I used Airbnb a few years ago for accommodation in New Zealand and it couldn’t have been better – easy to book and great accommodation. The second time I used Airbnb was to book accommodation in Perth last Christmas. I booked months in advance, but the booking was cancelled by the host a few weeks before the trip because he suddenly “wasn’t going to be around.” In other words, best of luck to the customer – go sort it out yourself.
The third time I booked accommodation in Melbourne for July and was stung by Airbnb’s trick of charging in USD (same as many others by the look of it on a “com.au” website. It’s not unreasonable to expect to pay in AUD unless it’s as clear as dog’s balls that you’re not. I requested a refund. The host was okay with it but Airbnb was going to keep over $200 for their so-called service fee. I agreed with the host to shorten my stay to reduce the pain.
A couple of weeks later, my booking was cancelled by the host as they’d decided to “no longer offer short stays.” I wasn’t even informed that it was cancelled; I saw a refund appear in my bank account and had to ask what was going on before they confirmed that it had been cancelled. Classy on every level. This has been the worst online accommodation booking experience ever.
The system used by Airbnb is shakier than my mum’s 12-year-old dog trying to go to the toilet after she’d got to those burritos she shouldn’t have had. The biggest shame is that their website is really good and easy to use. My suggestion is if you find a place you like on Airbnb, see if you can book it via a different booking agent (e.g. one with some principles) as many of these places are also listed on other sites.
To summarize, here are some analogies for you: if Airbnb was buying your Secret Santa gift, you’d get a voucher for a store somewhere in a foreign country that you’d be unable to use, and it would be expired already. If Airbnb was your girlfriend, she’d walk up to you wearing lingerie, tell you to wait in the bedroom for her, then leave you waiting there whilst she went and married someone else. If Airbnb was a rock band they’d be Nickelback.