Host Requires Direct Deposit for Confirmed Reservation

I have been traveling in New Zealand and using Airbnb. I have used Airbnb in the US, Europe and now New Zealand. Until now I have had good experiences with all my hosts, until I stayed with Richard in Rotorua. I made reservations through Airbnb and they were accepted by the host. On the day we were to arrive we texted to let him know what time we would come. He called back and told us that he had rented the property to someone else (seven people instead of two) who had paid a deposit into his bank account. To confirm, we called a second number given on Airbnb and talked to someone who said it was “no problem”: we should show up at the address and he would send someone with the key. When we arrived we found the seven other people had arrived five minutes before us and they had already been given the key. We then had to scramble to find a new place to stay at an inflated price. The people we talked to had strong Chinese accents and poor English, so it was very difficult to understand them. The only thing I can figure is to reserve with Richard you need to wire money directly to his bank account and not assume that the Airbnb reservation confirmation is real. I have never had this issue before and it was not evident from the Airbnb website or emails that there was an issue with the reservation or an additional deposit was required outside the Airbnb system. I have seen deposits required before but always paid what the Airbnb site charged, got my reservation confirmation, and had no further significant issues. After several attempted phone calls to Airbnb at +1 855 424 7262 I finally got through to a “Case Manager” at Airbnb who said they would refund our rental charges. I’m waiting for their final response to see if we should join Airbnb Hell’s class action lawsuit.

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