4 ladies booked 2 rooms for 2 nights with us.  The day before their arrival, she sent me messages on booking.com saying they are not coming to Wellington and asked for free cancellation.  I replied that the 1st night tariff will be charged because the cancellation is made less than 24 hours.  I charged their credit card, cancelled their booking on my booking system.  A couple of hours later I got another booking (one night) from Booking.com and another phone call late afternoon and filled up the spaces.

I reckon I made a mistake - forgot to cancel their booking on Booking.com because I thought they would do it.  However on the date of arrival, these 4 ladies turned up and asked for check-in.  When I told them their booking has been cancelled as per their instruction, she said it was her mistake because she double booked blah blah blah.  To help them out, I searched online and made 3 phone calls to nearby motels.  2 of them were fully booked, 1 had a family room left for 2 nights.  When I put her on the phone, she told me she couldn't accept it because it was too expensive....  And when I suggested hostel or backpackers, she said she doesn't like to share bathrooms...

Anyway the next morning I received a phone call claimed to be Booking.com stuff, asked me to refund the cancellation fee.  The caller didn't give me chance for explanation at first place and her tune made me feel like I am the guilty one taking advantage of those 4 poor ladies. 

The reason of refund as she claimed is that, because I have filled up the spaces so I suffered no damage at all. REALLY ??!! How about I have to turn away at least 20 phone calls including a few regulars and long term bookings because the 2 rooms have been held up? 

We are paying commission to Booking.com for a reason and we hope we are well looked after and not just a money machine to derive from our earnings.

Leandri Klopper

Hi Info,

Sorry to hear about your trouble.

My advise would be the following, when it comes to Cancellations you must always be vigilant and thorough. Booking.com rules with Cancellations are very strict, and we are all aware of what they are.

Yes, I agree that it's unacceptable that a Booking.com consultant made you feel bad/guilty. At least that's something that you can report if you felt that the service wasn't good.

Not to step on your toes but technically, according to the t's and c's, Booking.com should have handled this situation as Overbooking (not sure if you know what that all entails?). Because the booking was never cancelled on Booking.com, the booking became an Overbooking the moment you rented out their room and the ladies arrived. If the ladies were aware of this, Booking.com would have asked you to find them alternative accommodation of equal or better quality and pay for it yourself (and also cover any expenses for travel). Now that would have been a high price to pay for just forgetting to cancel the booking online.

So I think you dodged a massive bullet but I get that you're upset.

Best of luck to you!


Hi Leandri,

For your information I have refunded the 1st night penalty to the lady's credit card account right away after your staff's phone call. It is all in the Booking.com mailbox. I don't get it why you said I dodged a massive bullet.... Most of Booking.com staff I have been dealing with are nice and friendly, I won't pick on somebody unless they are really unbearable.

Just a quick question, if the customer ring or message that they are not coming and asking for cancellation free of charge, can we apply the cancellation policy and cancel it on Booking.com straight away? There is a reason the hotel/motels set up cancellation policy, and there are times the policy takes place. Just like the airlines, will they refund you if someone else take up your seat?

Kind regards


Leandri Klopper

Hi Angela,

(Just so I make sure there is no confusion, I don't work for Booking.com. Everyone here on the forum has their properties listed on Booking.com and the forum is here so we can share advise with one another. Just wanted to ensure you are aware of that because you said "your staff's phone call").

Oh sorry maybe I wasn't specific regarding the bullet. I meant you dodged a bullet with the situation, having to just refund the guest instead of having to pay for their alternative accommodation. Not the phone call. I love Booking.com consultants, they are a dream to chat to. So if one of them is rude etc then there is a need to report them. That's all I meant.

Yes, if a customer requests a cancellation you go to the website right there and then and request the cancellation. And take note that just because you sent the request, doesn't mean the booking is cancelled. The guest needs to accept it on their side (they receive an email with a link). Once it's cancelled, double check to make sure the commission has been waved.

Hope this helps

M Adamopoulou

Leandri you changed your photo? Beautiful as always. I see Angela is also confused. That’s what I was referring to. Cancellation is very confusing sometimes. Thanks Leandri for your kind advise to the matter


Hi Leandri,

Sorry for the confusion. Now I understand why my previous owner didn't suggest me to use Booking.com.... because no matter what, the customers will always be on the upper hand.

In this case, it is obvious the ladies have booked another cheaper motel and wanted to cancel my one (as she mentioned she double booked), somehow she found out the cheaper one is not up to her standard so she came back.

We just have to be patient and waiting for them to confirm the cancellation while they are shopping around. Even worse if their credit card is invalid (which is most likely) and either Booking.com or us can get hold of them to provide valid one.

Leandri Klopper

Hey M Adamopoulou , thanks for noticing! :-D

Hey Info , No problem. Yeah, the customer is not always right but the customer is always the customer. Hopefully there won't be many situations like this coming your way or anyone elses' way.

Keep well all!