Nightmare Stay in Rio de Janeiro Leads to False Accusations

I stayed in Rio de Janeiro last summer. My host, Carolina, seemed nice enough. My boyfriend and I rented the entire place for two weeks. She claimed I caused a number of damages, the most ridiculous one being a round mark on her kitchen sink that was present on my arrival. She requested the security deposit of 500 Brazilian reals, which unbeknownst to me was unable to be collected because Mastercard had frozen my card in Brazil (I used it and it must have been flagged for suspicious activity – there is a lot of corruption there). My phone did not work as I had to put a local sim card in, and I hadn’t logged onto Airbnb for days when I realized this.

I politely explained to Airbnb how her sink was leaking, which caused her towels to be in poor condition which she also charged me for falsely. I included photos of bugs in her bathroom when I got home (to the US). I called Airbnb but never heard anything for months until January of this year. When they sent that email (about five months later) my account had been frozen since my trip. They ambiguously worded an email that said I owed 500 reals with an additional 2800 “to be collected ” on top of the security deposit. I again stated honestly that I did not causes any of those damages, and asked for clarification over the matter: why did they seem to be asking for much more than even she had asked for originally?

After I asked for clarification, they refused to give me an answer. I called them and again asked for clarification. I later received an email back, as the customer service representative put a note on my account or something. The response: I was no longer welcome as a customer and they blocked my account. It didn’t matter what evidence I showed Airbnb or proof. I only had pictures of the sink and bathroom bugs, but she claimed it cost her about 400 dollars to replace the countertops (which had marks on it when I arrived – she claimed I made them in order to scam me).

I would recommend everyone using Airbnb to fully document anything about the place upon arrival so this doesn’t happen to you. It was a perfect service for me, until it was not. I did not have one bad review.

Is Everything About Airbnb Fake? Scammed in Philly

Is Airbnb just a fake company? Based on my experience, it clearly seems to be the case. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I had plans to be in Philadelphia for a week to celebrate my ten-year MBA reunion, and had booked my Airbnb more than two months in advance. So, I flew nine hours from Sao Paulo to JFK, rented a car and then arrived in Philly after traveling for more than 15 hours. Once I arrived at the address of the Airbnb, I realized that I could locate the two adjacent properties but not the address on the reservation. So, I called the host and found out that the number had been disconnected. That’s when I realized that I had been pranked, except that there was nothing funny about it.

I immediately contacted Airbnb, and they tried to contact the host, as if that would help. After an hour or so, they said that I was right and asked me to check other locations on Airbnb. This was a fun exercise, given that I had just been through a long, international trip with plenty of luggage to lug around. Finally, I decided enough was enough and downloaded and got a hotel through the app HotelTonight (secretly, I am sure HotelTonight must be delighted that the incompetence of Airbnb sends customers their way). Once I checked in, I talked to Airbnb again and they offered me a subsidy on the hotel for the night. The next day, I went through the same routine and tried to book another Airbnb, but nobody responded on the site.

There were plenty of fake listings. In one case, two professional realtors had put up the same apartment on the site with vastly different prices and exactly the same photographs. I tried to learn more, but was rebuffed as soon as I pointed out this discrepancy. To summarize, I had to pay for a hotel for the entire trip. So, the cost of me staying in Philly on Airbnb would have been USD900; instead, it ended up being USD2250, blowing through my budget. To top it all, an Amazon package I had mailed to the fake address was not recovered either. It has been more than a week after my trip and the “case manager” has stalled and not resolved the problem despite repeated followups on their website and Twitter. Their strategy seems to be sticking their heads in the sand and hoping the issue goes away. Airbnb may be a fake company, but my experience was real. Stories like these are not going away.

Airbnb Host Never Responded to an Instant Book

I chose an apartment in Tangerang, Indonesia for a one-night stay. I chose the Instant Book option and without confirmation from the host, the reservation was instantly approved (and my credit card was instantly charged). I reserved the room a day before check in (April 25, 2017). Up until 11:00 AM in the day of the check in (April 26, 2017), the host never responded to any of my messages. As in any Airbnb booking, I need to have information on the exact location of the property (address and room number of the apartment) and also on how to obtain the key from the host. Up until noon, there was no response. And as I could not wait any longer, I then canceled the reservation. As the cancellation was made on the same day as the booking, my credit card was had already been fully charged by Airbnb and the host. I tried to explain this to Airbnb, but it turned out it was really difficult to contact and/or to find how to file a complaint. I think Airbnb has a great policy not taking complaints. Until today (my reservation was for April 26, 2017, while today is May 2, 2017), the host never responded to my messages and complaints. There were no responses from Airbnb. I used to use Airbnb to find cheaper accommodations. It however turned out that it cost me much more than that. Airbnb is a nightmare. I will never use it again.

Airbnb Fake Listing – I Got Scammed in Dublin

I’m afraid I will have to be adding to the list of guest horror stories of scams involving Airbnb. It’s great to know (and let others know) that if things go wrong with this company their stance is an complete and utter refusal to accept that they have operated with any neglect to customer protection when in fact the opposite is true. I was recently looking for an apartment to rent in Dublin as I’m having a party there in October. I found a great apartment listed normally along with lots of others on Airbnb. This listing turned out to be completely fake but led me to transfer – in good faith – £834 to a criminal’s bank account whilst parading under a false Airbnb official-looking email address. I had never used the site before and was unfamiliar with the payment process. The following day, having reported the fake listing, I contacted my bank’s fraud department; a friend of mine was still able to find the fake listing and communicate with the fake host. It’s so infuriating that Airbnb did not even attempt to take the fake listing down immediately to protect others. I have had an official email ending my dispute from Airbnb exonerating themselves completely from any blame. My bank has asked Barclays for the funds back from the criminal’s account (highly unlikely) and informed me not to get my hopes up as MACs transfers are virtually irreversible. I feel totally disgusted by Airbnb’s response to my problem, their lack of urgency in taking the fake listing down, and the hundreds of other stories that I have since read with the same problem. Airbnb should not get away with this.

My Home is a Fake Listing. Does Airbnb Even Care?

Well I’m neither a host or a guest yet I am writing here. I have had eight different people, all Airbnb guests, knock at my home stating they have a booking. Obviously some con artist has listed my address on the Airbnb website and is taking the payments the guests are paying to stay at my address for himself. I have tried to contact Airbnb by phone several times only to listen to annoying music until I decide to hang up… the longest I’ve waited is two hours (thanks to unlimited calls by my service provider). The other way to contact Airbnb is by email but you have to register. I refuse to do this – why should I? Airbnb is obviously not taking fraud seriously because the guests that have arrived at my home for a fake booking have complained to Airbnb. Yet the listing must still be up as people still turn up.

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.

Airbnb Tilghman Island – Where Guests Are Housemaids

Welcome to your Airbnb rental! Your host knows you love doing housework. That’s why he didn’t bother to have the place cleaned before your arrival. I hope you like dirt and grass clippings all over the floors, food dropped on the stairs, globs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, dishes in the kitchen sink, unmade beds, and wet towels in the washer. That was the experience we wound up with when we chose to rent an Airbnb property for a weekend getaway on April 22 -23, 2017. The rental fee was $554 for the two nights, which included $395 for the property, plus (laughably) a $100 cleaning fee and a $59 service charge. The check-in time was at 3:00 pm, but when we arrived, we found the place was left unlocked by the previous tenants and we actually entered and saw it between 1:30 and 2:00 PM.

I immediately called the owner to complain, but naturally, he didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail message describing the condition of the house and stating that we did not want to stay there under those conditions and requested a full refund. The owner didn’t respond, so I followed up with a text message at 3:30 PM. Hearing nothing, we located and rented a hotel room (another $143 apiece) for the night. Finally, just before 6:00 PM, the owner sent a text message with an apology but no solution to the problem. When I told him we were staying elsewhere and asked about the refund, he replied that he couldn’t process a refund without proof, so I sent several photos I’d taken at the house documenting the conditions (see attached). He responded saying the previous tenant denied having left the house as I described it. When I pointed out that I had the photos as proof and a picture of the note they left to the “housekeeper” as evidence that they fully expected that the house to be cleaned upon their departure, he texted back that he would come to see the place the next day to verify my story.

The next day, we waited for the owner to get back to us throughout the day but heard nothing from him. Finally, around 5:00 PM, we decided to cut our trip short and return home a day early. Around 8:00 PM that night, I finally texted him myself to ask if he’d visited the house to verify the conditions I described. Surprise – he had not. A day later, he sent a message stating that he would refund $400, which he characterized as “very fair given the facts. I would have gladly worked with you to make this right on the day of your arrival.” Since he didn’t even respond until 6:00 PM on Saturday night, it’s safe to say there was no way he was going to “make it right” on the day of our arrival, especially since he lives in another state at least a 2.5-hour drive away from the property. Given that this dispute stems from the place not being clean, it’s somewhat amusing (but nevertheless galling) that the refund he offered is essentially the amount of the two-night rental cost less the “cleaning fee” and “service charge”. My advice to potential customers: do not rent from Airbnb. There’s no third party resolution support if anything goes wrong (hence my writing on this website). This is my first and last rental through Airbnb.

Conned by Airbnb over Easter Weekend

I used Airbnb to book a villa for eight people… I thought I did anyway. Prior to that I had contacted several hosts and got exactly the same reply every time. I liked a villa whose host was named Sandy. Villa Vouglemeni looked great. I received a confirmation email and was then told the payment needed to be made via bank transfer as it had been confirmed but not yet booked. We turned up at the place after paying £2355. The villa was real, but the booking was a fraud. Eight people were forced to book hotels at a peak travel time (Easter). The real owner had spoken to Airbnb ten days ago saying the listing was a fraud but Airbnb did nothing to prevent further fraud from occurring. They left the link up, so we booked and got conned. Then we had to pay again for alternative accommodations. They ruined our holiday. We lost all our money and they refused to listen or help; they just kept sending the same form letter. Help me share this story and get my money back and everyone else’s.

Scam Alert in Atlanta: Beware Hosts Telling you to Cancel

I was planning a trip to Atlanta from Australia in October last year for one month. I found a place to stay (the listing has since been removed). The host, Valerio, advised he would be able to accommodate the one month’s stay and I paid the 2800 AUD fee. A few weeks later, Valerio contacted me and advised that I would no longer be able to stay and would have to cancel. I checked the cancellation terms (make sure you do this before any cancellation). It was a strict cancellation policy, which meant the host would get to keep the full $2800. I advised the host of this who said that he had called Airbnb and they had “told him” I’d be fully refunded.

I didn’t trust him and after a while searching online I was able to locate a contact number. Airbnb Customer Service advised me that I would not get refunded if I were to cancel and I needed to tell the host to cancel the reservation to get my money back. I repeated this to the host, who denied everything and said that this was incorrect. I still refused to cancel and contacted customer service again. This time they went into my account and pulled the chat history between us. They also messaged the user that I would lose all my money. He attempted one more time to get me to cancel, saying it would affect his rating and he would wire transfer the money back… I don’t think so…

Eventually he relented and cancelled the reservation from his end. How do I know this is a scam? A week later the apartment was listed as “available” again and my friend went ahead and tried booking it as we still hadn’t found other accommodations yet. The host waited a week and tried to pull the same thing, saying: “Oh, you need to cancel from your end.” He knows at this point (I’m sure he knew before) that if a guest is to cancel she will lose all her money. Again he said “I contacted customer support and they said you would be fully refunded.” Try again buddy.

She convinced him to cancel from his end. The listing disappeared and a few days later it was back up for the exact dates we needed. If you are to cancel yourself you cannot leave a review to tell people what the user is doing as an automatic “This booking was cancelled by the guest” appears under the listing so you have no way of letting anyone know. Be wary when cancelling and check the cancellation policy beforehand.