For example, if I'm a hairstylist and I want to provide my users with an ability to schedule an appointment with me online, outside of using a text verification code, is there any way of preventing people from booking multiple slots?

The idea is that if a Hairstylist A provides online booking and Hairstylist B wants to ensure B get all the business. So they go online to Hairstylist A's online form and books all the appointments so that to clients it appears Hairstylist A is unavailable, leaving Hairstylist B to get all the clients.

Are they any UX practices outside of HoneyPot Captcha or text verification codes to prevent people (or bots) from booking appointments superfluously?

  • No way to be 100% sure the bad guy don't use bot, fake facebook accounts... Maybe best way is to charge something on credit card for appointments.
    – ColdCat
    May 22, 2016 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


You could require a booking approval process, where the user selects their time slot, then waits for booking confirmation from Hairstylist A. Before confirming, Hairstylist A could use their own judgement in deciding if the request is phony or not.

If a simple user registration is not out of the question for this scenario, you could require login to where you could limit the number of appointments any one user can book. Identify the user via email address and/or phone number and/or some other unique means, and then keep track of if that unique user has reached their limit.

One thing I have seen medical practices do is to charge a fee if the customer does not show up. This works best if billing information is already disclosed. People take these kinds of appoints a bit more seriously when money is on the line. Whether or not this would be a hinderance to your clients is something to consider.

With any process there are pros, cons and potential ways for abuse. Generally these types of decisions are not about how to completely eliminate abuse, but more about how to reduce the likelihood of it occurring. Any solution you put in place someone likely will find a way around it at some point. You just have to ask yourself how much effort you want to put into prevention.

One important thing to ballance is to not make it too inconvenient for honest customers to use your system, due to complicating the process with steps taken to curb the potential cases of abuse. (For some reason DRM comes to mind when thinking about this concept)

  • Additionally, I would suggest looking into how 3rd party solutions that provide appointment booking as a service handle this type of thing. Since it's their business, there are likely some additional things they are doing that you might be able to apply the same concepts to what you are trying to accomplish. May 21, 2016 at 7:00

One of the way you could allow booking to your users is by authenticating them from facebook accounts. Also maybe limit booking from 1 account for max two slots, so that its not being misused.

Another way could be Phone (OTP authentication) verification with slot booking limits.

For Customers wanting to book more slots you could provide them a simple contact form to get in touch with you bypassing the booking system. ( I guess this would be mostly when someone would like to book your services for a complete day or so, In that case I would like to treat them as a special customer)

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