Who should pay for Book­ing.com ho­tel er­ror?

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL - By Christophe­r El­liott

A: You shouldn’t have two non­re­fund­able reser­va­tions on Book­ing.com — and if you do, the site should quickly re­fund one of them.

You were right to con­tact Book­ing.com by phone im­me­di­ately. This is one of the rare times when you do want to call in­stead of email­ing. But — and there’s al­ways a but! — you also want to im­me­di­ately fol­low up by email to the on­line travel agency and ho­tel, to cre­ate a pa­per trail and con­firm when your re­fund will ar­rive. In your case, the re­fund wasn’t forth­com­ing.

When the re­fund didn’t come, and it seemed clear that Book­ing.com would make you pay for its er­ror, you tried to ap­peal to an ex­ec­u­tive. I list the names, num­bers and email ad­dresses of Book­ing.com’s ex­ec­u­tives on my non­profit con­sumer ad­vo­cacy site, El­liott.org. Un­for­tu­nately, the ex­ec­u­tives just kicked

I re­cently tried to book a ho­tel in Am­s­ter­dam but ended up with two rooms be­cause of a Book­ing.com er­ror.

When I was book­ing the first room, I got an er­ror mes­sage that the room wasn’t avail­able and the book­ing didn’t go through. Al­though Book­ing.com of­fered an­other room type, the al­ter­na­tive didn’t ac­com­mo­date all of us.

I did not re­ceive a con­fir­ma­tion email on this room, so I searched again and picked an­other ho­tel and com­pleted the check­out.

I then re­ceived two emails from Book­ing.com stat­ing I had reser­va­tions for both ho­tels. I im­me­di­ately called Book­ing.com and talked to a rep­re­sen­ta­tive. He agreed to con­tact the first ho­tel to can­cel the reser­va­tion. But he never did. I emailed the ho­tel and it never heard from Book­ing.com about this is­sue.

It is not right or fair that I have to pay for this ho­tel due to a Book­ing.com er­ror. Can you help? your case back to the cus­tomer ser­vice depart­ment, which of­fered the wrong res­o­lu­tion to this Book­ing.com er­ror. Af­ter you showed Book­ing.com that you did, in­deed, re­ceive the first reser­va­tion af­ter mak­ing the sec­ond one, the on­line agency of­fered you a re­fund equal to 10% of the can­cel­la­tion fee at the first ho­tel, “as a good­will ges­ture.”

In a sit­u­a­tion like this, you were ab­so­lutely right to reach out to a third party for help. (That would be me.) You were stuck in a frus­trat­ing cy­cle — where no mat­ter what you did, the com­pany wouldn’t lis­ten. Some­times it just takes an out­sider and a fresh set of eyes.

I con­tacted

Book­ing.com on your be­half. You also found a screen­shot of the er­ror mes­sage you re­ceived. Great work on the record keep­ing, by the way. I sent the in­for­ma­tion to

Book­ing.com on your be­half.

Book­ing.com re­viewed its records. Even though the site showed an er­ror mes­sage, Book­ing.com made your first reser­va­tion. The con­fir­ma­tion ar­rived five min­utes later. By then, you had al­ready made the sec­ond reser­va­tion, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

“It’s clear there was con­fu­sion and that Mr. Day in­tended to make a suc­cess­ful book­ing,” a com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive told me. “We’ve spo­ken with Mr. Day and ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion, of­fer­ing a full re­fund, which has been ac­cepted.”

Christophe­r El­liott is the om­buds­man for Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Trav­eler mag­a­zine and the au­thor of “How to Be the World’s Smartest Trav­eler.” You can read more travel tips on his blog, el­liott.org, or email him at [email protected]­liott.org.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.