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Booking.com lets you book accommodation without a credit card in some cases:

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But what happens if I cancel my reservation or simply don't show up on the day of the booking? Would they send me a bill to pay? Somehow connect my email to previous reservations made with a credit card?

Note that while most rooms do have a free cancellation grace period, there are usually fees for late cancellation or no-show (example from a random property):

enter image description here

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    may be it is a free cancellation room – yaya Jul 6 '15 at 1:40
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    @yaya post updated – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jul 6 '15 at 10:16
  • Booking.com asks for pre-payment in cases where they can deduct the cancellation fees if you fail to show up on that day or cancel the ticket. In other cases where they do not ask for pre-payment, then it is a free cancellation booking. – Ramaya Jul 8 '15 at 6:25
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    I would assume that it's simply an error of the website. As you wrote, the combination doesn't make sense. – DCTLib Jul 8 '15 at 8:44
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we do not give advice on how to circumvent law, civil or criminal. You are breaking a contract. Your decision. We shouldn't get involved. – chx Jul 8 '17 at 10:57
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Booking.com won't charge you. The hotel might.

They would have to send you a bill using the contact information Booking.com provides and convince you to pay it.

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    This situation just happened to me; I called the hotel and they didn't really care much, just said "cancel through booking.com". I told them "the site wants me to pay in full, so I'm calling you to say I don't intend on paying, and to cancel." The operator didn't ask my name or anything, just said "OK, thanks!". So that's that. No worries, I guess. – Ben Jan 9 '17 at 1:15
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Don't ever just not show up. In most cases if you contact the hotel directly (depending on the size) you can come to an agreement and a lot would waive the fees. I have a small hotel and when people book and not show up it really affects us. At least have the courtesy to let people know

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    While I fully agree, this doesn't really answer the original question. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Aug 8 '16 at 17:40
  • +1 and I think it does somewhat answer the question, given the info from the accepted A that it is up to the hotel. If then you at least let them know you're not coming, they might not go after charges. This has happened to me once, but that is only one data point of course. – mts Aug 8 '16 at 17:43
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    @Hotelowner: in this case, if one has a no-guarantee reservation, one should offer free cancellation up to the day of arrival. This way more people would cancel instead of simply not showing up. – George Y. Dec 17 '16 at 9:36
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The cancellation policy might simply be some boilerplate that does not really apply in this case or maybe something Booking.com adds to all property descriptions but that they make no effort to enforce (or leave the hotel to enforce).

After all, it's the way many hotels have been working for a long time. Before Internet booking (and therefore the possibility to collect credit card details easily) became ubiquitous, it was not uncommon that a room would be kept for you until a certain time (say 7) and could be sold to someone else if you hadn't showed up (or possibly phoned) in time.

Obviously, being able to hold onto credit card details and recover the money directly is easier than pursuing legal remedies but it does not really make a difference on whether or not you owe the hotel some money and a certain number of no-shows, theft, vandalism or non-payment is part of the costs of doing business.

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Once, I have missed my trip but the hotel has strict cancelation policy. I thought I will be charged by Booking.com, but very strange situation happene. The Booking.com has given all my credit cards attached to the account to the hotel (not only one which was attached to the reservation). The hotel charged 100EUR for the room. The next day they tried to charge my card for 6000EUR. It hit the limit of my card. The Booking.com confirmed that it was hotel and they are very sorry. The lessons I have made:

  • the Booking.com will give your credit card information to the property owner, which can not be fair enough. Moreover, the owner can work with Booking.com through third party partner and can not be validated properly.
  • I will never give Booking.com the real credit card. I just confirm reservation with debit card with 5$ on it.

If you follow the last advice you can not afraid cancelation policy at all. The Booking.com do not force you to pay, just the hotel.

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    While your personal experience brings up some valid points, I do not think your post answers the question. – Willeke Jul 8 '17 at 9:00
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    @Willeke Yes, it does, it seems that in this case Booking really did connect the person's account with credit cards that weren't associated with that specific booking, as speculated by the OP. – Relaxed Jul 8 '17 at 9:09
  • The Booking.com does not have single policy and everything depend on the hotel and how they work with the service. My experience covers one of the possible cases, which is very common. I have met a lot of people with the same experience. Moreover, it gives hints how to avoid such poor experience. – Seagull Jul 8 '17 at 9:15
  • Can you edit in the other people with the same experience? That would improve the answer a lot. – Willeke Jul 8 '17 at 9:17
  • It was my friends who is not present on this site. I think the reason of such critics is that the quality of service differs from country to country. The situation described occurred in Paris. And I also had a property owner who was forcing me to cancel non-refundable reservation in Rome (this is comletely other case). I have had any issues with reservation in other countries. I think that the information from this question will be important for people finding this topic from the Google. – Seagull Jul 8 '17 at 9:25

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