay. After all, just because you have a credit card in your hand, doesn’t mean that you actually have the credit line to go with it!

    It was bad form for the hotel to not inform guests, I’ve normally been told about it when it happens. Hence why G & I are travelling with 4 credit cards between us and a buffer of retrievable money in our current accounts that can be withdrawn, it will avoid anything like this happening while we are away.

  6. Welcome Nonny.

    Well folks Elly has spoken and she travels a plenty for work and for pleasure.

    It is hard to pull wool over her eyes, I know, I have tried for 29 years!

    It is Nancy’s contribution that really worries me! Take the Key Cards home and cut them up.

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