I hate Airbnb… even though I liked the money I made

First of all, Airbnb annoyed me from the very beginning. Even though I understand that their business model requires compliance with certain processes, I just despise how they make try to get you to run your business in the way they want (having your posting be an automatic booking; too many cancellations – like three – come with penalties, potentially even a $100 penalty). They also frame everything as if it is in the best interest of the guest when really it is the way they want to make more money.

It’s not that I can pin this on Airbnb but I did have issues with a guest. I had the mother of an 18-year-old guy book a room at my place. There were multiple people staying at the place. The 18-year-old stole some car keys and took the car of one of my tenants. It was an enormous headache. After a couple days the tenant got his car back (it was a mess inside) and the 18-year-old kid was arrested and got lucky with a “joy riding” higher degree misdemeanor. His mother was kind and paid money to help with some of the costs (detailing the car, additional cleaning, etc.) but I wish I didn’t have to deal with it at all.

All that being said, the company in general just drives me nuts. I have feelings of hatred that I am trying to slowly alleviate (I’m not typically a hater). I’m going to stick with traditional landlording (if that’s a word) and avoid Airbnb as much as possible.

Complaint Regarding Airbnb Host in Istanbul

We only wanted a one-day stay with this host in a clean and at least half decent room. The photos were decent and the information stated it was on the entrance floor. However, on arrival the young boy at the entrance took us to a room deep under a staircase, not the entrance level. It was dark, humid and smelt damp and wet, a room which was located between the electricity cable cupboards. Inside it was filthy and the furnishing was completely different from what he had in the photos. The reality was the furnishing was old and dirty (see photos).

We contacted the host immediately but he refused to help us. He told us to cancel if we wanted; there was nothing he could do. I told him it was frightening walking down dark staircases, as that is not what we were expecting. He said, “You are scared – no one else is, deal with it.”

I also told him the room had no real window and he continually disagreed and shouted there was a window. The “window” was a small storage window (see photos).

I have used Airbnb multiple times before and I know the many host policies, specifically: listing photos fairly represent the condition and layout of the space. I have not seen such drastic differences between the photos and the actual room: such filth and no hygiene. I also had to deal with a rude host. We had to stay in the room because we had no choice. If I knew about the situation, I wouldn’t have paid 315 TL for a rubbish room under a staircase. I want others to know about my experience and not to trust this host and his fake photos.

Airbnb changes calendars’ set prices regularly

Hosts, If you haven’t noticed Airbnb will change your set prices so they can sell the room. It seems there is an algorithm that lets them override your set price so the room will be booked. I offered a holiday weekend at a high price. Frankly, I didn’t care if it rented or not, so I set it high. The rates were fixed, not variable, and about $20 more than my usual rate. The room was rented for $10 per night less than my “set” price. This times four nights =$40. I doubt the company kept this money but rather they made an override so the room would be rented. I have initiated a service ticket for this. I was looking back at my bookings and noticed actually a number of nights that were let for odd numbers that ended in cents and were not the set prices of the calendar. If they are going to do this we should be notified. Otherwise it is at worst fraudulent.

Hosts Beware: The Host Guarantee is a Crock

911 to all hosts: a must read. I had a $42,000 claim due to damages to my newly renovated $400,000 home. These Airbnb guests were the first people in the home since its purchase. They carved into furniture; two large dogs were brought into the home destroying furniture, carpets doors, paint, and more. Upon discovering this, I had the guests removed. I immediately filed a claim with Airbnb and their $1,000,000 guarantee. I was told that the insurance team would be in touch within three days.

After five days with no answer, I began calling and emailing, again with no response. When I called, they told me that they had everything they needed and they don’t know why there is a delay. Still, there is no substance to their promises or guarantees. This went on for three months. I had to pay out of pocket to repair and replace everything in the entire house that I had only finished remodeling and furnishing a month before.

After three months I received an email stating I had 72 hours to respond or the offer will be withdrawn. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was forced to accept a disrespectful amount to cover at least some of my losses. I have since watched Airbnb Nightmares on Netflix and have learned Airbnb has a history of not paying its hosts for damages by the guests. We are business partners and I have been a Superhost for over 2 1/2 years. Why would they not compensate me for these damages? Hosts beware.

 

*****Update 10/17/2018******

Boynton homeowner takes on Airbnb over damage

SOS: Help Airbnb Understand my Birth Year isn’t 2020

Yesterday I was sent an email from Airbnb in the evening requesting some ID details to be updated. I did this immediately including my birthdate and a verified photo of my driver’s license. You’d have thought it would be easy, but not so. Within 30 seconds 20 emails arrived in my inbox one after another, each one notifying me that a booking had been cancelled. All 20 bookings I had in total.

Some technical glitch at Airbnb had registered my birthdate as 2020. According to Airbnb I was underage (and somehow not even born yet) so without reaching out to me as a long-time Superhost Airbnb automatically cancelled every single booking and refunded every single payment to every single guest.

I called Airbnb immediately only to be put on hold for 20 minutes by one of their operators. I called back and the call was disconnected. There was no return call. I called back again each time explaining over and over the urgency of the situation. By this stage I had frantic guests texting and calling me asking why their booking had been cancelled. One guest rang Airbnb herself only to be told that the problem was at my end because I had cancelled her booking?

It is now the next day and I am still waiting for all bookings to be reinstated. I now have guests who have paid for their original booking confirming that they wish their booking to be reinstated only to be double charged. They have received no refund for the cancelled booking. One guest is out of pocket more than $7,000. I only get to talk to Airbnb at their offshore Philippines call centre, which is useless.

They Cancelled Every One of our Reservations

I own two properties that are being listed on Airbnb in Sydney, Australia. My son manages them for me on his account. We have had a great experience with Airbnb until yesterday when the following incident occurred.

We were asked questions by Airbnb regarding verification of our identity. We were unsure whether Airbnb wanted to verify my son’s details (as the host), or my details for banking purposes. We checked with the Airbnb customer service team who advised that it was definitely myself. Once I provided this information, the Airbnb system chose to cancel every one of our reservation bookings for both properties, totaling approximately $100,000 in forward revenues. We were also locked out of my son’s account.

This occurred despite my son and I having the same last name and having ID that shows us residing at the same address. We also received no prior warning or call from Airbnb to clarify any concerns. They were just all cancelled. We have spent the past 12 hours calling the useless Airbnb help desk, their Trust and Safety team, and also compliance teams multiple times trying to find someone to reinstate the bookings and help allay the concerns of guests.

We have messaged every guest and managed to re-book only about 25% of them. We have lost approximately $75,000 in revenue. As you can imagine, this also resulted in dozens of very angry and confused guests, some of whom were on their way to our property to start their stay. We are unable to get someone from Airbnb (with any authority) to contact us to discuss assistance to fix this and get financial compensation. We have no other option than to consider legal action and to also post this terrible situation on the website Airbnb Hell.

Airbnb Loses Recording of Guest Threatening Me

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blank blankToday I discovered that a female Airbnb guest had sneaked a male into our home unannounced without paying for him. I discovered this by taking clean towels, toilet paper and water to the room when she left for her “photo shoot”. I was confronted with an unknown man who claimed to be a “boyfriend” although the female guest told me she lived in and had just flown in from LA. The male guest eventually slipped up and said he had just arrived from NYC.

I contacted Airbnb immediately to report the violation of the rules, false booking number of guests and to express that this was a potentially unsafe situation of a guest leaving an unknown unapproved unverified person in my home without so much as even a text message to let me know, let alone not asking permission. While I was on the phone with an Airbnb supervisor who was supposedly recording the event and confirmed she in fact heard the male guest and heard me ask him to leave (I asked the super to stay on the phone with me for safety while I asked him to leave),  the female guest returned, came into my home and started yelling at me that she was a 32-year-old woman, could do as she pleased, and I had no right to go up there or confront her “friend.”

There was no reasoning with these people; that was evident and why I asked the super to contact her and cancel and handle the reservation because I didn’t want nor did I feel it was my place to safely confront guests under these conditions. The super advised me that she was escalating this to the Trust & Safety department immediately. She said she also needed to speak with the guest. I advised her that was fine, but have someone else call and for her to stay on the phone with me for safety and documentation. She hung up.

The guest and the male “friend” started yelling in my home. The female backed me into my home office and blocked the door. I was totally out of composure and had to threaten to call the police. They spilled out into my driveway (I live in an upscale urban neighborhood) and of course the neighbors were not watching. They eventually left but not after the random male invited me to step out of my home to deal with him in my driveway and calling me a racist.

I went back inside and went back to my office to deal with clients and calls. About four hours later when I had a break I contacted Airbnb again because I had not heard from anyone. There was no ticket in my Airbnb mailbox and no return phone call from the company as had been promised. When I called back, the new customer service agent and his super said they “had no record of this event, no notes, no ticket and no recording and would need to call the guest to get her side of the story.”

I lost my grip with them. The guests last words leaving were, “you’ll get yours.” As I’ve reached out and as of the writing of this event six hours later, there has been no follow up. I had one email from a customer service agent that wrote me after the third call. I’ll attach the three replies I’ve sent in and not a one has had a response.

This is not the first issue I’ve had with Airbnb. I’ll post the others now that I know about this site. I’m all in about supporting some serious collective effort among hosts to bring change and safety to both hosts and guests. Airbnb alone does not seem to indicate they have the incentive to do so without some serious movement from those of us who have experienced this sort of stuff.

Little Consideration by Airbnb for Homeowner’s Asset

I just had a guest who requested an early check-in on Friday and my house manager accommodated him by letting him drop off his bags at 10:00 AM. While there the guest noticed the house manager was doing some very minor touch-up on a leather couch with some leather polish. Later that day at 3:30 PM (30 minutes early), my house manager called the guest to let him know the house was ready. The guest returned with eight people vs. the five they said they’d have in their party.

On Sunday, they complained to Airbnb that we were doing some major renovation and wanted a full refund for their three-night stay. They were scheduled to depart the next morning. My house manager and I instantly recognized the guest was a rat and trying to take advantage of the situation. So, we demanded Airbnb kick them out.

After about five hours on the phone with Airbnb and threats to call the police the guest finally left. Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage. However, Airbnb refunded the guest’s third night which I think is out of line. The guest cancelled their reservation by their trying to cheat me, my house manager and Airbnb.

In Some Countries, Airbnb Demands you Break the Law

Airbnb has an artistic interpretation of the law; I guess a lawyer would call it blackmail. Read this exchange for yourself:

“Your company has been warned by the Dutch DPA that it is illegal to demand BSN numbers in your authentication protocol. Your company has agreed to stop doing this, but you are not. The BSN number is in two places on a dutch ID, and you are refusing my payout because I cover up both BSN numbers. Your customer service refuses to help. I now have to send away guests that have payed a lot of money because of your company’s unwillingness to comply with local law an your own terms and conditions and blocking my payout.

It seems like blackmail to block payments from people that do not comply with your illegal demands. I am only emailing you because the customer service is not helpful at all and my bills are running up, and the guests are the victims of this.

You are breaking multiple laws; you can read up on the problem on this government website. Basically you cannot ask to leave the lower line of the passport/driver’s license visible because it contains the BSN number (which you also ask to cover up in the description) . You can also not ask to show the photo (which I did leave visible for you). You are not allowed to ask for a copy of the ID at all.

I expect a big global company to at least read the laws regarding these things. If the dutch people that already have sent this illegal content to Airbnb find out they can demand it back and demand a IT professional to check the Airbnb system if you really erased this illegal content. If you think otherwise, so did Facebook. I would like to comply with your ID process but not by breaking multiple laws in the process (and I will not make a problem of the photo).

By the way with a BSN number you can put someone in huge debt for the rest of their life, this is the reason it is illegal to demand or even ask for it in the Netherlands. Sure your multi billion company ‘didn’t know’ , but now you do. So please comply with the law and stop blocking my payments. Did I already mention it is illegal for you to ask for a copy of an ID at all?”

I’m with Airbnb Support. I’ll be helping you today. Give me a moment while I look into your case. At this time, you payout is temporarily held until you complete the verification processed that is required by our Terms of Service.

“Your terms of service break multiple laws.”

I understand your concerns, however, you have agreed to our Terms of Services and this is a requirement.

“The law says you can not ask for my BSN number, and you even acknowledge this in your process description. The BSN number is in two places on a Dutch ID, one on the lower line which you demand to stay visible. It has nothing to do with your terms if your terms say to break Dutch law. I am still not permitted by law to comply.”

That is up to you if you do not wish to upload your ID. However, Airbnb will not release any payout until you complete this process.

“I will send a copy of this conversation to the authorities (they say if I cannot work it out with you they will contact you. you are demanding things that are prohibited by law. If your terms say that I should break national and European law and you think your rules apply here I have sincere doubts about your willingness and/or competence to solve the issue. Thank you for the conversation.”

Since I am not sure if your issue is resolved, I am forwarding this ticket to a member of our team who can best assist you. You should hear back from us soon.

“Ok, I will postpone contacting the authorities until further contact (if this doesn’t take too long).”

2.4 User verification on the Internet is difficult and we do not assume any responsibility for the confirmation of any Member’s identity. Notwithstanding the above, for transparency and fraud prevention purposes, and as permitted by applicable laws, we may, but have no obligation to (i) ask Members to provide a form of government identification or other information or undertake additional checks designed to help verify the identities or backgrounds of Members, (ii) screen Members against third party databases or other sources and request reports from service providers, and (iii) where we have sufficient information to identify a Member, obtain reports from public records of criminal convictions or sex offender registrations or an equivalent version of background or registered sex offender checks in your local jurisdiction (if available).

7.2.3 You represent and warrant that any Listing you post and the booking of, or a Guest’s stay at, an Accommodation will (i) not breach any agreements you have entered into with any third parties, such as homeowners association, condominium, or other agreements, and (ii) comply with all applicable laws (such as zoning laws), Tax requirements, and other rules and regulations (including having all required permits, licenses and registrations). As a Host, you are responsible for your own acts and omissions and are also responsible for the acts and omissions of any individuals who reside at or are otherwise present at the Accommodation at your request or invitation, excluding the Guest and any individuals the Guest invites to the Accommodation.

8.3.1 You should carefully review the description of any Experience, Event or other Host Service you intend to book to ensure you (and any additional guests you are booking for) meet any minimum age, proficiency, fitness or other requirements which the Host has specified in their Listing. At your sole discretion you may want to inform the Host of any medical or physical conditions, or other circumstances that may impact your and any additional guest’s ability to participate in any Experience, Event or other Host Service. In addition, certain laws, like the minimum legal drinking age in the location of the Experience, Event or other Host Service, may also apply. You are responsible for identifying, understanding, and complying with all laws, rules and regulations that apply to your participation in an Experience, Event or other Host Service.

14.1 You are solely responsible for compliance with any and all laws, rules, regulations, and Tax obligations that may apply to your use of the Airbnb Platform. In connection with your use of the Airbnb Platform, you will not and will not assist or enable others to: • breach or circumvent any applicable laws or regulations, agreements with third-parties, third-party rights, or our Terms, Policies or Standards.

“If you carefully read the above parts of your own terms, you will see you are violating your own terms and conditions. If you read point 14.1, it states that if I comply with your illegal request for my BSN I am breaching your terms so I have to abide by local laws by all means (according to you) and by doing that you will not pay out anything. So please stop violating local laws, European laws, and your own terms and conditions.”

My last message to the help center was closed without a reply, so I am copying it over to this conversation.

“You (Airbnb, Inc.) are breaking term 2.4, and you are demanding I break 7.2.3, 8.3.1 and 14.1 of the Airbnb terms and conditions. If you think this is not the case a two-minute phone call to the Dutch authorities will clear this up for you. Therefore I once again politely ask you to stop blocking my payments and resolve the issue. For further details you can read my previous conversation with the help center. I already know my previous conversation is forwarded to someone who is ‘supposed to know’ what to do with it. I do not feel its my responsibility to teach you the law and that I should wait for an x amount of time before you make a two-minute phone call and then (if the stars and moon are correctly aligned) unblock my payments. I am following the Airbnb terms and conditions and I expect the same from Airbnb.

I have no decent response from your side. I have guests running up costs at the moment and you are blocking payment for their costs. Are you going to arrange other accommodations for these guests? I can not let them stay for free. I will forward our correspondence to the Dutch DPA tomorrow morning (because you are forcing me to send my BSN, which is prohibited by law). I would rather resolve the problem with Airbnb but I am a mere mortal who has bills to pay. I hope to hear from you (soon).”

Again, customer service closed the conversation without a reply.

“You (Airbnb, Inc) are breaking the terms and conditions (and the local laws) and refusing to pay me. My previous conversations about this have been forwarded to someone that apparently can help me. However, if I don’t get a reply, I am going to send away my guests tomorrow because of your total lack of cooperation. I will inform them this evening about this.”

Thanks for your message — Airbnb Support will reply as soon as a specialist becomes available.

“So Airbnb support will reply? Please don’t close this conversation without a reply like you did last time.”