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Guest theatens bad review unless they get a refund

Hello,

My question is what can you do if a guest threaten you with a bad review unless you give them a refund?

I note that some refunds are genuine, but then you get some guests who say "I do not like to complain, but" and then come out with a list of complaints after they have left the property. They then say "I want to hold off my review until these complaints have been addressed."

Basically I see this as blackmail. Is there a recourse for hosts? Or is this simply a loop hole that guests have found in the Booking.com system that hosts are vulnerable to.

9 Replies

1
Sonia

Thank you for your reply. This is most encouraging. In this case the exchange was via personal email and a phone call. However we endevour to keep all exchanges via extranet. Therefore I think I might try to go back and look through past exchanges and see if there are any cases to be made. Thank you.

9 months ago
1
Sonia

Hi Joey, sorry but your suggestion was rejected by Booking.com

Dear Partner,

Thank you for working with Booking.com.

Booking.com posts as many guest reviews as possible to make sure that potential customers can get a realistic picture of the property. In our experience, displaying a mix of positive and negative comments adds credibility to your review set; publishing only positive reviews could seem suspicious and discourage customers from booking.

Comments are removed only if they go against our policies, namely:

• Contain profanity, sexually explicit or violent content, hate speech, discrimination, or threats
• Mention full names (first + last names), or include personal attacks relating to named personnel
• Promote illegal activities (e.g. drugs, prostitution)
• Contain content that is exclusively about a competitor and/or Booking.com, with no relation to travel
• Mention websites by name, include emails and/or addresses, phone numbers, credit card details
• Contain politically sensitive content

We understand that you’ve received a review that might be displeasing, but this review simply reflects the guest’s own subjective experience. Remember that reviews older than 24 months will be removed from the system automatically in order to focus on more recent experiences and evaluations.

Please kindly note, however, that the submitted review for both xxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxx does not meet any of the accepted criteria for removal. When a guest has submitted a reply with comments, you have the option to submit a property response to present your side of the story and situation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,

--
E. Su
Booking.com Partner Support Team

8 months ago
1
Sonia

Hi Joey, I just got a better reply from Booking.com

Dear Partner,

Thanks for getting in touch with us about reviews in general. I would have liked to call you, but it was an inappropriate time to do so.

I understand that you are wondering what recourse you have for guests that essentially blackmail you with a negative review to get their way. This is abusive behavior and, if it's not illegal, it's pushing the boundaries.

In such instances, there are two things that can be done. First, you can mark the reservation for guest misconduct for abusive behavior or potentially even illegal activity. If you have proof of the blackmailing, such as a message from the guest stating this or something, we can submit a ticket to get a review like that removed. However, if there is no form of proof to be had, you still have the option to respond to the review provided they left comments to reply to.

If the guest states that they want to withhold their review until complaints are resolved, that's a little trickier as then the question becomes "Do they have valid complaints?" If they do, most of the time they would contact us regarding the issue if they feel they are owed compensation of some sort at which point we would ask for pictures of the issue or some other form of proof before we initiate any sort of complaint.

I hope this information helps. If you have any other questions the Partner Help Center covers many topics, and we’re always here to help.

[Partner Help Center]

Thank you for working with Booking.com.

Best regards,

--
Milton L.
Booking.com Partner Specialist

8 months ago
6
Bandara Hotels…

We also have similar case few time. We always tell them that guest are free to write any review either good or bad on any platform. The person that gonna read those review will know which review is real, which is to personal etc. The new guest can decide by themselves. Also if we received very unreal review and not according to those website regulation, we can contact them to remove those fake review.

8 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey all,

Sonia , sorry to hear that this happened to you but I'm glad you got feedback from Booking.com . Thanks for sharing, we really appreciate it. All for one and one for all (yes, yes I did make a Three Musketeers reference just there because we can really lean on each other for advise on the forum.)

Bandara Hotels & Resorts , well said. I would probably answer the same. We have terms and conditions and if the rules don't allow for a refund then no refund can be given. Should they want to write a negative review, like you said, it's their choice and the people reading it will know what happened there without me saying anything.

Joey , thanks for assisting, as always.

8 months ago
5
monet208

Its is 99.99% certain you will have no proof of the guests so BOOKING.COM WILL NOT HELP YOU- not many of us can afford 24 hour recorded CTV

As the booking.com person says above -( PRETENDING TO HELP) tough luck and you are on your own .. ooh - do put your comment on the negative review

Putting your comments on a negative review is ok BUT THE REVIEW IS THERE FOR FUTURE GUESTS TO SEE AND IT WILL LOSE YOU BOOKINGS !

They also say a mix of POSITIVE and NEGATIVE reviews is good for you because if you only get positive reviews it will make guests suspicious

I showed this comment to our Visit England Inspector and she asked "which brain dead person wrote that ?" - say no more

8 months ago
3
Corinne Orde

In some ways, it's much better to get blatant lies than unpalatable truths. With the lies, at least you can politely shoot them down in flames in your replies. I love replying to negative comments. A calm and well-considered response that states the facts and corrects any misapprehensions and untruths will work wonders to enhance your own credibility and discredit your attacker. "Wow," a potential booker will think. "This host sounds much more credible and honest than the stupid oik who wrote the bad review. I'd really like to meet this host". If you're clever with words and content there is a lot of information you can impart implicitly to potential bookers in your replies to any kind of review, good ones as well as bad ones.

8 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Corinne, thank you so much for writing so meaningful post. I was hoping that one day I will hear that. I also would like to bring to attention of all the host to read the post of Corinne and make some conclusions.

At the end of the day... Well, Joey, the score matters in search. As secondary, how about the Number of the reviews? Anyway, what you are saying the reality and the truth. We are just trying to make something better...

8 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey all,

Haha Joey I'm glad you are exercising your breathing :-P

You're right. It does have an impact on your score/rating and it is actually quite a large problem. I only have the Come whay may mentality if the guest has written a "bad" review but rated it above 7.5. Getting a 2.5 will see me breathing fire and brimstone accross the seas all the way to Amsterdam! Especially if it's a dishonest review.

Corinne Orde - super agree with you. Calm responses will not deter future guests.

I think Booking.com can create a failsafe for us, that instead of them Removing the review (because they don't want to), they can remove it from the big average of the rating. As if it doesn't count. That would be a good compromise that I would be happy with.

I think I now need to go and do some breathing exercises...

8 months ago