Pino bio photo

Pino

I (infrequently) blog about data science, business intelligence, big data, web technologies and free software.

Twitter LinkedIn

Booking.com is metasearch engine for hotel’s bookings. I’ve been using their service for years and I kept booking with them because I thought they would always be a reasonable mediator if I have a problem with a hotel. I recently found out that I was totally wrong after I decided to book a room using Booking.com in India.

Scams

When we arrived at the hotel it took us almost two hours to do the check-in. Most of this time was spent because they were trying to scam us several times. First they tried to charge on our credit card 10x the amount agreed with Booking.com. I guess they take advantage of customer who don’t know how much Indian rupees are worth. After we stopped them, they tried to charge us 5x the amount arguing that they amount shown in our booking (that clearly stated 5 nights) was only covering the cost for one night. After insisting a lot, we were able to do the check-in and pay only the amount agreed when we booked.

Security

When we returned to the property at night our Indian friend realised that the employees smelled like alcohol and we discovered that they didn’t have proper cards to open the room. They only had cards that could open any room and no other security measure to enter the room. That was the moment when we talked to the family of our friend and we decided to leave the day after for another hotel in the city.

All the other faults

We chose a reasonably priced hotel in the center of the city, advertised by Booking.com as “Great location”. The neighborhood however was terrible. One of the drivers that we hired didn’t even want to pick us up there.

Last but not least, the property had nothing to do with what was advertised in Booking.com:

  • Rooms did not have AC
  • The noise all night long was Terrible
  • There was no cold water
  • There were power cuts in the building when they tried to connect some of the devices to the network.

Booking.com Customer service

The saddest part of the story for me was the reaction of Booking.com. We spent a lot of time with them on the phone, but they avoided giving us any solution because “the property was not answering”. After two weeks, we heard from them. They said that they were not being able to reach out to the property owner and that they were only willing to reimburse us a ridiculous part of the booking. After our reply, they sent us the email that infuriated me the most: it was just a template email talking about the cleanliness of the property and excusing themselves because they only “intermediate”. My last email was sent a few days ago and I’m still waiting for their response.

Conclusion

The property is of course still listed on Booking.com although I hope nobody books after reading my review. It tells a lot about Booking.com the fact that they are listing a property which owner they can’t contact to solve conflicts.

From my side, this was my last booking with Booking.com and I look forward to trying Trivago, Expedia and other metasearch engines.