I would like to share the details surrounding my nightmare situation with the host I dealt with in trying to secure accommodations for my trip to Lebanon and my absolute disappointment in Airbnb’s corporate office with their position on siding with this host, despite his clearly deceitful behaviour. When I was planning my trip to Lebanon, I found accommodation in an area in which I was interested. During my search, there were some factors that were absolutely non-negotiable, which I made abundantly clear throughout my entire correspondence with the host.
For my trip, I was travelling with my elderly father who has limited mobility. I required a unit that was fully accessible without having to climb stairs. Another option I was willing to accept was a unit that was accessible using an elevator. Months before my trip, I found a unit that I was interested in and the host had provided written guarantees that while the unit was not on the ground floor (3rd floor), it was accessible by using a fully serviceable elevator. Given the information provided by the host, I decided to secure the accommodation and, as such, I immediately paid the funds required.
However, weeks after having paid, the host contacted me through Airbnb’s messaging platform and informed me that the unit in question was, in fact, on the 4th floor, instead of the 3rd floor, as confirmed before sending my payment. Given the new information provided, I asked the host to confirm that the elevator would be fully serviceable to the unit. He responded and confirmed that it would, for sure. With everything seemingly assured, my father and I made our way to Lebanon. Once we arrived to the unit, we were greeted by the host’s brother who informed us that while there was an elevator in the unit, it was, in fact, not serviceable for an indeterminate period of time. This was simply an unacceptable situation, given my father’s elderly age and limited mobility. As such, I was forced to find alternative accommodations in the middle of the night in a foreign country. You can imagine how difficult that is!
After having read and understood Airbnb’s policies, I made sure I sent an email to Airbnb to inform them of my situation, in order to receive a full refund, seeing that I never even stayed a minute at the unit. I contacted the host as well (using WhatsApp) and received written confirmation that he would agree to a full refund for the amount I paid in securing the unit. When I returned to Canada, I tried to contact the host in order to move forward with the full refund. However, he refused to reply to any of my emails or messages. After weeks had gone by trying to contact the host, I contacted Airbnb in order to facilitate the full refund that I was absolutely entitled to, given that I had not even stayed at the unit, due to false guarantees provided by the host. When I finally got a hold of someone, I was informed that they refused to authenticate the host’s written confirmation that I would be granted a full refund because the confirmation was not given through Airbnb’s messaging platform. Instead of taking the time to satisfy an unhappy customer, they decided not to consider my situation.
After trying to get a full refund for weeks, my only recourse was to write a stinging review of the host. While I was unable to get a full refund for my nightmare situation, the least I could do is prevent this host from trying to deceive others in the future and prevent him from being able to advertise his unit on Airbnb. Though I was very honest with my criticism, I remained absolutely professional and respectful of Airbnb’s policies. However, Airbnb decided to remove my post for absolutely no reason. This showed me that they would rather side with the host than show any concern for my situation, even though I provided countless evidence demonstrating how awful my situation was. With everything that had happened throughout this entire experience, this upset me the most because Airbnb took away the only thing I could do in my situation. After having gone through this nightmare, I will never use Airbnb again. I think people should be highly concerned about what can happen if things don’t go their way using Airbnb. People should not have confidence that Airbnb will accommodate them when things don’t go as planned.