Arrogant and Opaque Conflict Resolution – Host Extortion

I went to visit my daughter in Seattle, planning to stay for a week. The apartment, given that it was the host’s primary residence, was pleasant. However, after five days the host called my daughter on the phone and informed her (not me) that I was to vacate the apartment immediately. He claimed that if I didn’t his landlord was going to evict him and charge him $600. My daughter was distraught; she took one of my checks and gave it to the host. The host gave me about twenty minutes to pack up and leave. The only review of the host stated he’d abruptly cancelled the reservation of two young women who just happened to be counting on staying in his apartment when I was requesting a reservation. I doubt that was a coincidence.

Of course, Airbnb would have liked to have washed their hands of the whole matter. I persisted as best I could and the host offered a small settlement. Airbnb claimed they’d tried to reach me; they tried exactly once. After that, they screened my calls. In the end, being the clever person I am now and then, I had my bank cancel the check due to fraud. I also immediately cancelled the credit card Airbnb had on file. Once they have your card they can do anything they like. In the end I guess I prevailed. The $600 was returned, the security deposit was returned, and I still received the settlement.

Now they send an email a day over a bill for $19. I go to their help section and tell them I’ll send them a check. I just put one in the mail. The point is that their customer service is dreadful. It’s all skewed towards the hosts. How many young people get caught up in this kind of nonsense? They’ve gotten too big, too fast. I do give Airbnb some credit. The host has lost his privileges after extorting cash from my distraught daughter. No cash should ever change hands directly between host and guest.

 

Math is Funny to Airbnb Customer Service

To even attempt to express my full dissatisfaction with Airbnb right now would be difficult; I barely have the words. I have been attempting to resolve the following issue for two weeks. I’ve spoken to six people, and nobody will connect me to an actual manager. I asked for a manager before even explaining what I was calling about this evening and was hung up on. Airbnb has lost my business forever. This all started with a $500 gift card. I placed a reservation, then cancelled the reservation because of issues with the host. Everything is documented. The host refunded half. Airbnb refunded the other half after a case review back to the gift credit. While this was going on, we placed another reservation with a host we have booked through Airbnb in the past.

The balance at booking we owed before the resolution with the original host was refunded: $181. This was charged to my debit card. Then I was refunded $8 to the debit card. Then Airbnb charged $210 to the gift card. Then Airbnb refunded $210 to the gift card. Then Airbnb charged $113 to the gift card. Then Airbnb charged my debit card $218. Airbnb has $391 of my money now after the $8 refund. The amount left on the gift credit is $387 (a difference of $4) The total for the trip: $504 The original starting gift credit: $500. I owe Airbnb $4. They managed to take their $4 after charging me for everything else instead of using the gift card. I need my money returned to my debit card. I have been attempting to accomplish this for two weeks. The gift card needs to be depleted to $0. I owe Airbnb $4. I needed a phone call from the “trip team” or an actual manager capable of issuing the refund. This has been absolutely ridiculous, unbelievably frustrating, and incredibly disappointing.

Left in the Dark: Abandoned in the UK

I travelled in the UK Sunday for my one-night stay, planning to arrive late evening at 10:00 PM. During the day the host asked if I would switch to an alternate property. I understand now that this is common tactic from disreputable hosts. When I arrived at the property, there were three people having a discussion in the hallway – they were other residents in the same property. I headed upstairs to my room, but found it locked. As a surprise to me, the door opened and there was already someone else in the room. I phoned the host, but his phone was turned off. When I got back downstairs, the couple in the hallway had exactly the same problem. The third person was a regular resident, and he said: “At this time of night, just take any of the empty rooms.”

The couple took one such room. I investigated another but it was clear the sheets had not yet been changed from the previous resident. I tried to phone the host again but there was still no answer. I sent the host a polite text message to say I was giving up, and used my phone to book a room at the nearest hotel. Later that evening I exchanged text messages with the host, who promised a full refund, and apologised. Monday I had a busy day at the office, and then traveled home. On Tuesday, the host refunded me, but not all my money. When I pointed out that I was still owed a small amount the host said that it was Airbnb’s responsibility.

Here is where the problems start. First of all: a navigation hell going around in circles to get a refund. All options pointed me towards the host. Eventually I found a chat link. The customer service representative could see the refund message from the host, but told me they have to check my story with the host. I don’t like my word being challenged like this. Then customer support told me that if I really did not get my room there would be penalties for the host. I wondered why the host would volunteer to take such penalties? Surely it is in their interest to say, “I turned my phone on later, and if he had waited I would have cleaned and prepared another room.”

I argued for 30 minutes in the chat window trying to explain to customer service that I’m only asking for my £5 booking fee to be refunded, and do they not understand how foolish it is to upset customers. She only had one answer which is to quote the policy of checking with the host. I gave up trying to change her mind. Later I received an email from customer service saying I could not get a refund because I would not allow them to contact the host. This is definitely not true; I remember saying it was pointless, and not good service. Many emails have gone back and forth with Airbnb. It seems that each time I complain about the process, they take it as a reason not to perform that process. If you ever fail to get the promised room that you booked, cancel through Airbnb and rebook again if you choose to. Don’t let the host promise an alternative, or a refund. Don’t deal with the host. I don’t normally print the booking receipt, but the agent said that the Airbnb phone number is on the receipt, and with hindsight I should have called that number when I was left in the dark without a room.

Unsanitary Airbnb Stay in Anaheim, California

I am not sure who to reach out regarding my recent Airbnb stay in Anaheim. I am conflicted between leaving a negative review for my host or contacting Airbnb. Christine was responsive and genuinely a nice person when I meet her but the place that she hosted was not sanitary. She met with me and gave a quick tour of the studio. Upon entering, the studio had a pungent smell – hence the multiple candles and air fresheners in the room. The place looked clean but upon settling in, we found the bed was covered in white dog hair. We know it was dog hair because she drove away with her boyfriend and a small white dog. Luckily, my fiancé and I are not allergic to dogs. We found dog hair on top of the comforter and inside the bed under the sheets. We thought a quick fluff would do the trick but the bed was disgusting. As we removed the bed sheets, the mattress was yellow and brown and had nail polish on it. We found a fake purple press-on nail. The towels provided were gross. She said they were clean but they left purple lint on us as we dried off. The other towel was folded nicely on the counter; we turned it over to find crusted white stuff throughout the towel. We had to use our shirts to dry off. We checked in at midnight so we couldn’t find another place on short notice. Instead, we placed pillows on the floor to sleep. The next day, we ended up crashing at a friend’s house. I do not want to leave a negative review for the host, as she was super nice, but the place she listed was not Airbnb quality.

“Grotesque, Lying Hag” Says Airbnb Review

Antler’s Inn was by far the worst lodging experience with Airbnb we’ve ever had. After we’d already gone to bed for the evening, the manager of Antler’s Inn woke us up and told us we had to move to a different cabin. We said that we’d gladly move in the morning, but we were in bed for the night. He said that his staff put us in the wrong cabin so we needed to get our things and move to another cabin now. We scrambled to pack our things (a guy in a Hummer was screaming at us to hurry up). The cleaning crew came in and didn’t change the sheets for the bed we’d just been sleeping in; they just remade the bed.

When we checked in, the cabin was not in very good condition (stains on the furniture and Budweiser cans in the freezer), but I’m horrified that they don’t change the bedding between guests. In the manager’s office, we were pissed. We had checked in seven hours ago and they waited until we were in bed to let us know we needed to leave? The manager told us, “I’d rather you just get out. I can rent the cabin in a heartbeat for hundreds more than what you’re paying.” He was also upset that we had a dog, though we mentioned it when we requested our booking and got a confirmation for two adults and one pet. He kept trying to pressure us to just leave, but it was freezing cold and dark, the winding mountain roads were icy, and we’d each had wine with our dinner. We didn’t feel like it was safe to leave.

He gave us a key to a new cabin (oddly, he let us keep the key to the original cabin, which seemed really unsafe), but didn’t check on it ahead of time. There wasn’t even a pathway cleared and we both slipped and fell on the ice. We left in the morning, still furious with them for treating us like this. He said he wasn’t going to charge us for the stay and we civilly left it at that. Then surprise: we got a charge. Because we settled the dispute with Airbnb (they felt the charge was inappropriate and refunded us in full), we weren’t going to write a review. Antler’s Inn felt differently. They called me “a grotesque, lying hag.”

Albuquerque Host Takes Advantage of Widow

I’m a widow who made a reservation to see family in New Mexico. As the sole caretaker for my brother, who is a disabled Vietnam Vet, I got hung up when he needed an operation at the VA in Georgia. It came up suddenly and I ended up having to contact Douglas, my soon-to-be host. I apologized heartily, told him I didn’t want to cancel, that I’d be back in New Mexico as I am there 3-4 times a year, and asked him what I should do. He told me I should cancel immediately and perhaps get some of my money back. I did as he said and I got nothing back. He refused my request for a refund of my $530, lied by saying he suggested I should have simply changed the date, and gave me a song and dance when I asked him why he asked me to cancel if he would have changed the dates. In reality he just wanted to keep the money I took five months to save to see family. When I asked more about how to work it out and expressed my dissatisfaction, he suggested I simply contact Airbnb. I will never rent from this man again (he has multiple properties) on my many yearly trips to Albuquerque and will do my best to make sure no one else has the same bad experience that I’ve had. What a total disappointment. He is a liar and a thief. I trusted this man. I suppose it was because the other Airbnb hosts I’ve had were so wonderful. I have documentation of my reason to cancel and it’s hard to know someone would take advantage of a widow. I do not recommend Douglas Lopez or his properties to anyone. Avoid him if at all possible.

Terrible Bed, Dildo in Nightstand: Harsh Review

We booked a stay in an Airbnb for four nights in Toronto. The location was great. However, there were a few major issues:

  1. The bed was terrible. There was no box spring or support for the mattress, so it sagged badly.
  2. Not an inch of closet space or a single drawer was available.
  3. The apartment was not very clean.
  4. Living room was totally open and exposed for the neighbors to see; there were no blinds or curtains.
  5. The patio advertised in the listing didn’t have any furniture on it at all.
  6. Light bulbs went out and there were no replacements.
  7. The nightstand had dildos, vibrators and owner’s underwear inside.

I gave an average review on Airbnb. They cut my review and only posted the positive: the location. How would the next renter know about any of the problems? This is the second time I had a problem with an Airbnb rental. I’m not likely to rent through them again.

Dirty, Dusty Apartment in London: No Refunds Given

So I went with my wife to London the week of November 1st because she had an interview on November 2nd. We rented this “clean” place from Airbnb. We got to the apartment at midnight (there were only late flights out of Milan) and as soon as we started to make ourselves comfortable, I realized that the place was dirty. Now I understand we, Brazilians, have different standards of cleanliness. But the place was full of dust, and a lot of spiderwebs and spiders (3-4 in the bedroom alone) were inside the apartment. Under the mattress there was a lot of dust. Dust makes me feel sick and I knew that if I slept there I would wake up feeling terrible the next morning. I can’t imagine how my wife would feel, having a job interview the next day.

So at 2:00 AM, I decided we would leave this place and I booked a hotel room through Booking.com. We walked outside on a 4-degree night to the new hotel, where we could use a shower not full of rust and dirt and have a proper night’s sleep on a nice and clean bed. Funnily enough, the next morning we canceled our reservation through Airbnb and filed for a refund. It took until today (15 days) to received confirmation from AirBNB. And their decision is that they won’t refund us. We stayed at that place for two hours. We left in the middle of a cold night, to walk to an hotel because I knew we would have woken up sick with all the dust. The host didn’t agree with our request for a refund (what a surprise), even though we stayed only two hours. I can expect that from someone who has a dirty place, but I would expect more from Airbnb. I won’t ever rent anything else from them and I urge you to use other methods for finding a place when needed. When the time comes, Airbnb won’t help you at all. In our case, I ended up spending twice what I had in mind: a full reservation on Airbnb that I canceled within ten hours of my arrival, after having stayed there only two hours, and the hotel reservations. I hate Airbnb.

P.S.: My wife can’t even post a bad review on the apartment because we canceled our reservation within ten hours. Funny how I can’t warn other travelers about how this apartment is a bad option (if you like clean and dust-free places), but Airbnb can charge me the full amount.

American Woman’s Airbnb Hacked by Norwegian Man

I am a frequent Airbnb user with a perfect rating. I was going to California for the weekend for a friend’s wedding. My husband, two other couples, and I were going to share a cabin. I tried to access my account yesterday to contact the host and the site told me my email was not valid. So I got on the Airbnb app on my phone, which luckily had still been logged in. From there I could see that someone had taken over my account, changed the email address and phone number to his, changed the picture, and changed the name. No matter what was on the profile there were still reviews saying “Sarah was a great guest.” No hosts seem to notice this and are gladly letting “Masteusz” stay with them. He is sending people messages in Spanish and as we speak is staying in someone’s home in Mexico City.

I called Airbnb about 14 hours ago and told them they needed to not only fix this but also find us another place to stay ASAP. I heard nothing for several hours, called again, and was told I would hear from someone in a couple hours. After hearing nothing, I called again this morning and was told they would “send it again”, that the case still didn’t have a case manager, and that there was no supervisor or anyone else I could talk to. Meanwhile, through the app, I could see that hosts are still none the wiser that this guy is a fake because they are still communicating with him about key drop offs, etc. In addition, my idiot host didn’t seem to notice that the person he was corresponding with named “Sarah” changed her name to Masteusz and is now a man from Norway. Masteusz canceled my reservation. When I messaged the host saying I didn’t want to cancel my reservation and that I was hacked he said “I’m sorry to hear that, Masteusz.” After having no luck on the phone, I posted something on the Airbnb Facebook page thinking the PR people wouldn’t like this situation. They told me to “tweet” them… really?

Do Not Buy Airbnb Gift Cards

I purchased several thousands of dollars worth of gift cards on Amazon. Every time I try to book something with Airbnb I get an Error Code 500; if you look online this is a issue that they have with a lot of accounts. It’s not the same issue with the gift cards not getting applied to the account. I was able to apply them to my account and I now have over $1,900 worth of credit in my account that I can’t use. I actually needed to stay in another city for a medical treatment for cancer; I made Airbnb aware of my situation and nothing worked. All they can tell me is that they are working on it and this has been the only response for over six weeks. I have had to pay for a hotel instead and have been asking for a refund of my gift cards. Last week, they finally agreed to a refund, which has not yet happened, and they have currently stopped responding to my emails. I have contacted Amazon and they can do nothing about it. It looks like I will have to take Airbnb to court and hope that I get my money back. I have attached photos of what happens when I try to book. Please don’t lose your money buying these gift cards.