Attempted Airbnb Bait and Switch in Amsterdam

It was supposed to be a dream trip to Europe, then we found ourselves on a one way trip to Airbnb hell. We searched the map of Amsterdam and found a small but suitable room in a location that was close to all of the things we wanted to see and do. The property didn’t have any reviews but the host had dozens and all good. We figured it was a new location for her. We booked, paid, and thought we were done.

Two weeks later we crossed the river Styx. We got a request from the host to change the reservation to another suite, in the same building but smaller. We were told we paid the wrong price, that she had booked it to someone else on another site for the correct price and it wasn’t available for us anymore. We declined to switch and asked her to cancel it so that we would get a full refund. She refused.

Luckily we are eight months from departure so we have a little time to correct. The first thing I did was book a hotel room. Honestly the $300 we were going to save isn’t worth the hassle of dealing with Airbnb. In some locations around the world Airbnb is a great idea but in the busy capitals of first world nations there isn’t much advantage to balance the risk of having your vacation ruined.

The next step was to contact Airbnb. We found the phone number on this site, called, and laid out the scene to a representative who took details and told us we would get a full refund once a manager had taken a look at the file… I’ll believe that when I see it. Has anyone been through this? Did you get a full refund? Should I contact my credit card company and start proceedings there? To be continued…

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  1. I’m not sure that a cancellation with full refund EIGHT MONTHS prior to departure qualifies as “hell”. Sounds more like OK customer service to me.

  2. OK, good news, this one seems to have turned out good. I hope that airBNBhell will still let it be published since it might help others.

    Like I said in the previous post, we contacted the number listed here on this site and within 4 hours we got a call back from a manager who had reviewed the file and gave us a full refund and cancelled the booking. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, we didn’t want to deal with that particular host again and we didn’t really want to have to try to find another AirBNB in Amsterdam. We have a hotel booked and all of our anxiety is gone.

    The lesson we are going to take from this is that in a major city center, particularly a popular tourist destination, a major hotel chain will give you something that AirBNB can never provide… certainty. Certainty that you aren’t going to be bait and switched during the last week or upon arrival. We will likely continue to use AirBNB when we visit less tourist oriented cities.

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