Foreign Phone Number Only Contact for Airbnb Host?

Please don’t book any rooms or apartments listed by this host. I had made a reservation through Airbnb for a one-night stay on June 23rd, 2017 at a studio apartment listed in Boston. An amount of Rs.5708 was paid for the stay upfront and the reservation was confirmed by the said host. As per the details provided to me through email by Airbnb, check-in could be done anytime after 8:00 AM.

I reached the address at around 6:00 PM. To my surprise, the building at the address was an office and there were no apartments. I tried all possible means to reach Airbnb and the host to provide the correct address of apartment. The phone number provided by the host was a Vietnam number and was unreachable or temporarily out of service. I used the messaging platform provided by Airbnb to contact her at periodic intervals; however, nothing developed. I had also written emails to the address provided by Airbnb. No response was received from the host, even on that medium.

I tried reaching Airbnb Customer Care, however they kept me indefinitely on hold and I was not able to speak with any of its Customer Care Agents. In fact on one occasion, they kept me on hold for twenty minutes and I was still not able to connect with any Airbnb Customer Service Agent. This incident was also brought to the notice of Airbnb through emails. The following response was received from Airbnb:

I’m sorry to hear that you have had difficulty with host responsiveness. We urge our hosts to keep their calendars up to date and respond to all inquiries and requests. Although we do our best to encourage all of our hosts to stay active, some hosts may not be as responsive as we would want them to be. I will be forwarding this to our trip team. I hope this helps but if you have any more questions, please let us know.

It may be noted from the aforementioned communication from Airbnb that even its team members had failed to get in touch with this host. Please note this was the last communication I received from Airbnb on the matter. Because of the Airbnb host, who had failed to provide details of the correct location and access related details, a situation had arisen where I had to spend the night on the side of the road or the lobby of this office building.

As no details of the apartment had been received, I had to make last minute arrangements for an alternative stay. I could not have waited the whole night on the road expecting communication from Airbnb or its host. No such communication from them even happened in the end. The last minute arrangements cost me an additional $215. Airbnb and its hosts are in the business of servicing clients by providing arrangements for guests to stay. Once a stay-related request of a client like me is confirmed from the side of Airbnb’s host after receipt of payment, it becomes a contractual agreement on the host’s part and the part of Airbnb that has to be fulfilled.

I was surprised to see that a host at a US property had a Vietnam mobile number listed and Airbnb displayed it as a verified number. Furthermore, this number was actually out of service and thus there was no way to speak with her. Even Airbnb employees were not able to reach her. Thus, as a result of poor management and insensitive behavior of Airbnb towards me (i.e. their client), including insensitive and irresponsible behavior on the part of Airbnb’s host, I was forced to look and make alternate arrangements. This had cost me $215 in addition to the amount I already paid to the host.

As Airbnb and its host had failed to fulfill the said commitment, I have sent numerous emails to Airbnb and the host to refund INR 5708 that was charged to me, compensate me $210 that I had to pay for making alternate arrangements for the night as a result of the failure on the part of the host and Airbnb, and $1000 for the mental agony and torture I have undergone. I have not received any response from them to date. I would suggest potential Airbnb users avoid making any booking with this host and in fact, avoid Airbnb as it does not provide any help in situations when it is most needed. Airbnb and its hosts can leave you stranded in a foreign land without shelter, and as a result spoil your holiday by gifting you the worst mental agony.

Breach of Contract: Airbnb Location Changed After Arrival

The host changed the location after we arrived from the Bay Area to Boston. I stood on a street corner with my son and a pile of bags for 15 minutes waiting for the host before checking my phone and finding a message to meet him one block away. The host walked us another block away from the nice brownstones to dilapidated student housing. It was 9:30 at night because our flight was late. There was a hole through the subfloor in the kitchen, holes in the walls, a filthy bathroom, disgusting sheets, and only one bed. We got out as fast as we could the next morning. The host started harassing me. Airbnb assured me I’d done everything I could, multiple times. After three weeks and five rounds with the resolution case manager, the best Airbnb could do was to refund half of the remaining five days plus fees and a lecture from the Customer Experience Manager about how I wasn’t compliant with “the Airbnb family”. Here’s more if you want pictures and details.

Beware of this New York Airbnb Scammer Host

I had a business trip coming up in the Chelsea area of New York City in June 2017 and found a decent looking apartment on Airbnb a couple of blocks from the venue when I was going to be spending most of my week in NY. I contacted the host Paul on his property listing and explained that I knew my arrival date would be Sunday, June 10th, but was unsure whether I would be checking out the following Friday the 16th, or Saturday the 17th. I offered to make the booking there and then as long as he understood that the departure date might be either Friday or Saturday depending on how my schedule shaped up.

He responded by saying that it wasn’t a problem if I wanted to just take my time and figure out my schedule; he would hold the apartment for me until the end of that month. Here is what that conversation looked like:

Me: Cool. Is the ‘hold’ solid and if so when do you need to hear back from me by? Cheers!

Response from Paul: I’ll hold the dates through June 1st and then check back in with you.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?

On May 30th, after I figured out my schedule, I sent this message to the host:

Hi Paul, I just wanted to confirm my upcoming travel plans with you. I am arriving in New York on Sunday, June 11th. My flight gets in at 3:08 PM. I will be leaving Friday, June 16th. What kind of arrangements would you like to make for me to get a key?

This is where it gets funny (not really…). The next response I received from the host on Friday, June 2nd was:

Hey Colin, I have another apartment in Soho that I am renting out which is available during the same days. I could give you the same price I booked this room out because I didn’t hear from you a bit. Thanks, Paul.

And then:

Well, I booked the apartment for another guest as they wanted the whole month.

There was no apology from the host for renting the apartment to someone else. On top of that, he had the gall to try and blame it on me, saying that he hadn’t heard from me, when he promised he would get back to me and hold the apartment until the end of the month. Even with that, I responded before the end of the month to confirm the booking. This host is a scammer. He went on to offer to rent me another apartment a considerable distance from where my work was taking me on this visit, and when I asked him for a discount for the inconvenience of having to travel a considerable distance, he offered me the same price advertised to the public for that listing.

Here are some of his other properties that I know of. Do not rent from this host under any circumstances. If you do, you are likely to get scammed as I did.

Rude Airbnb Host in LA Stole My Jacket

My host’s name was Vince. He lived at a house near Venice Beach in LA. While listing his property, he posted a different address; the real house was much farther from Venice Beach than the address posted. I would like to say the following to him. When I first passed this message along to Vince, he didn’t recognize me as a guest and I felt ignored. With this evidence, I would like to thoroughly clarify the Airbnb messages we exchanged.

Hi Vince,

Upon arrival, I noticed right away how your listing misrepresented the property. It was unsanitary, to say the least. Your advertisement made me falsely believe that I was going to share a secure and clean room with 4~6 people, while in reality there were closer to 35 people on the entire premises and the conditions were extremely unsanitary. I felt very uncomfortable and felt the urge to cancel my reservation right away, but decided to give it a couple of days since your rates were affordable. However, this morning, I was extremely shocked to find out that someone had stolen my leather jacket, which was kept securely in the closet in my room. It is one thing to stay in a place that has been misrepresented and unsanitary for its affordability, but it is absolutely intolerable to stay at a place where security is at concern. 

I doubt he even lived in the house. He said there were four hosts, but I didn’t know who were the hosts and who were the guests. When I asked for a refund, Vince suggested that I could stay longer if I worked on the house. I was skeptical about his management system as a guest. I cannot believe people who call themselves hosts anymore. There’s just too much uncertainty using Airbnb.

Airbnb Nightmare for Australians in NYC

I sent the email below to the Airbnb consultant who handled our initial complaint, but have now received a computer generated response saying that “this case is closed.” I cannot access the Airbnb site without agreeing to the new Terms and Conditions, which I am loathe to do until this matter is resolved. I need to know if Airbnb is going to act on our complaint or not, so that I can consider my options with NYC Governor’s Office, or my credit card company.

I have now arrived back home in Australia and intend to pursue this matter further. I am seeking a full refund for the misinformation and the misrepresentation of the Airbnb unit we booked for four nights in New York City. I assume that Airbnb was unaware of the host’s inaccurate listing and address, but once it was brought to your attention, Airbnb should have reviewed the information that I submitted (photos and emails) and acted on that information. It is nonsense to suggest that it is ok for a host to lie about the address of his rental property and the number of bedrooms or living spaces, and for the premises to be filthy. The unit was advertised as providing two bedrooms and one bathroom plus a living room and dining and kitchen area. You can’t advertise both a second bedroom and a lounge room when they are the same space. Also, the lounge was not a pull out bed. The host suggested that our 18-year-old son take the cushions off the lounge and sleep on the frame. It was a lounge, not a bed.

The unit was in fact a one bedroom with a small lounge area that had a sliding partition – and this was meant to be the second bedroom – without a bed. The bathroom was filthy. I have checked all correspondence from Airbnb regarding the confirmation of our booking and your reminders and the address given to us in all emails from your company is 140 W 4th Street. We also confirmed this address in an email to the host, had a friend who lives in NYC check out the address, and we checked the location ourselves when we arrived in New York City on December 22nd, 2016. We were not due to move into the apartment until January 2nd, 2017, so we checked the location and checked the standards of the building. We also chatted with an Australian girl, Loretta, who lives on the top floor of 140 W 4th Street, and confirmed the size and layout of the units. If we had been advised of the different address and looked at 143 W 4th Street, we would have cancelled our booking. Please advise your process for us obtaining a full refund. We contacted Airbnb immediately once we discovered it was a different unit and once we saw the unit. We never stayed in the apartment, and there are reviews from others now that were equally as shocked.