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Avoid Booking.com - not passing on hotel cancellation fee waiver due to Coronavirus

Booking.com is not passing on the cancellation fee waiver for the hotel I have booked in Helsinki in April 2020.

I will be charged €1280- to cancel my booking, the hotel advises it will receive €165 - and Booking.com keeps the balance. If I had booked directly with the hotel there would be no cancellation fee. I wonder how many other people are in the same situation? Looks like the only tourist operator that will profit from this global health crisis is Booking.com.

UPDATED - fee is Euro 1280, not higher amount, I hit the wrong key.

My issue: when I booked was told hotel policies would apply (and this is what my confirmation says), hotel policy allows refund in current situation, Booking.com is now imposing its own policy and overriding the hotel policy. So I was misled by someone - hotel is blaming Booking.com, Booking.com is blaming hotel. As only hotel has contacted me I am at present believing them.

Posted by
43 posts

Stories like this are exactly why I call the hotels and make my own reservations, and go directly to the airline to buy tickets. So sorry this happened to you.

Posted by
23259 posts

This is a duplicate post, many more answers in the other copy.

Posted by
114 posts

I stopped using booking.com years ago for an altogether different reason. On 3 separate bookings, I showed up at hotels in both the US and Europe and the hotel had no record of the reservation despite all the evidence I had to show them from booking.com. I vowed to never use that site again, and I have not.

I book directly with airlines and hotels. I used to use airbnb a lot, but with restrictions from local governments impacting this service, I have not used airbnb in almost 2 years. Same with all of the other similar housing services - I don't use them anymore, too many issues, and just read these forums for all the problems people have been having.

Posted by
6387 posts

I only have had great experience with booking.com since 2014 and will continue. Non-refundable means exactly what it means; but also I never have and never would risk paying for a Non-refundable as much upfront like you did even if I booked direct with the hotel.

Posted by
11676 posts

Someone posted that booking.com has a chat feature where you can cancel and get a refund, if the hotel agrees.

Posted by
74 posts

I recently canceled a lot of hotel reservations with Booking.com. They all were refundable and I wasn't charged to cancel for any of them. Were your reservations refundable or non-refundable? When I canceled my reason was personnel/ changed plans. I think anyone talking about the c-virus could run into problems as everyone seems to be going crazy over this issue.

Posted by
447 posts

I also canceled all my reservations with Booking.com for free as I always choose the free cancellation price. I have not had any issues with this in the past. I have emails to confirm my cancellations are free. If you booked a non-refundable hotel room or partial refundable then you will likely have to pay. It all depends on how you booked through Booking.com.

Margaret

Posted by
50 posts

Any one know how Hotels.com are handling any refunds or re-booking for non refundable rooms? Any hope there?

Posted by
49 posts

I hope you'll continue to pursue the matter, and get some satisfaction from the third-party site. They are (I think) US-based, so the local Better Business Bureau covering their headquarters is one resource for you. Your state, or their state, might also have a consumer protection bureau or a regulator for sellers of travel services.

Never, never use a third-party site. There is no advantage, and the potential disadvantages, such as lost or dishonored bookings, refusal to pass along a refund from the hotel, etc., are significant.

Posted by
6073 posts

Never, never use a third-party site. There is no advantage

That is simply untrue. These sites would not exist if they provided no value to users. As I said in a related thread, the hotel's cancellation policies drive the ability to get a refund, not Booking.com. I've used Booking.com 50+ times. It's crucial to read "the fine print" on every booking and be OK with it.

Posted by
2546 posts

The issue to me is was this a non-cancelable reservation either at the time it was made or because the cancellation window had passed. There are people who are reporting that hotels are not refunding non-cancelable reservations. Just last week, an acquaintance mentioned to me that a local hotel chain in Paris was not giving him a refund for a planned trip that he is cancelling. The chain is holding him to his non-cancelable reservation that he made months ago. The airlines and larger chain hotels have been flexible but not the small local chain. So, I would not say that it is not only Booking.com that is not offering up refunds for certain reservations.

Posted by
5450 posts

Never, never use a third-party site. There is no advantage

Yes and no. Expedia is refunding my five night Hotel Berna (Milan) non-cancellation payment because the Hotel Berna closed down as part of the Italian lockdown and would not be able to provide services. That said, a return on a no refund priced booking is at the discretion of the hotel. A deal is a deal.

Posted by
585 posts

I've used Booking.com many times with no problem. A couple of times it was more or less out of necessity, as I could not find another way to contact small B&Bs in Tuscany except by phone, which I did not want to do. Other than that I like the convenience, and the fact that regular users can get reduced rates. Have canceled many times with no penalty (though I make only cancellable reservations).

If I ever run into the problem of a Booking.com reservation not being recognized by the actual lodging (as someone said has happened to them), I'll probably stop using the site. Maybe give one Mulligan.

Having said this, I sympathize with the OP; 1780 euro is a really expensive lesson.

Posted by
1400 posts

We’ve used booking.com on numerous occasions and have cancelled a few times with no problem. BUT, we always pay the higher rate and get free cancellation for our room.

Posted by
153 posts

I have used Booking.com for years, both domestically and internationally. My favorite feature is the ease of online cancellation and only once ( within the US) has a hotel ever not honored the option to pay on arrival that I also really appreciate, rather than waiting for a refund if I cancel. As others have said it takes care to NOT choose their cheapest option at the top of the list, the non- refundable, virus or no virus. I suppose paying a little more ( it's typically 5- $10 US) is a form of cancellation insurance. One thing I always do, that I don't see here, is use the "contact hotel" for a lame question or room preference- another way to confirm they have the booking if the respond- or, just call or e mail, if not, and double check. Pay attention to the "cancel by" date, too- I held out cancelling on Booking.com till the day before for our family reunion plans this week😣.

Posted by
112 posts

I have not prepaid. My booking is on the basis that I pay at the hotel when I checkin. As it seems likely to be impossible for me to be in Finland in April, I will likely never arrive at the hotel. I have held off cancelling my booking as if there is some breakthrough solution found in the next month, I may still be able to travel. However, my airline has cancelled my flights so that also depends on finding an airline that is still flying between Australia and Finland.

Posted by
155 posts

This is what all 4 of my confirmations say (different dates/hotels of course). Nowhere on their site not the confirmation email is there anything that says Booking.com will charge anyone. Your confirmation email will have the cancellation information. Here is what mine states for a stay starting on 2 Sept.

Cancellation cost

Until August 30, 2020 11:59 PM [Budapest]: € 0
From August 31, 2020 12:00 AM [Budapest]: € 130.49

and:

The total price shown is the amount you'll pay the property. Booking.com doesn't charge guests any reservation, administration, or other fees.
If you cancel, applicable taxes may still be charged by the property.
If you don’t show up for this booking, and you don’t cancel beforehand, the property is liable to charge you the full reservation amount.

Call the hotel or email and ask for the policy they are talking about in writing. Sounds more like the hotel doesn't want to cancel and is just putting it on Booking.com. I have never seen nor heard of Booking.com having it's own cancellation policy.

Posted by
1 posts

Booking.com is unresponsive and inaccessible. I cancelled our reservation in Erfurt, Germany on March 4, 202 for our March 17, 2020 stay ten days before it was necessary. However, the hotel charged us for the stay and says Booking.com never cancelled it with them. The hotel was not to charge us until we checked in. After trying many ways to contact Booking.com by email or phone or through their website, I have concluded they are perfectly stonewalled. They even disconnected my call because our reservation and charge were in the past. I will never use this site again and hope to warn all travelers to beware of them. DO NOT USE BOOKING.COM.

Posted by
16608 posts

janeteney2, did you not receive a confirmation email about your cancellation? I had to cancel several bookings in Spain last year in order to shift arrival dates. Shortly after I completed each online cancellation on the booking.com website, I received an email with a subject like "Booking canceled for Carlos V Malaga".

Posted by
2232 posts

Sorry if some have had problems, but I have used Booking.com many times, over a bunch of years, for lodging in the US and various other countries, and have never had a problem. This includes my planned trip to Italy this spring, where I had to cancel various reservations. The Booking.com customer service rep was a gem, canceling various reservations while we spoke. I saw each one change to zero nights as she worked, and immediately got an e-mail confirmation of each cancelation while still on the phone. I had a non-refundable reservation at a small hotel with 24-hour desk service, and she phoned Italy and got them to cancel the reservation with no charge, due to the circumstances (Italy closing down, my air ticket to Italy canceled). I remember a couple years ago having a conversation with a desk manager at a hotel in a Spain. She said they dealt with many booking services, often had problems with many of them, but NEVER had any problems with Booking.com. I’m a fan!

Posted by
408 posts

The closest things to problems with booking.com were: I reserved 2 nights at a hostel. Before my trip I added a 3rd night. When I showed up, the lady at the desk said she only had me booked for 2 nights, but when i showed my printed confirmation page, she said she could acomodate me for the 3rd night but I would have to move to a different room for the 3rd night.

At another hostel, the guy at the desk said he cancelled my reservation because he couldn't pre-authorize my credit card. I knew it was my fault because I had to have the credit card I used to make the reservation cancelled and I was sent a new card, after I made the reservation and before I showed up.

Otherwise I have had quite good results from booking.com. I have used the site to make at least 14 reservations problem. I always chose cancellable reservations.