October 7, 2022

Booking.com is apologizing and offering support after around 100 customers traveled from around the world to stay in a home that was never listed for rent by the owner.

As the reports the BBC(Opens in a new window), 23 groups of tourists, totaling about 100 people, knocked on the door of a private house in north London where they expected to stay last month. The house is owned by a woman named Gillian, who had never listed her residence for rent on the online travel agency website.

Tourists started showing up on July 4th and continued to do so until July 29th, originating from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Los Angeles and other parts of the UK. Either way Gillian had to apologize and send them away. After the first six groups of tourists knocked on her door that first day, Gillian decided to investigate. A quick search on Booking.com brought up her address with photos of a different property located in Chelsea. He reported this to the company on July 5, but people kept coming for another 24 days.

Booking.com didn’t catch the scam until July 13 and apparently didn’t contact customers who had booked the property telling them not to go. Even worse is the fact that the travel agency was called by one of their clients to inquire about the condition of the property prior to their arrival and was told it was fine. This call was made on July 29th.

A Booking.com spokesperson said: “Fraud is unfortunately a battle many industries face against unscrupulous fraudsters looking to profit and it’s something we’re tackling head-on… We can confirm that this property has been completely removed from the site A member of our customer service team is contacting all customers to apologize and offer any support required in relation to refunds, relocations and additional charges, and of course to apologize to the homeowner.”

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The company has not explained why it didn’t act immediately to pull the listing, why it didn’t contact anyone who had booked to tell them it was a scam and why it kept telling customers the property was ready. used when requested. The BBC asked for clarification, but Booking.com declined to comment further.

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