Biased Help Center, Two-Faced Host

I cancelled my airbnb account because I was disappointed with the way the help center dealt with my issues with a host. Ironically, airbnb claims to value freedom of speech but could not accept me saying that my friend and i felt “unfairly treated”. Afterall, feelings are subjective isn’t it? When the host left a bad review saying that she had a “hard time”, i accepted it. However, what i couldn’t accept is the lack of professionalism on the host’s part and the service person who responded to my complaint. First of all, I had contacted several airbnb hosts before booking with, let’s call the host S. As we had plans to visit a local theme park on the first day, i asked S if it would be alright for us to leave our luggage before check-in time. And she said ok. This was the deciding factor for booking with S. 5 days prior to my trip, i contacted S again to remind her of my early arrival but there was no reply from her. Her room was PIN-coded and she was supposed to let us know what the PIN is, before our trip. When we arrived, we tried calling her but she did not pick up our calls. We were locked outside for almost an hour. Thankfully, there was a cafe downstairs which had free wifi and we planted ourselves there to message her. Though she gave us the PIN in the end, the room was still occupied and i decided not to waste anymore time but to leave our luggage at the lockers in the train station so that we could head over to the theme park, which was quite a long journey away. We retrieved our luggage from the locker at 10+ pm at the cost of 16,000 won each. When we finally got in, we found used towels in the washing machine that were left behind by the previous guests. The towels gave off a damp stench. We contacted S on Whatsapp Call and found out that the laundry lady had forgotten to remove them. However S said that the laundry lady would clean up the towels the next day and do the laundry for us. When we returned, the towels were still untouched and i texted S about it. She then said that we had misunderstood her and that we did not pay for laundry. Then she said that they are not a hotel, which was quite uncalled for and said that she would accept a bad review from us (which i had preempted her should things not improve). Also, the clothing rack in the bathroom collapsed suddenly and i informed her about it, so that she could get it fixed before the next guest checks in. When i got back, she left a bad review of me, saying that we had given her unclear complaints, while i left a factual review. In my review, i mentioned the convenient location and cosy room which met our basic needs. Of course, i also mentioned how there was no breakfast provided, even though it was stated in her amenities description, but wasn’t a problem as the neighborhood has plenty of cafes. I also cited the hiccups which we experienced. She then replied saying that she accepts my honest feedback and included a few smiley faces 🙂 in her public reply. I then texted her after the review was published to tell her that we were indeed not mistaken about the breakfast as she had posted that under her descriptions. She then replied saying that we had disturbed her privacy by contacting her day and night and added on by saying that we are childish. Seeing how things got personal, i contacted airbnb help center. The personnel defended the host and overlooked the points that i pointed out. He even said that i should resolve matters by talking to the host and not threatening to leave a bad review. Airbnb has access to our private messages with the host, in which he selectively quoted words that supported his claim. He brushed off the fact that S’s remark of calling us childish is not covered under the guidelines. So it seems like guests’ safety in private conversations aren’t protected? But he protected S based on her private messages with me. From this harrowing experience (albeit being my first with airbnb), i’ve decided to discontinue with airbnb as it seems to protect hosts more than guests. Probably so since guests are the ones who give them business. It also disturbs me that guests are rather powerless when issues arise and this will of course pose problems to mutual trust. Of course, my experience is a unique one but i will certainly not return to airbnb in the near future.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , .

2 Comments

  1. I completely agree that Airbnb is biased towards the hosts. I had a huge problem with an Amsterdam property that stunk of filthy laundry, so much so that we couldn’t stand staying in the bedrooms for even 5 minutes breathing in the stench. Airbnb completely sided with the owner, since it is obviously in their financial interest to do so. We felt deceived into booking this property based on a half-dozen positive reviews, but when I attempted to publish a bad review it was rejected with platitudes about not complying with their rules and regulations. The fact is, Airbnb avoids publishing negative reviews because it does not serve their own vested and ongoing financial interest to do so. I now realise that Airbnb is not a reliable source for accomodation and will never use their service again, and indeed, now that they have ripped me off over $2000, I will make every effort to let my entire social and professional network know about this rip-off service.

  2. They treat the hosts the same way. I had a guest attempt extortion and they told me not to cave and they had my back and then they allowed her to give me a bad review which is what she said she would do to them and me if her problem was not resolved(with my money).

    One hand does not know what the other hand is doing over there. Or maybe the people you first encounter are idealistic and believe airbnb’s policy about protecting you, but the higher ups really do not care what criminal acts the guests perpetrate on you as long as it is kept quiet.

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