Hawke's Bay Today editor Craig Cooper bought U2 tickets and accommodation, and then found out this week he has nowhere to stay on Friday night


At 7pm on Wednesday night, I still hadn't found what I was looking for - somewhere to stay in Auckland on Friday after the U2 concert.

I wasn't quite facing sleeping on a street with no name.

But I had nowhere to stay after paying $190 for accommodation, and then losing the money and the room thanks to a booking site closing down.

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I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I wanted to tear down the walls that ... ok, that's being a bit dramatic. But I wasn't happy. And I felt bad.

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In June, like thousands of New Zealanders, I bought U2 tickets for the November 8 concert in Auckland. I then paid $190 - ouch - for one night at an apartment hotel.

I started online with Trivago and found the deal through a booking company called Amoma.

I told my friends about this. They canceled an existing booking, which was further from Auckland's CBD, and booked at the same apartment hotel through Amoma.

In September, Amoma announced they were closing down and that people like me should check they still had their accommodation bookings.

They emailed some people who had booked accommodation - not all. Not me.

U2 pictured during their 2010 360deg World Tour in Auckland. Photo / Wayne Drought
U2 pictured during their 2010 360deg World Tour in Auckland. Photo / Wayne Drought

The closure barely made headlines in New Zealand. I'm a news junkie and I missed it.

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And to be honest, I don't pay a lot of attention to which booking company I use, on the rare occasions I book accommodation online.

Anyway, Amoma now owes me $190 and I am wondering who else is in the same boat.

I also feel bad. My friends ended up losing money because I told them about my booking, and they switched their accommodation.

That was in June. This week they discovered what had happened when they were checking their accommodation details before travelling to Auckland.

Lucky they did. They let me know the news.

It felt like I was stuck in a moment I couldn't get out of, as I rang the apartment hotel.

For a few minutes, I was running to stand still - the apartment hotel had changed names, and I went back and forth between two accommodation operators before finding the right one.

"Sorry sir, your booking was cancelled in September.''

"But I didn't cancel it and I have paid for it,'' was my response.

"I'm sorry sir, I can't help you."

Thanks Amoma.

And by the way, your public statement you made after closing is an unfunny joke.

In it, Amoma blames the unscrupulous dealings of other booking operators for providing unjust competition that forced it to close. They make excuses.

But they don't mention that people who booked accommodation through Amoma have paid for something they no longer have, and have lost money.

Where is their pride?

There is some good news. One of our friends found somewhere for us to stay, through a relative. Which is great, because Auckland is pretty much booked out on Friday night.

Our friends' bank has been empathetic and is considering refunding the $500-plus they have lost (they booked a larger apartment than me, for four people for two nights).

I'll approach my bank too.

In some ways, I still haven't found what I am looking for - a refund.

But the world moves in mysterious ways, I'm hoping I get my money back and Friday is a beautiful day.