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Consumer - Tina Tackles!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tina Leonard, Our Consumer Expert

Consumer Query:

Louise booked a hotel on booking.com and the page froze as she was booking. She did not receive a booking confirmation email so she booked again but then got charged twice and booking.com refused to refund her the money.

Louise's Original Complain:

"I booked a twin room on booking.com<http://booking.com> for my friend and I for three nights in the Macdonald Roxburgh hotel in Edinburgh. But just as I put in the credit card details the page froze. I waited a few moments but nothing happened. My boyfriend then went through the process again and booked the room. It turned out a few days later that €615 had been taken out of his account for the two bookings.

When I contacted booking.com<http://booking.com> they said I should have checked the terms and conditions as it said the hotel can take the money on booking. So they actually charged me for two rooms as apparently although the first time the page froze the details had actually gone through.

Having spent hours on the phone to both the hotel and the booking agent they both refused to refund me the money for one of the rooms as the deal was it was
Non-refundable.

They showed no compassion towards my situation that I was unaware the other room had been booked. After some time they agreed to refund me the money for the second room but only if they sell the room, I am now afraid that even if there is only one room left in the hotel unsold it will somehow be my room and I will be paying for an empty room which I do not want. Is there anything you could do to help me as I cannot afford to pay out €307 for nothing?

Tina's Reply:

As the booking site's terms and conditions for this hotel and offer, state that the money will be debited from your account immediately, they can do this.

However, the issues seems to be that you thought you only had one booking, as during the first process the screen froze and you believed the booking wasn't completed. You also claim that you did not receive booking confirmation for this first booking but that you did for the second.

Given this, it would reasonable for the booking agent / hotel to accept that a mistake was made and that you did not want two separate bookings on the same day.

Response from Booking.com:

We will have this on a graphic and Tina will read out

"Firstly, I would like to inform you that we have now managed to reach an agreement with the management of the hotel on your behalf to cancel one of the rooms free of charge.

They will refund your credit card for the amount of 264.60 GBP.

As a result, you retain only one booking at this property and shall not receive any charges for the mistakenly made booking."

Tina should also in brief sum up what booking.com also say below

Detail from Booking.com:

"I would like to take a moment to explain what happened in your situation. On 01/02/2010 two reservations were made for accommodation at the Hotel (132704215/132457811). Both reservations made had the hotel's pre-payment, non-refundable cancellation/booking policies. Due to the nature of our business it is possible that a guest may book more or less rooms than they actually desired. When this happens, our staff members are always happy to investigate on your behalf.

Following our recent investigations into your bookings it was noted that two separate reservations had been made from 2 different IP addresses and supported with two separate email confirmations that were successfully sent to the email address provided when you made your each booking. As a result, the hotel concluded that two separate reservations had been made intentionally.

Therefore, the Hotel treated both of your reservations as business as usual and charged your card according to their pre-payment, non-refundable booking policies for each individual room that you had made. Please note that all charges are performed by the hotel directly. Booking.com never performs any charge to our guests' credit cards. I sincerely hope that this has appeased you of your concerns and that you shall now have thoroughly enjoyable stay at the Hotel. Our apologies for any misunderstanding."

Louise's Reaction:

Booking.com have already refunded the money to Louise's credit card so she knows they have done that but we will still ask her if she is happy and also when she is actually going on her holiday!!!

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