Charedi Family Wins Lawsuit Against Booking.com

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Illustrative. Earrlier this year, Booking.com was in Israeli news due to its plans to issue safety warnings on its site for listings in Yehudah and Shomron. It toned down the warnings after considerable pressure from from Israel’s Foreign and Tourism Ministries.

Members of a Jerusalem family who were refused entry to a hotel in Italy they booked through the global travel reservation site Booking.com won a lawsuit against the company, Kikar H’Shabbat reported on Tuesday.

The story began almost a year ago, when four female members of a Jerusalem family, one of whom was traveling with a baby, flew to Rome for a vacation.

They had booked a hotel near the airport for the last night of their trip since their return flight to Israel was early in the morning. They arrived at the hotel and presented their negative COVID tests, which were still required at the time.

However, the receptionists at the hotel refused to accept the test results on the grounds that the tests weren’t carried out in Italy and it had been too long since the test was taken. The explanations of the family members that the tests, which were accepted at the previous hotel, were in compliance with Italian law, fell on deaf ears.

The women and baby were booted from the hotel and had no choice but to spend the night after a long and exhausting day on benches at the airport.

The women said in court: “We planned the trip well and that’s why we allowed ourselves a full schedule on the last day of the trip – because we wanted to see all of Rome. We arrived at the hotel completely exhausted, knowing that we could shower and freshen up a little before our flight. What happened when we got to the hotel was unacceptable. We followed Booking’s instructions exactly and nevertheless we had to endure a humiliating experience and ‘sleep’ at the airport, with a baby.”

After the women returned to Israel, they filed a lawsuit against Booking to the Small Claims Court through Attorney Eliyahu Kaspi. Booking.com did everything it could to claim it was not responsible for the plaintiffs’ experience, including claiming that the company is not responsible for the information on its website.

The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered Booking to pay compensation of NIS 2,000-NIS 8,000 to each plaintiff as well as their legal expenses in the amount of NIS 10,000 NIS.

One of the women told Kikar H’Shabbat: “It really ruined our trip. We carefully read all the instructions and followed them exactly. It was really infuriating and upsetting, we were thrown out of the hotel like beggars. Why? We paid in advance and yet the hotel arbitrarily decided not to allow us in. I am happy with the verdict and I hope that everyone involved here learned a lesson for the future.”

Attorney Eliyahu Kaspi told Kikar: “The court rejected all of Booking’s claims and rightly so. The court made it clear to Booking that it cannot shirk its responsibility for its customers and its accommodations abroad.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

7 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t see how the booking site can be held responsible for what the hotel did. Even if the hotel’s listing was inaccurate, how was the booking site supposed to know that?

  2. Booking.com is definitely not working for nothing so they’re getting commission and therefore have to take responsibility for the service and the behaviour of the clients they are promoting.

  3. Did Bookings list inaccurate information? Did the hotel or travelers not have 15-minute tests available at that time? Seems like the hotel is the party that should be held responsible.

  4. Baguette, that makes no sense. How can they be responsible for their clients’ listings’ accuracy?! How could they possibly verify what a client posts?! It’s ridiculous. What’s next, will you hold a newspaper responsible for the accuracy of advertising it carries?! If I feel cheated by a store should I be able to sue the landlord who charges the store rent?!