Airbnb Customer Service Still Won’t Refund My Money

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment that had not been cleaned when we arrived. The place was filthy and smelled bad. We contacted our host who said the cleaner was running late because of the recent holiday period. We were very annoyed because we had both traveled a long way that morning and had already waited outside the apartment for two hours in the heat, as we arrived before check-in time. We asked for a partial refund due to the inconvenience, which our host kindly agreed to. Seven business days later and we still have not seen the refund in our account. First of all, it was really difficult to get in contact with Airbnb, and when we finally did after being on hold for a long time, the lady that answered was very rude and not helpful at all. We originally paid for our stay with my friend’s PayPal account. Months after we paid in full for our accommodation, her account was hacked, her money stolen, and then her account was permanently closed by the hacker. Airbnb refused to pay our refund to any other account other than the one with which we paid, fully aware of my friend’s unfortunate circumstance. Calls were made back and forth trying to get our money back and we spent a lot of time on hold. In the end, they did not give us our money back, even though PayPal customer service said it was their responsibility. Not only has our host missed out on money, so have we (and a substantial amount of time), Airbnb was the only one to benefit. I am really disappointed and annoyed, and will let everyone I know not to trust them. Their customer service is horrible, they are not empathetic at all, and their policies need some serious reviewing.

New Year’s Cancellation: Three Red Flags

My family and I planned an overnight visit to NYC on Christmas Day in 2016. We found an Airbnb listing for an “Amazing & Modern” apartment in Times Square for our stay. The first red flag was that the payment was in One Vanilla prepaid cards. The second red flag was the security deposit: how does one get his security deposit back when the payment is a prepaid card? The final red flag was that we could not find the apartment when we did additional searches on Airbnb. We could not find any support on Airbnb so we opted to cancel the reservation as we did not want to be without a place to stay on Christmas Day in NYC. After a day or so, my wife sent a nice email staying that due to some concerns we would not be staying at the “Amazing & Modern” apartment. The response from the person we were in contact with via email wrote back to my wife: “Thanks for wasting my time.” My wife responded with an email that she wrote: “Ditto.” To which the response from the person we were dealing with was, and I quote: “I shit on your mother’s grave you faggot!!!!”

About Last Night: New Year’s Eve Scam

I am a first time Airbnb user. My friends have used it and all had pleasant experiences so I figured I’d try it out. It was New Year’s Eve and I was supposed to check into my Airbnb with three of my friends except my host had not responded to any of my phone calls or messages. He was quick to accept payment for my stay but did not provide details about the check in time or a full address to the location (only street name, city, and zip code). I guess I am at fault for assuming this was a trustworthy site that vetted their hosts. The even more frustrating part about this is that I could not find an email for Airbnb on their site where I could submit my complaint. Thanks to Google, I was able to find this site and a customer service number. I have now been on hold for 20+ minutes and haven’t been able to speak to one live person. I’m pretty sure I’m out $168 on New Year’s with nowhere to sleep tonight. This is honestly the worst experience I’ve ever had. Please do not ever make a reservation with this person.

Hosts Pressure and Lie to Guests to Cancel Bookings

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.

Airbnb Changed my Review to Favor Host

Unless I have very bad recall of what I submitted, Airbnb edited my review to eliminate part of my comment about the “value” being over priced for what turned out to be the conditions of the lodging, and Airbnb upgraded the rating I provided in response to their question about “value”. Airbnb also upgraded my “cleanliness” rating from 4 to 4.5 stars. I have been unable to discover any method to communicate with Airbnb about this concern. Ten minutes after I submitted my review, I thought of something that would be a useful addition to my review for future customers, but there is no way to amend or augment the review after it is posted.

Left High and Dry by Airbnb App: No Contact Details

The Airbnb system is meant to provide the host’s contact details once a booking has been paid for and confirmed, but what happens if the system itself malfunctions and the contact information is withheld? On a recent trip, when on my way to my next host, I discovered that the Airbnb app was not displaying any contact details for the host. The contact details had been previously displayed in the app so something had clearly happened which had resulted in the information being deleted. I realised that I could use the message function in the app to contact the host, but I travel with an iPod Touch rather than a smart phone. This meant I needed wifi access to use the message function. I was out of range of any wifi network.

Fortunately this was a place which I had stayed at more than a year earlier so I had a general idea of its location. However, I didn’t have a phone number or an address. I tried several times to locate the place, drawing on my memory of my previous stay, but without success. This was in a foreign country in a town where few people speak English. I tried calling into a convenience store to see whether they would let me connect to their wifi. By this time it was evening and the only person on duty could not understand what I was asking. I continued to try to find the home where I was expected. After an hour of wandering around, I decided to try a different shop. This time the person on duty could speak English and offered to tether my iPod Touch to her phone.

I was immediately able to send a message through the Airbnb message system and within a few minutes the host picked me up. They had been expecting me to arrive an hour earlier and had been worrying about what had become of me. After I was settled in we tried to work out what had gone wrong with the contact information. We discovered that the booking was still showing on the Airbnb app as “requested” even though it was in fact confirmed and paid for. Because its status was showing as “requested”, the contact information was not being displayed.

This episode wasn’t the end of my problems on this particular trip. Overnight, Airbnb released an update to the app and I installed the update. What I didn’t realise was that updating the app deleted the contact details for all hosts for this trip. This would be like an update to an email app deleting all one’s emails. Unfortunately, I did not notice what had happened. So that evening I was again put through the excruciating process of trying to make contact with the host in the absence of any contact details. Again, I had to prevail on the goodwill of the helpful manager of another shop, who this time did speak English, and logged me into his personal wifi account.

Both of these situations seem to have been caused by the flakiness of Airbnb’s app, or perhaps by an error in the Airbnb database. We all know that software errors are not uncommon. However, the real issue here is that Airbnb’s business model leaves guests completely abandoned when bugs in their software result in the loss of contact information. Airbnb tries to represent itself as an ethical service company that cares for the wellbeing of its guests but the truth is that the only problems that Airbnb can recognise are those caused by hosts. There is absolutely no recognition in the Help Centre of the possibility of problems being caused by Airbnb itself, nor what to do about such problems when they occur. Just try to imagine how stressful it would be, travelling in a foreign country where few people speak your language and the information needed to reach where one is booked for the night simply vanishes.

I Wish I Stopped Trying to Contact Airbnb

I work about 12 hours a day, 6 days a week dealing with rude people with a lack of common sense. So I thought, “Hey, you deserve a vacation!” I chose Seattle. I had my flight ready, which I found at a cheap price. I was able to find a city pass voucher to see all the tourist hotspots in downtown Seattle. All I needed was a reasonable place to stay. I had heard good things about Airbnb. All the photos posted and advertised “as seen on social media” made me think people stay for a good price. So why not? I found a very cheap home in downtown Seattle. The host sent me an email about a smooth approval. All was charged and everything was good. I even got a few emails about my stay was coming up. I set my entire itinerary solely around this place, even calculating how much Lyft was going to be versus a rental car. Luckily it was so close I didn’t have to spend more than $5 for each Lyft ride. Sounds like a dream right?

Wrong. I showed up at the Airbnb at 3:15. I called and called for over an hour. I even banged on the gate… nothing. I went to a local cafe to continue to call and call. Nothing. I left voicemails, texts, Airbnb messages and received no response. No answer. I contacted and searched all over the Airbnb website for any type of help. Nothing. I finally came across a forum with their 855 number. I called so many times. I was on hold for 30 minutes after the automated button pushing. At this point it was 8:00 PM and I had literally been trying to reach someone for three hours. I got desperate and booked whatever I found. I went there, checked in, and continued to call and call. Nothing. I contacted the hosts on their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. No answer. I gave up contacting the host and Airbnb. I accepted defeat.

At 10:23 PM some useless “case manager” named Bill came to the rescue… or did he? He is the textbook definition of a 45-year-old dude that lives in his mother’s basement. He seriously couldn’t care less about helping people. He had the audacity to tell me that he didn’t believe me after I told him I had been trying to reach Airbnb. His customer service skills were equivalent to those of an Emo child at hot topic not accepting your return. He stated he was giving me a full refund and reimbursing me for the hotel I had to book at the last minute. I’m currently here at my hotel, writing this and praying I actually do get a refund. Here are some nice pictures that prove Airbnb is a waste of time. Seriously, book at your own risk.