A woman has spoken of her frustration over tourists continually turning up on her doorstep after her home was mistakenly listed on Booking.com.
Karin Arsenius, 37, who lives in Plumstead, south-east London, with her two children and partner, said more than 20 unexpected tourists had arrived at her home, expecting to find the accommodation they had reserved on the online travel agency.
In the past month, people had turned up from countries including Algeria, Canada, India and the US, with some guests searching for a key safe. Arsenius said the ordeal had been “frustrating” and is considering legal action against the website.
“We just need it to stop somehow,” Arsenius told the BBC. “It is very frustrating.”
Booking.com said it has apologised to those affected and removed the listing.
People had booked accommodation which listed the address as a flat in Greenwich. She said it seemed the street’s postcode had been used for the bookings on the travel website, and her house was beneath the pin drop.
Arsenius had to make up beds in her living room for three women from Argentina after they were unable to find suitable accommodation that night.
The students turned up at the family’s home at 8pm on 27 May, and Arsenius’s partner took them to the pub to try to resolve the matter with the online booking site. By midnight, they had not found somewhere to stay, which she described as “shocking”.
“They had nowhere to go and we tried all the local hotels but everything was booked out,” Arsenius told the BBC.
She added: “There was nothing free so in the end we said ‘we’re not comfortable with just letting you go out in the night so let’s just make up some beds in the living room and you can just stay here’.
“But it shouldn’t ever have got that far. It should have been taken care of, even if Booking.com is put out.”
Sabrina Salomé Schneider, 31, told the BBC it was a “nightmare” turning up at the family’s home to find out it was not the correct accommodation.
“The family tried to help us, but we are still waiting for money from Booking.com as we still have to spend money to find new accommodation”, Schneider said.
“They’re a big corporation. They should be able to afford putting a few people up.”
A spokesperson for Booking.com said “scams are a battle many industries are facing against unscrupulous fraudsters” and that it was tackling [them] head on.
In a statement to the BBC, the company added: “We have a number of robust security measures in place, but in the very rare instance there may be an issue with a specific property we always investigate immediately.
“We can confirm this property has been completely removed from our site and all customers affected were contacted by a member of our customer service team to apologise and offer any support required in relation to refunds, relocations and additional fees, and we of course extend our sincere apologies to the homeowner.”