Superhost and Fellow Airbnb User Throws in the Towel

I was one of Airbnb’s greatest fans. I loved the service. I was both a Superhost and a regular traveler. I could not believe it when a last minute cancellation caused Airbnb to leave me stranded with my young children in a foreign city without any assistance. First, the case manager was unable to make outgoing calls. So, all she did was periodically send emails apologizing for all the trouble. In the meantime, I was on my own with my children waiting for an alternate reservation. It was like living through a bad dream all day long. Finally, I had to find my own hotel and paid a lot more than I was planning for a last minute reservation.

Airbnb will not do anything for you if you get into trouble with finding accommodation. All they do, at best, is reimburse you. By that point it’s too late to do anything. What you need is accommodation. They truly do not care about you or anyone else. Considering the fees they charge for bookings, they are pocketing all of the money and doing very little for those fees. I would not have believed it until it happened to me. As a result, I took my listing off Airbnb. There is no way I was going to take a chance that someone would trash my place. Now I knew Airbnb would do nothing to compensate me if something went wrong. I will not be fooled twice. I was stranded and they did not even help me get a hotel room. If someone trashed my place, I knew I would be on my own as well. This company cannot possibly last because eventually, something horrible will happen to all Airbnb users.

Host Canceled One Week Before Halloween Trip

We booked our vacation to New Orleans four months in advance through Airbnb. It was for Halloween, the second busiest time of the year after Mardi Gras. About two weeks before our flight and week-long vacation, I contacted the host about our arrival, getting the keys, etc. He never responded. His profile had been altered and he had no contact number. I did finally find his old number from an archived email and texted him. He said he was no longer a host for Airbnb and now lived in Texas. He claimed his profile had been taken down, but it was still up. Neither the host nor Airbnb had informed me of this. So, here my wife and I were, without accommodation, and almost all the hotels were booked up… a very stressful place to be right before your supposedly relaxing vacation.

Apparently, Airbnb hosts can just cancel on a whim with no financial consequences to them, but if you as a guest cancel, your penalties may vary from 50%-100% of your deposit depending on the terms to which you agreed. When I contacted Airbnb customer service, their response was apathetic and unhelpful; they just sent me about five links to other Airbnb properties that I could spend the better part of the next week frantically trying to contact on my own. What would guarantee any of these hosts from also canceling? Their response was that Airbnb is just a “Third Party Community Platform” that “brings people together” and they’re not responsible. I responded that this is the equivalent of me buying my plane ticket on Expedia, the airline not honoring my purchase, and Expedia simply denying responsibility since they “are just a third party that brings people together.” It’s pathetic.

In any case, I informed Airbnb that this is an appalling way to run a business. This would be the first and last time I would ever use their service and would be shutting my profile down. They never responded. Luckily, I was able to book a motel on Booking.com where our reservation would be Guaranteed. Truth be told, I never saw any big difference in price between Airbnb and their traditional hotel competition (at least not in NOLA).

Remember: your Airbnb host can cancel on you at any time for any reason. Planning your Honeymoon to Paris three months in advance at peak season? Watch out. I know lots of people have had great experiences with Airbnb, but the real test of a great company is how they handle problems and stand behind their customers, not when things go smoothly (which has nothing to do with Airbnb anyway – the host turned out to be good). So essentially, they take your money in service fees, but if things go wrong in any way, you’re on your own.

Chilean ID isn’t Enough to use Airbnb in Chile?

I have used Airbnb many times before, but now I am surprised to see that they have asked for ID verification. After supplying images of both my government ID and Chilean driver’s license, the site said that these types of documents are not valid in their system… after they specifically asked for them. I am residing in Chile and looking for an Airbnb rental in Chile. Why wouldn’t they accept a Chilean ID? This brings me into a neverending loop where I cannot book anything, making Airbnb in Chile unfeasible. I might as well permanently stop using Airbnb, since I can’t reserve anything. Add to that, there’s no real way of contacting anybody to get this fixed. What a slap to the face for customers.

Airbnb Hosts Can Cancel Reservations Without Cause

We made reservations with a host in Amsterdam in September 2016, but our host cancelled our reservations in April 2017 without any reason other than Airbnb’s Amsterdam agreement to limit the number of nights hosts can rent out their apartments to 60 days per calendar year. Why would you make reservations ten months in advance, purchase airline tickets and foreign currency with no confirmed lodging in place? That is the question we’re asking Airbnb to answer for us. If any host can cancel your reservations, why even reserve with Airbnb?

Now we are out $2600 for airline tickets because we refuse to settle for lesser accommodations. The ones we booked were listed by a “super host”. A super host listing doesn’t mean anything to us because we no longer trust the Airbnb business model or platform to uphold a confirmed reservation. This was our first time booking through Airbnb and we can honestly say that we will never trust Airbnb or any similar entity that rent out vacation properties in this manner. I’m looking to join a class-action lawsuit with other Airbnb guests that have been inconvenienced for the convenience of an Airbnb host. This practice is not fair or ethical by any means.

Airbnb is Collecting my Taxes and Not Paying Them

I was surprised to see a letter from The Department of Revenue of Pennsylvania only to open it and find out Airbnb has not paid the occupancy taxes. However, they have been collecting the money from my guests for over 16 months. They state of Pennsylvania is looking for the last five quarters of taxes from me now. I called to discuss the matter with them because the website is a nightmare and impossible to navigate. I have now called five different times on different days and have been stuck on hold every time for a minimum of 25 minutes and maximum of 50 minutes before I give up or have to end the call. To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I have nowhere to turn… except to stay on hold to pray someone answers. You would think if they make these payments you would be copied in on the paperwork in some form or fashion. At bare minimum, on your account page there should be a way to search for these payments or have their records available to you. If anyone can point me in the right direction or would like to share a similar story please feel free to do so.

Airbnb Hides Whenever There Are Problems – No Service At All!

In the middle of a trip through Indonesia I booked a stay in Bali. In the communication with the host we came to an agreement that it would be more convenient for both of us to stay somewhere else. That was no problem, and there were no bad feelings about it. I booked another stay for the same date. The problem I have now is that Airbnb already took the whole payment for the now-cancelled booking from my bank account. I tried to contact them on their dubious help center. There is no option in the pre-selected answers that fits my needs. After calling their telephone hotline I waited for 45 minutes without someone picking up the phone until my account was emptied. Now Airbnb is completely silent without any response. How can they charge two bookings for the same dates anyway? Do they think I split in half and stay at two places at the same time? This platform seems handy if everything goes smoothly. When there are problems, especially if the problem is caused by Airbnb itself, it is nearly impossible to get into contact with someone from Airbnb. This looks very strange to me when you consider the high sums they charge for their “service”. There is no service!

Airbnb Refund Hell: Designed to be Complicated?

Airbnb has no mechanism for dealing with outright reservation mistakes. I inadvertently clicked on the book button when I just wanted to see how much a stay was going to be. It took several days before a refund could even be considered because the steps to initiate a refund is kept in a deep, dark hole accessed through a maze of misinformation and platitudes. There is no easy 24-hour buyer’s remorse option which should be standard for cases like mine. To initiate a refund, you have to get out of the main website and go to a resolution site. The steps initially shown for refunds are misleading. It is not as easy as it sounds; you do not get all of your money back.

The whole refund process is extremely stressful because Airbnb does not make it easy, period. I had to contact the poor, unsuspecting host and tell them I made a mistake and didn’t mean to book at the time. I’m lucky the host was sympathetic and you will need yours to be, if ever you make the same mistake I did. Why? Because Airbnb will ask them to advance half the refund amount. Who does that? Who would advance a substantial amount of money on behalf of someone they don’t know? Apparently, 100% of the money that I paid first goes to Airbnb. Airbnb did refund me 50% of what I paid right away, less the booking fee. As for the remaining 50%, they absolutely have to keep this money for 60 days for reasons unknown before they release it to the host.

If Airbnb has my money, why can’t they just refund me? Why do they even have to involve the host who doesn’t have any of my money and who hasn’t been involved in the whole process? Why even release the money to the host 60 days after the fact when they already know that the booking was made by mistake? There is a lot that can be done to make this whole process easier but I believe Airbnb set out to make the whole refund process complicated. It’s like Airbnb is hoping that people just walk away in frustration and forget about getting their money back. That way they get to keep it all. Even if it’s not intentional, this unwieldy way of getting refunded one’s money is shameful of a big, extremely profitable company.

Airbnb Took $2,000 from my Debit Card without my Authorization

Airbnb has some of the most clever travel scammers online that have ever existed. I decided to surf the vacations options for the summer using Airbnb (my first big mistake). I forgot that about a year ago in order to set up my account, I provided a payment method, which was my debit card (the biggest mistake). So, while trying to make a reservation, I desperately tried to check where my payment information was stored, and I couldn’t find it: not in my profile settings, and not anywhere else. Being an IT professional, I clicked each and every available option. Then, when clicking the “reserve” button for the reservation, I was expecting to see what every consumer is supposed to see: a message confirming that a certain credit or debit card will be charged for such an amount for the vacation…right?

I was never informed that Airbnb would be charging me the entire vacation price up front. The next thing I realized they took over $2000 from my debit card causing me to lose lots of money in the form of bank fees. I don’t even want to start on how many resolution tickets I had to open with Airbnb and how much of a genius one has to be to actually find a way to contact Airbnb. You can find plenty of those stories here already.

I was lucky enough to speak with Airbnb on the phone twice where customer service is no more helpful than the sun in the middle of February. They just politely act like messengers who will “make sure to escalate your matter ASAP” with promises of a big guy with the awesome authority to get back to you within two days and resolve all of your issues. This never happens. Escalation through online resolution tickets is even more fun. You’d have to be Einstein to find a way to open one, then when you do you will be blessed to get their response via email in a week or so. The best part is the email rep is prompting you to reply back directly if you have further questions or need help. So, when you naively do it you will immediately get a message that your email is undeliverable.

Here is my question to Airbnb Hell readers: how many stories do you need to be posted here before bringing Airbnb to court? I think there are plenty already. It’s time to act.

Airbnb is Losing their Business to Scammers

My family had an upcoming trip to London. I booked a place from a verified host, who had 25 positive reviews for his property. Less than a week before our arrival, my host sent me a message that the apartment I booked was no longer available. He suggested I stay in another apartment of his. According to the calendar, the apartment would not be available for part of our stay. The host is not answering my messages or phone calls. I’ve been calling Airbnb for three days straight. Each time they assure me that my case has “high priority” and their trip team will be in touch with me shortly. Nobody ever called me back. Today I’ve been told that they are busy helping people, who are right now standing on the street without a place to sleep; that’s why I should wait. I probably should, until my family is on the streets of London without accommodations. The customer service representative suggested I look for a new place and tried to contact my host, but he could issue a refund only after 24 hours. I asked him to help me find a reliable host with a real property, because at least 60% of Airbnb listings in London are fakes used for scams; he assured me that Airbnb is vetting all its listings. I used to love Airbnb, but it seems they are losing the game to scammers. Airbnb definitely needs a stronger security team and they need to handle situations like mine before people are on the street with no place to stay, not postpone until the last 24 hours.

Airbnb Host Cancelled Ten Minutes before Arrival

We were on our way to the Soho apartment we rented after a nightmarish morning of driving two hours (opposite side of the road of course, very stressful), and a broken down commuter train. We were in constant contact with the host to let him know our progress, and always received a “no problem” or “no rush” reply. Finally, in a taxi ten minutes away, I got a host cancellation notice from Airbnb. I arrived at the apartment to find a sheepish host saying he’d just arrived at the apartment to find his flatmate hadn’t cleaned out some moving boxes and apartment was not suitable for guest. He wouldn’t even let us see the place. This was in the afternoon; there was plenty of time to have it cleaned. Airbnb’s response was to email seven or eight alternatives and let us look through them and decide… on a noisy London street on my mobile phone with no idea where these other places were while we were exhausted and furious. We were lucky to find a hotel. Then I found out I couldn’t leave a review for this jerk. They simply put an automatic “host canceled ” notice with no information about how horrible the experience was. They say they deducted payment from his next transaction, which only means he makes a little less money next time, but more importantly it means Airbnb makes money off bad hosts. Who comes up with these stupid rules?