i put a deposit on a hotel room. i called and cancelled 1 week prior to the reservation and the hotel will not refund my deposit. it that legal?

100.00 deposit was paid to reserve a room at a hotel ten days prior to my arrival. seven days prior to that date I cancelled the reservation because my trip was cancelled. the hotel refuses to return my deposit. is that legal?

Asked on April 27, 2016 under Business Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no automatic or general right to a return of the deposit when the customer cancels the service or produce; in fact, generally, when the customer cancels, the business is entitled to keep the deposit. (The whole purpose of the deposit, after all, is to encourage them to reserve the room for you, by guarantying they'll get paid *something* even if you don't show, while simultaneously encouraging you to not cancel, since you have money at stake.) If they had a written cancellation policy (e.g. on their website or in other marketing/advertising materials) which would return your deposit under this situation, they have to comply with it; but if they did not have a deposit return policy, or if they did and you did not meet its criteria, they are allowed to keep the deposit.

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