When you “stole” something that was never there

I want to preface this by saying that this is my first time ever booking with Airbnb, and I definitely made some amateur mistakes.

I let my host text me exclusively since they wouldn’t respond through the messenger. I also accidentally signed up for one guest. When you’re searching for a stay, you can choose the option for two guests but I didn’t realize that didn’t transfer over when you booked. I texted my host that I was coming with another person the day before our check in and they replied “excellent” since it was no extra charge (which they denied, because it wasn’t on the messenger. Luckily I had screenshots.)

I believed that people wouldn’t try and scam me without proof or accuse me of stealing something that was never there. I recently got back from a weekend trip with Airbnb and this is my first time booking a reservation myself (yay for adulting).

I thought the host was a tad bit aggressive on the trip, because they were constantly texting me with their personal number and asking what we were doing. I didn’t think much of it and gave them five stars since they claimed they would rate me five stars as well if I did (which is extortion?).

I got home and everything seemed to be fine, but then I got an email that ruined everything. The host is claiming that I walked out with a comforter and a 55-inch TV in broad daylight with no proof other than “it was here before they checked in and gone when they checked out.”

When we got to the apartment there was no TV. The bed was missing a comforter and it wasn’t made. In their defense, we did arrive an hour early (but they told us we could still come in). I didn’t report the unmade bed, because, again, this was my first time renting an Airbnb and I didn’t want to seem rude to someone that was letting me into their home. I also didn’t think it was that a big a deal since we were the ones that arrived early.

With the TV, we assumed that it wasn’t included or being repaired. They gave us a list of amenities to check, and while the TV was pictured on their page when we booked, it wasn’t on the list they sent us when we arrived. We assumed that meant it wasn’t included. We did tell our host about a few other missing items, and even sent pictures telling them that we didn’t want to be charged for things that were missing upon our arrival.

At this point I’ve sent them a receipt of a comforter that we had to buy and a speaker that we purchased for our personal laptop, since we couldn’t watch movies due to no TV being there. I’ve asked that surveillance be checked and for our reports of other missing items to be documented, but the host keeps saying that we need to refund them immediately.

They’ve told us that there is a cleaning person that comes in between us and their other guests, and that’s the only reason that I can think of that might be why the TV and comforter are gone. Maybe another guest took them or they were never there to begin with. The keys for the apartment are also outside in a lockbox that’s on a rail on the street for anyone to access.

They also told us to never contact the front desk for anything as we were not allowed to; we didn’t have a lease in our name. Is that normal for other Airbnbs? I wouldn’t know because this was my first time booking one.

For the first time since we’ve been back, the host used the messenger to claim that we never sent anything to them regarding issues to the apartment or my second guest. They are telling Airbnb that I’m lying about everything, because the communication I’m talking about never happened. I may not have the videos of the apartment, but I do have screenshots and text messages to share, which the host isn’t taking kindly to, saying that my character and responses can’t be trusted since I’m “insane” and a “liar”.

The host has harassed me every other day in private messages for money, I guess Airbnb isn’t moving fast enough for them. People are probably wondering why I’m so worried if I have nothing to hide, but I have an anxiety disorder that’s constant and makes me stress and worry about things that I shouldn’t: “What if they don’t believe me, because my host didn’t update that I had a second guest; what if they assume that the TV being gone is my fault, because they didn’t check that their last guest had it; what if I can’t get another Airbnb because of the review this host left on me.”

It’s a lot to think about. I had to block my host with this final message after they called me insane:

“Everything about this experience has been so stressful. I just wanted to have a good time with my partner and you keep saying that we took your TV with no proof. Your keys for the apartment are outside. Anyone could have gone in and taken your device. Next time get insurance on your items or put something into the booking to protect you from something like this.

I’m really sorry that your TV is gone. I’d be upset if someone took my things, but I’m not the one that did it. Instead of waiting for Airbnb to decide on an outcome, you keep messaging me to pay you for something that you have no proof of me taking because it wasn’t in the apartment to begin with.

We assumed that your listing was inaccurate because of the missing blanket, TV and bracelets. We didn’t report it, because we arrived early and assumed your cleaning person didn’t have time to prepare. And if we reported the pool bracelets not wanting to be charged, why on earth would we take something so expensive as a TV? It doesn’t add up.

This entire time, you’ve been unprofessional. You’ve attacked me. My character. And my honesty. This is the very last time that I will message you directly. If you are so sure that we took your TV, just let things play out the way that they are supposed to and leave me alone. Especially if you have the evidence to back up your claim. I hope you have a great day and that no one else has to go through an experience like this.”

I’m not sure if I ever want to use this service again after this, especially since support won’t do anything about the host harassing me.

Airbnb Guest Pays Double to Avoid Collections

I have been using Airbnb for a while now and I rely on them for work. For three days I had been trying to book my next week’s stay. I got a message saying that I couldn’t and needed to call customer service.

A couple months ago, a payment method evidently didn’t go through so now Airbnb has me blocked from making reservations. I told them that I paid the host because the payment didn’t go through back then after trying and trying to make it work.

After three days of arguing with them I said the hell with it and paid Airbnb another $271.31 to get my account out of collections. My big problem is that no one can tell me when the problem will be fixed. They even have the balls to tell me that they have no way of contacting their own collections department.

Another question that they couldn’t or wouldn’t answer: if I owed them money, why hasn’t anyone called or emailed me? Basically I’m living in Airbnb’s and unable to make reservations, which means that I will be homeless in a couple days. They didn’t care about hearing this.

I’m 54 years old and this is my very worst experience with a customer-based service. I always thought McDonald’s was the worst.

Thought I was the only one going through Airbnb Hell

I had booked an entire large house on Airbnb for a family reunion and a wedding in Orlando for one week. We have five kids, six grandkids and a few newfound siblings (through Ancestry.com) that were all going to stay under one roof. At my age I do not know how many more times I will get to be together with all of them, so I cherish each one immensely.

The day before the trip, I went to contact the host for the information to get into the house and that is when I saw a big red cancellation notice on my reservation. My heart dropped. My son and his family were in the air on the way. They were going to be the first to check in, and now that he was in the air on his way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, Airbnb had cancelled our reservation.

This was my first message to Airbnb after I saw they cancelled our reservation:

Help! Our entire family and a group of friends are flying from Alaska to Florida for our daughter’s wedding. I went to our reservation to see the check-in procedure and saw that Airbnb has cancelled our entire reservation, without contacting us via email or phone or other.

We have had this reservation for a month and are leaving today to meet up with the others. We had no idea they cancelled us.

As it turns out, our credit card was compromised last month so they sent us a new one. We had no idea this was happening until we received a new card. Airbnb must have tried to run the old number and when it did not go though they just cancelled us without any contact with me letting me know.

This is terrible. What can we do now? Why would they not contact us? Help!

All of our contacts with Airbnb and the host were cordial, but in no way helpful. At least if you have an issue with a hotel, they help secure new rooms. We ended up having to find hotels so none of us got to stay together.

Here is the full story as I told it to Airbnb and still they will not refund my deposit, even though I never cancelled it.

As we grow older we realize there are only so many times left in our life that we get to be surrounded by our whole family: our kids, their spouses, our grandkids. Every single one of them. People grow up and move away.

For our family, Florida was to be that time. And to have a wedding in the midst of this. I could hardly believe I was fortunate enough, dare I say blessed enough, for this family reunion and wedding to be upon us.

The last time we visited Florida, Hurricane Irma chased us away, but now we were back. Imagine my shock when on the night before we were to leave Alaska to begin our amazing family reunion, to see that our reservation had been cancelled. I was in disbelief. Denial. Shock.

How would I tell my kids who were already in the air and were to be the first to arrive with their new baby, my grandson? In my heart I felt somehow someone would be able to work this out, to make it right. It was not to be. I am writing this from my hotel on the other side of town from where our eldest son’s family is staying.

Our daughter who is getting married is at another hotel, and our daughter’s family from Atlanta is arriving tonight to be in yet another hotel. It turned out this was a holiday (Valentine’s Day, which is also the 37th anniversary of my proposal to my lovely bride) so getting hotels together did not work out.

I am telling you this so you will know that you are renting these amazing properties to real people, with real stories, not just numbers on paper. People who work hard so that when it’s time, they can also play hard and love even harder. Real families who cherish their time together.

As we now learned, unknown to us, our credit card was compromised. Between the time I paid my deposit and the time you were to charge the remainder. As someone who has done many hotel reservations, but never an Airbnb reservation, I always assumed if there was an issue I would be contacted. I was not.

My Airbnb profile has my phone, email, address and even a photo of my driver’s license: many ways to contact me. My hope in writing this is to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Ever. What should have been a glorious trip, has been so difficult for me (I was in charge of securing our place to all stay together).

The kids have been great though and are making the best of our situation. The wedding tomorrow will still be amazing, I am still blessed to see see the kids and grands. Florida is about 100 degrees warmer than Alaska. Life is good. But please remember that your guests are real families counting on you to help make their dream vacation destination a reality.

Your job is so important, as most families do not get enough time to play together. To just hang out together. In our situation, a phone called would have resolved this immediately. Immediately.

Because I was not contacted to remedy this situation, which I knew nothing about, I am expecting a full refund of my first deposit. I only hope if this ever happens again, you will contact the guest for a quick solution.

Tomorrow I am contacting the credit card company to demand they cancel this charge as we never received a notice of cancellation. They also hold some responsibility for cancelling my card.

It was really the perfect storm; they cancelled it right at the same time Airbnb tried charging the remainder. My problem is Airbnb never contacted me, even though they said they emailed. They also had my phone number and could have easily called or texted.

This was a really important week for us, and it has caused so much stress. What should have been an amazing week turned into another episode of Airbnb Hell.

Complaint Concerning Airbnb Gift Card Balance Usage

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I made a reservation for a family trip with a total cost of around $1,500. I benefitted from purchasing gift cards in advance so used my balance for the initial payment. Recently, I added a night to my reservation which created an immediate charge of $267. I was surprised that my PayPal account was charged even though I had enough gift card balance to pay for the modification.

I called Airbnb customer support. The agent couldn’t explain why the gift card balance was not used for this transaction. He went on hold for about ten minutes and came back referring to the gift card facts page. He texted me the link. Buried in the page is the policy that gift card balances will only be used for the initial payments and not for modifications nor the final payment.

Please note that there is no reference on the Airbnb gift card packaging that states that gift cards will be used only under certain circumstances. It says that it will be used “when you book your next trip.” Is that a clear statement of Airbnb’s gift card policies?

I asked the Airbnb agent her honest opinion as to why this gift card policy exists as it makes no logical sense to me. She said she could think of no reason why my gift card balance isn’t used.

I am now stuck with a $900 gift card balance and will be required to use my PayPal to pay for $900 with the recent modification and the upcoming second payment. I guess VRBO will be my preferred option in the future.

Last-Minute Cancellations are Schemes by Hosts

I made my first Airbnb request for my bosses staying in Orlando for a conference. The host confirmed the reservation and sent me a written confirmation. I paid the full amount for the reservation.

At the last minute, he called me to say the unit was suddenly not available, even though I have a written confirmation in hand and I paid the full amount. There’s a conference in town and he obviously got more money from someone else and cancelled on me. To get my money back, I had to “cancel” the reservation, but didn’t get all my money refunded.

When I contacted the host, he said I cancelled, not him. So now it’s a matter of he said/she said. Since Airbnb holds the money and doesn’t send it to the host until you check in, this is a great scheme for the host. Who has the money that wasn’t refunded to me?

Screwed by Poor Airbnb Host Cancellation Policies

I have been a loyal Airbnb customer now for almost ten years, staying at places both in the U.S. and internationally. I have received nothing but positive reviews from hosts I’ve stayed with, and I have never canceled a stay.

Over these last 9+ years, hosts have either cancelled or ghosted me after confirming my reservation at least three times. I don’t mean cancelling my reservation within a reasonable amount of time before my trip starts. I’m talking about less than 30 days, and in some cases, less than two weeks for trips that I had booked months in advance.

I know folks have had it worse, but the fact that Airbnb continues to let this happen is garbage. All they can offer is a voucher worth 10% of the booking costs. What is the host penalty? Anywhere from $50-$100. That’s it – it’s often a fraction of what guests have paid, many times upfront.

Well, I’ve reached the final straw with Airbnb. I’m turning 40 this year, and as you might imagine with such a major occasion, I began planning festivities well in advance. I typically go to Palm Springs with family around my birthday every year (in mid-March) anyway, but for this milestone birthday, I thought I’d open up the trip to friends.

I polled people I wanted to come to gauge budget and availability, and in November 2019, I booked an affordable place for eight people. While many 5+ bedroom options in Palm Springs exist on Airbnb, the ones that cost less than $800/night are few and far between. Especially in March, which is the beginning of peak season in Palm Springs because of major tennis tournaments, auto shows, music festivals, etc.

Again, being a regular visitor to the area and knowing about these regular events, I always book as early as possible to have the best choice of affordable options. My trip was booked for March 13-18, 2020.

On February 17 – less than 30 days before the start of my trip – I received an email that the host had canceled my reservation. No reason was provided in the auto-generated email, but when I called customer service and asked, I was told that the owner was planning to sell the property.

I obviously don’t know this person’s circumstances, but I don’t think selling one’s home (unless connected with a death) is necessarily an extenuating enough circumstance for such a short-notice cancellation. I spent nearly $3500 on this rental and booked it months ago. It was in a location chosen specifically because it was near where other family were going to be staying.

Of course, when I quickly searched Airbnb after getting the cancellation notice, the cheapest comparable option available was $4691, a difference of over $1300. I was told Airbnb’s policy was to offer a credit of 10% of the original booking cost.

If you’re not a math person, let me explain the problem here: 300-some dollars will not cover a $1300 cost difference. Not only did I express my extreme frustration, but I emphasized that since I booked this place back in November, nonrefundable flights had been purchased, time off from jobs requested, etc.

A host cancellation didn’t just mean my group was out of a place to stay; there was a domino effect of other potential cost implications. After berating customer service about this BS policy, I was approved for a $670 credit. This would have been a fine solution, because since the new property was a bit larger, the cost per person would effectively be the same as the original booking.

There seemed to be some confusing information about the place I was hoping to book, so I immediately contacted that host to get some questions answered. One of which was why I wasn’t able to split the payment as I did with the previous booking and on other listings I had seen. I was not prepared to make a single $4500+ payment, especially given the fact that I was automatically issued a refund, and with Monday being a holiday, it would be several days until those funds would be available.

I was told by the host to contact Airbnb, and when I did, not only did they take forever to respond, they told me I would see the option to do two payments on the final “Request to Book” screen. I think you can guess what happens next. There’s no option to split the payment. I’m still being told I’ll be paying $4691 right now.

I messaged Airbnb again to tell them that – quelle surprise – I have no option to split the payment. You guessed it again – during the time this all transpired, the place I was trying to book was snatched away and showed up as no longer available.

Not only has Airbnb wasted hours of my time, they’ve now cost me more money. Given the ticking clock and the big group I needed to accommodate, I was forced to book the next least expensive property I could find at $4849. Again, if you’re not a math person, we’re now at almost $1500 over the cost of the original booking with only a $670 credit.

To say that I am livid, pissed, irate, beside myself with anger is an understatement. I’m officially done being screwed by Airbnb. I had not intended to spend the few weeks before my big celebration being stressed out dealing with this nonsense, nor had I intended to shell out more money for an already expensive trip which had already been budgeted for.

The absurdly minimal recourse guests have against hosts is unconscionable. Hosts – particularly in big or popular tourist markets – are making hand over fist dollars for these rentals and when they screw up, the guests pay. What started out as being a genius idea has, like most, gone to s%*t because no one seems to care about quality or the consumer. That’s not accountability – that’s greed.

Feeling Like I’m on Candid Camera with Airbnb

I can’t imagine any experience with Airbnb customer service as frightful and frustrating as this ongoing experience. Had I not found this site I would have thought I was crazy. Get ready for a ride.

My husband and I are seniors (so they tell us). We got to Orange County on February 1st for a month’s stay while we visited our new grandson. Our son made our arrangement with an Airbnb host.

When we arrived we found this one-bedroom apartment. The major problem was that the bedroom had no closet nor did it have a dresser. My husband and I looked at each other perplexed with the same question: where would we put a month’s worth of clothes? Lay them out on the floor?

There was a tiny hall closet that could have possibly held a weekend’s amount of clothing with a portable hanging shelf which would hold the same. We were screwed. We immediately called our son who contacted Airbnb and the host to inform them we were not staying and we left within ten minutes.

Now the story gets good. The host offered to return half of our $3100, but by the time my son got back to her she rescinded the offer. Here’s where the story kicks in and the ride starts.

Airbnb told us to contact the host, which we did. This was her response:

“Hello, please stop the nonsense and willing harassment of me. This is my last communication with you. If you have further questions, please contact the rightful party.”

What? We were told to contact her… was she not the rightful party?

“I have nothing else to do with this. And nothing you’ve said has relevance or truth to it besides greed and entitlement.”

Are you kidding? What does that mean? It cost us a hotel room for days and then we needed to find a place for the month. I texted the host that there was no way that apartment could be rented for a month with no place for clothing. No response.

To make a long story short, we have, since February 1, spoken to nine different people at Airbnb who keep telling us our case had been handed over to a different case manager. It is now in the hands of a senior case “do nothing” manager with always promises to have someone contact me and tales of a procedure to follow.

One of the agents actually told us that in the amenities a closet was not mentioned. Since when is a closet an amenity? A hair dryer is an amenity.

Now get ready for the best part. We found out that the apartment complex does not allow their renters to sublet or rent through Airbnb. You’d think this meant gotcha. No. One agent told me that if they called this complex and that was the case then they could retrieve our money. No one has called them. So here I am, doubling up on my blood pressure pills, calling daily, and getting the same script from a different person.

Identification Trouble from Airbnb Hell

I’m not a frequent Airbnb user, but it has always been a good experience for some years now. Recently, Airbnb requested some real identification and asked for a copy of my passport. No problem, I can understand about that kind of request. It may even be some improvement to avoid scams or other abuse.

However, Airbnb then asked for verification with a live image of mine. I tried. I tried ten times with the app. I could take a selfie with the app, but then I just dropped back to the home page of the app. There was no kind of confirmation whether this image was received, and obviously it never was.

In parallel I tried to contact Airbnb support. They always wanted to walk me through the confirmation process. I did three times and it never worked. I asked to escalate this problem to someone who could find another solution. They walked me through the process again.

They asked me to install Airbnb on another phone. I did. Now the app asked for a confirmation code, which I received on my own phone. Again, that’s a reasonable request, but the second app did not give me any option where to enter this four-digit code which I had received.

I’m still in identification hell. I tried to book two different accommodations several times. After 12 hours this reservation will be deleted automatically since I still lack proper identification. You might guess that there should be any kind of bypass for the support team to accept any other kind of identification, but there is nothing else they claim they can do.

Broken app which has never been properly tested? Broken support, who can not help you at all? Unfortunately, there’s not much alternative to Airbnb nowadays (in Germany), other than ordinary hotels and booking.com.

Airbnb Needs to Offer More for Bad Hosts

Our flight was delayed two hours so we eventually rocked up near our Airbnb apartment in Amsterdam at 23:30, cold, wet, and tired. We were in apartment #79. We found #77 without a problem but that’s where the numbers stopped: in place of #79, there was a restaurant. Unsurprisingly they wouldn’t accommodate us but suggested #79 was in the opposite corner of the square (it wasn’t).

No worries. We called the host (who had been s%$t with his communication anyway). There was no answer via phone, Airbnb, Messenger, fax, carrier pigeon, or two cans with a bit of string tied between them. With the assistance of some very helpful locals we decided the property was one of two things: non-existent or well hidden.

S$%t happens but the real issue was Airbnb’s response. We obviously rang, waited the obligatory 15 minutes, and got the helpful “we’ll ring you back.” Waited. 00:45 (in a strange town, twenty minutes outside the centre). Waited. 01:05. Called again. “Case manager has gone home.” 01:30 called again: “Please help”; “A case manager will call you shortly.”

We gave up and dragged our luggage for another half hour to the nearest hotel we could find that would let us in. Hotels are not cheap at 2:00 in the morning.

We we were lucky. It was a nice town with nice people, and we were old enough to be unfazed. Imagine being young, scared and lost in a less convivial place. Airbnb needs to offer better security if their hosts let you down. A call back in the morning and a refund just isn’t good enough.