Hosts Beware: Airbnb Will Not Cover Property Damage

In March of 2017, I had an Airbnb booking from a person I will call CR. This person experienced some bad weather and a power outage beyond my control. When I had the home cleaned after CR’s stay, my cleaner found that they had damaged my pristine glass-top stove. When I confronted CR about the damages, he threatened to change his positive review if I filed a claim.

I filed the damage claim with Airbnb. CR was able to change her review to a one that was full of mischaracterizations of the events and portrayed me and my home very poorly. Airbnb refused to remove the retaliatory review; I had had all five-star reviews until then. CR was a newbie and had zero reviews on Airbnb; she has one now from me. Airbnb took her word over mine on the issue. I even had texts from CR showing they would change the positive review if I filed a claim and another text showing CR saw no improvement was needed.

As far as the damage, Airbnb has not released the money to pay for the damages. I keep getting emails from them stating someone will be contacting me. Before you consider being a host with Airbnb, consider this fact: Airbnb is the one holding your property damage security deposit. They have a very high bar to clear that you have to prove to get a damage claim from them. Once I learned that it is going near impossible to get Airbnb to pay the damages, I unlisted my home and cancelled five bookings with them. I could not take the chance that the next Airbnb guest would trash my rental home and have Airbnb do nothing. They do not return calls, they do not communicate in person, and they send out form letter emails. When you call their support line, be prepared to wait for over thirty minutes on hold, only to speak to someone reading from a script. If you want to protect your property, you need to hold the security deposit. Personally I would not use Airbnb ever again, unless they change their policies on who holds and controls the security deposit and how retaliatory reviews are handled.

Awful and Stressful Experience Contacting Airbnb

The host was unreachable. I booked this reservation for my 21-year-old son. The host did not leave a building key and promised to let my son in by buzzing him in through his cell phone. My son was left out in the freezing cold a few days in a row because the host would not respond. He could not get into the building. We wrote to the host on Airbnb and barely got responses. He promised to leave us the building key but never did. He then claimed my son lost the key and was going to charge us for it; he never left it. This was an awful and very stressful experience. My son left the premises after just a few days because he did not have easy access to the apartment.

I am disputing the charge with my credit card company but it seems that I will have to eat this cost because Airbnb is completely unreachable. There is no email address to contact them. Their help on the site has questions and answers but no phone number. You can never speak to anyone. I used Google to search for a contact number, was on hold for over a half hour, and then hung up. No one answered if that was even the right number. Do not use Airbnb. You will be throwing away your money.

Airbnb’s Insurance Policy Doesn’t Protect Guests

In February, our Airbnb rental in Mexico was burglarized. The police came and a report was filed. All told, between two couples, we lost over $4500 of our possessions. The owner was very helpful; he filed a claim with his insurance company, which was denied about two weeks later because we were renters. Our personal homeowner’s policies covered all of our losses except our $500 deductibles for each couple, which might mean that the cost of our policies could go up.

I contacted Airbnb Customer Service over 12 days ago, to collect the two $500 deductibles from them. I was told to send all corresponding information to them, which I did. It has now been almost two weeks since Airbnb’s last contact with me. I have attempted to have other emails answered by their employees to no avail. I am now very angry at the rudeness of Airbnb. In the last two days, I have called the 855-424-7262 number four times. I was on hold for over 15 minutes each time with music playing, then when the music stopped (all four times), and I thought, yeah, someone is going to talk to me, I was disconnected. All four times.

I am mad and will not give up trying to reach Airbnb. They cover insurance for their homeowners; there should be insurance coverage for their renters as well. We are half of their business. My first communication with one of their representatives went very well. I thought this was a good company. However, in the ensuing two weeks, with no followups and reading about problems many other people have had trying to contact them, trying to reach someone by phone only to be disconnected four times after 15 minutes on hold, I am now convinced that Airbnb does not care. The CEOs have made their millions (billions) and they just don’t care anymore. I will be renting from HomeAway and VRBO in the future. Step up to the plate Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia. Someone at Airbnb should be reading the complaints and frustrations of your homeowners and renters on this website.

Left out in the Rain with no Customer Service

I was going to Houston for a wedding. Because the official wedding hotel was the uber fancy St. Regis, I figured I would book an Airbnb across the street instead to save some money. What a mistake that was…

There were bad omens from the start. Just checking in required me to get the keys from the front desk of a building that did not actually allow Airbnb hosting, so I had to pretend to be a friend staying the weekend. The front desk seemed to have all sorts of problems copying the electronic key fob for me to use for the weekend, so it took thirty minutes just to get the keys. It also turned out the building was massive with hallways that sprawled for what seemed like a mile (everything really is bigger in Texas), so just finding the right apartment was a challenge. I briefly pondered how hard this would be later that night coming back after a few glasses of wine and decided I better try and keep it together.

Finally stepping inside, the apartment was nice enough, but the delay meant I was running late for the rehearsal dinner. What a lovely dinner it was; the food, wine, and atmosphere were splendid. After a great night, the group decided to cap it off at the St. Regis bar. I met a girl. No, she was not a prostitute (as my friends speculated), but she did make things pretty easy for me. She eventually asked if I had a room in the hotel. I couldn’t believe my luck, but had to be honest and said: “No, but I do have an Airbnb just across the street!” She went home. I guess I can’t blame that on Airbnb, but it was a painful reminder of how your cheapness can come back around to bite you.

After that, I decided it was probably time to call it a night. And so I began my two-minute journey across the street to my place, trying to remember again where in the labyrinth of a building I was actually staying. I thought to myself how ridiculous it would have been had I brought the girl back and we couldn’t find it. It immediately started to rain. Hard. Thank God I was only across the street, because I was in my suit. After the two-minute trek, I hit the key fob against the sensor. Nothing. I tried again – nothing. One more time. I start to panic. The front door staff was long gone. Clearly the problems they had activating my key fob were worse that I thought. I called the emergency number. I reached someone on the phone who explained they could not send anyone to help me until the following morning. I asked what the point of the “emergency” number was then.

I called my host. She explained she couldn’t help me because she wasn’t in Texas, and with the staff gone there was nothing she could do. I called Airbnb to see if they could find me a place. The estimated wait was over 45 minutes. I stayed as long as I could, but my phone’s battery wouldn’t have lasted that long. It was raining, I was in my suit, and it was almost 2:00 AM. I had nowhere to stay, with all my luggage in a room in a building I couldn’t access. I considered waiting around until someone walked in or out for me to follow, but realized that would only get me to the apartment door which I still would not be able to open.

Remembering that someone said the St. Regis was booked, I started to look for other hotels on my iPhone. 17% battery. It was about to go. Then it was gone. I had no other choice but to run back to the St. Regis, hoping people were still at the bar. It was empty. I explained my situation to the sympathetic people at the front desk. Fortunately there was, contrary to belief, still a room available. The kind folks gave me the wedding rate, which at that point seemed beyond worth it. They also gave me an iPhone charger. I walked into my beautiful hotel room and instantly realized why hotels are far superior: when you travel, whether you like it or not, you are not a resident but a customer. Customers frequently require customer service, which Airbnb just does not offer.

Unprofessional, Rude, and Unhelpful Customer Service

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.

Airbnb Raw Sewage Nightmare over Spring Break

We had our vacationed ruined by Airbnb and a host who was an absolute nightmare. Upon arrival at our condo we opened the door to an overwhelming smell of raw sewage. I’m not talking about a slightly unpleasant smell but a “you had to cover your face and eyes watering” smell. The condo looked nothing like the pictures that were on the Airbnb website. It was listed as a two bedroom but was actually only a one-bedroom condo with a three-foot crawl space with two mattresses thrown on the floor, which I guess made the second bedroom. In the end, none of that mattered as the condition and smell of the unit made it unlivable. We tried to phone the owner who told us to throw a couple of cleaning tablets in the toilet and the smell would eventually go away. There was no way this smell was going away anytime soon and the fact that we could not air it out due to the cold weather with open windows and doors only exacerbated the problem. The ultimate insult was when we stated the smell was not going away and the owner hung up on us. At this time, he is still refusing to return any calls.

We could not live in the accommodations and so literally had to spend our evening wandering, trying to find a place to lay our heads during spring break. We finally found a place that could take us for two nights for literally double what we had anticipated paying but we had no choice as we were at their mercy. I guess we will spend the rest of our stay trying to find accommodations for the rest of our stay. I have tried to call the Airbnb customer service line only to be disconnected before I ever reach a live person. The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t risk ruining your vacation and being put in financial distress by using Airbnb; it is just not worth it. I would not wish what happened to us on our worst enemy.

Impossible to Speak to an Airbnb Decision-maker

Airbnb has insufficient customer service: everything is automated, and the staff has changed from the US to an overseas call centre where nobody has any authority to handle anything but straightforward cases. There is no email address, no complaints department, and no phone numbers a robot company with incompetent employees. There are two issues with this system:

1) My previous guest did not check out, left half of his stuff in the room, and took the house key to my home where I live with my family. This is a major security issue because a stranger is somewhere out there with the key to my home in his pocket and nothing has been done from the Airbnb side. I spent the whole evening on this speaking to four people. Now it is 10:00 PM; I started to ring them at 6:00 PM. To change a door lock in Australia costs $350. That’s not enough cover for damage done by guests.

2) Photographers. After I moved houses, it took nine months to finally get someone to take an accurate photo of my single room. Because I have no fish eye lens I was not able to take a decent photo of the room from an angle where everything is visible. After the photographer finally arrived (three hours late) he took photos and downloaded them to the wrong listing. This was four weeks ago. In the meantime I got bad reviews of guests who thought rightly, that the advertised photo (room in the old house) is inaccurate, even though the same furniture is in the room. I called Airbnb four times where I was left waiting for hours. Despite this, nothing has happened. Airbnb threatened to cancel my listing because I do not have five-star reviews due to the inaccuracy issue.

In addition, the expectations that hosts have to provide five-star accommodation and service is unrealistic. A hotel room in my area starts from $180 per night and I charge $26. I provide low cost accommodation in an almost brand new, meticulously clean home in a beautiful area. 98% of all my guests were very happy with my service and facility. Surely one cannot expect butler service and five-star accommodation for $26 per room per night in an expensive tourist area in a western country like Australia.

Ring Stolen by Host Leads to Customer Service Nightmare

I rented a condo in Panama City Beach, Florida in January 2017 to visit an old friend with terminal cancer. Upon arrival, everything was fine. When I returned home I realized a diamond ring that belonged to my late sister-in-law was missing. As you may imagine I was sick. I have never lost anything and that would be the worst thing to lose. I sent a message through Airbnb to the host, asked them to please look for it, and reminded them in what bedroom I stayed. Low and behold, they found it on January 31st 2017. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. They asked for my address and for how much to insure the package, and I provided the information.

It is now March 14th and I still do not have the ring. I contacted Airbnb on February 10th after multiple attempts to communicate with the host to which they would no longer respond. Airbnb reviewed all the messages and opened a case. I have not been contacted by Airbnb once. I have called multiple times, been on hold for 30-45 minutes, spoken to someone who stated that my case has been assigned to someone and they would be contacting me, and to date there has been absolutely no contact. Every day I call Airbnb, hold for a long period of time, speak to someone and that is it. I have asked for a manager or supervisor each time and was always told they were busy. I have insisted that I speak with someone and have been hung up on three times now. I am not sure what to do. I have contacted the local police department, filed a report, and also reported Airbnb to the Better Business Bureau. It’s bad enough I lost the ring, but the worst part is lack of help from Airbnb. I will never use them again.

Not even a Response from Airbnb Customer Service

Don’t trust the information on the Airbnb website. I have had three good experiences with Airbnb in Australia so I thought I would use it for a recent overseas trip. Two of the four were terrible. The Dublin accommodation did not mention it was a very old building with no lift and the room was on the third floor; not even a mention of the unit being an apartment, just ‘self contained accommodation’. My travel partner was unable to use the stairs so we had to cancel. We cancelled before the cut off date for a 50% refund but the host refused to process the refund. We contacted Airbnb with absolutely no response.

The second experience was in Edinburgh. The room was uncomfortable and the host rarely spoke. When he did, he was very rude. We paid top dollar for this property as it was central, but we were very glad to get out of there. We contacted Airbnb and once again, there was no response. Absolutely no response to disputes and concerns is extremely poor customer service. I will never use Airbnb again. I would rather pay extra and feel confident in my choice of accommodation.

No Solution to Accidentally Using Instant Book

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.