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.
When I retired I bought my dream house in a popular US vacation destination. It’s a relatively large house and I spent a fortune remodeling and putting it together. In 2008 I lost the remainder of my savings in the big crash, and now have to support myself and my house on half of what I intended to live on for the rest of my life. A friend recommended Airbnb, as I have a two-bedroom guest house on the property. It seemed like a great idea, as I enjoy having guests.
The first year was a rough learning curve, and like all hosts I have had a few horrible guests, but that was all in more than 60 guest parties. I’ve put every dime and every bit of my energy into optimizing my rental, and hiring someone to help me clean, which costs more than the cleaning fee. I bought luxury linens and lots of breakfast food and treats, for which I been rewarded with many sweet notes of thanks. I was feeling very proud of myself and was sure I would keep doing it. I was made a Superhost, and it may sound stupid, but it meant a lot to me – I had started my own business and was making a success of it. I always had more requests to book than I could possibly accept, no matter what the season.
My car died and I bought a new car, figuring that one guest party would make the monthly payment. I had a protocol and income I could count on. Or so I thought. Then, without any warning, everything changed. There were no requests to book for two months in the summer. I looked for my listing, but it wasn’t there. I called Airbnb customer service and they insisted it was there, but that hosts aren’t able to pull up their own listings.
I called friends who went to a lot of trouble to help me, and they looked through every Airbnb listing where I was listed and in surrounding areas, but still found no listing. Money got tight and I was getting scared as I didn’t have another way of supplementing my income. I couldn’t understand it; no one had ever complained about me to my knowledge. I had never made a claim or caused any trouble. I continued to call Airbnb customer service, who couldn’t explain it. They would speculate and make up ridiculous reasons why no one was asking to book. I asked if there had been any complaints, and was told that I wasn’t allowed to know that.
Forget being transferred to a supervisor: that never happens. One particularly horrid young woman, after I had said “thanks anyway” and was about to hang up must have thought I was off the line because I heard her say very clearly “what an idiot.” I never could get hold of a supervisor, so the customer service representatives seem to think they can say and do anything to anyone and get away with it. Now I understand: I wasn’t working for myself (although it’s damned hard work); I was working for a company that had no accountability to anyone, and was making so much money that one host seeking justice and consideration was someone who could be ignored and discarded like garbage. Even big corporations know better than to treat their workers like this.
Here’s the big joke: recently Airbnb sent me a package with the book about how this business started, and a letter telling me how much they value me as a Superhost. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but here in the US, good, honorable people have lost their lives fighting for workers’ rights to get treated decently. Not to be fired without notice or even given a reason why. Not to be arrested and jailed without knowing what we’ve done wrong. I’ve lost a third of my income, and now I’m signing up on other sites and will probably get guests through that. However, I’m so disappointed in and ashamed of Airbnb, who had a spectacular idea, got very wealthy, and then turned on the people who have worked so hard to made Airbnb what they are today. I hope the other companies now popping up all over the world to do the same thing learn what not to do by reading posts like these.
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.
I noticed from my credit card statement there was an unrecognized transaction about Airbnb. I reported to them, saying I first wished to dispute this transaction. They said I should first contact Airbnb. This was the start of a hour’s merry-go-round on the Airbnb website trying to locate their telephone number. If someone found it they deserve a prize. Finally I found this website who displayed their customer service number. I called them. They took down some information about myself to verify I am who I said I was. When I told them the item I was disputing they said I should take a screenshot of what the transaction was. The transaction was not in my itinerary (that’s why I queried it in the first place). Anyway, then she said she was not the appropriate “department” to investigate this matter. She said she would send me an email to gather more information so that the investigative team could look at. Wish me luck.
I recently had a booking with a host. That was fine. Then I was forced to cancel. I did and the refund didn’t come right away. I had been told that it takes ten days to process. The ten days went by and I asked the poor host. He said I had to contact them directly. I finally got through to them and that’s when I was told that it was going to take longer. Now I’m trying to plan a different trip. I had to fill out this form on Airbnb; it required an ID of some kind: license, passport, etc. That’s isn’t a problem, because others require it.
However, that was something that should have been in my account when I first started to use it. You should not have to give that information when you decide to request your booking. I also had to use a cell phone. I don’t have one, so I used a land line. That’s something that also should have been part of one’s Airbnb account. I requested the booking from the host and then Airbnb took it from there. Basically, this is all fine. I just wish that they could make the process a lot smoother. They could be a great site, but they make it almost impossible to complete bookings. In trying to get assistance for the booking, there was only a list of possibilities to try.
Websites like Airbnb can be helpful, but if they can’t get it together then get out of the business and let some else who can do it.
I am the owner of an apartment in Brussels. A couple of months ago I discovered that the person who rents my apartment has listed it on Airbnb. First of all, it is against the regulations in the apartment complex. I already had to pay a 500-euro fine. After calling the person who rents my apartment several times, she still refused to remove the listing on Airbnb. I’ve send several mails to the Airbnb website but with no response. I don’t not understand how they can accept this or not respond. Is there a quick and efficient way to contact them or must I take legal action, not only against the person who is renting my apartment but also Airbnb itself? They are making money out of it, and it is illegal because as a owner it is against regulations, and even the law in Brussels.
We had a guest stay at our property using Airbnb (we live next door) and several things went wrong. First, they had way more people than agreed; they brought in a dog and damaged some of our personal property. When the guests left, we went inside to find blood soaked bed sheets, duvet cover, and the kicker: a used tampon left on the floor.
We filed a claim on July 5th to withhold part of the guest’s deposit to replace the bedding and an extra $100 for our cleaners who had to deal with that disgusting situation. We are now 20 days into the constant back and forth with Airbnb and they still haven’t resolved our claim. When we filed, they guest had three days to reply; they did not.
I involved Airbnb as instructed and of course the representative incorrectly closed the claim instead of escalating it. It took several phone calls, several days and tons of emails back and forth to finally get the claim escalated to the correct department. However, they will not talk to you by phone; there is no one that replies to your emails and they leave you hanging for weeks. Had I not followed up every day, the claim would have been closed without my knowing and my allotted time frame to file the claim would have been up.
The guest has not replied to any communications. We sent photos of everything, copies of the receipt to replace the items, and copies of the original costs. We have done every single thing we have been asked to do and we still have not received a resolution.
This is the second time I personally have dealt with this. The first time Airbnb did the exact same thing to me. They told me the claim was filed, they said someone would get back to me, however when I called to check on it the claim was “accidentally” closed. We have emails proving that we followed all the steps correctly, but still Airbnb said our “time had run out” on being able to file a claim. This is how they get away with not paying host for damages.
Airbnb customer service is an absolute joke. Being a new user, I called to ask why a request to book was still pending after the host had replied to my message and said she looks forward to have me stay at her place. While explaining the issue to the costumer service agent, from the beginning of the conversation, he’s going “mhm mhm mhm” the whole time and you can tell he wasn’t even close to listening.
He had a heavy accent; every time I call customer services they seem to be located in other countries and it’s always the same story not just with Airbnb, but other companies as well like Microsoft. I thought, “here goes nothing.”
I explained the issue three times and he still didn’t understand it. First he said it “might” be because I don’t have a picture up on my profile, then three seconds later he said it’s because it hasn’t been 24 hours yet so she hasn’t seen the request. After I told him the host and I have been exchanging messages, I asked him to transfer me to the manager. I had been on hold for 55 minutes now (still as I’m writing this). This is the last time I use this garbage website. Of course, so much for a $50 service fee for a two-day trip…
My last Airbnb guest left red spots on my two antique pillows. He left and didn’t tell me that he had spoiled my linen. I filed a complaint and he said he didn’t tell me because I was not talking to him. I don’t know how words we exchanged, sentences, and conversing is not considered talking. My pillows were antique: one of a kind that were spoiled and cannot be replaced. I requested $200 for damages. The guest sent me $65 and I said, “No go, son.”
He replied by saying, “they weren’t that special.”
How does a snotty nose brat know how special something is to me? Airbnb took a $1000 deposit. They were supposed to resolve the case in 72 hours; it has been almost two weeks. Is Airbnb more concerned about making more money that it is about treating its hosts with respect? I have called too many times and sent too many emails. A supervisor was supposed to call me at 3:00 PM today. It is now 9:00 PM tonight. Which day was he talking about? A million years from now?
As Airbnb guests, we encountered what seemed to have been a fairly straightforward question about a refund. The landlady agreed to give us a refund on our room. The only problem, she said, was that she didn’t know how to formally give permission to Airbnb to activate the refund, so she sent us a mail to show to Airbnb, as evidence to get the refund. That was several months ago. I must have called and talked with Airbnb advisors a dozen times now. It’s the same pattern every time – the advisor listens to the story, agrees that we ought to get a refund, and promises to pass the problem to a higher level – and that they will get back to us in a few days. They never do. Every time, they fail to do what have promised. How can the company behave so irresponsibly? They are not even together enough, or honest enough, to give us a straight ‘no’. Instead they just leave us hanging, every time. This has really put me off using Airbnb. If they can treat me like this over a fairly minor issue, what happens if a really serious problem comes up? Will they just run away like they did here? I am thinking of making a YouTube documentary of this saga, together with recordings of the phone calls and broken promises.