I read an in house post on sdk where a blog visitor complained how almost a million naira was deducted from her bank account for an hotel reservation made on booking.com but could not be refunded even after the client made efforts to postpone or cancel the booking.
Most cases against booking.com has been customers not being able to make any cancellation even when the site has a free cancellation policy clearly outlined on their site. Other instances has been that the hotels seen by guests differ from those reserved online or sometimes no reservations made at all. You just have to search online and you will see lots of these allegations.
Personally,late last year I had a similar case, when scheduling a hotel booking for a European trip. I booked one of the hotels seen online, I did a local search and called the number provided by the hotel who told me I have to call booking.com for any change in reservation. I called the number on booking.com , an officer picked it who informed me to call an hour later as the English speaking official is not on duty yet. And when I finally spoke to him ,told me the hotel I booked has a no-cancellation policy, differing from what is advertised on their site. Fortunately, I had instructed my bank not to make any deductions without prior approval.I wasn't surprised for booking.com to email me few days later that my hotel reservation has been cancelled due to inability to make financial deductions on my card. So what if it can be made, my money would have gone up in flames or how do I trace an online company that has no physical address. I don't want to consider the legalities involved nor do I have he time or finances to pursue such cause.
Most of these booking sites offer free cancellation policy, free wifi, and other heaven on earth promises but they do not really live up to expectations. Most times, when you actually go back to cancel on the site, you no longer see the cancellation button.
Thats why its always best to do a research well on any company especially if financial funds are involved. There are so many reported cases of booking.com literally eating people's hard earned money. Next time search for the hotel directly, call them and request to put the hotel on hold or ask experienced professionals to do a booking for you on hold, costs less than N5000. They have a way of making reservations and having their money refunded if you want to cancel or once the visa is secured.Though there are other online hotel booking sites that am sure comes with good recommendations.Google is your friend,use it.
As for booking.com and other hotel booking sites, my simple advice is they should always honor their word if they want to be seen as an honest brand or running a legimate business. Allow customers make cancellations, at least a week before the reserved date even if inconvenience charges will be deducted. Also, they can appoint representatives in each country or region so a human face is involved who can attend to complaints of clients.
Need help with booking hotels online? Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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