Airbnb Disavows Coupon, Accuses me of Hacking

I was notified about a coupon code that would provide a substantial discount to any stay booked with Airbnb. I went to check that this code worked as I wanted to book a mini weekend getaway and, with the code applied to the stay, it would have been very cheap, making the trip almost free. I selected a condo that was in a great location and entered the coupon code in the section provided on the pay out page. The discount was applied so I knew that the coupon code was valid.

I decided quickly to run the dates by other other parties who were planning to join on the trip before I submitted the payment. This in total took about four minutes from when the coupon had been successfully applied. I went to change the amount of guests as we now had an additional person who wanted to join. This reset the page; I entered everything again including the coupon code and the coupon now suddenly did not work. Just four minutes later, and Airbnb said the coupon had now expired.

I called Airbnb to inquire why the page reset and explained that I had successfully entered the coupon already a few minutes before and the discount has been applied – why it was now coming up as expired just minutes later? The agent then began accusing me of making this up and that they do not provide coupons (even though there is a spot for them on their payments page) and that a scammer must have hacked their system and created this coupon code to harm their company.

None of this made any sense. Perhaps the code was not meant for everybody and was a programming mistake by Airbnb that worked briefly and then maybe they noticed their mistake and retracted the offer or something. However, this was not the explanation given. They started interrogating me like I was the bad guy or making the situation up and needed to provide them proof of all of this like it was my job to to their job for them and report all my findings to their Trust and Safety Team who would now be investigating me. I said I had nothing to do with this and that the source was a reliable travel website showing the promo code. I was certainly not a hacker. If I were, why would I call in and report myself?

The whole situation left me feeling very shaken and angry. Not only was my vacation ruined as I could not afford the trip without this code that they refused to honor, I was treated like a criminal for even asking about it . What a horrible experience and abysmal customer relations provided by Airbnb. Shame on them for treating customers in such a manner. In the future I will be booking any vacation stays with hotels.

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


  1. I don’t think any of you above actually read the article. Clearly stated that Airbnb told the user that the coupon code never existed even though it clearly did and once it didn’t work then they claimed that a hacker was trying to fake codes and abuse the Airbnb system instead of admitting to their own errors for putting out a code accidentally to the wrong geographic area- then noticed a few minutes later and removed the code- hence why it came back as expired and not invalid. The code was never actually applied or used by the traveler. Then they called into Airbnb for clarification and got accused of hacking for no reason other than Airbnb and refused to honor the original coupon or even admit it even existed. The commentators above are clearly not the brightest bunch or are just trolling because they have nothing better to do with their lives.

  2. Hahaha, clear case of an IT challenged user. So let’s simplify things: put a coin a slot and press latte, then change your mind “No I want an expresso”, you fink you could use the same coin??? I should participate in America’s got talent!

  3. Well couldn’t it be that the code was for single use only? You used it when you entered the code and got the discount price even though the booking wasn’t finalized. People here just seem to blame Airbnb for their own mistakes.

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