I really need the money, but can’t stand this any more

When I retired I bought my dream house in a popular US vacation destination. It’s a relatively large house and I spent a fortune remodeling and putting it together. In 2008 I lost the remainder of my savings in the big crash, and now have to support myself and my house on half of what I intended to live on for the rest of my life. A friend recommended Airbnb, as I have a two-bedroom guest house on the property. It seemed like a great idea, as I enjoy having guests.

The first year was a rough learning curve, and like all hosts I have had a few horrible guests, but that was all in more than 60 guest parties. I’ve put every dime and every bit of my energy into optimizing my rental, and hiring someone to help me clean, which costs more than the cleaning fee. I bought luxury linens and lots of breakfast food and treats, for which I been rewarded with many sweet notes of thanks. I was feeling very proud of myself and was sure I would keep doing it. I was made a Superhost, and it may sound stupid, but it meant a lot to me – I had started my own business and was making a success of it. I always had more requests to book than I could possibly accept, no matter what the season.

My car died and I bought a new car, figuring that one guest party would make the monthly payment. I had a protocol and income I could count on. Or so I thought. Then, without any warning, everything changed. There were no requests to book for two months in the summer. I looked for my listing, but it wasn’t there. I called Airbnb customer service and they insisted it was there, but that hosts aren’t able to pull up their own listings.

I called friends who went to a lot of trouble to help me, and they looked through every Airbnb listing where I was listed and in surrounding areas, but still found no listing. Money got tight and I was getting scared as I didn’t have another way of supplementing my income. I couldn’t understand it; no one had ever complained about me to my knowledge. I had never made a claim or caused any trouble. I continued to call Airbnb customer service, who couldn’t explain it. They would speculate and make up ridiculous reasons why no one was asking to book. I asked if there had been any complaints, and was told that I wasn’t allowed to know that.

Forget being transferred to a supervisor: that never happens. One particularly horrid young woman, after I had said “thanks anyway” and was about to hang up must have thought I was off the line because I heard her say very clearly “what an idiot.” I never could get hold of a supervisor, so the customer service representatives seem to think they can say and do anything to anyone and get away with it. Now I understand: I wasn’t working for myself (although it’s damned hard work); I was working for a company that had no accountability to anyone, and was making so much money that one host seeking justice and consideration was someone who could be ignored and discarded like garbage. Even big corporations know better than to treat their workers like this.

Here’s the big joke: recently Airbnb sent me a package with the book about how this business started, and a letter telling me how much they value me as a Superhost. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but here in the US, good, honorable people have lost their lives fighting for workers’ rights to get treated decently. Not to be fired without notice or even given a reason why. Not to be arrested and jailed without knowing what we’ve done wrong. I’ve lost a third of my income, and now I’m signing up on other sites and will probably get guests through that. However, I’m so disappointed in and ashamed of Airbnb, who had a spectacular idea, got very wealthy, and then turned on the people who have worked so hard to made Airbnb what they are today. I hope the other companies now popping up all over the world to do the same thing learn what not to do by reading posts like these.

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


  1. You aren’t working for AirBnB, you are not their employee. You are working for yourself and using services of AirBnB. Did you report your income from AirBnB to the tax office?

    I do think they should have assisted you properly to figure out why your listing(s) had disappeared and to get it back up.

    Have you considered letting our the space on a longer term basis to regular tenants? Won’t cost you anything in cleaning (except if you would include that in the rent) and you can vet them beforehand. Also much less hassle as you might have someone for several months or even years. You’ll likely make less money that way but you have way less hassle and also have stability knowing your space is occupied continuously.

  2. I’m so done with Airbnb. Between the ungrateful guests to their customer service people — I am done. When I quit my job as a teacher many moons ago, i remember having to conquer the fear of not knowing what i would do to make an income…. and I opened a business and it all worked out fine. I will be fine this time too. After all, I’m sick and tired of these ungrateful Eurotrash leaving their pubic hairs all of my goddamn bathroom and having to smile at them as they checkout with the fake “hope you had a great stay ” ( you ungrateful, cheap,mofo ! And this is my HOME !!! NOT A HOTEL ! So try finding a $65/ night hotel room in NYC next time you decide to stay in NYC !!! Screw that shit ! I’m taking my goddamn house back. I I work too goddamn hard for this house to have to share it with some goddamn strangers every night don’t appreciate what the hell you do and Airbnb not having your back because of minor guest complaints or stuff that these stupid guests complain about. There has got to be another way I’m not becoming an Airbnb slave !!! Hell no — SO DONE !!!

  3. Can’t get into my Air B and B account. When initially signing up and giving my home phone number (mistake…give cell) not having been told it would be texted for verifying my account, I then could not receive a text with a code to verify my account. When we called and told them to use the number to call us with the code, we have not ever received a response though we have talked to “agents” 5 times. We have an upcoming reservation we can’t verify through the account or cancel if we wanted to do so (which we don’t). The only way I could contact the owner was to create another account and message her through it. A person staying with us on this upcoming trip who received a verifying email when the reservation was made back in January, came up, also with the owner’s phone number.

    We also are unable to rate a wonderful 5+ star home we recently stayed in due to this problem.

    My husband thinks that Air B and B is suffering from what Uber has experienced: so much business that the computer infrastructure of the company is notable to handle it.

    I have warned two friends who rent property via Air B and B, given the stories on this site, to be careful lest they be burned as hosts. I also doubt seriously our fall trip, that we’ll ever use Air B and B again. Better to go to Expedia and rent a hotel room also without all these strict cancellation terms.

    You don’t want a strict cancellation term with such an unreliable system. You might not get any back.

    Someone who has been successful with a lawsuit against Air B and B needs to share the story, and those who have been bilked need to join in to file a class action lawsuit.

    We haven’t lost money — yet. Our biggest fear, given the Malibu wedding story on your site, is that we’ll end up at our rental in the fall (also for a wedding) and not have a place to stay.

  4. Why the did that unprofessional csr call you an idiot? You should follow up on that, usually those calls are recorded for quality and training purposes. From what I read from your story you did nothing wrong.
    The fact that hosts aren’t allow to know of any complaints against them is absurd. How can hosts correct & fixed problems if they aren’t made aware of them? As long as you’re not asking for the names of the guests who complained, this shouldn’t be an issue.
    And after refusing to help you they send you a superhost package is insulting.

    This is worrying, for I’m thinking of listing my condo on there. Now I’m not so sure again

  5. Such a shame. Airbnb sometimes drops the ball and unfortunately you got caught out. I hope all works out well with using the other platforms.

  6. I so very much agree with you, from my experience with Airbnb. They lost any understanding that we are the ones who are paying their salaries

  7. Why don’t you try other rental platforms? There are quite a few mentioned on this website. Personally, I wouldn’t put all my eggs in the same basket.

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