Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.
I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.
Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.
I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.
My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.
UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.
Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.
We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.
We booked a two-bedroom apartment in London two months prior for some relatives arriving from Japan. The night before – 11:00 PM – I received a cancellation notice. However, the apartment was still listed as available for those dates but at a price 50% higher than that which I had booked. Disgusted, I contacted Airbnb who “kindly” offered alternatives (all of which were of much poorer quality given the timeframe) and a paltry £25 credit toward the cost. Booking anything comparable was going to cost me £200 or more at that stage.
Airbnb policy does not allow customers to post reviews if a reservation is cancelled the day before, even though in my case there was only 14 hours before check in. The host clearly does this regularly as some prior reviews alluded to. However, Airbnb wont take any action against the host to enforce the contract or prevent similar occurrences. I’m appalled by their apathy and refusal to see it for what it is: greedy and unethical behaviour. We won’t ever use Airbnb again after this experience.
Last December I booked an apartment in London for eight nights in July via Airbnb. This booking was the reason for my coming all the way to London from Asia. A few days prior to moving in to the apartment I had exchanged pleasant enough messages with the host, so you can imagine my disbelief when three days before my booking , I received a two-line email saying my booking had been cancelled. There was no reason given and no apology offered.
With such short notice in the peak tourist season there were very few properties available and of course the prices has risen sharply. My much anticipated holiday was in ruins. I have written to Airbnb and been told that I would receive a proper and professional reply but there has been nothing so far despite my follow-up reminders.
On the basis of this my first foray into Airbnb, I would advise anyone else considering Airbnb quite simply: don’t even think about it. It is difficult to conceive of a less professional and ethical organisation whose vetting of hosts and properties alike appears to be non-existent.
Here are the grisly highlights of the single worst customer service experience I have ever dealt with in my 36 years on this planet. That includes all credit card companies, landlords, and United Airlines. Three months in advance of our arrival, I booked a villa for ten guests in the Caribbean island of Anguilla for $3504. Two days prior to my arrival, the host (Host A) had to cancel to due septic issues: very plausible on a sandy island. Host A offered a replacement villa; it was not satisfactory, lacking the same amenities and farther away from our planned activities. Host A found a better replacement listing that was operated by Host B.
Keep in mind this is happening as other guests are arriving from all over the world. Host A’s concierge met two other guests and I at the ferry terminal in a van to take us to Host B’s villa. Host B could not find said villa; we ended up at a vacant lot down a dirt road. Instead, all ten guests had to make new bookings on the fly at a local motel. Host A responded by offering a new villa after the trip free of cost. I passed this along to someone who was staying in the Caribbean. I live in the Bay Area, so returning was not feasible for me.
Airbnb did not refund my payment for six weeks. I called them over thirty times to have this situation resolved. This is a conservative estimate confirmed by a representative when I asked how many times I called. It took another dozen or so phone calls to pry a $175 credit out of Airbnb for my trouble. Feel free to ask for details. This was literally Airbnb Hell.
I booked a house for a whole week in summer in Hawaii. I looked up a lot of Airbnb houses about six months before I was set to arrive. I found a good condo near Waikiki Beach for a reasonable price. I booked and paid in full right away. It was a family vacation. My parents, my sister’s family (four people), and my family (four people) were gathering and I made the booking on Airbnb.
Horrible things started happening just a few weeks before our vacation began. Airbnb sent us an mail stating that the host had just canceled my booking. That’s it. How could I find another house or hotel in a few weeks in the summer season in Hawaii? They simply refunded me but I could not find any place for that price at that time. They didn’t offer me any alternatives for the same days (Airbnb properties) so I had to spend almost double the money for a very bad hotel for a week. I felt guilty in front of my parents and sister for the whole week. There is no remedy if you had to pay more for the housing because Airbnb cancelled your booking. I’ve traveled a lot every summer and winter but never used Airbnb until now. It’s better to stay at nice hotels with a great breakfast. You may save a few dollars with Airbnb, but you’ll ruin your life.
First of all I would like to say I have always been a big fan Airbnb and absolutely love the concept. I have always have great experiences with hosts and the booking process has always been quick and seamless. However, with that having been said, the past weekend I had the most horrific experience, which actually led to my vacation being ruined, inflicting loads of anxiety that has severely affected me.
It started when I booked two nights in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. My husband and three-month-old baby left early in the morning on Saturday, July 15th to embark on the bumpy five-hour ride. We were so excited to arrive when I received an email from the host saying the place was not available. I was very disappointed, as this had never happened before and almost put me into a panic. I called Airbnb and explained what happened. Within the hour we were able to book another place, a little more expensive but the case manager said Airbnb would send a credit to compensate for the other balance. I was very happy and grateful for that. However, he did not follow through with his promise and said I needed to pay.
Now in a frenzy waiting in the hot sun, I was willing to do anything to just get settled into a place. Airbnb reached out to our new hosts, who accepted our reservation right away and met us at the supermarket to follow them back to the place. We checked into a beautiful house and thought we could finally relax. This is when the drama began.
I received a call from Airbnb demanding I pay for the new reservation, $517, when I had already paid $467 for the original place and the funds were already taken from my account. Now I felt like he was disrespectful. He transferred the case to another case manager. I kept getting emails saying I needed to pay but was told in the first place the funds I already paid would be transferred to the new reservation.
The next day I was approached by the host saying they canceled our reservation because I didn’t pay. Airbnb called him and said we didn’t pay, but I sent several emails of my bank statement showing that the payment had gone through and was posted. The next twelve hours I was on the phone on and off dealing with numerous customer service agents, being put on hold for thirty minutes at a time, when no one could figure out how to solve the issue. I spoke with many other case managers and supervisors and kept getting promised things would be resolved. I was even on speakerphone for over 1.5 hours with the host beside me and a customer service person. Nothing was solved.
I was then told that this was not Airbnb’s responsibility, but the host and I had to figure it out. At this point I felt extremely uncomfortable being in the house with the host thinking I had not paid. I was calling the entire time on my international phone and my cell phone bill had $300 worth of charges. On Sunday night, nothing had been resolved. Every time I called no one knew anything and kept blaming me. I am still dealing with anxiety.
I have never had such a bad experience with any customer service. I have spent thousands of dollars, referred superhosts, and recommended Airbnb to friends and social media followers. I was a loyal customer but this experience has not only left a bad taste in my mouth, it has left emotional damage.
They offered me $25 worth of travel credit. That’s almost an insult. I would never ask for any sort of compensation but in this case I think it’s necessary. I spent so much money to not have enjoyed a single moment on my vacation. I wish I could be sending an email expressing how much I love the service (which are the only emails I usually send) but unfortunately this is one that’s not so positive. I’ve sent numerous emails to customer service explaining this and have been ignored. I spent over 325 minutes on hold while talking to Airbnb, over 620 minutes in phone calls, spoke with over 15 representatives, and been hung up on six times.
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.
I have used Airbnb on several occasions before and always gushed about how great they are to anyone who will listen. After this week I won’t be making that mistake again. I’m currently on holiday in the USA (from Australia). I had a place booked in Chelsea, NYC with a male host and another booked with a woman in Washington DC.
The NYC host hadn’t responded to any of my emails before I came to the US but as I’d never had trouble with Airbnb hosts before I just figured he was busy or had forgotten; the booking had been accepted and Airbnb took my money so I had no reason to be worried… or so I thought. The day I was flying to New York I called him. As soon as he heard me say Airbnb, he hung up on me. He then diverted all calls from his phone so I couldn’t reach him again.
I called Airbnb customer service and they told me they’d try and get in touch with him on my behalf. I then hopped on a flight from LA to NYC and figured it would all be sorted out when I touched down. My check-in confirmation email had come through so I tried calling the host again to let him know I was on my way… again, the call was diverted. I rang Airbnb back and proceeded to have the most painful “customer service” experience of my life.
I had to repeat the most basic information over and over, and it was only after half an hour of having to talk to the representative like an intellectually challenged five year old, only after I lost my patience and started yelling into the phone in the middle of JFK airport, only after all of this did I finally pry out of her that he’d cancelled the booking while I was en route from LA. They’d already processed a refund which I was told would take up to two weeks, so I had to shell out $1300 from my holiday money to get new accommodations. Anyway, I was cranky and poor three days into my holiday but I decided to move on with life.
A week later, the day before I was due to get a bus to DC, I messaged my next host. There was no answer from her and I got distracted doing touristy stuff so I forgot to follow up until the next day. I called her before I jumped on the bus and she was shocked that her listing was still online because she hadn’t used Airbnb in a year and didn’t even live in DC anymore. I called customer service again; they told me to make another booking and they’d transfer what I’d paid. I went nuts because that option hadn’t been given to me a week ago. I made the booking, paid a little extra to make up the difference and then went without wifi access for a few hours.
When I got to DC, I found out the replacement booking had also been cancelled. Cue a very angry call back to Airbnb where I finally got someone who wasn’t completely useless and she found some options for me to choose from. With all my holiday money sunk into these cancelled bookings I didn’t really have a choice; I’d originally wanted my own place but I had to settle for a room in someone’s apartment. It wasn’t ideal, but to give credit where credit is due, my host was super friendly and accommodating so that removed heaps of stress. Still, after the past week you couldn’t pay me to risk ever booking through Airbnb again.