First of all I would like to say I have always been a big fan Airbnb and absolutely love the concept. I have always have great experiences with hosts and the booking process has always been quick and seamless. However, with that having been said, the past weekend I had the most horrific experience, which actually led to my vacation being ruined, inflicting loads of anxiety that has severely affected me.
It started when I booked two nights in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. My husband and three-month-old baby left early in the morning on Saturday, July 15th to embark on the bumpy five-hour ride. We were so excited to arrive when I received an email from the host saying the place was not available. I was very disappointed, as this had never happened before and almost put me into a panic. I called Airbnb and explained what happened. Within the hour we were able to book another place, a little more expensive but the case manager said Airbnb would send a credit to compensate for the other balance. I was very happy and grateful for that. However, he did not follow through with his promise and said I needed to pay.
Now in a frenzy waiting in the hot sun, I was willing to do anything to just get settled into a place. Airbnb reached out to our new hosts, who accepted our reservation right away and met us at the supermarket to follow them back to the place. We checked into a beautiful house and thought we could finally relax. This is when the drama began.
I received a call from Airbnb demanding I pay for the new reservation, $517, when I had already paid $467 for the original place and the funds were already taken from my account. Now I felt like he was disrespectful. He transferred the case to another case manager. I kept getting emails saying I needed to pay but was told in the first place the funds I already paid would be transferred to the new reservation.
The next day I was approached by the host saying they canceled our reservation because I didn’t pay. Airbnb called him and said we didn’t pay, but I sent several emails of my bank statement showing that the payment had gone through and was posted. The next twelve hours I was on the phone on and off dealing with numerous customer service agents, being put on hold for thirty minutes at a time, when no one could figure out how to solve the issue. I spoke with many other case managers and supervisors and kept getting promised things would be resolved. I was even on speakerphone for over 1.5 hours with the host beside me and a customer service person. Nothing was solved.
I was then told that this was not Airbnb’s responsibility, but the host and I had to figure it out. At this point I felt extremely uncomfortable being in the house with the host thinking I had not paid. I was calling the entire time on my international phone and my cell phone bill had $300 worth of charges. On Sunday night, nothing had been resolved. Every time I called no one knew anything and kept blaming me. I am still dealing with anxiety.
I have never had such a bad experience with any customer service. I have spent thousands of dollars, referred superhosts, and recommended Airbnb to friends and social media followers. I was a loyal customer but this experience has not only left a bad taste in my mouth, it has left emotional damage.
They offered me $25 worth of travel credit. That’s almost an insult. I would never ask for any sort of compensation but in this case I think it’s necessary. I spent so much money to not have enjoyed a single moment on my vacation. I wish I could be sending an email expressing how much I love the service (which are the only emails I usually send) but unfortunately this is one that’s not so positive. I’ve sent numerous emails to customer service explaining this and have been ignored. I spent over 325 minutes on hold while talking to Airbnb, over 620 minutes in phone calls, spoke with over 15 representatives, and been hung up on six times.