We made reservations for three days in Simon’s Town (near Cape Town), with plans to go shark diving. We also have two little kids, so it was fairly important that a particular location was large enough; we also wanted a pool for the kids. The reservation was made three months before the scheduled trip dates. Ten days before we were to depart for South Africa (from the United States), I received a message from the host that she didn’t realize the dates we selected were during the Easter weekend and that she had to cancel the reservation because they would be using the house. While we were able to find different accommodation, this was highly unprofessional. Airbnb also doesn’t allow you to leave feedback for a host that cancels a reservation; there is only an automated message that’s posted to their account. This is very frustrating because it doesn’t let you express your views of the host and thus there is little incentive for a host to think carefully before cancelling a reservation. I’ll think twice before using Airbnb again.
My partner and I had confirmed a reservation for a modest accommodation in Brentford. It was small; however, it suited our needs due to the location and all amenities. I had been in touch with the host, Gurneet, and we had spoken throughout my booking and afterwards. Gurneet asked yesterday if we’d be able to change our dates to April 31st to May 2nd rather than March 28th- 31st. I told her we wouldn’t be able to as we have no other accommodation in place for the other dates. She assured me that was fine and that the accommodation was still available. When I asked what the issue was she said it was merely a maintenance issue with fire alarms that she’d discuss with her landlord. Fast forward two hours: at 11:00 PM I received an email from Airbnb notifying me that our reservation had been cancelled. Though Gurneet and I were in regular contact on Whatsapp she cancelled the reservation then sent a message through Airbnb.
As soon as I received this, I called Gurneet. She did not answer. Instead I received a message asking me not to call, as others were asleep. I asked her why she had not given any notice of this being an issue prior to cancelling, to which she could not answer. In fact, Gurneet blocked me on Whatsapp. I then tried to call Airbnb, as they claim to be open 24/7. After spending an hour waiting on the line with no answer I went to bed. This morning I called Airbnb again, hoping they could help me. I spoke to a lady called Kira who actually shouted down the line. I’ve never spoken to someone so rude and unprofessional. After discussing the issue at hand, Kira informed me that Airbnb could only issue me with a refund plus 10% of what we spent. However, had the host cancelled 24 hours or less before the date we planned to stay, Airbnb would have helped us rebook. I explained that this whole situation has been so stressful and we had failed to find another accommodation in the same or similar location with the same amenities. She told me to continue looking and rushed to get off the phone.
When I said I didn’t find it fair of Airbnb to only offer 10% when all other accommodations nearby were higher than our price range this is when she shouted at me and asked why I didn’t think it was fair. When I responded to ask why she raised her voice. I said I found it incredibly unprofessional for a member of Airbnb’s staff to shout at a client. She claimed she hadn’t raised her voice – still shouting – and said if I didn’t let her speak she’d hang up. I said I couldn’t believe how poor the service she provided had been and put the phone down. I also explained to Kira prior to this that the experience was much more stressful as my partner is coming from Australia, the airline had already cancelled his original flight which had been due to arrive on March 27th and issued him with one arriving March 28th, so I had to change bookings accordingly. Now eight days may seem like a lot to some people, however we specifically booked in advance as we knew we wouldn’t be able to manage everything if not. Now we are receiving no help whatsoever and I just have to hope I can find another accommodation in time. In regards to Kira, I hope no one else has the unpleasant experience of talking to someone like her who clearly doesn’t suit her job. When she should be encouraging and helpful, she offered no help whatsoever, instead taking it upon herself to shout in a situation that was already stressful to myself as the guest.