Before I give my story regarding Airbnb, I want to state here that I am looking for other hosts that have similar stories, in hope of starting a class action lawsuit against Airbnb. Attorneys will only take a case against Airbnb if there is the potential of a large payout, and this can be accomplished only with a class action lawsuit.
I own a house in Havana and have had an Airbnb account for a bit over a year. I started hosting last year in December. From December 2016 to April 2017, I earned about 15,000€ and was really happy. I was booked out the entire time and got consistently good reviews; guests were happy to stay with me. I even got referrals from friends and family from guests who stayed.
Then, all of a sudden, on May 4th, 2017, I got a frantic message from a guest who was travelling in South America stating that I had cancelled his reservation. I had no idea what he was talking about, as I had not cancelled his reservation. In Cuba, aside from email, there is not much of any internet, so I went to an internet hotspot to check my Airbnb account. Upon attempting to log in, I was greeted with a message that my account had been temporarily disabled and to please write firstname.lastname@example.org. The only response I received was that they received my email and would respond to me shortly.
The following week I travelled to Germany and decided to call Airbnb customer service. Although very friendly, they weren’t able to handle my concern because some “other” department was handling it. Upon asking what other department, I was told that they could not tell me that. I then called a few more times the following two weeks, and always received the same response. In the month that followed, I called every single day during my breakfast to check on the case and was always told that another department would respond.
After about two months of no responses, I wrote a certified letter to the CEO of Airbnb in San Francisco. Needless to say, I also did not receive a response. Almost three months later, I received the following email:
We apologize for the unusual amount of time it took for us to reply to your inquiry and wish to offer you support in the event that you are still having any troubles. At this time, your issue should be resolved – please take a moment to log into your account and ensure everything is correct. Once you login, you may be prompted to complete additional verifications on your account. If you still need assistance, please visit us at https://www.airbnb.com/help/contact_us.
Best regards, Airbnb
No explanation of any kind, Airbnb owes me several hundred Euros in payouts that they haven’t paid due to the account having been disabled. I immediately wrote Airbnb customer service to demand the funds. Within 24 hours, Airbnb responded that the matter had been transferred to another department. I called, only to be told that the same department that took almost three months to respond to the disabled account issue now will decide over the fate of my money. Sorry, but that’s not the way to treat people, that’s not the way to do business, and that’s not the way to treat the people that earn money for you.
I have lost tons of money because of this. There have been no guest for three months. All the while I have to pay for taxes, cleaning personnel, and security. There have to be dozens or even hundreds of other hosts out there that have similar stories. And while it is nice and fine to vent here on Airbnb Hell I think that Airbnb needs to reap the consequences of their (maybe even illegal) actions.