I am not a host or a guest. A week ago Friday we had a lady show up at our home saying she booked our property and wanted to get into our home. After a lengthy discussion with this lady, we looked at the Airbnb listing and it was indeed my address. However, nothing matched my home’s description. There were lots of misspelled words, and the “host” spoke about Satan. The whole post was a sham. We both contacted Airbnb several times to take down the post. We explained to them how it’s a safety issue and eventually someone will come knocking that paid for the house and wants in and won’t be as nice as this lady was. Airbnb has not given this guest her money back, nor have they taken down the fake listing. I’ve made several phone calls within a week to this place, as well as emailing and calling them out on Facebook. Nothing is being done. This is so ridiculous that I have to check online everyday to see if my home has been booked and if an unwanted person will be arriving. Why can’t they just take it down?
I will not recommend Airbnb to my friends, as it won’t protect its users’ rights. My family was planning to travel to Osaka, Japan, and we tried to look for a suitable room for us. Before I made the reservation, I double checked with the house owner about the room I needed; we had five people and we needed two rooms. She answered me by confirming there were two rooms in the apartment which could easily accomodate five people. However, when I arrived that night, I found there was only a tiny room for two people.
I called the house owner. He admitted that it was his fault but the only thing he could do would be to provide a refund. Of course, we also needed to find another place to stay. In such a rush and looking during the busy season, we found no affordable hotel or hostel for our whole family. Therefore we had no choice but to cancel our travel plans and go back to our country. The real room we arrived to find was completely different than that pictured in the photo that the house owner showed on Airbnb, which means the information on the website is fake. Even he refunded us but they did nothing to make up my loss. I also can’t make comments on the website as the reservation has been cancelled. I want to reveal what’s really going on to everyone who wants to find a room to stay on Airbnb. You’d better to have a backup plan otherwise your rights will not be protected at all.
We booked a room through Airbnb for three nights in Seattle. There were four of us staying in the room. We are all from Orlando, Florida, and booked this vacation because we were headed to Alaska on a cruise. We left May 10th and had a layover in Houston. We were supposed to receive an email confirmation for check-in 24 hours before the 10th but never received a call or email. We decided to call them in Houston to make sure we could check in at our scheduled time. When we called they proceeded to explain to us that the guest who stayed in the room the night before had completely wrecked the place and it needed to be inspected to make sure it was safe for us to live in for the remaining days. The man on the phone sounded sincere at the time and said no matter what happens he would set us up in one of his other places if the inspection came out negative. He also offered to send a shuttle to the Seattle airport to pick us up and bring us over to our room.
At this point we figured everything would work out okay when we landed. After a 4.5-hour flight to Seattle we made it and called Saigon Hospitality (the host) to let them know we were waiting on them. There was no answer. We called a few more times; again, there was no answer. We all called from our phones probably 5-8 times each. At this point we decided to get an Uber and go to the Saigon Hospitality Office so we could check in and get settled. We arrived at the office; the door was locked and there was a large window in the front through which we could see inside. Inside there was a lot of furniture. It looked like the furniture to the room in which we were supposed to stay. It was all stacked in the office front room as if they were using the office for storage.
We headed over in another Uber to the address of the room we were supposed to be staying in. It was a large building that was locked with no numbers or indentification outside. I asked some people going inside if it was residential and they said it was strictly an office building. At this point, we were on the side of the road in Seattle, with nowhere to stay and an Airbnb that was paid for in advance. Once again, we called Saigon Hospitality. There was no answer. After thirty minutes of waiting outside in a city with which we’re unfamiliar, we called Airbnb to see if there was anything they could do.
Let me just say that I used to love Airbnb and never had issues with them until this day. However, I will never use them again because of this event. Airbnb told us that they would try to call Saigon and see if they could reach them. They got no answer. We spent anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half on the phone with Airbnb back and forth. Airbnb said there was nothing they could do for us except refund our money. They also said they would pay back our Uber rides and $25 for food. So they told us to wait it out and they would call us back.
Imagine being in a new city with four huge pieces of luggage on the side of the street without a place to go. We paid over $500 for our Airbnb and it wasn’t guaranteed when we got there. Airbnb said they wouldn’t find us another place until we waited a few hours to hear back from Saigon. We were already on the sidewalk of 1st Avenue for two hours. We started looking for hotels, only to discover a convention was in town and all hotels were $400 a night. We struggled all day to find a place that was available to us for three nights. Airbnb never called back so we called them after we finally found a new hotel, and sent them our receipts for Uber.
Ten days later, and we still have heard nothing from Saigon Hospitality or Airbnb. Airbnb is a big company all around the world, and I will never use them again. It’s their responsibility when a hospitality management company leaves you stranded to find you a new place. Nobody helped us from either of these companies. Honestly, it takes very heartless, selfish, and terrible people to leave their guests on the streets for hours with no place to go. They didn’t have to tell us they would send a shuttle; all they had to do was call us back. Saigon Hospitality has some terrible people working for them – this is not a company worth giving your money to. Don’t book with them. If you do you could end up starting your vacation miserably.
Airbnb is unreliable and that’s why I can’t book with them anymore. We got lucky that we were stranded in our home country. Imagine if we had booked a property in another country and were left on the side of the road. Airbnb should have something to fall back on when their hosts screw you over. They don’t and therefore they are an unreliable company that doesn’t deserve our money. I would rather book a hotel and know there’s a roof over my head on vacation.
Is Airbnb just a fake company? Based on my experience, it clearly seems to be the case. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I had plans to be in Philadelphia for a week to celebrate my ten-year MBA reunion, and had booked my Airbnb more than two months in advance. So, I flew nine hours from Sao Paulo to JFK, rented a car and then arrived in Philly after traveling for more than 15 hours. Once I arrived at the address of the Airbnb, I realized that I could locate the two adjacent properties but not the address on the reservation. So, I called the host and found out that the number had been disconnected. That’s when I realized that I had been pranked, except that there was nothing funny about it.
I immediately contacted Airbnb, and they tried to contact the host, as if that would help. After an hour or so, they said that I was right and asked me to check other locations on Airbnb. This was a fun exercise, given that I had just been through a long, international trip with plenty of luggage to lug around. Finally, I decided enough was enough and downloaded and got a hotel through the app HotelTonight (secretly, I am sure HotelTonight must be delighted that the incompetence of Airbnb sends customers their way). Once I checked in, I talked to Airbnb again and they offered me a subsidy on the hotel for the night. The next day, I went through the same routine and tried to book another Airbnb, but nobody responded on the site.
There were plenty of fake listings. In one case, two professional realtors had put up the same apartment on the site with vastly different prices and exactly the same photographs. I tried to learn more, but was rebuffed as soon as I pointed out this discrepancy. To summarize, I had to pay for a hotel for the entire trip. So, the cost of me staying in Philly on Airbnb would have been USD900; instead, it ended up being USD2250, blowing through my budget. To top it all, an Amazon package I had mailed to the fake address was not recovered either. It has been more than a week after my trip and the “case manager” has stalled and not resolved the problem despite repeated followups on their website and Twitter. Their strategy seems to be sticking their heads in the sand and hoping the issue goes away. Airbnb may be a fake company, but my experience was real. Stories like these are not going away.
I chose an apartment in Tangerang, Indonesia for a one-night stay. I chose the Instant Book option and without confirmation from the host, the reservation was instantly approved (and my credit card was instantly charged). I reserved the room a day before check in (April 25, 2017). Up until 11:00 AM in the day of the check in (April 26, 2017), the host never responded to any of my messages. As in any Airbnb booking, I need to have information on the exact location of the property (address and room number of the apartment) and also on how to obtain the key from the host. Up until noon, there was no response. And as I could not wait any longer, I then canceled the reservation. As the cancellation was made on the same day as the booking, my credit card was had already been fully charged by Airbnb and the host. I tried to explain this to Airbnb, but it turned out it was really difficult to contact and/or to find how to file a complaint. I think Airbnb has a great policy not taking complaints. Until today (my reservation was for April 26, 2017, while today is May 2, 2017), the host never responded to my messages and complaints. There were no responses from Airbnb. I used to use Airbnb to find cheaper accommodations. It however turned out that it cost me much more than that. Airbnb is a nightmare. I will never use it again.
I’m afraid I will have to be adding to the list of guest horror stories of scams involving Airbnb. It’s great to know (and let others know) that if things go wrong with this company their stance is an complete and utter refusal to accept that they have operated with any neglect to customer protection when in fact the opposite is true. I was recently looking for an apartment to rent in Dublin as I’m having a party there in October. I found a great apartment listed normally along with lots of others on Airbnb. This listing turned out to be completely fake but led me to transfer – in good faith – £834 to a criminal’s bank account whilst parading under a false Airbnb official-looking email address. I had never used the site before and was unfamiliar with the payment process. The following day, having reported the fake listing, I contacted my bank’s fraud department; a friend of mine was still able to find the fake listing and communicate with the fake host. It’s so infuriating that Airbnb did not even attempt to take the fake listing down immediately to protect others. I have had an official email ending my dispute from Airbnb exonerating themselves completely from any blame. My bank has asked Barclays for the funds back from the criminal’s account (highly unlikely) and informed me not to get my hopes up as MACs transfers are virtually irreversible. I feel totally disgusted by Airbnb’s response to my problem, their lack of urgency in taking the fake listing down, and the hundreds of other stories that I have since read with the same problem. Airbnb should not get away with this.
Well I’m neither a host or a guest yet I am writing here. I have had eight different people, all Airbnb guests, knock at my home stating they have a booking. Obviously some con artist has listed my address on the Airbnb website and is taking the payments the guests are paying to stay at my address for himself. I have tried to contact Airbnb by phone several times only to listen to annoying music until I decide to hang up… the longest I’ve waited is two hours (thanks to unlimited calls by my service provider). The other way to contact Airbnb is by email but you have to register. I refuse to do this – why should I? Airbnb is obviously not taking fraud seriously because the guests that have arrived at my home for a fake booking have complained to Airbnb. Yet the listing must still be up as people still turn up.
I used Airbnb to book a villa for eight people… I thought I did anyway. Prior to that I had contacted several hosts and got exactly the same reply every time. I liked a villa whose host was named Sandy. Villa Vouglemeni looked great. I received a confirmation email and was then told the payment needed to be made via bank transfer as it had been confirmed but not yet booked. We turned up at the place after paying £2355. The villa was real, but the booking was a fraud. Eight people were forced to book hotels at a peak travel time (Easter). The real owner had spoken to Airbnb ten days ago saying the listing was a fraud but Airbnb did nothing to prevent further fraud from occurring. They left the link up, so we booked and got conned. Then we had to pay again for alternative accommodations. They ruined our holiday. We lost all our money and they refused to listen or help; they just kept sending the same form letter. Help me share this story and get my money back and everyone else’s.
My family had an upcoming trip to London. I booked a place from a verified host, who had 25 positive reviews for his property. Less than a week before our arrival, my host sent me a message that the apartment I booked was no longer available. He suggested I stay in another apartment of his. According to the calendar, the apartment would not be available for part of our stay. The host is not answering my messages or phone calls. I’ve been calling Airbnb for three days straight. Each time they assure me that my case has “high priority” and their trip team will be in touch with me shortly. Nobody ever called me back. Today I’ve been told that they are busy helping people, who are right now standing on the street without a place to sleep; that’s why I should wait. I probably should, until my family is on the streets of London without accommodations. The customer service representative suggested I look for a new place and tried to contact my host, but he could issue a refund only after 24 hours. I asked him to help me find a reliable host with a real property, because at least 60% of Airbnb listings in London are fakes used for scams; he assured me that Airbnb is vetting all its listings. I used to love Airbnb, but it seems they are losing the game to scammers. Airbnb definitely needs a stronger security team and they need to handle situations like mine before people are on the street with no place to stay, not postpone until the last 24 hours.
I live in the north of Belgium, close to the Dutch border. I booked a nice looking single room for two nights, approximately 50 minutes drive time from where I live. It was the cheapest accommodation in that area. I used Instant Book because I had never had any trouble reaching hosts before. The host, ‘Anna’, had been on Airbnb since December 2016 and apparently, nobody had booked her place yet, since there were no ratings or comments on her page. I thought that was logical since the street she claimed to be living on was in a small, not at all touristy place; it wasn’t close to a city, and not far away enough to be off the beaten track either. Nonetheless, it was perfect for my purposes and every host needs a first guest, right?
On my departure day, I hadn’t heard from Anna. I didn’t know whether she had seen her latest reservation, I didn’t know whether checking in at 5:00 PM was okay, and I didn’t know what her house number was. I called the telephone number on her page before I got into my car. It went to voicemail right away. I really wanted to get away for a weekend; I wanted to go hiking, so I didn’t give up on Anna yet. I drove past the street she claimed to be living in because it was more or less on my way to the nature reserve that was the purpose of my journey. I thought: I might as well see whether some neighbor knows where Anna Hendriks lives, then, when I hopefully reach her, I’ll know instantly whether she is willing to host me instead of when I come back from my hike.
I thought my plan would work out when I saw a house with a rather large name plate: Hendriks. The woman that opened the door was clearly not the Anna from the profile picture. I explained to her that I had booked a room through Airbnb on her street and that I am now looking for its owner.
“There is an Anna living on this street, but she is a young girl,” she responded. “There is also a woman with grey hair but her name is Corry and she doesn’t rent out her rooms either,” according to friendly Mrs. Hendriks.
I thanked her and apologized for disturbing her. I told myself I would not bother her neighbors, Corry and Anna, because it will probably not lead me anywhere. I feel betrayed. I called the host for a third time and left a message on her cell phone. I have the feeling she doesn’t exist, which is a shame, because she has at least one nice neighbor.
I decided to file a complaint against her with Airbnb. I switched on my mobile data and cancelled my reservation. It was too late to get my first night refunded but I did get my second night, according to the automatic Airbnb help menu. Thank god the host has a flexible cancellation policy. I later asked for a refund for the first night but she didn’t respond. Of course not: she doesn’t exist. Nowhere in the Airbnb help centre can I find any information telling me how to deal with hosts that don’t exist. I want to get my money back and I want to prevent other people from booking with Anna. What can I do?