I booked a holiday home in Lancashire to attend a wedding - I later found out it had been sold years earlier

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He was forced to spend an additional £150 on a last minute hotel.

A wedding guest was shocked to discover the accommodation they had booked had been sold two years earlier.

John Yates, 46, had paid £105 for a one-night stay at a private home in Clitheroe advertised on Booking.com as a "large family house".

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He booked the property on May 14 - just four days before he was due to stay after attending a friend's wedding nearby on May 18.

John Yates paid £105 for a one-night stay at a private home in Clitheroe advertised on Booking.com (Credit: John Yates / SWNS)John Yates paid £105 for a one-night stay at a private home in Clitheroe advertised on Booking.com (Credit: John Yates / SWNS)
John Yates paid £105 for a one-night stay at a private home in Clitheroe advertised on Booking.com (Credit: John Yates / SWNS) | John Yates / SWNS

However, when he called the owner a couple of days before to check arrangements, John was told the property had been sold two years earlier.

He was then forced to spend an additional £150 on a last minute hotel - and claims he's still awaiting a refund for the non-existent booking.

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John, who works for Sainsbury's and lives in Darwin near Blackburn, said: "I rang the gentleman a couple days before and he said he’d sold the property two years ago.

"The owner says he keeps ringing Booking.com but they won’t take it off [the site]."

John had intended to stay at the residence with his girlfriend, Katherine Fearnhead, 46, who is a dementia nurse.

"She was panicking," he said.

"I had to pay for another hotel last minute."

John says he forked out £150 for a late booking at the Foxfields Country Hotel, in Clitheroe, and claims he's yet to receive a refund for the £105 he spent on the house.

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When booking, John had failed to notice a string of poor online reviews.

The six reviews on the property - left between December 2022 and July 2023 - all gave a one-star rating.

John claims he's yet to receive a refund for the £105 he spent on the house (Credit: John Yates / SWNS)John claims he's yet to receive a refund for the £105 he spent on the house (Credit: John Yates / SWNS)
John claims he's yet to receive a refund for the £105 he spent on the house (Credit: John Yates / SWNS) | John Yates / SWNS

In them, the property was described as a rat's nest, mouldy and filthy with “sticky messes” on the mattresses.

“I didn’t see the reviews, it would have changed my mind," John said, adding: "If I had turned up, I would have been in a right mess."

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John said he had been blasé about his research because he knew the pair would not be spending much time at the property.

He said: “It was a good price for the two of us and we would be out until two in the morning anyway."

One Booking.com review left by a user also called John, on 20 July 2023, said they had turned up at the property to find a family living there.

Though he described the wedding at nearby Hobbit Hill as "a brilliant time", John says he would always check his accommodation reviews in future.

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He said: “Normally I do check the reviews and always will do in future.”

A spokesperson for Booking.com said: "Accommodation providers are able to manage their room availability via our online system, and are responsible for ensuring all information is up to date, and while we investigate further we have suspended reservations at this property."

Attempts have been made to contact the owner of the Booking.com property.

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