A week ago, I tried to make a booking (for 2-5th Dec 2013) at the Shama Serviced Apartment (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong) via Agoda. At the final booking stage the website indicated that my payment (via China UnionPay) was unsuccessful. I thought there was something wrong with my payment method. With no immediate confirmation email (it came 30 minutes later), and the website showing only a limited number of hotel rooms left, I made three more immediate attempts using all different payment methods (Alipay, China UnionPay again, and a credit card respectively). The second and third attempt also ended with payments being unsuccessful. Finally, my fourth attempt (via the credit card) went through and I was relieved that I was able to make a booking before the hotel was booked out.
When I went to check my Alipay account and email inbox, to my horror, Agoda actually charged me for the previous three bookings even though their website said payments for those three attempts were unsuccessful...! I contacted Agoda immediately and the customer service representative at the time was very helpful and understanding, and said she would cancel all previous bookings prior to the fourth booking. I was relieved, thinking that refunds would take a while to process I did not follow it closely afterwards.
Yesterday, seeing that I have only received a refund confirmation email for one of the three wrong bookings, I contacted Agoda again. This time, the customer service rep tells me that because it's already been a week, the booking's already processed at the hotel's end, and they can no longer cancel/refund the two remaining wrong bookings...what?!
I contacted the hotel explaining my situation, the hotel staff said that they already cancelled one of those three wrong bookings, they cannot tolerate two more of those mistakes. But hello? Those three bookings were never intentionally made! How would I have known that those bookings went through when the Agoda site indicated otherwise? Who in their right mind would make the exact same booking 3 times consecutively? But the hotel chose to ignore this fact and insisted that they could not cancel, refund nor even provide a refund in the form of credit for later use. (Btw the booking is for 2-5 Dec 2013, so there is plenty of time for the hotel to put these rooms back on the market)
I then contacted Agoda multiple times during the day. After several conversations with four different customer service reps, the response I currently have from Agoda is that, they will refund one of the two remaining wrong bookings. I find that simply unacceptable. Agoda's role is to process my hotel booking correctly. When its site falsely indicated that my payments were unsuccessful, it misled me into making further attempts to complete the booking. Now why should I wear the cost/consequences for Agoda's stuff up? To only partially refund the money that was charged without my knowledge feels like utter robbery.
The cost of those two bookings come to $1105.26 USD in total. If Agoda refunds half of it it's still a loss of $552.63 USD for me. That is substantial in my term, especially when it was charged without my knowledge (finding out in a booking confirmation email 30 minutes later for a booking that appeared as unsuccessful do not count as within my knowledge!)
I may be just one customer they don't care to keep, but I'm sure I am not the first nor the last customer to have had/will have this happen to them. If Agoda insist on refusing me a full refund, how do they expect customers to continue to use their booking site? Who would risk being wrongly charged and no chance of getting their money back?
Has anyone had a similar experience with Agoda? How did you further escalate this issue with them?
P.S. The frustrating thing with Agoda is, you can never reach someone that is a decision maker. You're always speaking to a customer service rep, they can only follow protocols and forward your feedback to their manager(s). All day I've been passing on my messages to reps so they can pass it onto their managers, and then they pass back their managers' responses... it is so time consuming and frustrating that I cannot speak directly to a decision maker and express my situation in my own words.