I’ve taken three trips in six months with Airbnb. Each was wonderful on its own and each experience with a host has been great. However, on my last experience, due to an issue with our passports at the airport, we had to cancel our trip less than 24 hours before the check-in time. As a result, per the terms of agreement, Airbnb charged us the service fee and the first night of stay. However, once I received my credit card bill I noticed I was charged more than that. It seems that an issue with the time zone calculation cost me an additional nightly charge and a cleaning fee to a place which I never checked in. After calling Airbnb (twenty minute wait on the phone) and explaining this, the customer service representative on the phone proceeded to hang up on me. When I called again (another 27 minute wait on the line) they hung up again. I called in a third time (21 minutes’ wait time) and they hung up again. I understand the company is trying to make money. However, this is not the way to treat its customers.
I’m still in disbelief and my host is a despicable example of a human being. His name is Aaron. On July 1st I used the Airbnb app and paid for three nights on his “boat in the bay with all the toys” to spend New Years in the Keys with my two youngest sons. You must understand this trip was their Christmas gift. Instead of buying them toys and such they might forget in a few days or hours I take them on a trip every year. Being a single mom this is no small feat. This year I wanted a new experience for them since we usually go to the mountains. The Keys were going to be great. I made a deposit on a fishing charter and was about to call to make a deposit for a snorkeling trip. I decided to communicate with the host again since we would be heading his way in two days. I sent him a text explaining how excited we were and asking if we were to meet him at the address provided at the check in time provided. I got an immediate notice through the app that my trip had been canceled.
I texted him. No response. I called him, and it went to voicemail. I decided to check his listing out again on the app and noticed all the trips he had canceled. Most were much further out than two days so I’m not sure why mine was not canceled earlier. I was mad and in tears at this point. After some searching I found a customer service number for Airbnb. The poor man got an earful and tried to find something else close by. He offered me a $150 credit towards another stay but we could not find anything close by that I could afford. I applied for the refund and will be keeping an eye on that to make sure I get my money back but I still lost my $416 deposit for our fishing charter. My boys were devastated. My pocketbook was devastated as well. That may not be much to you but it’s a lot to me and my boys. While the customer service experience with them was good the business model sucks. Please beware of the scammers!
I would like to bring to your notice the inconvenience I faced by booking my accommodation using Airbnb. I had booked (on August 19th, 2016) an accommodation in Cape Town for three nights, December 29th until January 31st using Airbnb for a group of four adults and one child. Airbnb confirmed my booking and I could see on the app that I was supposed to check in on December 29th. When I reached the accommodation on that day the owners were not even aware that we had a booking with them. The house was horrible and the owners themselves informed us that they did not pass the verification criteria set by Airbnb and they have never confirmed Airbnb for any booking. We were in a fix as it was already 6:00 PM local time. We talked to Raven from Airbnb and she assured us that she would be able to book an alternate place for us. We tried to book alternate places through Airbnb but none of the owners were able to host us at such a short notice. It was 9:00 PM by then. Then we started to make a booking through other websites but as it was holiday season everywhere we tried was full. Finally we got a booking in the Capital Hotel for a night. As the Capital Hotel was booked for the other two days, we had to go for accommodation hunting again the next day instead of enjoying the holiday as planned. I can assure you that we tried to find the cheapest options and everywhere was full. So, finally we had to book into Protea Hotel for the other two nights.
The accommodation was way over our budget but we still had to book it as the only other option was to sleep in the car. To add insult to the injury, we had to spend extra on food as well as we had booked accommodation with a kitchen and the hotels did not provide us with any self catering option. The $50 for food and the refund which Raven offered us doesn’t even cover for the inconvenience caused to us by the miscommunication on Airbnb’s part. We had to spend a day and a half looking for alternative accommodations instead of enjoying our holidays, which spoiled our stay in Cape Town. On top of that, nobody even contacted us from Airbnb to even find out if we had managed to find something else. I expect Airbnb to reimburse ZAR 11491 for my accommodation and food bills as it was a mistake on their side that spoiled our holiday, and forced us to spend so much extra than our budget. If a place can not even pass verification, how could they have it on their accommodation list? If the owners did not confirm the booking, how can Airbnb confirm the booking?
I am sharing this story to warn my fellow travelers for making bookings through Airbnb. The company provides a platform and charges money for it, but does nothing to secure your stay. I made a Instant Booking at a five-star property – in IMPZ Dubai – for $890 from December 25th to January 1st on August 1st, 2016. I paid in full, and received a confirmation mail from Airbnb that the booking was done. We were content and planned other details for the trip. On December 6th, we made a call to the host just to touch base. He flatly refused to accept the booking, saying he did not have any ties to Airbnb and the booking had not been confirmed. On being told that Airbnb was showing the booking as confirmed, he cancelled the reservation. We received an automated mail from Airbnb informing us of the cancellation, with their regrets and suggestion to make an alternative booking. With great effort, I found the email address for Airbnb, where the customer service representative first apologized and then suggested I make an alternate booking. She took a couple of days to share two listings; both cost double the price of the original booking. The representative simply refused to do anything beyond provide a $100 coupon as compensation. Many email exchanges followed and finally they closed the case with a blunt mail stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication. I had to make another booking on my own which was worth $1900, suffering a loss of more than $1000 over my original booking.
I am relatively new to Airbnb, but I’m already sick and tired of it. I have had two experiences from hosts who wanted to cancel the reservation, but are too disorganised and lazy to do so more than a week in advance. They concoct fake excuses to pressure the guest into cancelling the reservation themselves, saving the host paying a cancellation fee. My first experience was with Evelyne Chiarro in Saint-Quentin-la-Chabanne. About a week before I was going to stay, she asked me If I had a car. I replied that I didn’t, so she edited her profile description to say that a car was mandatory to reach her address, and if I didn’t have one, I should cancel. She then refused to give directions to her house, and ignored all my other emails. I requested she cancel, but she ignored that. Because it was so close to the non-refundable deadline, I had to cancel the reservation myself.
My second bad experience was with an Agnes Pingkan in Groningen. A week before I was due to stay, she sent me an email saying that she didn’t live at the address any more, she thought she had deleted the Airbnb account, and she was surprised it was still accepting bookings. I emailed her five times to cancel my booking, but she ignored them so I had to do it myself. Her room is still listed on the website. Needless to say, complaints to Airbnb were ignored too. Both these times caused me a lot of stress and I had to book expensive hotels in the area because of the short notice given. This makes me distrust Airbnb because I don’t know if my bookings are going to be honoured right up until the last minute. Unless Airbnb deletes these user accounts and cracks down on this sort of fraud, I can only recommend people avoid this website in the future.
We booked a reservation for our Christmas vacation in the Bahamas three months in advance. I requested the host send me the agreement and instructions on how to get into the house no fewer than either times. He would not send it. The day before we were to fly from Michigan to the Bahamas, he cancelled (I highly suspect he rented it for much more money or a longer period of time). We could not find another place on the island. We had to pay to rebook our airfare and cancel deposits for fishing and diving trips. We lost $1500 and could not even contact Airbnb to request any type of resolution.
I accepted a three-night rental in our one-bedroom apartment. In doing so, I blocked off those nights so that I could not accept any other inquiries for those dates. Then, the very day of check in, I received a message from the guest that he wanted to cancel, presumably because of a sick relative. They used their “extenuating circumstances” excuse to waive my cancelation policy. No other hotel or vacation rental site would allow a guest to cancel only 5-6 hours before checking in. And this is not an isolated situation. In the past several months, I have had three other cancelations, all at the last minute. So, I have resigned to the fact that Airbnb is not at all reliable. I don’t want to accept a rental for any length of time for fear that it will be canceled at the last moment and I will lose the rental income for that time period. What I am doing is blocking off all the future dates in my calendar and then only unblocking two or three nights ahead for last-minute, last-resort bookings. Since TripAdvisor and VRBO do not have such a policy, I will depend on them for virtually all my future rental bookings.
Don’t trust this person for booking your holiday weekend; they are unreliable and untrustworthy. Anyone who cancels a booking to accept another offer for more money because it is a holiday weekend should get treatment a million times worse than what they have just done to us.
I had been planning a trip from NY to Miami for Art Basel for months with my closest friends, working around everyone’s busy schedules and of course the expensive and difficult task of booking somewhere to stay on a holiday weekend. After careful planning, we thought we had selected the ideal Airbnb: the place looked decent, the price was good, and the location was perfect. Because we had already been confirmed, approved, and billed, of course we thought we were safe with our choice of accommodations and had nothing to worry about. We are now less than two weeks from the start of our trip, and our host sent us a pathetic message to us explaining that there was “some glitch in their booking system with another site so actually someone else booked the same listing already and they didn’t notice.” As a result, they would be cancelling our reservation. The host was so rude he even suggested that “it’s not really [his] fault so we can’t be mad at [him].” In other words, this is a holiday weekend in Miami and they found someone to pay more.
Now, we are completely out of any other halfway decent options and have nowhere to stay. Not a single option that is still available on Airbnb is even close in comparison, and we have been completely screwed by this host. The best part is that Airbnb has done absolutely nothing to help us remedy this problem, and offer no help or suggestions as to what we can do when we call. Their feedback is that they are sorry, but not sorry enough to actually help.
In summary: how on earth does Airbnb continue to do well? I think they lack integrity. I know they lack sincerity.
Just the facts:
1) We made a reservation with Airbnb three months ago, for seven days over Thanksgiving in a specific neighborhood in LA. We have three dogs, so we wanted a standalone house with a fenced-in yard. That’s hard to come by; that’s why made the reservation three months in advance.
2) The cost of the place was $1,800 for the week. It was a “STRICT” cancellation policy on our end, meaning we would have been charged 50% of the total stay, $900. It was a totally cool policy, as we are also hosts in northern california. We were certain of our plans, so we accepted their “strict” terms.
3) The host canceled on November 2nd, 17 days before we were to arrive, three months after they agreed to rent us the house. The host pulled their listing, so they are gone.
4) We couldn’t find another place on Airbnb in that neighborhood that took dogs, was a standalone house, and wasn’t a dump, so we scrambled to find another place. We did find one using Homeaway, but to the tune of $2,800 for that week, $1,000 more than original place. That is what happens when you are forced to wait until the last minute to book a place. That is why we did what we did three months ago, to prevent from over paying 2 1/2 weeks before the holiday week.
5) We asked and got a full refund from Airbnb for the $1,800, seeing as we couldn’t find a place through them at this late date.
6) The Airbnb case manager assigned to this oh-so highly complicated matter offered us a voucher for $100 for our troubles.
7) I asked him for a voucher of $900 because they canceled on us, and caused us to spend $1000 more than what we wanted to spend. Had we been the ones to cancel, we would have been charged $900 immediately, no questions asked. That is how I came up with the $900 figure.
8) Our double-talking case manager came back and would not give a penny more than $200. A shuffle in the right direction, but hardly a step. He talked and wrote in a very professional and seemingly sincere manner, no doubt, highly trained and polished. But there are many things you can’t polish, and one of them is Airbnb.
I am a double-lung transplant recipient. I go to Duke Hospital in Durham every six months for a check-up. I decided to try Airbnb, since my stays are only one night, and I could save $30-40. This host had all 4-5 star reviews. After arriving at the airport and taking my rental car to her house, she was not at home. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and texted her. No reply. I was forced to scramble to find a hotel for $30 more. While I was communicating with Airbnb, I got a text saying the host had canceled the reservation, which I was about to do. They quickly refunded my money, but really should have reimbursed for my more expensive hotel. When I went to write a bad review about the host, I discovered I was not able to do that. I called today to ask why (after jumping through hoops to find Airbnb’s actual phone number), and was told it was because the reservation was canceled. That’s not what the text I received said, and before I was able to cancel. I feel I was deprived of the chance to leave a bad review, in an effort to protect the host. None of it is acceptable. I await their return phone call, which I’m very skeptical about getting.