Airbnb Customer Service Can’t Understand Anything

Airbnb customer service is an absolute joke. Being a new user, I called to ask why a request to book was still pending after the host had replied to my message and said she looks forward to have me stay at her place. While explaining the issue to the costumer service agent, from the beginning of the conversation, he’s going “mhm mhm mhm” the whole time and you can tell he wasn’t even close to listening.

He had a heavy accent; every time I call customer services they seem to be located in other countries and it’s always the same story not just with Airbnb, but other companies as well like Microsoft. I thought, “here goes nothing.”

I explained the issue three times and he still didn’t understand it. First he said it “might” be because I don’t have a picture up on my profile, then three seconds later he said it’s because it hasn’t been 24 hours yet so she hasn’t seen the request. After I told him the host and I have been exchanging messages, I asked him to transfer me to the manager. I had been on hold for 55 minutes now (still as I’m writing this). This is the last time I use this garbage website. Of course, so much for a $50 service fee for a two-day trip…

Multicultural Hosts Slammed with Xenophobic Claims

This is a long story, one too long for me to live all over again as it still is stressful and leaves me anxious. However, I just discovered Airbnb Hell, so I decided to share my story and hopefully help future hosts. My wife and I have been hosts on Airbnb for a year. During the past year we had more than 250 guests from all parts of the world, from all “races”, backgrounds, sexual preferences, genders… you get my point. We are artists who love to meet different people, with different habits. It’s inspiring to us; that’s one of the reasons we started this whole Airbnb thing. We have a wall full of letter already, with love letters from most of the guests who came here. This wall is in the dinning room for everyone to see we are proud of being good hosts and making people feel comfortable in our home, that we insist guests look at it as their home while they stay with us.

My solution for hosts with problematic guests is: accept a guest, wait a couple of hours, and then phone Airbnb to evict the said guest for breaking house rules. We got a reservation from a non-English speaking guest. For that reason it was imposssible to communicate that this is a home, not some hostel. When you can’t communicate with your guest, or when your other guests (we list two rooms) can’t communicate between themselves, the system doesn’t work.

It says in our “rules” that we really want the guests to have a *basic* knowledge of English, French, Italian or Spanish (none of these languages are even our first language). The guest made a reservation, and send a message with really broken english that made no sense at all. It looked more like a Korean-to-English Google translate job. We had to decline the reservation (this was like two months before the actual arrival, so there was plenty of time to find another place) The guest got very offended and called Airbnb. They gave us a penalty and then slammed us with their “inclusion policy”.

I wrote this enormous email, asking for them to see our previous reservations and feedback (we never had anything lower than four stars). I also said that with our history of good hosting with no prejudice at all to creed, color, race, gender was never a issue, sending us that inclusion policy was a bit pretentious, as we just want to have good communication in our house. We also said that if we can’t communicate with a guest we can’t explain the house rules, and it would be worse to have a guest here that would break a rule; then Airbnb would have to find him another place. For us, as decent open-minded humans, we would have felt really bad to kick another human out just because of that. Because if you don’t understand English, how can I explain anything to you?

Airbnb policy says I cannot discriminate and should use tools to communicate with my guest when they are impaired in any way: deaf, blind. This was not the case. The person was not impared at all.

This is where the fun starts. We got a reply from Airbnb support saying: “We are deeply distrubed that a host of ours find our inclusion policy pretentious.” It’s cleary writen in the email “I find the action of you sending me this policy a bit pretentious.” I never said the policy itself was pretentious. Even with my history of bookings, that makes no sense for me to say. They insisted I found it pretentious, gave me a penalty for it, blocked the dates the guest wanted, and didn’t let me book them to another person.

The next time a guest comes claiming he “can’t communicate” you accept him, and then you try and explain the rules to him. When he can’t understand them, you just call Airbnb. It’s not a very humane thing to do, but it’s basicly how Airbnb works. If the guest was here and I had done that I would have been paid. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have received a penalty or had my dates blocked.

Airbnb Nightmare in Santa Margherita, Italy

My daughter and I were traveling in Italy and we decided to spend our last ten days on the Italian Riviera. We found an apartment in Santa Margherita that seemed to suit our needs: walking distance to town, two bedrooms, nice views. Our host, Angela, was super sweet in her responses to me prior to booking, confirming that she has wifi (very important to both of us) and the town was within walking distance. She said her English was not great but she communicated very well prior to booking. After booking, I had to ask her for the address, twice, as it was not given to me through our Airbnb booking. She also told me to converse with her son via WhatsApp instead of with her through Airbnb messaging. I told her that I do not have WhatsApp and would continue to contact her through Airbnb.

Incidentally, my daughter was sick so I was anxious to get to the apartment and get her in bed. When we got to Santa Margherita after a long train ride (without wifi), I found a message from Angela saying that we needed to copy our passports before she would allow her cleaning person to let us in to the apartment. I asked her where we could have that done (at 4 pm). The only information she would give us was to ask around a certain piazza in town… which we did – two places – and were told that there were no shops that had copying services. So we asked Angela if she would please at least let us drop off our luggage before we continued to look for a copy place and to please give us an actual address of a copy place (nowhere on her Airbnb page did it say that we had to copy our passports). My daughter and I had to keep going to the harbor to get free wifi to contact her.

This was Angela’s reply:

“Sandy, I’m telling You the way to reach the House, not going around the city. Piazza caprera, via palestro, piazza mazzini, via belvedere. from Piazza caprera to Piazza mazzini there are shops for the copy. You had to ask , no sing out of door. I’m sorry for Your daughter but I give You phone of my son , he speaks well , Why you haven’ call him? Why You havent’ call taxi? with heavy luggages and daugther not in well? I in Liguria the streets are steep, no good for person not in well and heavy luggages. Yesterday i give You a lot of facilities, but you wat speak only with airbnb airbn site!!! I you want to help must help!!! In my ad I specified that it was necessary passport copy ’cause you did not before ? I suggested You different formulas but you refused, how may can help You if you don’t want?”

Anyway, my daughter and I went to the apartment, which was up an extremely steep hill (not advertised). Angela’s housekeeper met us, at which point I started to cry as my daughter was so sick. The sweet housekeeper asked me for five euros and went into town to copy our passports but asked us not to let Angela know that she had let us in. The apartment was disgusting. The “views” were of a parking lot and a construction site. There was white powder all over the tile floors; we assumed it was for ants, which were everywhere. The TV didn’t work (no biggie), the shower didn’t work (could only take baths), the beds were horribly uncomfortable, the apartment above was under being renovated so we heard nothing but saws, and we could only get one of the burners on the stove to work, which was enough to make my daughter tea (but there was no teapot).

Once the housekeeper returned, I went back into town to use the free wifi and asked Angela four times for her wifi address and password. No response. So, I contacted Airbnb. No response. The next morning, I got a message from Angela saying that we had to go into town and PURCHASE wifi! Airbnb finally wrote back saying that it looked like my problem was solved because Angela responded. I wrote back saying that we were in an Airbnb nightmare. Airbnb called me. Mick, in Ireland, took our case and told me that he was stopping payment to Angela. I told him, in that case, we needed to pack our belongings as her correspondence to me was so mean (I have many examples) that she would probably confiscate our belongings. So, my ill child did just that and went back into town. However, Mick never loaded the right page to my Airbnb conflict page so I was unable to upload pics of the dirt, the broken window, and the things that weren’t working. I was sobbing.

Finally, I called, again, and got Brittaney in Denver, who loaded the correct page. Once she had our pics, she helped us find another apartment in the next town, Rapallo, with our host, Luca, who was such a sweetheart. And we loved his apartment. He met us, didn’t speak English but had a friend on his phone who acted as our interpreter, brought us espresso pods, milk, bottled water, and croissants (none of which Angela provided). Luca, alone, restored our faith in Airbnb. However, Angela then tried to get 1500 euros from us, although our total fee for our stay at her place was a little over 900 euros. It took two weeks but Airbnb finally closed the dispute – my guess is because she never proved damages – which, of course, there were none. I know that this site said it doesn’t want too many curse words but — Angela, you’re an asshole and shouldn’t be a host! I purposely left out that I am an Airbnb super host: five stars, with 80 ratings. This type of host ruins things for the rest of us. Angela still has her listing and no one looking at her listing will ever know of my nightmare experience, unless they happen to look here. Thanks for letting me vent.

No Keys to Enter, No Host to Call

I contracted a flat in London. I was not that thrilled that I had to get the keys at a nearby pub but I dealt with it. When I showed up at the pub – along with a friend who was not at all comfortable with renting from Airbnb in the first place – I was told: Guess what? The keys aren’t here! They usually are here all the time, but they are not here now! I then texted AND called the host. No response. We had plans arranged a few hours later, but that was a non-factor at this point. I went to the apartment building where the flat was located and began ringing each doorbell for each flat. One young man answered, and he was so kind – he managed to track down the host and the host’s girlfriend was able to get us into the flat. So just our first day was basically ruined, but what bothered me more was that there was never any contact from the host – no “sorry about that” or anything. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get a “request for review” for that visit so I didn’t give the host a bad review (since I wasn’t asked!). It’s all water under the bridge now – it happened in October 2015 – but I just had (if you can believe it) an even worse experience, so I now decided I should report this other terrible experience. My advice: ALWAYS bring a number where you can contact Airbnb with a problem. I had the host’s number only – and was later reprimanded for not contacting Airbnb itself (even though they make it as difficult as possible to find an actual phone number to reach them!)

Tokyo Host Never Responded, Then Cancelled

On May 1st I made a reservation and paid $1,920. I left numerous emails using the Airbnb website email but didn’t get an answer. Then I emailed the host from my regular email and still didn’t get an answer. Less than two days before my departure, the host cancelled with no explanation. My biggest beef is that I can’t even give a poor review because the website doesn’t allow me to post unless I have actually gone through with the stay. That doesn’t seem fair or democratic. If the business revolves around trust, then we should be able to leave both good and bad feedback. At the very least, that host should have been barred and immediately suspended from renting to anyone. But Airbnb said they won’t do that.

Airbnb Direct Deposit not Available in Turkey?

I have been a member of Airbnb for many years. I almost forgot I had a membership, then someone wanted to reserve my room and I cheerfully accepted. I have checked my payment history preferences and changed it to accept direct bank transfers. My guest came and left, and everything was ok. Then I saw that my payment method had not been verified. I waited for a little while longer and then asked Airbnb. They kindly replied and asked me to wait a little longer. So I waited. After a week I asked again. Three different people replied: one said it could take time and I should wait; another told me that my account might have been hacked; and the last one finally told me that the direct deposit method is not available in my country- it is routed through Payoneer (which deducts money from the amount I should get) and I should contact them!

There is no information regarding this on their web site. This is total fraud: not informing me about what is available in my country, what is not, and having no interest in telling me why my payment preference has not been verified. Then I changed it to Paypal. I have a confirmed, eligible Paypal account. Still, there was no verification from stupid Airbnb. I asked again. The reply was a form letter teaching me about Paypal. My payment preference has not been verified yet and it has been two weeks since I started this process. They do not care about paying you your money. I have spent hours dealing with interesting answers and still could not solve my problem!

Airbnb Prepaid Reservation: Give me back my Money!

As a guest, I made a pre-reservation for one night in another city in Poland. (As you already know, you have to prepay for it immediately, even if it is not confirmed). I’ve been waiting for an answer from the host for 24 hours. Unfortunately, the reservation expired. I received a message from Airbnb: the payment for my expired reservation will be in my bank account in 7 business days. As of now (10 working days after the fact) I haven’t received my money for an unconfirmed reservation! Contact with Airbnb in Poland is totally impossible! I’m so mad about it! Please help!

Airbnb technical hell

I’m running a small rental company. I’m an experienced host and I’ve advertised my properties on Airbnb since more than 3 years, in total 3 apartments and 7 rooms. I’ve received more than 500 excellent reviews from happy guests. Everything went well till the technical problems started to occur a few months ago. One day I suddenly couldn’t send or receive any messages from guests and potential guests. Nor was my calendar working properly. Being able to communicate with your guest and update your calendar is crucial to rent out, especially if you coordinate several properties.

Of course I immediately called Airbnb and explained the issues. A friendly customer service agent told me they would look into the problem immediately and she passed the case on. But as the days went by and the problems continued to occur, I contacted Airbnb again and asked about the status of my ticket. I was told my case was passed on to the technical department and I just had to wait. So I waited, for more days, and WEEKS.

And the problems started to pile up. As I could no longer communicate with guests through the airbnb system I had to make expensive calls to all guests to arrange their arrival and departure and other practical details. Worse was it to reach those guests with no phones and no visible email address on their profile, resulting in several lock outs and angry guests, and also bad reviews. Several times I tried to contact Airbnb regarding these severe issues, but all I got was the same response “we’re sorry for your problems, but we cannot do anything, you’ll just have to wait”. So I waited, for weeks and MONTHS. I wrote, called, yelled and begged, but no matter how much I stressed the urgency of the very bad situation I got the same answer from Airbnb customer service “we’re sorry, we cannot do anything, you’ll have to wait till the technical department decides to give your case priority”, and there was no way I could be put through to the people responsible for my problems. Those 3 months were a living hell, full of stress, angry guests and misunderstandings. Furthermore, my properties couldn’t be booked because of technical issues, causing a big loss of money.

Finally, after nearly 3 MONTHS the problems got fixed. I asked Airbnb to refund the extra expenses I had as a direct consequence of the technical issues, but those requests were ignored.

For those who doubt this story is true, I can provide screenshots of all written communication with airbnb customer service.

So, my message to you is: Never ever believe that Airbnb will help you if you need urgent technical assistance. You’ll probably be able to reach a customer service agent saying he / she is sorry, but you’ll never be able to get through to those people responsible for your problems.

I’m now using other, more reliable services, you can check them out on my website similar-websites-to-airbnb.fastweb.no