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Coronavirus: Refunding "Non-Refundable" Reservations

On March 12 the Czech Republic declared a 30 day State of Emergency. Foreigners will not be allowed to enter the country for the duration of this period. This means that all my Booking.com reservations for the next month have or are being cancelled. Booking.com have advised that they "expect me" to refund all guests who have Non-Refundable reservations for this period due to the Forced Circumstances. I thought that reservations booked at the Non-Refundable rate were not to be refunded, regardless of the reason! The advantage for the guest is that they received the discounted rate and the advantage for me being that I have a guaranteed payment. I realize that there is a worldwide pandemic, but why should the onus fall on me to cover the cost of the reservation? Isn't that what travel insurance is for? Since I will not have any income for at least the next 30 days it will create a substantial financial burden on me if I have to refund these reservations. I would much prefer to offer my guests accommodation vouchers to be used within the next 12 months. My question is "What would the consequences be if I am unable to refund Non-Refundable reservations"?


11
BrookAve

 


Hi

Indeed many of us agree and have already been pilling it on BdC on the second link above.

The first link clearly state an EU guest booking EU provided accommodation is subject to the Terms & Conditions of that provider i.e. the Host and not BdC.

So yes refunding a non-refundable rate with a strict 0% refund, is not ok.

 

The next step will be to identify a EU complaint form or process to name and shame BdC and have as many of us as possible sign a petition along with it.

 

Also Yes in my opinion Travel Insurance is very common these days,even banks offer it as a service and or mobile network providers.

 

On the flip side someone else might look at this and think well Host Partners are being very immoral, inhumane, inconsiderate of guests being unable to travel.

It is something worth trashing out , debating to see what the majority think.

 

Kind Regards

1
Apartments3

Hi fellow partners, I am just another partner aggrieved by Booking.com (BDC). With the hit of covid19, the sales in the winter season of 2019-2020 and the current summer season made it really hard coping up with the financial disaster.

I recently checked my reservations reports and BDC has been taking inappropriate commissions for no shows or cancellations, and issuing refunds on our behalf for cancelation of non-refundable reservations by introducing their unilateral policy of covid19 forced circumstance. Refunding to the guest for the non-refundable reservations has been a nightmare for partners like us, who just run the property on a seasonal basis, 4 months in winter, and barely 2 months in summer in the alps of Italy. With the income of these periods, the property has to survive the whole year through the expenses including taxes and chargebacks. I lost over 50K in cancelation due to forced circumstance, and the BDM fraudulent act of charging a commission on those they shouldn't have has led my property to bankruptcy. Force majeure impacts us equally; both the hosts and guests. There is travel insurance for guests, but the effect was imposed solely on the hosts. If not for travel insurance, I think there should have been a reasonable cost-sharing.

I was looking on the web for a joint class action lawsuit taken against BDC. I couldn't find any forum or groups formed for such action. Can anyone please help me find or join such groups of Bdc partners who are looking forward to doing this together? I hope to hear from someone, a fellow-partner with the same class looking forward to the same solution soon. You can email me on ***.

Note: By the way, the second link does not work, as it appears they removed the link altogether.  

Kind regards

1
Blue lake House

Fully agree: Force majeure impacts us equally - hosts and guests. I think we need to be reasonable in sharing the costs. The risk with cancellation of Non-refundable reservations should be with the guest as they reap the benefits/discount if everything works smoothly...Regards Dominika Cechova, Blue Lake House, Czechia

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BW

Hello everyone,

 I agree regarding non refund of non-refundable bookings. Travel insurance is available to purchase if a guest so wishes to do so. If he/she does not purchase it then the onus should not (and I will add - will not) fall to this particular host. This virus is affecting us all and therefore understanding HAS to flow in both directions between guest and host and the moral high-ground can also be taken by the host. We have families to feed and bills to pay and it is irrelevant what size of outfit we run. I have been in one position of multiple calls from Booking.com in relation to one guest last week who wished to cancel free of charge but I politely refused each time and it was apparent that the legal agreement is still in place for non-refundable bookings. It is indeed only an ‘expectation’ by Booking.com and not a reversal of the legal terms and conditions which would really land them in hot water!

I have just received my first threat of ‘shaming’ me on social media by a guest from the USA. Unfortunately for him, I do not, nor ever will, respond well to bully’s and he has gone through an unpleasant but always polite, exercise in discovering this.

ps; I should add that said guest’s booking was for July.

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Daily Rentals …

Just had a call from Booking.com. I have been advised that I must refund a guest for a cancelled Non-Refundable reservation. If I do not refund the guest within 24 hours Booking.com will refund them and charge it to me ... see below email I just received:

Dear partner, As you may be aware, many travellers and Booking.com customers, including ####### (reservation #######), were unable to travel due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although this reservation has a cancellation fee, these circumstances were out of their control. We kindly ask for your cooperation in processing a full refund to the guest within the next 24h. Please confirm the refund in time or we'll proceed to refund the guest and invoice your property. Booking.com will waive the commission for this reservation. If you have any questions, we are here for you. -- #######. Booking.com Customer Service Team

11
BrookAve

quick question:

1. where are you located? city & country, 

2. where is guest located city & country?

3.If the booking was a NR rate plan what is the cancelation policy set to for refund?

 

 

As you are in EU, Booking.com have no business interfering.

It comes under EU consumer law and the guest is not entitled to anything but what your policy says.

 

 

I would reply and tell them that and that they must undo any such action as their are not authorized to do so and it would be illegal.

 

Offer a change of dates only.

 

2
Daily Rentals …

Hey Barry, thanks for getting in contact. I am in Prague, Czech Republic. The guest is from Russia. The cancellation policy reads: The guest will be charged the total price of the reservation if they cancel at any time. Booking are claiming that we are responsible for refunding guests in the event of a Force Majeure, as per our contract with them. Would you have a link to the EU consumer law that I could use to back up my claim?

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Daily Rentals …

Well I received the below message from Booking.com today with regards to a reservation booked at the non-refundable which I was "expected" to refund. Booking.com have refunded the guest due to Forced Circumstances and have issued an invoice to me, which I am now "expected" to pay.

What doesn't seem right about this particular case is that I was communicating with the guest and offered them accommodation credit to be used within the next 12 months, instead of issuing a refund to the guest. The guest appeared to be ready to accept my offer of accommodation credit until Booking.com advised them that they are entitled to a full refund. The guest actually wrote me and said that he no longer needs the accommodation credit now that he has been promised a full refund by Booking.com!

Since we have not received any income for over 2 weeks now and have no idea how long it will be before we are receiving any income this is going to place a severe financial strain on our business. It will be difficult for us just to pay our next Booking.com invoice, let alone refunding guests who had booked non-refundable reservations!

Just doesn't seem right to me ...

Booking.com also advised me today that they will not be honouring Risk Free Reservations due to Forced Circumstances, so we will also be losing out on income for these reservations.

 

Dear #######,

We're contacting you about a follow up to reservation #######, for the guest #######.

We have refunded the guest​ on your behalf​, and an invoice has been issued to your property in the amount of EUR 437.83.

The invoice for the refund is final, and this matter has been fully resolved for the guest.

Kind regards,

Booking.com Customer Service Team

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Robert

I'm in the same situation. A guest asked to cancel before BdC implemented FM in the UK, I was negotiating with the guest regarding a deferral of the booking but then BdC sent a note asking me to refund in full. The customer stopped communicating with me. After several confusing exchanges with BdC, during which I was offered a possible partial refund option, then asked to issue a voucher, I was informed BdC had refunded the guest. 

I am disputing this but I have to decide how much I'm willing to pay in legal fees before it becomes financially silly to keep fighting.