Here’s my horror story; it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I had a person Instant Book my place with a stolen Airbnb account. The account holder was in Belgium and this guy was from Canada where my property is. I texted her to see how things were going only to find out she had no idea who I was and that she definitely had not booked my place. I called Airbnb and explained the situation to them. They put me on hold for 45 minutes at 3:00 AM in the winter in Montreal, so I called the police. They never came so I grabbed a baseball bat and entered my property. There was no one to hit with the baseball bat. No one was there, and most of my electronics were gone. That is not why I’m mad; it’s because of the way Airbnb handled the situation from there. I spoke to at least ten customer service representatives. They were all very nice, but my situation never got dealt with. After months of calling the only thing I could do was file a dispute with the person whose account got hacked, which they told me they would deny. They said they aren’t responsible for any stolen items, and that they would help resolve the situation if the guest had stolen anything. They would never pay my losses with their money. Obviously I can’t go after the guest who had her account stolen. Now it’s obvious that I can’t reason with Airbnb.
This is a real story that proves that Airbnb insurance is a fraud. Although they state that they cover all costs for any damages caused by guests up to $1,000,000, when it comes to paying they simply don’t. I have a house in Crete, Greece, and hosted a family this August. During their stay, they burnt the counters in my kitchen by placing a hot pot there. The guests accepted their responsibility, so I filed a claim for a refund. Unfortunately, the bench had to be completely replaced, as there was no way to fix the marks. This cost me 877 Euros and Airbnb replied that the cost was too high for such damage; they refunded only 160 Euros. Their response:
“We’ve determined that that you should be compensated for your losses, however your guest has offered a higher amount than what we concluded would be the appropriate amount for the damages. As such, the total that we are able to provide for the damages through your guest’s offer will be 160 EUR. I have gone ahead and processed this payout to your current preferred payout method.”
This is totally unacceptable for Airbnb and its reputation. The eventual result is that I paid 877 Euros to cover my guests’ damage and Airbnb refunded only 160 Euros, just because they decided so. I’m really disappointed by them and their service.
As a first time user on Airbnb I had never used their site. I was booking a ski apartment in Morzine, France for me and seven others. I found a perfect apartment; it looked lovely and was at a perfect location in town. I emailed the ‘host’ using the link on the Airbnb website, which said “click here to contact host.” For over three weeks I asked questions and explained I had to get a commitment from my seven friends, hence it took three weeks to finally make the booking. We must have exchanged over 20 emails. Little did I realize this host had a fake email address set up with an Airbnb heading: all the fonts, fine print, everything. At some point during our conversations she switched addresses and all further correspondence went through this channel without my knowledge. When it finally came time to book she even mentioned to me that I was to pay Airbnb and not her directly.
I was then sent an invoice from what appeared to be Airbnb (since then I have seen a friend’s real booking – his invoice looks exactly the same) and I paid it. I even checked online 24 hours later, saw the money had left my account and the beneficiary was Airbnb, and so I had no reason to question it. It wasn’t until a month later, when the holiday was getting closer that I decided to touch base and all was revealed as the host didn’t answer her email. When I tried to click through to Airbnb on one of her letterhead emails the listing had been removed. Airbnb sent me their standard email three times stating, “as I paid outside their platform they wouldn’t help.”
They won’t take any responsibility for a fake listing on their site. Since finding out I was cheated, I have done some research and have discovered unfortunately I am not alone; this has happened to a number of people though my situation seems to be for the most money. I am not a stupid person; these people are very clever and know how to scam others. I do not think Airbnb protected my interests. When setting up my profile I didn’t receive any warnings about how to pay hosts correctly. Instead, there are various references to ways littered across the site, including ‘instant book’ and ‘contact host’. These create enough confusion so that when an email is received from someone listed as a verified user you do not doubt it. When taking on a property it should be their responsibility to verify these listings. It wouldn’t be difficult – even a copy of a utility bill from this property would have saved me and others like me from being scammed. Airbnb is a huge international company, stretching to over 190 different countries, so I am just a small fry to them. Unfortunately for them £3500 is a huge amount of money to me and I will not stop until I get it back.
Airbnb takes the full payment amount from guests when bookings are made. Then they keep the money for however many days, weeks, or months before the guests actually arrive and are supposed to pay the host as follows: “Airbnb releases your payout about 24 hours after your guest’s scheduled check-in.” What actually happens is that Airbnb sends an email to the host at the point when they should pay and suggests that the bank will take time to pay. This is a total lie. In New Zealand, payments are processed very quickly. The banks may sit on interbank payments for up to one day and do not process interbank payments on weekends and public holidays, but they do not just sit on the money for days as Airbnb suggests. What is actually going on is that Airbnb sits on millions of dollars of guests’ and hosts’ money for days. Meanwhile the guest has checked out and often even left the country before the host is paid. This is just another way that Airbnb is screwing the market. Remember, Airbnb does not have any property. In fact, they have nothing except an APP which causes frustration in communications, so they can keep the guests and hosts at arm’s length until they have got their money. I would strongly suggest that guests instead find a property outside of Airbnb, especially if it is a hotel or guest house and they can check the price directly. When there is no commission to Airbnb, hosts can often offer a better price. If you pay money out to a host who owns a hotel or guest house that has been in business for some time, you at least know where they are; they have a physical location. Whereas you struggle to even get Airbnb on the phone in some random foreign country. Best wishes from a host still waiting to get paid.
I have a UK Airbnb guest account and someone hacked my account, changed my email address and changed the telephone number to my account. No verification is required for someone to do this. No confirmation email stating “click here to confirm changes,” or anything like that. They then used the card details stored to make a transaction of £372.00. They were obviously not required to enter my card’s security number either. I spoke to the customer service advisor who was nice enough, but asked me to put the information in an email to pass on to the security team. Considering this is quite serious fraudulent activity and I can no longer access my account (because my email and telephone have been changed) I would have expected a response by now to reassure me that my account is safe. There has been nothing. No email contact. I have no clue whether my account is safe and Airbnb makes it very difficult to contact them by phone. This is quite worrying. I have been waiting in a queue to speak to an advisor now for 17 minutes so far. Fortunately, my credit card company responded in a much quicker and more efficient manner and they have cancelled the transaction. I no longer consider Airbnb a secure website and wouldn’t recommend it to others.
I had booked an apartment with Isable and Hyder in London. I had made my booking at the end of October and paid three months in advance (all emails and payments are well recorded and can be provided if needed). Prior to making our journey to the apartment, we had contacted the host in the morning to reconfirm the booking and ensure everything went smoothly. The host had confirmed on several occasions that the apartment was ready for us. This was confirmed on the evening of December 28th, the next morning, and while we were on our way to the apartment.
When we arrived the consigner informed us that there was someone in the apartment we had booked. We tried to contact the host on several occasions and did not get any response from her; she avoided taking our calls. We finally managed to get ahold of the host, who then tried to relocate us to another apartment, which was much smaller in size, dirty and quite disgusting, and without a working shower, heathers, cooker or oven (recorded in photographs above). We informed the host that we would not be able to stay in such an apartment and she asked us to cancel our booking without any refund or compensation for the trouble they had caused us. However, we informed them we would be willing to take another apartment, similar to the one we had booked, but this was unavailable. The host then informed us they would compensate us £100, which was very insignificant, and an insult to the damage caused. We refused to cancel the booking and went through the process of a booking a hotel in the same area, which cost much more. At 7:02 PM the host decided to cancel the booking and a refund of £1041 was made to our PayPal account. However we had spent a lot of time and money in planning our five-day trip: £100 in household shopping including fruits and vegetables, £28.67 for our Uber from Harrow to Saint Edmund’s Terrace, £8.98 to Forset Court, and £25.24 back to Harrow. Our hotel booking is now £510 per night for three people and we are staying a total of five nights, totaling £2,550.
We are a corporate housing provider. One of our employees opened up personal Paypal accounts under their own name and Airbnb deposited over $100,000 into these accounts. It has been two weeks, several phone calls, and follow-up emails with still no response. We will have to engage a lawyer as Airbnb has shown no initiative towards a resolution in recouping our funds. If anyone else has experienced such fraud, and negligence on Airbnb’s part there should be a class action suit.
I have discovered a person who was working for me opened an account under his name with Bank of America and Airbnb through utter negligence was sending my payments for my company into this person’s account through Paypal. The result of this egregious negligence on Airbnb’s part is that over one hundred thousand dollars of my money went to someone else’s account. There was grand theft committed against me and my business solely due to lack of any security by Airbnb. In the past few months I called Airbnb multiple times and asked if there were using any other account for my company except the two authorized accounts I have. Each time the Airbnb representatives assured me that there were no other accounts being used except these two. I continued digging into all my Airbnb transactions and bookings as I was going over all of our company bookings and many tenant payment methods were missing. I thought it somehow linked back to Airbnb, yet they continued to have no answers.
Finally, on November 30th, I called Airbnb yet again and I asked them to go over every single payment they have paid me. When we got to the last few payments they weren’t in either of my accounts and the representative couldn’t tell me into which account they were deposited. After putting me on hold to research this, the representative came back to me and said that the payments went to a Paypal account. Not only did they never realize this in all my past conversations with them, they also – to my shock – had no information on this Paypal account and they asked me to call Paypal for more information. After I called Paypal I found out that multiple accounts had been opened and closed through my company, using someone else’s name since 2014, with Airbnb being the sole source of deposits. This was shocking news, again leading to what I have found to be well over $100,000 in theft.
My husband and I booked a room for four nights in Cartagena, Spain. It was a good price and decent reviews. Shortly after booking the host contacted me to say he made a mistake on the price and it was actually double. He said I booked too quickly and he didn’t have time to change the price. If we wanted to have an enjoyable time at his place we should pay the higher rate. I checked the price a few days later and it was still the same. I declined the offer of the higher price and said I would find other accommodations as the new price is more than what we wanted to pay. I immediately reported to Airbnb and have yet to hear a reply. I discovered a few days later that we had actually been charged for the room we declined based on the new price. I have yet to hear from Airbnb about a refund. I contacted the hosts to let them know that this was a very dishonest practice but they don’t seem to care. I guess I will have to contact visa and let them know that this was a fraudulent charge.
I was hit with a fraudulent reservation. In other words someone clearly hacked my account, and made a reservation with my name and credit card information. All the emails were in Chinese. I live in Virginia. The reservation was for Colorado. I immediately canceled the reservation which had a no refund policy… there’s a shocker. I was able to contact Airbnb on chat. They indicated they had the money in their account and that it would not be released until they investigated. It has been over a week. I’ve had one other chat and one email requesting information. I’ve provided all the information required. There has been no response in five days, none. My bank is involved as well, bending over backwards to help. Airbnb is not responding in any way. My email contact has dried up, and phone contact is sparse. Someone has answered, and then I’m put on hold for over an hour. Never again. I’m done with Airbnb.
I had a really unpleasant New York City host somewhere in the financial district. Superficially everything was nice until a few hours after we met. Here is how the interaction went:
Host: When will you be arriving?
Me: I will actually be in the city a few days before so I can arrive whenever is convenient for you to give me the key.
Host: Anytime after 2:00 PM on this end works.
Me: Okay I will be there around or before 3:00 PM then. Does that work?
(24 hours before said time)
Host: I cannot be here to check you in. You have to use the temporary key from the doorman. The permanent key is in your room. The temporary key must be returned very soon after checkout.
Me: Okay. When do I have to return this key?
Host: As soon as possible.
(Arrive at apartment at 1:54 PM. Remember: anytime after 2:00 PM is ok; check out the temporary key for which my ID is retained. I go upstairs to said apartment)
Host: Oh, I didn’t think you’d be here for a few more hours; the room’s not ready.
(One hour is not a few more hours, and I was within her “acceptable window”. This host clearly does not read her messages.)
Me: Okay, I will just leave the luggage here next to the shoes, no need to hurry for the room. I’m leaving probably till evening.
She shows me the room. I thank her, pet her dog (which is actually not allowed to live in that building), take the permanent key, and return the temporary key. Upon return of the temporary key I again have my state ID on my person. Six hours later I got a few messages from this host that she will be posting an $100 charge to my account because I did not return the temporary key.
Me: Of course i returned it. Is it true that the doorman holds your ID for that key? Okay. Then how would I have my ID otherwise?
(Host continues accusing me in a couple more messages that the key is signed out to me)
Me: Okay, it is the doorman’s responsibility to find it because I returned it but nevertheless I will go see for myself that what you say is true.
I return to the building from an inconvenient distance away, and it turns out the doorman did have the key. The mistake was on their part as the key was stuck in the crack of the machine that reads the key. The host apologized. I calmly went to shower so my muscles would be relaxed before the New York City Marathon. The host’s roommate came back to the apartment with a bunch of drunk friends. One of the male friends barged in on me while I was getting out of the shower. At least I had some tiny clothes on. I made small talk with the drunk people for a little bit then went to bed, at 2:45 AM (technically 3:45 AM because of daylight savings time). The host barged through the apartment in loud heels, slammed a couple doors, then stormed out.
Well, goodbye sleep. This was going to be an interesting marathon. About 3:10 PM after the marathon:
Host: Your checkout is by 7:00 AM please leave the key on the desk. You can leave the luggage in the common area if you want and get it later by using the temporary key.
Me: No, thanks. I don’t want another $100 temporary key incident.
(I didn’t see anything disrespectful here – I was just protecting my wallet from her)
I vacated the apartment at about 12:30 AM and took a picture of the state of the room I was in, with the key on the desk and a time stamp. I brought a friend to help me with the luggage and to make sure I got uptown at 120th Street safely. He also saw the key on the desk and we checked the apartment ten times to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. That whole piece of time was about 10-15 minutes. Maybe this host had work or something, but being reminded that I had to check out only 14 fours after a marathon is brutal. So I just preferred to forfeit this unpleasant experience and sleep uptown on the floor of a friend who was not evicting me.
The next morning when I woke up I saw a message that she did not find the key on the desk but that she is willing to not charge me the $150 it costs her to change her locks due to the trouble with the temporary key. I called Airbnb to complain and I said I will be requesting a $40 refund (from the $130/night it cost me) because I did not end up spending the night there. I also told the host that giving everyone access to the temporary key is a pretty bad security problem in her building. I obviously did not take her key. It’s of no benefit to me to keep a key from a place I would hate to live in, when I live about 2000 miles away anyway. I just needed a place close to the Staten Island Ferry for the marathon.
I proceeded to ask for a refund. The reservation was over; I had written the Airbnb review anyway so I was frank with this person. The Airbnb Resolution Center allows you to upload pictures so I showed her where the key was when I left.
Me: As you can see the key was left right there on the desk where I mentioned to you on the phone. You’re not accepting evidence by any other means, so I am sending it to the Airbnb Resolution Center. Accusing someone of theft is not only impolite but unprofessional as this is a business that you are running from this apartment. If you were the owner of the hotel, you would not be accusing your guests twice in 48 hours for items missing from the room before putting any effort into finding them. For example: at least double checking with the doorman that the key wasn’t lost by their own fault. The refund would be for the 17% of the total reservation time (from 2:00 PM Saturday to 7:00 AM Monday) that I did not spend in this rental. As I said before, it seems like your temporary key checkout is a security problem in the building so you should focus on that instead of throwing tantrums so you can charge your guests extra money. Feel free to cross reference the time at which I left your address with security footage. Also, I brought a friend over to help me with my luggage and so that I would get to 120th St safely at 1:00 AM. Therefore I also have one witness that the key was left in the right place. The very last thing I want to draw your attention to is that I left the door to my room closed on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM, and found it open at 4:30 PM, so someone went into my room while I was away. Have you even checked with your roommate to see that he didn’t stow the keys away somewhere? I am going to guess you have not.
Host: Hi, As I mentioned before, the key was not left on the desk. I apologized for the mishap with the temporary key, even after you arrived two hours prior (actually one hour and still in the time window she said was ok) to the time you said you would without asking. I did reach out to the doormen before contacting you. They were the ones that told me it was checked out under your name. When you spoke with them, they told you that the key was stuck in the reader and it did not register that you returned it. When you informed me of this I apologized and thanked you for letting me know of the mishap. You, however, were very disrespectful. As you can see from my house rules, you are not allowed to bring anyone into my apartment without announcing them to me and I charge a $20 fee (so by this logic should I charge her an $200 fee for her unannounced friends who saw me naked?) I do not appreciate that you brought someone to my home without asking prior. You can also see that my cancelation policy is strict. You cannot get a refund for leaving the reservation early. Therefore, I am not accepting this $45 refund. I was willing to waive the $150 fee and I might be willing to waive the $20 for the unannounced guest, so long as you do not contact me again. If I do hear from you again, I will be pressing charges and contacting my lawyer. You were the only person that had access to the temporary key and my apartment without me being there. There is video evidence of that as well as a record in the system of everyone with temporary key access. Due to this negative experience, I have removed my listings. Thank you.
She has not removed her listings and I will gladly privately share the link with you. In short: her drunk friends see me almost naked but I should get charged money for bringing someone to help me with the luggage through the subway at 1:00 AM, a time at which I’m leaving because of her irrational behavior? I was repeatedly accused of theft in my 48 hours of interaction with this psycho and threatened with an illogical lawsuit, but I’m disrespectful? Also she technically is renting two properties from what I can see in her Airbnb listings, so she can’t live in both of them at once. One of her Airbnb rentals is illegal by New York City law. I guess she forgot I can use this to get her an $1000 fine, right? NYC says rental types like Airbnb are legal as long as the host lives in the apartment during the guest’s stay. Here are all the messages I exchanged with her.