Airbnb Reduced me to Tears Trying to Get Verified

I have used Airbnb a few times now and have been happy with my hosts; it’s Airbnb that is the problem. When booking a place in Krakow, I came up against this ID verification system. I tried to do as it told me but it just would not accept scans of my passport. I was worried the hosts in Krakow would think I was not paying quickly enough and I tried to explain the problem. They didn’t really understand but were understanding. I needed this sorted so I spent ages on the phone trying to get help.

After some hours I got help and the guy talked me through a way of verifying me. I was then told it had accepted my ID and I could now go ahead with my booking. Everything was resolved at last. I have booked other places since then and had no problems. Yesterday when I tried to book a room I was confronted with the ID request again. I have spent about eight hours trying to talk to Airbnb. I spoke to a girl on a very dodgy line and could barely understand her. She was confused about my problem and didn’t know what to suggest. She was asking me to do various maneuvers, none of which worked. I finally had to hang up as I was busy. She emailed me and said she was going to sort it out and get back to me.

The next day I hadn’t heard anything, so resorted to phoning again. I got through to three people somewhere in the world and the phone lines were so bad it sounded like they were underwater. On the fourth call, I got someone in Ireland. I explained the situation yet again and he was totally mystified as to what to suggest. He said he would get the girl to call me since she had dealt with me yesterday. I started getting phone calls which when answered had no one on the line. The phone kept ringing and there was always silence on the line. I knew it was Airbnb.

She finally got on the line but sounded like she was underwater. I was not very polite. She managed to say I was not verified after all and needed to do it again. When the host in Krakow was told I was verified this was not true. I hung up and said the telephone line was not satisfactory. I sent her a good few emails about how appalling Airbnb was and even when I was told to click on the Help Centre links it just took me to the history of places I have booked before. I could go on but I do have a life other than Airbnb. I have spent hours on the phone at my own expense speaking to people underwater. Enough. I have now booked a hotel. It’s sad because I was enjoying my trips with them. In theory the idea is really wonderful but sadly Airbnb is useless.

Total Frustration Uploading Photo IDs on Airbnb

Talk about total frustration. I tried the night before at least 15 times to upload a passport photo using Airbnb’s interface and taking a snapshot of the photo using my computer. The photo image uploaded came out nearly perfect. However I got a message stating the picture was not clear. I tried taking a picture of my passport photo using a cell phone and then uploading that picture to my desktop and from there uploading it to their system. It uploaded correctly each time however I kept getting a message stating that it was not clear. We tried repeatedly and then we got a completed transaction notice from PayPal.

We thought all was good until I woke up the next day and there was a message stating the photo was not clear. Really… what does a photo have to do with making a transaction or trying to get some rental property? The airlines don’t do that much checking; they would be broke if they did. I made a call to Airbnb, talked to a representative and then a supervisor. The last guy said my picture was verified and good. He gave me some coupons and I asked him if he expected me to do this all over again. I tried again and again and this time PayPay charged me twice. This time I got a receipt from the Airbnb system showing the charges. I was thinking I was good to go, but one hour later, I received another email saying the picture was not clear. Why in the world are they so hooked on pictures? If you want lots of pain then you should use Airbnb.

Airbnb Will Leave You Stranded With Incompetent Customer Service

I started my Airbnb account with problems. Their “jimeo” scanner for verification has so many bugs it’s useless. I provided my credit card number and information. In the middle of my stay I decided to extend and was asked to send them a copy of my bill. I had already made the reservation and paid for it ten days prior to this request.

Who brings a paper copy of their credit card statement to the beach on vacation? Who would trust these incompetent idiots with such personal information, only to have them send a “mystery” temporary authorization hold to my account which took 2-3 days to post. I don’t do online banking for security purposes.

I tried to contact Airbnb – no response – and had to look up their phone number on a different company’s website (filled prompts on the Airbnb app make you run in circles with no help). I spent 15- 30 minutes on both the San Francisco number and general customer service line multiple times. No one picked up. There is no customer service in my opinion, only PR lies to deceive people.

Then they claimed I cancelled my stay the day before with no refund. I stayed there; the host was great. It was if they didn’t even read the email and just lied. I had to spend $50 for an uber home instead of another night’s stay. Luckily I was close to home. I would never use Airbnb again. This was just local for a weekend in California. I feel sorry for the poor souls who would trust this garbage lying incompetent company with a trip in Europe with expensive airfare. I hope another company comes along and puts them out of business. In a word, these people are asinine.

Airbnb Does Not Care if Criminals Want to Rent your House

Airbnb is a giant scam. Beware. Their customer service sucks (both as a host and as a guest). But that is only the tip of their iceberg. Hosts (especially) should use VRBO or other vacation rental resources, and travelers and guests are advised to do likewise. Airbnb claims to verify their renting guests, and puts many hurdles in the way of hosts trying to require potential guests to fully identify themselves. Only owners or hosts who own fleabag properties would allow any Joe Schmoe to take possession of their property without providing full ID – SSN, Drivers License, DOB, full name, mailing address, etc. – and permission to run a credit check. Maybe that is why so many Airbnb properties are fleabags.

We have properties worth over $1 Million with valuable furnishings and artwork and there’s no way are we going to give the keys to someone Airbnb will not let us verify. I am a realtor and attorney, and I can tell you horror stories when owners do not fully vet guests themselves.

We recently tried to check on one “verified” guest, only to find that their cell phone was really someone else’s (same first name, but different last name and no idea who the “guest” was). No other information Airbnb gave us access to checked out either. We tried several ways of contacting the booking guest but only got one reply – through Airbnb’s anonymous contact email, which was clearly written by a non-native English speaker (even though their name was listed as “John Smith”; I am using a pseudonym here, do not want to implicate anyone directly).

I am guessing they were Eastern Bloc scammers who had cased our Airbnb listing through the pictures, booked for a weekend, and planned to simply rob the entire place during their stay. When I called Airbnb to report my reasons for thinking this was a scam and cancelling the reservation, they penalized me and said I was being unreasonable in the information I was requesting from the guest even though my listing clearly stated what I require prior to a stay.

VRBO has no problem with me getting full verification and ID from guests. Airbnb claims they have a $1 million dollar insurance policy on each rental. When the bandits steal all my valuables, I then get to argue with a third party insurer who has no relationship or loyalty to me (only to Airbnb, their real client), prove my losses to their satisfaction, and hope that I am ultimately made whole (of course, after paying out of pocket for six to twelve months to refurnish the property, not to mention trying to replace irreplaceable artworks, which I enjoy sharing with my otherwise respectable, and fully vetted, guests).

Any legitimate business model would give paramount importance to securing the person and property of the owners and hosts. Any hotel around the world will make you show authorized IDs (passport, credit card, etc.) for every guest before renting you a room. Only Airbnb thinks it can bully owners (increasingly sleazy slumlords and fly-by-night “re-renters” who have no real connection to the properties or neighborhoods they have on offer) into rolling the dice on any jackass who can present a credit card with a limit equal to a few nights’ rent. They then might steal or cause damages worth 5, 10 or 100 times that amount.

Repetitive, Obnoxious, Superfluous and Totally Unnecessary Verifications

In the last week of April 2017, I was prevented from making a reservation through Airbnb because it claimed that the credit card I added was new and it was necessary to verify that I was indeed the card holder. There is nothing new about my credit card. I have using the same card for more more than three years and Airbnb is among those which have debited my card, many times, twice in April 2017 alone. I had to send Airbnb a bank statement to prove this. As pointed out by another furious ex-user of Airbnb, not everyone possesses the necessary tools to scan a bank statement and send it to Airbnb. Moreover, few people in the world carry bank statements on them. Such documents are at home. If you are lucky, it may be possible to download them from the Internet, scan them, and send them to Airbnb. If you are at home, this is usually no problem, just a waste of time and energy. If you are abroad, especially in a country without easy access to a computer and scanning equipment, then forget it.

After going through this process, I was finally able to make my reservation. In the second week of the following May, I was again prevented from making a reservation for exactly the same reason. Airbnb had to verify if I was indeed the holder of my “new” credit card. However, unlike my first bad experience, this second one was far worse. I was told no fewer than four times that the problem had been solved and that I could proceed with the reservation. Four more times I tried to make the reservation, four more times I was asked for proof of ownership of my credit card, and four more times I had to get hold of a bank statement and send it to Airbnb as proof. I am still unable to make the reservation.

Airbnb has acknowledged that there is a problem with its site and I must wait a few days before I can make my reservation. I have already wasted three days trying to make this reservation. Time is money and loss of time is loss of money. Airbnb used to be user friendly. Its success has turned it into a site that leads you to waste a huge amount of time. Try finding a telephone number on its site; I tried and failed. I had to do a Google search to get hold of a telephone number to Airbnb’s customer’s service. The time wasted to respond to its unnecessary and obnoxious verification certainly does not justify the fact that it is cheaper than hotel accommodations.

Will I use Airbnb again? If and only if it is my very last option. There are far better sites with far better services and means of communication. Promises that customer service will get back to you before the end of the day or that the problem has been solved or will be solved within 24 hours, are simply not respected and no attempt is made to explain why or to say when the problem can be solved. I still cannot make my reservation.

Airbnb can Block your Account Whenever it Chooses

On April 24th, 2017, I was sharing a message with a host to book a reservation for Japan. The host had my reservation from April 25-29. However, Airbnb did not allow me to make my reservation for some reason, then blocked my ID so that I could not log in. I was embarrassed to call customer service directly, and I did not receive the answer to a question that I posted on Twitter and through several emails over two days (see picture). There is no obligation to respond to the deletion of my Airbnb account or even the prevention of deletion under the terms and conditions. The company still has my passport image, my name, phone number, and my credit card number. I am extremely unhappy and afraid of revealing personal information. I am still not going to use the company and I will not be able to hear their answer. It is irresponsible to say that there is no obligation to notify someone without informing him of the reason for deleting his account. It looks like Airbnb has no legal responsibility.

Chilean ID isn’t Enough to use Airbnb in Chile?

I have used Airbnb many times before, but now I am surprised to see that they have asked for ID verification. After supplying images of both my government ID and Chilean driver’s license, the site said that these types of documents are not valid in their system… after they specifically asked for them. I am residing in Chile and looking for an Airbnb rental in Chile. Why wouldn’t they accept a Chilean ID? This brings me into a neverending loop where I cannot book anything, making Airbnb in Chile unfeasible. I might as well permanently stop using Airbnb, since I can’t reserve anything. Add to that, there’s no real way of contacting anybody to get this fixed. What a slap to the face for customers.

In Airbnb Hell with my Cat for the Past Five Days

My Airbnb hell started when I tried to book a room for two weeks in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area on April 19. I requested a booking for a room that showed availability for my dates:

Hello,

My kitty, Cookie, and I will be flying into Fort Lauderdale tomorrow at 3:30 PM, so we hope to get to your house about 4:30. I look forward to meeting you then! Kim.

P.S. Cookie is well housebroken and declawed.

I sent this last Wednesday at 5:14 PM only to receive the following response:

Hello Kim,

Sorry for the inconvenience but those days are not available. Thank you.

I then tried to book a different place in Miami that showed “pets allowed” only to receive the following email from the hostess, Andrea, the next day as I was landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport:

Hi Andrea,

Do you have room for me and my cat, Cookie, for one week, April 20-27? We are flying into Fort Lauderdale from Denver tomorrow, arriving 3:25 PM. Cookie is extremely polite; she goes only in her box or outdoors, and she does not scratch. We hope to meet you tomorrow. I am a 64-year-old nonsmoker and nondrinker with a live and let live attitude moving to Portugal. Please advise.

Thanks,

Kim

Last Wednesday at 7:53 PM:

Hello Kim,

Thank you for your inquiry. The room is not available on April 20th, only starting April 21-27. What kind of arrangements do you have for your cat? Where will she/he sleep, eat, poop etc? I already have cats living here.

Last Thursday at 12:33 AM my request expired because Andrea didn’t respond within 24 hours. Airbnb recommended finding a new listing. Now the cheapest hotel was a Red Carpet Inn for $48 through Priceline so I stayed there even though my budget was for $21 per night . It got worse. The following morning I went to book a new listing only to be locked out of the Airbnb website; when I tried to book a new listing, it asked me to verify my bank account by entering two small deposit amounts. So I entered $0.50 and $0.75, thinking I was supposed to tell them two amounts to deposit and then verify they were deposited in my bank account. The message said “FAILED – TRY AGAIN,” so I entered two different amounts, and again “FAILED TO VERIFY BANK ACCOUNT.”

Now I was locked out of Airbnb because it then said to upload my bank statement. When I tried to do so, it would not accept the upload. I went on the site to find a phone number for help; there was none. Nor does the “Help Center” offer any solution or help for my problem. It doesn’t even describe it. I Googled “phone number for Airbnb” and a site called gethuman.com gave me a number which I called. After a long wait on hold, I finally got a person, but was disconnected while explaining the problem. I called back, again was put on hold, got a person, and then was disconnected again. Third try: same results.

I tried to email the Airbnb Help Desk:

Dear Airbnb,

I have been trying to book a room for the past 24 hours. When you requested deposit amounts on my bank account, I thought you meant I should give you two small amounts to deposit in my US bank account. I did, twice, and it said it failed. Then I went to get a bank statement to send you and saw you had already deposited two amounts into my bank account; I was supposed to see and enter them. I didn’t understand that from your website and now my bank statement won’t upload to Airbnb. I cannot book a room. Please let me book something. I have no place to stay tonight. I can’t call you… it’s maddening. Please use better English to communicate on your website. It is very unclear what you want users to do. See the attached photo of my US bank account showing the deposits.

Here is the response:

Unfortunately, your email has not reached Airbnb. To find an answer to your question, please visit our Help Center.

Thanks, Airbnb Customer Service 

I must now stay at the Red Carpet Inn for $79 because it is not possible to book anything through Airbnb. The next day, yesterday, April 22nd, my Airbnb account was working again, so I booked the first room I could find within my budget in Fort Lauderdale, asking the host if he would accept my kitty. He said it was okay so I went to his house and was relieved to find he would also rent the room to me through my entire stay, until May 7th. Meanwhile another lady booked the room through Airbnb’s ” Instant Book” for April 24th for one week, after he had committed to renting the room to me for two weeks.

Now Airbnb says I must leave, though I have no place to go and there are no rooms for rent for my dates. I told Airbnb: I am a 64-year-old woman you are trying to put out on the street with her cat with no place to go; I had already rented the room from the host, and I am not leaving. According to their rules, when the host agrees to honor the commitment he had made to me, Airbnb tells him they will charge him a penalty of $100 and issue a bad review and not allow him to book on Airbnb as a SuperHost if he cancels the Instant Booking with the lady who is due to arrive tomorrow.

It’s unconscionable. Airbnb is a nightmare, treating its customers – both guests and hosts – horribly and the public should be made aware.

Credit Card Verification – Security Check Process is a Failure

I’ve just read the post on April 18th on Airbnb Hell from the first time guest who had a nightmare with the verification process and needed to book a room. Specifically, he was asked to enter specific amounts from his credit card into boxes on his screen. When he was unable to do that (because it’s impossible to know what amounts to enter), he was asked to submit a credit card statement. Still, Airbnb requested more information until he gave up. I am going through the same experience. The difference is: I’m no first time user. I’ve been a host for two years with a dedicated townhouse that I use for short-term rentals on Airbnb all year round. I’ve been a guest for much longer. I have a single credit card that I’ve used for years, which I’ve used many times before to make Airbnb reservation. I used it to buy airline tickets within an hour before I tried to book accommodations through Airbnb on April 18th.

After submitting my credit card statement, which I did quite reluctantly, I received a message that Airbnb would get back to me within 24 hours about my reservation. They didn’t. I checked my credit card balance. I have a credit. In other words, there was no debt on the card, which has a large maximum. I’ve never defaulted it. I didn’t get a response yesterday so I called again. I asked the customer service representative to escalate it. She was nice and pleasant and said she would. I also replied to the email I received from the customer service representative I talked to the day before to let her know how badly Airbnb was managing the situation and that I wanted a resolution.

I just got off the phone with my third customer service representative in three days. She was able to get a supervisor on the line. He said he will try to resolve it for me and promised to call me back within two hours. He said that Airbnb has new security procedures in place that are being handled by a separate unit. He admitted that they aren’t working so well and other guests have been having the same problem. This security unit is somewhat isolated in that they will not deal directly with guests. I get the feeling that the customer service unit has little or no access to them as they held me hostage while determining if I am a risky guest. Meanwhile, I’m waiting. It’s certainly possible that the accommodations I tried to book (for 4/28-4/30) are no longer available and that other places may not be either as time is quickly passing and my trip approaches. Not only is this a problem for guests, but for hosts as well, as they are forced to wait and wait to see if a guest’s credit card is approved long after a booking request. The entire process is seriously deficient and needs to be modified by Airbnb. Needless to say, I’m quite disgusted and my confidence in Airbnb has plummeted.

Hacked After Concerns About Identity Theft

I used Airbnb once and was pretty satisfied with it. Shortly thereafter, Airbnb required that users upload two forms of government-issued ID. With seemingly every large online business being hacked every other month, I simply won’t do that. My credit card has fraud protection, but should Airbnb be hacked and my bloody passport stolen, I think I’m fairly screwed.

I decided to cancel the account. When you try to go to account settings, you’re blocked until you upload your ID. Airbnb, of course, lists no way to actually contact anyone at the company, so I put it off. Like a fool, I forgot about it. Now someone in Poland has accessed my account. I was able to reset my password, but when I finally dug around on the web to find a phone number for Airbnb, courtesy of Airbnb Hell, they said they can’t help me access my account until I give them the credit card number I used to pay for my one trip. I can’t access my account to see which one it was, and I don’t have it on me – because both of my credit card numbers had to be changed after retailers at which they were used were hacked. I left some negative feedback on the site briefly spelling this out. I did actually get an email from Airbnb letting me know that I could cancel my account by going to my account settings. Helpful…