I’ve used Airbnb several times without issue. However, last week I had a horrific experience that Airbnb completely failed to resolve. My host canceled a three-night booking in Mexico City on my day of arrival two hours before check-in. Airbnb did not phone to alert me to this significant last minute development, but rather sent an email. In the email, various “alternatives” were proposed – none of which were in remotely the same area of Mexico City, a massive metropolis – that I could book directly, or I could request my money back.
The alternatives were not comparable. I had guests arriving within two hours, and did not have time to research, communicate and rebook (hoping that there would not be another last minute cancellation). In lieu of availing myself of a non-comparable alternative that would have taken time and effort (and luck – there was very little time to pull all of this together) on my part to reserve, the only option that I was left with was to request a refund. I was forced to book two hotel rooms at the last minute, incurring a cost $300 greater than my Airbnb booking. Airbnb offered no further assistance or recompense for the stress and extra expense that resulted from using their platform.
Subsequently, I received a phone call purportedly to learn more about my point of view regarding what happened. When I said that Airbnb failed in its customer service, and that it did not provide me with assurance, as a paying guest, that I could depend on pre-booked and pre-paid accommodations, I was informed that it wasn’t their fault. Problems happen, but Airbnb’s management of the situation and subsequent follow-up was pathetic. I will not be booking with them ever again, and urge other travelers to be cautious as they also may not know that Airbnb hosts can cancel prepaid bookings at the last minute, with no excuse and no assurance from Airbnb that you will be relocated to comparable accommodations.