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False Resevations and Cancellations

Unsure if this is the place for this, but over the past 2 years we have received MANY reservations and then cancellations.  This would be normal under any circumstance other than the fact that they are getting ridiculous.  They are mostly for longer stays or multiple rooms.  The last one was for a woman for 2 rooms, her phone number was from Germany, Booking.com even said she was coming from Germany.  Her address was from Iowa, USA and her credit card number and expiration date (MC, 01/2032) were horribly false.  We were unable to reach her via email when the cancellation came through 3 days later and were unable to.  How can Booking.com pass on a viable booking and confirm it with the guests if the  hotel can't?  We have received WAY to many of these bogus reservations  Our reservation policy is that we require 2 weeks notice of cancellation or we charge 50% or 1 nights stay whichever is greater.  We couldn't charge due to the false credit card, Booking.com was notified and we have still not heard anything back (2 days later)  Someone is dropping the ball OR someone is trying to boost up their numbers for advertising.  Anyone else having these problems?

28 Replies

2
Nassine

I have similar situation happened to me , looking for advice On how to recognize real booking. I can't deal with fake bookings , waste of time and potential customers.

1 year ago
1
Saldanha7395

We have had many of those to. What Hubby and I have decided is that should the guest wish to stay with us on short term or long term to request for a deposit within 48 hours of the booking or cancel the booking after the 48 hours deadline. With all the other websites where you can book accommodation you have to pay when you book. Why is booking.com different?

1 year ago
1
Farhankhan23

Agreed we have the same situation and BOOKING.com is not very cooperative in this regards. They never go out of their way to assist their real partner US not the customers. We need BC as much as they need us and in my country PAKISTAN i am not even allowed to ask for prepayment to confirm the booking. There are a lot of wrong people on the net as well who abuse our booking policy from BC. hope BC will lookinto this sincerely and seriously

1 year ago
1
Saldanha7395

Hi Joey, we had to wait almost a year before we could requests for deposits and receive payments. Booking.com never collected on our behalf. We had many cancellations and no shows. You lucky that you have booking.com collecting your funds, less stress for you. If you new they first want you to go through an "assessment period" or "waiting period" if you can call it that, see if your property has any complaints from guest etc. Your Policies will change once booking.com has given you the final approval, which there consultants don't explain when you sign on. Then only can you requests for deposits in 48hrs, cancellation will not be for free. We have had many of those bookings, clients booking in advance and long term. Close off your accommodation only open your accommodation three or four months in advance. Lilly and Salie

1 year ago
1
Limiteddi

Hello everyone.

My post may be lengthy but i encourage everyone to read through as I will be explaining potentially why you are getting fake booking and how to eliminate them. I own and manage a number of properties all in one city. They all are in different class, price and location. I live in the other continent and proactively manage my properties.

For the past few years i've worked as IT analyst and have managed a number of projects including Fraud detection and Prevention systems. Besides considering booking.com as a channel for leads and sales for my properties I also treat it like a SYSTEM, a piece of technology per se.

I too deal with constant fake bookings and no shows but I made a bit of progress in eliminating bookings that are not legit by a large percentage.

Here are my observations and causes of fake bookings: Types:

1) Unhealthy competition. Owner/s of properties hire people that sit and book apartments that are either in the same area or somehow create competition to their properties. These bookings most of the time are for weekends or if your weekends are booked the reservations are for days leading towards the weekend (Wed-Fri)

2) Credit Card Fraud(carding) - Advanced. Individuals purchase stolen credit card information online and need a way to check the card. By booking your apartment(applies only to those that ask for credit card info) the individuals wait until you preauthorize the card and act upon it if its not working or the information they purchased is wrong.

3) Credit Card Fraud(carding) - Rookie. A person books your property with hope the booking process will ask for credit card information. The individuals are new and do not know that the property with no credit card required has a sign next to it ("no credit card required"). Credit card fraud is global and very often individuals buying/selling credit cards speak little or no english

Keep in mind that only in case of 2) will a person most likely have a valid email address and valid phone number to compact through. Please do not be surprised, there are online fraud services that offer phone services such as "Phone-in","Phone-out" and Instant Messaging service such as Viber - in other words these guys act like they are the owners of the credit card info.

Enough about technical stuff, let me show you show real world case scenarios i've been through over the last 2-3 weeks but before I go into that it is important I explain basic checks I conduct for every booking.

1. Check name vs location. For example a visitor from Poland will most likely never have an Indian or African name. I am well aware of most european countries, nationalities residing within those countries and possible names the nationals may carry. Not everyone will know this but this an item that adds a fraud point to my checklist.

2. Check address on google maps. Some bookings have bogus addresses, most of them are type 1) explained above

3. Add phone to Viber/What's app and send a confirmation message. A valid booking will ALWAYS return with a message and confirmation of arrival etc. This step 90% distinguishes fake from legit, the remaining 10% belong to type 2) fake bookings.

4. Preauthorize $1 on properties that need credit card(I use STRIPE)

Now to the scenario.

Booking 1(fake booking, belongs to type 2 above).
Someone books one of the properties(credit card required) for 14 days(red flag!). I conduct all my basic checks but there are 2 red flags: I have never had a visitor from India and the booking is for more than 7 days. All checks are passed except check #4. I right away click on "Mark credit card as invalid" which gives the client 24 to come back with new credit. As you probably guesses, that never happened to I got rid of the fake booking in 24h

Booking 2(fake booking, belongs to either type 1) or 2))

Someone books one of the properties(no credit card needed) for a weekend. Basic checks conducted. Pre-auth is NOT applicable and WhatsApp message has been sitting unanswered for 48h. I then send a note to client over Extranet that the booking is canceled due to no communication/confirmation. Here is a messy part: you can not cancel the booking on your own, you can only request cancelation of booking and a client needs to approve your request in order for booking to be canceled. Since this won't happen I simply do +1 on availability for those days opening up the booking days. IMPORTANT: once you received a booking for those dates you have 2 bookings: 1 fake and 1 legit. You will report NO SHOW shortly after midnight for fake booking but you quickly need to set available rooms back to 0 since cancelation of NO SHOW will result in +1 to your room's availability. I did have legit double bookings because i took longer then needed to set availability to 0 and had to refuse to one client.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND that these are my observations and processes that help me with fake bookings. It may not necessarily work or apply to you but I hope you can somehow benefit from my findings.

You are probably thinking that this is too much work but believe me that once you get the hang of it this is done systematically and will not take much of an effort to do. It get's a bit complicated with multiple rooms or if you have a lot of properties but so far booking.com failed to protect me and you from these fake bookings.

I've noticed that booking.com has rolled out a policy option to have phone number verified, accept bookings from clients with at least 1 booking etc but this hasn't helped me much.

I wish we as the partners and consumer of booking.com services had an ability to collectively influence the speed of enhancements to booking processes to eliminate fake bookings.

Good luck!

1 year ago
2
Nassine

Long but good advises, I'm new to this with 1 property , keeping notes on future bookings. Thanks for your time @ Limiteddy. 🙏

1 year ago
1
Frederickhouse

There many bookings done to get a visa. Once it's done it's cancellation or no show. The only way to protect yourself to pre-authorise card week before. There no point to do it earlier as pre-authorisation will expired. At least you will win a time to resale rooms. It's work for us but unfortunately we cannot stop cancellations but get protected from no show.

1 year ago
1
Svetlanasemeniuk

Same lots of no-shows or cancelled bookings, really makes me feel annoyed already/ We have only 1 apartment in booking com now and it gets ridiculous. Why they can't just use the same system as Airbnb has?? I don't want to buy this credit card pay machine ( especially after as I read here there are also some frauds with it), and also because why bother buying it for 1 apartment.

I don't really know what to do, as soon as I asked some guests for pre-payment on bank account/paypal some of them just cancelled bookings and I don't understand why people don't want to make payments in advance.

1 year ago
1
Qldrooms

Thanks.I only just joined and have asked my account closed after first booking.Don't need the hassle.Either booking take all the payments or otherwise not interested.With other wbsites we have no problems with cancellations or fraud.

1 year ago
1
Saldanha7395

Hubby and I are also thinking in closing our account with Booking.com, if booking.com does not change there policies and collect the money on behalf of the establishments. If other international companies, like airbnb, lekker slaap etc, then surely booking.com can.

This is the only way that they can eliminate bogus bookings and stop wasting Owners time.

1 year ago
1
Paul

Exactly. Lately, I've seen fake reservations with hispanic names, U.S. address and german phone number and credit card info according to binlist. And they're doing it during the weekend when we're sold out.

Yesterday, I had two fake reservations from Booking.com, one was automatically reported because of the fake credit card number so I could cancel the reservation 24 hours later, but the second one was not caught by their system and it resulted in a no show.

Seriously, these reservations must be made through an automated system. They could just add a reCAPTCHA and be done with it.

The simple answer is that they don't want to act because they don't lose anything when there's a no show. And just in case 1 out of 20 reservations flagged as a fake shows up, they get their commission!

1 year ago
1
Smcintosh

I have had 6 reservations that were fake and no shows in the past 10 days. All have been from other countries than US, and have questionable or false credit card info. Since BC does not collect enough information on the card holder (zip and CVV), and they do not handle US based pre payments, we are stuck with rooms that are unavailable to the real guests. BC says this is not the case with other clients, but these posts show a different picture. I don't have this with other booking companies. I hate to leave BC because I've had some great guests through them.

1 year ago
1
Aromaclassickullu

We are small property. We have prepayment policy, but don't take credit card details at the time of booking. After getting booking we contact the guest through message, telephone, give a deadline for prepayment. Many persons make fake/mischievous bookings or are un-interested.

At last, we request for cancellation to Booking.com on Pulse. Send reminders through their message service. But Booking.com many a times just gives do's and don'ts in their reply. The bookings are not cancelled by the Booking.com for many many days.

Wastage of time and great hassle for the hotelier. Why they don't make the cancellation process easier for the hotelier.

1 year ago
7
fluff

I would prefer BDC to adopt one of their sister companies payment booking/payment methods.

Pre-payment is the way to go, then your cancellation policies actually work! Although BDC do sort-of offer this, the payment to us partners is only via virtual card payment. Due to a quirky banking law here, we are too small to qualify for an off-line EDC. Therefore, we had to opt out BDC's pre-payment facility.

Why can't they use a physical card like their sister company does? We could then make ALL offers as pre-payment only. Less cancellations and dodgy card proof!

1 year ago
1
Andrew

this kind of action is impacted to our room allotment and lose chance /revenue . Especially small hotel.

may be jealous character from neighbor. in solving the problem we have action fast by call and email them and ask for deposit us within the limit time. otherwise cancellation will be made. That's it.

1 year ago
1
Gerritk

Since January 2018, our guesthouse had experienced five suspicious bookings that were cancelled. These bookings all had the following in common: All made by Ghanaian nationals, made for 30 days and none of them responded to any email correspondence after the initial booking. We had to request cancellation. Here are the names of the people who made these (bogus) reservations 1. *********, 2. ***********, 3. ************* 4. ***********, 5. ************. I have three questions about this.

  1. Do other institutions experience similar trends?

  2. Can I block certain nationals to make reservations?

  3. Are these suspicious activities i.e. non-human (“BOT”) transactions that Booking.com could eliminate?

Gerrit

Whispering Trees

Johannesburg

1 year ago
1
Smcintosh

I just got my 10th reservation (from outside the US- China, Australia, Germany) that will probably be another "no show".for the month of May. If the address is not complete, the phone number is wrong and there is incomplete credit card information, how is the booking client verified as real? If it is a real person, why don't they respond to the emails, saying they did not make the reservation. BC did check on some of the above mentioned 10, saying they were real clients. I will cancel my BC registration with this last false reservation.

1 year ago
1
Gayleeade

Yesterday received yet another bogus booking. Being a last minute booking and I was on other side of town, came back early and had room ready. Once booking sheet printed out I noticed address in Germany and Berlin had been typed in three times. Alarm bells and of course it was a no show. Very very annoying, when you turn heating on, have milk etc in room all ready. These bookings are becoming very tedious, cant see the sense in anyone wasting time making these bogus bookings, we are a small operation and do not have credit card facilities, so makes no sense to me. Only thing I can see is that it is a competitor of B.Com. i have had more bogus bookings in last month than legitimate ones. Soooo frustrating.

11 months ago
1
Patricia

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences regarding false reservations and cancellations.

Even though I have been on Booking.com for over 3 years, I just joined the Partner Forum. I thought I would check out any information on bogus reservations and/or cancellations, because I seem to be experiencing them a lot more lately!

REALLY NOT impressed with how BCD handles these situations, or should I say doesn't handle them!

I had a reservation last night, that I was suspicious of. When receiving the booking, I sent my usual Welcome letter and Policies & Procedures document. No response. Checked the address, which was suspicious, then sent a text message to the phone number provided. Again no response, and big surprise, they were a no show!

I also received a reservation tonight for next week. Checked the address, which was false, so decided to call the phone number provided, which upon calling, got the message that this number is no longer in service. Sent all this information to BCD and this is their response.

Dear Partner,

Thank you for contacting us about reservation .. . . . . . . . for . . . . . . . . . As you are unable to process the credit card details, you now have the option to mark the credit card as invalid.

You can do this in the Extranet:

  • Open Reservations and locate reservation . . . . . . . . . . .
  • Click ‘More details’
  • Under the heading ‘Update reservation’, click ‘Mark credit card as invalid’
  • Click ‘Yes, mark credit card as invalid’
  • Fill in credit card number, expiration date, and the card holder’s name
  • Select reason you are reporting card as invalid from the drop-down menu

The guest will then be asked to accept the cancellation or update their payment information.

Kind regards,
Booking.com Customer Service Team

My response:

That is all well and good, if there was a credit card number entered, but because I only take cash at the moment, there is no credit card to mark as invalid! Please just cancel this booking. You will be unable to contact this person, because the contact information is fraudulent!!!!!!!!

I'm very frustrated with this whole thing!!! Doesn't BCD realize or care that this costs me and them time and money!!!

11 months ago
1
Patricia

Oh, and I have been working on another bogus booking from Iran. 'They' have reserved both rooms for 8 days in September. Sent BCD a request to cancel, but no response yet.

Had another one like this from Africa for 20 days, which I knew was bogus and again had a majorly frustrating time, trying to get this reservation cancelled.

11 months ago
2
Nassine

Just a thought, maybe big hotels are behind all this , trying to discourage small businesses to continue with Booking.com! Since I made my place harder on Resvesations , I no longer have any bookings,no business at all. I’m patiently waiting for a serious change from the company. AIRBNB is actually a better organized Chanel.

11 months ago
1
Kokomoinn

All was great until recently. Since October we have been receiving numerous, one 1week to 4 week long bookings with Names in CAPS from places like Algeria. It is November 2018 at time of writing to this thread and we have fake bookings until end 2019. I have been sending the suspected Bogus fraudulent bookings reservation numbers to Booking.com to verify and cancel but very little is done. I see 1 or two of them get cancelled but the majority do not get removed. As I get new ones, I forward them to Booking.com, but they are coming in faster than I can deal with the real business calls and bookings over the phone. We cant manually fight back by cancelling a single reservation at a time when automation is FILLING our calendars across all months, daily. I changed my cancellation policy to make is stricter. We used to have a no fee cancellation policy which worked great for us, until these automated fraudulent bookings started.

Booking.com has to implement a safety to ensure a real person is behind the booking and is truly reachable via booking.com. We need to be able to review our guests too, the way they do on Airbnb.com.

HELP US BOOKING.COM. YOUR PARTNERS ARE YOUR SOURCE OF INCOME.

6 months ago
1
Debby Besseling

Dear all,

We have been in business with BDC for three years now and actually until recently all went well. Since the beginning of this year we have received bookings from Iraq and Algeria.

Our B&B attracts most people from the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. So I wondered where these came from. But I am always trustworthy. Could well be that people come over for holiday of family. We received a reservation for 5 nights from Indonesia, all was ready, fridge full with food, room ready and we waited and waited....a no show. Well that can happen. No response from guests at all.

Than a reservation from Iraq for 7 nights. We have send multiple messages, no response. So customer service made a phonecall three days upon arrival. Very sorry but visum was refused. He was not able to come.

Yesterday I received another booking from Algeria for 7 nights. Phone number incorrect and also half the details of an address. Customer services opted to send the guests a message.

I received a message that they will arrive between 7 and 10. I replied asking for full details and a downpayment of 30%. No reaction.....

All of these reservations were genius mebers.

I came to understand that BCD cannot cancel the reservation and that the guests have to do that....so if the don't and do no show up, we just lose the entire week. I am actually a bit puzzled of how to handle this now.

We did ask BDC to handle our payments from now on, perhaps this might work better.

I must say that the people of Customer Service here in the Netherlands are very friendly and helpful. Any ideas or other experience here at the forum? Like to hear them from you

4 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

Yes, super frustrating these false bookings. Did you see Limiteddy's comment of 9 months ago?

This could be helpful advice.

Whatever the situation, keep asking for help (which you did) so B.C gets a clear picture of what is happening and they will try to tackle it since they want to be on the ball and be the number one channel. After all these false bookings everywhere B.C will try to do anything to solve it on a global base.

I also work with a Channel Manager and they also have good advice.

4 months ago
1
Roger

Massive frustration with fake bookings. I`m new here. I am now calling the number provided as soon as the booking comes in. If it is a fake number I send them a mail saying that we cannot accept the booking until they provide a valid number and a check in time. I have no way of knowing if this gets to them but at least my efforts are documented. I am not waiting in for 4 hours any more for fakes.

No such issues with other channels.

B.c should allow us to cancel with a note to re-book with correct data.

2 months ago
1
Gerritk

Dear Roger,

Choose the option where Booking.Com collect payments for you. Then fake bookings stop.

People who do fake bookings need proof of accommodation in order to apply for a VISA. I suspect that travel agents help them with the bookings. All the fake bookings I received were typed in capital letters using the full names as they typically appear on a Passport. When Booking.com collect, the reservation will require credit card details. That will stop this malpractice.

1 month ago
1
Silvaper11

I have experienced these frustrating fake bookings as well, especially from China. Imagine, it takes 2.5 days to fly from China to Uruguay for a booking of one night!! Phone number and address invalid, messages not answered, not able to cancel reservations on my part, what to do??. The only automatic response I obtained from BK was to request a credit card number. Why bother if they won't check for its validity?

As all of you, I don't know what to do except to make pressure through collective action. Maybe through this forum we should come up with ideas about what to do in case this happens and BK does not protect us, e.g.:

1. Ask BK to take on some responsibility for these fake bookings that arise from their not checking guests' identity and reservation data. They could either pay us for this or discount us some amount in future bookings. Somehow we need a refund on rooms that we did not sell due to 'fake occupants' 'verified' by Booking.

What do you think?

1 month ago
7
pibomarco

Some guests book while on the road.
To avoid "fake" bookings, no-shows, is setting your policies more strict.
Activate "Payments by Booking.com" (if available in your country).
Get yourself a POS terminal, or an online service that can charge credit cards, take prepayments ect..

You can protect yourself.

1 month ago