Airbnb Hosts Shouldn’t Skip Important Details

I found a place on Airbnb, booked it, and started my conversation with the host. I found out that the host had two dogs that have roaming rights over the grounds. This was not mentioned in the listing. It’s probably not a big deal to most folks, but I’m a dog breeder, with an unspayed female bitch. Where I go, my beloved dog goes. As my dog is more than a pet, her welfare is of utmost importance to me. Given the presence of canine influenza and other male dogs, and the fact that nothing was mentioned in the listing, I choose to find another place. However, the strict cancellation fee states I only get half of my funds back. What a crock… I have placed a complaint and asked for help from Airbnb. They had to think about it and will let me know in due course if I’m able to get any more of my funds back. No time frame was provided when they may let me know. I had booked the place at 10:00 AM, found out about the dogs, and contacted Airbnb at 5:00 PM the same day. This is probably my first and last time using this company.

Airbnb Left us in the Lurch in Southern France

We rented an apartment for five months through Airbnb. We arrived at our destination and contacted our host as previously arranged. He did not meet us as planned but left a key in an empty mailbox on site. We were immediately disappointed in the apartment and its furnishings. We had paid top dollar only to find rummage sale furnishings, broken window blinds, stained carpet, a broken bed, a television with no user information, linens in poor condition, and a building filled with the smell of cigarette smoke. We contacted the host within the 24-hour window and requested remediation. He missed two appointments to address problems and didn’t even contact us until we were in our third day of this distress.

At this point we contacted Airbnb. We were contacted in swift succession by a number of Airbnb representatives. One of them indicated that it was clear we could not stay at the location. He recommended that we leave immediately and that Airbnb would pay up to $150 for a hotel. We were told to go online and cancel the contract. They did not tell us that this would mean that we would still be responsible to pay rent for the next 30 days. At this point Airbnb went entirely silent and basically abandoned us. There was no follow-up after being told to hit the street. We believed that the contract was cancelled because the landlord had not lived up to his contractual obligation and that we would be reimbursed. It turned out that “strict cancellation” means that the guest pays under any circumstances, even when Airbnb knows it was a bum deal.

Airbnb gave us no further instructions about arranging for another Airbnb property or about negotiating with the landlord for another property the the landlord had on hand. At that point we simply didn’t trust him. The host actually threatened physical confrontation. No one takes any responsibility at Airbnb. As it happened, a colleague rented another location from this “five-star” landlord to find that dozens of rats inhabited the attic. It took days to get that addressed. Airbnb does not oversee or caution hosts with serious complaints against them. Another money making racket with no concern for what it delivers. We contacted Airbnb again. After mediating with the host, Airbnb said that the host would return a mere $365 of the $1700 monthly rent.

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.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Basic Cleanliness

I booked a room in LA for three months. It was probably not the best move, but I didn’t know anyone in LA and I actually thought it would be safer to use Airbnb. When I finally got there, I thought it was the dirtiest place I had ever seen. I can only assume that the host and his flatmate used used all the old furniture they had to furnish the so-called guest room. There was one shaky secretary, one chair whose height adjustment no longer worked, an old drawer, and one old bed. This bed was quite a sight: its stage was broken, so the host decided to put one mattress on top of the other in order to compensate for that. The mattress on the top looked and felt like a rescue from an underfunded dog shelter: it was quite possibly older than myself (30) and it sank in when I’d lie on it to sleep. Quite soon I had a lot of back pain.

The room itself was filthy beyond belief. It seemed to have never been cleaned for over a year. I vacuumed the carpet the first morning I spent there, and I cleaned the secretary, the windows, and the drawer. Everything was dusty and stained. The sheets also did not seem to be recently cleaned. The rest of the house wasn’t much better: the furniture was far newer and more appropriate, but it was equally dirty. It boggles my mind: do these people actually think it’s normal to live like this? There was an unpleasant smell in the house. The kitchen had mold. The floor was sticky due to the accumulated filth.

I left the house after one week (as soon as I found another room). I asked for a refund, which, as expected, the little scammer that calls himself a host refused to pay. So I got Airbnb involved. What did they do? Nothing. Zero. After two weeks they still hadn’t responded to my claim. I had to call them, after spending an hour searching for their number on the internet (it’s nowhere on their website, which is indicative of their whole attitude). When they finally said something, it amounted to nothing.

“The host is unwilling to negotiate a refund.” Oh, really? Who would have guessed?

So how much did I lose? $2000, thanks to the host’s strict cancellation policy (which has already been struck down by a court in South Korea). The host then went on to double book the room. In addition, some of the reviews on his posting were fake. How do I know this? I had seen one of his flatmate’s friends when I was there, the first morning. He left a review on the posting two weeks after I left, raving about how awesome the host was.

Strict Cancellation Policy Means Hosts Can Keep Your Money

I travel quite a bit for my job. Someone told me about Airbnb. I checked it out, then used it for the first time in Pennsylvania. The host and the house worked out great. I thought Airbnb would be perfect to use because of the travel required for my job. I was wrong about that. I was scheduled to be in Casa Grande, Arizona on a Thursday. I contacted my host Tuesday night before my Thursday arrival to book after asking him multiple questions. I thought this place was perfect for my ten-day to a month stay. The next morning I received a phone call from my boss stating we had an emergency; we were going to the east coast instead of Arizona. I immediately contacted my host. Oddly enough, my host wouldn’t respond to Airbnb messages, phone calls, or text messages. So, I went on the Airbnb app to cancel. That’s when I discovered the host has a strict cancellation policy; I wouldn’t receive my full refund of $685 – I would only receive a refund of $178.

I called Airbnb. The gentleman to whom I spoke on the phone was hard to understand with his thick accent. He did explain to me he could do nothing to help. The host I rented from has a strict cancellation policy (which basically means the host can do whatever he wants with your money) and there’s nothing Airbnb can do. I didn’t accept what he was telling me. I couldn’t believe a company this big would allow someone to keep my money, when I called to cancel less than 24 hours after I made the reservation. Even airlines let you cancel within 24 hours of a reservation. The guy on the phone said he would escalate my complaint to a case manager. Another 24 hours passed and no one contacted me: not the host, not my case manager, no one.

I took matters into my own hands: I sent out 10-12 tweets while tagging the CEO of Airbnb in every tweet. Eventually someone contacted me from Airbnb. About 36 hours after my original complaint, the case manager told me he could help. All I had to do was send in a document on letterhead explaining what my extenuating circumstance were; my time frame was 48 hours. I had my boss fill out a letter. I also showed how my company is contracted by the government, and presented W-2’s to prove where I worked. I emailed Airbnb five times, and in every email I asked for someone to verify they had received it. Of course, no one called – I had to call and ask the day of the deadline.

The case manager sent me an email stating my claim had been denied. Apparently, the government I subcontract for isn’t the same government they were talking about in their rules for extenuating circumstance. I sent an email back and received no response. Then I started tweeting again. I have posted as many stories on Twitter as I can to warn others not to use Airbnb. Their customer service is obsolete. The company does not look out for their guests. This company is a great concept but if something goes wrong don’t expect Airbnb customer service to help you. I’ve read stories way worse than mine. I want to share my story because everyone needs to know how horrible this company is; if problems go south on your trip this company will not help you. If you cancel, guests can’t even warn others about any terrible mishaps.

Careful Not to Book with Strict Cancellation Policies

I had reserved an apartment and then the airlines canceled our flight. When I requested a refund, I only received 50% of the paid amount. I gave the host four months’ advance notice. She claimed she had already blocked the dates and would not refund us in full. She could easily unblock the calendar and rebook the place. If I had canceled a reservation four months in advance at any normal hotel or business I would be refunded with no questions asked. This is what makes Airbnb a grind: greedy hosts and company. Be very careful about booking outside of the country these days. There are way too many scams happening abroad. And you really do not want to be stuck in a foreign country in a hellish situation. Stick with reputable hotels and inns. Go to Tripadvisor and get the latest reviews on an accommodation before booking. The reviews on Airbnb are often unreliable. I’m tired of dishonest hosts and listings. It’s not worth the time or money (not to mention frustration) anymore. Guests are not respected. The Airbnb model is currently dysfunctional. Trust and honesty issues are rampant when there is money involved. Don’t shell out your money in advance on often broken promises.

Airbnb Cancellations and then Double Bookings

I have been an Airbnb user for the past three years and was always happy with it. So much so that I encouraged my workplace to use Airbnb instead of hotels. When I first tried to book an apartment for a business trip, I got three cancellations for dubious reasons or no reason at all. Given that the trip was approaching I started to be very stressed out but finally found a place, which I again intended to book, only to be asked for a verification of my passport. I did allow Airbnb to verify my passport but then I did not get confirmation that the booking had gone through. Having had the three earlier cancellations I got even more stressed and found a fifth place, which I booked and this time it went through. Unfortunately for me though, the first booking had also gone through and the system did not make me aware that there was a double booking. The emails to that regard came through 20 minutes later (all four of them at the same time). I panicked and tried to cancel the second booking straight away (in the same hour) only to find out that the host had a strict cancelation policy and of the roughly $420 I was charged I would get $30 refunded, even though I cancelled within the hour. I contacted Airbnb using the phone number provided on this webpage and got through to an agent, who nicely thanked me for using their services for three years and told me that he would put my case through for the full refund. Thus far I still have both reservations going, as I do not dare cancel one; I was told Airbnb would do so. I strongly advise any Airbnb user to be super careful with bookings and wait at least an hour to see if a booking has gone through or not. The Airbnb refund policy is simply ridiculous.

Airbnb Customer Service All But Impossible

We were supposed to spend a month in an apartment with good reviews. We arrived there pretty late. The place had not been cleaned at all. There were mounds of dust on one of the doors, a refrigerator filled with half-eaten food, a bed sheet that was very old with hairs of debatable origin on it, toothpaste on the countertop, brown stains and hair on the back of the bathroom door, soda cans and bottle caps under the bed, and hair and dust at accumulated levels in the bedroom. Large food particulates were in the toaster oven, most drawers had things in them, and nothing seemed cleaned. It was late and we called Airbnb for help. They told us we could not get a refund because the unit owner had a strict refund policy and we were already in the apartment. Of course we were in the apartment; that’s when we learned that it was disgusting. Are they really that stupid at Airbnb? Whatever genius was working that day should be fired. Supposedly I am getting some money back, but so far nothing has been refunded. We are talking about thousands of dollars, and I have heard nothing about getting my security deposit back even though we never stayed in the apartment. I tried calling Airbnb; it’s all so automated that you can’t speak to anyone. Big time nightmare. Bottom line: the concept seems good when it works. But if your host is a pig, Airbnb could care less. Never will I use that company again.

Airbnb Cancellation Policy Cost Me $1200

Beware of this Airbnb host. I am sharing my experience so that no one else books a strict policy booking with this host and loses their money. I accepted a lower priced invitation (1200 USD) to sleep in this hosts living room for the month of January. She encouraged me to book and pay immediately since there were other interested parties. I did. Unfortunately, two days later, a family emergency arose and I realized I would have to cancel the stay. I immediately contacted the host so that she could rebook with the other interested parties and reimburse me. This is when I discovered that she had imposed a strict cancellation policy on the booking. I did not even know such a policy existed since, in my experience, normal and fair business practices are flexible bookings. The strict policy means that no matter what, you do not get any money back. Family illness, death, force majeure… it doesn’t matter. The host declined to pay back the 1200 or any part thereof, even though she had ample time to find someone else; I was not due to arrive for a few days. As a landlord, if a tenant’s plans change, I try to reimburse what I can. I would not keep a full month’s rent when there’s the possibility of finding a new tenant. I find that such an extreme position shows a lack of class and character. I have always had positive Airbnb experiences but the fact that they even allow such a policy makes no sense to me. There are hosts offering real private rooms (not living rooms) at similar rates and they offer flexible bookings. Most people are reasonable. Things happen in life. Unless you are prepared to throw away money on services not received I would not risk a strict booking with this host or any other hosts on Airbnb. Flexible bookings are another matter, but make sure you check.

Airbnb’s Policy with Children Leaves Much to be Desired

Upon arriving to a home which was promised to be cleaned and ready for use, we found many items that could have potentially hospitalized or kids or worse. Prescription drugs (EpiPen in paper box) were left on an open shelf on a nightstand and picked up by my three year old. Used razors in the shower were also easily accessible by a toddler, along with melted bars of soap to add to the grotesqueness. Open containers of alcohol were in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. Used tissues were stuffed into a seemingly new box, discovered by my 13 year old who needed a tissue and discovered a box full of dirty used tissue trash. Expired food (some from October) was in the fridge we were supposed to be able to use. The oven was greasy with stains that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years. Snow and fog prevented us from leaving the same night since we arrived late and discovered these issues late. Upon requesting resolution from Airbnb, they said the host had a strict cancellation policy and everyone has different opinions of what is considered safe/dangerous and clean. So they were suggesting we pay for something that we didn’t use and could have killed my kids. Airbnb needs to know their contracts should include verbiage that covers basic child safety requirements when hosts offer homes to families with children. Their staff should be instructed how to read and understand their own cancelation policy, which states if a home is unclean and unsafe that is concerned a legitimate reason for initiating a refund. How that is pushed as a matter of opinion or open for interpretation I don’t understand.