Superhost and Fellow Airbnb User Throws in the Towel

I was one of Airbnb’s greatest fans. I loved the service. I was both a Superhost and a regular traveler. I could not believe it when a last minute cancellation caused Airbnb to leave me stranded with my young children in a foreign city without any assistance. First, the case manager was unable to make outgoing calls. So, all she did was periodically send emails apologizing for all the trouble. In the meantime, I was on my own with my children waiting for an alternate reservation. It was like living through a bad dream all day long. Finally, I had to find my own hotel and paid a lot more than I was planning for a last minute reservation.

Airbnb will not do anything for you if you get into trouble with finding accommodation. All they do, at best, is reimburse you. By that point it’s too late to do anything. What you need is accommodation. They truly do not care about you or anyone else. Considering the fees they charge for bookings, they are pocketing all of the money and doing very little for those fees. I would not have believed it until it happened to me. As a result, I took my listing off Airbnb. There is no way I was going to take a chance that someone would trash my place. Now I knew Airbnb would do nothing to compensate me if something went wrong. I will not be fooled twice. I was stranded and they did not even help me get a hotel room. If someone trashed my place, I knew I would be on my own as well. This company cannot possibly last because eventually, something horrible will happen to all Airbnb users.

Host Canceled One Week Before Halloween Trip

We booked our vacation to New Orleans four months in advance through Airbnb. It was for Halloween, the second busiest time of the year after Mardi Gras. About two weeks before our flight and week-long vacation, I contacted the host about our arrival, getting the keys, etc. He never responded. His profile had been altered and he had no contact number. I did finally find his old number from an archived email and texted him. He said he was no longer a host for Airbnb and now lived in Texas. He claimed his profile had been taken down, but it was still up. Neither the host nor Airbnb had informed me of this. So, here my wife and I were, without accommodation, and almost all the hotels were booked up… a very stressful place to be right before your supposedly relaxing vacation.

Apparently, Airbnb hosts can just cancel on a whim with no financial consequences to them, but if you as a guest cancel, your penalties may vary from 50%-100% of your deposit depending on the terms to which you agreed. When I contacted Airbnb customer service, their response was apathetic and unhelpful; they just sent me about five links to other Airbnb properties that I could spend the better part of the next week frantically trying to contact on my own. What would guarantee any of these hosts from also canceling? Their response was that Airbnb is just a “Third Party Community Platform” that “brings people together” and they’re not responsible. I responded that this is the equivalent of me buying my plane ticket on Expedia, the airline not honoring my purchase, and Expedia simply denying responsibility since they “are just a third party that brings people together.” It’s pathetic.

In any case, I informed Airbnb that this is an appalling way to run a business. This would be the first and last time I would ever use their service and would be shutting my profile down. They never responded. Luckily, I was able to book a motel on Booking.com where our reservation would be Guaranteed. Truth be told, I never saw any big difference in price between Airbnb and their traditional hotel competition (at least not in NOLA).

Remember: your Airbnb host can cancel on you at any time for any reason. Planning your Honeymoon to Paris three months in advance at peak season? Watch out. I know lots of people have had great experiences with Airbnb, but the real test of a great company is how they handle problems and stand behind their customers, not when things go smoothly (which has nothing to do with Airbnb anyway – the host turned out to be good). So essentially, they take your money in service fees, but if things go wrong in any way, you’re on your own.

Fraud from Stolen Credit Card Number on Airbnb

Last year, I booked a room on Airbnb. Everything went okay for the reservation and stay. Last week, I wanted to book a room again with Airbnb before and after a tour in Europe. I sent an email to the host to check the availability for August 2017 but to my big surprise, the room was automatically booked as Airbnb had kept my credit card information in their files. All I wanted was to check the availability, as the website was not posting a calendar like the last time. A refund from Airbnb was made for both transactions the same day as the host understood what I initially wanted to do.

A week later, I received a phone call on my voicemail at home from a well-known USA airline company (we live in Canada) to check if I had booked flights in Las Vegas to New York for $900 that morning. I spent more than two hours trying to reach the airline’s customer service (the booking number of the flight was left on my voicemail) and getting my credit card company to cancel the card. I was lucky that the airline cancelled the transaction for those who were trying to use my credit card and the scammers were not allowed to board the flight. I also found out from my credit card company that while having a good time in Las Vegas, the scammers had also tried to make a purchase for $3000 before booking the flights but the transaction did not go through because it was over the limit.

I will never use Again again. Please share this information on social media before other innocent victims fall prey to those leeches. My computer is protected with top of the line anti-virus software, so someone on the Airbnb side has connections to steal my credit card information.

Airbnb Refund Hell: Designed to be Complicated?

Airbnb has no mechanism for dealing with outright reservation mistakes. I inadvertently clicked on the book button when I just wanted to see how much a stay was going to be. It took several days before a refund could even be considered because the steps to initiate a refund is kept in a deep, dark hole accessed through a maze of misinformation and platitudes. There is no easy 24-hour buyer’s remorse option which should be standard for cases like mine. To initiate a refund, you have to get out of the main website and go to a resolution site. The steps initially shown for refunds are misleading. It is not as easy as it sounds; you do not get all of your money back.

The whole refund process is extremely stressful because Airbnb does not make it easy, period. I had to contact the poor, unsuspecting host and tell them I made a mistake and didn’t mean to book at the time. I’m lucky the host was sympathetic and you will need yours to be, if ever you make the same mistake I did. Why? Because Airbnb will ask them to advance half the refund amount. Who does that? Who would advance a substantial amount of money on behalf of someone they don’t know? Apparently, 100% of the money that I paid first goes to Airbnb. Airbnb did refund me 50% of what I paid right away, less the booking fee. As for the remaining 50%, they absolutely have to keep this money for 60 days for reasons unknown before they release it to the host.

If Airbnb has my money, why can’t they just refund me? Why do they even have to involve the host who doesn’t have any of my money and who hasn’t been involved in the whole process? Why even release the money to the host 60 days after the fact when they already know that the booking was made by mistake? There is a lot that can be done to make this whole process easier but I believe Airbnb set out to make the whole refund process complicated. It’s like Airbnb is hoping that people just walk away in frustration and forget about getting their money back. That way they get to keep it all. Even if it’s not intentional, this unwieldy way of getting refunded one’s money is shameful of a big, extremely profitable company.

Not Reporting Issues to Airbnb Means You Pay for Damages

Two of my friends and I used Airbnb for the first time about a month ago. As soon as we walked in the condo, we sat down on the bed and it seemed like a piece flew out from under the bed. We weren’t really paying attention or sure about what happened. That night, the wood pieces that comprised the bed frame started collapsing and progressively the bed sank lower and lower. We fixed the wood pieces, but every time we moved too many in the bed it happened again. After more investigation we realized that a part of the frame that had originally been welded together was broken and any time we fixed the bed it would only be a temporary solution. For the last night of our three-night trip, we just put the mattress on the floor.

As soon as we packed up we emailed the host all the pictures of how the bed was severely broken before we arrived. Instead, she accused of us of breaking the bed and said it was “very strange” how we did not bring it up sooner. We are three graduate students in Miami for a weekend trip. Honestly we had never used Airbnb before and did not want to deal with communicating with the host (who had been unhelpful about all of our other issues) when we could come up with short term solutions for the remainder of the trip. After checking out, the host reported us to Airbnb for not cleaning (we paid a cleaning fee and she left zero cleaning supplies) and breaking the bed. We told Airbnb our side of the story, but because we did not report anything right away they ruled against us and are now charging us for the cost of the bed. I am shocked that Airbnb would handle their business this way and I can affirmatively say I will never stay in an Airbnb again. Thank goodness for Hilton and Marriott; they certainly don’t treat their customers this way.

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.

After Host Cancelled, Customer Service Stalls Giving Refund

After hearing a lot about Airbnb, I decided to make a reservation. I booked a home in Loma Linda, Ca, confirmed with the host, and paid the rent. About a week later, Airbnb told me the host had cancelled, and offered a refund. I should have grabbed it then, but I was stunned about the cancellation. A few hours later they told me they would contact the host if I was still interested in staying there for the dates I had booked. I said yes. I also contacted the host, who told me she had never cancelled the reservation, but Airbnb had inadvertently cancelled it. I emailed Airbnb again, asking for some type of confirmation of my “renewed” reservation. Well, needless to say, this went on for some time, in which I kept emailing, and getting very delayed replies (2-3 days later) saying that they still had not been able to contact the host and confirm availability. Two different stories were floating around.

I finally decided to give up, and call and ask for my money back. If you like elevator music, you can enjoy sitting on hold for 30 minutes or longer with Airbnb customer service, listening to their selection. Then a representative came on, sounding like he’d just woken up. He was absolutely no help whatsoever, telling me that my case had been “escalated” to a level that he could not interfere with. I just finally got a confirmation of my cancellation, and hopefully will see a complete refund in the next five business days. However, I will never use this service again. VRBO is far better, in my humble opinion.

Bitten by Fleas Repeatedly at London Airbnb

I have stayed at an Airbnb three times and I would not stay again based on the last experience. All three times I rented the entire home. The first two times the places were amazing; the hosts were great and everything went super smoothly. The last time, I booked a two-bedroom house near London and it was quite expensive ($400/night) but it was summer, the location was amazing (right in the centre, near a train station) and it was better than any of the hotels nearby. We had to be at this location for me to attend some work meetings.

The property was very clean and welcoming on arrival and everything went great… until I woke up the next morning with about 12-15 bites all over my legs and arms. I went to the pharmacy and they said probably mosquitos. I have been bitten by mosquitoes and these bites were so much worse. I bought several creams but nothing seemed to help. I noticed some of them were in a line so started to think it was bed bugs. I called the host but she was several hours’ drive away and we both freaked out thinking it was bed bugs. I looked in the sheets and mattress and never saw a single bug (alive or dead). I did not sleep with the windows open, but the bites were awful. The host did not want to pay for a hotel (I had one more night at her place) so I bought some bug spray, doused myself, and slept on the couch downstairs.

The next morning I woke up with even more bites. I had about 40-50 bites all over my feet, legs, back, chest, hands, and arms. They were on fire; I have never felt such intense itching and no cream worked. In the end I begged the pharmacist for an antihistamine and cortisone cream, which sort of helped. It took about a week for the bites to die down and I could wear normal shoes again; even the shoes rubbing on the bites unleashed incredible itchiness. The host had a pest inspector in after I left and reported there were no bed bugs or anything else, so I have to assume it was fleas. The south of England had a bad outbreak so that makes sense, and apparently even only one or two fleas can do this.

I get that things happen, but the host (while she was upset and I felt terrible about it as I’m sure the pest inspector was expensive) did not offer to move me anywhere else and probably thinks it’s my fault somehow. I never got a refund or any compensation even though I could not sleep in the bed the last night and being bitten so many times ruined my trip. It was so awful to have these bites. I no longer want to use Airbnb because at least at a hotel I can change rooms or there is some fallback if things go wrong.

Guests Book Airbnb for their Dirty Laundry, Full Refund

A woman and her spouse booked my room for a night. They came over and everything was cordial. I greeted them, gave them the tour and left them to it. The woman had asked if she could use the washer and dryer. I said yes, so they brought in loads of clothes. That was still okay with me. I left to go have dinner at a neighbor’s house. I received a text from the woman saying there was an emergency. I got up and walked back to my house, where they proceeded to spout lies. Then is when I knew they were only there to wash their dirty clothes. I asked them if they wanted to leave because the issue was they thought I didn’t wash their sheets; they said they sound a strand of hair on the sheets. Before they even arrived I washed the sheets and made the bed. They proceeded to say everything was fine, they would stay and leave at 6:00 AM. I agreed. 6:00 AM arrived, and they got their things together and leave. Now once they left they somehow cancelled the reservation and I didn’t get paid. They stayed the night and left my room a mess. I don’t know if I will continue to be a host after this experience.

Host Cancelled Ten Days Before our South African Trip

We made reservations for three days in Simon’s Town (near Cape Town), with plans to go shark diving. We also have two little kids, so it was fairly important that a particular location was large enough; we also wanted a pool for the kids. The reservation was made three months before the scheduled trip dates. Ten days before we were to depart for South Africa (from the United States), I received a message from the host that she didn’t realize the dates we selected were during the Easter weekend and that she had to cancel the reservation because they would be using the house. While we were able to find different accommodation, this was highly unprofessional. Airbnb also doesn’t allow you to leave feedback for a host that cancels a reservation; there is only an automated message that’s posted to their account. This is very frustrating because it doesn’t let you express your views of the host and thus there is little incentive for a host to think carefully before cancelling a reservation. I’ll think twice before using Airbnb again.