Beware of Sonder Properties on Airbnb

More than a month ago I booked accommodations for my wife and her cousin in San Diego at a property owned by a group called Sonder (seems they own a lot of properties on AirBnb). About a month before the stay, I changed from my originally booked location called ‘The Baker’ to one called ‘The Leo’. This change was confirmed by Airbnb. The second property had room for two and a kitchen.

As the check-in date approached, I was concerned as I had not received an email with building and room codes. I contacted the host through Airbnb’s message center. They said the emails were going to an email other than my account email (but would not specify which: red flag #1), so they resent them. I noticed right away that the message referred to ‘The Baker’ property, not the revised property.

I contacted them again. The first agent ended the call as soon as I explained the situation (red flag #2). I called back and was told that no, the information was correct, and that although it said ‘The Baker’ on the message, the address and entry codes were for ‘The Leo’. I even messaged again and asked them to confirm again because my wife and her cousin were arriving at 11:30 PM and I did not want them to have nowhere to go.

Turns out that they outright lied. The property was still ‘The Baker’ and ‘The Leo’ was not even available as it was being renovated (red flag #3). Of course after over seven hours on the phone trying to figure this out, it is not even possible to find a room at a similar rate in San Diego on such short notice.
Sonder won’t even respond to my comment to which they lied outright.

Airbnb is working on a ‘solution’, but their solution is: no refund (the host won’t agree) and Airbnb protects them. The host will provide a substitute — yes, one that has horrible reviews and is located directly above a loud bar (property called ‘The Marin’) — but don’t worry, they will provide ear plugs and a white noise generator so you can sort of sleep. I am cancelling my Airbnb account as of today.

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