Worst Valentine Getaway: No Help from Airbnb

I know a listing that must be taken off Airbnb. Customer support has not helped. Fay’s place was a nightmare. It’s unsafe – three dogs, broken guardrails – and has dirty floors, couch, kitchen and bathroom. It is not a private home, but rather a shared upstairs living room. She and others live there with three large dogs separated by a curtain with no door. It is a dirty studio with a view of her garage (guest house conversion) and three large German Shepherds which go outside and inside freely with no separation between them and your private space. Before arriving I contacted her several times with no response. The house was dirty and clearly thrown together at the last minute before we came in. The location would be ok if it was not the worst house on the block and an eyesore. Having three large dogs in the back yard barking at us was not ok and inviting them into the house without consulting us was also not ok because they bark at you aggressively. Also having Fay yell shut the hell up aggressively did not help us feel comfortable in this situation.

Airbnb was not helpful in resolving these issues and did not care about our safety and comfort. Instead they only asked us to take pictures of these issues at night in an unsafe house and conditions. Jolanda, our customer support case manager, answered the phone several times without responding for minutes while we were forced to listen to the room full of side conversations until she decided to answer the phone out loud (clearly someone was in training and rude side conversations dominated the actual support). After getting Jolanda on the phone and explaining these issues she said there was nothing Airbnb could do and they said that they wanted to contact the host and resolve the issue while we were there, without considering our safety and comfort in this terrible situation.

If a listing is unsafe and uncomfortable, then Airbnb should refund the cost of the rental and take the unit off of the market until the issues listed in the reviews have been resolved and reviewed by an Airbnb agent. They did not facilitate finding another location to stay even though they said they would and they would not acknowledge that several others have had these same issues (which we later found in other reviews). Also, after Jolanda said that she would find us a place to stay in 5-10 minutes she did not get back to us at all. So after waiting for 40 minutes I called Airbnb and stayed in contact with their team for over four hours with zero helpful customer support and no access to a customer support manager or supervisor. There is no excuse for this level of service.

Other important notes: if the outside railing of the second floor is rotting and spilling over to the bottom floor then this unit should not be listed as safe. If it is not a private home then it should not be listed as such. If it is not a penthouse then it should not be listed as such. If the host cannot fix these complaints and cannot prepare her home properly then she should not be a host. Also, Airbnb provided zero follow up with me now 15 hours after the event; customer support was rude and provided no conflict resolution for the four hours I was on the phone with them. After traveling with Airbnb for years and having many positive experiences I can only imagine that this was a freak event at a freak location. I would like to hear a response from Fay and Airbnb explaining the resolution to these issues.

No Payment Following 12-Day Airbnb Stay in Italy

Having hosted someone from Italy for 12 days in our Australian apartment in January we are still waiting for payment. We received an automated email saying we would be paid on January 23rd. We have been on Airbnb’s books for four years now and have Superhost status. Despite numerous calls to their call centre – the staff of which point blank refuse to pass you on to the management level and if you persist with the request, cut you off – nothing has happened. All they do is pass a so-called ticket to their non-responsive team. Despite many emails to this group no one comes back and now my emails are bouncing back saying they are not deliverable. I wonder what filter they are using to do this? Is it fraud? The work of the FBI or maybe Brian Chesky? On top of this, someone within their organisation has switched my daughter’s bank account details back to those of one that was closed in 2014. So despite receiving money being deposited in 2015 and 2016 now it has been changed back. Hence my use of the word fraud. I can’t help but notice articles in Forbes Magazine where this is now a worldwide issue regarding non-payments and the behaviour of their call centre. It also mentions that the company is worth $25 billion, which clearly adds up to a lot of non-payments. I also noticed that they had a TV ad shown during the Super Bowl. What’s the cost of one of those, three million dollars?

When Airbnb Cancels Your Reservation Without Checking

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.

Airbnb Customer Service is Completely Unprofessional

I just opened an Airbnb account and was unable to verify my ID despite following the exact instructions for the setup. I went through hell to no avail to find answers from their useless help center and eventually found a link to raise my question. It went to a community member whose answer did not help. I opted to transfer the question to Airbnb. After three or four days, I finally received an email from a “Customer Service Experience” team member. The answer she gave is a repeat of what I have tried on the help center. The most horrifying bit? She has my Airbnb account associated with an email address of a stranger. I am terrified to see this – does that mean after I signed up for my account, someone fraudulently altered my account email without my knowledge? If this is true, it is a security breach on Airbnb’s part. The “reply to” address is a generic box, so of course I never get any response back.

I went back to the Airbnb Help Center trying to find a way to raise a question; it turns out the system has users endlessly looping and there’s no way for me to ask another question at all. My major complains with Airbnb’s dodgy business:

  1. The Airbnb website has a list of acceptable online accounts to link to an user’s account to establish trust. After linking one on the list, the system keeps asking for more. This is false advertisement and gives no clear indication of how much Personal Sensitive Information (PSI) they attempt to collect from unsuspecting users. This is a big trust issue for a company like Airbnb.
  2. Their own customer experience team told me my account is linked to an email not known to me. This seems like a huge security breach to customer data and worthy of attention from the press. There is no way to address this with Airbnb since there is no way to contact their customer service directly. The customer experience team is a joke.
  3. Customer service is non existent as I have experienced it. In the real world, people using services run into issues that can’t be resolved by looking at help center topics and need to talk to a real person. Having a dodgy website that keeps looping through help topics and not giving customer a way to contact Airbnb just shows how serious Airbnb is about serving customers.

Is the company trying to hide something?

Incomplete Airbnb Stays: No Reviews Allowed

My friends and I lost hope of getting a proper resolution of our case through the Airbnb resolution center. We did not get a refund and our review was not published on the website. The situation with feedback is totally awful as our review was supported by multiple photos. We have contacted Airbnb multiple times but got only formal responses. I would very much appreciate if you could advise what we should do in this situation. I would want a chance to at least make our review available to others on Airbnb; the apartment is still listed on the site so there will be other people who may suffer from it.

We had used Airbnb to book an apartment in Barcelona from January 5-11, 2017 for our family. We arrived at the apartment at 8:30 AM but at that time the previous guests were there. The host told us that we may check in only after 12:00 PM. At that time we did not have a chance to look through the apartment and discuss its conditions with the host. We left our luggage and used the rest of the day for sightseeing in Barcelona. We came back at 7:00 PM and realized that the apartment was not in a good conditions. The linen was dirty, the bed was not suitable for two people, and there was no linen at all for the third guest. We can provide the full review with photos if anyone is interested. The host was not available so we could not discuss these issues with her. We were not comfortable staying in the apartment, so we had to leave it and find another location.

The same day, we informed the Airbnb resolution center about these issues and asked for assistance. The next day I discussed these issues with the host and she told me that our requests about cleaning and the bed could not be satisfied. She did not feel comfortable providing the apartment after our feedback about these conditions so we agreed to sort it out with Airbnb. A few days later, an Airbnb specialist cancelled our booking without our consent, and informed us that the case was closed. When we came back home from the vacation we provided a detailed review but it was not published by Airbnb. We had contacted the Airbnb resolution center and got a response that the review could not be released as we did not stay in the apartment and the booking was cancelled. We had called the resolution center and explained that the review was based on our personal experience – that we had to leave the apartment because of its poor conditions and that our booking was cancelled by Airbnb – but the response from the resolution center did not change.

Washington DC Guest Steals Electronics… and more

For my first experience hosting with Airbnb, I hosted a gentleman from the UK for the inauguration weekend and Women’s March in Washington DC. When I arrived home, I discovered he had taken every item that may have been indicative of someone other than him living there (photos, art, my guitar) and stuffed them into our closets – thus, damaging the items – that my roommate and I explicitly stated in our rules not to go into. He also stole both of my Amazon fire sticks from the TVs. The next morning, I also discovered he had stolen all of my underwear. It’s been two weeks and even though I immediately provided photos and receipts to Airbnb, not only are they completely unresponsive but they withheld his payment of $800 to me until I held their feet to the fire. At that point they explained they were holding the funds because of an “issue with the user account.” When I asked if he complained, they stated that it was “more than that,” whatever that means. I have called and emailed multiple times and not only has nobody been in touch with us, but they haven’t refunded what I’ve had to spend to replace the items. They keep telling me they hope this doesn’t discourage us from hosting in the future. Thanks, but after I get my place swept for bugs, I’ll absolutely never be using Airbnb’s horrible hosting service again.

Problems at Rental: Private Communication Possible?

Our experiences with Airbnb have been excellent overall. However, the time and effort to get help with problems is a real concern. I believe guests used to get a post-visit email from Airbnb allowing the sharing of problems privately. This no longer appears to be the case. Here is a note I wrote which I could find no way to deliver. Moreover, I waited 25 minutes on the phone waiting to speak with someone.

Dear Airbnb Staff,

A question I have is how to contact you if a problem arises and neither a computer nor cell phone is at hand? We had need of this on our last trip to Pasadena, California. We arrived at 12:00 PM (3:00 AM New York time), in the heavy rain. Fortunately, our taxi driver was able to spot the entrance to the building and call box in the damp and poorly lit area. Our directions had told us to type in the owner’s name and call them to be buzzed in. The directions at the top of the call box sent a fleeting and almost unreadable message regarding entry. It said to type in a number and name. There were no symbols nor letters on the buttons in the call box, making it impossible to do this. I tried many times. Eventually I pushed something on the box and by translating the letters from our TracFone buttons was able to type in the names. The box said access denied.

To continue the saga, by accident I found a way to scroll for names and did manage to call the owner who said she would buzz us in. We lugged all our bags and suitcases through the gate only to find we were trapped between the outer and inner gate! No one had told us to go and open the second gate quickly. This could have meant we had to go in and out again, but my husband rang the door bell of a very helpful neighbor who came to let us in and show us where the elevator was. On getting to the correct floor in the dark – the lights apparently go off at a certain hour – it took another long time and required us to turn a large bench over in order to access the lock box. When we eventually got into the apartment all the clothes in one suitcase were soaked through.

In the apartment, there were no directions regarding the wifi or television use. My husband was able to get the wifi information from a call to the owner, as well as an explanation as to why the bathroom sink was sprinkled with mud… or worse. The owner informed us that sometimes the plumbing backed up. The apartment had no dining room, nor did it have a table or shelf high enough to use for writing or placing a computer. We did not plan to do cooking except for breakfast. Neither the electric oven nor the oven broiler worked. It was not made clear how to lock the doors on departure. Apparently you have to lift up the handle while turning the key, another item that should be in a manual.

I had intended to write this in a private communication to Airbnb. In the past there has been an option to write to Airbnb with suggestions for improvement that you do not want to communicate directly to the owner. No such email came from you. I have mentioned several problems above but want to reiterate: there was no instruction manual, let alone welcome manual in the house. There were no clear directions about getting into the house. There was no mention of the possibility of plumbing problems. There was neither a working electric oven nor a stove broiler oven. It was not clear how to lock the doors correctly on departure. This is the only time in many years of enjoying Airbnb homes that we have experienced any difficulty. Overall our stay was alright, with a comfortable bed and quiet space. However, I cannot say strongly enough that these problems should be addressed before the apartment is rented again. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Airbnb Guest Invites Strangers, Trashes House

A guest booked 12 people for two nights. I asked them to read our house description and rules and pay attention to our quiet time (10:30 PM) being announced there. The first night they were up and loud till 3:00 AM. I texted them and my messages were ignored. The second night they were up and screaming until 2:00 AM. After my messages were ignored, I went to their door to see what was their problem. First they didn’t open the door, then finally they let me in and I saw there were 16 people drunk and loud. I asked for the person who booked the property and he was not there. I called Airbnb, reporting there were four extra unpaid guests on our property, the person who booked is not among them, and they are so loud past our quiet time that he agreed to through the Airbnb reservation system; the trace of the message is there.

Airbnb did absolutely nothing. The guests were screaming after that until 4:30 AM and this lengthy phone call with Airbnb was just a waste of time. The guests left us furniture damage that Airbnb didn’t resolve through the resolution centre, as the guests lied and denied everything. Instead Airbnb closed my account, cancelled my upcoming reservations, and said my review of the guests qualified as racism. In reality the review had nothing to do with the guest’s ethnicity or nationality at all. My case was so unfair and poorly handled. The Airbnb founder, Bryan Chesky, who talks about trust and safety doesn’t realize that he himself abused the trust of his landlord at some time to sublet it to others as a short term and has no idea what trust is. It’s no wonder in my own case I don’t see any trace of trust or safety at all. Airbnb is his true child – like father like son.