Not Airbnb Hosts, but Still on Mailing Lists

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I pity the poor investors who will eventually be parting ways with their money when (and if) Airbnb gets their act together to file for an IPO. Today I received the Airbnb Magazine in the mail. I am not a host or guest. The name on the “To:” portion of the address label was to a Mr. Richard Fabian. Mr. Fabian was the supposed “host” of our home when he set up a fake account portraying my family as Airbnb hosts.

The outcome of that story is buried somewhere in the Airbnb Hell server but basically we had people dropping by the house unannounced looking for their key. The fact that we never heard back from anyone at Airbnb regarding this fraud does not surprise me now that I’m receiving their magazine. Throwing away money by mailing on what looks like an expensive rag to a fraudster is par for the course of this organization.

Airbnb, you grew too big too fast. Stop for a moment and count the bedbugs.

Airbnb Customer Disservice Leads to Threats

I actually have never had any problems with Airbnb. I’ve been a host for a couple of years, and thus far, I’ve had great guests, and great experiences. I just had a guest who wrecked something so I mentioned it in the review. She was shocked and went above and beyond to remedy the situation (her husband had used our white towels to clean his muddy shoes, but she ordered a new towel set from Amazon and had it sent to us).

Because she did this, I wanted to go and either delete the review or mention that she fixed the problem… just to be fair. So this is all great, but then I landed on a customer service guy who was the antithesis of anything customer service oriented. Here is our conversation. Remember, this is a customer service / resolution representative.

“It appears what I have told you so far hasn’t made it to you. So here it is again – shorthand. I’d like to change a review I made of a guest, as they left a significant mess but they remedied the situation and I don’t think it’s fair to leave that review up about them without also sharing the actual outcome, as she went above and beyond expectations to fix the problem.”

“Unfortunately, I’m unable to resolve your case so I’m forwarding you to a team that can better assist you. While response times may vary, we do our best to respond within 24 hours. Thank you for your patience.”

“Will they call me or how does it work? I’m not waiting on here for 24 hours am I? Are you still there? Hello? Anybody out there?”

“Relax, my colleague said within 24 hours and it’s been three minutes. I’m from Airbnb’s resolutions team, please let me have a look right now.”

“I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wait here for 24 hours or what. Thank you for your kind communication and your efforts to help.”

“Wow. FYI the difference between 9:34 and 9:40 is six minutes, not three.”

“Relax? This communication is definitely going to head office.”

“So you are already threatening me? That’s not very nice of you.”

“I have just been assigned to your case. It’s not a threat. I’m telling you about accountability. I’m trying to do a good thing on here, and you’re telling me to relax? That’s very resolutiony of you. You were assigned to my case and came on and told me to relax? For real? You’re acting like you’re an anonymous Twitter user, and you’re not. You’re representing a company that is global, and makes a lot of money. I will absolutely be sending this communication for accountability. You hold your hosts and your guests accountable for their behaviour, so I think it’s only fair to do the same with the so called ‘customer service’ representatives.”

I particularly like how he says “You’re already threatening me?” showing us all that he perceives that gets threatened regularly and it’s just a matter of time. I’m guessing if one pulls up his other communications, there will be a lot of anger and animosity. This is not a guy who should be representing any company in a customer service way, and he might want to go back to his Twitter troll ways.

The great thing is that he’s not anonymous, and we do know where he works and who he’s representing with his toxic aggression. I will also be sending a hard copy of this communication to the address Airbnb Hell has supplied. Just because. If we’re all held accountable for our behaviour, so too should the jerks representing Airbnb.

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Airbnb Decides it’s Okay for Guests to Stay for Free

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I was a host with Airbnb for almost three years. I own a beautiful villa on the island of Phuket and I’m not greedy so for a 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom villa. I charge $300 a night, while nearby hotels are charging that for one room per night, so I’m fair.

Airbnb had some people stay at my villa during a violent storm. I warned these people that the Thai weather commission had issued violent weather warnings for the south of Thailand. During the night, around 2:00 AM, the power went out in the south of the island. The guests called me to complain at 2:00 in the morning, I informed them that my power was also out and I could not come over to fix anything.

The following day I called back to be yelled at for all the money to be refunded in full. I informed them that I am not allowed to do an off-site transaction as Airbnb will hold me responsible. I spoke with Airbnb and was told that storms are not my fault and nothing would be held against me.

After these guests complained that the power went out Airbnb canceled my listing and told me that any guests who have booked already will be allowed to stay at my property as I have agreed to do so. I contacted Airbnb to inform them to take their customers and put them where the sun don’t shine. All in all, Airbnb is a rubbish company and needs to change their ways. As you can see, my villa is a complete dump according to this company.

Host Guarantee Means Nothing to Airbnb

I will be talking about the devastating and very much time consuming that I have been through since August 1st until today. Almost 40 tiring days have passed with no result but that feeling of being very much ignored with many saved responses by the case manager from the resolution center remain.

I had a guest who robbed my apartment, taking an expensive Canon camera 50mm f/1.2 lens and an ironing machine. I overlooked the ironing machine and the fact that she had left permanent stains on the bed cover which I bought new right and I considered them collateral damage after the one-month reservation.

However, the 50mm lens was $1,472. Thus I have reported this incident to Airbnb support center on the phone and by messaging from August 1st until the 10th. I talked with tens of agents and case managers and I sent them all the photos and documents that they needed. They told me they would contact me soon.

Anyway, this was a lie from all of them and my first experience with such an incident. On the 11th of August I called again and a case manager told me that I had to request a refund from the guest who robbed my property. I have done so and she denied it, so I got the resolution center involved.

They automatically send you an email that it should take seven days to have your case resolved. It took until today, which is 25 days. This required all the patience that I had. I sent all the documents that they requested with every tiny detail and I waited and waited. Then they requested a police report which was a very strange thing to ask for after 25 days (I had four guests in my apartment since then). Why didn’t they request it when I called, messaged, and reported this incident?

I managed to go the police station and told them every tiny detail. They gave me the police report. By the end of that day I thought Airbnb would honor their Host Guarantee. I then resent all the photos, conversations, and documents.

Since then the case manager took five days to respond to my emails. He emailed me very strangely as if he knew nothing about my case. He said – and I’m quoting from his mail – “Thanks for your response. In order for an incident to be eligible for Airbnb assistance, the reported damages must have been caused by a guest or an invitee of the guest. You are free to pursue reimbursement from your guest directly. However, per this requirement, this case is not eligible for reimbursement. You may review the Host Guarantee terms here. If you have other questions about the Host Guarantee and what is covered feel free to respond.”

As if I didn’t involve them after I requested the refund from the guest directly. I emailed him back and he didn’t answer of course. Then I called Airbnb and after a very long conversation – thirty minutes – in which I had to tell the whole story from the first detail, I requested that they change the case manager who is investigating my case. He responded shortly by email: “After a thorough review, we have decided to uphold our original decision. We determined that a payout could not be processed in this instance. We consider this decision final.”

I will unfortunately be un-listing my Airbnb apartment. Although I met with many great guests, I would never have done this if I hadn’t been that ignored.

Guests can Extort because Airbnb doesn’t Enforce its Policies

The Airbnb Extortion Policy prohibits “guests threatening to use reviews or ratings in an attempt to force a host to provide refunds.” However, Airbnb doesn’t appear serious about enforcing this policy, so guests can happily extort hosts to provide refunds for any frivolous concocted reason. Hosts have little recourse because the guest can always state their frivolous reason as their “personal experience” in their review and leave a one-star review in retaliation if their unreasonable demands are not met.

Here is what happened in my case. The guest knew at check-in that there was another concurrent guest’s dog on the property in the shared apartment listing but she claims she did not know that at the time of booking and that my not telling her that explicitly was unacceptable. She knew within moments of check-in that there was a dog locked in the other guest’s private space.

I offered to have the dog moved to a downstairs room on a different floor and she simply said “It’s fine. I just feel bad for the [locked up] dog.” It remained locked on a room on her floor. At nearly midnight of her last night’s stay, she messaged saying she was unhappy because of the dog’s crying (probably wanting to be taken out) and that she was allergic to dogs (surprise).

I immediately apologized and sought to address the situation but within moments of my response, she sent me another message saying she moved to a hotel and asked me to refund that last night’s stay with what was clearly a veiled threat, “I am keenly aware of review issues and I have no intention of leaving a bad review… I have left and moved to a hotel. I realize it is late and you cannot book someone for this night. However, I would appreciate a refund of tonight’s fee.”

I politely reminded her that her booking was on a strict cancellation policy, so I could not refund her. She went to write several long messages about why she deserved to be refunded, threatened escalating it to Airbnb or a credit card chargeback, tried all the escalations, and lost because her case had no merit. She retaliated by leaving a one-star review as was clearly implicit in her earlier threatening message (quoted above).

Airbnb seemingly considers her review to not violate its Content Policy because it allows a guest to state whatever they want as their “personal experience” and doesn’t seem to care to stand by its extortion policy. A guest can simply blackmail hosts by asking them for refunds on frivolous grounds, and even if they don’t explicitly threaten a bad review like in my case, the host knows the implicit threat exists.

There is little the host can do about a bad review. A guest could literally say, “I felt cheated because the place’s location felt like it was on the moon, so the listed location felt inaccurate” and leave a one-star review and Airbnb won’t do anything about it.

A reasonable customer service rep might help get it removed but that is rare and their policy is such that it explicitly allows guests to report obviously verifiable lies as their personal experience (as long as it doesn’t violate other parts of the Content Policy, like no discrimination, hate speech, etc.). Seems like a poorly worded Content Policy or at least a poorly enforced one.

No Payment from Guests who Already Stayed

Airbnb still hasn’t resolved my payout issue. They have taken funds from my previous guest and not provided a payment into my requested account. They seem to think it is acceptable for me to host guests but not receive any payout. I updated my payment details on their website prior to my guest arriving but often details that are updated do not save. I often find their site very glitchy.

After contacting them several times via their message centre they are still unable to resolve this and make payment into my proper bank account, one that is open and live. The customer service with this company is appalling. The open threads for resolving issues, though polite, are completely unhelpful and the message threads are closed every time without any resolution to my issues. The customer service is completely disappointing.

How do I go about getting payment for my previous guest? No one seems to be able to assist with this.

Airbnb Resolution Center and Customer Service Hell

It’s been over a month of going around in circles. I contacted Airbnb regarding some pricing issues; they turned on smart pricing without our permission and we caught them. We asked for the difference or we would need to cancel the reservation. There was no reply. We called and were told they would get back to us in 24 hours. Nothing.

Fast forward to 10 reps, all claiming a 24-hour response time, and a month later, still nothing. We’re still waiting for the resolution and money. but nothing. We are chasing after them and it has caused so much stress and affected our health.

Incompetency and unprofessionalism is what the resolution center is known for, but I had no idea it was this bad. They are just trying to tire you out and make you give up. It’s amazing how there is no one there to keep them accountable. It is an exploitative company taking advantage of both the guests and hosts.

We are no longer using Airbnb and have told our friends and family about our experience. They have stopped using them until we have a resolution. When you call in, customer support will apologize, create a ticket, then pass you to the resolution center. They “will” reply in 24 hours, but you’d be lucky if you hear anything from them. For such a large company, their system is set up so they win. They need to be held accountable. If you feel frustrated and angry, you’re not alone…

Ripped Off After Host Lied About Location

I am disappointed with Airbnb. I made a reservation for September 9-12 on the basis the apartment was in lively location above a trendy bar. I found out this was not the case, and cancelled having discussed with my host who agreed to a 50% refund immediately and 50% when she re-let the property.

I searched in past few weeks and again today for the property and it does not appear coming up as being available for rent on those dates, which leads me to assume it is no longer available. Having read the latest review of the property, it was shut down recently by the fire officer due to dangerous gas smells. If this is the case, I presume it’s not available (quite rightly) but why should the host get to retain my deposit?

Airbnb had no reply for me. This is grossly unfair and borders on fraudulent. I’ve tried to call and speak to the help line but am getting nowhere.

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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.