Airbnb Charged USD when Price was in CAD

A few tips to potential Airbnb guests:

1. Customer Service is basically non-existent. So be extremely careful not to make any mistake, or you’ll have to pay for it.

2. Do not click “instant booking” if you are not 100% sure you want it, because you’ll be instantly charged if the host accepts, which usually happens in a few minutes. It’s better to contact your host if you have any concerns prior to booking.

3. Check Airbnb’s cancellation policies carefully. They’re stricter than those at most competitors.

4. Always double check the price with currency symbols because you might get overcharged.

I did my search via airbnb.ca and found an apartment listed for 157 CAD/night. I requested to book the apartment for seven nights with four guests. The host responded and the total price was 1238 CAD on the pre-approval email; the total price was calculated based on guest numbers plus service fees. I then clicked on the “Book Now” button from the email and got re-directed to Airbnb Canada’s payment site. The price amount on the page was still 1238 CAD, so I paid. Since I had been doing all the transactions through Airbnb Canada, I assumed everything was still in CAD. Apparently the currency symbol on the payment page switched to USD without me noticing. I was actually charged 1619 CAD and ended up paying $381 more in Canadian dollars. I tried to contact customer service but haven’t had much progress yet. Overall I think the Airbnb website has an appealing UI interface, but the business practice does not favor customers. I will not use it again or recommend to others.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

14 Comments

  1. I just got taken by the same SCAM.

    I live in Canada, I used airbnb.ca to book a rental in Canada, and I was charged USD. No where on the site did it say I would be charged in USD.

    This is an absolute scam, and at this point, I doubt I will ever use AirBnB again.

  2. What I find ironic is that my currensy default in my profile is Canadian so why would I even assume I’d be charged in USD??? Only when I checked my receipt did it show me USD. I’m annoyed.

  3. I am in favor of more regulation so that this is not a problem for other nonsuspecting guests. It should be very clear. It cost much much more than worth and if AirBNB is pocketing the funds then that’s even more fraudulent.

    American Express helps to fight these types of issues. I don’t leave home without it.

  4. Same thing just happened to me , you are right it is a malicious trap, any legal advice from anyone out there? airbnb told me it may have been a default mode of airbnbs to change it from cdn to american $’s

  5. I’m shocked, that I’m charged in USD while using Airbandb in B.C. CANADA! Not noticed in rush of March break, but I’ll will make sure that that rip off doesn’t happen again! I guess B.C. should belong to USA!

  6. Yeah, I was appalled by Airbnb’s currency charge. I think it is a dishonest practice by Airbnb. Why would I check for USD instead of CDN?! It’s a Canadian site and the quote is in Canadian dollars, then I am charge in US dollars.

    • I’d love to know why in in canada, renting an airbnb in canada, listed in CANADIAN DOLLARS, and in being charged a fucking UK foreign exchange fee….. IM NOT IN THE U.K my defaults are CANADIAN DOLLARS I’m always diligent about checking prices, this has happened like 8 or 9 times now that in going back through my visa statements…. that’s thievery. Like wtf I’m being charged an overseas surcharge and I’m not even in the fucking UK, it’s a canadian credit card and I was born here and haven’t ever booked overseas anything. What the actual fuck

  7. Elaine,
    Different vendors choose different currencies for whatever reasons.
    I am in Canada but deal a lot with US based vendors. I never done this on airbnb as my wife looks after the lusting and banking but when for example I haul vehicles to/from USA on uShip for example, I always charge my fees in $USD.
    That way I don’t have to pay currency conversion when paying for things in $USD.
    If I know that I have an upcoming trip to Europe in the near future, whenever I sell something to a European buyer I accept PayPal payment in Euro..
    As a host, we had the opposite happen to us.
    A guest complained that we overcharged by 30 process and that she first saw the listing at 66 not 89 dollars but she however thinks that the place is well worth st least 89.
    Since we never had it listed that low, and because I deal on daily basis with currency conversion rates, I asked that she verifies what currency does she have on her settings.
    It turns out that she recently went to Florida and forgot to change her currency from USD back to CAD.
    And if you dealt with an American host good luck thinking that they can imagine that the dollar can be anything but American..

  8. I agreed that I should have check the currency before paying. My transaction was done via airbnb.ca so everything is in CAD including the total price calculated. The fact that airbnb changes the currency on the fly is not in favor of customers. In my case, I only expected to pay CAD1238, but instead I was charged USD1238. I would consider it a malicious trap.

  9. You are always told what currency you are paying for a reservation in before completing a payment. You can be looking at the site in Chinese Yen and still be charged in USD if thats the currency of your country. Nobody’s fault but your own if you didn’t check the page before making payment.

    • I have encountered the same issue. On the airbnb.ca site there is not mention of US dollars. The total posted is in Canadian value. I do not think there is any justification at all for the credit card to be charged in US dollars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.