Airbnb is a Ripoff, Plain and Simple

I’m a first time user who will NEVER use Airbnb again. I reserved a long-term stay (30 days) with a host through Airbnb. They quickly took half the amount – $1700 – from my credit card. Then I needed to cancel. I was within my refund window. There was lots of chatter with accommodating texts between the host and myself, two weeks prior to the reservation cancel request. Then nothing. She had three days to respond to my refund request. Of course she didn’t. After those three days, Airbnb sent a notice that I could receive up to $1580 minus their $75 fee, which would be refunded within three days. This is what ended up happening. And they offered to help resolve things with my host. This was a one-time chance to reach anyone via text through the link Airbnb provided. After the initial request, it literally dead ends not allowing me to reach out to Airbnb until they respond. It has now been almost a month. I can’t text, email or contact anyone! Thankfully, my credit card company allowed me to dispute the charge. I have some kind of control over fighting for MY money. Where was Airbnb’s customer protection?

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


  1. I moved to Philadelphia with my children to start a graduate program and a job ant the university. I had to book an airbnb for 16 days until my our townhouse is available. I booked the airbnb for myself, my children, and their father who also relocated to PA to be near the kids. At check-in the code was wrong and the host was unreachable, the number that airbnb had on file for him was a “google phone” number that said he was “unavaialable.” So airbnb had to contact him. Then he gave the correct code. Once inside, the place was filthy, the a/c in the living room was broken and it was 90+ degree weather in a scorching hot upstairs apartment. The microwave was broken (sparked when plugged in), the couch was being held up with a 2×4, there was dirt and trash (including a tampon) in every corner, closet, and cranny. I updated the host about each of these things but remained understanding because I was in an unfamiliar city with my three children and I needed to start my first day of work here in the morning. In the morning, I took a shower and there was no hot water. The host said that hot water was not listed as an “amenity.” He also said that the tampon that was shoved into the open hole at the top of the banister pole of the stairs was not there when they “cleaned,” which was clearly a lie (the unit had not even been cleaned at all). Airbnb would allow me a refund for 30% of the first night and 100% of the unused nights and let me rebook with a coupon worth 30% of my original booking. At this point I did not want to stay in another air bib with my children as I had spent two days at my new job in a new city dealing with this. So I secured housing for myself and my children through the university but my children’s father still needed a place to stay. He would stay in another airbnb since it would just be him. Airbnb told me that he could use the coupon code they gave us to book his own airbnb since I could not book for him. But they cancelled our stay before they gave of the coupon and before rebooked. After our stay was cancelled and he tried to book another airbnb it took 30 minutes for the coupon to arrive, then when it arrived it was “invalid.” Airbnb said that he could not use the code after all. That only I could use the code on my account and I could not book for an airbnb I would be staying in. On top of that, the refund for the original stay would not come back for 10-15 days, so I’d have to pay another $1400+ for him to stay at another airbnb with not return yet on my first payment. Mind you, I am living off of limited funds in a new city that we had never been in before, and I still have to make sure that I can feed myself and my children and pay the deposit and other move in costs on our new apartment. Airbnb was not at all concerned with protecting us or making sure that we were safe and sheltered. Amongst the trash in the airbnb, there was the owners business card in a pile of dust and wrappers under the couch. When I googled the name of the the apartments on the card “Algon Gardens” in Phialdelphia, a slew of negative reviews describing the same conditions as the airbnb came up. Bugs, broken amenities, mice, no repairs or response. Airbnb is not a safe or securely regulated platform. Clearly they only care about making money. They charge a service fee and a cleaning fee but they do not make sure that the hosts are honest, reputable, or that the places being hosted are being kept to livable standards. This was the first and last time I will ever use an airbnb. It is much better to stay in a hotel, or even a motel and now that there is a certain standard (which includes hot water) that is sure to be met. I have been experiencing severe anxiety from this whole ordeal, my children have been uprooted and made uncomfortable. Any other business (hotel or motel) would make sure that they keep the customer whole in the event of any complicated circumstances. Airbnb does not.

  2. We used AirBNB at the request of a relative who wanted us to come visit. This is certainly a HUGE mistake. If I could upload photos on this site, I certainly would! We rented a beachfront condo in Orange Beach, Alabama, in the Phoenix VI building. The “host” sent us an email instructing us to contact her DIRECTLY if there are any issues! We had to call the host ten minutes before the 4pm check-in because the email with access codes NEVER ARRIVED! Once in the unit, we saw that it was dirty and filthy. We spent the first hour cleaning the place because we realized that the “host” and AirBNB was ripping us off, and nothing would be done to clean the place. Here’s what we found upon entry: food scraps on the kitchen counter, dirty mugs in the kitchen cabinets with liquid inside and lip prints on the cup, spots of some type of gel on the bathroom counter, mold along the inside of the toilet, toys and food scraps under chairs, the indoor furniture was filthy, stained, and smelled awful, the outdoor furniture was broken, torn and stained shower curtains, mold on the grout above the shower, and sticky dirty floors. My advice to everyone is to use ONLY reputable hotels OR rent from a reputable property manager in the area where you wish to rent.

  3. We used to use airbnb but now they are just one big scam like all the others. My wife and I are professionals and have been treated horribly for the last time. They even censor themselves online so others cannot see the truth. Please just go back to motels and hotels.

  4. Here’s what I don’t get. You can’t even talk to the potential hosts until you pay a downpayment. Which apparently you get back if the reservation doesn’t complete.
    But that means Air BNB is holding my money ( let’s say $200) for one night. Multiply that by a 10,000, customers and you now have $2,000,000 sitting in their bank account over night earning interest! They haven’t done anything.

    That is total fraud. Why do people use this website. It’s a total scam.

    • The hosts lie
      And do fraud
      Without consequence
      They steal
      And then lie
      After they have your money

  5. I didn’t receive my down payment of $1400 after canceling not even 24hours after booking my stay . Because of a so called strict cancellation bullshit policy. Airbnb set itself against the host and vis versa. I real dishonest game. Don’t use Airbnb ever.

  6. Worst freaking company on this planet!!! Had similar experiences as everyone and I also hosted 2 x properties and they were just as bad on that side. How do we do something?

  7. They are thieves….when booking a reservation, I paid half of amount due. I then had to cancel and received a refund of $18! When I inquired as to why, they said if I have paid in full, I would have gotten a refund, but since I only paid half, I was out of luck. I cancelled this reservation 27 days before arrival date.

    They are awful!

  8. They placed an ad, it was $23
    When I went to book, it went up to £29 (NOT dollars) – that’s 100% more!
    on my girlfriend’s phone (she is a local) it was $23
    They have a way of sussing out if you are from the UK, US Aus, etc then you pay MUCH more. Yes, it’s a rip-off in many different ways.

  9. We made a reservation at “Bohemian Bliss”” in Eureka ca. Paid $205.. on Feb 28th for our grandsons graduation on May 15th and 16th. A weeks later we found out the graduation was canceled due to the covd19 closures of schools. We tried to cancel the reservation on immediately but the “host” refused to refund anything.
    Finally my son was able to get an $80.00 refund on the room and $20.00 refund for a cleaning deposit for me,REALLY!!!! The cleaning deposit? So I got a $100.00 credit to my credit card. Any hotel would refund the total amount, this was my first and last experience with Airbnb and most certainly with the host or owner of “Bohemian Bliss”. It seems that problem was fully her decision.

  10. Airbnb is garbage. They have this “bug” on their site where it forces you to scan your photo ID and face every time you log in. They wont fix it and worse still? They now revoke your ability to see the upcoming trips you PAID FOR!

  11. Airbnb takes an astronomical portion of the total price paid ending up in extremely elevated prices else the host can’t make much at all. In contacting one host to ask for a lower price, I found out I was offering hundreds over what they normally rent it for, but Airbnb was taking about $1500 a month on top of the host’s fee!! Completely unnecessary in order to run even a highly lucrative business. They can’t be satisfied with 5 or 10% commission. No, they are totally unreasonable.
    They also do all in their power to not let you talk to your host by phone or privately until they have your money. For sure because you wouldn’t use their service once able to to that so you can pay less and the host can make more.
    I have otherwise booked through them twice and they have done NOTHING to warrant taking so much money, not so little as ensuring places we booked are clean (they weren’t).

  12. We scheduled a 2 night stay in a college town for a college football game four months prior to our need. Bought airline tickets and game tickets. Got a great deal that we could afford by booking early. Yesterday we received notification that the host cancelled our reservation and our money would be refunded. Nice that we got our money back but now we have airline tickets and game tickets and no place to stay. I reached out to AirBNB they helped me search for a place in the same area for a similar price but like me the representative found prices had tripled since we booked out stay two months prior. The rep said they couldn’t help and told me I would have to find something myself. WTH The closest available place would have cost us an additional $860 for the same time period. I then asked to speak to a manager. She confirmed the same – lack of options. She also told me if it was less than 30 days from our reservation they could then assist but since it was 37 they were not obligate to assist. It really feels like the only one who benefits from AirBNB is AirBNB.

  13. Airbnb is the worst! I will never use them again for anything. I was screwed on both apartment rental, security deposit and an event booking . Cancelled an apartment reservation two weeks before we arrived with no explanation. Hotels can’t do that so you are safer using a hotel. Cancelled an event we booked but had to cancel due to the abrupt cancellation. Cancelled on Airbnb website but no refund processed due to Airbnb not telling the bike tour company. Talking to their resolution department is like talking to a wall. Never again.

  14. I will never book with airbnb again when I pulled up to the horrible unsafe neighborhood were the “host ” claimed it was a charming bugalow I called airbnb and told them it was not a safe place to say basically they said sorry no refunds

  15. I booked a 3 day weekend and tried to cancel due to an illness of my travel partner and I gave more then a then a months advance notice. They would only give me $7.86 back out of the $182.75 I paid.

    This is just wrong other sites give full refunds with shorter notice.

    I will not use them again and won’t refer anyone

  16. I wished I had of read these reviews prior to losing $815.00 AUD. I paid for a property for 28 days and upon checkin I was horrified at how different the photos and description were. A basement/storage with no emergency exits. A maid living in 1 room next to our room. The fridge in the bedroom. No windows in tiny bathrooms crawling with insects. I’m now seeking legal advise to sue Airbnb. How this company is allowed to function is beyond my understanding or that it doesn’t even have agents to check property’s upon safety concerns….. they just cash money in and out. And they know there is nothing the consumer can do. Which is why they drag their messages on. Wow. Just wow.

  17. Airbnb is horrendous. I reduced my stay from a 17 night stay to a 13 night stay and it cost me 30 dollars! It was extremely unclear about the refund process, obviously if I knew that was the deal I wouldn’t of done it. No one in their right mind would do that. So basically I lost 4 nights and it cost me 30 dollars. What a ripoff. This was not a cheap stay as well, it cost around 2400 aud. I will never use them again and either will anyone I know.

  18. My sister needed accommodation for the month of September to October /2019, we tried to book for reservation with her debit card but in vain. The Airbnb customer attendant sent us to get the Airbnb gift cards, we bought one at $ 500 and another piece at $ 315.33 meanwhile there has been to many communications with the Airbnb personals who where not able to solve our problem. Even after loading the gift cards the reservation could not be processed. Today is the fourth day, we are still trying to have either our money back or a reservation. It is already raising up a red flag. Airbnb is a rip-off or a scam?

  19. I was just Gaslit by Airbnb, tried for first time. The house with the room was it, but abandoned. I called the number given to connect with host. Young woman’s voice, but the person who left the message saying she was the host, sounded older, what I expected as my host Susan was older. I left a message saying I was calling about a booking already paid, just had a question.
    I doubt I’d gotten a call back if I said it was about last nights reservation, and her abandoned house. I’m only out 70$ but a lot of stress and anxiety. I could hear a dog barking from the inside of the empty house.
    Online records show the house is owned by who I booked with (first names only tho).
    That same last name of Schultz was also on the mailbox of the house with the address where I booked. On my way home now but need to let authorities know about the dog left inside. It’s creepy, the way the house is situated makes me wonder where the real Mr & Mrs Schultz are, whether they are safe. I’m calling the police first to do a welfare check and alert authorities. Airbnb needs shut down.

  20. The writer is absolutely right! I have heard of so many Airbnb horrror stories! Amazed at how Consumers are suckers for anything. This Airbnb just opened a Website, took your inventory (meaning your homes), collects the money up front, don’t pay you until after the fact, and then they charge you the host and your prospective guest[s) a fee, double dipping greedy hogs they are. Have any of those guests ever ask where their money is held until its paid to the Host? they are making interest on your money folks!!! In the end, its not worth the stress, because the Host always ends up winning. But then again I have heard hosts losing money too, because Airbnb hold them hostage…and its their homes!!! Unbelievable that people still post their homes to this website.

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