booking, the reserved accommodation does not exist, what are your recourses?
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False announcement: how to react?
The summer of 2019 will have been marked by many rental scams. Airbnb, Leboncoin, Abritel, booking: online accommodation booking platforms are multiplying and scams with them. The latest bad buzz to date: false ads. An advertiser publishes a vacation rental offer online, relating to an apartment or a house that he does not own. Arrived on site, the tenants realize that the accommodation does not exist or that it is in fact not available for rent.
booking has paid the price for this scam: a group of vacationers, arriving at the address of the accommodation indicated on the online booking platform, realize that there is only a vacant lot. The villa exists, but at another address, and not available for rent. In reality, the advertiser used photos and a description probably borrowed from the web to sell a service relating to property that he does not own. The vacationers have paid the entire reservation in advance, the scammer has collected the sums: they find themselves without accommodation for their vacation, and impoverished by several thousand euros. The victims of the accommodation scam that does not exist urgently seek another rental, and try to have their costs reimbursed by booking. At the end of a telephone process widely relayed in the media, they would have obtained a form of compensation.
Is the booking site responsible for the veracity of the ads published on its platform? How to check the reliability of an ad? What should I do if I book accommodation that does not exist?
If the bad buzz allowed vacationers who were scammed this summer to obtain some financial compensation – after time-consuming telephone exchanges, with varied interlocutors and little inclined to give them satisfaction – in reality booking clears itself of this scam to housing that does not exist. Above all booking” target=”_self”>reservation on bookingit is therefore essential to take certain precautions.
→ What the booking T&Cs say:
– booking.com is positioned as an intermediation service: accommodation providers, professionals or individuals, offer their accommodation for rent. The tenant enters into a contractual relationship with the supplier, booking is only an intermediary.
– The information published on booking.com is that provided by the accommodation providers, “in their sole discretion”. Suppliers are solely responsible in the event of a false advertisement, excluding any liability of booking in the event of accommodation that does not exist.
– booking does not verify or guarantee the veracity of the advertisements.
– The tenant is contractually bound only with the accommodation provider. In the event of a claim or dispute, he can only exercise recourse against this supplier. booking disclaims all liability.
The General Conditions of Use of the booking services are clear: in the event of booking accommodation that does not exist, the platform is not responsible. the renter victim of the scam, a priori, has no choice but to lodge an appeal against the rogue supplier. The difficulty: for lack of sufficient information, it is impossible to contact him and seek compensation for the damage. This is why it is essential to protect yourself upstream against this type of scam.
I FRAMEWORK & PRINCIPLES I
Look for the ad on other sites to compare information
Have you identified the villa of your dreams on booking for your next vacation? 1st precaution to take to avoid scams: compare this ad on the different online booking platforms. Do you notice a significant price difference? The cheapest proposition may be a scam. A malicious third party will have used the announcement of the real owner of the accommodation to scam the tenants. Beware!
Check the conformity of the photos of the ad
2nd precaution before your reservation: copy the link of the photo of the villa or apartment, and paste it into a search engine – Google Images for example. The search engine provides you with all web sources that contain the photo. By browsing the sources, you can judge the reliability of the ad.
Get in direct contact with the owner
Another useful precaution to avoid the housing scam that does not exist: get closer to the advertiser. Get his contact information and reach him, preferably by phone. By doing so, you ensure:
– The friendliness of the lessor – a positive point if you rent his house!
– The existence of its telephone line – many scammers use false numbers, an unassigned number effectively informs you about the reliability of the ad…
– The responsiveness of your hosting provider.
Consult the reviews of previous travelers
When searching for a rental on booking, you can sort the results using several distinct filters. Use the default filter “Our favourites” or the filter “Ratings of customer comments”: you can rely on the opinions of previous travelers to check the existence of the accommodation – and its quality!
Request additional photos
To verify that your interlocutor is the owner of the accommodation, ask him to send you additional photos! If he is on site, in his home, he will be able to meet your expectations without delay. If not, ask yourself questions…
Use the double-booking technique
Once your reservation has been validated on booking – but before paying! – ask a friend to call the owner of the accommodation to ask to rent it on the same dates. If the accommodation is still available, you risk being the victim of a scam.
Accommodation that does not exist: bad buzz can encourage booking to compensate you
The reserved accommodation does not exist? Do you realize that once you get there? Do not hesitate to turn against booking. If the T&Cs of the connection platform exclude its liability in the event of accommodation that does not exist, effective relaying of your bad experience on social networks can exert sufficient pressure to oblige the service provider to offer you a solution to the problem. friendly. Share photos and grievances, while keeping in touch with booking‘s customer service, until you get a refund for your reservation and compensation for your damage.
What to do in case of litigation ?
Mutual agreement procedure
Have you managed to identify the scammer who rented you accommodation that doesn’t exist? Demand a refund of your reservation as well as compensation for your damage. Litige.fr allows you to send him a legally founded letter to win your case out of court.
If the amicable procedure fails, you can go to the judge to settle the dispute.