Unreturned Hotel Security Deposit: What to Do When Your Deposit is Not Refunded

Have you ever checked out of a hotel only to find that your security deposit was not refunded?

It can be frustrating and stressful to deal with unreturned hotel security deposits, especially when you need that money for other expenses.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why hotel security deposits may not be refunded, what you can do to get your money back, and how to avoid this problem in the future.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: When your hotel security deposit is not refunded, it is important to understand why and take action to get your money back.

Why Hotel Security Deposits are Required

When making a hotel reservation, you may notice that many hotels require a security deposit. This is a common practice in the hospitality industry and serves as a protection for the hotel against potential damages or unpaid charges.

The purpose of a hotel security deposit

The purpose of a hotel security deposit is to ensure that the guest will leave the room in the same condition as they found it. The deposit is held as collateral in case of damages to the hotel room or property, or if the guest incurs any additional charges during their stay such as room service or minibar expenses.

How much do hotels usually charge for a security deposit

The amount of a hotel security deposit varies depending on the hotel and the length of stay. On average, hotels typically charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per night as a security deposit. This amount is usually refunded to the guest upon check-out, provided there are no damages or unpaid charges.

What are the common reasons for withholding a security deposit

Hotels may withhold a security deposit if the guest has caused damages to the room or property, or if they have incurred additional charges that were not paid for at the time of check-out. Some common reasons for withholding a security deposit include smoking in a non-smoking room, bringing pets into a room that does not allow pets, or leaving the room in an excessively dirty or messy state.

It is important to note that hotels are required to provide a detailed explanation and itemized list of any charges or damages that resulted in the withholding of a security deposit. If you believe that your security deposit was unfairly withheld, you may be able to dispute the charges with the hotel or with your credit card company.

What You Can Do When Your Deposit is Not Refunded

It can be frustrating when you don’t receive your hotel security deposit back. Here are some steps you can take to rectify the situation:

Contact the hotel immediately

If you haven’t received your deposit back, the first thing to do is contact the hotel and inquire about it. You may have forgotten to provide them with your current address or there may have been a mistake on their end. Give them a chance to rectify the situation before taking any further steps.

Document everything

Make sure to keep a record of all communication with the hotel, including emails and phone calls. It’s important to have a paper trail in case you need to dispute the charge or take legal action. Additionally, take photos of the condition of the room when you checked out to prove that you left it in good condition.

Dispute the charge with your credit card company

If the hotel refuses to refund your deposit, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company. Most credit card companies have a dispute resolution process that you can use to request a refund.

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau

If you’re not satisfied with the hotel’s response, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB will investigate your complaint and try to mediate a resolution between you and the hotel.

Consider legal action

If all else fails, you may need to consider taking legal action against the hotel. Contact a lawyer who specializes in small claims court to see if you have a case. Keep in mind that legal action can be time-consuming and expensive, so it should be a last resort.

Tips for Avoiding Unreturned Hotel Security Deposits

Read the hotel’s policy before booking

One of the best ways to avoid an unreturned hotel security deposit is to read the hotel’s policy before booking. Most hotels will clearly state their policy regarding security deposits on their website or in their booking confirmation email. Make sure to review this policy carefully before making your reservation. If you have any questions or concerns about the policy, don’t hesitate to contact the hotel directly to ask for clarification.

Inspect your room before checking out

Before checking out of your hotel room, take a few minutes to inspect the room for any damages. Look for any stains on the carpet or furniture, broken or missing items, or any other issues that could result in a deduction from your security deposit. If you notice any issues, make sure to report them to the hotel staff immediately so they can be addressed before you leave.

Take photos of any damages

If you do notice any damages in your hotel room, take photos of them before reporting them to the hotel staff. This will provide you with proof of the damages in case there is a dispute over the security deposit. Make sure to take clear photos that clearly show the issue, and make note of the date and time the photos were taken.

Ask for a receipt or written confirmation of your deposit refund

After you check out of your hotel room, make sure to ask for a receipt or written confirmation of your security deposit refund. This will provide you with proof that the deposit was refunded, and can be used as evidence if the hotel fails to return your deposit. Keep this receipt or confirmation in a safe place until you have confirmed that your deposit has been fully refunded.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your hotel security deposit is returned in a timely manner and avoid any unnecessary disputes. Remember, it’s always better to be proactive and take steps to prevent issues from arising in the first place.


In conclusion, hotel security deposits are a common practice in the hospitality industry, but it can be frustrating when your deposit is not refunded.

By understanding why hotels may withhold security deposits and taking action to dispute the charge, you can increase your chances of getting your money back.

To avoid this problem in the future, be sure to read the hotel’s policy, inspect your room, and document any damages before checking out.

Remember, it is your right to receive a refund for your security deposit if you followed the hotel’s policy and left the room in good condition.

We hope this article has provided you with helpful information on how to handle unreturned hotel security deposits.

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