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Unfairly treated: Refund issued to Guest without consultations or verification

We are a small guest house situated in Goa India. We have been associated with Booking.com for the last 7 years.

On 14th November 2022 we received a booking from a Guest who resides in Greece. A Booking was made earlier by the same guest but despite many requests to make a prepayment she refused and so we had to request for the cancellation of her reservation.

This same guest makes a reservation again. We requested for a prepayment again on the same day by giving her 4 options to pay. We advised her that the quickest and best option would be to use PayPal or Wise since most of our guests use it and we have no problem. The other option was a direct to Bank option and we clearly mentioned it was Time consuming plus 20% deduction of fees and taxes for International guests. You can do a direct BANK TRANSFER* to our bank account stated below via SWIFT/ RTGS / NEFT. Once this payment is received we will immediately mail you a receipt and a confirmation of your reservation.. 

Despite providing her the required information she chose the slow time consuming option of Bank Transfer.

She informed us she made a transfer of 300 euros and sent us a picture of her bank statement which was in Greek. We requested her to send us the SWIFT details as requested earlier so we can trace the payment. We were sent some more data in greek with an IBAN number that does not belong to us and which we brought to her notice. 

 On 21st November we informed her the money sent was not yet credited to our account that she must send us the details requested so we can trace it. On the same date the booking was cancelled.

On 20th November i received a letter from booking.com stating The guest believes they have been overcharged for their stay on 2022-12-30, and have provided a bank statement as proof of the charges. We kindly ask that you review this claim and respond within 24h, issuing a refund to the guest if necessary.

The response was sent informing Booking.com that we require the information from the bank about the transfer in english along with a statement that the amount is not rerouted to the original account due to suspense cause by error. We received no reply

On 28th December we receive another letter with the same content asking us to reply within 24 hours which we did. On 16th January 2023 we received the third letter with the same content. we replied to the same. We also received another letter in our email stating

We have refunded the guest​ on your behalf​, and an invoice has been issued to your property in the amount of INR 26426.97. The invoice for the refund is final, and this matter has been fully resolved for the guest.

This is completely unfair!!!

Our representation and the complaints we made to this effect was not even considered.

1. We are unable to trace this payment as we have no details in english and all we have been provided is a screenshot which could be easily doctored

2. We do not know if this money is re routed to the original sender due to error in details furnished.

3. Booking.com claims they have done some investigation details haven't been shared with us.

4. Booking.com takes the decision to refund the the guest and informs us it is final like what we say is not important.

5. I receive an Invoice from Booking.com with the following advice : D11 - Compensation / complaint charges paid on your behalf with respect to reservation number 3002717996 - complaint : Booking.com Service/Web site (web site mislead ing) (Eleni Sxourxxani) 2022-12-30 / 2023 -01-05 (guests name jumbled for her privacy). Should any partner have the same/ similar problem with the same guest please reply on this thread

I am appalled to experience this kind of treatment from the customer service team at booking.com. I think as a partner we deserve much better treatment. I sincerely hope this is not going to turn out to be a scam of sorts where small guesthouses are forced to make payment to booking.com who makes payments to guest without any consultative process or taking us into confidence.

I will send this letter out to everyone concerned so that it is known to all that such things happen in Booking.com and they are made aware of it. Hopefully someone will take notice and rectify the wrong or i will sadly decide to leave this platform.