After discovering two fraudulent reservations, Booking.com suspends David Hendrick’s account. How can he get it reinstated?
I write to express my disappointment and distress with my recent experiences at Booking.com. I travel frequently, as do my wife and family. We always recommend Booking.com, and we all use it almost exclusively.
Recently, while traveling, I discovered two fraudulent attempts to make bookings on my account. I canceled them immediately, contacted customer service, and a representative told me to change my password. I did this, and yet the next time I tried to log in using my email address, I received a message that Booking.com disabled my account.
Next, I contacted Booking.com customer service. A representative assured me the company was investigating the problem and that I should set up a new account and import my existing bookings.
I did this, but when I contacted Booking.com, a representative told me I couldn’t import my existing bookings. Now I have another problem: I can’t reactivate my old account because I have too many cancellations. The only cancellations in recent history were the two fraudulent ones.
I feel like Booking.com is pushing me for reporting fraudulent behavior. Can you help me get my Booking.com account reinstated? — David Hendrick, Charlottesville, Va.
Booking.com should have fixed your account without making you set up a new one, and transfer your existing reservations. And if a Booking.com agent told you to do that, they should have also helped you restore your account.
But that’s difficult. You can ask for the agent’s name and extension, but often the agent will only offer a first name, which makes it hard to find the person again. (You had part of the conversation in writing from a representative named “Ahmed M.” How do you contact Ahmed M.? Who knows. There’s no direct phone number or email for him.)
It looks like something went wrong — very wrong — with your account. First, someone gained access to your personal information and made fraudulent bookings. But then Booking.com flagged your account for fraud after you reported the bogus bookings. And then, adding insult to injury, it wouldn’t help you fix it and instead effectively banned you. (Here’s our guide to contacting the CEO directly.)
Can Booking.com suspend your account?
Booking.com’s customer terms of service, the agreement between you and the company, doesn’t specifically mention account suspensions. It does, however, reserve the right to “change, suspend, or end” your wallet with your loyalty points. (Related: Booking.com lost my reservation! Can you make it pay?)
It is highly likely that it applies these rules to your broader Booking.com account as well, and that it may suspend your account for violating any of the terms in its agreement.
What are the reasons Booking.com could ban you?
Booking.com is one of the largest online travel agencies in the world. So, as you can imagine, it has a lot of rules. Here are some of the most common violations that can result in account suspension, according to Booking.com’s terms and conditions:
- Fraudulent activity: Any attempts to defraud or scam the system will result in immediate account suspension. This includes using stolen credit cards, making false bookings, or attempting to manipulate prices.
- Unauthorized use of accounts: You’re not allowed to share your account information with anyone else, nor can you use someone else’s account without their permission. Doing so can also result in account suspension.
- Inappropriate content: Booking.com prohibits any content that is offensive, threatening, defamatory, or otherwise inappropriate. This includes reviews, comments, and profile information.
- Spamming or solicitation: Don’t spam other users with unsolicited messages or offers, as this is against Booking.com’s terms of service. Similarly, don’t use the site to solicit donations or raise funds.
- Disruptive behavior: Harassment, threats, or intimidation, is not tolerated on the platform.
- Violation of intellectual property rights: Don’t upload any content that violates copyright or trademark laws.
- Misuse of coupons and promotions: Booking.com offers various coupons and promotions, but misusing them can result in account suspension. This includes using multiple coupons on a single booking, using expired coupons, or sharing coupons with others.
- Failure to pay: If you don’t pay for a booking or cancel a reservation without proper notice, Booking.com may suspend your account.
- Breach of security: Attempting to breach the security of Booking.com’s systems or compromise user data is a serious violation that can result in account suspension and legal action. (Related: Look out! This Booking.com scam is coming for you.)
- Legal issues: If Booking.com receives notice of any legal issues related to your account, such as a subpoena or court order, it may suspend your account.
Bottom line: If you use Booking.com, there are a variety of behaviors that can get you banned. Read the terms carefully if you have questions.
Here’s how to get reinstated on Booking.com
You needed to appeal this above the chatbot level at Booking.com. A human being needed to review your case and figure out a way to fix it. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of those humans at Booking.com on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org You could have reached out to them. I would recommend doing so in writing and using my proven methods for fixing a consumer problem.
You asked my advocacy team for help, and after we reviewed your case, I reached out to Booking.com. According to the company, it was a combination of your booking history and the fraudulent bookings that triggered the review of your account. (Related: What’s the Booking.com refund process? The company took my money!)
Booking.com disabled your account “to ensure your security” and told you to create a new one. However, it ran into trouble when you tried to transfer your loyalty status and points to the new account.
After I asked Booking.com for help, the company worked with you to secure your account.
About this story
This looks like another case where artificial intelligence might have made the situation worse. Remember yesterday’s story about AI and an Uber account suspension? This year, more travel companies will implement AI “solutions” — which will almost certainly cause some problems for customers like Hendrick. Don’t worry, our team is on the case. Thanks to Dwayne and Mel in the advocacy department, Andy and team in editing and Dustin on the art. You guys are the best.