Airbnb Customer Service Handles Lack of Wifi Poorly

I booked an apartment through Airbnb in Madrid for a long-term stay, about 60 days. I never met the host. This wasn’t a problem, as I was shown around by her friend who was also the person I was to solely communicate with about any problems. The first thing I did when I arrived was check the wifi signal, as it was listed as an amenity on Airbnb. The connection was terrible and always disconnected due to the router being three floors away and shared by a number of other guests. I told the host’s friend about this problem as well as the host herself and they mentioned that they would bring a signal booster around within the next couple of days. I waited patiently whilst delaying my work and losing some income.

Eventually the host’s friend arrived with the signal booster which we set up and tried but it didn’t make a difference at all. The host’s friend also mentioned that some guests have had problems with the wifi in the past too. After fiddling around with the signal booster by putting it in different positions for about an hour the host’s friend gave up and left. At this point I phoned and complained to Airbnb, who told me that they would help me find a new place before my next installment of £1000+ was due. However, they did not keep their promise and this forced me to cancel my booking.

When cancelling my booking the website told me the amount due was for the next 30 days; to cover myself, I paid this so that after the 30 days were up I could move somewhere else. However, this was not the case. Upon canceling my booking on the Airbnb website it stated that I must pay for the following 30 days but it didn’t tell me that I was not entitled to use the apartment for these 30 days that I just paid for. At this point, I was in such a panic and contacted the host telling them what I had done. Luckily they agreed to still let me stay (as they should – I paid for those days). During the 30 days I was staying there I complained a number of times to the host and the host’s friend as well as Airbnb and nothing was done about the situation with the wifi.

After the 30 days were up, I moved into a new place and this time talked to Airbnb to request half of my money back. After a few emails back and forth with the woman who was dealing with my case, she stated that according to their terms and conditions I am only entitled to four days of staying there as after these four days is when I cancelled… even though I paid for 30+ days and lost out on thousands of paid work. On top of this, Airbnb could clearly see in the chat log that the host was lying through her teeth as she said that I sent her a message saying that the wifi was working when there is no such message; there were only messages of me complaining about it. I am never going to use Airbnb again. I thought being a modern company they would have some ethical consideration and take things into account rather than blasting ”according to our terms and conditions” in my face.

To sum it up, I spent £1300 on an apartment for 33 days, and they told me I was only entitled to four days’ refund as I cancelled my booking to prevent myself from losing out on more paid work due to the amenity problem. If Airbnb reads this then they can be assured that they’re going to lose a lot more money than the modest refund that I requested for being screwed over by them and the host.

Not Able to Find Airbnb Host, Cancelled Stay in Dublin

I booked an Airbnb in Dublin, outside the city center I believe. I drove because I thought I could stop somewhere and ask for directions. I had Googled the trip directions and followed them. About 7 km from the destination things went wrong. At a cafe I rang the host for assistance. She basically left me there to fend for myself. I clearly said where I was. According to her, none of her guests had had this problem, so why couldn’t I put an address in Google? What about herself? After asking the girl in the cafe for directions, also assisted by a customer, I got new directions. I was going the right way. But with all the traffic and side roads, road works, etc, I got totally lost and ended up in the city center. The end of the story is that I never reached the place and got so stressed I decided to return home. There was no respect or any kind of understanding from the host. Apparently people are all the same and can handle everything.

Family Reservation in Spain Cancelled after Three Months

I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.

Scammed and not Given Compensation for Barcelona Stay

My boyfriend and I had paid to stay in someone’s apartment in Barcelona as a last resort because there were no affordable hotels available on our dates because they clashed with a world congress gathering. We arrived at the address of the listed apartment (from a verified host with multiple positive reviews) which lead us down a narrow poorly lit side alley to a building with no lights, locked doors, and appeared to be undergoing construction. Keep in mind this was at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night in a foreign country. We tried phoning and texting the host and got no response. He turned his phone off when I continued to call so we left and found a safe place to sit with our bags while frantically trying to work out what to do. I had never used Airbnb before so never knew what to do in this situation. With help from both our families back home we got a place to stay. In total we had to spend £600+ on hotels for the three nights, which is significantly more than we had originally spent on the apartment.

We tried emailing Airbnb and didn’t get a response. When they eventually did respond they weren’t much help at all and by then we had already sorted out a place to stay. They have now eventually refunded what I originally paid for the apartment but nothing else, meaning we are £400+ out of pocket as a result of this guy’s actions through absolutely no fault of our own (other than not having insurance). I totally understand if I had had insurance that this could of been different but after reading several forums online of people being given compensation by the company I asked why I wasn’t given the same consideration. I was told “every situation is dealt with on a individual case by case basis.” I was massively let down by both this organisation and the host. I understand not every host on this site is a fraud and I probably got one bad egg out of a whole bunch. However, the possibility of this happening is very real even if hosts look reliable so I’d advise anyone planning on booking to learn from my mistakes and be more wary.

Airbnb Scam: Fake Long-Term Listing in Geneva

I am sharing this because similar stories posted here about a scam in Iceland and Spain are what kept me from getting scammed. I will be collaborating with someone in Geneva for a couple of months and needed to find a place to stay (well technically, I still need to find a place). A friend who lives in Switzerland suggested that I use this website. On it, I found a listing for an apartment that was cheap compared to most of the other apartments in the area (610 CHF/ month for a one bedroom apartment). The ad was certified as ‘verified’. The ad was in French so I emailed the person in French and here is what they replied:

Thanks for your interest in wanting to be my tenant. My name is Klaudia Wannemaker and I’m 44 years old. I bought this apartment for my son during his studies. Now he is back home in Italy permanently. so I am renting the place for an unlimited time. Before we go any further I would like to know something about you, like how many people intend to live in the apartment, your job, and how old you are. The apartment is fully furnished but if you need it unfurnished, you can move the furniture into storage. The rent is CHF 610 per month and includes all utilities listed below:

• High Speed Internet

• Utilities (water/gas/electricity/heating)

• TV Cable

• Parking Spot

The lease is flexible, can be month to month, with a minimum stay of one month to a maximum of 8 or 9 years. The price will not increase monthly, it will remain the same for the whole period that the contract states. About pets: there are no problems if you have pets, as long as you clean up after them. The only inconvenience is that my job doesn’t allow me to leave Warsaw even for one single day. We just hired some new staff and I’m in charge of their training. But this won’t affect you at all. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

To me, it seemed legit although I found it odd that she was replying in English, and her not being around to show me the apartment came across as an immediate red flag. I continued emailing her because I was not sure yet. Also, I had already told her everything she had asked about me, and I had told her I was looking for a short-term lease. In retrospect, this was obviously an automated response, but what can I say? I was still young and hopeful then. Here is the next email I received:

Thanks for your reply. You seem to be a very nice person and I can assure you we will not have any problems. The apartment has been kept up properly and had a professional, top-to-bottom cleaning. Like I have informed you, the price you shall pay for one month’s rent will be CHF 610 and I also want a security deposit of CHF 1000 (which you will receive back at the end of the contract), with no extra taxes. As for the rent, I want to receive it monthly in my bank account, so I hope it will be no problem for you to wire the money. The apartment is ready for you; all you have to do is to check it and see if you like it. I’ve found a way for us to complete the deal safely and fast so you can check the apartment in less than three days. Nobody can help me show you the apartment because I don’t know the neighbors very well. The solution I’ve chosen is provided by Airbnb. They handle rentals for people who are unable to solve them alone, which are abroad, so they will take care of both the inspection and payment. If you are interested so please email me, and I will send the link with my apartment listed on Airbnb.

She did not answer any of the questions I had asked again (e.g. how far the place was from the University, etc.) and it just seemed more and more suspicious. Here is what I replied:

Hi Klaudia. Thank you for getting back to me. I’m really excited about the apartment, however, I am not comfortable wiring money for a place I cannot see in person. Indeed, I am in the United States and will not be able to come to Geneva until May. I’d love to Skype with you to discuss a solution, or send a member of my family to look at it (I have a cousin who works in Geneva). Please let me know if that would work. I am also invested in seeing the Airbnb listing for the apartment if that is possible! Thank you!

Her “reassuring” answer:

I want to take this opportunity to assure you that there is nothing to be worried about this rental. You can see on my announcement that I have positive feedback with Airbnb and they verified my personal ID. I will try explain to you step by step how this will work. Take a few moments and read my email carefully. First you must reserve the apartment and after you’ve made the booking, you must complete the payment. In 2-3 days after your payment confirmation the agent from Airbnb will come to show you the apartment and give you the contract. The contract is signed by me and you can choose to rent my apartment for a long or short term period. The monthly rent will be the same for whole period. Once you have inspected the apartment you have two options:

Option 1: You will take the apartment and sign the contract for a long or short term period.

Option 2: I don’t think you will use this option, but you’ll tell the agent that you don’t want to rent my apartment and Airbnb will refund you the money in 48 hours. End of the deal. I’ve chosen Airbnb because they offer guarantees for both of us. I will get paid only after you confirm that you will rent my apartment. I need your full name and a mobile number so I can send you the link to my announcement. Let me know if this is acceptable.

At this point, I knew it was all fake and I sure wasn’t going to wire her any money months before I even arrived in Geneva. I was curious to see what kind of Airbnb listing she would show me though, so I gave her my full name and phone number (that had been included in my email signature all along). Here was her final reply:

Hello. Here you have the link:

http://www.airbnb.com-online-booking.eu/booking/listing/79b710/?rent=1488357890?s=eRGFZrin

(NOTE FROM AIRBNB HELL: because this is a scam Airbnb site, we would advise against following this link, but thought our readers should be aware of the address).

To rent the apartment immediately please select the period for one month and click the ” Instant Booking ” button in the listing. On the next page review your purchase information. After you complete the Airbnb steps, they will send you an invoice with the payment details and the confirmation. The funds must be transferred to Airbnb. Thank you.

If you look closely at the URL, you can tell how it is fake. The ‘-online-booking-eu’ part gives it away. That is not the official Airbnb website although it looks just like it. It indeed said that she was a verified hostess: there was a picture of her, and comments of fake previous tenants. When I went on the real Airbnb website I of course could not find her apartment. Oh and about twelve hours after she sent this she emailed me again, pressing me to make the payment and let her know when I have done so because ‘she needed to know ASAP’. You can imagine how colorful my response was. Anyways, after I was done having fun, I reported her to Airbnb and Wgzimmer. Now I am writing this fun post to spread the word as this is apparently a fairly common scam.

Scammers Keep Adapting: Long-Term Apartment in Vienna

I was planning to find an apartment to rent in Vienna long term and used the website jobwohnen.at to look for a place. There I found a really good offer of a very nice apartment, with a really good price and an incredible location. I thought it was perfect and decided to write the person renting the apartment, Matilda Veracruz Barrera. The listing was in German and it seemed really nice. Since I speak Spanish and the name of the contact was clearly from a Spanish-speaking country, I suggested that we could communicate in Spanish. After a short time, I received this message:

“Hello, I just read your email regarding my apartment for rent located in Vienna, Austria. It has two rooms: one bedroom, one living room (51 square meters). I bought this apartment for my daughter during her studies in Austria, but now she’s back home permanently. I’m renting the place for an unlimited time. Before we go any further I would like to know a little something about you, like how many people you intend to live in the apartment, and for how long. The flat is exactly like in the pictures, furnished and renovated. The utilities (cold/hot water, electricity, wireless broadband Internet, digital TV , dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) are included in the price of the rent. You will have one parking spot, whose rent is 470 EUR month. The guarantee deposit is  1250 EUR, and you get it back when you decide to leave the apartment (you will have to give me at least 30 days’ notice). As for me, you can rest assured that I will never ask you to leave the apartment. My daughter is building her life here. I am too old to move to Austria, so we won’t disturb you. You can use my furniture, or you can also use your own if you prefer. If you decide to use yours, you will have access to a very large and well ventilated cellar, where you can store my furniture. Now, a little bit about myself so we can get to know each other better. My name is Matilda Veracruz Barrera and I’m 56 years old, Deputy Director of the chamber of commerce from Barcelona/Spain, planning to retire in the next two years. I have a lovely husband, Luis Veracruz Barrera, and a 25-year-old daughter, Luisa. I am very proud to say that soon I’m going to be a grandmother. Another member of our family is an 8-year-old Labrador which we all love, so I have no problem if you keep pets. The only inconvenience is that my job doesn’t allow me to leave Barcelona even for one single day. We just hired some new staff and I’m in charge of their training. This won’t affect you at all. I can make arrangements to rent the apartment from Barcelona (on my expense of course). Looking forward to hearing from you soon. All the best from Spain!”

This message to me seemed perfect but also strange, since I suggested that we could speak in Spanish but she responded in English. I thought that maybe this person had this already written in English and was just copying and pasting to anybody contacting her. Now I realize that the listing was in German and the sudden switch to English was weird as well, since I wrote her in German in the first place and just suggested Spanish as an option. I was very naïve and decided to write her back. I was super nice and super detailed with my moving date, and my purpose in Vienna, so that the person would trust me. After that message I received this:

“Gracias por su respuesta, Como te he informado antes, el precio de 1 mes de alquiler será de 470 euros con todas las facturas incluidas en él, y quiero también un depósito de garantía de 1250 euros (el depósito de garantía de € 1250 que recibirá de vuelta al final de la Contrato), sin impuestos adicionales a pagar. Quiero recibir el dinero mensualmente en mi cuenta bancaria, por lo que espero que no será ningún problema para que el cable del dinero. Estoy dispuesto a enviarle las llaves para que pueda visitarlo y ver que se adapte a sus necesidades. La entrega de las llaves y permiso de visualización (firmado por mí), se hará con Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) para asegurarse de que podamos confiar en el otro. Si estás interesado te puedo explicar el procedimiento, así que espero noticias de tu lado porque realmente necesito ocuparme de este asunto. ¡Gracias!”

This message seemed ok. I thought that it was the real deal since it was written in Spanish. The thing is that I gave so many details and this seemed to be a very cold message. Also the Spanish wording is a little bit weird and with some clear mistakes. I thought: mistakes from a Deputy Director of the chamber of commerce? If you put that message into Google Translate you get this:

“Thanks for your reply. As I have informed you, the price of one month’s rent will be 470 euros with all bills included, and I also want a security deposit of 1250 euros (you will receive the security deposit of €1250 back at the end of the contract), without additional taxes to be paid. I want to receive the money monthly into my bank account, so I hope it will not be any problem for you to do a wire transfer. I am willing to send you the keys so that you can visit and see that it suits your needs. The delivery of the keys and permission of visualization (signed by me), will be done with Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) to make sure we can trust each other. If you are interested I can explain the procedure, so I expect news from your side because I really need to deal with this. Thank you!”

Of course they used Google Translate. The whole situation still seemed so fishy but I decided to continue to read her responses. I wrote her a short message saying that I was interested and that I would like to know how the process with Airbnb works. I also told her that I needed the apartment for July and not immediately. I received then this back:

“Hello, the contract is made in your name, and yes, everything is included. First of all, I want to tell you that if you are ready to proceed with this transaction I will need to inform you the steps about how this service works. You will have two days to inspect the apartment before your final decision to rent. I will pay the shipping costs. This is how it works:

  1. I will deliver the papers to Airbnb.
  2. After I deliver the papers they will require your payment confirmation of the first month and the guarantee deposit (€470.00 + €1250.00=€1720) to the company. Airbnb will send you a delivery notification to let you know they have the keys and the papers in their custody. Also Airbnb will give you further instructions about the deposit.
  3. After the payment is confirmed the delivery process will start and when you receive the keys, you will have two days to inspect the property before your final decision to rent.
  4. If all is in order, you will instruct Airbnb to give me the money. Future rent will be sent directly to my bank account.
  5. If you refuse to rent the apartment, Airbnb will give you a full refund (€1720.00) and you will give them back the keys and the contract. If you are interested in renting the apartment please send me your information, so I can make the deal: name, address, city, postal code, country, phone number, a copy of your ID, passport or driving license by email (scan or photo) and a picture of you. Thanks!”

Again the conversation was switched back to English with no feedback on my elaborated details. It seemed so fishy at this point that I decided to Google this woman at the chamber of commerce of Barcelona, and I couldn’t find anything. Then I decided to look for Airbnb scams and found a very similar story posted on Airbnb Hell some days ago with a long-term apartment in Iceland. That’s why I’m sharing my story, because it is clearly a scam. I am not angry with Airbnb; they haven’t done anything to me. I cannot say that Airbnb is a good or a bad platform, since I’ve never used it before, but there’s definitely a bunch of idiots outside of Airbnb trying to use it to scam people. This post is just to show people out there to be careful with these kind of offers. Don’t fall into this trap. Fortunately I was careful enough in the end, but some people might fall for this and the amount of money they are asking for is quite a lot. I hope this helps others in similar situations and they will report it here or somewhere else. Please let me know where else can I share my story so people won’t be fooled in the future.

Constant Noise from Airbnb Guests Annoys Neighbors

My next door neighbour owns 15 properties in Dublin, and unfortunately we happen to live next to one of them. The listing says up to six people are allowed (for a two-bedroom apartment), which effectively allows big groups of friends to rent it. As a results, every other weekend we suffer from loud music and noises coming from this apartment. Our efforts to speak to the visitors is nothing more than a short-term solution. They might listen and somewhat calm down but there are new people every few days. We’ve never seen the owner, and we unable to discuss this matter with him. We’ve been forced to file a complaint with Airbnb, but still have yet to receive a reply.

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?

Hostess Attacks My Weight In Response to My Review

Where do I start? My boyfriend and I were going to Madrid for a few days to help him prepare for a month-long trip to Africa. He grew up in Madrid and has a Spanish passport. We booked an apartment from a hostess named Olga. She had wonderful reviews and seemed very nice. Well, our stay was not what we expected; it was horrible. However, I understand that my concerns may not be concerns to other people so instead of writing an extremely rude comment, I chose to write an honest, yet professional review of my stay. After reading her review and responding to her review of me, I deleted my Airbnb account. Here is what I wrote:

“The apartment is much smaller than the pictures make you believe. There is no terrace and the only windows are in the bathroom, which isn’t good because the neighbors can see right through when they’re open. If you have a lot of luggage, it is not ideal because the building does not have an elevator. There is really only enough space for two people. If you’re just planning to sleep in the apartment and not cook or plan or anything special, it’s ideal for that purpose since you won’t be spending so much time there. But, since Madrid was more of a stop to another destination and not the destination itself, my boyfriend and I were expecting to have more space and expecting all the appliances to work properly. The apartment just did not fit our needs, and we felt that some things could have been explained better.”

Her first review of me was positive, but when she saw that I was not in awe of her apartment like everyone else was, she attacked me and wrote a second review and a response to my review. Her response says it all so here it is (it is in Spanish so I will translate it for everyone):

“Any apartment is too small for Elizabeth’s size. Of course the hot water runs out when she showers. I recommend that Elizabeth reads the description well before making a reservation. The listing of the apartment said that it was small and that there was no elevator. Also if you travel with four large suitcases it makes it difficult to go up any kind of stairs. In reference to the hot water: the heater has a capacity of 50 liters and this is the first time in four years that someone has complained that the hot water ran out. The internet is made of fiber optics and runs very fast, so we also have never had complaints about this either. I’m sorry she had so many difficulties, but I think the solution lies with her; to pick spaces that are super big and that have an elevator.”

First of all, there was no hot water the first night we got there, nor the next morning. We turned on the shower and only cold water came out; clearly it wasn’t working from the moment we got there. My boyfriend and I had to hand wash ourselves three of the five days we were there. Secondly, size has nothing to do with the perception of the size of the apartment. In her second review of me that is present on my profile, she wrote that I was “extremely heavy.” I’m sorry, but not being a size 6 doesn’t make me “extremely heavy.” I’m a size 16. The average woman is a size 12. The apartment was objectively small. My boyfriend is like a size 6 or 8 and even he was upset with the small size of the apartment. Third, I had two small suitcases and two big suitcases. Honestly, her photos don’t represent the apartment.

I was really upset that she attacked my size just because I was unhappy with my stay. I didn’t mention it in my review, but every time my boyfriend and I tried to cook in the apartment, the breaker would just cut off and all the electricity was gone. By her logic, that is due to my size too. Instead of realizing that she needed to fix some things in her apartment, she attacked me with rude comments. What makes me so angry is that my post wasn’t even mean. Just because I didn’t fall before her feet and praise her like other guests have done, I guess that means a rude and hateful comment is warranted. In short, she was a total jerk and so immature. It’s no wonder girls have body image issues by the time they’re six. Other women constantly put them down and make them think if they’re not a size 2, then they’re fat.

Needless to say, I won’t be using Airbnb again. This was my first and last experience with them. The fact that they don’t have an email or a phone number for you to complain is so annoying. I reported the review and her response, but it is still active. I have attached a picture of her profile and this is the link. If you come across her place, don’t stay there. Although it is (as I said in my review) ideal for people who don’t plan to spend time in the apartment, don’t stay there simply because the hostess is a demon from hell and will lash out at you if you don’t praise her. From now on, it’s hostels and hotels for me.

Airbnb Takes Payment in the Wrong Currency

We booked a house in Norfolk, UK for a week, and received confirmation from Airbnb. Everything seemed okay so far. The cost was obviously in pounds. We used our AMEX account, which is in the UK. We clearly paid in pounds from a UK bank account, but because our address is currently in Australia Airbnb charged us in US dollars and 8% for the currency conversion. So Amex paid out in dollars and converted it back into pounds for us to pay off the credit card in pounds. The house originally cost £681 and it has cost us £727. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The host cancelled, so I telephoned her to find out why; she said she hadn’t heard of us. The dates had been booked out for ages. She was so fed up with Airbnb she was withdrawing her property. So beware folks: check which currency you are paying in. My complaint was dealt with by an email quoting some obscure terms and conditions. I had the last laugh though because I was lucky and received a refund into my Amex account in US dollars, which Amex converted back into pounds. Due to a more favorable exchange rate, I actually made a very small profit. I will never use Airbnb. I think we got off easy.