I would first like to say I am a loyal Airbnb customer and generally book big ticket houses for reunions and celebrations. I have been unable to resolve a scamming problem with Airbnb’s customer service department so I am asking for assistance in this matter. Let me briefly explain.
In September of 2018, I booked a mansion in Los Olas, Fort Lauderdale for my spouse’s 60th birthday. The check-in date was February 14th, 2019 and when I booked I paid $7002 for those four nights ($1750 per night). I had family flying in from all over the country to celebrate the big day. Less than 24 hours before check in, I got a cancellation notice from the host.
Now, I detest drama but will admit I had a full blown panic attack – 14 people flying in and no place to house them… not my finest hour. I called Airbnb customer support and talked to someone who was doing everything he could to help me find a different property that was on the water and could house 14 people. Unfortunately anything of size was not available even if the website showed it was available. I was reaching out to a few other hosts and they said the property was booked.
I then found out the host I booked with was a scammer because I was able to track down the real owner of the property. Here is the link to the property I booked that still shows the scammer is active.
It was a miracle that the property was available for the four nights I needed but the price was much higher – a little over $10,000. The owner was amazing and sent me a discounted rate of $8938.90 and customer service got Airbnb’s approval for a $1000 credit to help me get it booked that night. I had to pay $8938 out of my pocket and wait for the refund from Airbnb back on my debit card.
When speaking with the real host, he said he had already notified Airbnb about the scammer that was scamming his property and had filed whatever paperwork was required. He also said that he gets a call once a month
from Airbnb customers because of last minute cancellations.
We had a great four days and then I had to travel extensively for business and just got settled back home. I contacted Airbnb customer support this past Friday to settle this scam business and requested to get the additional $936.90 that I was out of pocket due to the scam.
Here is how the math worked:
$8938.90 to book the same property I originally thought I had booked
$7002 Refunded by Airbnb from the original booking
$1000 Credited by Airbnb
$936 Still out of pocket due to fraud
Unfortunately, Airbnb’s customer support team was not able to resolve my request. In addition, the person I worked with refused to escalate the matter which I had requested twice. I also sent links (shown below) of the exact same scammer still active on the platform. I found these in a simple search using a little of the host’s bio.
Copied below is the entire communication regarding this matter. I do not feel I should have to pay almost $1000 more because I was scammed on the Airbnb platform.
“After careful consideration, you will not be refunded the additional $936.90. While we recognize this situation with your host from the reservation did inconvenience your stay, $1,000 above the prior reservation total has already been offered for this reservation.
“Your prior agent who handled the refund in February made every effort to increase your refund as much as possible. I do feel the compensation he provided in February was appropriate given the circumstances. Feel free to reach back out with any future questions or concerns. We are here to assist you.”
“That is not acceptable to me. Please escalate this issue to your manager. Of course a last minute reservation costs more than one planned months in advance. Airbnb allowed this fraud to happen and I will not be out of pocket because you allow fraud on your website. Please escalate this issue to your manager. I am also sending you links of the scammers other properties that Airbnb currently has up on your website.”
“I recognize this news is disappointing. I am a case manager addressing this concern currently and have consulted with my team regarding this decision- including my supervisor. We do take issue of accuracy with listings seriously, as it is one of our hosting guidelines. Here are
the hosting standards below:
“In regard to how the host and his listing will be handled for this violation, we cannot disclose further how he will be penalized. Only the account holder or an authorized point of contact can discuss the details of his account with us.
“Additionally, we have begun implementing home visits with our hosts who engage in our Plus so that we can prevent issues like this from arising in the future. Booking with Superhosts in the future allows for a decreased likelihood this type of situation occurs in the future. We do apologize for your experience with this host, and we take issues relating to listing accuracy seriously. A further refund has unfortunately been denied for this case.”
“Please escalate my case as requested or I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly on LinkedIn. It only took me five minutes to find all these other listings from the same scammer so I don’t know why Airbnb does take care of it. Correction – Does NOT take care of it.”
“What is your desired outcome here?”
“I originally booked on your platform in September of 2018 for $7002 for 4 nights. Because of the fraud I had to pay $8938.90. Airbnb paid $1000 to help with the new reservation. I am still out of pocket $936.90, which is unfair. I booked and stayed in the same exact house – it is not like I booked
a more expensive or bigger property. Please refund me the extra money I had to pay because of the fraud on Airbnb.”
“The additional refund has been denied for reasons outlined above. While we recognize this news is disappointing, the decision is final.”
“I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly then. I’m sure he will not want the negative publicity of knowing how many scammers are on Airbnb. Your refusal to escalate my situation – requested twice – is not the type of customer service I would expect from a platform that is booking big dollar properties.”
Even though I had contacted both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley, they just referred me back to the same person I had been dealing with. See the remaining messages from Airbnb.
“Apologies for not responding sooner, I was out of the office the past two days. Your concerns are being taken seriously and your outreach to Greg Greeley has been noted thoroughly. While we recognize this news is disappointing, a further refund will not be issued for this case. We
will look into the listing of concern, but cannot release the full details of how the host or associated listing will be handled.
“Typically, in rebooking cases, we do strive to maintain the same price range as the initial booking. In instances where further compensation is considered, the determination to cover costs is made at the
time of rebooking.
“Your prior agent did consider this request to cover the additional funding for this booking fully. A decision was made to refund $1,000 of the rebooking amount. A further refund will not be issued and
this decision is final. Every consideration for further refund has been exhausted in this situation and further refund will not
be offered here.”
I emailed both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley this morning. I am awaiting their response before I take further steps.
“The response you received from me is a response to your concerns. Apologies for any confusion. I am the case manager assigned to your case who the incoming inquiries or concerns are forwarded to. I hope this clears things up.”
“Are you saying Aisling and Greg referred this matter back to you?”
“Your concerns and messages to them were referred to me, as I am assisting you with this case. They have been read and considered thoroughly by me in order to continue considering your perspective. I hope that helps clarify things in case there was any confusion.”
“Okay, good to know. Now when I go public I can add that both of them don’t care about their customers getting scammed and perpetuate fraud on their site. In hindsight you will see this was a bad decision for Airbnb – letting a customer get scammed and then not making them whole. Getting the domain names now.”
“As a follow up to our conversation, I wanted to provide an outline of the decision we discussed. We will not refund you further for this booking. As explained prior, consideration for costs covered during rebooking occurs at the time of rebooking. Your prior case manager issued you $1,000 for this reservation already. A further refund is outside of policy and will not be considered. Future agents and case managers will uphold this decision, as it is final. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.”
“Understood. That being said there is nothing Airbnb can do to stop me from sharing my story everywhere. You ripped me off and I lost almost $1000 because of fraud on your site. You should have owned this problem and made me whole. Now I will do what I have to do. There is no response