Early in the day when we were due to leave for Italy, our host sent an email advising she could no longer host us. Whilst she offered five other accommodation options through her booking agent (I presume a group that handles a number of bed and breakfasts in the Milan area), we simply had no time to try and communicate with those hosts to get a booking confirmation and arrange a meeting before our departure as we simply would not have access to any communication tools whilst travelling. Because of this, we had to urgently try to find alternative accommodations, settling on a hotel in Milan so we knew we would have reliable accommodations upon arrival, in 24 hours’ time. Since our host cancelled, I have been unable to get a refund of the $418 we paid for our booking. The host’s email no longer works and she will not respond to SMS messages sent to her phone. She has also removed our booking from the Airbnb site so we cannot contact her via our “Trips and Reservations” area of the website. Airbnb has no way of offering help on their website, instead referring people to Q&As on their website, which are useless. As a first time user of Airbnb, this has been a really bad experience and I will never use it ever again. I will do all that I can to persuade others to stay away from Airbnb. I feel totally ripped off.
Tonight I will have to spend the night in the streets of Prague because of an irresponsible hostess. Five weeks ago I booked an apartment in Prague through Airbnb for me and my two friends. Although the hostess has cancelled reservations for other people a couple of times before, I decided to take the risk because the place and the price were excellent; however, this was a huge mistake. This woman sent me a message the night before my arrival (yesterday) telling me that she couldn’t accommodate us because she was apparently sick. It was terrible for me, of course. I told her to cancel so that, at least, I could receive a complete refund, but she didn’t. She alleged that she couldn’t do it but then she asked me for my bank account number to transfer my money back to my account plus some compensation. The whole day has passed and she hasn’t done a thing. I need Airbnb to give me a refund as soon as possible, though that is not going to fix our situation right now, at least I will get back my money.
I was trying to arrange the trip of my life with my sisters and a friend. We are all mums and have busy lives and very little time for ourselves, so this was going to be our trip. I booked with this woman, Gigi, for a twelve-night stay. Before the trip (I live in Switzerland) I contacted her and told her that my sister could go to see the place. If she was okay with that, she could give her the keys at that time. She said she had to hand me the keys in person so I said that was okay. I also told her I would be arriving at the apartment about 8:30-9:00 PM on February 1st, which we did.
At 9:00 PM, we were outside the house and she was not answering the phone. After a while, she appeared but didn’t want to be seen (she was going to get in the car and go shopping). I recognised her from the picture and approached her, asking if she was Gigi. Her husband or boyfriend was also there but he was in the car. He knew we were the guests because he heard us talking about her before she appeared, and were the only ones with baggage at almost 10:00 PM. She reluctantly told us that she needed more time to get the apartment ready so we would have to wait in the lobby; she needed to get some pans and pots from the shop.
After fourteen hours of traveling you don’t want to wait anywhere; we just wanted to get inside, relax after this trip, and settle in. Because I told her we didn’t want to wait at reception she started to make a fuss about it and started talking to her boyfriend in Spanish that we didn’t want to wait. I also speak Spanish so we understood what they were saying. After some time she got really upset and rude. She suggested that I cancel the reservation, but I told her I wanted to have my money back. She only said that it had to be done through Airbnb.
I tried to reach Airbnb customer service that night, which was impossible. Therefore I had to deal with her first and then I had to fill out the forms in the help centre on Airbnb. That night we had to book a hotel at the last minute in which we stayed two nights. We had to pay almost $500 on top of the 1500 Swiss francs I had already paid. A few days later I received an email from someone at customer service claiming to “totally understand my situation and my frustration”. She generously wanted to give me a $200 coupon for another booking. I wrote her back and received an automated email that said that the case was closed. Still, there was no money in my account. I kept filling our the refund form until I got $562 back, but i paid 1500. I kept trying to contact Airbnb and finally got through to customer service. They wrote this:
It’s Sarah here from Airbnb, thank you for taking my call. Marcela, I can confirm that you will not be entitled to any further refund from your cancelled booking with Gigi. When you cancelled the reservation, your host’s strict cancellation policy was applied. Outside of this policy, your host sent you a refund of CHF562 which she did not need to do. We have already explained to you that to be considered for a full refund under our Guest Refund Policy you would have had to contact us within 24 hours of check-in, provide documentation of the issue, not to have caused the issue and used reasonable efforts to remedy the situation with the host prior to making a claim. I am sorry that things did not work out for you on this occasion and I hope that you understand that these situations are very rare.
I couldn’t check in: Gigi never let me. I did try to contact customer service. I did everything I was supposed to do – even arrived on the premises on time – and I get punished and robbed? Is this normal? Is this how companies treat their customers? Where is the decency and where are the company values? People just want to screw people over and no one cares? If I wanted more I could tell Gigi that she should have paid for my hotel expenses. The apartment was not ready upon our arrival and it was not my fault. Why should I have to pay?
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.
We were on our way to the Soho apartment we rented after a nightmarish morning of driving two hours (opposite side of the road of course, very stressful), and a broken down commuter train. We were in constant contact with the host to let him know our progress, and always received a “no problem” or “no rush” reply. Finally, in a taxi ten minutes away, I got a host cancellation notice from Airbnb. I arrived at the apartment to find a sheepish host saying he’d just arrived at the apartment to find his flatmate hadn’t cleaned out some moving boxes and apartment was not suitable for guest. He wouldn’t even let us see the place. This was in the afternoon; there was plenty of time to have it cleaned. Airbnb’s response was to email seven or eight alternatives and let us look through them and decide… on a noisy London street on my mobile phone with no idea where these other places were while we were exhausted and furious. We were lucky to find a hotel. Then I found out I couldn’t leave a review for this jerk. They simply put an automatic “host canceled ” notice with no information about how horrible the experience was. They say they deducted payment from his next transaction, which only means he makes a little less money next time, but more importantly it means Airbnb makes money off bad hosts. Who comes up with these stupid rules?
A few weeks ago, I booked a trip to Tahoe to go skiing with a group of six friends and coworkers. A few days before the trip, the host cancelled, so I received the cancellation refund and booked another place. On the day of the trip, around noon when half of the group was on their way up to Tahoe, that host cancelled the trip as well. So I spent about four hours that afternoon on the phone with several Airbnb customer service representatives trying to find another house that was available for the weekend, that could accommodate our group size, and within our budget. Finally after two more cancellations during that four-hour ordeal going back and forth with Airbnb representatives, we found a new place, booked it, and were confirmed that it was would be good. We left for the trip two hours behind schedule.
On our way up, we asked for check-in instructions from the host, but never got a response. After another several hours on the phone with Airbnb, we were told we could have a $250 hotel credit for one night. It was approaching 10:00 PM, and we were in Tahoe with nowhere to stay. We finally got into a hotel at midnight. Unfortunately, the hotel didn’t have any more availability beyond the one night or we would’ve stayed there the entire weekend. So throughout the next morning and afternoon, all seven of us would come off the mountain and start searching for Airbnb houses and asking Airbnb Customer Support to help us contact the host to ensure we’d be able to stay there. However, over the course of the day we booked and confirmed two or three separate houses, and then had them cancelled.
After the last house we saw a $900 coupon that effectively comped the price of the booking, and we thought: “Awesome, Airbnb is finally taking care of us.” Unfortunately, that host also cancelled, and we no longer saw the $900 coupon in our account. Again we called the Airbnb Customer Support line to ask where it went and how we could apply it to our next booking. After speaking with Customer Support, they assured me that if I went to the most recent cancellation email and clicked the link to “book another place,” the coupon would still be there. I did that, and it was there like she promised – in the Airbnb app, under the Payment Breakdown, a coupon of $900.
Since there were now no more places that could accommodate a group our size within our price range within the surrounding Tahoe area, we were forced to look at places beyond our budget. We found one of the cheapest and closest places for a total of $1,000/night for the two remaining nights, and we figured with the $900 coupon, it would even out to be about within our budget (excluding the difference of the hotel that we had to pay the night before that the $250 credit didn’t cover). Because Airbnb assured me that the credit was there, and I saw the $900 coupon in the Payment Breakdown of the house I was about to book, I thanked her and hung up so that I could book it. As I hit the “Book Now” button, the coupon changed from $900 to $84 and I was then charged the full $2,000 on my credit card.
I’ve been on the phone with several of the Airbnb Customer Support representatives since the booking to try and figure out why this has happened. After weeks of back-and-forth calls and emails, I spoke with someone who told me they would not do anything more for me other than providing a 10% refund on the Airbnb we booked. However, the problem is that we never would have booked that house in the first place had we not had a $900 coupon. They have refused to help me, but I will be calling their customer support this week and will edit this post if they decide to change their decision.
I have been traveling in New Zealand and using Airbnb. I have used Airbnb in the US, Europe and now New Zealand. Until now I have had good experiences with all my hosts, until I stayed with Richard in Rotorua. I made reservations through Airbnb and they were accepted by the host. On the day we were to arrive we texted to let him know what time we would come. He called back and told us that he had rented the property to someone else (seven people instead of two) who had paid a deposit into his bank account. To confirm, we called a second number given on Airbnb and talked to someone who said it was “no problem”: we should show up at the address and he would send someone with the key. When we arrived we found the seven other people had arrived five minutes before us and they had already been given the key. We then had to scramble to find a new place to stay at an inflated price. The people we talked to had strong Chinese accents and poor English, so it was very difficult to understand them. The only thing I can figure is to reserve with Richard you need to wire money directly to his bank account and not assume that the Airbnb reservation confirmation is real. I have never had this issue before and it was not evident from the Airbnb website or emails that there was an issue with the reservation or an additional deposit was required outside the Airbnb system. I have seen deposits required before but always paid what the Airbnb site charged, got my reservation confirmation, and had no further significant issues. After several attempted phone calls to Airbnb at +1 855 424 7262 I finally got through to a “Case Manager” at Airbnb who said they would refund our rental charges. I’m waiting for their final response to see if we should join Airbnb Hell’s class action lawsuit.
I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.
My wife and I are writing to express our absolute frustration with Airbnb. We have had our reservations cancelled, at the last minute, three separate times in the last two years. The latest cancellation was for a stay in St. Louis, and our reservation was finalized almost a year ago. We aren’t questioning the host’s reason for the cancellation, but each of these cancellations was received just days before we were to arrive. Each of these reservations was made so that we could attend a specific event in St. Louis, and since the cancellations were done so close to the event, there were no properties left to rent anywhere close to the event venue at all. No hotel or bed and breakfast rooms were available either. Airbnb offered us a refund or an additional $50. for another Airbnb property is pretty laughable compared to the time, effort, and extra expense we have had to make to even locate a rentable property that is quite a distance (12 miles compared to 5 blocks) away from the event. We also planned to do other things in the area where the original property was located, but now that won’t be happening. We should also mention that, for each of these cancelled reservations, we were (and are for this latest cancellation) in the middle of a vacation. Trying to deal with this situation while on the road has been extremely difficult. We couldn’t be more frustrated with this situation and are wondering if Airbnb can give us a reason why we should continue to book with them.
Having used “instant book” online my host then requested double the rate. I refused and was refunded the sum paid plus given a 10% discount on my next Airbnb booking. I made another booking immediately and paid £673… relatively onerous cancellation terms for me. Five months later that host then requested double the rate paid. I refused, and the host cancelled. Such hosts suffer a modest cost penalty imposed by Airbnb and that particular period booked for that property can no longer be booked through Airbnb. The guest receives a full refund and a 10% discount on their next booking. This is totally inadequate compensation for wrecked travel plans so long after the initial booking. Why does Airbnb not provide some financial compensation for holding a good chunk of money for so long? I have unsuccessfully sought some financial redress from Airbnb but keep getting the same standard responses. Airheads! Potential bookers: be aware of what might lay ahead. Hosts might cancel late in the day if they get a better offer.