Stranded at Taipei Airbnb after no Contact

I recently booked an Airbnb in Taipei. I advised the host in advance when I would be arriving. I asked how I would get the keys and was advised I would be greeted. I have learned the hard way that the address on a listing does not have to be the address of the Airbnb. I have also learned that a host is allowed to give instructions on how to locate the keys and if for any reason I can not understand the instructions or they do not work, the host does not have to assist me. Here is my story.

I proceeded to go to the address on the Airbnb listing and it was not a residential address. There was no one to greet me even though I was advised in advance there would be, so I called the contact number. The person who answered did not speak english so I found a stranger to call for me. The stranger advised me that the person who answered said they could not assist me.

I then messaged the phone number and received the following reply in English: “So are you coming tonight or tomorrow?” I told him I was here now. The host then sent me a list of outrageous instructions. I first had to view a video to find the mailbox, then go a few blocks to a mailbox, open the box, get another box, enter a code to open that box and take out a magnetic strip, walk a few more blocks to another location, use the magnetic strip to make the elevator work, then watch another video to get the code to open the unit. Well, I could not play the first video so I messaged the host that I could not play the video and he didn’t reply. There I was, stranded.

I was convinced this was a scam host because the address did not exist, there was no host to greet me, I could not communicate by phone, my final communication from the host asked what day I was arriving which I found frustrating as I had already communicated this, the instructions had a video that I could not play, and when I advised the host I could not view the video, he did not reply. Airbnb advised me I was at fault because I proceeded to cancel the reservation when in fact I should have called them first for their assistance.

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


  1. I hope you found a safe place to stay. I’m sure this was scary & frustrating.

    Airbnb terms of service require notification when there is a problem. When you cancelled yourself, you removed Airbnb from the solution.

    When you were unable to reach the host or the address wasn’t as given, was the time to contact Airbnb. They have customer service reps who are multilingual and have a translation service they can use.

    If Airbnb had been unable to contact the host and/or verify the address of the rental, they could’ve cancelled the reservation and either given you a full refund (to help you pay for a hotel) or found you another place to stay.

    Hindsight is 20/20, and we are trained early in life to try and resolve things ourselves and not ask for help. Airbnb bookings require early notification of problems so they can help. To receive a full refund, they need to do the cancellation.

  2. Airbnb really does not seem to give a shit. But you have to be really messed up to let someone come all the way to your country knowing that you are scamming them and have no intention of giving them accommodation. Airbnb should be outraged at that.

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