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Hotel pre authorization and damage

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Happy new year everyone.


Not so happy for me, so hopefully someone can advice me on a problem I am having now.


I stayed at a serviced apartment over Christmas and when I checked in on 22 Dec, they took a £100 pre authorization off my card. Checked out on 29 Dec and thought nothing about it.


Got an email yesterday (4 Jan) saying that there was damage to the carpet due to an iron burn. The damaged area is in a cupboard which I didn't even used and was most definitely caused by previous occupiers. They are wanting £385 for replacing the carpet.


Checked my credit card statement and there is a pending charge for £285 but nothing for the £100 pre authorization charge.


I have travel insurance with zero excess and personal liability coverage for accidental damage to property.


So my questions are:


1. Will the £100 pre authorization amount turn up later in addition to the £285 now showing as pending?

2. How did they put a charge through for £285 when I only pre authorised £100? Can this be disputed and reversed by my bank since I did not actually authorised this amount?

3. Should I just forget this and claim on my travel insurance instead?

4. If going with 3, do I have to demand for a VAT (or smiliar) receipt from them? If they fail to provide, will it be possible for me to just claim using the email they had sent to me plus the credit card statement showing the fact that such a charge had been paid?


Fact is I know I did not caused the damage, but what is the most hassle free method of not paying for something that I had not done?



NatWest for £272:Full and final settlement: 13/11/06

Argos Card for £52.50:Paid to Argos account: 10/11/06

Bank of Scotland for £218:Full and final settlement: 25/01/07

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As I see it, I would expect the apartment owner to show proof that it was you that did the damage. I would contact the Credit card company to ensure that nothing is taken from your account.

Using your travel insurance is a no no as it would imply that you were responsible. If you have legal expense cover with your insurance you could use them to fight your corner.


As it stands, it may be that the previous visitor was responsible and nobody checked the cupboard when it was cleaned prior to you taking residence.


I wouldn't pay it and I would expect proof from them that you (on balance) did the damage.

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I would ask them for evidence of when the damaged area was last inspected, who by, and a copy of contemporaneous documentation confirming the inspection.


I had similar problem some years ago when the owner found a broken ornament in a cupboard. It was nothing to do with us, it was in a room we hadn't even used. They clearly hadn't inspected the cupboard and didn't do full inventory checks between lets. Eventually I told them that if they didn't return my deposit I'd start small claims action and base my claim in part on them having no evidence that the broken item was there when I started my stay there. They returned my deposit.


I know several people who have had issues like this. It seems to arise because LLs of short holiday let properties don't bother to do full condition inspections and inventory checks between lets. Presumably because they're being doing them twice a week and they are time consuming. So when they discover something they just blame it on the last person who stayed there.

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