Stranded in Singapore After Customer Service Fiasco

We made a reservation over three months ago after doing careful research and reading reviews about a listing for a property in Singapore for a family vacation. We only travel together once a year; it’s important that we get this right so we took our time to do our research and booked the $1600 stay.

A day before our departure we were contacted by the host that because of an air conditioning problem he would substitute a similar property. Yesterday we arrived and this property was completely unusable. It didn’t even have a sofa; it could not accommodate one person and the host was a bait and switch master. Apparently, in Singapore this is a standard game.

We called Airbnb immediately and asked that we be moved to another property and pleaded with them not to do their stunt where a refund takes ten days to get, isn’t usable, and leaves us stranded. This would not have been the first time this has happened.

I spoke to a case manager who assured me this would be easily and quickly expedited. While I was on the phone with someone the host came to the door of our unit, started pounding, and screaming and physically threatening us. We were on the phone with Airbnb when this happened. We were assured the new case manager that Airbnb would pay for this and that we would be safe and our family would not be at risk. This of course is on the recording of the call.

We started looking for an alternate setting when the host without our permission cancelled the booking and continued to be abusive. Getting a refund in Singapore on the day that you need a reservation is insane.

For the next 24 hours we did nothing but speak to various buffoons, imbeciles, morons, and idiots. We’ve been abused, we’ve been disrespected, and most recently they blocked us. I don’t know what their training model is; it appears to be subterfuge and confidence. They were supposed to issue coupons; they didn’t. They were supposed have some college education; they didn’t. They were supposed to deescalate the situation; they didn’t.

We are stranded in Singapore with nowhere to go and now no money and no coupon. I’m in executive director of a nonprofit and a CEO. I was a psychotherapist and I can tell you Airbnb is doing nothing but harm with their greed. No one should do business with this company and of course I never will again.

They have ruined our vacation that’s been planned for over a year with countless amounts of money spent and time with activities reserved in advance that will now fly out the door. They are so incredibly disrespectful. It really sickens me to talk to Airbnb especially the most recent times where they literally kept us on hold for two hours with nothing to add to the conversation. I feel they are purposely doing so. They didn’t seem to understand that there was a time difference between Singapore in San Francisco. How is it possible that people like this exist?

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


  1. I would have to agree with Dexter. This kind of posting with more opinions and emotions than facts does not show the real problems with Airbnb. Just a few details like checkin, amount of time/nights stayed, duration of reservation, pictures taken, and what was actually in this room vs what wasn’t would be informative and helpful.

    You are required as a host to have any changes on a reservation confirmed by the guest. Why would a guest accept a different rental without looking at it or the reviews? Why would you not just leave and remove yourself from an “abusive situation”? Why is this a crises for a person that is a “CEO” and educated in Psychology. Wouldn’t it make more sense to get a hotel for that night and seek other accommodation for the rest of the stay? Expecting Airbnb to refund in person or instantaneously is just ridiculous. Airbnb typically charges on a credit card which can be disputed.

    The first think any airbnb user needs to understand is that there will be much less service than a hotel service. You have to be ok with less service and more of a home/unprofessional atmosphere for a bit of an adventure.

    All that said, AIrbnb has removed most customer services and moved to an automated platform. Many users do not understand that the agents on the phone are mostly an answering service. Most actions by a case manager are done via airbnb messaging.

  2. This sounds awful. As a host I would never do that to someone. These airbnb horror stories are getting worse and worse. Cant you sue to get your money back? What becomes of the $1600. Do you just give up and let it go?
    Curious to know what further steps you will take.

  3. When a host cancels – you are given an immediate refund. Therefore, this story has a ring of untruths to it.

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