Airbnb Protects Hosts at the Expense of Guests

We booked a house near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France for 10 nights. When we arrived we discovered it was in a different location than that on the Airbnb map and actually right next to the highway. The host, Virginie, misled us into believing her house would be suitable for two small children using public transport (La maison MAChaBaGa, 194, Avenue du Camp de Menthe). It was the opposite of this. The doors did not lock, there was construction work taking place around the house, the pool she said we could use was very dirty, and there were no shops or restaurants – the host told us there would be. She told us the bus stop was right outside the property to get to town, but the nearest stop was actually a 15 minute walk along a dangerous road into oncoming traffic. Clearly not suitable for small children.

Workmen lit a fire next to the house, there was no privacy with the workmen appearing at the non-locking glass sliding door windows at random times, a plug socket fell off the wall exposing dangerous leads, and the host said she would provide towels and there were none; this seems like a minor inconvenience but is a real pain with two small children. It was a horrendous experience overall. We only stayed two nights and left as soon as somewhere else became available. I passed all of this information onto Airbnb who said that “we needed to let them know within 24 hours, we don’t qualify for the refund policy and the case is now closed”.

I’m in absolute shock at the appalling customer service. The host has taken almost £1000 from us and nothing is being done to stop her. We stayed two nights and she knew we had left after two nights, but has chosen to keep our money even though her house was unsafe and not at all as described. We’re very upset and now realise why Airbnb has been so successful – they avoid ever paying refunds to guests. They have offered us a pitiful refund, a fraction of the amount we are owed. They have even taken away the opportunity to write a review of the property to warn other guests. Hopefully they will find the information they need here. I will never use Airbnb again.

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


  1. I feel really bad you and totally understand — am going through a v similar situation with Airbnb, it’s unbelievable. I paid £1300 for six nights in an apartment in NYC, late May – but the apartment photos and location were all a lie. The apartment was a shell of what I was expecting and don’t event go there about the pool that took up 3 entire photos on the listing. That’ll be another $100 charge! I could go on… I wrote a balance fair v truthful review. The kind I would have liked to have read, instead of just positive ones about other apartments. They have not let it be posted as I state the hosts name in it. Ok – well – it was on the posting anyway… But even then – why remove it! Just delete the name but keep the rest published. An absolute joke and makes me see who is the protected one in the overall Airbnb relationship. They have offered me $100 Airbnb credit to show their understanding, not that l’ll be using them ever again! Can’t warn friends and family away from them enough! Shame, as have had 2 wonderful trips before this thanks to them — but this trip has really been a bad experience.

  2. Never use AirBnB unless they are massively cheaper.
    If anything goes wrong, they make no attempt to resolve the problem. Absolute horror.
    They charge your credit card, but refuse to refund.

    Once you find a listing you can probably contact the same host directly too. Much easier and saves you the service fee and lots of hassle. The service is absolutely no use.

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