This was the last email I sent to Airbnb after significant frustration. It explains my story:
Dear Mr. Gebbia, dear Mr. Chesky, dear Mr. Blecharczyk, dear J. K., and dear Airbnb team,
I give up. I won’t write any more emails nor try to reach again any of your employees by phone. I stop thinking positive and being confident you people will clean the mess and offer me a solution. I give up on your intention of doing business properly and decently. I give up on the dream of a cool company offering cool places all around the world. I give up in trusting that you people know what you are doing. I give up on you.
What you do is purely unfair and fraudulent business: take the money and run, don’t look behind.
For the last two days my family and I have been living in a nightmare. We should have started today our holiday all together on a long drive from Spain to Austria. We had planned it months ago and had been finalizing the bookings until last Thursday. I had 3 previous experiences with Airbnb and I trusted the company. Everything would surely work well. Today we would stay in a super cosy place in Provence, tomorrow and for 3 nights we would discover Lago di Garda, we would end our trip on Saturday and Sunday visiting Venice and surroundings. Just perfect, don’t you think?
With all this great perspectives in mind I decided to book a holiday in London in October again via Airbnb. I tried to book it a few hours after completing my last booking in Italy. Suddenly it did not work as usual, I had to submit an official ID. Wow. Surprise. Not even hotels or traditional ways of booking ever required this from me. I contacted my Host in London and told her I did not agree with it and she was OK with my decision, she did not need my ID. We both contacted Airbnb asking for assistance. I only got contacted 2 days later. By that time I was already feeling not so good about the way Airbnb was handling troubles.
Your answer to my concerns was as you can see in your records: an explanation on what a trustful company Airbnb is, how much it takes care of its customers and what a wonderful world all this is. Still I did not agree to submit any ID or passport or driving licence because I don’t see the real reason for it. Airbnb has my phone number, my VISA number, my picture and my 3 successful bookings behind me, what on earth could identify me better for a potential host?
I communicated my decision not to book again with Airbnb and to stop being a customer in the future. I also requested a confirmation that my bookings for this week would not be affected since they were accepted before the new requirements came to place. You have an employee, J.K., who took the unilateral decision of deleting my account right away, without contacting me prior to this nor asking for my consent. Nevertheless he assured me “I have deleted your account, although the account is eliminated it will not affect your reservations”. In the same moment the cancellations for my 3 bookings entered my email folder. I just could not believe my eyes. J.K. had deleted my account, cancelled my bookings, made me lose a lot of money due to cancellation policies and lied in his email, or he just did not know what he was doing when he pressed the “delete” button??
So I started desperately trying to reach someone. J.K. never answered again and of course did not call to give an explanation. Between yesterday and today I spent a big amount of time and money waiting on your telephone line. I did manage to talk to 4 or 5 colleagues, in English and in German. They were all lovely, nice, young, enthusiastic, feeling so sorry about my situation, admitting the “mistake” that had been made by Airbnb, promising that my case was going to be handled with priority and I would get a call back. You know you never call back and I was not the exception: I never got a call back, although your employees tried hard to make me believe their promises (you apparently tape the conversations, so make sure to hear them). They are well trained in showing empathy for the miseries of the customers. By the way, were you aware that your managers are never in the office, never reachable, always in meetings or can not make decisions? gosh what a chaotic company I heard on the phone!
I even tried contacting you via Facebook, I thought you would maybe mind about bad news being spread in social media? Your answer was laconic. My last message was simply deleted. Censored. Great.
Here we are: my husband, my kids, my dog and myself. We could not begin our trip. Our holiday was ruined. We lost money. We have a big stress. We find no place to stay on the way. We had to extend our stay in Spain, look for new hotel. The extra costs are increasing each day. The damage is done.
I seriously expected professionals on your side. At least some decency. You don’t seem to care about the situation you put customers in and shockingly enough you don’t seem to have any intention to refund us the money you illicitly retained as cancellation policy.
I found out that there are thousands of other disappointed customers out there and I really wonder how can it be possible that this happens to so many people. What kind of company are you at all? A big shame, that is what you are. Was this the initial idea when you started this company? Cheat customers all around the world? Do you seriously think the internet is the no-law territory where you can get away with whatever you want to do?
I said at the beginning of my letter that I give up on you being professional enough to solve this mess. But I did not give up in justice being done. I give up in contacting you again. But I will contact my lawyer. The moment I manage to arrive back home I will initiate the legal measures to get a compensation for the damages caused.
Wish you a better future than the holidays you offered me.
It is true that hotels require IDs and I require IDs on all of my guests not just the person who books. I do this for the purpose of weeding out the criminals because I have been the victim of criminal actions by my guests and airbnb did nothing about it. However, if I saw that someone had many positive reviews, I might wave that requirement. He said that the host agreed he could come without providing the ID. Some people are just a paranoid about handing out their IDs, and I let one lady slide and nothing bad happened.
They treat the hosts the same way. If you confront them they will start blocking your emails, and it you call they will speak to you in a condesending manner, and you will not get the perfunctory sappy sweet follow up email . I recorded the call when I started to pick up on the condescension. When I have time, I will put it up on youtube and post the link here. Today, I responded to an email from them and I got 2 emails back. One said my email had been received and the other said it had not been received. BTW, the call was partially regarding being lied to by an airbnb rep named Robbie which caused me to lie to my previous guests.
I am not surprised that failing to provide a government ID when requested caused you problems. Every hotel I have ever stayed at requires a government ID. Why shouldn’t someone renting out their private home also be entitled to that protection? Seems to me you refused to cooperate with a reasonable request and it did not work out so well for you. Then again, I wonder what you were hiding by not wanting to provide an ID . . .