Airbnb Verification Process and Dysfunctional Customer Support

I am an established Airbnb guest. Over a month ago I reserved a beach house near Charleston. All seemed fine and they had no problem taking 100% of the funds from my credit card. A few days before checking in I got an email at 11:00 PM demanding that I provide a photo of my driver’s license or passport plus a selfie for “verification”. The email threatened that my reservation would be cancelled if I did not comply within 24 hours.

I don’t mind the verification process and understand the safety/accountability issues, but waiting until days before my reservation to spring this on me is absurd. Worse, the 24-hour window is egregious. I don’t check my email every day, much less every hour. I had family from three states joining me and now it was all in peril. I submitted the required info and photos on time only to get a vague “we are working on your verification” that lasted two days before I called Airbnb customer service to resolve this absurdity. The rep was pleasant but clueless and powerless to resolve since he “did not work in the verification department.”

I asked to speak with supervisor or someone in the “verification department” and was told that was impossible and that I must wait for an email from them telling me my verification was confirmed. All this a few days before check-in by my entire family and weeks after making my reservation and paying a large sum of money. Thankfully direct contact with host allowed me to go around the Airbnb insanity confirm the reservation. To this day I have not received any verification confirmation from Airbnb. I am shocked this company is so popular given its incompetence, indifference, arrogance and dysfunction.

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


  1. Hi
    I also can’t believe how incompetent and totally unhelpful the customer service department is.

    I also was asked, after I pressed ‘pay and proceed’ to take a for photo for verification. I was confused as I’d only recently used Airbnb the other week for an Airbnb experience without this step.
    I did the photo but it responded with a message saying something like it was ‘parsed’. No idea what the pop up meant. So then I start to google about ID verification and I notice people are talking about government ID and I think to myself ‘whoops, I’ve stupidly taken a photo of my face, they want government ID page photographed not my face silly ’. So then I go into my settings (and this is where I made a mistake and need customer service to help), I pressed delete photo ID (I thought I was deleting the photo of my face that I had just taken). I needed to delete so that I could send a photo of my passport instead. It did warn me that my booking would be deleted and I didn’t think that I was going to lose any money or lose the booking – I just needed to add the government Id (which was probably there in the first place before I deleted it ?).
    After adding, within minutes I begin to see what is happening. I get a cancelled message and also another message saying I will get 17 pounds refund (not 400 pounds). I’m like, what? So I contact the host (perfect storm- totally uninterested or concerned. Just said sorry. Nothing I can do. (?). So then I contact Airbnb through live chat. I explain everything and ask them to confirm the booking and not cancel it. They come back with ‘ the host is refusing to accept a refund’ I reply saying (repeatedly) ‘I’m not looking for a refund, I just want this room confirmed. After all I have paid for it’
    Then – nothing.
    I have now lost over 400 Uk Sterling. I’m now thinking of changing my flight to return home and cancel the rest of my trip. What a disaster. My last chance is tomorrow using one of the phone numbers that people are putting on google as a chance to speak to a real person. This situation is something a customer service adviser should be able to easily see and stop the refund process. I’m still in shock.

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