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.

Be Aware of Strict Cancellation and Pet Policies

I booked the Amity Cottage in Albany Western Australia to attend a workshop, and was planning to invite friends to come along. It was agreed I would update the host later with details. Bringing my dog along was ok and the host appeared to be a dog lover. However, when I updated with details of my friends and their dogs, it turned out there was a limit to the number of dogs (not listed anywhere), and my friends were refused. Over the phone, the host explained more dogs were unacceptable and promised a majority of the money to be refunded after I cancelled. But the refund was declined. After Airbnb intervened, I got $300 back from the $1238 that I paid. The host rented the house out to others for at least two nights during that period.

I Lost £200 One Hour After Booking Airbnb

Four days before our flight we booked accommodation through Airbnb and it was only afterwards we realized it was a house share, which was a deal breaker for us; we like our privacy. We cancelled within one hour of booking. The total order was for approximately £346, and we were refunded only £146 a few days later. When I called Airbnb to find out why, they said they have a strict cancellation policy and that I would need to ask the host to refund in full. I emailed the host and said whilst I appreciate the terms and conditions with all due respect she did not lose business in this hour between our booking and cancellation. She said that she hardly gets any money, and the majority goes to Airbnb. So neither the host nor Airbnb are willing to help. I am sure this was the quickest £200 they made. Surely they should apply some common sense here and refund us but they are sneaky and hiding behind the terms and conditions. I am absolutely disgusted at both the host and Airbnb; they should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, I am sure many other people will have this problem, I would recommend people stay away from this nasty organisation that clearly lacks common sense and customer service.

Host and Guest Agree, Still Shorted on Refund

My story starts off in Athens, Greece on September 28th, 2016. I went into my Airbnb account and booked a stay with Konstantinos for $244. For some reason, the app stated the property was not available for my dates, and I would have to search and find another property. I did find another property for the same dates but for $318; this was a bit more but I needed somewhere to stay. Shortly after I received a message from Konstantinos stating that the property was not yet clean and it would take three more hours to be ready. I immediately contacted the host and bought the glitch in the system to their attention and that my credit card had been charged. My credit card should not have been charged because the dates were not available, so I had to rebook with another property for the same dates. Konstantinos asked me to please go and cancel the request and they would refund my full amount back to me. Konstantinos stated this made their ratings look bad and please go into the app and cancel the transaction and all my money would be refunded back to me. Here is a copy of the Airbnb messages between the two of us:

Konstantinos: Good morning! I am very happy that you will stay in my house! Can we set an appointment there at 14:30, because the house has to be cleaned and ready for you. Is it ok with you? Also consider that you need about two hours to get to the center from the metro. Waiting for your response and I will send you all the information about how to come here and check in! All the best, Kostas.

Me: I am sorry but my credit card didn’t go through and we booked with someone else.

Konstantinos: Okay, but I still see that you booked with me. Are you sure you cancelled? Because if not, your credit card is going to be charged. All the best, Kostas.

Me: Can you please release the charge? We tried to book with you and an error stated I could not book because the dates were not available.

Konstantinos: I cannot cancel the charge because I have penalties on my status from Airbnb. You have to cancel the reservation. Please try to do it and message me. Thank you.

Me: I will call Airbnb.

Me: I will text you back with an update.

Konstantinos: Okay, but please try to do it quickly to avoid charges and also it looks like the place is booked now. It is not good for me. Thank you.

Me: Yes, I know it is showing booked; that is why the system said my dates were not available to book, and my credit card was still charged. I did cancel but my money has not been released. My bank said you can release the authorization hold on my credit card.

Konstantinos: As i told you, you have to cancel. If I cancel, I will have penalties on my Airbnb status. After you cancel I will refund you, don’t worry. But if you don’t cancel ASAP I will lose money because the place looks like it is booked. Please cancel ASAP. Thank you.

Konstantinos: Did you contact Airbnb?

Me: No. I did go in and cancel the booking, so I will go back and recheck.

Me: Okay, see if it is canceled now.

Konstantinos: I just refunded the whole amount, 170 euros. Thank you and maybe next time!

You canceled this reservation

You will receive a full refund of $216 based on Konstantinos’s Strict cancellation policy.

You should expect to receive this amount in your VISA 9205 account by Thu, Oct 06.

However, I was only refunded $217.00 (didn’t include the service fee) and the very next day I was charged another $244.00 on my credit card again. I have tried endlessly to have the wrong corrected but haven’t had any success. Can anyone help or give me some suggestions on this matter?