Guest has to Cancel and I Shouldered the Cancellation Fee

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I am first time host and new to Airbnb, so I am still learning how to navigate the Airbnb system and their app. I accidentally posted two listings for one unit, which I thought would just promote my property. I received a booking from my first guest on August 22nd, which would have booked the guest from August 24th until September 8th.

I received another booking from a second guest. I was wondering why I received another booking, because the dates the first guest booked should already be blocked from my calendar. The second guest was still able to book my property. I called the second guest to explain that my place was already booked, and that I have no other property that I can offer her. The best way that I thought at that moment was for her to cancel the booking.

When she did, I received a message or email from the second guest requesting to cancel her booking. I thought I should click the cancel button which is displayed in the email from Airbnb because it said that I needed to respond to it within 24 hours. Not thinking that I would be charged the entire amount that the second guest booked, I cancelled her reservations, without knowing what would happen.

I just feel discourage from this incident. I feel that I have been ripped off by Airbnb. My second guest had to cancel her reservation five days before her arrival which I thought was more than ample time but I’m the one who is going to pay or be fined the entire amount she booked. Now tell me if that is fair.

I bought new towels and bed sheets, and cleaned and prepared my property for my guest. I provide the best service and amenities for my guest. However, with one mistake that I request my guest cancel her reservation and respond to it, I had to pay more than 60% of my total income this August. Is that fair?

Airbnb will get 60% of my total income from my property. What is left for me? I will pay my condo monthly dues, electric, and water. What is left of my pay out for august is not even enough to cover these bills. I just think it’s not fair for first timer hosts to be fine with losing such an amount. That is a lot more than my payout. If we give our clients a full refund as long as they cancel 24 hours or more before their check in, then why don’t we also do that and be considerate of hosts, especially first timer hosts?

It wasn’t my fault that I received a double booking. So why fine me? I don’t feel good about this. I’m afraid to continue listing my property here on Airbnb. I spent more money just to host and I’m getting less than what I’m supposed to earn. Airbnb gets more money.

Airbnb Cancelled all Upcoming Reservations and Didn’t Tell Me

All my reservations were cancelled by Airbnb this morning. A guest who is a bride who booked for her groomsmen contacted me first. She was not happy or calm, but kind. My account is locked and under review, and a phone call revealed “it has already been escalated as Urgent to the Trust Team.” Does urgent mean I should expect a call or email in 24 to 48 hours?

What happened? They won’t tell me what they are investigating but before I was locked out completely here were the error messages I received: we notice you are logging in from a new device (not true, but I updated my cell carrier data settings in preparation for travel to prevent roaming charges).

They also asked me to verify my personal information; my birthdate was listed as 2007. Likely their software prevents 12-year-olds from hosting. I changed and corrected it, but am certain it was never listed that way. With Airbnb’s secret number in hand I called, but am in the urgent purgatory for 24-48 hours. I did get a case number, but that’s it.

Government Authorities Should Take a Closer Look at Airbnb

Airbnb made a business decision to censor the photograph of any potential guest so that you cannot see who you are letting into your home. This is an extremely biased moved because the guest can see your picture and make a decision but a host cannot. I had a 30-year-old woman from Canada who came to the UK to study and who booked to stay two months with me after her studies had completed.

After staying two weeks, I subsequently found out that she failed all of her exams and she declared herself to be mentally ill. I live alone and became insecure and afraid because she woke up early one morning accusing me of looking through her bedroom window throughout the night. Then she freaked out saying that I was checking on her food. She spoke about having a breakdown a few years earlier where she just got on a plane from Canada to Paris and ended up sleeping with men in cars to get by.

She said that when things got really bad, she used her status as a vulnerable adult and presented herself to the French Embassy asking to be sent back to Canada. The more she talked, the louder she became. I called my sister and kept her on the phone while I tried my best to talk her down. Eventually she went off, ranting and raving. I locked myself in my bedroom and called Airbnb. I was put on hold and no one came back to me.

The next thing I knew, the woman had run through the door, so I decided to email Airbnb over and over again. I also called and got promises of a return call. The next thing I knew, my doorbell was ringing really loudly. When I answered it, there were three policemen standing at my door. This mentally ill woman accused me of throwing her out, so I had to defend myself to the police by showing them that, unbeknownst to me, she had cancelled the remaining six weeks and that this was a ploy for her to get a full refund from Airbnb.

The police were good that day and suggested getting her out as quickly as possible. The so-called mentally ill woman was good; she knew how to work the system by professing to be mentally ill. The police packed her things in their police car and took her away. Would you believe that this woman texted me afterwards, apologising and saying that it was the only way that she could get someone to move her things for free?

Furthermore, a liaison person arranged for her paid flight back to Canada and she boasted that she got a full refund from Airbnb who had initially told her that she would have to forfeit a 30-day cancellation fee. For 12 hours, Airbnb never got back to me nor supported me through this awful ordeal. When I called they refused to give me my full cancellation fee no matter how I argued. They give extremely poor service and lied nonstop.

Things could have really gotten out of hand. It could have been a physical altercation if I had not played it cool that day. It was an awful experience and Airbnb did nothing. The authorities need to look into this organisation. The way this organisation runs things, someone is going to get killed one day. You just don’t know who you are bringing into your home.

Airbnb Wouldn’t Send Messages from Guests to Hosts

We are new hosts and had a really bad experience with Airbnb. Airbnb didn’t send us SMS messages from guests, not even for one. As we are not on the Internet all the time (and we didn’t get those SMS messages from Airbnb), of course we didn’t respond to guests. The guests didn’t book, we lost at least 250€, but also lost other guests, who had to book another place, which was more expensive (we had the lowest price in the city: 13€/person/night) and of course with a bigger service fee for Airbnb only.

Maybe the reason was just that: for guests to pay a bigger service fee. That takes us to this conclusion: for just a few euros or dollars more, everyone loses, guests and hosts. You can just imagine what could happen if some guest (maybe you) booked instantly: Airbnb wouldn’t send you an SMS, the guest would face closed doors as the host might not be home that night, and the guest would be in the middle of the street in one of most dangerous cities in the world. Who would care?

Airbnb didn’t gave me any answer as to why they didn’t send an SMS from guests to me for one whole week. Because we didn’t respond to guests (as we didn’t know about their questions before booking) we also had a really bad response rate, which Airbnb didn’t correct as promises. Guests base their decisions on the response rate too. We lost a whole day due to talking with Airbnb staff, but nothing happened: he just talked and talked.

Be aware when you search for a place on Airbnb: the cheapest ones are never on first listing page. It is a shame for such a big and rich company to make so many ugly mistakes in year 2019.

Risks for Hosts and Guests in Unapproved Sublets

I own approved short-term accommodation in Australia. The state government and the local authority require me, as part of the conditions to operate, to comply with requirements of health, safety, insurance, and local amenity or I can be closed down and/or fined.

For example, doors leading into or out of the accommodation cannot have a lock on the inside requiring a key to be opened in case of fire, the smoke/fire detector system is superior to that required for normal residential use, linen must be washed every three days in at least 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees F), pests (cockroaches, rodents, flies etc) must be controlled by regular fumigation/baiting/barriers, and pets are not allowed in the kitchen, bedrooms or swimming pool area due to disease.

Very strict rules are in force if I supply any food, e.g. sugar cannot be available in an open container, milk must be date stamped and in an unbroken sealed container and refrigerated below 4 C with logs of purchase and use by date, and the fridge must have a thermometer and be kept below 4 degrees Celsius. Regulations for the swimming pool are horrendous but all for the health and safety of guests. I also have to pay a yearly license fee to operate.

The premises are regularly inspected, without notice, by Government Health & Safety Officers. These measures obviously cost more than that of normal residential accommodation as they are over and above the usual requirements. Consequently, I cannot compete in price with an individual who rents out on Airbnb a spare room in their home or the whole of their accommodation when they go on holiday. Airbnb encourages people through incentives to let out their accommodation, with no checks of their legal standing to do so. Unapproved and illegal lets regularly crop up on Airbnb before the authorities shut them down.

People being people seek the cheapest deal and so bypass me in favour of an Airbnb sublet. This causes loss of business for me. It also means guests expose themselves to hazards, disease and financial risks by staying in unapproved accommodation.

For example, a recent newspaper report of an illegal Airbnb property advertised as ‘family friendly’ had a young family as guests over Christmas. The property had swings built by the owner. The father was pushing his two young children on the swing when it toppled over as it was not anchored in the ground. The younger child was crushed and killed on the spot. The other child was admitted to Intensive Care at hospital with life threatening injuries. The owner had invalidated his insurance as he was operating illegally so stands to lose his house in litigation for personal damages/injury. He was also fined by the authorities.

This would not have happened it he had stayed in approved accommodation such as mine. Bear in mind that all insurance is invalidated if not operating legally or to purpose. Most homeowners have residential property and contents insurance. Insurance companies view letting out a room or property to the public as a commercial activity and not residential use by the owner/occupier. Thus any claim for third party liability, damage, loss or injury will be dismissed by the insurer if found the property was not used in accordance with law and insured purpose.

We all know how insurers try to evade paying out if possible. This means a guest must proceed against the host’s personal assets, which may be nil if renting and not an owner or insolvent.

The choice is yours: make some bucks via Airbnb and risk losing your home or being declared bankrupt if things go wrong as well as being prosecuted, or, if a guest, save a few dollars and risk sickness, injury or death without benefit of the host’s insurance, if any, if let out illegally.

Airbnb Hosts are Screwed. Just say no.

Welcome to Airbnb 2019. I have removed my listings. My how things have changed. I have been an Airbnb host since around 2010. I have always been a Superhost, for what that’s worth. It used to be so easy and so cool. Now it is truly a nightmare.

The focus has changed to be politically correct and all for the guest. The guest gets to see your photo but you can’t see theirs until they book. Really? How is that fair? Like a guest won’t discriminate based on my looks?

Any time you talk to customer service you are sent to India. Their accents can be so thick I have to ask them to repeat things and then I have to repeat things to them as well. Who is this working for? Why can’t they hire people in the states for these jobs? I had my account locked out for no reason and that has never happened. I will just make a list of what has happened this year.

I was locked out of my account. It took numerous calls to India and then no follow up. Magically it was unlocked.

My listing disappeared. It would show up in a Google search. When I logged into my dummy account (one I set up to see what guests actually see) it was not listed. It took two days and many phone calls to try to even explain this to the customer service. I kept telling them you need to look at this with an Airbnb account logged in, not my host account. Again hours on the phone. Exhausting.

I only take guests who have a complete profile. I state that in my listing in the first sentence. Yet Airbnb wants me to take anyone.

We no longer have the right to refuse a guest for any reason. If a guest takes too long to respond I politely tell them they need to respond soon or I won’t accept. Well Airbnb didn’t like that and it puts a mark against your account.

My feeling is Airbnb no longer want hosts who live in the homes. They want a turn-key operation just like a hotel. I am extremely upset by this. It’s like they want to run an underground hotel.

The host is not valued. We are being pushed out by investors and Airbnb loves that.

If you call and ask any questions they don’t want to hear about it. They blocked off a day for a guest who did not have their ID. They blocked that day out for 11 hours for the “potential” guest to provide Airbnb with an ID. I told them they better unblock the date as this was a new user and there was no guarantee I would even rent to him.

After this happened is when my listing disappeared. I do believe they take a retaliatory stance towards hosts.

Airbnb is actively weeding out owner occupied listings in favor of investor owned units. This is an underground hotel situation. They wont tell you to quit, they will just do what they did to me: make your life miserable so you quit.

Airbnb has turned very greedy. Any good they do comes off the back of the hosts.

Airbnb does not care about the safety of the host. If we don’t feel comfortable with a potential guest we should not be penalized for not accepting them.

Airbnb no longer has my support. I will do what I can to keep them from growing in my city. I will now oppose them. I see what their goal is. They want to get rid of owner-occupied properties and move into self-run homes turned into underground hotels.

I see the error of my ways with supporting Airbnb. All it does is cause more people to travel.

Guests are not as appreciative as they were when I first started. Most guests are still nice, but I can tell some wish we were not living in our home as they have gotten used to renting cheap space with no owners present.

I rented my space to share with other humans and had an experience. Airbnb used to be about that. Now they want to just be an underground hotel. Airbnb could care less how we hosts feel. Just say no to Airbnb.

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Home Trashed by Airbnb Guest and no Customer Support

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An Airbnb guest trashed my home and Airbnb has been of no help whatsoever. A guest and his friends smoked in my home after specifically being asked not to. They emptied my locked storage areas and left indoor furniture and electrical items outside in the garden. They left cigarette butts all over the house and used the kitchenware as ashtrays. They ruined my coffee table and brand new kitchen worktops. My extendable dining table no longer closes fully or properly.

All this damage along with photographic evidence was provided by myself to Airbnb on the same day they checked out. I requested from the guest a sum of money to cover the damage but had no response. Airbnb did not intervene even though they supposedly do this after the 72 hours. They did not respond to my emails with any relevant information.

I was redirected to another member from the customer support team twice and on both occasions just told that they were sorry and will be in touch soon. I have been chasing Airbnb all week for updates or at least a timeline of procedure and what to expect. I have had no information or help at all.

Finally I called Airbnb to speak to a person who “couldn’t help” because it was not his department. I asked him to transfer me but he couldn’t do this either. When I asked him to give me the number of the department I was told that he couldn’t help with this either.

It has been a full week and I have had my home trashed and my own holiday ruined and Airbnb have done absolutely nothing to provide peace of mind or any help during the week. Their website suggests that these issues are dealt with swiftly and within a week. I find this very difficult to believe. I am stunned that such a well-established business like Airbnb can tolerate such incompetence within their customer support team.

Airbnb Strict Cancellation is not as Strict as it Seems

Airbnb gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy which, per their terms, means a ‘full refund’. A woman booked my house many months ago at a heavily discounted price for this week. I received a message from Airbnb today stating that they cancelled her reservation today as she didn’t complete the payment. When I called (the email had zero explanations and was automatically generated) they stated that they would pay me only $800 (payment due was $2450) as she didn’t pay in full. Essentially, even if you have a strict policy and no privity of contract with the ultimate guests, Airbnb asks the hosts to carry the burden of their credit risk. Of course, customer service is anonymous and miserable and they refused to connect me to their legal team to explain to them why their cancellation policy is currently wrong and misleading.

Account Deleted After Guest Used Dodgy Credit Card

I began my journey with Airbnb in November of 2017. I manage an apartment building for my mom – who is the owner – in Accra, Ghana. Everything was going well; I had hosted over 30 guests, became a six-time Superhost with five-star reviews, and all was good in my world. 
  
In April 2018, I received an instant booking with an email confirmation from a new guest for a same-day arrival. I called the number attached to the booking to see when the guest would be arriving. The guest said within an hour. This hour stretched to a five-hour wait.
 
Call it intuition or something, but I went back into my Airbnb account and found that the reservation had disappeared from my inbox. I still had the email confirmation. I immediately called the guest to say I didn’t have a booking for them and that they shouldn’t come. They didn’t complain and just simply hung up. I then messaged Airbnb support to let them know what happened and was told that they had flagged the guest’s account for fraudulent activity. I thought the matter was closed. 
 
About a month later (mind you, it was a quiet month with no bookings) a former guest who had my number contacted me asking if I was still on the platform because she couldn’t find my listings on Airbnb. I started checking and couldn’t find my listings either even though in my hosting dashboard, all looked well.
 
I contacted Airbnb support and my client did as well. The first few contacts were useless with the agents telling me that there was nothing wrong with my account. One week later, nothing was solved and I began to call the helpline. After three separate calls, I found an agent who actually wanted to help. She investigated for about four more days and finally found out that the Airbnb department that deals with fraud and works pretty autonomously sent me an email back in April asking me to confirm my account or my account would be put on hold.
 
I frantically went looking for the email and found it sitting in my spam folder. A follow-up email was never sent. Long story short, after responding to the email, it took a week plus a few more calls to get an email response saying that my account had been activated again and that I should be mindful of the Airbnb Terms and Conditions. 
 
Two weeks after being reactivated, I received a new booking for a same-day arrival. The person who booked said he would be coming from another city the following morning but his cousin and a friend would be arriving that evening. The booking was paid for and there was government ID submitted.
 
The cousin and friend arrived and proceeded to stay for the entire eight-night reservation. The guest who booked never arrived and never returned my phone calls. At the end of the eight-night stay, the cousin said he wanted to extend the stay but this time using his own Airbnb account. I told him to go ahead and make the reservation when they were ready. By this point they had moved out of the apartment.
 
Two nights later, I received a booking request from him on Airbnb. I confirmed it and the reservation was confirmed. I received an email confirming it from Airbnb. I went about my errands and saw an email that came through stating that the reservation was cancelled. Then I received another from that special Airbnb department stating my account had been deactivated for not following the terms and conditions.
 
I called their agent immediately and was told that they were not obliged to tell me why my account was deleted. I sent an email telling them how I came to know the guest and then received another email saying that my account was permanently deactivated and they didn’t have to explain why. 
 
Thanks for reading that. My takeaways from this were:
 
– I was terribly disappointed that a so-called professional company would treat its hosts so poorly.
– There was a new scam being run by guys in West Africa and instead of Airbnb protecting the hosts, they decided to protect themselves and not explain their position.
– If you are a host and receive a same-day booking from someone, please go back in the system and make sure the reservation exists or you will end up the same way I did. 
– Think twice before reporting any dodgy behavior because you may be held liable for it.
 
Now, I shall look for other portals to list my properties on but the financial damage has been felt.