Thanks to Airbnb I Gained $500 and Lost $15000

Tripping

As with many Airbnb hosts, I decided to rent my flat in Dubai for some extra money while I was going away on winter holidays; it seems like a great deal through Airbnb. Little did I know back then that I was going to lose almost half my wardrobe and three of my expensive handbags, altogether worth about $15000.

The group of guests was from France, and there were four of them: the one I was in touch with, her mom and two siblings. The guest didn’t have her full name on her Airbnb profile; she is from France – Provence area, most probably Nice. I had all of my clothes, shoes, and handbags locked with a bike locker in my closet. I left five days before the group was going to check in, had the keys left at the reception and my cleaning lady coming the day before and after their check in to prepare the flat.

As the group checked in just after midnight, they only collected the key from reception; no one was there to wait for them. When I returned to Dubai after three weeks, I didn’t even notice that first day that something was missing. The lock was in place. Only on the second day when I start unpacking did I realize that my Chanel ($6000) and Fendi ($3000) handbags were missing. That’s when the nightmare started. I realized they opened the lock, went inside my closet, and locked it back up after stealing my stuff.

I first went to the security in my building to report what had happened and ask them to check the CCTV cameras from in front my flat’s door. It took me about two days to watch all three weeks of recordings and saw no one else except the Airbnb guests and my maid entering the flat. It wasn’t the maid – she came and left carrying her own small bag. Meanwhile I started noticing more and more stuff missing: Louis Vuitton bag ($2100), Louboutin shoes, Balmain Dress ($1600), Fendi scarf ($1000), two D&G T-shirts ($800), Liujo Coat ($300) and many other clothes (the whole list is attached).

All this time I must have called the Airbnb customer service line at least seven times. Each time I spoke to a different person who said that perhaps Airbnb might reimburse me some of the money and that I had to file a complaint. I filled the complaint and involved Airbnb under the “Host Guarantee Program” – which is totally useless by the way. They took three days to reply, they never investigated anything from my side, they only wrote me a short email (screenshot attached below), and they never wanted to tell me the guest’s full name, even though they had her ID.

She created her Airbnb profile just before she booked my place – that should have already been a question mark for Airbnb that they must be professional thieves. However, Airbnb didn’t care and acted arrogant, eventually not replying to my emails. After trying and calling Airbnb again, I got the same answer as before: “We can not do anything because it is not our department taking care of it.”

What a lame excuse. Basically you can never reach the department you want through the phone on Airbnb. I involved the police as well. The investigation is still ongoing but there’s little they can do if the thieves are already out of the country. Now I am left without my expensive goods. Airbnb was totally useless and careless; they never even bothered to give me a phone call to ask about what happened and if they could be of any help. Basically Airbnb is covering for thieves, but they don’t care as long they are getting money out of it. Airbnb’s staff have no power or knowledge of what is happening around them.

I will never use Airbnb again, and you should think twice before giving your house to strangers. I should mention that I did rent my flat before on Airbnb twice but both times everything was in place. I thought Airbnb was really a decent site and not everyone can just make an account and get away with illegal situations. In addition, I thought no one would dare to steal in Dubai.

List of missing stuff: Chanel bag – $6000 · Fendi bag – $3000 · Louis Vuitton bag – $2100 · Balmain dress – $1600 · 2 D&G tshirts – $800 · Fendi scarf – $1000 · Liu Jo coat – $300 · Hermes scarf – $200 · Louboutin shoes · Kenzo dress – $300 · Michael Kors dress – $200 · Old iPhone 5 · Victoria’s Secrets bath rope · Speaker · Pair of trainers · Hair lotion, perfumes, body cream, face scrub – basically everything expensive they could found.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mj1cF3M8N5g” frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Tripping

Airbnb Allowed Bookings When My Calendar Was Blocked

Tripping

There is a flaw in the Airbnb system when it comes to same-day bookings. The following has happened to me now at least five times over the last two years (it could be more but I recall five for sure). The situation is this: if someone goes to Airbnb looking for a same-day reservation it allows them to book my studio even though my calendar is blocked. It only happens when it is a same-day booking and the calendar is blocked by me as opposed to an Airbnb reservation already on the calendar.

I have my calendar synced with booking.com, HomeAway/VRBO, and a couple others. If someone books on those other sites it automatically blocks the dates on my Airbnb calendar. In addition, I manually go in to block dates when I have a cash paying guest that is not booked through an online site. I didn’t understand what was going on the first couple times but by the third time I figured it out and I told Airbnb customer service to please forward the information on this flaw up the ladder to whoever needs the information to fix it. Every time this happens I tell them again.

Well, it just happened again on Saturday, February 10th, 2018. The guest booked at about 4:15 PM stating he would be arriving between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM that night. I already had a guest in the studio who was not scheduled to check out until Sunday. I had to call him to explain that Airbnb messed up and that this is not the first time this has happened to me. I had to call Airbnb and after waiting on hold forever (as usual) and explain what happened they cancelled the reservation with no penalty to me (supposedly). Now, to make matters worse I got an email today asking me to review this guest. The following is exactly what the email said: “You can leave a review for your guest even though the trip was cancelled. We won’t share your review until after [the guest] leaves feedback for you”.

Tripping

Add to the List of Reasons Why Airbnb Sucks

This isn’t a very exciting story, but add it to the list of complaints about this rotten company. Here is a letter that I wrote to Airbnb this morning:

I made a reservation this morning for a trip with Airbnb. I have been an Airbnb customer for a long time, and a host for almost as long. I was looking for properties that were not Instant Book, and thought I had submitted a request to just such a place. My request was approved before I expected though, just as I was in the process of booking a different place and cancelling the first request. I cannot cancel this new reservation myself without incurring fees.

I called customer service and of course due to your famously abysmal customer service, the rep couldn’t help me, and couldn’t even tell me when a representative might be able to help me. This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately; it just can’t wait a day or two for a rep to get back in touch with me. Now I am in effect stuck with a reservation that I don’t want, and this host is stuck with a bunch of guests who are very unhappy to be heading to his place. This is a horrible situation for everyone.

My point is that as with anything related to travel, like airline tickets or hotel rooms, there must be a penalty-free grace period after a booking in which to cancel. Even if it is just a few hours, like it is with most airlines. I would suggest that you add this to your service. I must say though that even if you do add this grace period, it will be too late for me.

I have been increasingly unhappy with Airbnb for a couple of years now, it’s very clear that you prioritize your profit over the experience or safety of your hosts and guests, and while I appreciate the fine human exchanges that sometimes come with hosting and guesting with Airbnb, what I now appreciate are the nice people hosting and guesting despite the rotten treatment we all get from your company. I am at an end with you. But first I have to go stay in this house that I paid for and do not want.

First and Last Time: Don’t Host for Airbnb

I’m a first and last time host for Airbnb. Long story short: I never received any funds for the guest staying at my home. Each and every time it came time to pay, there was an “error” and “a support specialist will be in touch in regards to your payment” which never happened. It wasn’t until I notified one of my current guests who is staying inside my apartment what was going on and to ask for a refund for his money – I still allowed him to stay; wasn’t going to put someone out due to the scam Airbnb was running – did I receive a call back.

They ended up deleting my host account before I could confirm the man would get his refund. I recorded the conversation as I usually do when conducting business with strangers. Airbnb has been allowing guests to book at my properties since January. Here we are in February and I haven’t seen one red cent yet. Mind you the account for direct deposit I’ve provided is the same account my employer pays me in but somehow Airbnb can never confirm any checking information given. I’ve reported them to the Better Business Bureau and advise anyone else who has endured this type of ordeal to do the same so we can get them out of the market. They’re scamming people left and right.

Bounced Between Customer Service and Trust and Safety

I’m in the U.S. and have a local co-host who manages the bookings for my house in Belize. Things have always gone smoothly with other booking sites. Then I signed up with Airbnb. They deactivated my co-host’s account. I’m not sure why. I think it may be because they sent her a verification code to my number in the U.S. and she didn’t receive it.

We have tried endlessly to get her re-activated. They told us she needs to call the U.S. office directly. She has racked up a hefty bill being put on hold. Calls from Belize are expensive. Then they told us they would send her an email with a link to a site to activate her account. That didn’t work. Since her account is deactivated there is a hold on my account too so I can’t respond to requests for bookings; they just expire.

Each time I call (after a lengthy stretch on hold) I get a different story, or I get cut off. I have spent hours on the phone. Customer service doesn’t have access to records of calls, and can’t do much. They bounce everything up to a department called Trust and Safety. They can’t be reached directly and only share limited information with customer service. The last person I talked to said I should just remove my co-host then I could do the bookings myself. This is not what I want.

In addition to lost bookings, there is a safety issue. There was just an emergency email from an arriving guest which my co-host couldn’t access. Fortunately I received it and was able to get the guest’s direct email from Airbnb so I could get her in contact with my co-host. The next suggestion from customer service was that I “snooze” my listing at times when I am not able to manage it. Why can’t they just work on re-activating my co-host? Why can’t I communicate with Trust and Safety?

Answering Simple Question Leads to Terrible Customer Service

Over the past eleven days I have been trying to resolve – with absolutely appalling assistance from customer service representatives – a rather minor issue with my Airbnb account. To briefly summarize: I did in fact qualify for Superhost status across all metrics for the last quarterly review. However, there seemed to be an issue with the ‘Review Rate’ metric – which was showing me as having received six reviews across thirteen bookings (for a review rate beneath the 50% threshold).

I had completed a booking from December 24th-30th (which was included as part of the thirteen bookings), and the guest had left me a review on January 1st (which I was told is the ‘cutoff date’). When you factor in that review (which should be included), you can see that I actually had seven reviews across thirteen bookings, which would have bumped my review rate up to 54%, thus qualifying me for Superhost status.

Since I first brought up this issue with Airbnb, I have spent in excess of three hours on the phone speaking with various representatives, on top of the time I spent engaging in email exchanges with case managers/supervisors. Again, I understand these things might take time to resolve, and I have been extremely reasonable about that. What I find utterly unacceptable is being told to expect a callback by the end of the day or the next day and then never hearing anything. This has happened to me five times over the past eleven days.

I have to keep wasting more of my time calling Airbnb and retelling my story just to get an update, only to be be told that the representative I am speaking with has no power to do anything, and that the supervisors are always (conveniently) ‘in a meeting’. Yesterday I went through the exact same process two more times (being told to expect a call back the next day), and as of 3:00 PM EST, I still have not received a phone call or any email notifying me of anything. Absolutely nothing.

I like Airbnb, and I was fully intending to use the platform as a host and a traveler repeatedly over the years. Whenever friends and family brought up the topic of Airbnb, I always spoke highly of it. I am a relatively new host, but the guests we have hosted overwhelmingly praise our hospitality. I was looking forward to continue delivering that experience well into the future.

Unfortunately, dealing with Airbnb customer service over the past eleven days has made me wonder: “If this is how they handle relatively basic issues, how would they handle a serious issue like a guest who causes damage to our home?”

When I spoke with the customer service representative yesterday, I told him that if I did not receive a call back today I would pull both of my listings and stop hosting. I would also stop using Airbnb as a traveler, and would refrain from praising the brand to friends, family, and anyone else I encountered. That would be a real shame, but I need to draw the line at a certain point. If Airbnb doesn’t respect their hosts enough to even have the decency to communicate with them then why the hell would I willingly keep doing business with this company?

Too Far? How I Taught Airbnb and Scammers a Lesson

My very negative experience with Airbnb has turned into an amusing evening. I rent out my two-bedroom apartment in the center of Barcelona for just 35 Euro per day (yeah, that’s correct, in January the off-season price is that low). I had guests from Turkey who were supposed to stay for three days. On the last day of their stay, they found out that the bathroom curtain was damp. That’s correct – it turned out that the bathroom curtain was humid after three days of their stay.

Airbnb sent me an email that the guests were “experiencing some serious issues with their stay and they need my urgent assistance”. They gave me a 30-minute deadline to reply to them. I noticed that email in 40 minutes and at that point the reservation was already cancelled on my behalf with a full refund. The Airbnb case manager wrote me that everything was okay, and the guests were willing to continue their stay (obviously for free). I asked them to explain the background of their decision, but as usual they just ignored my messages (they always do so when they rip off the host; no one answers your messages and calls and nobody cares anymore).

Then I got really mad and I sent a message to the guests asking if they had already checked out. What did they reply after staying for almost three days (it was a late evening already) in my flat? They told me that they were going to stay a little longer and they would let me know once they wanted to check out. I headed to the flat hoping to face these impudent motherf*&%ers.

When I entered the flat, there was no one inside. All their stuff was still inside, so they really decided to continue staying in my flat for free and enjoy their vacation. I grabbed all their stuff and gave it out to the homeless people on the street. By the way, they were very thankful to me. One of those homeless women was also kind enough to tell me that there was a passport in the jacket I gave to her. I checked the passport and noticed that he had no visa to stay in Europe and in fact the guest was here illegally. What a gift of fate. I passed his passport through a shredder as it was not valid.

Furthermore, I also changed the locks in my flat as they had the keys with them, so they were afterwards unable to enter the flat. When I returned home, I noticed tons of messages from Airbnb support. Finally, for some reason, they decided to reply to me. The support agent begged me to open the door for the guests and let them take their stuff.

Which guests did they mean? According to my payout statistics, I had no guests at that point. I had to reply to Airbnb that since I had no current reservations, I was unable to help them and of course I would not let some strangers into my apartment.

They first promised to pay me for one night, then they promised to pay me for the entire reservation. Of course, that was very kind of them, but I could not accept the money for the reservation I never had. Airbnb threatened that they would involve the police and of course I supported this idea. The guests went to the police station, and obviously the police officer called me to ask for my permission to open the door to these guests, which of course I didn’t give. The photo shows you what a passport of a bad tourist looks like.

Football Game Turned Disastrous for Host

What was supposed to be a routine family stay for one night with two adults and two children turned into a nightmare for me, the host. The guest booked was coming from out of town for the evening to attend a Monday night football game. He was supposed to be leaving early the next morning.

First of all, they could not follow check-in instructions and attempted to get in the wrong door, resulting in an angry phone call to me complaining that they could not get in. I realized they were at the wrong door and instructed them how to get in – no big deal really. The next day I went to change the bedding, towels, etc, and the first thing I noticed was water dripping off the counter in the kitchen, running into a cabinet and onto the floor. The entire counter was flooded and the coffee maker was plugged in and immersed in water. It was a Kuerig and was totally flooded with water. It was ruined and had tripped the circuit breaker.

Next I found all the bedding piled in the center of the bed. I removed it to find a peed up blanket, comforter, sheets, and mattress pad; even the mattress was soaked. I decided to tour the entire house at that point and found surprises in every room. My entire home had been ransacked and searched –
every room, every drawer, every cabinet and closet.

The heat upstairs was left on at nearly 80 degrees. An unfinished attic space was entered, ransacked, and the lights were left on. This was a room no one should have any reason to go into (I have now locked that room down). I went to get the vacuum out of the utility room, and it was broken. It looked like it was ridden as a toy – not used, but just abused. The plastic parts could not be repaired and it was now junk.

I opened the blinds on the patio door and noticed my awning was half extended. It wouldn’t operate anymore. The remote for it had been hanging on the wall behind a TV and it was laying on the counter. It was cold and dark out when the guest arrived and there would have been no reason to even use the awning. It appears to be ruined.

All the while, I have been trying to get an estimate to Airbnb for a resolution. I began taking pictures and documenting. Everything pointed to my final conclusion that the parents arrived with fast food and several canned and bottled alcoholic beverages, left their 12- and 6-year-olds unattended in my home, and headed for the game. What could possibly go wrong with that? Who takes their young children to a strange city, in a strange home, and leaves them alone?

All of the damages were done by the children, unknown to the parents. They later said they didn’t even know about a vacuum cleaner or an awning. Of course they didn’t – they weren’t even there. After finding several used K-cup pods, I also concluded that the kids had several cups of coffee before they broke it. Kids jacked up on coffee and left alone in a home…

I was emailed by Airbnb yesterday denying my claim in full even after providing proof, pictures, receipts, and the like. I have been in contact with them multiple times, the whole time thinking they would settle for something with their host guarantee. I originally asked for $2,500 and got nothing? It is evident that Airbnb will not honor their host guarantee even with unrefutable proof of loss. I am now working out of Airbnb Hell and looking for other options for my house so this doesn’t happen again.

Airbnb Unfairly Listens to Guests Over Superhosts

I rent out a room and have never had a bad review until these guests arrived. We had a typhoon hitting the island the day before, causing some damage to the roof. It was December 24th, 2017. The guests arrived angry because the airline lost their bags. They were well informed about the small hole in the cogoon roof (grass roof) because of the typhoon. We didnt notice a problem and the next day we had someone fixing it.

Consider: it was December 25th. We were lucky enough to find someone. In the evening of the second day, I found a message on Airbnb, stating that they cancelled the reservation on the guests’ behalf because of an outstanding situation. I called Airbnb and asked to speak to someone. I just wanted to understand what happened as I had no idea. The guests were gone too.

Basically Airbnb made the decision to cancel without even consulting the host and see what we could have done, and I had no idea what was the outstanding situation was. I lost all the money from their stay, and was not even consulted. I am also a Superhost.

I called Airbnb five times and wrote emails but no one took care of my case. After a few requests, someone forwarded me the guests’ photos. There were towels on the floor to collect water, mouse shit, and dirty corners… clearly orchestrated by the guests. The worst part is that Airbnb never consulted with me or asked me anything.

Airbnb Guests Who Keep Demanding More Test My Patience

What a disappointment to ever engage with Airbnb. We thought it be a good idea to try them as a hosting platform on advice from friends. Having already had a good response and very pleasant guests from another travel accommodation site, this was our first time experience with guests from Airbnb.

It started with all sorts of demands and requests prior to the confirmed booking of three guests that turned out to be five adults, four children, and a dog. I guess I should have been suspicious when this guy started sending me at least one Whatsapp a day (not using the Airbnb app) asking obvious questions about the house and its facilities. It got to the point where I thought he would ask if we provided toilet paper. One less ridiculous question was whether he could bring his dog – we do not accept pets, so I categorically declined.

After having the whole house booked out three times during the holiday season for between fourteen and fifteen people with hardly a minute of trouble or concern, I was surprised how many questions a single small family could come up with… including changing the booking from two nights to four and finally to six. The last question was a request of an earlier check-in, which was difficult as we had a full house just the night before, but we obliged nevertheless knowing that they only needed the rooms upstairs.

Upstairs is the original house with more than enough beds. There are two queen size bedrooms, one of which is an ensuite with a bath and shower and one room for their kids with four beds plus an additional bathroom with a shower. In addition, the full amenities of the house were available as advertised: full kitchen (stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and eight place settings), an inside dining area and outside barbecue area that is protected with sliding doors for all weather conditions and has another large table.

Downstairs there is a washing machine in a stand-alone laundry area, and a lovely secure garden complete with a splash pool and deck. Double automatic garage, security system, the works. I think it is fair therefore that my house is advertised with a base rate for four people and additional guests need to pay extra for us to open the downstairs rooms and bathrooms.

Imagine my surprise when this guy arrives (with his additional guests) and not only expects us to accommodate the additional people free of charge, but demands that we open the rooms downstairs for them (despite there being more than enough room for them upstairs). I have to say though, his wife deserves an Oscar, maybe an Emmy award, for the performance she put on. The whole nine yards: she first started insulting me as I tried to negotiate with her husband to find a compromise and then when that didn’t work, she cried, yelled, and screamed at her husband to leave, “these people are greedy and selfish…”

By this time I was thinking, “Yes! Please leave!” I don’t know why I rented the place for three people. After having a full house literally the whole season, I thought, “Shame, they are a small family and trying to save money, so it went”. I’m a sucker; they clearly had a hidden agenda from the beginning. No sooner had they moved in after we had agreed (after a rather heated discussion and his insisting that his right was to have all the rooms – 15 beds – available to him for a three person booking), that they needed to pay for the extra adults, the second vehicle already arrived.

I took deep breaths as I walked back down to my house thinking we had an understanding, and maybe now they could just enjoy the house and leave us in peace… what was I thinking?

At 9:30 PM, one of the vehicles drove past our house hooting, one of the men shouting obscenities out the window at us (my family) sitting on our patio also trying to enjoy our holiday. At 10:08, the two women rang our doorbell in a clearly inebriated state and request salt, only to disappear by the time my wife took the salt to the door. Besides leaving me with nappies in the splash pool and window frames and furniture that were used as ashtrays, there was furniture moved from upstairs into the garage, just to name a few broken house rules aside from the dog that they brought anyway.

It all comes with a price. However, there has not been a cent from Airbnb up to now, 14 days after their arrival and after our fruitless attempts to get payment sorted via customer service and the helpline. I only charged them the minimum rate. I could have let the place out many times over for a great number of people and with secure payments, if I had never let Airbnb make this booking three months ago.

Airbnb does not respond to any of my SMS’s on their helpline anymore. The last message I got stated payment had been made, which is a lie. I want to remove my property from this terrible “service” provider but I guess if I do so, I will have absolutely no chance of receiving my payment. If you use Airbnb, be prepared to use the counting method to maintain your temper and sanity… at the very least it’s a good lesson on self control.