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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Heads up: Albergue scam?

montyhiker

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April/May 2024
I’ve gotten 2 separate emails over the past week supposedly from the Albergue I’ve made my reservation from in Pamplona. I’ve sent a confirmation request to the Albergue in a separate email from an email address I found from the actual Albergue. It confirmed my reservation and everything was fine. However, I just received another stating my reservation was cancelled. I’m smart enough to know not to reply to the emails in question, but to check with the actual Albergue. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this. I don’t want to show up at my Albergue, where I’ve reserved with a credit card, just to be told my reservation really WAS cancelled. Thanks for the input.
 
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There are multiple reports of scammers cloning Booking.con. See here https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/scam-booking-com.84954/ and elsewhere.

Best to contact the Albergue directly by email or 'phone.
I failed to mention: none of these emails looked to be from “Booking.con”. They looked like they were from the Albergue themselves, and not speaking the language, was concerned at first. I agree—check with the Albergue directly using an email you KNOW to be legitimate. Just wondering if others had the same experience.
 
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Spoofing a single albergue website has to be easier than compromising Booking.com. I suggest you go to www.Gronze.es, find the direct phone number and call them directly to confirm. If you don't speak conversational Spanish, find someone who can.

You can also try to e-mail direct the the e-mail address found on Gronze. But calling direct is better.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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I am super-wary too about these things. Does it provide a link to reply too? (very scammy if it does).

I use Microsoft Outlook but still have a Gmail account - if I look at a mail there it shows the email address that it came from - have you tried that?

Then - what about sending the email address it came in on to the refugio and asking if it is their address?
 
Booking.com was not involved at all. I contacted the Albergue directly by email.
@montyhiker, thank you for this additional information.

There is a known current scam where imposters are able to gain access to the computers of albergues and other hospitality establishments and who convincingly send falsified emails with criminal intent to steal money from their future guests but this involves bookings made via the Booking.com platform.

So this is not the case here.

I don't recall having read about cases as you describe it. Thank you for sharing and for alerting others to such attempted fraud. Buen Camino!
 
I’ve gotten 2 separate emails over the past week supposedly from the Albergue I’ve made my reservation from in Pamplona. I’ve sent a confirmation request to the Albergue in a separate email from an email address I found from the actual Albergue. It confirmed my reservation and everything was fine. However, I just received another stating my reservation was cancelled. I’m smart enough to know not to reply to the emails in question, but to check with the actual Albergue. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this. I don’t want to show up at my Albergue, where I’ve reserved with a credit card, just to be told my reservation really WAS cancelled. Thanks for the input.
Bookings has been hacked and their files are being used to get personal and financial info from users. They are doing this by sending out emails that say your reservation is cancelled or rebooked at a higher rate. Always check directly with the lodging to determythe voracity of the email. Never click on the link provided in the bogus email. One way to determine the validity of an email is to click on the senders name at the top of the email. That will identify the actual email address of the sender. Hope this is helpful.
 
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UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
 
UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
That is not cool. Sorry for your trouble. At least you discovered the problem in enough time to fix it.
 
Booking.com was not involved at all. I contacted the Albergue directly by email.
I spent 2 months on Greek Islands in 2019 and after covid so booked about 60 hotels and had no problems because I booked directly via booking.com (generally the no pay up front option) and the service is fairly foolproof re scams as you are immediately put in conversation with the hotel manager VIA the booking.com system (not the general email world).

Hotels don't like booking.com as they lose 15% but there is no reason for the tourist not to use the system
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
One can only hope it's an overbooking mistake, not a deliberate cancellation of your booking. Glad you got it sorted in time though.
 
I’ve gotten 2 separate emails over the past week supposedly from the Albergue I’ve made my reservation from in Pamplona. I’ve sent a confirmation request to the Albergue in a separate email from an email address I found from the actual Albergue. It confirmed my reservation and everything was fine. However, I just received another stating my reservation was cancelled. I’m smart enough to know not to reply to the emails in question, but to check with the actual Albergue. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this. I don’t want to show up at my Albergue, where I’ve reserved with a credit card, just to be told my reservation really WAS cancelled. Thanks for the input.
No, I've not experienced this - walking April/May 24.
 
UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
I am afraid you got what the hoteliers call "the bump" from the hotel and the lesson to learn as you say (and I say above) is to USE booking.com because as we see by looking at your hotel reservation date on booking.com it DID become fully booked for your date but booking.com (and all the others like Trivago) had access to the booking platform for Albergue Plaza Catedral and there were people wanting to book (at 15% to booking.com) so before your hotel could CLOSE the external bookings YOU got bounced.

So unfortunately as I say above you need to "get with the strength" and make your booking VIA booking.com whereby not only are you confirmed but also your credit card details are not out there for all hackers to see.

This has not changed since the Knights Templar set up in the "protection business" way back then on the Jeruselem pilgrim path - it's just business
 
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UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
REFLECTION: after digesting what happened over a night of sleep, I woke up and was actually disappointed in MYSELF. I let a single incident cloud what I hope to be a Camino lesson: things happen and I need to go with the flow, chill-out & relax. Things happen for a reason. This will be my first Camino and I acted like a dang Tourist who shows up at a 4-star restaurant at a resort and freaks when the restaurant loses his reservation. Maybe the Camino is ALREADY teaching me something. Anyway, I appreciate all the supportive reactions I received from all of you.
Pamplona is a big city and I have plenty of time to find another Albergue. Funny thing is: I was only reserving up through Pamplona anyway; the rest of the way will be by the seat of my pants. This was a good lesson for me. The Camino’s already doing its magic! Buen Camino!
 
REFLECTION: after digesting what happened over a night of sleep, I woke up and was actually disappointed in MYSELF. I let a single incident cloud what I hope to be a Camino lesson: things happen and I need to go with the flow, chill-out & relax. Things happen for a reason. This will be my first Camino and I acted like a dang Tourist who shows up at a 4-star restaurant at a resort and freaks when the restaurant loses his reservation. Maybe the Camino is ALREADY teaching me something. Anyway, I appreciate all the supportive reactions I received from all of you.
Pamplona is a big city and I have plenty of time to find another Albergue. Funny thing is: I was only reserving up through Pamplona anyway; the rest of the way will be by the seat of my pants. This was a good lesson for me. The Camino’s already doing its magic! Buen Camino!
Congratulations you are learning very quickly about being smart and and not panicking when up against "the system" that simply says you can talk to God as you wish but we are going to fleece you all along the way.

But being smart is not simply seat of pants but as I say above sit down for a few hours at a laptop and a spreadsheet and book your entire trip with booking.com but with the 1 day cancellation filter on (which most hotels use anyway) and then you have a fallback with no obligation or expense on your part, free to cancel and book something else as the tide takes you (remember covid?) and remembering that if a town is not fully booked 24 hours out the booking.com (and laterooms.com) price will drop like a rock.

In other words KNOW the system and PLAY it on YOUR terms and if all else fails you ARE in Knights Templar country so give them a bell! - Bon Camino (we did French at school, not Spanish)
 
UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨
Call back and ask them to recommend nearby alternatives. Locate these places on a map. Then exercise due diligence.

Repeat as needed.

Hope this helps,

Tom
 
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Congratulations you are learning very quickly about being smart and and not panicking when up against "the system" that simply says you can talk to God as you wish but we are going to fleece you all along the way.

But being smart is not simply seat of pants but as I say above sit down for a few hours at a laptop and a spreadsheet and book your entire trip with booking.com but with the 1 day cancellation filter on (which most hotels use anyway) and then you have a fallback with no obligation or expense on your part, free to cancel and book something else as the tide takes you (remember covid?) and remembering that if a town is not fully booked 24 hours out the booking.com (and laterooms.com) price will drop like a rock.

In other words KNOW the system and PLAY it on YOUR terms and if all else fails you ARE in Knights Templar country so give them a bell! - Bon Camino (we did French at school, not Spanish)
To each, his own.
 
for 1 person on April 27th
First of all, thank you again for your feedback and follow-up. Feedback is always helpful for future pilgrims.

I am sorry to read that you had to experience this mishap, it does sound as if they muddled up things but we will never know and there is no point in speculating and hypothesising. From what I observed on this forum and in my own experience on the Camino de Santiago, this kind of annulation is rather rare but at least it was not short-term.

Just a bit of general info: please be aware that April 27th is a Saturday this year and that Pamplona is a popular destination for all kinds of travellers. Weekends tend to see high demand for beds in Pamplona.

I see that you are already familiar with Gronze.com. The overwhelming majority of accommodation in Pamplona is bookable, and in the lower price range it is often oriented towards pilgrims but not exclusively for pilgrims.

Buen Camino!
 
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I noticed that the Plaza Catedral albergue in Pamplona has their own booking system on their website. It has a calendar that shows whether a dormitory room currently has availability, or whether only the last few beds are left or whether it is fully booked. For entertainment, click through their booking calendar from April to September. I think it gives already a good idea of how busy it will be, or when it will be particularly busy in Pamplona, in 2024. 😊
 
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I noticed that the Plaza Catedral albergue in Pamplona has their own booking system on their website. It has a calendar that shows whether a dormitory room currently has availability, or whether only the last few beds are left or whether it is fully booked. For entertainment, click through their booking calendar from April to September. I think it gives already a good idea of how busy it will be, or when it will be particularly busy in Pamplona, in 2024. 😊
Thanks for your input. I was able to immediately book a bed in the awesome-looking Casa Ibarrola Albergue very near where the other one was. It took 5 minutes, and I booked on the Albergue’s website. I paid €20 instead of €25 if I had gone through Booking.com
All is good in the Land of Oz. Good discussion, though. Buen Camino.
 
I’ve gotten 2 separate emails over the past week supposedly from the Albergue I’ve made my reservation from in Pamplona. I’ve sent a confirmation request to the Albergue in a separate email from an email address I found from the actual Albergue. It confirmed my reservation and everything was fine. However, I just received another stating my reservation was cancelled. I’m smart enough to know not to reply to the emails in question, but to check with the actual Albergue. Just wondering if anyone else has encountered this. I don’t want to show up at my Albergue, where I’ve reserved with a credit card, just to be told my reservation really WAS cancelled. Thanks for the input.
I know that in your case you've got email but generaly, before you book anything, copy paste the link of the site you are booking on to https://www.scamadviser.com/ and check if the site is legit and trustworthy.
 
Thanks for your input. I was able to immediately book a bed in the awesome-looking Casa Ibarrola Albergue very near where the other one was. It took 5 minutes, and I booked on the Albergue’s website. I paid €20 instead of €25 if I had gone through Booking.com
All is good in the Land of Oz. Good discussion, though. Buen Camino.
I am interested to know what you use for your PRIMARY search, ie before you get to booking.com etc? Like is it Bing, Google, Google Maps etc?
 
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I am interested to know what you use for your PRIMARY search, ie before you get to booking.com etc? Like is it Bing, Google, Google Maps etc?
My PRIMARY search? It was basically researching through what other pilgrims said and contacting through the Wise Pilgrim app. Then, if they had a website? I’d check there first and book a room. If I had to go through Booking.com, I might, but would prefer to book through the Albergue’s own website. Hope this helps. Buen Camino!
 
My PRIMARY search? It was basically researching through what other pilgrims said and contacting through the Wise Pilgrim app. Then, if they had a website? I’d check there first and book a room. If I had to go through Booking.com, I might, but would prefer to book through the Albergue’s own website. Hope this helps. Buen Camino!
Thanks for the info, I will check out wise pilgrim
 
UPDATE: After spending several hours today trying to verify whether or not I had a reservation and with the help of my son who teaches in Bogota, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish, we took some suggestions from my fellow Pilgrims and contacted the Albergue (but this time through Gronze). I was told the Albergue overbooked and cancelled my reservation. Let me just say: I know I’m a newbie Pilgrim, but I made this reservation at the beginning of January for 1 person on April 27th (over 3 months pre-notice), Albergue Plaza Catedral confirmed my reservation with a number and had me hold the reservation with a credit card. I confirmed again as recently as last week and was told “confirmado”.
I hope this isn’t common practice. I have a feeling that I got squeezed out by a big group who were willing to pay more.
Live and learn 🤨

This happened to me when I had booked a Hotel room for Pat and I in St Jean.
They even said it was because they had to fit in a tour group!
 
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