I booked a hotel through booking.com to stay in Amsterdam. The reviews on booking.com were good and I have used the site before and cancelled without paying.

After I booked the hotel my partner looked at the reviews on tripadvisor and the hotel is filthy with bed bugs and blood stained sheets. I went to cancel the room but they said my card will be charged the full amount £216.00 for 2 nights.

If I cancel my credit card and don't show up can they contact the card provider to take the funds from the new card?

I wouldn't mind losing something for booking the hotel but the full payment seems a lot.

  • Other commenters can tell me if I'm way off base, but for the credit card part of the question, might be worth asking the Personal Finance & Money stackexchange money.stackexchange.com
    – Philbo
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 14:35
  • 3
    What cancellation policy did the hotel or booking.com give you at the time of the transaction? If the hotel is not honoring the stated policy then you should be able to dispute the charge; no need to cancel the card.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:12
  • Bear in mind that SOME bad reviews can be fake, perhaps created by a rival to damage the business. Other bad reviews may be the result of one person's bad experience. If there are other reviews check them as well and see if they also mention the filthy conditions, bed bugs and blood stains.
    – Nick
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 16:23
  • I tend to believe Booking.com reviews over Trip Advisor reviews, as the former are written only by people who booked through the site. Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


When you made your booking, you were presented with the cancellation policy for that booking.

  • If the booking is fully refundable, then cancel it on the site. You shouldn't be charged, and if you are, contact the booking.com customer service. If they can't fix the situation, dispute the charge with your card issuer.

  • If the booking is non-refundable, you can't do anything yourself at this stage. You entered a contract, and until you can demonstrate that there is a breach of contract on their end, you can't just cancel the booking. Even if you cancel the card, you remain liable for the sums you committed to pay.

    You can contact the booking.com customer service and let them know of your issue. They often have a lot more power (and willingness to be helpful) than some hotels (though not always). Remember that they represent a majority of the income of the hotel, so if they decide the hotel is not trustworthy and just block them from the site, the hotel is going to lose a lot.

    If the situation is not resolved at that point, that's where the approach suggested by alamar comes into play: you show up, you find evidence of the issue (or maybe you don't), you complain, and either they fix it or you ask for a refund and go to your plan B (which should be fully cancellable and refundable until that point, of course). Expect resistance from the hotel. Unless it's part of a reputable chain, they will probably not want to refund anything.

There are other variations on refund policies, such as refundable except first night, refundable with a X% penalty, and so on, but the end result is the same.


How I would handle it:

  • Show up.
  • Look at the presented conditions.
  • If they're unsatisfactory, decline to pay on account of unmet expectations, go to "plan B" hotel.

If it's OK, you might as well stay. If they still try to charge you after you don't like their rooms and try to leave, call Booking.com customer support.

  • I wouldn't do this unless the room was booked under a no cancellation policy. If the booking policy allows cancellation only before a deadline, then waiting until after the deadline to cancel is asking for trouble.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:11
  • 4
    @phoog I assume here it's under no cancellation policy, otherwise there's no problem to discuss.
    – alamar
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:12
  • Otherwise there certainly is a problem to discuss, which is that the hotel is threatening not to honor the policy.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:16
  • @phoog I just don't see how the hotel will be threatening if you un-book the cancellable booking via booking.com interface. If they try to charge you on a booking that is considered cancelled for free by booking, they're in a lot of trouble.
    – alamar
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:25
  • 1
    I have next to no experience with booking.com, but I wouldn't put anything past a hotel that has bedbugs and blood-stained sheets.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 15:31

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