Booked a hotel but now need to cancel your reservation and get a refund? You may be out of luck if the hotel refuses to refund your money. While frustrating, there are steps you can take to get your money back or receive compensation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The best option is to keep trying to negotiate with the hotel first. If that fails, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company or take the hotel to small claims court.

Try Negotiating With the Hotel First

If you find yourself in a situation where a hotel refuses to refund your money, it’s important to remain calm and approach the situation with a clear head. One of the first steps you can take is to try negotiating directly with the hotel.

This can be done by speaking to the hotel manager and explaining your situation.

Speak to the Hotel Manager

When faced with a hotel that is reluctant to issue a refund, it’s best to speak directly to the hotel manager. They have the authority to make decisions and may be more willing to assist you. Politely explain your circumstances and provide any relevant documentation or evidence to support your case.

Remember to remain calm and respectful during the conversation, as this can increase your chances of reaching a resolution.

Highlight the Hotel’s Cancellation Policy

Another strategy to employ during negotiations is to highlight the hotel’s cancellation policy. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions outlined in your booking confirmation or on the hotel’s website. If the hotel is not abiding by their own policy, politely bring this to their attention.

By demonstrating your knowledge of their policies, you may be able to persuade them to reconsider their decision.

Propose a Partial Refund or Credit

If the hotel remains unwilling to provide a full refund, consider proposing a compromise. Suggesting a partial refund or a credit towards a future stay can show that you are open to finding a solution that benefits both parties.

This approach may be more appealing to the hotel and increase your chances of receiving some form of compensation.

Remember, negotiation requires effective communication and a willingness to find a middle ground. Keep in mind that each hotel and situation is unique, so what works in one case may not work in another.

It’s always best to approach negotiations with a positive attitude and a desire to find a mutually beneficial outcome.

Dispute the Charges with Your Credit Card Company

It can be frustrating and disappointing when a hotel refuses to refund your money. However, if you paid for your reservation with a credit card, you may have some recourse. One option is to dispute the charges with your credit card company.

By doing so, you can potentially get your money back and avoid being stuck with a non-refundable booking.

File a Dispute Within 60 Days

Most credit card companies have a dispute resolution process that allows cardholders to contest charges for goods or services they did not receive. To take advantage of this option, you should file a dispute with your credit card company within 60 days of the transaction.

This timeframe is important as it falls within the window of time specified by the Fair Credit Billing Act.

When filing a dispute, you’ll need to provide information about the transaction, such as the date, amount, and description of the charge. It’s also helpful to include any communication you’ve had with the hotel regarding the refund, such as emails or receipts.

Provide Documentation

When disputing the charges, it’s essential to provide any supporting documentation that can strengthen your case. This may include proof of cancellation, evidence of the hotel’s refund policy, or any other relevant information that demonstrates your efforts to resolve the issue directly with the hotel.

Additionally, if you have any evidence that the hotel breached its terms of service or failed to provide the promised accommodations, be sure to include that as well. The more documentation you can provide, the stronger your dispute will be.

Let Your Credit Card Company Fight For You

Once you’ve filed a dispute, your credit card company will take over the process and investigate the matter on your behalf. They will typically reach out to the hotel to request additional information and attempt to resolve the dispute amicably.

If the hotel fails to respond or provide a satisfactory resolution, your credit card company may issue a chargeback. A chargeback is a reversal of the transaction, effectively refunding the disputed amount back to your credit card.

Remember that the outcome of a dispute will vary depending on the specific circumstances and the policies of your credit card company. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with your credit card’s terms and conditions regarding disputes and refunds.

Note: For more detailed information on disputing charges with your credit card company, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Take the Hotel to Small Claims Court

File in the Hotel’s Jurisdiction

If a hotel refuses to refund your money, one option available to you is to take the matter to small claims court. Small claims court is a legal venue where individuals can resolve disputes involving small amounts of money without the need for expensive attorneys.

When filing a claim against a hotel, it is important to file in the hotel’s jurisdiction. This means that you must file the lawsuit in the same city or county where the hotel is located. Filing in the hotel’s jurisdiction ensures that the court has authority to hear and decide the case.

Bring Documentation and Witnesses

When taking a hotel to small claims court, it is crucial to gather and bring all relevant documentation and any supporting evidence. This includes receipts, booking confirmations, emails or correspondence with the hotel, and any other relevant documents that prove your claim.

Additionally, if you have any witnesses who can testify to the circumstances surrounding the refund issue, it is beneficial to have them present in court. Witnesses can provide additional credibility to your case and help strengthen your argument.

Court May Award Damages

In small claims court, the judge has the authority to award damages if they find in your favor. Damages may include the full refund of your payment, additional compensation for any inconvenience or expenses incurred, or even punitive damages if the hotel’s refusal to refund your money was particularly egregious.

The amount of damages awarded will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and the judge’s discretion. It is important to present a strong case with clear evidence to increase your chances of receiving a favorable outcome.

Remember to consult with a legal professional or seek advice from your local small claims court to understand the specific procedures and requirements for filing a claim against a hotel. The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

Leave Online Reviews as a Warning

When a hotel refuses to refund your money, it can be a frustrating and disheartening experience. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that other travelers are aware of the hotel’s policies and practices. One effective way to do this is by leaving online reviews as a warning.

Detail the Refusal to Refund

When writing your online review, be sure to provide a detailed account of the hotel’s refusal to refund your money. Include specific dates, interactions with hotel staff, and any relevant documentation or correspondence.

This will help potential guests understand the situation and make informed decisions when booking their accommodations.

Additionally, if there were any extenuating circumstances or conditions that led to the refusal, such as a non-refundable reservation or a strict cancellation policy, make sure to mention them in your review.

This will provide a balanced perspective and allow readers to consider all factors before forming an opinion.

Post on Multiple Sites

When leaving reviews, don’t limit yourself to just one platform. Post your review on multiple sites to maximize its reach and impact. Popular travel websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews are great places to start.

These platforms have a wide user base and are frequently visited by travelers looking for honest feedback.

Additionally, consider posting your review on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These platforms allow for easier sharing and can reach a larger audience, including potential guests who may not be actively searching for reviews on travel websites.

Be Factual and Avoid Libel

When writing your online review, it’s important to be factual and avoid any statements that could be considered libelous. Stick to the facts and provide evidence or documentation to support your claims. This will help maintain your credibility and protect you from any potential legal repercussions.

Remember, the goal is to inform and warn other travelers about the hotel’s refusal to refund your money, not to engage in personal attacks or make false accusations. By presenting your experience in a fair and objective manner, you can help others make informed decisions while avoiding any potential legal pitfalls.


Getting stonewalled by a hotel on a refund request can be incredibly frustrating. But by knowing your options, being persistent, and using the right avenues, you can increase your chances of getting your money back. Don’t take no for an answer without first exploring every possibility.

With some strategic negotiation, credit card disputes, legal action, and online reviews, you can hold the hotel accountable while warning others. Don’t give up at the first refusal – be prepared to make your case through multiple channels.

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