Need Support after Getting Robbed of over $2000 by Airbnb

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I have been a host in Kobe, Japan for several years with Airbnb and as a Superhost, I had many satisfied guests and enjoyed very decent reviews. Around mid-January this year, Airbnb sent me a notice to do a verification of my account, threatening to block payouts if I did not complete it before February 4th.

I immediately sought out help from Airbnb support staff who walked me through the entire process and helped me fill in the form until the support staff himself was 100% satisfied that everything was in perfect order. He also confirmed clearly that any payout would not be blocked as the verification process was successful.

Below is proof of that chat where he congratulated me and confirmed that the payouts would not be blocked at all. I received a booking for 220,000 Japanese yen for check-in on February 11 and check-out on February 27th (a 17-day booking) with a specified payout date to me for February 13th. Today is February 17th and the nightmare I am facing is already four days into the process of dealing with the most incompetent so-called case managers and support staff.

The experience I am having in trying to collect my money is abusive, and nothing short of real torture as they are all behaving like thugs sitting on my money illegally and giving me the royal run around while whistling Sweet Dixie. No host should ever have to be subjected to this kind of torture I am facing just to try and collect what is rightfully due to me.

This kind of behavior from Airbnb usually comes as a prelude to bankruptcy. I am alerting all hosts to please be cautious because the tactics Airbnb are using here to rob me of my money are nothing short of gangster ones. I have no idea when I will see my money, I have no idea when my nightmare for chasing for my payout will stop, and I have no idea of what options I have.

I am reaching out to all the hosts reading this to please share your experiences with me if it can help me get what is due to me from these thugs. The guest from this payout is still staying in my property and Airbnb is threatening that if I use the option I suggest, i.e. ask the guest to cancel her reservation with Airbnb and demand a refund as I will waive all cancellation fees, to pay me directly, then they will penalize me for trying to deal directly with the guest and bypassing them.

The guest is still staying in the property until February 27th. I do have time to seek some sort of agreement with her but I don’t want to do anything to pay a hefty price later. Any advice on this matter would be highly appreciated. I just want to warn all hosts now and in the future to be totally aware of these gangster tactics by Airbnb to sit on your money whenever they feel like it, as if they have a right to take your funds. This is tantamount to stealing. Please be careful not to get trapped as I have been.

Right now I don’t know what more torture I have to endure from these thugs and their team of the most incompetent staff on the planet. I keep banging my head against the wall trying to recover my money from them. Any advice or helpful comments would be highly appreciated.

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Robbed as an Airbnb Host, No Payment Coming

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I have been hosting on Airbnb for quite some time now and I had a reservation for January 22nd-26th. My transactions say that I was supposed to receive a payout of 1600 USD on the 23rd. It is now February 8th and I still have no idea when or if I am going to receive my payment. I have had at least a dozen incompetent case managers that have different stories on why I did not receive my payment and how they are going to help me. No one knows how long it takes for them to process my payment because it is a “technical” issue and that is a department only they have access to.

What should I do… call a lawyer?

Airbnb Guest from Hell Blackmails Host to Not Pay Damages

I was a host for five years and didn’t have a singe issue with tenants, but still, a guest from hell arrived to rent a room in my beautiful apartment. He violated all the rules of my home immediately. He smoked cigarettes and then weed day and night. He slammed the doors 24/7. He was extremely dirty and the apartment had a horrible smell.

Then he claimed he had a medical prescription to smoke weed. He informed me that he arrived in my city to see a psychiatrist, as he was ‘crazy’. He showed me other medicine he was taking. The man was very tall and huge, triple my size, and he was screaming and shouting. He was throwing his things against the wall.

I thought I was in a horror movie. I was absolutely terrified and scared for my life as a single female being in the house with him. I contacted Airbnb and they told me that they were cancelling this reservation. However, they couldn’t “reach” the tenant and it was I who had to inform him, evict him, and to involve police. They washed their hands of it, leaving me by myself with an aggressive man who was threatening me and refusing to leave.

That was not the end of it. Airbnb sent me two emails informing me about their Million Dollar Guarantee, probably expecting me to claim a lot (fortunately, nothing was damaged). At the same time, in a third email Airbnb immediately accused me – instead of apologizing for their total lack of help to evict this tenant from hell – by issuing me a warning that my email to the customer service was discriminating.

Just to clarity, in my email I simply asked them how they ensured the safety of hosts because people who have mental issues of such proportions get on the platform. What policy is there in place to protect the hosts? Apparently hosts cannot ask valid questions like that, or they are shut down immediately as it is deemed “discrimination” by Airbnb. They even sent me a link to anti-discrimination policy.

What a scam. They lie in all their communications. They abuse and effectively blackmail hosts – preemptively – to ensure no claims for damages are filed, and so they don’t pay. When I asked what action they did take against the tenant, they didn’t give me any details; as per their policy, it’s an “internal” matter. They do what they want and how they want, as long as these guests from hell pay them commissions.

Airbnb really scams hosts because they provide no guarantees for safety and security for our homes. Even if Airbnb covertly turns our homes effectively into asylums for mentally ill people, it’s okay because Airbnb can still make some money off it. They don’t care about hosts, just use and abuse us to make commissions. I really can’t wait till they file for IPO as then all their scams and abuses will explode right in their face, and the market will punish their abuse immediately. Airbnb won’t be able to avoid class action lawsuits at that point.

Solution to Airbnb Guests Damaging Properties

To hosts or those who are thinking of opening their own Airbnb. I have been hosting for over three years with 67 properties, and had over 50,000 guests stay with me. I met many other hosts and the biggest issues they all run into are with negligent guests. In my units alone I have had over 10% (5,000) of my guests violate my house rules.

Airbnb is based on trust. A guest, AKA a stranger, is entering your home and you have no idea who they are or their intentions. When violations occur, you must be able to prove them, and Airbnb always sides with guests. How do you prove smell over the phone? It’s rare, but few times, I was able to prove that a guest violated my house rules, threw a party, and thanks for my live notification system – AKA neighbors – I was able to keep the $250 damage deposit, remove the guest, and reopen my calendar for new bookings. I realized that I just made $600 of a violation.

Three major common and costly issues I face on daily basis along with other hosts:

Indoor cigarette and marijuana smoking – causes smoke to get into the walls and ventilation making it hard to remove. This cost me cancellations or horrible guest reviews.

Theft – There is new scam going around. Airbnb guests used fake IDs to book my unit for three days, and while you are gone they list all your valuables on Craigslist, etc., and basically have a garage sale in your unit without you being aware. By the time my cleaners got to the room, the only thing that was left was the lock and forks. It cost me about $5K to replace everything and a $500 cancellation. Airbnb ignored the claim.

Parties – Some of our properties are in Florida, AKA party towns. We have guests who threw parties, smoked, drank, caused major damages to the furniture and walls, and destroyed neighbors’ pools… the list is long. Which again, cost me time and money and many police reports.

I figured out a way to fix these issues, using technology, by building it myself. I want to protect all 680,000 hosts, and that’s why I have built and developed a patented, smart smoke detector designed to protect and prove violations. It is federally illegal to tamper with, and has a built-in tamper-proof sensor. But it does so much more: it has a real-time notification system that monitors your guests for violations, from the moment the guest enters to the moment they leave.

It’s able to detect and notify live:

• Indoor Smoking (Cigarette and Marijuana Detection)

• Fire and Carbon Monoxide

• Unauthorized Guests

• Break Ins

• Theft

• Excessive noise levels

• Humidity level (Mold Detection)

• Air Quality

• Bluetooth and Z-Wave Compatible with Smart Locks and Security Systems

• Guest Check-In Notification

As as bonus, it also comes with a built-in Property Management System that syncs with Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and many others. This system is non invasive, has no cameras, and even mandatory in some cities. It’s plug and play, all you have to do is swap it with your existing smoke detector. I would love to hear your comments and questions.

No Payouts for Airbnb Owner for Two Months

One of my owners has been waiting since December 2019 for his payouts. I have contacted Airbnb numerous times, sent emails, rang local Airbnb offices, sent messages through Facebook… all to no avail. Initially they said the issue was there was not enough information on this particular listing, so whilst they were on the phone I did it again, submitted it and waited. Nothing. Rang again. Redid the information again. Re-submitted it. Nothing. Rang again.

I have done this on repeat half a dozen times now, and made more phone calls. Not one person at this organization has done anything. They have very basic skills that are limited to basic knowledge. I have emailed Chesky, I have called the head office and waited on hold forever. I am at my wit’s end now. This poor owner has thousands waiting to be released but these idiots cannot work out the issue.

Never Received Payment from Airbnb

I am hearing many other hosts have experienced this issue. I had guests stay at my Airbnb in mid-December, 2019. Their total was $500.52, which guests paid on time per policy. I should have been paid around the same time, but sadly it is now six weeks later and I still have not been paid.

I have spoken with customer service at least eight times in the past month. It’s always the same response: there’s a technical glitch around the time of booking that is preventing payment; IT is looking into it; a case manager has been assigned; will hopefully have that resolved for you soon.

I’ve tried to escalate, but they tell me there’s no one to escalate to. I’ve begged, pleaded, threatened to take legal action… nothing helps. I can only pray that some lawyer sees this and starts lining up hosts for a class action lawsuit. In the meantime I’m getting ready to dial customer service for the ninth time to hear the exact same BS they told me eight times previous.

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Stealing + Worst Customer Service = Lose Loyal Customers

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I have been waiting three weeks for Airbnb to pay me AUD 1,338.33 owed to me as a host for two reservations. Airbnb has confirmed the guests have paid them but they have not paid me due to a “computer glitch” with “no timeframe” for a resolution.

My messages to Airbnb support get no replies. During calls to them I repeat the story over again, get told they will “investigate”, and no one follows up. When I requested an escalation, I was told no managers were available. I have also tried Twitter and get nothing but platitudes off them, saying there is an “open case” on my account; the case is marked as closed within the app.

The cherry on top is my current guest lied to me and has sublet my place to total strangers without my permission. I reported this user to Airbnb and have had no follow-up from them.

I have used Airbnb since 2013 as both a guest and host with a total of 47 reservations. After this horrendous customer service experience, never again. Airbnb has clearly overexpanded with all the ridiculous ‘experiences’ and has forgotten to look after its original customer base. The trust culture and sharing economy values it was founded on no longer apply.

You are not too big to fail, Airbnb. Word of mouth built you up and will tear you back down again. Fix your shoddy app full of glitches; I thought you were supposed to be a shining example of Silicon Valley disruptive tech?

It’s totally outrageous that Airbnb expects me to wait while they fix their crappy tech when they could just pay me instantly; they already have money belonging to me. A painful realisation that there is nowhere to turn to when the s$%t hits the fan with this company, one that will drive me back to hotels and real bed and breakfasts as a guest. I will never host again.

Just Another Airbnb Nightmare Experience

Below is the letter I sent to all the Airbnb contact emails I found online. There has been no response.

To whom it may concern, I have been an Airbnb client and host for years. This is the first time that I have encountered the problem that is far beyond your regular support team can solve it fairly. I hope that this email would be received by someone who cares, really listens, and reads every detail professionally.

We rented a room in Bangkok and the client wanted to leave earlier. Your team shortened the booking dates and refunded him without our permission. Our payment is now -‪19946.95‬ Baht plus the unit being empty for weeks during high season.

All of a sudden, the guest reported on the second week of stay that he felt insecure as there was an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift. We explained and provided legal evidence to the guest to confirm that his one-month rental period was legal as it was long-term.

The support team did not care about our opinion on this, refunded the guest, and never answered us again. We have been ignored several times by your support team staff and we are reaching for help now with great hope for justice. We hope you will listen to us. If not, we have no choice but to reach for help outside Airbnb; somewhere justice is still in practice. Thanks in advance.

Here is the review I left to the client:

I am sacrificing my time to write this long review to remind all hosts to be very careful in accepting [this guest’s] booking. It’s difficult to explain everything in print as it tortured us mentally, physically and financially.

Case (1): [The guest] booked the room for one guest and refused to adjust the booking for two guests. Finally, we gave him an approximately 60% discount to end the lengthy discussion and hoped to let him keep his travel plans smooth and trouble-free. Anyhow, we only received less than half of what had previously been agreed upon.

He rejected the idea of paying more. Two guests stayed at our place since day one. He said it wasn’t his business and we should talk to Airbnb ourselves. I spent days attempting to reach Airbnb and no one was there to answer. I was abroad and I had to use international calling. I couldn’t enjoy my New Year’s trip but spent the whole time talking to him and constantly messaging the service team.

Airbnb finally paid for him as the missing amount was the service fee which I also previously told him to make sure the amount we should receive is after the service fee. He didn’t care. Anyhow, the first issue was resolved. Now, the second one went far beyond what we could stand.

Case (2): Things went well for a week or so. Then, [the guest] mentioned about getting checked by local police late at night on the street on his tuk-tuk Bangkok tour. He wanted to travel somewhere else besides Bangkok but his tailor-made suit could only be finished on January 7th. Please remember this date well.

After almost a two-week stay, he got me by surprise by telling Airbnb that he just saw an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift and felt insecure. He wanted a full refund for his “uncomfortable nights”. Yes, this happened a day after January 7th.

Even though the sign against Airbnb has been there since his arrival. Even though we sent him the government confirmation documents stating that 30-day rentals are legal in Thailand (he wanted the official one so it’s in Thai) and told him where he could get a quick translation service around the corner. He succeeded in persuading Airbnb to refund all of his uncomfortable nights and left our place (with the AC on) with no notice.

We tried to reach Airbnb and they only said that it was their final decision on the case. There was no further reply and no attention to our messages. This made our room empty for weeks during high season and if you are a host you may know what that means. Airbnb agreed to refund [the guest] and repeatedly ignored our messages, simply because the support team agreed that this application was illegal in Thailand.

We still feel very much disappointed in being treated unfairly when we have tried our best to provide all guests with maximum comfort and joy in our home country. Along the way, Airbnb did contact us once. That was when [the guest] asked the service team to talk with us about the missing money from case (1) but never again.

This made us realize that we are not welcome here. After this post I will terminate my account with Airbnb. It was more than disappointing to receive his booking. If I could go back in time, I would rather keep my room vacant.