Airbnb Can Hold Hosts’ Money Hostage

I am going to make this short. My wife and I bought a short term rental property in central Florida. We joined Airbnb in May 2017. We got a lead from Airbnb for a guest to stay at the end of June through July 2017. We asked how we would get paid so we set up our bank account back in May to be linked with Airbnb. Airbnb collects the money from the guest and then holds your money. They do not pay you according to your terms and conditions – only on Airbnb’s terms, whatever those terms happen to be. They hold your money, for your rental, in an unknown account.

Our guest stayed in our property. The guest had a good time and enjoyed their vacation, checking out on July 2nd, 2017. We paid the bills/mortgage/management and all other fees for this property. Airbnb collected the money over a month ago. We have tried via email and numerous phone calls to try and find out why we do not have our money for the booking. We were told on the phone that the ticket is updated. That is the only response: the ticket has been updated. Our emails have been ignored. We still have not been paid and are in the dark as to why. We have other guests inquiring to book the house through Airbnb but we can not move forward with a company that does business in this way.

No Payment Following 12-Day Airbnb Stay in Italy

Having hosted someone from Italy for 12 days in our Australian apartment in January we are still waiting for payment. We received an automated email saying we would be paid on January 23rd. We have been on Airbnb’s books for four years now and have Superhost status. Despite numerous calls to their call centre – the staff of which point blank refuse to pass you on to the management level and if you persist with the request, cut you off – nothing has happened. All they do is pass a so-called ticket to their non-responsive team. Despite many emails to this group no one comes back and now my emails are bouncing back saying they are not deliverable. I wonder what filter they are using to do this? Is it fraud? The work of the FBI or maybe Brian Chesky? On top of this, someone within their organisation has switched my daughter’s bank account details back to those of one that was closed in 2014. So despite receiving money being deposited in 2015 and 2016 now it has been changed back. Hence my use of the word fraud. I can’t help but notice articles in Forbes Magazine where this is now a worldwide issue regarding non-payments and the behaviour of their call centre. It also mentions that the company is worth $25 billion, which clearly adds up to a lot of non-payments. I also noticed that they had a TV ad shown during the Super Bowl. What’s the cost of one of those, three million dollars?

When Airbnb Cancels Your Reservation Without Checking

In late 2016 I made two reservations on Airbnb for a New Zealand holiday. In mid-January 2017 (i.e. one and a half months later) I discovered two unauthorised transactions dated January 14th and 15th using the same credit card for Airbnb in China and two non-Airbnb charges in the UK. I contacted my bank and told them which transactions were unauthorised; they cancelled the card. The bank notified Airbnb of the two unauthorised transactions and refused the two pending charges in the UK. Three weeks later Airbnb contacted me to tell me that their security team had identified suspicious transactions. They just cancelled the two earlier reservations in New Zealand without checking with me to see if they were legitimate. Then I had to try and contact them to get the problem fixed. Emails just bounced back as undeliverable. I couldn’t contact the hosts to try and let them know that we were still coming and what happened.

Finally, I located an Airbnb phone number and waited until someone answered. I explained the problem and was told how it would be fixed. I then received repeated email messages telling me the reservations had been cancelled, and there had been a problem with my card. I couldn’t reply by email, spent ages on the phone, and could not get transferred in their call centre to the person who knew about my case. They promised they would call back, which sometimes happens and often does not. I am recovering from cancer surgery and the New Zealand holiday was something to look forward to doing with my wife, but it is now a nightmare that I can totally do without.

To cut the story short, they still have not managed to fix the problem and are trying to charge my cancelled credit card, not using the new card in my profile. We had used Airbnb twice before without any issues and thought it was a good service. Now, I will never use them again and will tell all my friends to do the same. This is a classic situation in customer service. A customer who complains is giving the company an opportunity to fix the issue. If it is fixed promptly the customer will go away but still tell others about a good experience. If it is not fixed the customer goes away and becomes a negative walking and talking advertisement for the company, because not only did the company screw up, but they did not fix the problem or – in some cases – even try to fix the problem. Customer service like this damages the brand far more than any positive advertising can hope to repair. Airbnb really needs to up its game.

Airbnb Takes Payment in the Wrong Currency

We booked a house in Norfolk, UK for a week, and received confirmation from Airbnb. Everything seemed okay so far. The cost was obviously in pounds. We used our AMEX account, which is in the UK. We clearly paid in pounds from a UK bank account, but because our address is currently in Australia Airbnb charged us in US dollars and 8% for the currency conversion. So Amex paid out in dollars and converted it back into pounds for us to pay off the credit card in pounds. The house originally cost £681 and it has cost us £727. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The host cancelled, so I telephoned her to find out why; she said she hadn’t heard of us. The dates had been booked out for ages. She was so fed up with Airbnb she was withdrawing her property. So beware folks: check which currency you are paying in. My complaint was dealt with by an email quoting some obscure terms and conditions. I had the last laugh though because I was lucky and received a refund into my Amex account in US dollars, which Amex converted back into pounds. Due to a more favorable exchange rate, I actually made a very small profit. I will never use Airbnb. I think we got off easy.

Payment Not Received. What Can Airbnb Do?

A lady stayed for five days in my flat alone. Everything was fine then I noticed I never received payment, £898. Airbnb never told me; I noticed in my bank account. I have spent six weeks calling their San Francisco and London numbers over 30 times. I have not had contact from anyone on the payment team or a case manager. I have emailed constantly and messaged the guest myself with no luck. I have posted bad reviews on Instagram and asked them to DM me. No luck. So the lady has been allowed to stay for free in my home. It’s outrageous. I’ve been a host for three years. I have 80 reviews. This means nothing to them. You cannot get in contact with anyone. I very much doubt I will get my money; the guest is still listed on the website so she can do same thing again. I have contacted Watchdog in the UK and informed the guest and Airbnb. Six weeks and no contact. Being told my case is the highest priority for weeks now is just rubbish. If I don’t keep contacting them they will just ignore what happened. I never got compensation from a guest for a plumbing issue which came out of my security deposit. After so many messages I never got more than £89. I will go to the London newspapers with this story as the public needs to know that if they host they may never get paid.

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.

Currency Nightmare: Complete Denial of their Problems

I made a booking on the Airbnb website. It showed me the total was SGD $877 (Singapore dollars) and said it would be billed in SGD. I paid using a credit card issued in Singapore, with the default currency in SGD. My card got charged in USD instead, and there were hefty currency conversion fees from the bank. As usual, you can never find any number to call Airbnb for help. So after a long time navigating their “help” pages, I finally sent them an email to describe the problem. Someone actually replied, sounded polite, and earnestly tried to resolve the problem, but after a couple of email exchanges, you could already smell their dirty tactics on handling complaints. I can summarize their dirty tactics in just one sentence: blatantly lying, refusing to admit their mistakes, and then shifting the blame to others. They replied that the problem was that I was using a US credit card even after I emailed them evidence that my card’s default currency was SGD. They just kept insisting otherwise. They insisted that my credit card wanted to be charged in USD, which was never the case (I even called my bank to question them if such a thing was even possible). When I pushed for a more explicit explanation, they asked me to contact my bank and then simply stopped replying, both on Facebook and through email. The whole time they just gave template replies and sent me links back to their help page, which is obviously useless.