The trap promises with which tourists are attracted by the big agencies. “Expect me to hunt you down and legally skin you”

Often, behind the unbeatable offers in tourism, especially those on the Internet, there are less favorable details hidden for customers, about which they only find out after making their reservation and paying a sum of money.

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A Romanian who turned to Booking.com for accommodation in Paris received an irresistible offer, because he paid a significant amount. The benefit he should have had was a free taxi ride from the airport to the hotel.

Only, in reality, he could not benefit from this offer, although he had been notified that he was entitled to it. He recounted the whole experience on the Facebook group Vacanțe do it yourself. That's how he found out that other tourists had similar experiences.

Hi, Anyone who has experienced such a situation with Booking please let me know how you resolved it. I purchased an accommodation in Paris and by reaching a price threshold I received as a “benefit” a free taxi ride from Booking from the airport to the accommodation on the day of arrival. Now the fun begins: receiving the link to book a taxi via email, I find that I cannot select Beauvais airport (BVA) even though it is included in the list of airports eligible for the free ride; I checked this aspect before booking the accommodation with reasona,” he began his post.

In desperation, he even turned to the people at Booking and was even given the right, but later nothing changed,

“I called Booking, I was right, a case was opened with the competent department (taxi), but I receive a message in the evening in response to my request that the airport cannot be changed and that I can benefit from the taxi ride from CDG or ORY. (what are these airports helping me with?! Of course I did not accept such a “solution”, I continued to write to them, I attached the print screen and all the cutlery from their policies. But no reaction from Booking, there was silence. Thanks in advance for any answers!”, he concluded his post.

Look at the offer

The answers were not long in coming, but many of them were not exactly to his liking.

“It is about 107 km. You won't get a free taxi. The fault is with the system because they didn't specify the airports from which you can get free of charge”, someone said.
“Yes, that's exactly the point. In the regulation, Beauvais (BVA) also appears in the list of airports in France that grant this benefit, the free flight to accommodation“, the author of the post replied and attached a screenshot of the regulation fragment that proves him right.

“Yes, those are the airports, but it doesn't say where the accommodation should be. Must be a reasonable distance for a free service,” wrote another. “I mentioned that I checked the conditions before booking. The benefit is for accommodation in Paris! Work confirmed by Customer Support”replied the author of the original post again.

“For airports close to the destination, yes. But at 100 km, I don't know what to say. Booking takes a commission of about 10-15%, as far as I know, of what the customer pays when booking. So if they offered a bonus of 150 euros (the minimum price of a Beauvais-Paris taxi) that accommodation should have cost about 1,500 euros. Now I don't want to take chances, or upset the originator… but still some things are sometimes too good to be true… I used to fall into these traps too, until I learned my lesson. That there are also accommodations with prices that are too good to be true, etc.” said another.

Yes, it is consistent accommodation as well as cost. But it seems that I'm still fixing for nothing”, complained the author of the post. “I've seen this taxi offer before, usually in off-season periods and for bookings of 300-500 euros, but I didn't get it and if I think about it, it was where the airports are close to the destination. Beauvais I think is the furthest airport relative to the destination,” was answered.

What does “reasonable” mean?

“A company at this level should clearly state that this option should not be possible from the start. We are not talking about a travel agency on the corner of the street (although there might be more understanding there) but rather the system with many employeesi,” said a lady.

Yes, but you, as a rational person, also think about whether it's reasonable, though”,
replied the lady.

Reasonable is a relative term. Reasonable is to be clearly specified. It is reasonable not to put Booking at least 30% above the list price for anything it facilitates. It's reasonable not to make you feel bad when they give you something extra because free is never nothing. And I can go on with the list”said the lady.

I think it's Booking's fault, I suspect it only applies to accommodation near Beauvais for BVA, and CDG and Orly for those in Paris. But they should take it… Try again at Booking, but I don't think you will solve anything. As stated, there is a big price difference between taxi from CDG/Orly to Paris versus Beauvais – Paris…”, said another lady.

“To assume what? It's a bonus, not a paid service that wouldn't have been offered…“, a netizen agreed.

“Booking assumes, but breaks! In two months the offer will be the same and they will not honor it either. What could you do? More and more often (I know a recent case) properties cancel reservations 2-3 days before and they apologize… It's like us at Horeca, now they have a hive of customers, what if one or two get upset”a netizen replied.

And other Romanians had similar problems

That's right, but I can say from personal experience two years ago this happened to us with an accommodation in Ireland (they canceled three days before) and we insisted on Booking and they gave us a compensation so we could book another accommodation at the price similar. I mean, sometimes it can. But it also frustrates me that they don't know how to write conditions, I'm very familiar with airports in France and I would have checked with Booking specifically for this accommodation if that service applies, given the distance. My job is to write lawsuits, it surprises me that such a big company doesn't know how to write terms and conditions… in the USA they would have been sued and the consumer would most likely wint”, the lady closed.

You're right. Booking is obliged to honor its obligations. insist”someone else passed it on to him.

The bonus is NOT an obligation, but an advantage offered to customers. So Booking is only obliged to honor what is paid and that's it“, returned one of those who agree with those from Booking.com.

Then, it means that we can expect that even the Genius advantages offered by the booking will not be respected, if the operator considers that this bonus is not “reasonable” (as someone above thinks) under certain conditions, right? Mirceo, no. You gave a bonus as bait for someone to take expensive accommodation, the man did the math and said ok, I'll take the accommodation but save the transport money. Stop giving the bonus, you're an ass and a liar. I have no idea how this fits legally, I read above that the bonus is not a contractual obligation, and maybe it is, but the second time, expect me to hunt you down and skin you legally,” someone told him.

“If there isn't a kilometer limit somewhere, you're right. But there is a long way from justice and settlement. If Booking does not resolve willingly, it is more difficult to do something because Booking is not subject to Romanian laws. It's not impossible, but what a hassle it is…“, was another opinion.

To solve what? It's not about a paid service that wasn't properly performed, it was just a bonus. Look at the price of a taxi from Beauvais to Paris, it's about 200-250 euros. Does a bonus with such a value seem reasonable to you? How much could that accommodation be to receive a 200 euro service for free? When someone promises a gift (that seems too good to be true) and doesn't deliver, do you hold them accountable?“, returned a critic.

“It is irrelevant that the bonus amount is too high. It's called false advertising if it lures you in with something like that”, someone else replied. “Yes, if that “gift” is a promotion on a website. Otherwise, it's false advertising and illegal. One should read the terms carefully, though.”

“Since it is offered after booking, the people from Booking know clearly where the accommodation is located, and BVA is included in the list of airports, so the bonus is applied as a deduction. I live in France, and here the law is the same, and if they don't honor even a bonus, it's false advertising and they can be held responsible!”a lady pointed out.

How far does it have to be to be 'reasonable'? How do you quantify this reasonableness? If you land at Orly and you are offered a free taxi to Paris, but not to zone x because that's where the taxi driver got a pimple when he was little, is that reasonable or not? In other words, everyone makes their own calculations and relies on what is promised in writing, in the civilized world it doesn't really work to give it back because you didn't pay attention to what you promised and now it no longer seems reasonable.” another netizen said.

“I had the same situation”

And other Romanians faced similar problems. “I had exactly the same situation, but with the airport in Brussels, Charleroi. Even though that was also in the list of airports with free taxi transfer on Booking. Like you, I wrote on the chat and was told that, although CRL was also listed, the taxi distance to the hotel where I was staying in Brussels was not justified. I therefore took a shuttle bus from the airport to Brussels upon arrival. I concluded by myself that, even if almost all airports are included in that list, the free taxi ride is only granted for reasonable distances and that usually from large airports, not those operated by low-cost ones, which are also at +100 km away from the city itself, sometimes even in another small town. Happy Holliday!”, wrote a lady.

Last year I encountered the same situation, I made a print screen when booking and Booking mediated the situation – they asked for our flight number, and upon landing a large car was waiting for us (we were five people, we couldn't fit in a normal taxi), free . Keep insisting on booking – success!”, it was another approach.

“I had a similar experience with an accommodation. Even though an operator told me in the chat that I was right, I was left with the “justice” damage in my wallet. Booking these tepari…”someone else wrote.

“Insist a lot on Booking. I had a problem with a reservation, for a month I talked to them on the phone once every few days and it was finally resolved. Hard, but it was solved”a netizen advised him.

Booking is very untruthful and miserable in many situations unfortunately. I had many negative incidents with them that they did not resolve in any way“, another lady said.