Me and my friend reserved 3 rooms for 5 people in Center Hotel - Tallinn / Estonia from 7 August 2013 to 11 August 2013 through Booking.com on 28 May 2013. We are all engineers with different branches of electromagnetics and pursuing for our PhD's, therefore we need to travel a lot for conferences and meetings. Until now we have been using booking.com and the following unfortunate events happened.
My friend used her booking.com account, but I gave my credit card information for the booking. It was a 'Non-Refundable' reservation and we knew my card would be charged. I checked my bank account for the first week and we assumed the hotel would charge it some time later. But on 2 August 2013, my friend received an e-mail about cancellation of our reservation in this Hotel. We tried to renew the reservation but the hotel was full. So we had to book different hotels each of us, as there were hardly any hotel available in the price and comfort range we desired. As the owner of the card I suspected there was a problem about my card and I called Booking.com help line from +44 20 3320 2641 (in Turkish, As nearly all of us are from Turkey) and I talked to a Miss named Özkan on 2 August 2013 around 14:55, first. She told me that she understood my problem (as I was more worried about the extra money my friends would have to pay because of me, that time) and she took 'note' and they would inform the hotel about this matter, talk to her supervisor and call me back to solve the issue, She took my cell-phone number and we hanged up. About 6 hours later I recalled the number and this time I talked to one Mister Serdar and he told me that there was no 'red' error (which means my card was denied) or 'insufficient funds' (I had enough limit, clearly). He only told me that the hotel gave a response of 'invalid card' and that time no authority in this hotel could be reached. Serdar told me i would have a phone call to my number. I was relieved it was not due to my card or its bank, but still we had to reserve places and they were more expensive. I waited, meanwhile my friend sent me a message from booking.com C.S team member Arif Altun
"We asked the Center Hotel about the reservation which has been cancelled due to Invalid Credit Card. Eli from
reception told me that they cannot activate the reservation and you have to make a new booking."
I wasn't called or informed in any way including e-mail or phone and yesterday evening (3 August 2013) I couldn't help it and I called them for the third time. This time I reached Miss Başak from the CS number of booking.com and she told me that they looked it up and on 29 May 2013, the hotel supposedly tried my card and it was rejected. After this the hotel informed the mail address(My friend's e-mail, not mine) through booking.com. I asked this to my friend and she said she never seen such message not in her inbox nor in her spam. I called my bank and learned that there was no declined transactions (as they can see declined transactions and trials to withdraw money from my accounts).
Now I feel disappointed as booking.com was a travel provider who seemed solid and clear about its business. I have been using booking.com for 3 years, but they clearly do not care about their clients due to the floating responses of their CS squad. I am thinking of making a complaint about them to Consumers Consultative Committee of both Turkey and UK as I was aggrieved by this situation and my friends and I had to look for other hotels, our time was wasted and we booked more expensive hotel rooms now.
Sorry for the long complaint form, But this all happened.
Can Suer B.Sc., R.A.
ITU Electromagnetic Research Group