I need to share my extremely disappointing experience with Airbnb. I’ve just returned from a trip to the USA, where I had a great time, except for my Airbnb experiences. Firstly, I had booked my accommodation very early, but two months before my trip I tried to modify my LA reservation by one day. The host kept refusing my request but also ignoring my messages. This went on for days, where I couldn’t get in touch with him and had to contact Airbnb for support. In the end, the support person told me there was nothing they could do if he refused to modify my reservation.
Around the same time, my host for my accommodation in New York cancelled my reservation because he wanted to host someone else. Again, Airbnb was no help, as the guest can’t stop a host from cancelling a reservation. Sure, the host is penalized – but that just means money for Airbnb. As the guest, I’m left without accommodation.
During my stay in LA, my host (the one who refused me to modify my reservation), was messaging me privately, being very friendly, and offering help and tips. From this I felt like perhaps I misjudged him from the earlier interactions. After I checked out of the apartment he sent me a private messaging that said: “I just got to the apartment. Thank you for taking such good care of it. You have been a great guest! I have a few apartments in this area. I would like to offer you a discount the next time you are in town. You are welcome back anytime. Safe travels!”
I have used Airbnb for all my trips over the last few years, and every time I treat each property with care and respect. I make sure I clean up before I leave: taking out rubbish, washing up and putting everything away, making the bed, wiping down the kitchen, bathroom, etc. I can confidently say that every place I leave looks like it hasn’t been touched. I left a review for the host in LA that was very honest; I mentioned that I encountered some issues leading up to stay with trying to modify the reservation, but also pointed out all the positive aspects of the actual stay and complemented on the apartment and the host. I believe in leaving a true reflection of my experience.
However, I then received a review from the host that said: “She was an okay guest. I did my best to accommodate all of her requests and questions. She requested a reservation change after having booked the apartment for a bit that would have left me hanging. I couldn’t accept the request as it was not in keeping with our cancellation policy.”
I found this review extremely spiteful and deceptive. He was clearly lying and pretending to be nice to me in the private messages, while the whole time holding a grudge over me trying to modify the reservation. His review did not reflect how I am as a guest, and made it sound like I had made a lot of unreasonable requests. Trying to ask for a modification to a reservation with two months’ notice is not unreasonable. Plans change, and I only wanted to modify it by one day; how can that possibly be “leaving him hanging”?
I still accepted the fact that he wouldn’t let me change my reservation and stayed at the apartment with no further requests. I never met him during my entire stay. I checked in and checked out myself. His review made it sound as if he went of his way to help me. I’m very angry at how mean spirited and deceptive someone can be.
What’s even more disappointing is Airbnb allowing this type of host to get away with it. I contacted Airbnb again, explaining my disappointment in the whole experience. The only help I got was links to the Airbnb policies – there’s nothing Airbnb can do for me, as there is a non-interference policy on reviews. Policies are all well and good, but where is basic human decency?
I know no matter how much I try to get my point across, I’m only going to hear about more “policies”. I’ve spent too much time emailing Airbnb’s support team. I may not get a satisfying resolution, but l will share how utterly disappointing and frustrating this whole ordeal has been. Airbnb has major flaws in their policies that doesn’t offer enough support and help for guests.