We made this reservation at booking dot com, with all money paid.
At that day, we arrived at 8pm at the property, the property owner insisted that we arrived late and refused to check us in. According to the property’s policy, the standard check-in time is 2–7pm, while check-in between 7–9pm will be subject to a surcharge. We were fully aware of this policy so when booking this accommodation we made a special request of arrival between 7–8pm (the booking was confirmed with this written clearly on the confirmation, and our money taken).
However, for some strange reason the property owner tried to "get in touch with us" only TWO DAYS before the check in time to confirm our arrival time (!?). We were not aware of this because at that time we were on our trip already and didn't have good access to emails and phone calls to our domestic number. Now, when we arrived at the property, at 8 pm, the person we got to speak to insisted we were late and refused to check us in even if we pay the surcharge stipulated in their policy (he claimed that the property owner had left but when we called the property owner's phone number, he's mobile phone rang!).
After arguing with the person with no success, we had no other choice but looking for other place to stay. It was steamingly hot and full of mosquitoes, but we had to traverse the whole town even though we were all exhausted after a day's trip. In the end, we only managed to find an empty room in a restaurant to stay, thanks for the help offered by a kind stranger.
We are now trying to get in touch with Booking dot com, hoping to at least get our money back, but Booking dot com insists they are a third-party and cannot do anything about this. They also argue that the property owner cannot get in touch with us to confirm our arrival time, so it's on us for not being there before 7pm! This sounds ridiculous to us because we had requested arrival between 7-8pm (which according to their policy will be subject to a surcharge but not denial of entry!), and the booking was finalized with this request written on the confirmation. If the owner did not accept this on that particular day, how come they didn't get in touch with us immediately, but did that only two days before the check-in time!
Now we really don't know what to do to protect our rights. Our money was taken, and we had a horrible night. We cannot even write a review of this property to reveal what happened because we were marked as "no show"!