Airbnb Hell Cottage in Durham Gives me Allergic Reaction

So I booked a three-night Airbnb stay in a “cabin” in someone’s backyard in Durham, North Carolina. When I arrived I found that the place had seen better days (probably when the pictures were taken). It was a tiny cabin with some sort of heavy scratchy material attached to something that had a sofa-like appearance and something that was supposed to be a bed. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on it, even if it had had sheets. For pillows, there were some filthy throw pillows that looked like they were from a sofa. I was planning on using my sleeping bag at that point.

The outdoor shower was exposed to the outdoors and any neighbors. I started getting stung by mosquitoes immediately (this was mid-October). I went to my car to see if I had bug spray and a yellow jacket sprung out of it and stung me. I’m allergic to all stinging venemous insects, so this was scary. I took Benadryl right away and watched to see if I needed an Epi Pen. I sent a note to the host but got no response.

I decided to find a drugstore and grocery store so I went back to the car only to find it was surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets. It seems there was a yellow jacket nest right next to where I had to park, which was also the path to the back yard to reach the cabin. I ran off and called the host; there was no response so I left a message asking for help. Again, there was no response. I waited for a while and when it looked like the car wasn’t surrounded any longer I hopped in and backed it out towards the street. I very carefully got back to the “cottage” and grabbed my stuff and left.

I called Airbnb from a parking lot down the road and asked them for help. Airbnb and the host were totally useless. The host never responded to any of my calls. He sent me a note telling me I should go to a pharmacy at a WalMart. Airbnb said they wouldn’t return my money unless I could send them “proof” of the insects. How am I supposed to document a yellow jacket nest when I can’t go near them? I tried to send a pic of the sting but my camera doesn’t do close-ups well. I sent a picture of my Epi Pen too.

Airbnb has refused to refund the stay I couldn’t use; I had only recently arrived when this all happened. The host has not responded or been there. This place is a horror show and shouldn’t be rented on Airbnb. I had to go to a motel and stay there and am paying for three nights at the cabin I can’t stay at as well. I tried to call Airbnb again but they never connected me, no matter how long I sat on hold. I guess they know I’m calling about that listing as i clicked through it to call them.

Using Airbnb During a Natural Disaster

There have been a lot of natural disasters devastating areas across the world, from the recent wildfires in California and Hurricane Maria across the Caribbean. There’s no doubt this won’t be the last of them.

Although Airbnb has infiltrated nearly every corner of the globe, the recent hurricanes have been particularly noteworthy – at least, from a hospitality perspective – because they struck areas popular with vacationers at generally pleasant times of the year. The sudden appearance of storms and earthquakes can make cancelling a trip a necessity for safety or a choice as a matter of comfort.

When you’re using Airbnb during a natural disaster or have a reservation for one when one is predicted, assuming your life isn’t in any immediate danger you probably have some concerns regarding your plans, your money, and your continued safety.

 

Prior to Departure

If you booked an Airbnb in Florida before one of the hurricanes was announced, you technically qualify for a full refund under the Extenuating Circumstances clause of the cancellation policy:

“Significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure.”

The procedure, however, may not be readily apparent unless you read everything thoroughly. If you made a reservation and then discover a hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster is scheduled to hit or has already occurred in the same area (not necessarily the property itself), you’re supposed to cancel immediately, regardless of whether the host has a strict cancellation listed. Inform your host via the Airbnb messaging system that the natural disaster is the sole reason you are cancelling. Then, as long as you file a claim with Airbnb within two weeks, you might be entitled to a full refund.

“Might” is the term Airbnb uses on their own website, and with good reason; even following these exact guidelines, we at Airbnb Hell have heard of Airbnb not honoring a cancellation refund for a Puerto Rico property in Hurricane Irma’s path:

“Both of these reasons [for cancellation] were valid in this case. I was told by Airbnb that this did not meet the definition and they suggested that I rebook with the host or try to work it out with her. It amazes me that this was their response and that they provided no assistance whatsoever. It is disturbing to know that both the host and Airbnb are willing to risk the wellbeing of their guests to make money. The current state of Puerto Rico is still a disaster area and the money I lost is small to what they are suffering. I do wish I could have that money back to spend time with my family but it would have been even better to be able to donate it to my family still in Puerto Rico.”

 

During a Natural Disaster

Everything aforementioned might seem just like small potatoes when you consider guests are safe and sound outside the disaster area – not that hundreds or thousands of dollars should be wasted. However, what should you do if you’re currently staying at an Airbnb and a natural disaster is supposed to strike? This situation may apply to those in Bali facing a volcanic eruption.

The same Extenuating Circumstances should apply whether you’re cancelling prior to a trip or already staying in the Airbnb, though naturally a refund would only be issued for the nights you didn’t stay. However, neither of these situations takes into account whether a host decides to cancel due to the natural disaster.

There could be a variety of reasons for this. Some hosts use their primary residence on Airbnb and may wish to return to remove any valuables and secure windows, etc. Others may take a nobler angle and simply not wish to risk the lives of any guests, regardless of whether they’re willing to complete their scheduled stay.

In any case, this reason for cancellation is just as likely to be honored by Airbnb on the host’s side as it is on the guest’s, particularly because hosts may cancel due to “severe property damage or unforeseen maintenance issues that directly impact the ability to host safely.” If this means kicking out paying guests who want or have no choice but to wait out the storm, so be it.

 

What can you do if things don’t go your way?

If you’re unable to get a refund or find yourself homeless with no chance to escape the upcoming emergency, there is always the option of turning to social media. During deadly hurricanes and earthquakes, so many eyes are on social media, including Airbnb’s PR department; the last story they want spreading like wildfire – hopefully, that’s not the disaster you’re escaping – is one of the company stranded or defrauding guests.

Airbnb Nightmare Nearly Leaves us Stranded Abroad

My recent experience with Airbnb has been nothing short of a nightmare. It all started when I was booking accommodations in San Diego, California through Airbnb from London, where I live. I was about to make a payment when I accidentally clicked on the Paypal button and immediately received conformation of my booking. As I hadn’t used Paypal for over a year and had since changed my payment details, I straight away contacted Airbnb and explained the mixup to the customer service officer.

I needed to give her my new card details so she could take a payment. She assured me she would sort it out and confirmed that although the reservation had been confirmed, no money had been taken from the Paypal account; the full amount would be taken from the card I had just given her. I then emailed the host in San Diego and again explained what had happened and that everything should be okay as Airbnb had my new payment details.

I heard nothing from Airbnb until the morning of September 25th while I was in Colorado and was due to fly from there to San Diego. I received a text from Airbnb to say that my account had been blocked and the reservation cancelled. I then spent hours on my mobile phone trying to contact someone at Airbnb to resolve the issue. When I did get through, I got someone who was unable to assist me. However, I was told that someone would call me back. As we were on a late flight and arriving in San Diego around midnight, I was keen to resolve the problem before boarding our flight. I didn’t want to be lost and without accommodation in a foreign country in the early hours of the morning.

I never heard back from Airbnb and had persisted trying to contact them by phone and email throughout the day without any luck. Just as we were due to board our flight, I then received a message from our host to say that we would not be able to stay as the reservation had been cancelled. Luckily my son was able sort everything out through his Airbnb account and secured the accommodation for us. At some point during the same day I had received a couple of messages from Airbnb saying I needed to update my account but it was impossible to do so as Airbnb had blocked my account. I was unable to proceed beyond the first page, which of course meant I couldn’t update my account.

Some days later I received a message from a friend in London who said that it appeared Airbnb had taken money from her son’s account for the same amount that we had paid for our accommodation. Remember that the accommodation had now been paid for by my son. The only connection with her son’s account was last year when he had book accommodation for myself and the above friend. Airbnb had no authorisation to take the money and it was later refunded through Paypal.

When I returned home to the UK I tried to contact Airbnb to make a complaint. I spent nearly an hour talking to someone who refused to put me through to a manager because the payment details on their system was different to the details they had; it was unbelievably frustrating. I would still like to make a complaint regarding the treatment received from Airbnb but it seems that Airbnb does not have a listed complaints procedure. Had it not been for my son coming to the rescue at the final hour, I do believe that me and my friend, both females, would have arrived in San Diego very late at night with nowhere to stay. Never again will I book accommodation through Airbnb.

Terrible Host Leaves us Stranded for First Experience

My BFF and I booked our first ever Airbnb for a trip down to Los Angeles for a race we were both participating in. We booked in advance, but realized we hadn’t heard anything from our hosts until we were on our way down to LA (again, it was our first Airbnb experience, so we had no idea what to expect). We texted, called, and messaged our hosts for hours, only to get nothing back. Finally, after hours of already being in LA (it’s a four-hour drive from where we live) we got a response that an unexpected emergency came up… yeah, right. We ended up having to pay for a hotel room at the last minute. We requested a refund multiple times, and never heard a word from the hosts. They have now stopped being hosts… I wonder why. Airbnb has not been any help either.

Stranded in NYC After Last Minute Cancellation

One of my best friends and I decided to take a trip to New York City. We thought it would be a great experience because I have never been before. I reserved an Airbnb over a month before our stay. Keep in m.,ind it was my first time using the platform because I was told it was a cheaper alternative. I even paid for an extra night for an earlier check in because we took a red eye and would be landing at JFK at 5:00 AM.

Just as I was about to contact the host to let him know we had landed at the airport and would be on our way, I received a message from him saying: “Hey, unfortunately the reservation had to be cancelled. The website will do everything on their end to help you with it. Appreciate it and I hope you will find a great place.”

So now there we were in New York City, having traveled across the country with no place to stay and no place to go. I received no real explanation from the host which I’m sure had just been copied and pasted from Airbnb with zero contact information. I spent over a grand on a place where the host could just cancel at any time and leave the guests stranded with nowhere to go.

I finally got a phone number from Airbnb Hell (which, by the way, is 100% correct). Customer service said I was issued a refund as soon as the host cancelled – which was a lie; my bank confirmed they had no incoming refunds. Basically Airbnb is a POS service, and here we are almost three hours later and still stuck at JFK trying to find a place to go. All in all, it was not a lovely first trip to NYC.

Airbnb Does Not Have the Backs of Superhosts

I am disgusted and disappointed with Airbnb, and I couldn’t be more heartbroken to admit that because over the last year, after Superhosting over 55 guests, having almost perfect scores across the board (last check was 4.9 Stars), being an advocate for Airbnb to everyone I know, feeling so lucky to be able to make much needed income while still working and taking care of my family, Airbnb has made me feel like nothing the only time I’ve really needed them, for damage that was done while a guest was staying.

On August 29th, almost a month ago, during a guest’s stay in my Airbnb-hosted basement, the toilets got clogged. As always, when a guest needs something, we have done everything in our power to help, fix it and exceed expectations. Since the electricity had gone off down there to a portion of it, along with sewage water flooding from my storage room down there too, I immediately made arrangements for my guests to move (at my own expense) to another home, bought them pizza, and called out a plumber to see what was going on.

After the plumber finally arrived that evening, he finally found the problem: baby wipes had been apparently flushed down the basement toilet (he literally pulled them out of the broken pipe in the storage room). He attempted to get the ejector pump working again. Realizing it was completely broken – also advising us that the overuse of the electricity the pump was putting out while trying to process the baby wipes, had tripped the electricity – he said that because the pump had been installed with the home when it was built, he would have to call the manufacturer to get a quote and then include installation fees and he said we’d also have to pay for an electrician to come out to fix the wiring.

In the meantime I went to the basement to start taking pictures of everything before I started my normal “cleaning up” after guests. Since there wasn’t electricity, it was the first time I really had looked in the bathroom area (where the toilet had gotten clogged in the first place). There was an empty container of baby wipes still sitting on the counter next to the toilet. I immediately look pictures of that and it was only at that moment I had evidence this was something my guests (not intentionally of course) obviously did.

After getting the estimate from the plumber of over $1250 just to fix the broken pump (several days later) and knowing the costs of the amount of things I had thrown out due to sewage water in the basement, the future cost of an electrician, etc., I was so deflated because I knew it was something one of my Airbnb guests had caused and I knew I wouldn’t be able to host (which has been a large portion of my income over the last year) until I could get that fixed. As a struggling mom trying to take care of her family, I knew I couldn’t afford the costly repairs on my own, which started me really looking into the host guarantee that Airbnb had always talked so highly of (especially to me, as a Superhost). As long as we submitted all documentation and proof of the damage and followed the steps of the process, I thought everything would be fine.

I won’t bore you with all the details (and I have every single one of them written down) but sadly since my first call to Airbnb on September 2nd (where I not only got hung up the first time, but waited over 20 minutes the second time, only to get a representative that didn’t seem to know anything about what he was talking about), I did everything they asked. I sent in a claim. I sent several online messages (that took them days to respond to and offered no real help in any way. I submitted documentation, pictures, and estimates from the plumber. I finally successfully got a case submitted, and had to wait for the guest to decline it for Airbnb to get involved.

Once they started getting involved on September 17th it really got quiet. Even after multiple calls to Airbnb, calls I made to them (as no one ever reached out to me proactively, despite the promises of getting assigned a person or that someone was “working on it”) days continued to go by, days with me getting no income or even being able to begin repairs to the area. I couldn’t even get the security deposit back, even though that is something the guests agreed to from the beginning.

After every call, after hours on the phone, frustrating conversations that led nowhere and being told “that group can’t get inbound or make outbound calls”, “we have no way of contacting them”, “they’ll get to it”, the most disgusting response of all being a guy who told me “I’m sorry, there’s no supervisor or manager you can talk to because they won’t be able to do anything to help either”, I was at my wit’s end. I begged for a supervisor, a manager, or anyone that could escalate the situation, not just the claim either.

At that point, since I was unable to host or even start repairs since that last guest checked out on September 6th in my basement, I had lost over $1700 worth of income based on what my rentals had been running after a year of hosting. I was getting nowhere and begged for someone to just tell me what to do, since I was late on bills and had a basement that didn’t even work. My bank account balance didn’t allow me to repair it myself and I shouldn’t have had to pay for it anyway, since it was the guest’s fault.

Airbnb does not have our backs, as hosts or Superhosts, no matter the good and dedicated Superhosts we’ve been to them and all of our trusted guests. I’m stuck. I’ve ended my relationship with Airbnb – not because I wanted to, but because they are forcing me to. I was wasting so many frustrated hours on the phone getting nowhere, talking to people that ultimately couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything, and no one is losing more than me in that. I am left with no guests, no repairs, and more bills I can’t afford to pay (bills that I shouldn’t have to pay) and Airbnb doesn’t seem to care at all, despite the faith I had in them.

I just want to be able to fix my basement, be compensated for my losses and loss of income from the days in which my case had just been waiting to be “looked at”. I guess at the very least I just hope someone who really cares about what Airbnb truly stands for will see this, hear me, fix what they should fix and do something, do anything to regain my trust. I just can’t tell you how much sadness and anger this whole situation has added to my life over the past month, a month that was hard enough as it was. I worked so hard to host happy guests. It had brought me so much joy up until I saw Airbnb’s true colors, and those colors certainly aren’t as pretty as they first might appear.

Airbnb Cancelled Month-Long Stay A Week Before My Flight

On April 9th of this year, my wife and I reserved an apartment in Colorado Springs with Airbnb for the entire month of September. We received a confirmation from our host the same day. Plans were underway and we were anxiously anticipating our autumn trip to Colorado. We made round trip airline reservations from Raleigh-Durham to Denver and made other ancillary plans and reservations for a rental car, etc.

On the evening of August 23rd, I checked my email and was shocked to learn that my Airbnb reservation had been canceled by the host. She explained that she had to sell the property but didn’t tell me until seven days before my flight to Colorado. A subsequent cancellation email arrived from Airbnb. My wife and I worked frantically to find another property, but due to the popularity of Colorado (especially during autumn), we were unable to do so. I contacted Airbnb and a customer service representative offered to help us find another property. He sent a list of five or six properties for us to evaluate. After an exhausting evening of research and property evaluation, we determined that only one met our long-term stay criteria of a kitchen, laundry facilities, and in a safe neighborhood. That property was almost $1,000 more.

However, to salvage our trip, we had no other choice but to shell out $1,000 more to book the only available property in Colorado Springs that met our criteria. When we tried to reserve the property, we were informed that it had already been booked just minutes before we submitted our reservation request. At that point, we were frustrated and exhausted. Greatly disappointed with the last-minute cancellation and with Airbnb’s inability to provide comparable lodging, we reluctantly cancelled our trip.

We had no place to stay. After several email’s to Airbnb Help Center and several phone calls, the Airbnb manager said that I didn’t give Airbnb a chance to resolve the problem and that “I was being too picky.”

Really? Who cancelled the reservation seven days before my trip? Never again will I book with Airbnb. It’s simply too risky and Airbnb isn’t willing to resolve the issue. I lost a considerable amount of money in non-refundable fees, but Airbnb only offered a refund for my lodging and less than 40% of the nonrefundable airfare/hotel costs. Other expenses linked to lodging were absorbed completely by me. The biggest disappointment was our loss of a much anticipated vacation in Colorado during the fall. Airbnb’s “Long-Term Policy” is supposed to be neutral, protecting the host and guest equally. In this case, the policy protected the host with the last-minute cancellation and shifted the burden to me. I’m very disappointed.

The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

Airbnb Unable to Handle Clients When a Host Double Books

The following is a letter that was sent to Airbnb:

Thank you for sending this email last Saturday. As per your request, we are am responding with receipts for our unnecessary lodging accommodations in Vancouver BC. Please find the following:

– Receipt from Poco Inn and Suites for the night of Sept 2nd, 2017

– Receipt from Expedia.com for the Budget Inn Patricia Hotel for the night of Sept 3rd, 2017

– Receipt for food is attached, though we are a little confused by this as you did not ask for food receipts over the phone.

Based on our phone conversation, it was our understanding that the $50 towards food was extended as a courtesy. We do not see the need to verify that we ate while on vacation. Nevertheless, a receipt from Sept 3rd is attached. We are aware that the amount on the food receipt exceeds the $50 you had extended to us. We do not expect a full reimbursement on this receipt. We expect Airbnb to uphold its obligations laid out in your email: $500 reimbursement for lodging and $50 toward food. We expect this to occur in an expedited manner. We expect an immediate reply to this email as well as same-day confirmation when the funds will be processed. We expect that the funds transfer will be completed by EOD Friday, September 8th, 2017.

Regarding our receipts, please note the following:

As you were equally aware during our phone conversation, finding lodging in Vancouver on such late notice was difficult. Our budget did not allow for high-priced rooms and I’m sure you will agree that hotel room prices tend to be higher when booking the same day, let alone in the early evening. Poco Inn and Suites was one of the only hotels in that area that had a room for under $300. Please be aware that this hotel was 30 miles away from our originally planned location. Also, once we completed our phone call with you (which lasted nearly 1.5 hours), it took us another hour on the phone to find a this room. The additional travel time to this hotel was also unwelcome. From a financial point of view, it is lucky we were able to use a credit card, but also unfortunate. I would hope that others who have experienced a similar dilemma were able to find cash on hand to cover Airbnb’s inability to find other lodgings.

The Budget Inn Patricia Hotel was cheap and available, but a quick look on Tripadvisor.com will inform you that the hotel is less than safe. Again, the travel time had been added to find this hotel but is disappointing to be confronted with safety concerns. We await your prompt reply to the above.

We are greatly disappointed in Airbnb and its apparent lack of preparedness to take care of situations such as this. In our case, a host reneged on her obligation and we were unnecessarily thrust in to a situation that cost us more money out of pocket as well as cost us a great deal of wasted time – time that was intended for vacation, not for talking to customer service and looking for last-minute lodging on a very busy weekend. This loss of funds and time were completely unnecessary had Airbnb a stronger vetting process to avoid hosts who are uncommunicative and irresponsible. Airbnb’s options, as you described them over the phone, are weak strategies to protect users of your service.

Option 1: We, the clients could find new lodging using the Airbnb app. But as you were quickly able to understand by your own searches, this was simply next to impossible. On that day there were no Airbnb listings available within our budget.

Option 2: “Instant Book”. This seems like a good solution on the surface, but as we understood from your description of this option, we were expected to accept a new booking sight unseen. This is unreasonable. We asked for more details on the location, room size etc. and in the time it took you to look up this basic information, the room was booked. We are surprised that your customer service team is not better equipped to find listings more quickly and with greater detail.

Once Airbnb’s first two options were quickly exhausted, you offered to reimburse us for our hotel costs. However, you were clear that Airbnb has no way of booking a hotel for its displaced clients. This left us to find last-minute lodging, thereby defeating the entire purpose of using Airbnb in the first place. It also seems clear that Airbnb is incapable of vetting their hosts. As you’ll recall, when we arrived at our host’s location, we followed her instructions very carefully. Her instructions were sent out automatically and, ironically, mentioned she required clients to be in contact with her prior to arrival as she “had been burned in the past”. We can verify that we attempted to contact her several times.

However, we never heard back from her on Sept 2nd, nor have we received any communication since. As you will also recall, on Sept 2nd you made two unsuccessful attempts to contact her. When we arrived at the host’s location we followed the host’s instructions and went to the rented room. As per her instructions, the door was open. However, upon entering we found the room was unready and still contained the luggage and personal affects of another client. There was another resident at the house. He informed us that the other guests were out of the city but had no intention of leaving as they were under the impression that they were allowed to stay.

We would prefer to leave a review on this host’s profile – but this situation does not feel safe. To write a review, a user must allow a host to write a review of the user. However, we are hesitant to write a review (and thereby warn other Airbnb clients) that this host was negligent. Why should a client who was stood up by a host be required to allow the host to submit any review at all? I hope that customers can expect Airbnb to address these problems. Indeed, you mentioned over the phone that we were not the first to experience difficulties on that day and in that location.

This was our second experience with irresponsible hosts. Our first was a host who cancelled our reservation 12 hours before check-in, also for the same weekend and in Vancouver BC. We booked another location on Sept 2nd and received confirmation as well. If Airbnb is unable to process same-day reservations, or if Airbnb is unable to provided hosts the proper support they need, then Airbnb needs to step up.

The bottom line is this: Airbnb allowed a host to double book a room; Airbnb allowed a host to remain out of contact with a client; Airbnb allowed a client to become displaced because the client trusted the integrity of the services that Airbnb offers. By not vetting your hosts and by leaving clients for fend for themselves when stood up or double booked, it is clear that Airbnb is more interested in making a profit in the easiest and cheapest way possible than looking after its clients and therefore Airbnb’s own reputation.

Your services cannot be trusted and this is too bad. Your business concept is a good one. Perhaps you should do more to make it function well. It is clear from a quick Google search that Airbnb has many problems protecting clients from unethical behavior by hosts: Airbnb Hell came up quite quickly. I’m sure a more thorough search would reveal much more. We will be posting our experience to social media in hopes of adding our voices to a growing chorus of dissatisfaction with Airbnb’s sloppy business practices. In the mean time, we truly hope that Airbnb can become a better business, or that some other entity can step in where you left off.

Abandoned by Airbnb When Berlin Host Cancelled

I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.

Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.

I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.

My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.

UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.