Lost Over $7,000 Due to Airbnb Check In Policies

My experience with Airbnb has been unfavorable to say the least. For starters, I had helped some work associates book a property as they had to be in Los Angeles to work on a construction project. Since these are close personal associates, I offered to book through my account since the guys had never used Airbnb before. These men are also aware that I am a licensed realtor, so they trusted that I was more than capable to set us up with something that was safe and secure. Since I hadn’t been there at the time the guys showed up, and the owner decided to drop in, the situation turned ugly. Frank Grande, who is by far the biggest scammer I’ve come across, kicked everyone out, and reported the incident to Airbnb. Considering that I was going to be joining the men during the duration of their trip, it should have been noted and considered when it came to Airbnb’s terms and conditions, which clearly indicate that you must be present at the booking. However since I wasn’t there at the very same moment, I was penalized and lost over $7,000 due to Airbnb’s “judgement” on the situation.

The entire situation was ridiculous. I lost thousands to the owner who kept all of the money, and Airbnb who pocketed their share. Considering this, how can Airbnb be considered a neutral party to pass judgement on the situation? Isn’t it fair to say that since they stand to profit off my loss it would have been an easy decision for them in spite of my reasoning? Wouldn’t it be fair so say that a licensed realtor would never want to compromise their license over a booking for strangers? Considering the fact that I explained the entire situation to them and received no remorse and no compromise, I’d say their scales are highly tipped toward everyone’s pockets being filled versus moral ethics and compromise considered by a neutral party that doesn’t profit.

I have recently come to discover that someone had recently placed a listing on my account, allowing people to request and book through my account. I received no verification, emails, or any kind of authorization for the creation of this listing, the acceptance of bookings, and any notice until after the fact. How is this even possible? When I called Airbnb, I had to wait 25 minutes to speak to someone who merely apologized and told me they would have someone contact me. Here was their response: Change your password (in a nutshell) and then close the report. What kind of service is this? I will forever discourage people from using the site and being very careful about any bookings they place and payment sent considering this was easily done and Airbnb has done nothing about it… what a pitiful company.

Host Refuses Early Check In, No Refund

We reserved and paid 502 USD for three nights’ lodging and the cleaning fee in September 2016 for lodging from September 16th to December 19th, 2016. Prior to December we requested to store our luggage the morning of the 16th because we were arriving on the Holland American cruise ship that morning. We had reserved a slot for two people for the 12:05 PM Sydney Bridge Climb which lasted until 3:30 PM. The host said we could not check in prior to that afternoon, so we stored our two suitcases at the dock’s storage rental. We had also booked a performance at the Sydney Opera House for 7:00 PM on the evening of the 16th. So at 3:40 PM we retrieved our luggage and got a taxi to the lodging we booked in Surry Hills.

Arriving at approximately 4:15 PM, we found an iron gate covering the door of the Airbnb lodging. No one answered our knocking on the window beside the locked gate. It was also raining and there was no overhang above the front locked gate. Our cellphones weren’t working so I remained with the two suitcases while my husband walked two blocks and found a restaurant. The owner was kind and made some calls for us. She was not able to get an answer at the number the host had listed on their posting. We found out two or three days ago they had sent a message to our email they had to go out for a couple of hours between 4:30 and 6:30 PM. They were not available when we arrived and they didn’t intend to be home until 6:30 PM. Since we needed a room to shower and dress for our 7:00 PM performance we had to get a cab and find a hotel. Since the host had been paid for three nights, I determined they had cancelled our lodging paid three months prior because they did not uphold the mid-afternoon check in request. Now we find out Airbnb is handling our request for a refund of the cleaning fee and two nights’ lodging. Instead they presented us with an Airbnb voucher for $200 to be used at one of their locations prior to January 2018. I have no use for this Airbnb voucher since we will never use their company again. When paid in advance, hotels will have someone available to check us in upon arrival even if we arrive at 11:00 PM on the day of the reservation.

Host only Obligated to Meet at Exact Check-in Time?

My elderly mother was due to arrive in Strasbourg this evening at 6:30 PM. The host told me he could not meet her until 8:30 PM. I rang Airbnb customer service to ask for general advice on how to deal with the situation – while I was walking – and they refused to give me any information until I was verified. Because of a glitch – an old and expired visa card was listed as the default – they would not verify me and hence refused to give me any advice. I then stopped in the street, set up a personal hotspot to use my computer, and verified the card. This was on my way to work where I would be in meetings all day. Now verified, Airbnb told me that as the host had listed his check in time as 2:00 PM, he was under no obligation to meet my mother at all after that time. Firstly, that’s a risk I think all customers should know about. Secondly, this meant my elderly mother, who does not speak French, would have to stand in the cold, with her heavy bags until the host felt like meeting her, if indeed he did at all. I then had no choice but to cancel and make alternative arrangements. In followup emails, the same patronising bureaucrat told me I didn’t have to cancel; Airbnb could have called the host to help you. He could have told me this before forcing me to stop in the street and verify myself. I have had to book a hotel at huge cost as well as pay for the Airbnb. I am stunned at how appalling they are at customer service.