We made reservations for three days in Simon’s Town (near Cape Town), with plans to go shark diving. We also have two little kids, so it was fairly important that a particular location was large enough; we also wanted a pool for the kids. The reservation was made three months before the scheduled trip dates. Ten days before we were to depart for South Africa (from the United States), I received a message from the host that she didn’t realize the dates we selected were during the Easter weekend and that she had to cancel the reservation because they would be using the house. While we were able to find different accommodation, this was highly unprofessional. Airbnb also doesn’t allow you to leave feedback for a host that cancels a reservation; there is only an automated message that’s posted to their account. This is very frustrating because it doesn’t let you express your views of the host and thus there is little incentive for a host to think carefully before cancelling a reservation. I’ll think twice before using Airbnb again.
My partner and I had confirmed a reservation for a modest accommodation in Brentford. It was small; however, it suited our needs due to the location and all amenities. I had been in touch with the host, Gurneet, and we had spoken throughout my booking and afterwards. Gurneet asked yesterday if we’d be able to change our dates to April 31st to May 2nd rather than March 28th- 31st. I told her we wouldn’t be able to as we have no other accommodation in place for the other dates. She assured me that was fine and that the accommodation was still available. When I asked what the issue was she said it was merely a maintenance issue with fire alarms that she’d discuss with her landlord. Fast forward two hours: at 11:00 PM I received an email from Airbnb notifying me that our reservation had been cancelled. Though Gurneet and I were in regular contact on Whatsapp she cancelled the reservation then sent a message through Airbnb.
As soon as I received this, I called Gurneet. She did not answer. Instead I received a message asking me not to call, as others were asleep. I asked her why she had not given any notice of this being an issue prior to cancelling, to which she could not answer. In fact, Gurneet blocked me on Whatsapp. I then tried to call Airbnb, as they claim to be open 24/7. After spending an hour waiting on the line with no answer I went to bed. This morning I called Airbnb again, hoping they could help me. I spoke to a lady called Kira who actually shouted down the line. I’ve never spoken to someone so rude and unprofessional. After discussing the issue at hand, Kira informed me that Airbnb could only issue me with a refund plus 10% of what we spent. However, had the host cancelled 24 hours or less before the date we planned to stay, Airbnb would have helped us rebook. I explained that this whole situation has been so stressful and we had failed to find another accommodation in the same or similar location with the same amenities. She told me to continue looking and rushed to get off the phone.
When I said I didn’t find it fair of Airbnb to only offer 10% when all other accommodations nearby were higher than our price range this is when she shouted at me and asked why I didn’t think it was fair. When I responded to ask why she raised her voice. I said I found it incredibly unprofessional for a member of Airbnb’s staff to shout at a client. She claimed she hadn’t raised her voice – still shouting – and said if I didn’t let her speak she’d hang up. I said I couldn’t believe how poor the service she provided had been and put the phone down. I also explained to Kira prior to this that the experience was much more stressful as my partner is coming from Australia, the airline had already cancelled his original flight which had been due to arrive on March 27th and issued him with one arriving March 28th, so I had to change bookings accordingly. Now eight days may seem like a lot to some people, however we specifically booked in advance as we knew we wouldn’t be able to manage everything if not. Now we are receiving no help whatsoever and I just have to hope I can find another accommodation in time. In regards to Kira, I hope no one else has the unpleasant experience of talking to someone like her who clearly doesn’t suit her job. When she should be encouraging and helpful, she offered no help whatsoever, instead taking it upon herself to shout in a situation that was already stressful to myself as the guest.
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.
This is only the second time that I have used Airbnb. I understand the process to be: I message the host and the host returns the message and you both decide if there should be a booking. I thought I was messaging Dorothy, based in Washington DC. There is a new feature to automatically book. So that’s what happened; I didn’t want to automatically book. She has been a host since January 17th. I messaged her instantly that this had been a mistake, and requesting that she return my funds. I called Airbnb to return my funds. There are no features on Airbnb to correct this mistake. I cancelled the booking, but both Airbnb and Dorothy are refusing to give me the money back. The charge was $3389. Then I got a message after my multiple calls to Airbnb over a week and a half later that I would get a partial refund of $2477. Then I received another email from an Airbnb representative saying I would only get $2161. I said this was unacceptable. I did not agree to a partial refund, which is what he was trying to state in his email. I said I wanted a full refund. They insinuated that I couldn’t get a refund. They will not return even a partial refund if I don’t agree to their terms. This is how they trick you.
The thieving host and I texted a lot. She was trying to convince me she had nothing to do with the transactions, but as I found out later the hosts have the power to issue a complete and full refund; she is just refusing to do so. She lied and the amount she can steal from me is over $600. All because there is no recourse for correcting the automatic booking process. This is wrong and it’s stealing. I think this new feature is a scam on Airbnb’s part and the hosts (at least my thieving host) don’t care if they harm customers financially. Airbnb’s customer service is not helpful and difficult to reach. The representatives will not speak with you or hear your complaints. Then if you don’t agree with the resolution, they threaten you with getting nothing back. Dorothy from Washington DC is a scam artist because she knew this was a mistake. I tried to send her a message. I told her the second it happened because there is no feature to undo the automatic booking. She made a fast $600 with no regard to the harm she caused. I’m a hard working woman with four children, two in college. For Airbnb to have unhelpful and threatening customer service agents and thieving hosts keep these funds and not correct this mistake immediately is egregious. Beware of the instant booking. Thieves like Dorothy use this as a means of stealing your money and customer service representatives will not help you. If anything, they will actually threaten to withhold partial payments if you don’t agree with the resolution. I don’t agree with their resolution. I want and need all of my money back.
I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.
My wife and I are writing to express our absolute frustration with Airbnb. We have had our reservations cancelled, at the last minute, three separate times in the last two years. The latest cancellation was for a stay in St. Louis, and our reservation was finalized almost a year ago. We aren’t questioning the host’s reason for the cancellation, but each of these cancellations was received just days before we were to arrive. Each of these reservations was made so that we could attend a specific event in St. Louis, and since the cancellations were done so close to the event, there were no properties left to rent anywhere close to the event venue at all. No hotel or bed and breakfast rooms were available either. Airbnb offered us a refund or an additional $50. for another Airbnb property is pretty laughable compared to the time, effort, and extra expense we have had to make to even locate a rentable property that is quite a distance (12 miles compared to 5 blocks) away from the event. We also planned to do other things in the area where the original property was located, but now that won’t be happening. We should also mention that, for each of these cancelled reservations, we were (and are for this latest cancellation) in the middle of a vacation. Trying to deal with this situation while on the road has been extremely difficult. We couldn’t be more frustrated with this situation and are wondering if Airbnb can give us a reason why we should continue to book with them.
In late 2016 I made two reservations on Airbnb for a New Zealand holiday. In mid-January 2017 (i.e. one and a half months later) I discovered two unauthorised transactions dated January 14th and 15th using the same credit card for Airbnb in China and two non-Airbnb charges in the UK. I contacted my bank and told them which transactions were unauthorised; they cancelled the card. The bank notified Airbnb of the two unauthorised transactions and refused the two pending charges in the UK. Three weeks later Airbnb contacted me to tell me that their security team had identified suspicious transactions. They just cancelled the two earlier reservations in New Zealand without checking with me to see if they were legitimate. Then I had to try and contact them to get the problem fixed. Emails just bounced back as undeliverable. I couldn’t contact the hosts to try and let them know that we were still coming and what happened.
Finally, I located an Airbnb phone number and waited until someone answered. I explained the problem and was told how it would be fixed. I then received repeated email messages telling me the reservations had been cancelled, and there had been a problem with my card. I couldn’t reply by email, spent ages on the phone, and could not get transferred in their call centre to the person who knew about my case. They promised they would call back, which sometimes happens and often does not. I am recovering from cancer surgery and the New Zealand holiday was something to look forward to doing with my wife, but it is now a nightmare that I can totally do without.
To cut the story short, they still have not managed to fix the problem and are trying to charge my cancelled credit card, not using the new card in my profile. We had used Airbnb twice before without any issues and thought it was a good service. Now, I will never use them again and will tell all my friends to do the same. This is a classic situation in customer service. A customer who complains is giving the company an opportunity to fix the issue. If it is fixed promptly the customer will go away but still tell others about a good experience. If it is not fixed the customer goes away and becomes a negative walking and talking advertisement for the company, because not only did the company screw up, but they did not fix the problem or – in some cases – even try to fix the problem. Customer service like this damages the brand far more than any positive advertising can hope to repair. Airbnb really needs to up its game.
Our family is planning a trip to New York. Upon finding a house that fit our needs and that was in our price range, we decided to contact the host for more details. We liked what we saw and heard, so we decided to book the seven nights, paying with our credit card through Airbnb. After the request for booking was made and after having several messages between the host, Frann (the host) decided to significantly raise the price per night of the house, and raise the cleaning fees. Therefore, the Airbnb fees were raised, adding an additional $1200 dollars to the total bill. Frann was not willing to accept her advertised price. Therefore we had to cancel our reservations. Under the Hosting Responsibilities portion of Airbnb, the host is required to advertise the correct price. I’m very disappointed and makes me leery about using Airbnb for future rentals.
Beware of this Airbnb host. I am sharing my experience so that no one else books a strict policy booking with this host and loses their money. I accepted a lower priced invitation (1200 USD) to sleep in this hosts living room for the month of January. She encouraged me to book and pay immediately since there were other interested parties. I did. Unfortunately, two days later, a family emergency arose and I realized I would have to cancel the stay. I immediately contacted the host so that she could rebook with the other interested parties and reimburse me. This is when I discovered that she had imposed a strict cancellation policy on the booking. I did not even know such a policy existed since, in my experience, normal and fair business practices are flexible bookings. The strict policy means that no matter what, you do not get any money back. Family illness, death, force majeure… it doesn’t matter. The host declined to pay back the 1200 or any part thereof, even though she had ample time to find someone else; I was not due to arrive for a few days. As a landlord, if a tenant’s plans change, I try to reimburse what I can. I would not keep a full month’s rent when there’s the possibility of finding a new tenant. I find that such an extreme position shows a lack of class and character. I have always had positive Airbnb experiences but the fact that they even allow such a policy makes no sense to me. There are hosts offering real private rooms (not living rooms) at similar rates and they offer flexible bookings. Most people are reasonable. Things happen in life. Unless you are prepared to throw away money on services not received I would not risk a strict booking with this host or any other hosts on Airbnb. Flexible bookings are another matter, but make sure you check.
I am sharing this story to warn my fellow travelers for making bookings through Airbnb. The company provides a platform and charges money for it, but does nothing to secure your stay. I made a Instant Booking at a five-star property – in IMPZ Dubai – for $890 from December 25th to January 1st on August 1st, 2016. I paid in full, and received a confirmation mail from Airbnb that the booking was done. We were content and planned other details for the trip. On December 6th, we made a call to the host just to touch base. He flatly refused to accept the booking, saying he did not have any ties to Airbnb and the booking had not been confirmed. On being told that Airbnb was showing the booking as confirmed, he cancelled the reservation. We received an automated mail from Airbnb informing us of the cancellation, with their regrets and suggestion to make an alternative booking. With great effort, I found the email address for Airbnb, where the customer service representative first apologized and then suggested I make an alternate booking. She took a couple of days to share two listings; both cost double the price of the original booking. The representative simply refused to do anything beyond provide a $100 coupon as compensation. Many email exchanges followed and finally they closed the case with a blunt mail stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication. I had to make another booking on my own which was worth $1900, suffering a loss of more than $1000 over my original booking.