We booked a lovely looking house in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Upon arrival, it was very clear the house was not as advertised. Photos were very misleading but worse than this, the house was filthy.
I contacted the owner and we actually resolved the issue quickly. He agreed to refund us the days we did not stay and he did not charge us a cleaning fee (we ended up spending two nights there as we tried to resolve the issue). Airbnb was really responsive and my initial reaction was that their service was great.
That’s when it started to go wrong. I was charged over $600 for two nights in a house that I agreed to pay $152/night. I spent the next four days calling and emailing Airbnb, consistently told by customers service reps that they were going to call me back or get someone to call me back. I emailed them repeatedly asking for an itemized list of charges and asking why I was charged. I was ignored.
I finally got them back on the phone and was on hold for an hour and a half until the case manager and I spoke and she agreed to review the case. They refunded me $101, which still had me paying over $500 for a filthy house that was $152/night. The itemized list included a $191 VAT charge because I live in New Zealand. She also said I must have paid with an NZ card and that’s why I accured a VAT charge when I had not in the past.
I’m American and a California resident; I paid with my American bank card. Additionally, and more damning, Airbnb does not mention New Zealand in the list of countries that are charged VAT – the countries that do get charged VAT are on their website.
When I posted the words from the site directly and asked for the justification of the charges the case was closed on me without response. I’m now on hold as I write this review – it will probably be over an hour – insisting that I speak to someone who can help me and have them explain why I was charged VAT for NZ when its not listed on their site or get my $200 back. As it is, I’ll be using VRBO from now on.