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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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S’PORE WOMAN RACKED UP $618 PHONE BILL OVERSEAS AFTER CALLING BOOKING.COM FOR HELP

Facebook user Ng Shei Kee, shared that she went to New Zealand for a holiday and booked a hotel reservation via Booking.com.

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However, upon reaching the hotel, she found out that there was no booking made in her name and ended up trying to find a hotel at the last minute, fearing that she might end up sleeping in the streets.

The hotel was kind enough to provide them with one night of accommodation while they sorted out their accommodation issues.

She added that she eventually managed to find accommodation for the next two days, and alleged that Booking.com had agreed to compensate her for her additional hotel costs.

However, Booking.com allegedly refused to pay her mobile’s international roaming charges of $588 that she racked up while calling for help.

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Here is what she said

Booking.com has really gone to the next level in their horrendous service rendered. We had made a booking for our trip that commended on 30th August 2022 and was due to last for 11 nights. Prior to our check-in date, we have been constantly receiving email reminders from Booking.com on a weekly basis that our trip is near, even up to 1 day before our check in date.

Upon arriving at the hotel, we were then presented with the news that there was no booking in our name that had been made from Booking.com as the hotel had no longer worked with them. Booking.com did not even provide us with that information.

We were dumbfounded by this and had to actually clarify with the assistant once again, along with trying to figure out how on earth we were able to find a hotel at the 13th hour within our allocated budget.

Fortunately, the staff at the hotel was nice enough to provide 1 night of accommodation for us. They left us to our own devices, while they sorted out the issue with booking.com. The hotel then sent an email to us (because it’s near to their knock off time where they are about to end work) explaining that they had contacted Booking.com and also left the contact number for us to call so that they can assist us on our bookings (email correspondence as attached).

This number was located internationally, and we attempted to make contact with them immediately for fear of having to sleep on the streets of New Zealand. Alas, after 2 hours of being placed on hold and pushed around between the different departments, we were then informed that they couldn’t assist us and had instead sought to proceed with a refund.

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While they tried to provide us with different hotel options, many of them were hours away from where we needed to be, or the prices were eye-watering and exorbitant. Throughout the call, we were frequently being placed on hold for long periods of time, and when we suggested that they give us a call back when they have updates to save on the cost, they refused.

In the end, they shared that they could not resolve and clear up the mess they caused and stated that we were on our own… We then frantically tried our best to search for an alternative accommodation or else we were really running the risk of sleeping with the stars over our head in the winter climate of Auckland.
With a stroke of luck after all the bad fortune, we were able to secure a roof over our head for the next 2-3 nights.

Once we settled down, we then went to lodge a complain with booking.com. They had assisted us (albeit taking 4-5 days of their time) to book another hotel and compensated us on the hotel difference. However, they had refused to compensate us on the international call bill that we had incurred to contact them to seek their assistance for the crap that they had put us in.

If the bill was along the lines of SGD 100-200 bucks or maybe even abit more, we would have just swallowed it and moved on and blamed our misfortune to ever choose Booking.com. However, the bill amassed to a staggering and eye-watering SGD 588 (phone bill as attached)!!
When we seeked an explanation from them on this, they lamented that they have already compensated us on the hotel differences and hence they could not process the phone bill which was caused by them messing up the booking at the hotel we booked in the first place.

If booking.com had not dropped the ball on the hotel booking, none of this would have happened, and there was no need to incur any of this added expenses at all.

Imagine spending 10 hours on an airplane, alighting in New Zealand all tired and dazed to have a rude shock that your hotel does not have a room for you because Booking.com had screwed up..

This is one of the worst experiences that a traveller can go through!

And now, Booking.com has made the decision to ignore our email for compensation and to just sweep it under the rug, and literally told us to “Suck it up”.

Maybe SGD 588 does not mean much to this platform, but it is a good chunk of my paycheck for just a phone call.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I am able to seek recourse on this as Booking.com seem to have left me in the lurch..

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Thank you in advance!

Booking.com responds

Booking.com spoke to AsiaOne and said that Ng had contacted a third-party accommodation partner.

They added that they have since reached out to the customer to clarify the situation and apologised for the distress caused to her.

They further added that customers are advised to visit their help centre on the website or through the local numbers on their booking confirmation.

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