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HostelWorld Travel Network - / fraudulent online hostel booking

1 United States Review updated:

Dear Editor,

I decided to write you adding my experience because I want complain about fraudulent online hostel booking but I'm a tourist (italian scientist researcher) and I don't know very well the best way to do it in USA.

I booked online a hostel in New York last July (I have the receipt you can read below) but when my plane arrived in NY (during the evening) I phoned to the hostel and they simply told me than there aren't rooms! I didn't find any other rooms that night (was a Saturday night in very high season period)except very expensive hotels so I decided to sleep in my car with my husband and my son but it was not a great experience and it could has been dangerous!

I hope you can help me and send this letter to competent organizations.

Thank you very much
Dr. Milena Merlo Pich

From :
To :
Cc :
Date : Wed, 25 Jul 2007 10:29:02 +0100
Subject : Your Confirmed Booking from

Booking Confirmation [protected])

Confirmed for Milena Merlo Pich at 09:29:01 25th Jul '07

Hostel Info
Greenpoint YMCA
99 Meserole Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222
New York

p. +[protected]
f. +[protected]
Booking Info
Date Room Type USD Persons Total EUR
28th Jul '07 2 Bed, Private Room (Shared Bathroom) 34.00 2 68.00 51.17
28th Jul '07 2 Bed, Private Room (Shared Bathroom) 34.00 2 68.00 51.17
29th Jul '07 2 Bed, Private Room (Shared Bathroom) 34.00 2 68.00 51.17
29th Jul '07 2 Bed, Private Room (Shared Bathroom) 34.00 2 68.00 51.17
TOTAL: 272.00 204.66
Deposit: 27.20 20.47
Service Charge: 2.00 1.50
Cancellation Protection: 3.00 3.00
Charge on Card (Service Charge + Deposit): - 24.22
244.80 -

NOTE: A non-refundable charge of EUR24.22 has been billed to your credit card.

Upon arrival at your accommodation the BALANCE OF USD 244.80 IS PAYABLE. You are due to arrive here at 21.00. For your convenience, we have stored your booking in [1]your account
in the new Hostelworld Travel Network
You have purchased Cancellation Protection for this booking.
If you wish to cancel this booking, do so through [2]your account.
Your account with then be credited with the value of the cancellation.
To download your New York City Guide, [3]click here.
This is an automatic email please do not reply to this email.
Contact hostelworld about your booking [4]here!

From La Guardia or JFK International Airport, take the New York Airport Service bus to 42nd Street & Times Square. Take the underground metro to 14th Street then transfer to the L train to Lorner Street. Transfer at Lormer St. to the Queens bound G train, one stop to Nassau St. Go upstairs and walk to Meserole Avenue. CONDITIONS

* The outstanding amount is payable to the property directly upon your arrival.
* Cancellations must be notified directly to the accommodation provider at least 24 hours prior to arrival
* In the event of a no show, your card will be charged for the first nights accomodation total.
* For any changes to an existing reservation, please contact the accommodation provider directly
* Should your credit card expire or your credit card details change prior to arrival, please contact the accommodation provider directly with the amended details
* In the event of cancellation, the booking deposit and booking fee are non-refundable.
* Please read our [5]Terms & Conditions
* If you have a question, please see our [6]FAQ.

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  • Ca
      21st of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    To whom it may concern:

    We had problems with hostel world as well. Planning our recent trip to Paris we were charged a 10% fee from hostel world when we changed our hotel plans a full month in advance of our stay. A fee for changing plans so far ahead of time is absurd.

    Carol Allen

  • Ok
      23rd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Worse than Carol Allen : We booked an apartment that was actually not available. The owner wrote us the next day after our reservation and apologized for his error. But HostleWorld did not refund us !
    This means when you book with HostelWorld you pay but you cannot be sure you will get the room !

  • Ic
      16th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    You can not get your refund even if you have cancel protection. You get only hostelworld credit added to your account that you can use only in 6 months and you can only use it for your deposit payments. There is not any way to get your money back. I paid and I can not get my money back. I think I won't travel within 6 monts and my money is wasted.

  • Ze
      15th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    Try booking with HostelBookers, their deposit protection gives you a refund and they're generally much cheaper because they don't have a service charge :)

  • Vi
      16th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I had a worst experience related to hostelworld as well. We booked a hotel in malta for 8 peoples for two nights. We paid hostelworld 10%payment and service charge as well. But when we arrived there, there were no rooms reserved for us. The hotel told us that they have canceled the contract with hostelworld and they are not responsible for any thing. That night after roaming around for 2hours, we found another hotel.

    But the money we paid isnot refunded yet by hostelworld. shame on such a large organization.

  • Sp
      11th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I also had a very bad experience with hostelworld. I serched a cheap place with a PRIVATE bathroom in Stockholm and hostelworld gave me the name "Best hostel city". After the booking was made, appeared on the screen that the bathroom was SHARED. I contacted the hostel, wich made the booking cancelation but told that for the refunding issue I had to contact Hostelworld. I then sent an email to Hostelworld, in 23rd (!!!) of April and until today get no reply. I even sent a second email but also no reply.

    A few days ago I saw a tread in Thorntree Lonelly Planet Forum, and notest a reply from Hostelworld. I sent immediately a private message but again, until today, I got zero replyes. Here is the message i´ve sent:

    I sent an email, in 23rd April, to asking for a refunding (40, 99 eur) due to a bad information of the "Best Hostel City", in Stockholm and until today i get no reply...
    I´ve contacted the hostel to cancel the booking and ask the refund and they told me to get in touch with Hostelworld to get the refunding. The booking reference is xxxxx-xxxxxxxx. I can´t log on as a client because i have no password. I made the booking trough hostelworld but never get a password.
    Before i make a post in the forum complaninig about this i´ve decided to send you a private message.
    Can you solve this?

    Best Regards
    Simão Marques"

    It´s indeed very sad what happened and I must aware all the travellers to NOT USE HOSTELWORLD for booking.

  • Ho
      21st of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    Hostelworld has lot of fake reviews especially in Budapest

  • Bu
      8th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    In Budapest the same cheating on with the reviews

  • Ia
      7th of Sep, 2010
    0 Votes

    I made a booking for a double room in a hostel in Sighisoara (Hostel Gia). I received confirmation from, but on arrival the hostel was full. To make it worse they tried to make us stay in a small room in the countryside!

    I have twice left a message with, but have yet to get a response explaining how I can be compensated or appoligising for this massive inconvenience. They have ignored my attempt to contact them, so can someone please let me know how they managed to do it?


  • Al
      3rd of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    worst experience ever. Planned a stay in Edinburgh for New Year's Eve and when we arrived the hostel had been closed for 4 months. We had to sleep inside the airport, we didn't get the chance to see the street celebrations or anything. Next day we got back. And nobody is answering the darn emergency number.

  • Ex
      20th of Jun, 2012
    0 Votes is a total ripoff racket. Even if the hostel makes a mistake, they will only CREDIT you the deposit toward a future reservation. The "deposit" is just a commission for the website and you are the one to cancel- well, kiss your money goodbye. Book directly with the properties or use a reputable site. I have no idea how they have been popular for this long. Their customer service is pathetic and they barely speak English.

  • Cc
      27th of Aug, 2012
    0 Votes

    Well, I'd better have read all this before ... I have booked with Hostelworld via Lonelyplanet first in 2010, than again directly in 2011 ... with no problems. This year I booked at a total value of around 780 EUR several nights for several people. Unfortunately we changed itinerary ... and I had to cancel bookings. First cancellation was o.k. and, well I guess you have to live with the deposit/cancellation protection/credit thing. So my credit went to 58 EUR ... now I needed to cancel the next hotel ... and could not log in!!! Assuming I made a mistake with my password, I requested a new one ... and when I logged back in, my 2012 bookings were gone and so was my credit! I contacted customer service - and got the reply just to log in and check my bookings ... the complaint was, they were gone!!! Now I am trying to reach them by phone in vain, I wrote Emails, that were not answered ...
    Mind you there are sites like HRS, Expedia, ... that do not charge the 10% ... have cancellation policies, that are more customer friendly ... plus do remember one's bookings. if ever I find a place to stay where I want to go on these sites, I will ... and moreover the reviews on trip advisor seem more reliable too!

  • Ch
      22nd of Oct, 2012
    0 Votes

    I booked a property in Puerto Rico with Hostelworld. As the hostelowners asked by e-mail I called them when I was close to the hostel. They did not pick up and left a voicemail. Long story short: I was at the hostel - which was deserted - and called them several times but no one was there. I wasted time and gas and risked my safety - I was alone in the woods as a young female.

    The hostel already had some negative reviews about there not being electricity and the neighbor said there had been more problems yet Hostelworld did not take the property off the website and does not reply to my complaints (of course I want my deposit back). Even worse: they deleted my negative review! How are people supposed to form an honest opinion about a property?! Yes, I did not stay there, but that was not my fault and I did show up! I will definitely not use Hostelworld again.

  • Su
      7th of Nov, 2013
    0 Votes

    I had a horrible experience with hosteworld site. I did not get any confirmation page with booking reference numbers while booking rooms in balmers hotel (interlaken) through the site and neither did i get an email of the two bookings (715-78019557 and 715-78019484) done using my credit card .
    The lady at the reception brought to my notice that multiple bookings were done in my name and told me that the credit card has also been charged 385CHF (around 350 Euros) without my notice by hostelworld.
    The amount has been deducted from my thomas cook credit card 5231-6600-****-0130.

    Without a confirmation email i was not made aware of the bookings done and was not able to cancel the booking also.

    After countless calls and mails and everything still no refund has been done. It has been almost 2 months now and it seems to me now that these ### have taken my money and run away.


  • Sr
      16th of Jun, 2014
    0 Votes

    Hostelworld is a scam. They claim to have no booking fees. They say this in bold letters right on top of their page. But the down payment made for any hostel reservation goes to the website and not to the property. I contacted them about this and they declare it's a commission and not a fee. Below is their email response.

    Hostelworld Contact Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM
    Hi there,
    thanks for your email
    That is the commission for being listed in our website.
    It is the 12% of the total amount.

    Kind regards
    Alvaro Iglesias

    Customer Service Executive

    Any payment received by the website IS a fee, whether they decide to call it a commission, a down payment or a deposit. Merely calling it a different name does not change what it truly is.

  • Mr
      24th of Aug, 2014
    0 Votes

    After booking a hotel through, They said the balance of 112.50 euros to be paid on arrival which we duly paid. ( The hotel said 100 euros which our son paid with his card. ) Then 5 days later they took the 112.50 balance from my account. Hostelworld confirmed to me this should not have come out & i would get a 100 euro refund which i myself had to arrange through " " who agreed. Hostelworld said it takes around 10 days. 2 months later, still no refund & both companies are now ignoring my emails completely.Neither company appears to be an ABTA member, Nice glossy web site, But don, t be fooled, book elsewhere.

  • Ra
      24th of Oct, 2014
    0 Votes

    I made a reservation for a superior twin private ensuite at Veeniola Holiday Homes through on Sept 16th, 2014 for Dec 31st, 2014. I never heard from the hotel on my reservation. So, I wrote to them on Oct 6th and again on Oct 10th in vain. Finally, On Oct 17th, I called the hotel to ask on my reservation when I was told that the facility is overbooked which I asked to confirm on email. I received a message stating "we have made arrangements to provide you honour your reservation by accommodating you in another property of same standards, in the vicinity"

    On Oct 18th I wrote to for a refund as I am not interested in alternative options provided by the hotel and I am highly disappointed that I was not informed that booking is not confirmed. My request ID number: 977146 is pending with since then and no one has bothered to contact me. Not sure how this place is gathering good reviews. Its awful to do business with them.

  • Wh
      5th of Feb, 2015
    0 Votes


  • To
      4th of Aug, 2015
    0 Votes

    I had a similar problem. I had a reservation for a room in a hostel in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, , and they charged me 18%(!) of the price. It turns out on arrival, that the price listed on the webpage was twice the real price, so I actually paid 36% of the price!!!

    They have replied my emails, but of course they give only standard answers and say the problem is between me and the hostel.

  • Ba
      31st of Jan, 2016
    0 Votes

    I can confirm everything said above about Hostel World is 100% accurate. Just 2 weeks ago, I had stayed at a bed and breakfast in Tulum, Mexico and they ripped me off CAD $80 which was supposed to be the deposit for a 5 night stay. The hostel asked, "what deposit are you talking about?" So apparently, they charged me a booking this huge booking fee disguised as a "deposit". No luck getting my money back from them. Avoid them !

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