Having been in the travel industry very many years and reached pretty much the top of the tree I thought I of all people would not get caught out by anyone. Sadly I was wrong. In the hopes that I might spare someone (i.e. possibly you) some anguish/annoyance I thought I would share my experience with you. After all over 20,000 people have read this blog so I might be able to help one of you!
The 'issue' is one of online bookings.
I wanted to book a surprise 3 day break in my wife's favourite childhood holiday venue of Scarborough for her birthday. Easy I thought. I simply got on Google and found Bookings.Com. The website was the usual friendly and easy display so I booked The Mount in Scarborough and sat back waiting to enjoy the break. Sadly something came up and we had to cancel so back on the site I went and carefully cancelled the booking as I noticed that otherwise fees would apply.
That was that really until I got a message saying my card would be charged £180 for failure to cancel. Not correct I wailed and emailed Bookings.com and told them so. Ah, they said. Send us proof of cancellation. O.K. I thought, I will go back into my sent/recieved messages to see if there is anything referring to my cancellation, but there wasn't. I became a bit indignant. Polite but indignant. Look, I said, I used to run the biggest hotel booking company in the UK. not only did your system not cancel when asked to but there is also no record of the cancellation in my mailboxes.
I pointed this out in a subsequent email (friendly and slightly less indignant) but was told that the manager 'Craig' had basically pronounced 'No proof then no refund'.
So the lesson to be learned is yes, by all means book and cancel online BUT make sure you get and keep immediate proof you have done so. Bookings.com must have assumed I was either 'trying it on' or they could get away with it. As for me? I will still book/cancel online but use an online agency that believes in my integrity as much as I do! That counts Bookings.com out then!