Dreadful Customer Service with Airbnb After Host Bailed

On June 30th, I booked a one-night stay in Barcelona. The host messaged at what time I was supposed to check in. It was in Spanish and I couldn’t understand a word of it. My battery was extremely low and I was running out of data. I asked him to reply via text or call, and in English. He did neither. I’d been travelling all day from Granada and had a train to catch for Paris at 7:00 the next morning. It was essential that I slept well. He ignored nine calls and still hadn’t replied to a WhatsApp message over two hours after the time I’d arranged to check in.

I had to find somewhere to sleep and after asking at hostels and hotels that had no available rooms I eventually found a place after walking around with my luggage, tired and annoyed. The only available room they had was 127.34 euros. Was I supposed to walk around and compare prices to find somewhere within the price bracket, assuming they had a room at all!? What’s the alternative, sleeping in a park? What are the chances of finding a last-minute room in Barcelona, let alone one for 60 euros? It’s an impossible task.

Airbnb offered me zero assistance in finding additional accommodation. I was told by the adviser on the phone (after calling twice and being on hold for around ten minutes) that it was too late to book an alternative Airbnb room and I was left totally alone. I had no data or phone battery to research. I had to wander around from hotel to hotel. After being told at numerous hotels and hostels that there were no rooms, I booked the first available room. I didn’t just decide to book the most expensive room available.

I have now been told in a very highhanded manner that I can’t be reimbursed, as I didn’t clear it with Airbnb first. Should I have stood in reception and been on hold for another ten minutes with a dying battery to be told it was okay to book a room? The customer service representative has also refused to forward my case to a senior manager and told me that he considers the case closed.

On Facebook they asked me to send a direct message with my email on Twitter. I did and waited over a week for a response. They only ever messaged via Twitter despite asking for a direct email address. I kept it up and they sent this response: “Thanks so much for your patience throughout the revision of your case. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have decided to reiterate our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Thank you for your contribution.”

The arrogance is astonishing. This is the most appalling customer service. Any advice on what I can do?

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. i have only had good experiences with airbnb in the US.

    spain was horrific. we arrived at the address listed exhausted, my friend with a broken arm that needed hospital care.

    after an hour looking for this apartment, some locals (around 10 PM at this point) looked at the listing, confirmed the address, rang the bell, called the host on their phones ( in case mine was not working ), etc. said it was a scam.

    took my last 20 euro back to the airport where i sat on the bathroom floor.. the only place with plugs.. at the airport. all hotels booked, my friend in incredible pain, us out of money.

    the only place available with a free shuttle had one room left, for 250. i was sick from the event in spain and ended up passing out.. adding an extra day on our emergency card.

    so this 87 euro airbnb ended up costing my family 540 euro plus.. so i could go to an art event. by the way, they say they are working on it.. i hope so.. but honestly, the timing could not have been worse. now we are out of money.

    by the way, the messaging system on airbnb did not work with my phone. i could not send messages and this person was unreachable by phone (even by the locals). the listed address was empty.

    it has ruined our summer plans and will never use airbnb again (their loss, my family all uses it and has used it for reunions each year as well as bachelor parties, weddings, renting villas, etc.

    ridiculous and caused so so so much grief.

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