Left Homeless in Philadelphia after no Contact

My credit card was charged for a five-day rental in Philadelphia. The host emailed me through Airbnb that the entry code to the property would be sent to me 24 hours before I arrived. I was sent a file through Airbnb’s system, since all communication must go through the service. The file was sent, but couldn’t be opened. The host couldn’t be contacted by Airbnb’s case manager. I was told to go get coffee while Airbnb tried to contact the host. No contact was made. I was homeless, 3000 miles from where I live. Airbnb admitted to the error, but merely wiped the charges from my credit card; there was no effort to compensate me for a very expensive last-minute hotel. They referred me to their legal team, and all communication stopped.

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


  1. Derek and Brian, did you read the part where I said they can install it early on the day just before I am scheduled to arrive?
    For your info, I have stayed there twice since and she told me that keycode will always be mine when I am staying there. And it always has been. So it is possible for it to be programmed easily. Geez.

    • “Installing the code on the day” isn’t practical unless it’s automated (with a sophisticated electronic lock), then it’s another point of failure due to human error. If the host has that, then great, but these locks are expensive to purchase and install.

      This host made a blunder (by sending a “file” instead of just text) that you consider “hell” (since you posted here) and you’ve stayed there twice since? My version of “hell” is unquestionably someplace I would never return to.

      BTW, there is no requirement that all communications must go through the service (I’ll admit, that it is a good idea). If you still think this is Airbnb’s fault and not the host, you are mistaken.

      • Dear Brian,
        I was not the OP. I was just commenting on the original post. The place I stayed was perfect with ace hosts, that’s why I stayed there twice.
        I am a host myself and also try to use AirBnb’s whenever I travel which is often so I find this website very interesting, that’s why I am on here. I have not experienced any hellish stay yet. I read reviews very carefully and move on at any hint of strangeness. Not saying it cant still happen but so far so good.
        I was considering buying one of those keypads myself but I think I will just stick to my old fashioned key.

  2. Jessica, your comment is short sited. If a host gives you the access code to a smart lock say 2 weeks before your arrival, what if you gave that code to your friends who just happen to check in early without asking or if you gave it to a local person who wants to go in and steal the hosts belongings? Or just the same, what if you happen to arrive a day early for whatever reason and mistakenly access the home because you forgot your reservation was the next day while there are other guests. Can you imagine what the repercussions may be? Can you imagine the safety issues with giving many guests their codes weeks in advance. If you were a host, would you give it that early? Think about it, I know you have some ability to reason.

  3. I hate that shit about waiting for the keycode. I feel once I pay for it I should get the code. They can install it early on the day I arrive but I should have it.
    I was in a panic once because my flight was departing and I would not have any contact once I got to the states and I was practically begging the host to give it to me as I knew I would arrive very late and they would most likely be sleeping.
    They opted to be there to meet me at my 11pm arrival anyway but it is nerve wracking.

    • No, that would be like a hotel giving you the room key when you book and not when you check in.

      Secure key codes are generated randomly and activated only right before they can be used (i.e right at check-in time). There may be keyless entry systems that allow you to program codes weeks or months in advance and activate/deactivate them on a specific date/time, but I don’t expect many hosts have them or would want to pay for them.

      Still, the problem is not the code, or sending it early or late, it’s that it was sent as a file and not just simple text through the messaging system. This is 100% the fault of the host that could have been easily avoided.

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