Another Host Cancels – Airbnb Needs to Stop This

I have never completed a stay with Airbnb before and will definitely never try to use it again. However, I will certainly make sure that no one I know ever uses it. I was in the UK and planned a four-night break in NYC as a treat for my wife. I booked my flights months ago as well as an Airbnb apartment on the upper east side. I did read the host reviews and was slightly concerned as there was a complaint that the host tended to cancel at the last minute. I contacted the host, who assured me it was due to his unfamiliarity of how it worked and all was well… so I booked. I have just received a message saying my booked is cancelled and I have been refunded.

What good is that to me? Just try contacting Airbnb; there’s no email and a good wait to call the states from the UK. After looking into it, last minute cancellations seem to be common practice and Airbnb has the worst policy to prevent them: they only charge the host $100 if they cancel less than seven days before the booking. Soes the customer get the $100 for their inconvenience? No – it goes into Airbnb’s pocket. At the very least, the host should be charged a minimum of $100 for cancelling at any time and up to the total cost of the booking less than seven days and give it to the customer who has been stiffed over. I’m never using Airbnb again.

Reservation Mix up with no Fix in Sight

Our first Airbnb experience has been horrible. We booked a room through Airbnb for our vacation to Nashville. We got our reservation confirmation through Airbnb for June 19-24th. On our way down we called the resort to confirm and they had the reservation as June 19th-23rd. Right away we tried getting in contact with the host who never once got back to us even though over a period of four days we had called, emailed, and texted. After that wasn’t successful, we contacted Airbnb who told us our case was a priority. After didn’t hear back from them we called again and again. Finally we were told that they got in contact with the host and the situation has been resolved. The next morning after that message we called the front desk to confirm that it had been dealt with and the checkout date was the 25th and found out that nothing had changed. Now after we have been dealing with this for our entire vacation we have to check out tomorrow morning two days early even though we paid for two more nights. This has been beyond frustrating. There needs to be three-way calling for some way to confirm the host actually does what they say they are going to do. The host has been horrible. He hasn’t gotten in contact with us even once and he’s the only one that can fix this. We will not be using Airbnb again because they ruined our vacation. Something that was supposed to be family fun and relaxation has not be that but consumed with trying to fix this.

 

Marietta Nightmare: Everything is an Uphill Battle with Airbnb

Last week, my business partner and I had a last minute business trip come up. We needed to go to Marietta, Georgia. Most hotels were full or their rates were sensational, so I decided to give Airbnb a shot for the first time. Normally I take my time, do my due diligence, and made sure everything is in order, but I only had two hours to find a place to stay, book it, get last minute briefings finalized, and pack. I admit, I should have done more research on the place.

The place reminded me of Victorian townhouses you see sprinkled across England. The rate was $120, which seemed fair for a full townhouse. I noted check in was anytime after 4:00 PM. All seemed well, so I clicked “accept.” Next thing I know I get a message. The host wrote to me in broken southern English and immediately I was concerned. He says he works until 6:30 and has to get the place ready, so he can’t let us in until 8:30 PM. I was annoyed and it was obviously contradictory with what he had stated on his profile. However, I went along with it.

Two minutes later, my phone dinged again. It was another message from the host: this time he was trying to change the reservation. Instead of offering a full house, he was trying to have us agree to just use the master bedroom, so that he can rent other areas of the townhouse to other people. Then I was pissed. I declined the request and sent him a rather forceful message demanding that he honor the original reservation. He apologized and explained that he thought he had set the price a night at $129/139; he said was going to lose money now, but he would honor the price set anyway.

At this point, I wanted out of the reservation. I could feel that this was now going south and sensing that when we arrived, he was probably going to try and hit us up for more money. I just knew this was only the beginning, so I logged onto Airbnb to try and cancel my reservation. It had literally only been about 15-20 minutes since I booked the place and I figured I’d have no problems cancelling. That’s when I found out I was only getting 50% of my money back. I tried calling their number and after several attempts, realized that I would never be put through to a real person.

I was freaking out, but decided to keep an open mind. We arrived in Marietta and first things first: we wanted to see where we were staying. It was only 4:30 or 5:00 PM, so we figured we’ll do a drive by, go eat, and then meet the host afterwards. Hopefully, all would be well.

As soon as we turned the corner into his cul-de-sac, my heart dropped. It was a ghetto: broken down cars everywhere. Nasty, filthy… and then I saw the place. He had taken a close up shot of the front of his house, so that you wouldn’t see what it was actually surrounded by: human decay.

I was out. I was so out I couldn’t even see straight I was so mad. Mostly mad at myself, for not having done my research. I logged into Airbnb again and decided I would take the loss of $100 and change. Nope, it had changed again; now, I would lose the entire payment. We went to the Hilton and checked in there. We waited it out and I decided I would go back around 8:30 PM and let the guy know I wasn’t interested in the place. Then I would speak to Airbnb and explain that “based on their terms and conditions”, I was eligible for a full refund. It clearly states in their terms, if you feel your safety is in jeopardy, you are entitled to full compensation.

I definitely had a case. The guy never showed up at 8:30, so now I’m golden. Or so I thought… I went back to my nice, clean, safe hotel and started a conversation over the Airbnb messaging service. I explain what happened in gross detail and requested a full refund. Some guy who barely spoke English told me he needed photos as proof. I never thought to take pictures; I hadn’t even been inside the place, so I Google mapped it and send him screen shots of the dilapidated neighborhood. Long story short, the Airbnb desk jockey told me he was not refunding my money. I could have gotten nasty. Told him he was nothing more than a slave to a silicon valley, or a corporate monster… but I left it at that and phoned my credit card company. I’ll get money money back, but my vengeance isn’t over. This post is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll rant and rave until the day Airbnb finally goes bankrupt, because they will. There’s just no way a company with that kind of customer service is going to make it.

Giving up on Airbnb Verification Process to Book Bungalow

I registered with Airbnb, as there was one property in particular that we just had to have: this really beautiful seaside bungalow with views to die for. I made a booking and the owner accepted it, but in order to finish the booking I needed to get verified. I thought that would be no problem. I got my email and phone number verified, and then they asked me for my passport. Last time I checked, only border authorities have the right to check passport, but I just wanted to book my holiday so I went ahead and sent it in. I made a photo of my passport and waited. The website said there was a problem. Then I made another photo, this time with perfect lighting conditions and saved it in the highest resolution; Airbnb gave the same response. I held up my own passport in my webcam (a real person, with real documents) crossing my fingers that a computer would recognize me as a real person with a real document; nothing happened.

Normally this would have already been a few too many steps for me, but my girlfriend and I were just in love with this bungalow, so following all the guidelines and help desk information (which was not a lot, considering they are massively invading my privacy with this verification process) I linked my Google account so they could cross reference my name. I still had no luck, just a lot of frustration. At this point it wasn’t just coming from losing our dream holiday. The frustration was also coming from realizing what I have just done, allowing some website (and whatever 3rd and 4th parties behind them) to go through my personal emails, including my PayPal information, and have a perfect high resolution photo of my passport.

Needless to say I have deleted my account and will never return to this website. The keen traveler I am, with 80+ nights booked with my Expedia account, I will finish my experience at Airbnb with zero nights and actually quite a bit of fear and frustration that I had to go through using personal documents and still not getting recognized as a human being. I will never return to this website, unless in the following years I ever end up being a victim of some identity theft.

I did respect the fact that it’s because of Airbnb that I found this bungalow, so I never wanted to cut them off, and was more than happy paying their share. They cut me off with their ridiculously faulty (and arguably dodgy) verification system. After that I had no other choice but to Google the name of the property, and after a little research, I ended up with a direct contact to the owner. I do not encourage anyone to do this; it is against to policies and also not a “nice” thing to do. However, it was literally the only choice they left me with. Ironically, it saved around 100 bucks, shared between the owner and myself.

Do Airbnb Hosts Take Any Pride in Their Homes?

Upon arrival we noticed the home hadn’t been clean. All primary areas in which we were to occupy were dirty. The home was not clean enough to stay in. The shower had mold, and the fridge and stove looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. The linen was dirty with stains and what looked like pet hair. You could physically feel the dirt on the comforter. There were two locks and the key wouldn’t work for the bottom. Only the top lock worked, but it became stuck and hard to turn or remove the key. Some of the windows within the home did not have locks and the neighborhood appeared slight sketchy; the overall feeling wasn’t safe for two women traveling from out of town. Overall we did not feel safe. When attempting to contact the host to inform her we felt uncomfortable and unsafe she became very confrontational and basically said she didn’t care what we did as she had her money. She stated that the house had been throughly cleaned and cut me off as I was explaining the door situation. The host knew the home she provided didn’t conform to health code standards and should have been ashamed; no one would be comfortable staying in those conditions. Safe yourself from being robbed morally, financially, and probably even physically while using Airbnb.

About Last Night: New Year’s Eve Scam

I am a first time Airbnb user. My friends have used it and all had pleasant experiences so I figured I’d try it out. It was New Year’s Eve and I was supposed to check into my Airbnb with three of my friends except my host had not responded to any of my phone calls or messages. He was quick to accept payment for my stay but did not provide details about the check in time or a full address to the location (only street name, city, and zip code). I guess I am at fault for assuming this was a trustworthy site that vetted their hosts. The even more frustrating part about this is that I could not find an email for Airbnb on their site where I could submit my complaint. Thanks to Google, I was able to find this site and a customer service number. I have now been on hold for 20+ minutes and haven’t been able to speak to one live person. I’m pretty sure I’m out $168 on New Year’s with nowhere to sleep tonight. This is honestly the worst experience I’ve ever had. Please do not ever make a reservation with this person.

Bad Experience Using Airbnb for the First Time

On August 28th, 2016, I paid the total amount for a two-bedroom condo with three beds in Chicago in full (which hotels never require). When my family arrived, there were only two beds, so that meant that three adult women all over 5’9″ had to share a queen bed. What a mess. With no permission or explanation beforehand, my host gave our room away to someone else. Even though I paid in full it didn’t belong to me. You see, the Cubs had won the World Series, and she most likely had made more renting out the larger unit. I texted her and asked her what had happened. She replied, “Oh, there is a queen mattress in the closet.” What an insult. I had no idea they could even do this. I was floored. Even though I had 24 hours for a cancellation, everything downtown was taken. Where would we go? I informed her there would have to be some sort of refund, and she said she would get back to me. In the end, I got $400.00 credited back to me, but only after I asked for it. The large queen mattress was put in the living and kitchen area, which limited our use of these rooms. It’s so unfair that they have my money, and I can say nothing. I will never book with Airbnb again. I’m sticking to hotels, where my stays have never gone wrong.

Bad First Time Experience in Vancouver

My husband and I planned a vacation to Vancouver in August 2016. We had never gone the Airbnb route, but knew friends who had good experiences. We decided to book a studio apartment in the heart of Yaletown. This was in May 2016. Reviews for this place were excellent. The pre-booking responsiveness from the host was very good. As soon as she had our booking, everything went downhill. After the booking, I tried contacting the host, as I had a couple of questions about the unit. No response, even though I tried contacting the host via Airbnb messaging, email, and telephone (left messages).

A month later, I really began to question if we did the right thing. You really shouldn’t have to worry about this stuff when you’re planning a vacation. I tried calling the host again, but this time did a *67 so that my telephone number would be blocked. Sure enough, the host answered. She was in Costa Rica for a vacation, and said she answered because a “weird number showed up.” I told her I had been concerned because I hadn’t heard from her in a month and that I was relieved to talk to her. She apologized and said everything was fine and not to worry; we could meet up at the Starbucks at the bottom of her building at a specified time. Everything seemed good.

In August 2016, a week before our stay, I tried contacting the host to see if we could meet a bit earlier (flight issue). Again, there was no response, even with follow-up Airbnb messaging, email, and phone message. I contacted Airbnb the night before we were scheduled to arrive. They said they would help us find alternate accommodation if there was a problem. We arrived at the meeting spot, not knowing if the host was even going to show up. Fortunately, she did, and apologized, saying that she had been very busy. At this point, I was just relieved to see her and just wanted to get to the unit. She gave us the keys, did not come up to show us anything, and said she had Apple TV only, not cable (as specified in her ad). This was not a big deal, as we were on vacation and probably only going to watch TV in the morning or late at night. We told her we didn’t have any experience with Apple TV, and she said, “Just play with it. It’s really easy.”

Thankfully, the unit was okay, but it could have used more cleaning in some areas. There was salt all over one part of the kitchen counter, the top of the fridge was very dirty (only noticed because we were placing something there), the microwave oven was very dirty on the inside, and there were leftover items in the fridge from previous guests (not perishables, but used bottles, etc). The place also hadn’t been dusted in a long time. Thankfully, the bathroom was clean and the sheets had been changed. Even though I didn’t think I should have to do this, I did a quick clean of the place, as we were going to be there for a week. Not a huge deal, as the place was small, but guests should show up to a clean place: that should be a given. My husband spent about an hour and a half figuring out how the Apple TV worked. Of course these things are easy when you know what to do. All was good.

After about three days, the Internet and Apple TV died. We figured it was temporary, but after half a day, I contacted the Internet provider, and they told me the host didn’t pay her bill. Really? I was surprised they even disclosed that information to me. We had to play the contact-the-host game again, which I knew was not going to be fun, based on our past experience with her. No response, but no surprise. The next day, we contacted Airbnb to let them know about the host’s lack of responsiveness and the Internet issue. They also couldn’t get in touch with the host, and offered to find us new accommodations (including hotels). It was very late in the evening, and they couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel in the area where we were staying.

We wanted to stay in the Yaletown neighbourhood, as we were vacationing with relatives, who had booked a hotel a couple of blocks from our unit. We were also concerned for the next guest, who was slated to arrive right after us. Airbnb told us that if they didn’t hear from the host within a specified time, they would find alternate arrangements for the next guest. This was communicated to the host, and all of a sudden she got back to us the next day. I suspect the only reason this happened is because she was afraid of losing the next week’s business. She apologized again, said it was a billing glitch, and that it would be resolved quickly. Thankfully, it was resolved within 24 hours. By that point, we had spent so much time and energy dealing with this that we decided to just stay put. We really didn’t want to use up more vacation time dealing with all this by moving to another place. Airbnb ended up crediting us $250 for our trouble.

In my post-stay review, I didn’t go into details, but said that the host’s post-booking responsiveness was terrible, and that, for that reason alone, I would not book that unit again. The host is then allowed to comment on your review. In a nutshell, she said she was troubled by my review, that the key passing went fine, and that I must’ve been a little worried about the check-in process and lack of concierge to check us in. Really? She didn’t get it at all. We were never worried about the check-in process. It was the lack of responsiveness that caused us issues. I don’t understand all the great guest reviews. Maybe we were just unlucky, or maybe people who had issues don’t post reviews, as it’s always more difficult to post a negative review after you’ve met the host, especially if the person is nice. If someone wants to be in the Airbnb rental business, getting back to guests on a timely basis is really important in my book. Not sure if we would go the Airbnb route again. Maybe we’d try it again if we were going somewhere nearby for a couple of days, but only with a backup plan.