I recently booked a hotel, but canceled it immediately afterwards.
The money was on hold on my account said to be withdrawn end of February.
I got the cancellation confirmation the minute I canceled and naively thought they would release the money the next business day.
When that didn't happen I sent them an email asking them to release the funds, but that very night they withdrew the money instead.
Now when I called, they say that it will take 21 business days to return the money.

Can that really be true? Is that how it normally works?

  • 1
    Depends on the T&Cs of booking. If the T&Cs say "refunds take 21 days" then refunds take 21 days. This is common practice. All hotel bookings will include a cancellation policy. You're lucky, some don't allow cancellations at all so you may not of gotten any of your money back. I'd be a bit more careful next time
    – user24734
    Jan 30, 2018 at 13:32
  • Was this a credit card or a debit card?
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 30, 2018 at 13:38
  • Hotels are SLLOWWW to refund. 7-21 days is pretty much the norm. Even when I was double charged (their mistake) I had to wait 14 days. Sorry :( Jan 30, 2018 at 14:04
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    @BenMiller - fair enough. I saw CC and automatically assumed hold=auth, withdraw=charge, release=refund. It's certainly worth letting OP clarify.
    – TTT
    Jan 30, 2018 at 20:49
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    I can't see anything in the question that suggest the hotel messed up? It sounds like the OP simply changed his mind.
    – user24734
    Jan 31, 2018 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


The money was on hold on my account said to be withdrawn end of February. ... Is that how it normally works?

No, that is not how it normally works. Credit card holds typically only last from 1 to 7 days, but it sounds like the hotel is attempting to put a hold on your account for a full month. Furthermore, why did they charge the CC now instead of the end of February? Since it sounds like they messed up, they should take the necessary steps to reverse the charge immediately, which typically takes just a few days to clear.

Although hotels are generally known for taking a long time to process refunds, I believe this is an exceptional case because they made a mistake. IMHO they should bend over backwards to fix the mistake ASAP.

That being said, If the amount charged isn't affecting your ability to use the card as you normally would, I'd probably just wait out the 21 days and not worry about it. I'd put a reminder in my calendar to check on day 22 and if the money isn't returned by then, I'd call my CC provider and file a dispute. In fact, I might call my CC provider now and explain the situation to make sure that they agree that it's OK to wait before disputing.

  • 1
    What makes you think the hotel messed up? I used to work in the travel industry. If the hotel was booked (I recently booked a hotel, but cancelled it immediately afterwards.) then that would then go into the hotels cancellation policy for which there may well be a delay in processing refunds. It's not uncommon for hotels to charge up front for rooms, your right many only charge on arrival but just as many take the money up front.
    – user24734
    Jan 31, 2018 at 8:57
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    @Liam I'm basing it on the claim that the charge was supposed to happen at the end of February (perhaps because that is when the booking was for). But, upon cancelling and receiving a cancel confirmation, the card was charged right away which is a month earlier than it would have been originally charged if the cancellation didn't happen.
    – TTT
    Jan 31, 2018 at 9:33

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