I booked a 76-day trip through Airbnb at the Marina Tower Complex (also known as the Waikiki Marina) in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. The property was hosted by Abron (rental agent/property manager).
The first part of the nightmare begins with having to contact Airbnb to give them a new credit card number as my other credit card had been hacked, used for fraud charges, and then cancelled by the bank. While this should have been a simple task, Airbnb turned it into a nightmare with incompetent error after error. The next thing I see is an email from them stating they were taking payments from both cards, failing to cancel the old credit card. I called to correct this, and then they double charged the new card, and tried to credit the now bank cancelled old credit card. They did this despite the fact charges from them on the old card had already been processed some 6 months earlier, and they already had my money long ago. At this point I had now overpaid for the entire stay by more than $1000, and they still showed I owed them even more money on the rental receipt. They stated I would get a refund on my old cancelled card somehow and I would have to wait fifteen business days to see if the money came to me. They also stated that if after that point I still haven’t received a refund, I would have to forward them copies of all my bank statements to prove this money never went into my accounts. I was supposed to be able to do this somehow while sitting in a hotel room with nothing but a cell phone. They further stated I would have to remove the old credit card number from their site myself but their software would not allow me to view or cancel it from a cell phone. They told me to go find a computer, which I did, only to find I could not login to my account as it is connected to my gmail account on my home computer and can’t be accessed on a different computer. Furthermore, they then stated their software wouldn’t let me remove this old card until the end of the trip, two months from then. While they offered apologies and an account credit for both the numerous human errors and software failings, I had wasted too many hours with them and my bank to count on this matter mostly sitting on hold for 30 minutes at a time trying to get through to call centers.
The second part of my nightmare with Airbnb began with a request for help in dealing with problems with the vacation property and the host. The vacation property had one of its elevators break down and management decided to leave it down until major repairs could be finished later. The other elevator was only partially working as well, where the call button would trip out on circuit overloads, and the elevator would not stop at your floor most of the time. People would be generally walking down the stairs, and the property is 40 floors high. To add to this problem, cockroaches began to appear in my unit due to some plumbing done in my area and a couple untidy tenants on the same floor according to building management. The rental agent/host (Abron) for the unit refused to have the unit sprayed until several weeks had passed to get a cheap $10 end of the month spray deal, arranged by building management. He maintained he had to wait so the other units on the floor could be done at the same time to make it effective. Since it became apparent no other units were going to be sprayed on my floor and the rental manger still refused, I was forced to buy cockroach pesticides myself, but they didn’t seem to help. I decided to call Airbnb to see what they could do to help. Big mistake. They decided to penalize Abron regarding the cockroach issue with a 20% reduction in the rental rates until the unit was sprayed. However since they could only charge him this penalty in the last days of the rental agreement as he had already been paid in full until well after the the spraying would take place anyhow, he terminated the contract early, to avoid paying the penalty. A 20% reduction probably amounted to all he would have made as a rental agent anyhow. Airbnb allowed this, stating hosts can terminate if they choose to, and I was forced to find another rental for that last 17 days of my vacation, having to pay higher daily rates and double cleaning fees. Airbnb and Abron (host) both minimized their losses at my expense. Airbnb claimed Abron would not be able to rent through them for those same 17 days, however he could rent it through any other means, for additional income and to come out ahead. Airbnb only credited me part of the fees they collected from me on what became 2 rental agreements with them. Airbnb should have paid all my losses associated with their misguided intervention on this property agreement. Therefore, I will avoid ever using Airbnb again, and/or make sure to inquire that the so called “Host” is an actual owner, and not just a rental agent of the unit, who would have more to lose by terminating an agreement with either the tenant or Airbnb.