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.

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.

Scam Alert in Atlanta: Beware Hosts Telling you to Cancel

I was planning a trip to Atlanta from Australia in October last year for one month. I found a place to stay (the listing has since been removed). The host, Valerio, advised he would be able to accommodate the one month’s stay and I paid the 2800 AUD fee. A few weeks later, Valerio contacted me and advised that I would no longer be able to stay and would have to cancel. I checked the cancellation terms (make sure you do this before any cancellation). It was a strict cancellation policy, which meant the host would get to keep the full $2800. I advised the host of this who said that he had called Airbnb and they had “told him” I’d be fully refunded.

I didn’t trust him and after a while searching online I was able to locate a contact number. Airbnb Customer Service advised me that I would not get refunded if I were to cancel and I needed to tell the host to cancel the reservation to get my money back. I repeated this to the host, who denied everything and said that this was incorrect. I still refused to cancel and contacted customer service again. This time they went into my account and pulled the chat history between us. They also messaged the user that I would lose all my money. He attempted one more time to get me to cancel, saying it would affect his rating and he would wire transfer the money back… I don’t think so…

Eventually he relented and cancelled the reservation from his end. How do I know this is a scam? A week later the apartment was listed as “available” again and my friend went ahead and tried booking it as we still hadn’t found other accommodations yet. The host waited a week and tried to pull the same thing, saying: “Oh, you need to cancel from your end.” He knows at this point (I’m sure he knew before) that if a guest is to cancel she will lose all her money. Again he said “I contacted customer support and they said you would be fully refunded.” Try again buddy.

She convinced him to cancel from his end. The listing disappeared and a few days later it was back up for the exact dates we needed. If you are to cancel yourself you cannot leave a review to tell people what the user is doing as an automatic “This booking was cancelled by the guest” appears under the listing so you have no way of letting anyone know. Be wary when cancelling and check the cancellation policy beforehand.

Serious Injury and Unable to Travel, Ignored by Airbnb

I had an accident and was seriously injured in February. On March 11th I advised a host  that we would need to cancel our trip planned for April 29th. I provided a medical note supporting our claim. I also asked for a full refund as I qualified for a refund under extenuating circumstances. The host ignored my emails and refunded only 50% of my payment; he didn’t even bother to respond. I asked Airbnb to get involved and support my request. I have heard nothing so far. As a result of my injury I will be operated upon soon and my recovery may take up to eight months. I gather Airbnb doesn’t care to comply with their own policies. I am still hoping to get a refund. This is one disappointed client.

Airbnb Nightmare in Paris Leaves Guest Struggling

This was the worst Airbnb experience I ever had. I had booked a room at Catherine’s Hostel from February 27th to March 13th and from March 21st to April 1st. The first week everything was fine; I had a single bathroom which was quite fine and so forth. However, a few weeks before March 13th Catherine told me I couldn’t stay in her flat any longer because she had too many guests and there was no room left for me. She wanted to arrange another hostel on Airbnb for me, but the room was located in the 19th arrondissement, which is quite dangerous for someone who’s new to Paris. Even my local friends suggested I not stay there.

I’ve told her this whole situation is unacceptable: after all, I booked the room prior to my arrival and confirmed it before I came to Paris. Now I’m here but I’m not allowed to have a room? This is completely unreasonable. I told her I can’t accept how she dealt with this situation; she took a strong stand against me saying I couldn’t stay at her place, even if I had made a reservation. She said she would give me a full refund if I couldn’t deal with the change. I asked her to do so and found myself another place to stay. I was supposed to receive a refund of at least €300, but for some unknown reason in the end I got €255. I didn’t argue with her because I didn’t want to ruin my holiday mood. If you’re not fond of unanticipated situations in your travelers, I suggest you avoid this Airbnb in case of any trouble.

Miami Airbnb Nightmare: No Refunds Allowed

I was trying to arrange the trip of my life with my sisters and a friend. We are all mums and have busy lives and very little time for ourselves, so this was going to be our trip. I booked with this woman, Gigi, for a twelve-night stay. Before the trip (I live in Switzerland) I contacted her and told her that my sister could go to see the place. If she was okay with that, she could give her the keys at that time. She said she had to hand me the keys in person so I said that was okay. I also told her I would be arriving at the apartment about 8:30-9:00 PM on February 1st, which we did.

At 9:00 PM, we were outside the house and she was not answering the phone. After a while, she appeared but didn’t want to be seen (she was going to get in the car and go shopping). I recognised her from the picture and approached her, asking if she was Gigi. Her husband or boyfriend was also there but he was in the car. He knew we were the guests because he heard us talking about her before she appeared, and were the only ones with baggage at almost 10:00 PM. She reluctantly told us that she needed more time to get the apartment ready so we would have to wait in the lobby; she needed to get some pans and pots from the shop.

After fourteen hours of traveling you don’t want to wait anywhere; we just wanted to get inside, relax after this trip, and settle in. Because I told her we didn’t want to wait at reception she started to make a fuss about it and started talking to her boyfriend in Spanish that we didn’t want to wait. I also speak Spanish so we understood what they were saying. After some time she got really upset and rude. She suggested that I cancel the reservation, but I told her I wanted to have my money back. She only said that it had to be done through Airbnb.

I tried to reach Airbnb customer service that night, which was impossible. Therefore I had to deal with her first and then I had to fill out the forms in the help centre on Airbnb. That night we had to book a hotel at the last minute in which we stayed two nights. We had to pay almost $500 on top of the 1500 Swiss francs I had already paid. A few days later I received an email from someone at customer service claiming to “totally understand my situation and my frustration”. She generously wanted to give me a $200 coupon for another booking. I wrote her back and received an automated email that said that the case was closed. Still, there was no money in my account. I kept filling our the refund form until I got $562 back, but i paid 1500. I kept trying to contact Airbnb and finally got through to customer service. They wrote this:

Hi Marcela,

It’s Sarah here from Airbnb, thank you for taking my call. Marcela, I can confirm that you will not be entitled to any further refund from your cancelled booking with Gigi. When you cancelled the reservation, your host’s strict cancellation policy was applied. Outside of this policy, your host sent you a refund of CHF562 which she did not need to do. We have already explained to you that to be considered for a full refund under our Guest Refund Policy you would have had to contact us within 24 hours of check-in, provide documentation of the issue, not to have caused the issue and used reasonable efforts to remedy the situation with the host prior to making a claim. I am sorry that things did not work out for you on this occasion and I hope that you understand that these situations are very rare.

Kind regards,

Sarah

I couldn’t check in: Gigi never let me. I did try to contact customer service. I did everything I was supposed to do – even arrived on the premises on time – and I get punished and robbed? Is this normal? Is this how companies treat their customers? Where is the decency and where are the company values? People just want to screw people over and no one cares? If I wanted more I could tell Gigi that she should have paid for my hotel expenses. The apartment was not ready upon our arrival and it was not my fault. Why should I have to pay?

After Host Cancelled, Customer Service Stalls Giving Refund

After hearing a lot about Airbnb, I decided to make a reservation. I booked a home in Loma Linda, Ca, confirmed with the host, and paid the rent. About a week later, Airbnb told me the host had cancelled, and offered a refund. I should have grabbed it then, but I was stunned about the cancellation. A few hours later they told me they would contact the host if I was still interested in staying there for the dates I had booked. I said yes. I also contacted the host, who told me she had never cancelled the reservation, but Airbnb had inadvertently cancelled it. I emailed Airbnb again, asking for some type of confirmation of my “renewed” reservation. Well, needless to say, this went on for some time, in which I kept emailing, and getting very delayed replies (2-3 days later) saying that they still had not been able to contact the host and confirm availability. Two different stories were floating around.

I finally decided to give up, and call and ask for my money back. If you like elevator music, you can enjoy sitting on hold for 30 minutes or longer with Airbnb customer service, listening to their selection. Then a representative came on, sounding like he’d just woken up. He was absolutely no help whatsoever, telling me that my case had been “escalated” to a level that he could not interfere with. I just finally got a confirmation of my cancellation, and hopefully will see a complete refund in the next five business days. However, I will never use this service again. VRBO is far better, in my humble opinion.

Airbnb Customer Service Can’t Decide What To Do

My family and I tried to book a house through Airbnb for a vacation together. I found the house on my account and my sister-in-law logged in to pay for it. Airbnb would not authorize the payment, and kept sending emails saying our reservation would be cancelled if we did not resolve it. We tried to resolve it with customer service but they could not help us. We spoke with the host and we decided to cancel and book through a different account in order to make sure our reservation was not in jeopardy. After cancelling Airbnb told me that I had an outstanding service fee charge for cancelling. I have yet to talk to an actual person through customer service who can actually help me. We should not have to pay two service fees for the same booking. All of the sudden they charged my sister-in-law’s card for the service fee today. Now Airbnb can charge the card for a service fee but when we tried to use it for our booking we were unable to. It’s ridiculous. I’m still trying to talk to someone with authority but we are beyond mad. Any suggestions or help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

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?