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How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?

Offline fsteveb

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How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« on: July 11, 2014, 10:14:31 PM »
Is paypal safe to reserve a room from someone you don't know?
What are the options that make it safer?
I'm only asking about the actual room fee transaction.
What is to stop someone saying they have a room, and you send them some money and never hear from them again.

Offline Palantir

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 12:10:10 AM »
What is to stop someone saying they have a room, and you send them some money and never hear from them again.

Nothing.

But you can trust me. Please send $1000 in unmarked bills to my PO Box and you'll have a room. I promise.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 12:11:54 AM by Palantir »

Offline Trathor

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2014, 02:32:43 PM »
If you do not know them, it does become a trust thing. 

For me, I just get cash before they move into the room (as they are moving into the room). 

Good idea to try to get 'incidentals' on their credit card too. 
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Offline KPK

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2014, 03:50:39 PM »
I personally do money order and everything is paid in advance. The reason is I find paypal to be unreliable as I have had issues with them in the past. This way someone has my info and I don't have to worry about a bounced check.

Offline ReallyNotACylon

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 02:53:10 AM »
I've used PayPal once, but I actually knew the person through a costuming group. I'm not sure I would have done it if I didn't actually know her. Cash would be the safest way to go really.
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Offline o0MadScience0o

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2014, 08:28:25 PM »
I was glad when we found someone to room with that they wanted cash on Thursday after check-in. I would be so terrified of blindly sending money to someone in hopes that they will really have a hotel room and will show up. A face to face cash transaction will always be my preference. Money order is not a bad idea either.
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Offline Eternal Zan

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2014, 10:49:03 PM »
As someone who books the room, then has to find internet strangers to fill it with, let me just say it is scary and time consuming on both ends. The person with the room is scared you are going to back out and leave them holding the bag. This is why I require a deposit in advance, and the rest of the payment in cash upon arrival. I can't afford to trust that you will still have money at the end of con, or that you won't just skip out.

I take the time to email back and forth with potential roomies. I have a template email that explains my room environment and rules. If my room isn't what you are looking for, then I wish you the best of luck finding a good match. If it is, we talk on the phone. I answer all your questions. Your space in my room is reserved when I get your deposit. Here is my cancellation policy

"CANCELLING:
If you have to cancel for any reason PLEASE let me know as soon as possible so I can find your replacement. Emergencies are rare but unpredictable and they do sometimes happen. If I can find a suitable replacement in time, you will get your deposit back. The longer you wait to cancel, the less likely it is I will have time to find and screen a replacement. Any cancellation increases the cost not just for me, but for all the roommates."

Remember, it is a risk on both sides. You both need to be fully open and honest with one another. It isn't about finding A room. It is about finding the RIGHT room.

 
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Offline KPK

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2014, 10:56:00 PM »
As someone who is the room holder- I never ever do cash on arrival. - everything is paid for in advance at least a month ahead of the convention. - I have deposit deadline - and depending on the remaining amount 2nd and 3rd payment deadlines. Money is only refundable if I find a roomie to replace you - and then theres also a cut off date that you for fit your money if you cancel. Seems harsh - but I've been screwed over so many times. I can not afford to have someone back out of my room because I would be the one who'd have to make up the cost of it.

Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 02:28:20 PM »
It's a lot of money to be trusting a stranger with for both sides.  I still haven't heard of anyone taking money for a room and then leaving people high and dry come con time.  But people who haven't paid and don't have the room in their name cancel all the time.  The less money you have put into a thing, the easier it is to walk away and screw over everyone who was relying on you.

So I think paying at least a deposit before the con is a totally fair. 

And in general, when you're rooming with strangers, do your best to become un-strangers before con.  Email,  facebook, texting, whatever.  Get to know each other and both sides will be much more comfortable. 

Offline Garrison

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2014, 08:54:04 AM »
cash, half to be paid on site the rest to be paid on the last day, code names only, no loose ends, nothing can be traced back to either of you....
no wait that is safehouse protocol sorry
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Offline Confused Mortal

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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2014, 12:12:49 PM »
I would use paypal since there is some form of protection there as long as they use a confirmed account.
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Re: How is safest way to pay someone to stay in their room?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 10:34:22 AM »
Speaking as one who has in fact been screwed over on a room:

Paypal actually is "relatively" safe.  Last year i paid a deposit on a room found through the live journal page,  rooms for dragoncon goers, after a couple emails, and personally checking the persons confirmation number by calling the hotel.  (tip there, the room holder can give you a name and/or reservation number and yoi can verify over the phone).   Turned out though that said person had gotten deposits from at least 12 other people it seemed, and canceled the room about a month ahead of time.   Being antisociol, generally exesively busy, and not much for idle conversation, i assumed all was good till the wed. before con, and she didnt respond to any correspondence. 

I put a petition in with paypal, and was refunded in full about a month later.   To make sure this works, send money as payment for services or similar when asked in paypal, dont send the money as a gift.   Gifts dont get refunds, generally speaking.   Only send money to a verified paypal account.  If you are really paranoid, make a fake paypal account with a similar spelling begore you ever send a dime, that way, worst case you may have a shot at "i accidentally sent it to the wrong person.   It is all still a risk, and there is alot of trust involved on both sides (i understand fully why roomholders require upfront deposits), but the risks can be mitigated somewhat.

Ive gotten roomshares from strangers several times, only got cheated once, and the problem was resolved satisfactorily.  It is a risky system, but generally speaking, humans tend to be honest, if for no other reason than fear of prosecution.  Even after being scammed, I will probably continue to use strangers for roomshares for a while, and in fact I am actually looking for a room currently (hint, hint for those tha have space, lol).