How it works:
- In late 2018, a Malaysian man was scammed over USD $1,000 after falling for this.
- A couple of months prior to his visit, he was requested by the owner of the property to book/reserve the place by making a deposit.
- Once payment had been made (via Alipay), no confirmation came and the owner stopped responding. Later, booking.com informed him that the booking was canceled.
- When he tried contacting the owner of the property, the person he dealt with claimed that he is no longer working with the property owner and so, is unable to help.
Please be extra careful when you make bookings from booking.com because some hotels don't even exist! Sebelum ini sy…Posted by Xavier Maurice John on Sunday, October 14, 2018
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Platform: use with buyer protection rights: e.g. Agoda (best in Asia).
- Spot red flags: cheap price, illogical sounding descriptions, dodgy reviews, difference in photos and Google Street View, payment off platform, owner claims to be overseas, etc
- Due diligence: search online reviews and if apartment has listings across other platforms, check if they are consistent. Grill the owner by asking specific details or made-up details to test if he can call your bluff. Test him by requesting a visit by a local friend.
- Payment: do not pay in full upfront and off the platform.