Host Cancellation Policy Not Worth Paper it is Written On

Just a warning for you hosts out there. Airbnb can refund 100% of the rate you have agreed upon with guests, and will not even inform you about it. The first you will know is when you receive a statement saying they have taken the money from your bank account, or deducted it from a future booking (which is what happened to us). It does not matter if you have a strict cancellation policy; Airbnb’s terms and conditions allow them to override this and “steal” (there really is no other word for it) your money and give it back to the guests, and not even inform you about it.

We had a booking in August – our peak period, and so we spent time, money and effort preparing our property for these guests, including purchasing food for their stay, paying for staff (our villas are serviced), and arranging cleaning, only for the guests not to turn up at all. As people fly to Bali, such a late cancellation left us no chance of finding other guests to take their place. When we contacted the guests, we found out that their grandmother had unfortunately died, and so they had decided not to travel.

While we had sympathy for the guests, we assumed that they had travel insurance (as we recommend for all guests) and so would claim on that, and so we offered to provide whatever paperwork they needed to do so. This is our business and our only source of income, and so we have a strict cancellation policy, as losing an entire week of income would be a big blow to us. We thought because of our cancellation policy that we were protected by Airbnb.

If guests contact us we normally work something out, and have in the past. For example, we have let guests stay later in the year for free. However, instead of claiming this on their insurance, the guests just went directly to Airbnb, and the next thing we knew, 100% of the amount paid had been taken from us. No warning or discussion from Airbnb. No discussion or message from the guests. We had had no argument or difficulties with the guests, just minimal conversation as we assumed they were busy with the funeral arrangements.

We are left here with all the costs of setting up the villa for the guests and yet zero income, and no ability to get other guests to stay or to recoup the income we had expected. We complained to Airbnb and they told us that when using Airbnb, we have to follow a policy called Extenuating Circumstances. In Airbnb’s view, their policy is evenhanded as it allows hosts to cancel at the last minute, as can guests for reasons outside of their control. However, if a host cancels due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is repaid to the guests, and if the guests cancel due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is also repaid to the guests. The host loses out in both cases.

Guests can also insure against unforeseen emergencies, but there is no such insurance to cover hosts for last minute cancellations leading to a significant drop in forecast income. With no discussion, notice, message or anything we were given zero opportunity to challenge or question this. Airbnb did not even check if the guests had travel insurance, and could have claimed that; they just quietly took the money without telling us. Not only is this policy grossly unfair to hosts, it is totally unethical to implement it without any discussion at all, and tells you that trusting Airbnb as a company is a very dangerous thing to do. A massive warning to Airbnb hosts: you are not who Airbnb cares about.

Worst Airbnb Host Ever Almost Ruined My Vacation

I stayed with a host who is quite literally one of the most unpleasant human beings I have ever encountered. How she has any good Airbnb reviews is beyond me. Her communication skills are beyond deplorable. The following review is for this listing in Tokyo. I noticed that she was very rude when I first asked her if it would be possible to check in early. A simple “no” would have sufficed; instead, she went on a rant. Given that she is Japanese, I brushed this rudeness off as her not being familiar with the English language and maybe she didn’t understand the underlying connotations of the words she was using. That was a mistake.

We arrived at the apartment, which looked like an absolute pigsty. See the attached photos. It was absolutely disgusting and not even the same apartment that was listed on the website. The host lied, in that it was not her apartment. I say lied because the key was in a specific mailbox with a code that she had given us, so it was practically impossible that we “by chance” got the wrong key and went to the wrong apartment. She kept lying and trying to blame us for her mistake. She also never offered to come help us. In fact, in the beginning we couldn’t even get in touch with her. Instead her husband who spoke no English was answering the phone.

Eventually, after a 21-hour flight I was fed up and went to a hotel. Then I proceeded to call Airbnb for a refund. It took over an hour to get my refund but finally the Airbnb case manager discovered that it was her apartment and that she had double booked it. Because it was her fault, Airbnb forced her to give me a refund. Afterwards, she left me a negative review. Why she was able to review me when the reservation was cancelled is beyond me. I had to call Airbnb to get that fixed as well.

Needless to say I will never use Airbnb again. Just realize that if something like this happens they pretty much leave you high and dry. The host should apologize for what she did but is such a horrible human she never will. She is lucky I didn’t leave a review on Airbnb and ruin her obviously fake reviews.

Airbnb Calendar Glitch in Reservation Cost me $700

This happened to both my sister and myself and is not yet resolved. We live in a university town and the biggest moneymaking weekend of the year is graduation. The prices we posted on Airbnb were higher than usual, but because the site automatically reverts to your minimum price if you make any change to the reservation, like adding another night, I stand to lose $700 if the guest doesn’t agree to pay the difference. I’ve had many times where I set the price on a date on the calendar, only to find that it hasn’t “taken.” I also couldn’t respond to an interested guest once when reception was poor – I kept sending a message but the guest never got it, and that affected my responsiveness rating. I’ll be relying on other rental sites unless Airbnb gets a more responsive site. That’s a crushing loss for us, and due entirely to the automated settings they substitute without your approval or knowledge. And of course, you can’t reach them to give that feedback or get help.

Drunk Disorderly Host Necessitates Early Departure

It’s 2:15 AM and I’ve just passed the 20-minute mark on hold with Airbnb customer service for the second time in the last hour. The first time, after 40 minutes on hold, my call was disconnected. I suspected my host (for a scheduled five-week stay) was drunk when I called to say I’d be arriving late. My suspicion was confirmed upon arrival, when I encountered the staggering, slurring host, who bounced off the hall walls as I was shown to my room. The room was very nice and as describe, except for the curtain that separated my room from his. As I paced around weighing my options, loud slurred endearments to his dog boomed from behind the curtain. Decision made: I had to leave. I grabbed my unpacked things, and knocked on his closed bedroom door. As my host opened up, he fell backwards, and accepted my decision to depart from a slumped position on the floor halfway between the hall and his bedroom. On my way out, I noticed the front door had been left wide open, and all the lights were on. Being an Airbnb novice, I had thoroughly researched this host and location. Every posted review was sterling, the host bio was appealing and congenial, and the photos showed a lovely home with a situation ideal for my purposes. It’s now 2:38 AM, and Airbnb customer service just disconnected me… again. I doubt the website will be at all useful, as several attempts to find a help topic appropriate to my situation came up empty. Clearly, the site is designed to frustrate any effort to seek immediate resolution and satisfaction. This was my first and could be my last experience with Airbnb.

Ring Stolen by Host Leads to Customer Service Nightmare

I rented a condo in Panama City Beach, Florida in January 2017 to visit an old friend with terminal cancer. Upon arrival, everything was fine. When I returned home I realized a diamond ring that belonged to my late sister-in-law was missing. As you may imagine I was sick. I have never lost anything and that would be the worst thing to lose. I sent a message through Airbnb to the host, asked them to please look for it, and reminded them in what bedroom I stayed. Low and behold, they found it on January 31st 2017. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. They asked for my address and for how much to insure the package, and I provided the information.

It is now March 14th and I still do not have the ring. I contacted Airbnb on February 10th after multiple attempts to communicate with the host to which they would no longer respond. Airbnb reviewed all the messages and opened a case. I have not been contacted by Airbnb once. I have called multiple times, been on hold for 30-45 minutes, spoken to someone who stated that my case has been assigned to someone and they would be contacting me, and to date there has been absolutely no contact. Every day I call Airbnb, hold for a long period of time, speak to someone and that is it. I have asked for a manager or supervisor each time and was always told they were busy. I have insisted that I speak with someone and have been hung up on three times now. I am not sure what to do. I have contacted the local police department, filed a report, and also reported Airbnb to the Better Business Bureau. It’s bad enough I lost the ring, but the worst part is lack of help from Airbnb. I will never use them again.

Airbnb charged us for a flood that was not our fault

Airbnb first said this house we rented last summer was a four bedroom. One of the so-called bedrooms was a half room, with no door and a crib and air mattress inside the alcove; that’s all it was, an alcove. Then we had this flood, which had something to do with the huge construction site two doors down. My daughters were bathing in the upstairs bathtub and when we let the water out, all the water from the toilet in the powder room came flooding up – black water and everything. When we arrived you could see it had happened before as the wood tiles in that bathroom were curling up and jagged. We had to vacate the house which was not easy as we were in high season. We contacted the owner who sent a plumber but we did not see him until he knocked at the door and said we were all good; the blockage was in the street. In the dispute they would not declare who the plumber was, nut Airbnb and our host blamed us and charged us 1000 USD. Beware using Airbnb; try any other good options as an alternative to these bandits. Happy Travels!

Airbnb Refuses Refund due to Loud Masturbating Host

We checked into Scott’s home in Silver Lake, CA after a couple of long flights. I’m from Chicago and my partner is from London. Scott welcomed us in and showed us to our room. He was very pleasant face-to-face. After no more than ten minutes, we left to get a late dinner. We returned around 11:00 PM and crept up the stairs to avoid awakening what we assumed was our sleeping host. We changed our clothes for bed, and my partner went to brush her teeth. She came back to the room wide-eyed and asked me: “Do you hear that?” She looked like she had seen a ghost. I said I had not. She gestured towards the door and whispered “listen.” I jumped up and took a step towards the door, immediately heard what she had, and understood the look on her face. Scott was vigorously masturbating and shouting to someone over the phone. I opened our bedroom door and he was yelling (he is somewhat deaf): “Yeah, you like it?” My partner said when she was on the toilet she heard him say “Eat that a#@$*le, you like that big hairy c$%k in your face.”

Scott’s bedroom is adjoined to the only bathroom in the house – the bathroom my partner and I, another couple, and Scott were to share. My partner said she felt sick. I went to brush my teeth and came back to the room with an idea: “I think we should just go down the street to the Comfort Inn. I don’t feel comfortable here.” My partner flipped her laptop around; she had the same idea and was searching for a new place to stay. We looked up Airbnb’s customer service line which was far too difficult to find. We called the Airbnb “Trust and Safety” line to make a report and the first thing they asked was for my partner’s phone and credit card numbers. After a complicated process (because my partner is British and the Airbnb system would not recognize her phone number, even though she booked the trip), we finally reached someone. My partner recounted Scott’s loud and aggressive masturbation session, said we were not comfortable staying with Scott, and would like a refund so we may stay somewhere else. The best they could do was refund roughly 30% of the 11-night trip we had paid for.

At this point, we had spent fewer than thirty minutes in the house. The “Trust and Safety” representative said that if Scott was not directing his sexual language at one of us, there was nothing Airbnb could do. The only avenue they suggested was talking to Scott, telling him our issue, and asking him for a full refund, which they reminded us would not include Airbnb’s fees. Nothing could convince the Airbnb representative that this was an uncomfortable place for us to stay. Their response was essentially: “It’s Scott’s house, and he can do whatever he wants in it.”

Yes, Airbnb, it is Scott’s house and we have just spent our holiday budget on a room in that house. Apparently feeling uncomfortable because of someone’s very loud and aggressive sexual behavior, audible from our bedroom and just short of inclusive while in the bathroom, does not meet Airbnb’s cancellation policies. Now we can’t leave Scott’s home because we can’t afford other accommodations. Airbnb offered no support or empathy. I suspect that when a person plans a trip to a new place, they would like to trust the person they are staying with, or at the very least the company that vouches for their hosts. It turns out, with Airbnb, you can’t necessarily trust either. It probably goes without saying but I will never plan a trip with Airbnb again.

Forcing Airbnb Hosts to Turn On Instant Booking

In early January 2016, I received an email from Airbnb that explained that since most guests preferred Instant Booking over talking to a prospective host, Airbnb would not list my home under guest searches. This is despite me usually getting great ratings from my Airbnb guests. Can you see how this could be seen as an aggressive attempt to make people offer Instant Booking when that feature does not work for their situation? Now, if Airbnb had sent me an email suggesting that I take more photos, I would do that. However, if I turn on Instant Booking, and/or offer a price considered below average for my area, I’ll lose money. My rate is already below average for my area. What will help me immensely is when Airbnb stops omitting my home from suggested places to stay. I had one guest in December 2016 and no guests in January 2017.

I have been very loyal to Airbnb and have advocated for their business in writing. I wrote a letter to the NYC Public Advocate in response to her scathing opinion of Airbnb. How do you think NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams would react to NYC homeowners being forced to offer Instant Booking? Please share your thoughts.

Problems at Rental: Private Communication Possible?

Our experiences with Airbnb have been excellent overall. However, the time and effort to get help with problems is a real concern. I believe guests used to get a post-visit email from Airbnb allowing the sharing of problems privately. This no longer appears to be the case. Here is a note I wrote which I could find no way to deliver. Moreover, I waited 25 minutes on the phone waiting to speak with someone.

Dear Airbnb Staff,

A question I have is how to contact you if a problem arises and neither a computer nor cell phone is at hand? We had need of this on our last trip to Pasadena, California. We arrived at 12:00 PM (3:00 AM New York time), in the heavy rain. Fortunately, our taxi driver was able to spot the entrance to the building and call box in the damp and poorly lit area. Our directions had told us to type in the owner’s name and call them to be buzzed in. The directions at the top of the call box sent a fleeting and almost unreadable message regarding entry. It said to type in a number and name. There were no symbols nor letters on the buttons in the call box, making it impossible to do this. I tried many times. Eventually I pushed something on the box and by translating the letters from our TracFone buttons was able to type in the names. The box said access denied.

To continue the saga, by accident I found a way to scroll for names and did manage to call the owner who said she would buzz us in. We lugged all our bags and suitcases through the gate only to find we were trapped between the outer and inner gate! No one had told us to go and open the second gate quickly. This could have meant we had to go in and out again, but my husband rang the door bell of a very helpful neighbor who came to let us in and show us where the elevator was. On getting to the correct floor in the dark – the lights apparently go off at a certain hour – it took another long time and required us to turn a large bench over in order to access the lock box. When we eventually got into the apartment all the clothes in one suitcase were soaked through.

In the apartment, there were no directions regarding the wifi or television use. My husband was able to get the wifi information from a call to the owner, as well as an explanation as to why the bathroom sink was sprinkled with mud… or worse. The owner informed us that sometimes the plumbing backed up. The apartment had no dining room, nor did it have a table or shelf high enough to use for writing or placing a computer. We did not plan to do cooking except for breakfast. Neither the electric oven nor the oven broiler worked. It was not made clear how to lock the doors on departure. Apparently you have to lift up the handle while turning the key, another item that should be in a manual.

I had intended to write this in a private communication to Airbnb. In the past there has been an option to write to Airbnb with suggestions for improvement that you do not want to communicate directly to the owner. No such email came from you. I have mentioned several problems above but want to reiterate: there was no instruction manual, let alone welcome manual in the house. There were no clear directions about getting into the house. There was no mention of the possibility of plumbing problems. There was neither a working electric oven nor a stove broiler oven. It was not clear how to lock the doors correctly on departure. This is the only time in many years of enjoying Airbnb homes that we have experienced any difficulty. Overall our stay was alright, with a comfortable bed and quiet space. However, I cannot say strongly enough that these problems should be addressed before the apartment is rented again. Thank you for taking the time to read this.