Airbnb Chile: Freak Forest Fire and Ash Everywhere

Our flight was delayed putting us in our Airbnb apartment over 24 hours late. There was a devastating forest fire that broke in Chile the night before we were to arrive. Our penthouse apartment had glass walls on two sides for air circulation; there was no air conditioning. I texted the host expressing concern about the smoke and ash. His response was that it wasn’t bad at all.

We arrived to a city filled with smoke and ash. We had to have the windows/walls open because it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day. In the morning, we had to wipe off our cell phones and wash the ash off our faces. It was very bad. We wore our sandals around the apartment because the ash would turn our feet black instantly. Every time we wanted to sit down we had to wipe down the chair or leather couch off.

I contacted the host our second day and told him that the ash was pretty bad and also to ask for additional towels. We had reserved the apartment for 11 days and he only provided two towels. Guess what? He couldn’t help me because he left town the day I arrived; the ash was so bad from the forest fires. He was not willing to release us from our contract so we spent as much time as possible away from the apartment and pretty much only slept and showered there (which was bad enough).

Our last day, I hung the towels over the tub (no towel racks) and took out the little bag of trash that we had accumulated. We were frustrated that he had not let us out of the contract due to the extenuating circumstances, but we made the most of our trip. Then I got home and discovered the man had said hateful things in his review of me. His review stated that I am a filthy person and no one should rent to me. I was shocked and devastated. I have never had anyone speak so horribly of me and now the lies are out there. There is nothing I can do to get them retracted. It wasn’t filth; it was ash and he knows it was ash all over his apartment through no fault of mine.

Can’t Contact Airbnb About My Extenuating Circumstances

I had my first Airbnb trip planned for this week. I was very excited about the trip, but Sunday evening I had a head injury that required ten stitches. Thus, I couldn’t travel this week. I contacted my host and she has been wonderful, however, Airbnb will charge her a fee if I don’t report my “extenuating circumstances” directly to them. According to the policy on their website, I am eligible to cancel my trip and get a full refund. The problem is that they don’t tell me how to contact them with documentation. When I search “contact Airbnb” I’m routed to their list of help questions. Of course, the answers to these questions don’t help. I have responded to their help page feedback, but I’m not getting any answers.

I finally did a Google search and found the Airbnb phone number on Airbnb Hell – thank you for that. I called and talked to a representative who was very nice, but he had to put me on hold twice to get the answers to my questions (improper training). He told me to email my documentation, but I said the email isn’t on the site so I needed to know the email address… he actually had to put me on hold for this. He came back and said that he would have to email me and that I could answer the email and attach my documentation. He did send the email right away (from response@airbnb.com). If this does not resolve the problem, I’ll be back on this site to write a follow-up.

Serious Injury and Unable to Travel, Ignored by Airbnb

I had an accident and was seriously injured in February. On March 11th I advised a host  that we would need to cancel our trip planned for April 29th. I provided a medical note supporting our claim. I also asked for a full refund as I qualified for a refund under extenuating circumstances. The host ignored my emails and refunded only 50% of my payment; he didn’t even bother to respond. I asked Airbnb to get involved and support my request. I have heard nothing so far. As a result of my injury I will be operated upon soon and my recovery may take up to eight months. I gather Airbnb doesn’t care to comply with their own policies. I am still hoping to get a refund. This is one disappointed client.

Nor’easter Doesn’t Count as Extenuating Circumstances

My flight got cancelled to Boston due to the Nor’easter that hit the city on March 14th. Thinking I could beat the storm, I booked an Airbnb for the night before the storm. That night my flight got cancelled and I tried to cancel my Airbnb post. The hosts had a strict cancellation policy and I am trying to get it waived because it was out of my hands on why I could not get to Boston. This is the email that Airbnb sent to me saying that I’m not eligible to apply for a refund under extenuating circumstances, because my flight was not affected by the storm. Are you kidding me? This is how it all started: my flight to Boston got cancelled because of the big snowstorm.

Careful Not to Book with Strict Cancellation Policies

I had reserved an apartment and then the airlines canceled our flight. When I requested a refund, I only received 50% of the paid amount. I gave the host four months’ advance notice. She claimed she had already blocked the dates and would not refund us in full. She could easily unblock the calendar and rebook the place. If I had canceled a reservation four months in advance at any normal hotel or business I would be refunded with no questions asked. This is what makes Airbnb a grind: greedy hosts and company. Be very careful about booking outside of the country these days. There are way too many scams happening abroad. And you really do not want to be stuck in a foreign country in a hellish situation. Stick with reputable hotels and inns. Go to Tripadvisor and get the latest reviews on an accommodation before booking. The reviews on Airbnb are often unreliable. I’m tired of dishonest hosts and listings. It’s not worth the time or money (not to mention frustration) anymore. Guests are not respected. The Airbnb model is currently dysfunctional. Trust and honesty issues are rampant when there is money involved. Don’t shell out your money in advance on often broken promises.