Prague Airbnb Nightmare During State of Emergency

I’ve been wrangling with Airbnb since March 13 when I canceled my reservation in Prague. On March 12, Prague went into a minimum 30-day state of emergency. That increased over time.

My reservation was from April 29 to May 2. The host refused to come off his strict cancellation policy and would not return my last 50% payment, even suggesting I request one under extenuating circumstances. I did; he still refused.

Since then I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time messaging Airbnb, dealing with front line people who have been instructed to just pass the buck and stonewall. Delta/KLM has cancelled my flight to Prague and are willingly going to fully refund me in cash, not eticket. Clearly everything around my reservation screams extenuating circumstances.

I keep reaching back to Airbnb even after they deemed my case closed. We’re talking $265 owed to me. I asked them if this amount was really worth it to Airbnb to screw with me. Apparently very much so.

Be wary and keep fighting if you’re owed money. I’ve been an Airbnb Superhost in Florida. As I stated to Airbnb, I’ve never been out to make a buck on a legitimate cancellation. It’s just unethical and dirty.

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3 Comments

  1. So sorry you’re disappointed.

    Issues like these have been happening for years, There are as many hosts with legitimate gripes against Airbnb as guests.

    The only way it will change is if people unite with many examples of the injustices in the US and elsewhere and take action in a way a huge US-based multinational corporation will understand: financially. The possibility of hundreds of lawsuits could be very motivating in creating far more reasonable policies and fair, consistent enforcement…if the tourist industry and Airbnb actually survive this pandemic

    There were many upset hosts after the Orinda, CA shootings and hundreds of other crimes committed in Airbnb’s due to inadequate safety policy and enforcement of existing policies. The response was cursory at best at the least financial cost.

    When I called to confirm an ID check for a guest who had no profile photo other than a cannabis plant and a phony name, I was told it was totally acceptable because Airbnb is a social media platform.

    Airbnb is not a professional lodging provider. It’s a booking platform, and do not provide even basic security/ID checks others do…and assume no liability for anything if you read the fine print…and God bless you if you have to file a claim for damages or a situation like yours.

    Airbnb is all about the money, and has been creating enemies for years as former year-round homes and long term rental properties have been bought up for short term rentals shutting out the very service providers needed to maintain the tourist and civilian economies who need places to live to provide those services.

    Right now, in these times of grave health danger, those property owners are saturating the rental market with empty airbnb rentals advertised as month-to-month rentals that don’t even offer cooking facilities or private baths…which is not safe or healthy for anyone…for what amounts to the same cost as the original airbnb…as we are being quarantined, and many people are seeking safe, private, affordable non-group housing to avoid becoming ill.

    It doesn’t exist, and the continual effort to profit in the same way during times like these is disgusting to me.

    People have a right to do what they want to with their property, but millions of people are out of work, and a growing number becoming while many airbnb-ers are still trying to rent rooms with a Kurig and some dry creamer for upwards of $1500/month…

    …as others with more modest accommodations are actually offering real, practical living situations for rates that reflect the changing economy.

    As hard as it is to comprehend, the economy will never be the same, and luxury travel won’t bounce back to where it was. The age of greed at any cost is over, and viruses do not discriminate.

    This “rant” is important to this post because the “ivory tower” attitude of many of the tech elite isn’t sustainable either, and they’re finally grasping the concept that they cannot continue to do business the same way…as they also try to squeeze every last bit of profit as the economy wilts.

    I’m sorry you were not refunded what you’d hoped. There are hosts in this forum who have also been disrespected by Airbnb over proveable damage claims, some more than $10K, and others who are complaining that ABB is giving guests full refunds now…while keeping the platform fees from hosts and guests…and with the rental/eviction moratoriums going into effect all over the US, many hosts may end up with squatters with the right to stay if they’re there more than 10 days…as hosts are forced to maintain a “5-star” standard even the best hotels can’t always maintain, or get punished with property search demotions and unfounded refunds…even in the face of obvious scamming and abuse of our properties.

    Airbnb is all about profit, and they’re playing everyone. They make money from hosts and guests, they have no property overhead, maintenance, or repairs costs, just their own middle-man peices of the pie.

    They’re a trendy booking platform that doesn’t do the safety/ID checks other platforms do, don’t back up their policies (including the “million $$ host guarantee” which is totally bogus), and they really aren’t interested in dealing with customer service issues except in ways to make themselves more money.

    Your stated customer service experience is what hosts encounter day-to-day: passing the buck with legitimate complaints, not adhering to policy, if there are damages, hosts are really out of luck, and guests are just as vulnerable in other ways with misrepresented properties.

    I was a ‘superhost’ with a very popular coastal property during my entire multiple year tenure. I left the platform in January after multiple ethical fallings-out in various areas, including the blatantly cold and self-serving response surrounding the multiple shootings in Orinda,CA last year and the overall lack of safety measures/actual ID/background checks (ABB lied about) vs what is stated in writing, and the belated, weak insensitive “buyout” from corporate in the form of paying for the funerals of those who perished due to their lack of policy enforcement.

    Airbnb nets $13 billion profit/year without owning any of the rental properties they list or taking on any liability for them…like a hotel or hostel does…$13 Billion in profit from you and millions of other guests and hosts who put themselves and their properties at risk…$13 Billion in platform use fees/percentages from every guest and host for every cancellation as well….as hosts bear the costs of all setup, maintenance, insurance, amenities, marketing, and customer service…aka the real costs of doing business…as Airbnb is just one online booking platform that makes a lot of promises they do not keep.

    IF the economy bounces back, people can actually afford vacations again, and the people who work in the service industries to support them can find affordable housing…there are many who would appreciate a far more ethical platform that more closely resembles the original spirit of Airbnb: “Living like a local” in homes with warm hospitality that reflect how most people live… at a reasonable cost…with grassroots ethics that are consistently applied screening standards that are in alignment with professional lodging industry standards and actually followed though with for EVERY platform member instead of just “a random sampling” leaving huge safety loopholes they’ve “fine-printed” themselves out of legal responsibility for.

    Forgive me if I seem a bit jaded. I share your angst.

  2. One thing I don’t understand from all these complaints is why blame the host?
    The host isn’t paid until the day after check-in. So if you don’t check in doesn’t it mean that AirBnB is the one in charge of giving you your money back instead of giving it to the host? If they give it to the host and leave it up to them to pay you back or not that is just bad business.

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