Fake reservations from Booking and expedia?

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Horsefarmgirl's picture
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I just opened up about 2 months ago.  I listed on Booking.com to start, and after 2 months, I have received about 10-12 fake bookings through them, and only two real ones.  The fake bookings had no address entered, nor CVV code (which I have corrected that setting since), and false credit card numbers.  These "people" are either a no show or cancel a day before.  however it is fake credit card numbers and fake phone numbers, so I have no recourse to charge for no shows.  When I called Booking.com on this, they said it was either hackers, or I had competitors that were trying to sabotage me.  They also said they have this problem alot in South Africa and Brazil, but they rarley see it happening in the US.  We are in Kentucky.  They said I should request payment up front to avoid this, but that will put me a competitive disadvantage when other B&Bs in the areas don't require an upfront deposit.  They were completely unapologetic about having hackers in their system and showed no desire to have their programmers research the hacking.  Essentially, bookers can enter anything they feel like in the CC fields to book your property. There is zero verification of data.  I have ruled out competitors as it has lasted too long, is too intricate (someone had to research dead phone numbers only), and usually the fake bookings come in at 2-4am.

First of all, I don't see the point of it.  At the beginning, I was buying food, and preparing the rooms, and sitting around like an idiot waiting for people to show up, and losing money and time, but now it is the norm, so now I phone the phone number and try the credit card, and when they don't go through, I see it is yet another fake booking and ignore it. I don't see where the benefit is to the hackers though.

I had decided to forget Booking.com and then listed on Expedia.  BUT I am having the EXACT same thing happen through their site, and they are too quite unapologetic about having hackers.  15 bookings so far, and every one of them is fake!  

Is ANYONE else having this issue at all, and do you have a solution?  95% of the bookings through both sites have been fake.  I just switched over to a prepayment system for reservations today on Expedia, and I will see if that avoids their hackers on their websites.

Highlands John's picture
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I booked a hotel through b.c yesterday and the instant I made the booking I can see an "active card check" on my account!

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

I booked a hotel through b.c yesterday and the instant I made the booking I can see an "active card check" on my account!

My last two bookings through them were both valid. Have they finally mended the error of their ways? We'll see. 

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Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Highlands John wrote:

I booked a hotel through b.c yesterday and the instant I made the booking I can see an "active card check" on my account!

My last two bookings through them were both valid. Have they finally mended the error of their ways? We'll see. 

Of the last 4, half were fake, including one for Dec 30.

They don't check credit cards in the US. (If that's what 'active card check' means.)

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Generic's picture
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Usually only Booking for us. We changed our policies accordingly. It clearly now says on reservations that you will be REQUIRED to present the card you booked with upon check-in. You need to have an address and phone number. And we charge a deposit, 4 hours after reservation. So they can cancel if they made it by error, but also so they can't use us to verify the validity of a card.

Each card we get is tested via binlist which can tell you what bank, so if they are in France and the card is from Canada you can just reject it on booking immediately saying that the data doesn't match... or you can do what I do... call their CC processor and verify the information and if it doesn't match, have it cancelled as stolen. That's called CODE 10.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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It's mostly a Boo king problem. We don't have a similar experience with Expecia because they validate cards in their system. Boo king does not.

"They also said they have this problem alot in South Africa and Brazil, but they rarley see it happening in the US."

With all due respect to boo king, that's bullshiat and they know it.

Do as suggested. We don't take deposits, but we process 100 PERCENT CHARGE of boo king reservations the minute they come in. As mentioned above, when they don't go through (more than half of ours don't) then go on their site and begin process to cancel. You have to wait one day why they give the "customer" the chance to submit a new card. They never do. Then go back the next day to cancel it outright in their system. Don't wait and block the room a minute longer than you have to, because they aint coming.

It's a hassle. And you can complain to them if you want. But you're wasting your valuable time. They don't care. And don't fill out their customer service surveys they email every other day. If they gave a crap, they'd have already fixed this. 

Occasionally, a book king customer will call you to complain that you ran 100% of their charge well in advance of their stay. Use it as an opportunity to explain that you only do it with boo king customers, explain why, and then explain that if they cancel their boo king reservation and rebook directly, you won't have to do it, and they'll get a better rate. In other words, Use Boo king's evilstupid to your advantage

We had one lady book a week long Christmas stay 10 months in advance. When she called to ask why she'd been charged $1,800 so far ahead, I explained. She cancelled, and rebooked with us direct. Booking lost $270 in commissions because they're morons. Use Boo king's evilstupid to your advantage.

 

 

Morticia's picture
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How's the weather this week? We drove over there last Friday. 89 was a disaster at Bolton Flats. Cars off the road everywhere. Took us an hour to get from 5 Corners in Essex to South Burlington.

Generic's picture
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And how long to WIlliston Liquidation Center (aka Mister G's)?

Morticia's picture
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Generic wrote:

And how long to WIlliston Liquidation Center (aka Mister G's)?

Well, last week it took an hour from Essex to South Burlington. Good weather? 10 minutes to Mr G's from the hotel. It's on the same street/road. You're 2 minutes to 89 and the U mall.

Generic's picture
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Did you run down to CostWarehouse? They are finally building the gas station.

Morticia's picture
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Generic wrote:

Did you run down to CostWarehouse? They are finally building the gas station.

Nope. Roads were awful. We did the family thing.

Morticia's picture
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I see you asked the same question on Facebook. We all get pretty much the same problems with the OTA listings.

Generic's picture
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Is the bully still giving people the wrong advice. Don't answer that. I know the answer. Can't manage to read a merchant agreement, but can tell others how to do everything with a CC wrong.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I see you asked the same question on Facebook. We all get pretty much the same problems with the OTA listings.

can you invite me to the FB group?

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Morticia wrote:

I see you asked the same question on Facebook. We all get pretty much the same problems with the OTA listings.

can you invite me to the FB group?

Don't mention me as a reference.... won't get you in. Smiling

Morticia's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Morticia wrote:

I see you asked the same question on Facebook. We all get pretty much the same problems with the OTA listings.

can you invite me to the FB group?

Yup. I can do that. You'll need to answer a couple of questions. The questions usually show up in your Facebook mail, so you have to look for it. You've got about 24 hours. I'll let you know when I submit your name.

Momma Smurf's picture
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It's a closed group, you need to request to join: Bed and Breakfast Owners & Innkeepers

 

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Momma Smurf wrote:

It's a closed group, you need to request to join: Bed and Breakfast Owners & Innkeepers

 

 

Thank you.   I requested.   I also see two of the innkeepers that are in my town are part of the group.

Morticia's picture
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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Momma Smurf wrote:

It's a closed group, you need to request to join: Bed and Breakfast Owners & Innkeepers

 

 

Thank you.   I requested.   I also see two of the innkeepers that are in my town are part of the group.

Ignore my post about sending you an invite! But, keep an eye out on Facebook for their reply to you with questions to verify you actually have a real b&b.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Morticia wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Momma Smurf wrote:

It's a closed group, you need to request to join: Bed and Breakfast Owners & Innkeepers

 

 

Thank you.   I requested.   I also see two of the innkeepers that are in my town are part of the group.

Ignore my post about sending you an invite! But, keep an eye out on Facebook for their reply to you with questions to verify you actually have a real b&b.

I answered the questions.  Waiting for someone to approve my request.

Momma Smurf's picture
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There are three Admins, but they have to vet a lot of folks to let in.

Momma Smurf's picture
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It's an oft entertaining and informative place with input from all over the world and various degrees of BBs. 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Thanks.   Although I don't really need any new way to be distracted by technology, I do like learning and comparing notes with like minded folks.

Morticia's picture
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BTW, your competition is having the same problem! So, to be one step ahead, have it front and center that you take a deposit on the OTA sites. You don't need to take a deposit on your own site, but it's not a bad idea.

Have your cancellation policies strict to avoid random reservations coming thru.

It's not your competition trying to sabotage you.

And, it's happening all over the US, not just you. Take the deposit. When the card is declined, immediately go in booking or Expedia and mark it as bad. When the 24 hours are up, immediately mark the reservation as cancelled. If you have your settings such that the room goes back online, you'll have another chance to get the room reserved. Hopefully by a real guest.

The OTA's all know there are rampant problems in the system, but they DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU. Keep that in mind and you can make the system work to your benefit.

BTW, sorry you have gone thru this. We all do. My policies are I take a 50% deposit and the balance 7 days prior to arrival. Or, you can book a reduced rate that is non-refundable. 

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(1) with expedia and Booking.com - always charge some kind of deposit - it does not put you at a competitive disadvantage as no one ever reads that this is required! we worried it would put us at a disadvantage - none at all - problem solved.

(2) its 2 things (1) people often especially from China need hotel reservations to get their visa, they pick places who don't take a deposit (ie you over your neighbours) and then cancel or don't turn up as they change their plans in the mean time. (2) its a card scam ie can you charge it now and then refund to another card etc

You don't need to waste your time - booking.com and expedia will bring you a lot of business but play it by your rules not theirs!

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I recently dropped Booking, after a few years with them. I received 2 or 3 reservations a month that had bad credit card numbers. It's just ridiculous that Booking can't run a no charge authorization on the cards when the guest enters them, to verify the card before sending the reservation through to us. 

Instead, they make us run the card, then when it's declined we have to go to Booking, report it as declined, wait 24 hours from them to ask the guest for another card number, then we must go back to booking to finally cancel the reservation. It's an unnecessary, time-consuming hassle that they could so easily prevent by just verifying the card number when they get it.

But the main reason I left them was that they won't let you email the guest directly, and they strip all kinds of necessary links out of emails you try to send the guests. My Booking experience was mostly negative, and I don't miss them one bit!

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