Booking.com is apologizing and offering support after about 100 customers from around the world came to a home whose owners never listed it for rent.
as BBC reports(opens in new window)Last month, 23 groups of tourists, about 100 people in total, knocked on the door of a private north London home where they were expected to stay. The owner of the house is a woman named Gillian, who has never listed her home for rent on the OTA’s website.
The tourists, who started appearing on July 4 and continued through July 29, came from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Los Angeles and the rest of the UK. In each case, Gillian must apologize and reject them. After the first six groups of tourists knocked on the door on the first day, Gillian decided to investigate. A quick search on Booking.com revealed her address and photo from another hotel in Chelsea. She reported the situation to the company on July 5, but people continued for another 24 days.
Booking.com didn’t take down the scam list until July 13, and apparently didn’t contact customers who booked the property to tell them not to go. To make matters worse, one of the clients called the travel agency to ask about the condition of their property prior to their arrival and was told it was fine. The call was made on July 29.
A Booking.com spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, scams are a battle many industries face with unscrupulous fraudsters looking to take advantage, and it’s something we’re tackling head-on…we can Confirmation that the property has been completely removed from our website and that a member of our customer service team is contacting all customers to apologise and provide any support needed regarding refunds, relocations and additional charges, and of course to the property Lord apologize.”
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The company did not explain why it didn’t take immediate action to take down the listing, why it didn’t contact anyone who booked the property to tell them it was a scam, and why it continued to tell customers the property was ready to use when inquiring. The BBC asked for clarification, but Booking.com declined to comment further.
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