Airbnb Built on Institutionalized Fraud

Airbnb takes the full payment amount from guests when bookings are made. Then they keep the money for however many days, weeks, or months before the guests actually arrive and are supposed to pay the host as follows: “Airbnb releases your payout about 24 hours after your guest’s scheduled check-in.” What actually happens is that Airbnb sends an email to the host at the point when they should pay and suggests that the bank will take time to pay. This is a total lie. In New Zealand, payments are processed very quickly. The banks may sit on interbank payments for up to one day and do not process interbank payments on weekends and public holidays, but they do not just sit on the money for days as Airbnb suggests. What is actually going on is that Airbnb sits on millions of dollars of guests’ and hosts’ money for days. Meanwhile the guest has checked out and often even left the country before the host is paid. This is just another way that Airbnb is screwing the market. Remember, Airbnb does not have any property. In fact, they have nothing except an APP which causes frustration in communications, so they can keep the guests and hosts at arm’s length until they have got their money. I would strongly suggest that guests instead find a property outside of Airbnb, especially if it is a hotel or guest house and they can check the price directly. When there is no commission to Airbnb, hosts can often offer a better price. If you pay money out to a host who owns a hotel or guest house that has been in business for some time, you at least know where they are; they have a physical location. Whereas you struggle to even get Airbnb on the phone in some random foreign country. Best wishes from a host still waiting to get paid.

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!!!!”

Airbnb’s Little Loopholes that Screw Hosts

I have had two separate “awaiting payment” issues two days in a row. Airbnb doesn’t give you any indication that a guest’s payment may not be valid until you accept the reservation. This automatically holds the reservation and prohibits the host from declining guests or opening up for other guests that might have their affairs in order. I called Airbnb and spoke to a representative about declining these guests; they would not change their policy, so my listing is off the market with no secured payment for 24 hours. Why would Airbnb hold a host’s opportunity to make money hostage? I was told that the odds of the payment issue being fixed are greater than the chances of it failing. Nevertheless, Airbnb takes all the host’s rights away in order to protect the company’s interests for 24 hours. The fact that a host hits accept and gets an immediate “uh oh… there seems to be a problem with the payment” is proof that the software Airbnb uses can immediately detect if there is an issue with a guest’s payment option. This simple line or two of software code should be implemented when guests click “book”, not when the host gets stuck with a blocked calendar. I told this to the Airbnb representative… he would not help me cancel the reservation awaiting payment and left me feeling like this policy is not going to change.

Airbnb Refunds are Sketchy at Best

I’m a first time user of Airbnb. There were problems. Airbnb takes your money before completing any transaction and then declines to provide service. The credit card deduction is NOT the last stage of the process. This is a bad business practice. Airbnb takes your money immediately (within 30 minutes) but any refund takes five days. This is also a bad business practice. At this point in time, I have been promised two refunds but have not received anything (within the five-day refund wait time) so I can’t verify that Airbnb actually does give refunds. There is no indication of the problems causing a booking to fail. There is just a late email saying that it has ‘failed to verify’ and ‘accommodation is cancelled’ and that my money will be refunded in five days.

Customer service is patchy as email requests for solutions are ignored or given belated responses. Presently,there has been no response to my emails for more than ten hours. Using Airbnb is too much effort for a holiday pastime. I will stay away from Airbnb in the future. My first experience was on July 22, 2016. I booked a night under Airbnb. I gave my credit card details and the money was deducted from my credit card; then Airbnb requested details from my ID… and then the booking was rejected, with a promise to refund the money in five days. The problem took 24 hours to sort out and find alternative accommodations. The accommodation was fine and I was very happy with the host. Due to the problems encountered, Airbnb customer service promised a refund but this has not yet occurred (because of a five-day delay?)

My second experience was on July 24, 2016. I booked two nights under Airbnb. I gave my credit card details and the money was deducted from my credit card; then Airbnb requested details from my ID… and then the booking was rejected, with a promise to refund the money in five days. The problem has still not been sorted out after 23 hours, and there has been no response to my emails for 11 hours.

Airbnb Policy on Refunds Leaves Much to be Desired

I am a foreign student studying in Canada and used Airbnb for my one-month holiday to the US, switching from one accommodation to another during the process. The hosts and the listings were fine in general, but AIRBNB DOES NOT HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE REFUND SYSTEM. During the trip, I had two bookings that were cancelled by the host, totaling a refund of about $600. The cancellations were made early and did not cause me much inconvenience. However, the issue is that I had just finished my studies and closed my Canadian account before leaving for the US; hence, the refund was made to a closed account. I thought that this would have been a small issue, since all Airbnb has to do is to retrieve the cash and transfer it to an alternative bank account.

How wrong I was.

1. AIRBNB HAS NO WAY OF RETRIEVING CASH THAT IS RETURNED TO THEM. The standard procedure for a cash refund in Airbnb is this: “Your money can only be refunded to the account you used for the booking. Your bank will issue you a cheque if your account is closed.” You cannot refund your money to an alternative account that you didn’t use to make your original payment. The bank does not always issue you a cheque. I have made numerous calls to the bank and found out that my bank’s policy on closed accounts is to return the money to the source, and Airbnb has no way of retrieving this amount.

2. AIRBNB PROVIDES NO WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH THE PEOPLE WHO DEAL WITH MONETARY TRANSFERS/TRANSACTIONS. The people in Airbnb customer service center know very little about where your money goes. All they know and can do is to give you standard replies to standard questions. When questioned about what happens to the money that gets returned to Airbnb, the customer service center gave me the same response that I posted above (1). Want to talk to higher-ups? Want to discuss compensation? NOPE! All they have to do is to repeat this same standard answer again and again until you give up and put down the phone! So, that’s the tale of how I lost my refund and Airbnb lost a customer.

Airbnb Direct Deposit not Available in Turkey?

I have been a member of Airbnb for many years. I almost forgot I had a membership, then someone wanted to reserve my room and I cheerfully accepted. I have checked my payment history preferences and changed it to accept direct bank transfers. My guest came and left, and everything was ok. Then I saw that my payment method had not been verified. I waited for a little while longer and then asked Airbnb. They kindly replied and asked me to wait a little longer. So I waited. After a week I asked again. Three different people replied: one said it could take time and I should wait; another told me that my account might have been hacked; and the last one finally told me that the direct deposit method is not available in my country- it is routed through Payoneer (which deducts money from the amount I should get) and I should contact them!

There is no information regarding this on their web site. This is total fraud: not informing me about what is available in my country, what is not, and having no interest in telling me why my payment preference has not been verified. Then I changed it to Paypal. I have a confirmed, eligible Paypal account. Still, there was no verification from stupid Airbnb. I asked again. The reply was a form letter teaching me about Paypal. My payment preference has not been verified yet and it has been two weeks since I started this process. They do not care about paying you your money. I have spent hours dealing with interesting answers and still could not solve my problem!