How Agoda.com cheated me (and how you should avoid them too)

This is a story from my side – a victim to a day light robbery by Agoda.com and it’s scam network. Any visitors can choose to agree or not, I don’t care. But if you want to know from me how this cheating happened, bear with me for a few minutes of reading. I know Agoda.com will just deny or putting the blame back on me about this, but I am going to reveal the truth.

The truth is that, it is not safe to deal with Agoda.com. How not safe is that? Well in case of a dispute between a customer and a host I think Agoda will honor the host first. Why they honor the host? Are we as a customer not paying them money? Yes we do. But the bigger portion of money will come from the host. I will give an example. Let say host ABC advertise a room for $100 for a night. Agoda can resell it at $160, $200 or $300 depending on the busy traffic at that time for that particular location. The difference of price is for Agoda to take. Customer is just a customer who will come and go, but a host is like an asset to Agoda. Agoda need hosts like crazy. I know because I once a host and a partner to Agoda. That’s why don’t be surprise that you will loose an argument over a host. I will share my story.

I was on trip to Osaka, Japan from 30 April to 6 May 2018. Prior to departing for Osaka, I had booked with Agoda 3 different accomodation on different dates for our stay. Our first accomodation was in Osaka and eventually it was a good place. It is an apartment with some basic facilities such as cooking kitchen and washing machine, with free wifi. Eventhough I did not met with the host personally, but he had given me a complete instructions on how to arrive at the apartment. In the instruction set, he gave me passcode and it matched exactly as what have been communicated. Everything went well until we leaved for second accomodation in Kyoto.

In Kyoto, it was 3rd May 2018, our nightmares begin. We arrived at the apartment about 9pm and we did refer to the instruction set given. However I did not manage to get the key to the apartment after trying few times with the passcode given at the entry door. It kept locked and I cannot get near to the mailbox to fetch the key. It was already late and I was with family with little kids and they are all exhausted from the travel and need a good rest. I called the host but nobody answered me. Texted but no reply too. Luckily our travel guide made his way to the back of building blocks which the mailbox is mounted to, and was able to reach into the mailbox and get the key. It was not supposed to be this way, but this is my only option. So we got the access and went into the apartment for a rest.

On the same night, I made a call to Agoda.com and spent long distance call to Malaysia for the sake of getting some help from Agoda. I requested for a refund for the rest of night of the booking, and it was agreed by Agoda. It was already early in the morning, but I have to solve this problem as soon as possible. So here was the reply from Agoda via email, on top of the verbal assurance that I can get a refund for 1 night:

Hotel: 154-4 Sophistcated Decor 5Beds for 9PAX at KYOTO
Room Type: 2 Bed Apartment
City/Country: Kyoto/Japan
Arrival: May 3, 2018
Departure: May 5, 2018

Cancellation and Change Policy: Any cancellation received within 7 days prior to arrival date will incur the full period charge. Failure to arrive at your hotel or property will be treated as a No-Show and no refund will be given (Property policy).

Kindly be inform the hotel allow for 1 night refund for 4 May provided you provide the picture that the password is wrong and kitchen unable to use.

Please reply this email in order for us to inform the hotel. If you need urgent assistance, please call us after emailing us with the pictures in order for us to check for you straight away.

Regards,
Agoda Customer Experience Group

Notice the terms that they need me to provide picture of wrong password which later I was able to prove it. I even gave them a video showing me trying to open the door with the passcode given but to no avail. Please note that the host phone number for this Kyoto apartment was +81662105913.

Info about the property:-

URL: https://www.agoda.com/154-4-sophistcated-decor-5beds-for-9pax-at-kyoto/hotel/kyoto-jp.html?cid=-218
Name: 154-4 Sophistcated Decor 5Beds for 9PAX at KYOTO agoda

So on the early morning of 4th May 2018, we just left as per agreed. Notice that Agoda.com and the host itself are well informed and acknowledged that we are leaving on the very morning.

So we went back to Osaka, later to Kobe and spent our day there. At the same time I was trying very hard to get a replacement for our stay on the night of 4th May. Based on my good belief, I did not expect anything bad to happen and still searching for accomodation via Agoda.com, and that was a very big mistake. So we got an accomodation in Agoda.com called “150-1 Big Family 7Beds with 4Bed Room at Tennoji Abeno”. By looking at the promo material, wordings and nice pictures – you will not believe that this place was such a hell. When we went there about 8pm, the whole family just got stunned by a view of an abandoned house. It was totally an empty house with lots of garbage and junks. I called the host, and I almost cannot believe it was the same owner as our previous accomodation in Kyoto, who just ripped us off a night before. The phone number was exactly the same +81662105913 and the guy who picked up the phone just got some four letter words from me. It was my biggest mistake by still believing in Agoda after the first rip-off in Kyoto. The whole family was very saddened with what had happened and we need to walk back to the train station and think of somewhere to sleep. Just imagine, a golden week (holiday season for Japanese), it was late in the evening and to find a replacement hotel was not an easy task. Agoda on the hand, was very quick to cancel and refund my payment, which at that time I thought it was a good thing. No it was not. Agoda suppose to replace our accomodation and offer us assistance, but they did not. They are quick to refund and deny my right to evaluate and comment bad remarks on that facility.

Up to this moment, 22 May 2018 (about 18 days after I reported about this facility), this accomodation is still on sale on Agoda. What a bloody cheat! See this screenshots:

Here is how the ‘actual’ facility looks like:

Here is the info:

URL: https://www.agoda.com/150-1-big-family-7beds-with-4bed-room-at-tennoji-abeno/hotel/osaka-jp.html?cid=-218
Facility name: 150-1 Big Family 7Beds with 4Bed Room at Tennoji Abeno agoda

You can see Agoda rate it as 3 star based on guest ratings, but none of them are found in comments section. I told them that this is a total scam, but they keep advertising this scam room. Not fishy enough for you?

Then to cut the story short, after the nightmares we spent few more days and flew back to Malaysia.

I sent a follow up email on my request for the refund which they initially agreed so. But now Agoda changed their answers already. See for yourself.

On May 4;

“Kindly be inform the hotel allow for 1 night refund for 4 May provided you provide the picture that the password is wrong and kitchen unable to use.”

On the same night I attached a video for Agoda to see that I was telling the truth.

In the morning when I left the apartment, I sent another email letting them know and asking for status, this is the reply from Agoda:

“Thank you for your email.

We are currently checking with the host and they have asked for some time to review the case.

We’ll get back to you within 1hr. “

It was a very long 1hr, I did not get any update until I followed up again on 12th May.

On May 13, they responded to me:

“We sincerely apologize for the delay as we are awaiting host’s response in this. We will do anything to get this resolved in a timely manner.

Please bear with us. “

On May 17 here is another reply:

“We apologize for the delay in responding to your email.
We are still negotiate and investigate with the property about the refund.

We have checked room pictures you sent and we found the pictures is for xxxxx0044 (May 4th-5th) and we already refunded for this booking.

We still investigate for xxxxx6341 so could you kindly send room picture for xxxxx6341 if you still have.
Also, We received the your video the entrance pass code was wrong.
Could you send us the information about pass code you received from the property directly since we did not receive check in information from them.

We apologize for your inconveniences and it took long time to solve this issues.
Your kind reply is much appreciated.”

Then again I gave them screenshot of the instructions given by host.

On May 18 they replied:

“Thank you very much for your reply.
We have checked the check in guide and they informed pass code is 1595.
Please allow us more time to investigate with the property.
Thank you for your understanging.”

And finally today May 22, they able to come to conclusion and honor the host:

“We apologize for the delay in responding to your email.

We received reply from the property and they allowed to refund 50% of 2nd night room charge (USD 61.68)
They apologized for your inconveniences for entrance code but unfortunately they are unable to refund full of 2nd night charge since you did not have room picture as proof.

Therefore, we would like to offer USD61.68 (50% of 2nd night room charge) and USD 83.73 Agoda Gift card to your account.

– Gift Card value: USD 61.68 and USD 83.73
– Valid for: 90 days from date of issue
– How to redeem: Make a booking on www.agoda.com
– Terms and Conditions

1) Applicable for gift card-eligible properties only (please look for a gift box icon in the booking form)
2) Cannot be used to book rooms that indicate “No credit card required”, “Tax receipt available”, or “Pay at the hotel”

Should you wish to accept this offer, kindly reply to this email or call us (contact number can be found in your confirmation email or Agoda app) in order for us to proceed with the issuance of your gift card.

You see, Agoda is not giving me full refund for the second night that I did not stay there. I had informed them earlier about this, the passcode also wrong, and they even initially replied to me agreeing for a refund. Then finally they changed the answer of giving only 50% of refund.

What a BS of Agoda!

Agoda should be ‘proud’ of treating their customer like this. It was a total rip-off.

To my fellow visitors, this is my side of the story. I don’t have any bad motive in writing this. But to me, I don’t have the trust anymore with Agoda.com. Be careful.

Updates:

24/5/2018 @ 5.xxpm, got a call from Agoda representative in Japan. She said she need a picture inside of the property. I managed to find one picture from one of family member. Hopefully there will no more funny requests.

30/5/2018: Things getting ‘better’. I received an email from Agoda. This is what they said:

“Please kindly send us the photo of the room again since the hotel said the photo that has been sent to hotel is not the room you stayed.”

I don’t believe this shit coming from Agoda.

For a comparison this is the picture that I sent to them:

My sister took the photo before she went to bed.

Now this is the screen picture I took from Agoda mobile app:

How on earth Agoda said the photo was not from the property?

1/6/2018: Got a call from Agoda rep. She still insist on giving me 50% refund and some gift card value. No, I don’t want gift card.

2/6/2018: Received email from Agoda. This time the offer is better. 100% refund and some cash value worth the different rate of Kyoto stay and alternative stay that I took later. Thanks, just as what I need. Just if it can be resolved earlier. Anyway, I appreciate the offer.

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