Sync calendars faulty, relocation cost, put host & property in danger

Dear community,

We were new to booking.com (BDC) joined in Nov 2022 and unfortunately, already been a victim of its faulty feature Sync Calendars. We’ve used the feature to sync Airbnb calendars to BDC and on mid-night X-mas eve, BDC opens the calendar up and gets two double bookings in. BDC then invoice us 3 times more than our room prices. 

We only got to know that the feature is being faulty after the incident, a simple google search returns countless complaints about the same problem here in the partner community. None of them have been successfully resolved nor did BDC provide any reasonable response. 

We also saw various complaints where users want to take the complaints up and report to relevant authorities. For one we would much appreciate if anyone could tell us any resolution happened before, for 2nd, I want to mention the below couple of things.

  • BDC offers holiday property listing services to hosts globally and charges host commission on reservations. By definition, we are BDC’s consumers and buying service from BDC. 
  • Not only that BDC did not provide any warning of its feature being faulty (not about whether its real-time, but it's indeed, mal-function), BDC promotes and instructs new hosts to use it instead of manual blocking, as shown on page https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/rates-availability/extranet-calendar/syncing-your-bookingcom-calendar-third-party-calendars 
  • When a double booking happens, BDC invoice hosts on relocation cost and mislead hosts on their consumer right that they must pay for the relocation fee, despite its due to its own system fault. 
  • Many hosts spent countless time to report the problem, but custom service either does not respond, or provides non sense response, e.g., iCal link opens it up automatically. We could have evidence that our bookings from other platforms were made and sync a long time ago, but BDC doesn’t not provide any evidence how iCal opens the calendar up, nor does it answer the inquiry properly. We as end users of their product, without any information of their system internal, won’t be able to know whether or not BDC handles the iCal events properly. The only thing we know is that we’ve done things as instructed by BDC, there wasn’t any change to our reservations, and BDC should take responsibility as they offer the feature and instructed us to use it. 
  • Looking through a number of post, a user keep saying that we should use channel manager, no doubt, that’s a great recommendation and we would be happy to pay for a channel manager if we know that the feature is faulty, but the only thing we could see from BDC is its promotion and statement about what this feature could do, rather than any warning. 

The only response from BDC that I could find around the community is that the feature is offered “as is” and receives little maintenance. I strongly believe consumer law anywhere in the world would not allow this. 

Another thing that we would really like to emphasize to the community, it’s not just about financial loss, but BDC could put us and our property in danger. 

With the double bookings, we contacted BDC right away and they canceled the double booked reservations. By that, we lost the guest contact details right away. We called BDC customer service countless times and requested them to inform guests of the cancellation through phone or sms. They reassure us that they will, and ask us not to worry. 

Unfortunately on the double booked date, angry guests turned up, and we already have guests in the property, what a nightmare. Luckily they are reasonable people, but imagine if they aren’t, BDC is putting hosts, existing guests, and property in danger. 

Hosts are being largely unfairly treated in Booking.com. 

Guests have hosts name, property address, contact details even if a reservation is canceled, but we as hosts will lost guest contact immediately. If they say we still can msg them in the app but that’s a joke, most people don’t look at it until they need to check in, and they might just look at the confirmation email they’ve got upon booking. We as host don’t even have any opportunity to call them up to inform them of the cancellation, unfortunately BDC doesn’t do their job right either, plus, BDC don’t insure anything on property damage. Relying on BDC's customer service to do the job right, is almost impossible.

Honestly, hosting is not at all my primary job/income, and won't care if we don’t list on BDC, I simply feel this is seriously wrong, and I could never imagine BDC as a world class booking platform that can behave that unresponsively.

Anyone who can share their experience and any resolution would be much appreciated. 

We are located in AU and have reported the problem to ACCC, we’ve also done a brief report to ACM in the Netherlands. Anyone in the EU who knows about relevant authorities please point us to. 

Many thanks,