On June 2, 2010 I have made a hotel reservation from booking.com on behalf of a friend of mine who was planning to visit Prague and stay in My Hotel Apollon from June 25 to July 6, 2010.
This reservation was necessary for her visa application before coming to Prague, and the reason that I chose Booking.com was its flexibility in the cancellation process in advance in case the visa in question can not be obtained on time, which can happen quite often in the Czech Embassy in Istanbul.
As you can see from the link: http://www.booking.com/hotel/cz/apollon-prague.html?aid=304142 and the screenshots that I attached, the Hotel Conditions section for My Hotel Apollon clearly states that no fee will be charged on the credit card until the 24 hours prior to the booking start date. Based on this information, I logically assumed that Booking.com would prove a trustworthy site which could be relied upon not to abuse the sensitive credit card information provided. Unfortunately, this proved to be far from the case.
On review, the "small print" of the booking on the second page was understandably missed given the clear assurances to the contrary on the first page of booking. Without noting the small text in the
Conditions column below, I therefore continued with giving my friend's personal data and credit card information, assuming that the transaction would be kept on hold until one day prior to the booking date.
Unlike stated on the website, I was informed by my friend that the equivalent of 423 Euros in Turkish Lira currency was in fact credited from her account by this hotel. On review of the reservation details on Booking.com, I noticed in a separate page that, in blatant contradiction to the flexibility so generously offered on the first page, that cancellation was in this case not a possible option after all and the reservation would be charged anyway.
I am very frustrated by the inconsistency between the information given on this site and the hotel's policy. Now my friend is having problems with getting the visa, and probably she will not be able to come to Prague on the stated dates. This is not only the abusive use of my friend's personal details, but also a big amount of lost money which has been illegitimately drawn from her credit card just because that booking.com didn't show My Hotel Apollon's cancellation policy in a clear and consistent way on their site. I am attaching some proof images, just have a look to avoid falling into this scam. I have contacted both the company and the hotel, asking for a refund to compensate their negligence, but booking.com refused to pay my friend back what they have already taken claiming that this is the policy of the hotel and not that of Booking.com. I am going to share this unfortunate experience with everyone I know until they correct their mistake on their site and refund what they have taken from my friend's credit card.