I am sharing this story to warn my fellow travelers for making bookings through Airbnb. The company provides a platform and charges money for it, but does nothing to secure your stay. I made a Instant Booking at a five-star property – in IMPZ Dubai – for $890 from December 25th to January 1st on August 1st, 2016. I paid in full, and received a confirmation mail from Airbnb that the booking was done. We were content and planned other details for the trip. On December 6th, we made a call to the host just to touch base. He flatly refused to accept the booking, saying he did not have any ties to Airbnb and the booking had not been confirmed. On being told that Airbnb was showing the booking as confirmed, he cancelled the reservation. We received an automated mail from Airbnb informing us of the cancellation, with their regrets and suggestion to make an alternative booking. With great effort, I found the email address for Airbnb, where the customer service representative first apologized and then suggested I make an alternate booking. She took a couple of days to share two listings; both cost double the price of the original booking. The representative simply refused to do anything beyond provide a $100 coupon as compensation. Many email exchanges followed and finally they closed the case with a blunt mail stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication. I had to make another booking on my own which was worth $1900, suffering a loss of more than $1000 over my original booking.
I had this female guest from Uppsala, Sweden. She is about 26-30 years old with long reddish hair. Anyway, she stayed for 4 nights and broke several house rules. When I would come home unannounced I would found her in my office (an area off limits as stated upon her arrival — for obvious reasons). Once she was eating pizza out of a box on my new couch (eating on couch is against the rules). Next she cooked 2 meals a day and left the kitchen a mess with food in the drain that caused it to clog, I had to phone and pay a handy man to unclog it after she left. Next she played loud music on her iPhone whilst walking around the living space, she refused to wear headphones. Next she had a male guest over for a couple of hours (which is not aloud since I am a female and do not want any potentially uncomfortable situations) Finally she made phone calls after midnight and spoke loudly on the phone waking me up on 3 occasions. I have to say I honestly felt like she was taking over like an alpha canine, and she was hostile when approached about respecting the rules. It was very upsetting. About 5 days after she left she asked AirBnB for a refund. She cost me $100 for the clogged sink and added stress. It seems clear to me now that she stays, doesn’t complain, and then waits to file a complaint until long after she is gone so that she does not have to pay. It’s a way to stay on AirBnB for free.
It sounds like airbnb are totally aware of these scammers. They rely on their deliberately complicated reporting process to get people to accept losses.