Dreadful Customer Service with Airbnb After Host Bailed

On June 30th, I booked a one-night stay in Barcelona. The host messaged at what time I was supposed to check in. It was in Spanish and I couldn’t understand a word of it. My battery was extremely low and I was running out of data. I asked him to reply via text or call, and in English. He did neither. I’d been travelling all day from Granada and had a train to catch for Paris at 7:00 the next morning. It was essential that I slept well. He ignored nine calls and still hadn’t replied to a WhatsApp message over two hours after the time I’d arranged to check in.

I had to find somewhere to sleep and after asking at hostels and hotels that had no available rooms I eventually found a place after walking around with my luggage, tired and annoyed. The only available room they had was 127.34 euros. Was I supposed to walk around and compare prices to find somewhere within the price bracket, assuming they had a room at all!? What’s the alternative, sleeping in a park? What are the chances of finding a last-minute room in Barcelona, let alone one for 60 euros? It’s an impossible task.

Airbnb offered me zero assistance in finding additional accommodation. I was told by the adviser on the phone (after calling twice and being on hold for around ten minutes) that it was too late to book an alternative Airbnb room and I was left totally alone. I had no data or phone battery to research. I had to wander around from hotel to hotel. After being told at numerous hotels and hostels that there were no rooms, I booked the first available room. I didn’t just decide to book the most expensive room available.

I have now been told in a very highhanded manner that I can’t be reimbursed, as I didn’t clear it with Airbnb first. Should I have stood in reception and been on hold for another ten minutes with a dying battery to be told it was okay to book a room? The customer service representative has also refused to forward my case to a senior manager and told me that he considers the case closed.

On Facebook they asked me to send a direct message with my email on Twitter. I did and waited over a week for a response. They only ever messaged via Twitter despite asking for a direct email address. I kept it up and they sent this response: “Thanks so much for your patience throughout the revision of your case. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have decided to reiterate our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Thank you for your contribution.”

The arrogance is astonishing. This is the most appalling customer service. Any advice on what I can do?

Biggest Storm of the Decade not a Valid Excuse

My wife booked a house for out winter vacations in Lake Tahoe. The check-in time was at 3:00 PM. Around 1:00 PM an avalanche blocked the highway. We were 40 minutes away from the house and ready to go. However, we were asked to wait until the road would be accessible so we waited. The officers told us they would clean it up in a few hours but it kept raining and snowing; it was the biggest storm in the past decade. We had to drive back that night because there were no hotels available. I checked the news the next morning and the storm was even bigger; the road was blocked for two days, so the only way to get to our Airbnb reservation was with a helicopter. Obviously, we didn’t have one. Our host refused to give us a refund. This is ridiculous; even hotels and other Airbnb properties refunded others. This was an extreme situation and it wasn’t fair our vacation got ruined. We lost our money. There must be something bigger than a “partial refund” from Airbnb customer service.

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.

Granada Horror Story: Left Out in the Cold

I booked a place in Granada, Spain for two nights. I called the host the day before my arrival to say I expected to arrive in Granada around 4:00 PM (I rented a car for the trip from Cordoba) When I arrived (at 4:09 PM) I called the host to arrange a meet-up. There was no answer. What could I do? I decided to try and drive to the apartment address but after two hours of driving around in circles I gave up and parked the car in a public parking facility. Then I noticed the host had texted me to say the key was in a cafe (no address given). I found the cafe online and called – no answer – so I took a cab there. The cafe was closed even though their website said they were open to midnight. I started to get a stream of unintelligible text messages from the host. In one he confessed he had no cellphone connectivity at work (where he presumably was) even though he had sent several texts, but never once did he answer my dozens of phone calls.

Finally, in one message he seemed to suggest he would be free by 10:00 PM, six hours after my arrival. I had had enough of this run-around, plus I was traveling with a sick companion who needed to get to a warm bed as soon as possible. I cancelled and booked a room in a nearby hotel. To this date the host refuses to give me even a partial refund, even though I am within my rights for a refund on at least one of the two nights. After reading all of the horror stories about Airbnb’s “customer service” I haven’t bothered to waste any time trying to get them to take action. And yes, you cannot post a review for a cancelled reservation. Needless to say, I will never book again through Airbnb; you pay upfront and then you are totally at the mercy of the so-called “host”. I hope the U.S. government or someone takes action and shuts this whole scam operation down.

Airbnb Canada Does Not Have Your Back

We paid the full cost of renting (or rather, trying to rent) a condo in Toronto. After delays – hours after the check in time – we were told via text to proceed to the unlocked condo. It was immediately obvious that the condo was not fit for occupancy: there was wet paint still on the walls, splattered paint over most floors, painted wall light switches, and painting around wall pictures. The stove was filthy, there was dirt in several corners, closet doors were missing, and the list goes on. Airbnb had to intervene and finally stated that we could have given the owner time to fix these deficiencies. The owner refunded part (less than half) of the rent. There was no further refund from the owner and a refund from Airbnb for the service fee, about $95 Canadian and a whopping $50 Canadian for future bookings. Pathetic!

Review Removed: Terrible Trip in Milan

We are a mother and daughter from St. Petersburg, Russia. We travel a lot and used Airbnb for several years. We often stay in apartments in different countries; we have been to Italy many times and also stayed in many apartments in different cities. On previous visits everything was perfect: we hadn’t experienced any bad treatment or a shocking situation before. However, our most recent trip to Italy was terrible; Francesca was the worst host.

Our stay in Milan (which was short) was completely ruined by Francesca (on Airbnb her apartment is called “Mi casa es tu casa – Milano”). We booked her apartment from November 8-11, 2015. Our plane arrived on November 7th at 23:20 at Bergamo Airport. We took a bus at 00:00 and arrived at Milan Central station on November 8th at 01:10. We calculated our route in advance and wrote Francesca several times about our route in detail: when we would depart, when we would arrive, when exactly we would be in Milan. We were worried about a non-standard check-in time; that’s why we repeated our message with all information about our arrival several times, and immediately before our departure we texted one more time.

The most important fact is that Francesca accepted all our conditions and even added 25 Euro for an early check-in. We negotiated this itinerary: when we arrived from Bergamo Airport at Milan Central Station, we would take a taxi and send her an SMS that we were on the way. She was supposed to meet us at her flat, in the street. And then the worst began… we are still in shock. We took our bus, and decided to text her before we got in the taxi. It was a good decision. We informed her that we had arrived at the Central Station by bus and we were ready to take a taxi and go to her place. It was 01:30, November 8th, as we discussed (and she confirmed in her messages that it was ok).

Francesca didn’t reply for 10-15 minutes; all this time we were standing with our luggage at the railway station and waiting for her answer. Finally we got a message that shocked us: she said that there are other guests in the flat and she cannot help us, because she thought we would arrive the next day. She advised us to go to a hotel. Can you imagine such a terrible situation? We weren’t waiting in the safest place at night – the central railway station – and we were advised to run around and look for a hotel in the middle of the night? We have no words to say how terrible it was. In addition, we had an exhausting trip. We left from St. Petersburg to Tallinn on November 7th at 10:30 by bus. It took eight hours, then we took a flight from Tallinn to Bergamo – two hours more – and an hour more from Bergamo to Milan.

It took us 11 hours on several different means of transportation, and when we finally arrived we were looking forward to get to the apartment to get some rest. Instead, we received such a “nice” piece of advice: search for a hotel. Of course, we didn’t have any options. Almost all hotels near the central station were fully booked. After a while, we found one hotel. It was terrible, but we didn’t have a choice; we were so exhausted and Francesca’s message killed us. One night in the hotel (nine hours) cost 113 euros and didn’t include wifi. It was very expensive for us; we hadn’t planned on spending this amount of money at all, especially to search for a hotel in the middle of the night. In the hotel everything had additional charges and it was dirty and dusty.

When we checked in to the hotel, we wrote to Airbnb support asking for help, explaining the situation. Unfortunately, we only had wifi for three hours but a reply came in the morning. We spend a terrible night waiting for an answer and not sleeping. At 11:00 AM we checked out and were in the street again with heavy luggage. All this time we were sending messages to Francesca, explaining that because of her we were in a terrible place. She pretended she had no idea what dates we were talking about (as her English is so bad) and she insisted that it was not her fault but Airbnb’s booking system. We didn’t receive any understanding and support from this person. Finally, she “kindly” offered to let us check into her flat on November 8th at 11:30 am, when her guests left.

But the problem wasn’t solved. She didn’t want to compensate us 113+25 euros, which she took for an early check-in. We had to call Airbnb several times and try to solve this problem, walking with luggage around the city; it was a nightmare, and it was all because of Francesca. The support team called her and she said that the flat would be free ONLY at 16:00, though she told us that it would be free at 11:30. She lied to us. It was a crazy day. Instead of enjoying Milan, we were carrying our luggage around until 16:00. We regretted many times that we chose her. In the end, we took a taxi for 25 euros and came to her place around 17:00.

Tired and exhausted, we found one more unpleasant surprise: her flat was VERY far from the center, almost a suburb of Milan. There were not many people around and there are NOT any cafes and shops; you have to take a bus to reach them. It takes 20-30 minutes to reach the closest metro station by bus, then also the same time by metro. The district is very strange and a bit marginal; we always saw some suspicious people. We were warned in shops to be careful with valuables and money. It wasn’t pleasant to come back in a full bus in the evening, it is different in the centre. There is a criminal atmosphere in the district.

In the flat it was not so bad but we were confused that the host smoked inside, because we don’t smoke; it wasn’t nice. There was no blanket on the double bed, so we had to sleep under a cover. There was no electrical kettle; we had to find an old one, and clean it to boil water. Such things spoil first impressions especially when they were spoiled from the very beginning. On our first day at check-in we showed our bus tickets from Milan-Bergamo to Francesca, on November 11th at 16:40. She told us that it would take us 1 hour 40 minutes to get there. On our departure day we were in a hurry to clean the place and pack before 15:00.

We were a bit confused Francesca recommended we leave at 15:00, because we had gotten to know the city pretty well. That’s why we were ready at 15:20 and came downstairs to throw out our trash (we had several bags). Near the entrance we met Francesca, who opened the door. She didn’t expect to see us (she thought we would leave at 15:00) and told she wanted to say goodbye. It was the first time this had happened with Airbnb; we always say goodbye with an SMS, and leave the keys on the table or in a post box. Nobody came to say goodbye to us because it is not a convenient moment when you are packing and the host is staying above you. When Francesca saw the trash bags in our hands. she decided to show us how to “correctly” separate it. She started looking into our trash bags and separating them. Before this trip, we had stayed in Rome and the host told us how to separate the trash. Francesca didn’t say a word about it before; that’s why it was very unpleasant and unusual she would now.

Later we came back to the flat, and Francesca came with us. We hoped she would stay outside until we left, but no… We started packing our luggage, and quickly changing. Francesca was in the kitchen and was checking if everything was ok (in front of her guests): she replaced cups, turned on the gas, opened the fridge, and smoked. We could have been eating before our departure. We had to leave our products in the fridge, because the kitchen was occupied by our smoking host. Before our departure she reminded us to go to Garibaldi Station and change to get to Central Station. But everything was much easier, because there is a direct way from M Romolo to Central Station. It took us 30 minutes to get there. Francesca told us on purpose to leave the flat earlier because it takes 1 hour 40 minutes.

To sum up, we think it was unacceptable behavior with the guests. Our trip was completely ruined because of her, and it was full of disappointment. Such people mustn’t host guests, because she doesn’t respect them and thinks she is right. We don’t recommend Francesca’s flat of course, if you don’t want your holiday to become a living hell. After our trip, we wanted to write a not very positive but truthful review, and we did. However, our review was removed in just a couple of hours. We wrote customer support. And what do you think happened? The support agent wrote to us that our feedback had been rude, vulgar and not objective. She also wrote that the responses can not be removed, but in some cases there are exceptions. So our review will be deleted. We realized that the guests are not protected by anything. Airbnb is always on the side of the owners rather than the guests. This is very unfair.

What’s the Worst that can Happen with Airbnb?

How about traveling clear across the country only to find you can’t get into your rental and the host is nowhere to be found? In October, we booked two weeks at this lovely place near San Diego, CA. They looked legit: the owner is a lawyer, and their farm had recently been featured on the news. In fact, their listing mentioned staying at the property would fund an animal rescue. Who doesn’t love that? Not to mention they had glowing reviews as recent as a week before we left. So we felt comfortable with this choice. Imagine our surprise and dismay when we travelled 3000 miles to arrive at the home with no one to greet us and no way to get in. Mind you we had been up since 3:00 AM, and had now surpassed the 16-hour mark of being awake, schlepping our luggage around, having plane and airport funk on us, and wanting desperately to lie down and rest.

Multiple frantic calls and texts to the owner were not answered or returned, leaving us upset and in a panic about finding a new place that could take us for two weeks. I had communicated with the host, John, before arriving and he was well aware of our arrival time. There was a code lock on the door for which he could have easily sent us the code ahead of time, or even that morning, and he failed to do that. After an hour of calls to Airbnb (which was irritating in its own special way) and multiple area hotels, we booked a room at a Quality Inn; it was not what we were hoping for at all but it was clean and at least we could get in.

The host finally called us back and actually said, “Hey, how’s it going!”, as if he had no idea what was transpiring. As I felt my blood begin to boil I handed the phone to my boyfriend who told him that it was not ok that he left us hanging and we were refunded our money and are now moving on, in a much kinder way than I would have been able to.

So, a word of warning: you can’t solely depend on the reviews on Airbnb, because reviews like this one can’t be posted. They ended up canceling my reservation so now it’s as if I had no connection to it and am unable to leave a review. How many reviews are there for places that couldn’t be posted? Needless to say we are done with Airbnb. We’ve had two out of three bad experiences. It’s too bad, because some of these places are lovely and have more to offer than a hotel room.

Arrived safely, but no one was home?

We had a horrible host who did not prepare for our check in even when we confirmed the arrival time weeks in advance. We were supposed to have a nice stay and a nice place. What we were met with was absolutely nothing. Check in was set for 12:00 PM, so we were there at 11:40 AM. We waited until just after 1:00 PM without a sign of the key or the host to greet us. We knocked on the door and got no answer; we called – no answer. What could we have done but leave such a situation? All he had to do was leave a note on what to do with the front desk or the key. This is unacceptable behavior for a host. Saying someone will eventually show up at an uncertain time in the future is absolutely disrespectful. Leaving a paying guest waiting and exposed to uncertainty is unprofessional and, on top of that, trying to say we were a no show or late is insulting. Trying to shift the blame to the guest is a slap to the face. We are demanding a full refund and suggesting that he be removed from Airbnb before he leaves another guest rushing to find suitable accommodation in a foreign country soaked from the rain waiting on him to eventually show up. This is the most embarrassing experience in my professional 40-year career in front of friends and colleagues for us to experience such disastrous service and ridiculing responses. I’m expecting a full refund by the next working day.

Airbnb Left my Family in the Middle of the Street

We did an Instant Book on Airbnb. The email confirmation arrived saying all was set, pack your bags, in addition to nice things about using their service, with code confirmation. We drove all the way from Sacramento to Anaheim with my 4-year-old and mom – 70 years old – so after the long travel time in the car we were exhausted and hungry. Upon arrival, the receptionist in the place we rented said they did not receive any information about our rental. We called the host and he said he did not accept the reservation… apparently unaware of what an Instant Book means.

The place we rented was five minutes from Disneyland, equivalent to a 4-star hotel. I waited more than a hour for a case manager to show up and then she talked to me, offered me $150 as compensation for the ‘inconvenience’ and told me to find a place myself. After I argued with her, she asked for more time to make calls. It was 10:30 PM. We were here in the same place, in the middle of the street, with nowhere to go. We were loyal customers for years and they took no responsibility whatsoever that we ended up paying more than twice the price renting another hotel ourselves so as to not ruin our entire vacation. We also ended up losing one entire day of vacation and had to change hotels three times within four nights to be able to fix their problem. Our daughter has special needs; all the food we took from home ended up ruined and she got constipated pretty badly because her food was not available.

We are very disappointed with the entire situation. We understand that mistakes can happen but not taking any responsibility for their own mistakes is really disappointing. They sent emails saying somebody would look into our case and call us back but nobody has contacted us since.