Family Scammed by a Host in Seattle

My daughter and fiancé moved to the Seattle area. Upon arrival they discovered their apartment wasn’t ready due to mold issues. They had to retile the place and wouldn’t be able to allow guests to move in for another week. My family was stuck. They also had a sweet older cat with them. They had to book a hotel for the first night. I, being the helpful mom to my 22-year-old kid and her fiancee and kitty, wanted to look into an Airbnb rental so they could be comfortable.

I found this listing. If you scroll down on pricing it says: “Extra people: $48/night after the first guest.” It could be my mistake that I did not see this. I was going back and forth with her from Friday evening into Saturday late morning about the listing. Moving forward, I went to book and the price went from $80 per/night to $128 per/night. I attached the screen shots of our messages and my confusion on the part of the second guest. If you read this, you can see she is even confused and looks like she is saying that I was probably trying to book for three guests (myself, daughter and her fiancé) and she said I need to book for a total of two people.

I made the mistake of thinking when I put one guest I thought myself plus one guest. It was a dumb mistake on my part since I have booked with Airbnb before. However, in all the comparable listings in that area – I clicked through about twenty – the prices were always for two people; I didn’t think twice and booked it. The other thing, the host clearly saw me saying “them” when referring to guests and listing their names. I even told her their story in the beginning: how it was my daughter, her fiancé, and their cat (I did not include this screenshot, but I can if needed).

Here’s where it gets interesting. My kid had her number and proceeded to text the host that they were on their way. She texted my kid and said “your mom only paid for one person.” My kid asked how much it would be for two people and she stated it would be an additional $180. I told my kid that it was too much, thinking there are other places for that price that were private.

Did I mention that this host’s place was not private? She said it was like “one big master bedroom, but the kitchen and bathroom is shared.” She has it listed as an entire home/apartment but the room and living room was separated from the kitchen by a blackout curtain; her and her husband’s room is private in the back. $128 per night in that area? Why didn’t I just book a whole cottage for $100 per night?

You can see in my messaging that I was considering having them just stay the one night and not the rest of the week. However, I ended up canceling the whole thing and they stayed in a hotel. I also wanted to attach the text messaging thread. You can’t get each other’s number until you book for safety purposes. She and I were texting back and forth with this misunderstanding and I apologized profusely. I asked then if I would get refunded. She assured me I would. I told her okay, I would cancel and thanked her for the refund. I knew she had a strict cancellation policy but I figured she has been super nice and understood the situation was my mistake.

The next day I contacted the Airbnb resolution center on the site. All I wanted was to make sure she refunded me. They told me to request money from the host, so I did. There was space to put the reason and I typed “misunderstanding at check in, host agreed to refund full amount.”

What does she respond with? “Not truthful guest.” She then declined to refund me. If she would have said “no, sorry I can’t give you a refund” then I at least I could have paid the extra $180 and not be out $400. She basically has no one staying in her place for five days and Airbnb and the host got $450 (fees included) out of me. Even Expedia doesn’t do that. Once I accidentally booked the wrong dates and was out of the cancellation policy. They still refunded me and told me: “It’s ok. Sometimes stuff happens.”

I ended up calling my bank to have them dispute the charges. I had to tell them the whole story and send them the screenshots of the messages. When a case manager from Airbnb called me, he seemed nice at first, taking in my story. I even sent them the screenshots of the text messages where she stated more than once she would refund me. He said they are the final say in this matter. I received a call back from the case manager the next day. He stated the host said I lied and tried to “pull one over” on her, that I tried to book for one guest and was really bringing two. Like she didn’t know and capitalized on my mistake. Then she said I called her and harassed her. I did no such thing. If I were able to upload all the screenshots of the text messages then you could see I was nothing but apologetic and kind.

Now this host was so rude. He was talking over me, yelling at me, and bullying me. I was made out to be the villain. This host just joined this month and had no reviews. That in itself should have been a red flag. The Airbnb case manager made me feel foolish and said that this host has a strict cancellation policy; when I booked, he stated that it was a legal and binding contract and he cannot force the host to refund the money. He said she wasn’t going to refund the money at all and I am basically screwed.

First off he talked over me, then when I did the same he yelled at me. When I raised my voice he said over and over this was a legal and binding contract and in the end he essentially said: “Well, you have booked with us before. You should know how to book. This is your fault and you will not be refunded.”

He didn’t even offer a partial refund or a voucher. Nothing. I hung up and cried because I was just bullied on the phone over nothing, just an Airbnb listing. Why does this case agent even care? He should have tried to be a better mediator in this situation and look at my history of being a guest: I have never complained or done anything shady.

I’ve blasted Airbnb on Twitter. You may have seen them if you follow @airbnbhell because I copied them on Twitter too. The case manager emailed me and said “it was a pleasure talking to you this morning… blah blah blah” I responded with a lengthy email, told him he bullied me and yelled at me, and I was in tears afterwards. I mean I hate be the victim but this host acted like one and got $400+ out of it. Why can’t I tell the truth and tell them how I felt? I felt like a used pair of underwear.

When I emailed them back I also copied Belinda Johnson, who is Airbnb’s Chief Legal Council, and Donna Boyer, who is Airbnb’s Director of Product. Working in tech in the Bay Area (where Airbnb is headquartered) you can find out who these people are. Just about an hour ago I received an apology from Anthony with a $200 voucher. Really? Seriously? If I do not plan to use Airbnb anymore, what good is it going to do me? Just send me my money! At least send a voucher that is equal if not more than what I went out of pocket. I ended up rebooking another listing for my daughter through Airbnb and luckily that went fine. It would have been nice if this voucher was there before that since I just plan to use VBRO or VaCasa or something else in the future. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Fake Information on Airbnb Leads to Fake Osaka Apartment

I will not recommend Airbnb to my friends, as it won’t protect its users’ rights. My family was planning to travel to Osaka, Japan, and we tried to look for a suitable room for us. Before I made the reservation, I double checked with the house owner about the room I needed; we had five people and we needed two rooms. She answered me by confirming there were two rooms in the apartment which could easily accomodate five people. However, when I arrived that night, I found there was only a tiny room for two people.

I called the house owner. He admitted that it was his fault but the only thing he could do would be to provide a refund. Of course, we also needed to find another place to stay. In such a rush and looking during the busy season, we found no affordable hotel or hostel for our whole family. Therefore we had no choice but to cancel our travel plans and go back to our country. The real room we arrived to find was completely different than that pictured in the photo that the house owner showed on Airbnb, which means the information on the website is fake. Even he refunded us but they did nothing to make up my loss. I also can’t make comments on the website as the reservation has been cancelled. I want to reveal what’s really going on to everyone who wants to find a room to stay on Airbnb. You’d better to have a backup plan otherwise your rights will not be protected at all.

Host Refused Refund for Poorly Maintained Property

We booked a trip for ten nights in Barbados for my family of four. Upon arrival at the property, we heard hysterical dogs barking. The neighbor had a dog pen less than 30 yards from the house we were renting. The pen had about five dogs which spent every waking moment inside. When the host came about twenty minutes later to greet us, we expressed concern as we had a one-year-old who doesn’t do very well sleeping in new places, especially if dogs were barking aside. He told us that they would calm down. I wasn’t looking forward to our son and the rest of us being woken up at 1:00 AM to those dogs carrying on next door.

When we got settled into our tropical vacation cottage, we came to realize the place was filthy. Every piece of furniture was stained, and the floor hadn’t had a good mopping in weeks. I have pictures of our black feet. The kitchen was disgusting. One of the policies of Airbnb is that the properties must be clean, a policy they don’t care much about. There are even other reviews of the property (which we came across after the fact) pointing out how unclean this property is. The next day we asked to leave. We told the host about our issues. He said he had a little apartment in town that we could use, but the neighbors are less than desirable and it’s very tight quarters. He told us to think about it and contact him later.

We decided that we weren’t going to spend our 11-day vacation in some little dumpy apartment. We needed to be refunded and move on to another property through someone else. He told us via email that he wasn’t going to refund us anything. Airbnb asks that you place complaints within 24 hours; ours was placed 27 hours after check in. Keep in mind we’re in a foreign country trying to find a place to stay on very slow internet with two children. By 2:00 PM on the second day we found and paid for another property using Homeaway.com and then left. After returning home, we contacted Airbnb again for a refund, supplying a detailed account of our experience and about a dozen photos of the filth. After going through the process, which took three weeks, we were told that because we didn’t contact them within the 24-hour period there was nothing they could do, but they would refund us one night’s stay. We paid for ten.

We tried numerous times to contact Airbnb after this despicable explanation and were completely ignored. We never heard from them again. We were out $1200. Then we decided that since neither the host nor Airbnb were going to do anything for us after a three-week runaround, that it was time to leave a review. But no, you only have two weeks to do that. That’s right: if you don’t leave a review within two weeks of your check out date, your window closes. We got completely screwed out of $1200 and couldn’t even leave a review. This was the last time we’ll ever use this horrible, disgusting company again. What a horrible disappointment. Beware folks!

Airbnb Long-Term Cancellation Policy: Buyer Beware

My husband and I booked a two-bedroom, two-bath condo for our 25th wedding anniversary. However, my knee gave out and I was unexpectedly forced to have total knee replacement surgery. We booked the condo through Airbnb and the owner had a 30-day cancellation policy. That was fine. We canceled three months and one week in advance because my surgeon did not want me to travel on a 5.5-hour flight over the ocean with no chance of stopping after undergoing the surgery, due to concerns about edema and blood clots. We were penalized 50% of our total amount because the hosts “have a super strict policy.”

First of all, we did not know about such a policy until after we booked; I was contacted by Airbnb when we attempted to cancel. The only policy we were given at the time of booking was the owner’s policy of a 30-day cancellation. Sure enough, on the Airbnb website, after much searching, I found the 50% penalty policy. Interestingly, it says in order to be afforded this tremendous opportunity, one must be “invited.” We weren’t invited; we never even knew about it. However, Airbnb says it is a policy for this particular listing. The owner of the condo says it is an Airbnb policy.

Whichever organization or company made the policy, Airbnb indicates that they have an appeal process, which we followed; my doctor wrote a letter explaining that I could not fly such a long distance until the very end of the year due to the possibility of complications (which I experienced with my first knee replacement). I even sent them my MRI results and an explanation of the surgery. They denied our appeal, again saying they “have a super strict policy.” To cancel over three months in advance and be penalized well over $1,300 is beyond absurd. So, when I can fly at the end of the year, we will never stay at this particular listing again (although we have stayed there many times), and we will never use Airbnb again (it was our first experience with this company). What a scam.

Refunded Double to Guest and Won’t Accept Responsibility

I issued a refund to the guest according to instructions on the Airbnb website. It was more than the amount Airnb originally charged. Airbnb gave the guest the amount they calculated as the refund I owed as well as the amount that I refunded. Trying to resolve this is a nightmare. I have called and been disconnected or hung up on twice. Even though I gave my phone number for the second call, they never called back. I did finally get an email several days later saying that I had made a mistake, not them. When responding to that, my email was kicked back saying the ticket was closed. I have never worked with a company so intent on avoiding customer service.

Host is a Scammer, Leaves my Parents outside in Barcelona

I’m searching how can I get a live and not automatic reply to the problem my parents encountered during their last visit to Barcelona. My parents’ English is not good enough for written communication so I’m writing on their behalf. My parents booked an apartment via Airbnb from my mom’s profile. They wanted a Russian-speaking host in order to overcome any language barrier. The host’s name was Olga. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of leaving a review on her page, for a reason… It is very important to me that this post gets the notice of Airbnb so that they may remove the host from Airbnb and other people won’t experience the same problems we did.

This host is a thief. When my parents arrived in Barcelona, they contacted Olga and she told them she was a realtor and not the owner of the flat. The flat owner, Ivan, should provide them the key. She told them she was not in Barcelona now and could not meet them. My parents tried to contact Ivan with no success for a few hours. My parents are in their mid 60’s – not a young couple – and this was very stressful for them. To find themselves in the middle of Barcelona with no place to stay, in addition to the fact they do not know Spanish and their English is very poor. After understanding that they were deceived on Airbnb (the website that we use a lot while traveling and usually are very satisfied with it) they had no other option but to just book a room in the hotel just next to the host’s apartment since they didn’t feel well and were very tired.

From the next day they found a cheaper hotel and booked there for the rest of their stay. We find it unacceptable to not have an opportunity to get in touch with someone at Airbnb and all the system provides is automatic replies. I asked Airbnb to contact us and to refund the difference between the booking and the hotel price (both hotels were the most simple ones). I have all the needed receipts and some Whatsapp conversations with the host and the owner of the flat. There were also lots of calls that were of course not recorded, unfortunately. I’m waiting for someone at Airbnb to please contact me asap.

Massachusetts Airbnb Host Tries to Jack up Price

I booked a four-night stay in August for a listing in Provincetown, MA back in February. At first, Airbnb charged my credit card twice for the large amount (almost 2000 USD) and then told me I had to wait five days for a refund. After speaking with about 234 representatives and supervisors, I got my refund and a whopping $50 credit (…thanks). Fast forward to a few weeks ago, the host (Ned) decided to attempt to increase the rate by $400. When we spoke with Airbnb, they said they would negotiate with him. They said he would change it to $200 increase and Airbnb would cover half. It was still a scam, but I didn’t think it was worth the fight. Then he cancelled the reservation entirely. I have been waiting for my refund for 2.5 weeks now and Airbnb is trying to say that I already received payment since they refunded the second charge. I now have a formal investigation through my credit card company to get my refund. It’s been a headache. Never book with Airbnb – it’s a joke. And the supervisors and case managers are flat-out liars. Once I get the refund, my account will be cancelled.

Four People Kicked out of Airbnb: Unacceptable Service

Where should I start? First, the listing stated the apartment had four bedrooms; it actually had three bedrooms and a couch in the living room. The pictures were not very accurate; the apartment was a lot older looking than what I expected. Those are just the minor issues. The major problems came into play when the host started accusing my guest and I of smoking and drinking on the premises. I explained to him that no one in my group smokes. Our host had the handyman on the premises spying on us. I just thought it was some weird old man walking around fixing things but no, my host told us someone complained about too much luggage being brought into the apartment. Then he would call all hours of the morning to threaten to cancel my stay if I have more than three guests in the house at once.

Once I asked the host if there was anything we could work out for the fourth person. He told me to get another Airbnb or hotel. So after spending money booking through Airbnb I booked an extra hotel room for one extra guest. He still called me the next day telling me my trip has been cancelled and if I don’t pack up he will call the cops. He also kept reminding me how small of an Airbnb I rented and how he wasn’t going to waste time explaining things over and over. I told him to call the authorities so they could hear my side of this story but of course that was all a bluff.

After exchanging texts and our choice of words over the phone, I simply packed up our belongings and finished our trip in a hotel. I am currently asking for a refund and I won’t stop until my case is further looked into. I don’t want to pull the race card but I really couldn’t think of any other reason he treated us this way. I travel a lot and I have used Airbnb before and we have never experienced anything like this. When all this was happening I was looking over the cancellation policy and it highly favors the host.

I will never stand for this treatment, not when I spent my hard-earned money. I will take every step I need to until something is done because this is unacceptable. I have contacted the Airbnb corporate office because nothing can be handled through the website; all they do is email and send you their terms. I promise I couldn’t make all this up if I wanted to. I am a very easy going young man but I will not be taken advantage of. I hope this review is seen by the right people. I have attached receipts and a confirmation showing I booked another hotel to avoid any further issues for the next two night. My trip was from April 27-30, but I only stayed one night at my Airbnb before I was kicked out. I will not stop until I am refunded.

Bait and Switch, Waiting Two Months for a Refund

I used Airbnb for the first time last month when visiting a friend in Kampala. I chose a nice private place not far from their house. Airbnb took the money from my account immediately after the host approved. After contacting the host, he told me the house I wanted wasn’t available and there was a similar one not too far from there. When I got there I hated the place; it was horrible and not even remotely close to the original one. I asked him for a refund, which he sent via Airbnb and I even received an email for them stating that I would receive the money within 5-7 working days. It has been two months. They aren’t responding to any of my emails which I have persistently sent. I won’t give up until I get my refund.

Ripped off by Guest and Airbnb’s Horrible Customer Service

The guests checked in at 3:00 PM. At 8:40 PM they sent me a text complaining about seeing a cockroach in a 70-year-old beach house in Hawaii. I did not see it until 10:00 PM, so I planned to respond in the morning. I woke up at 5:20 AM to find an email from Airbnb stating I had until 5:40 AM to respond. I wrote them back immediately and at 5:50 AM I received another email saying the guest had been refunded completely for their booking: $3,600.

I disputed it and contacted Airbnb immediately. After a day of them ‘investigating’ it and getting staged photos from the guests showing the house was not clean I was sent an email with a link to their refund policy. Nothing. These guests and Airbnb just ripped me off. I will never use them again. They do not look after the host of a property. Stay away from Airbnb.