Absolutely Frustrated with Last Minute Cancellations

My wife and I are writing to express our absolute frustration with Airbnb. We have had our reservations cancelled, at the last minute, three separate times in the last two years. The latest cancellation was for a stay in St. Louis, and our reservation was finalized almost a year ago. We aren’t questioning the host’s reason for the cancellation, but each of these cancellations was received just days before we were to arrive. Each of these reservations was made so that we could attend a specific event in St. Louis, and since the cancellations were done so close to the event, there were no properties left to rent anywhere close to the event venue at all. No hotel or bed and breakfast rooms were available either. Airbnb offered us a refund or an additional $50. for another Airbnb property is pretty laughable compared to the time, effort, and extra expense we have had to make to even locate a rentable property that is quite a distance (12 miles compared to 5 blocks) away from the event. We also planned to do other things in the area where the original property was located, but now that won’t be happening. We should also mention that, for each of these cancelled reservations, we were (and are for this latest cancellation) in the middle of a vacation. Trying to deal with this situation while on the road has been extremely difficult. We couldn’t be more frustrated with this situation and are wondering if Airbnb can give us a reason why we should continue to book with them.

Scammed and not Given Compensation for Barcelona Stay

My boyfriend and I had paid to stay in someone’s apartment in Barcelona as a last resort because there were no affordable hotels available on our dates because they clashed with a world congress gathering. We arrived at the address of the listed apartment (from a verified host with multiple positive reviews) which lead us down a narrow poorly lit side alley to a building with no lights, locked doors, and appeared to be undergoing construction. Keep in mind this was at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night in a foreign country. We tried phoning and texting the host and got no response. He turned his phone off when I continued to call so we left and found a safe place to sit with our bags while frantically trying to work out what to do. I had never used Airbnb before so never knew what to do in this situation. With help from both our families back home we got a place to stay. In total we had to spend £600+ on hotels for the three nights, which is significantly more than we had originally spent on the apartment.

We tried emailing Airbnb and didn’t get a response. When they eventually did respond they weren’t much help at all and by then we had already sorted out a place to stay. They have now eventually refunded what I originally paid for the apartment but nothing else, meaning we are £400+ out of pocket as a result of this guy’s actions through absolutely no fault of our own (other than not having insurance). I totally understand if I had had insurance that this could of been different but after reading several forums online of people being given compensation by the company I asked why I wasn’t given the same consideration. I was told “every situation is dealt with on a individual case by case basis.” I was massively let down by both this organisation and the host. I understand not every host on this site is a fraud and I probably got one bad egg out of a whole bunch. However, the possibility of this happening is very real even if hosts look reliable so I’d advise anyone planning on booking to learn from my mistakes and be more wary.

Nonexistent Hosts and Last-Minute Cancellations

The idea of Airbnb is swell. The implementation is horrible. The infrastructure to their service is non existent. My host confirmed two months in advance of my overseas trip. I checked two days before departure to learn the host had cancelled my lodging without telling me. Airbnb did not alert me either. That is a product of their infrastructure issues. I tried to book with another host who gave me immediate confirmation. I discovered not only was that not a true confirmation, but that host had not owned that property for two years. Again, an infrastructure issue. No one is monitoring the lodgings and the hosts.

In addition, there was no way to write a review on that host because the lodging was cancelled. Now let’s get to customer service. They were useless. All they did was send me emails about dwellings I had already discarded. They would not offer more than a standard $200 to help with my booking which was for two weeks. $200 wouldn’t even cover two days at any of the other residences. I could not afford any of the appropriate last minute lodging and Airbnb would not help. There was one host who had seven seemingly appropriate lodgings. I asked Airbnb support to contact that person to see if any of her lodgings would be available ASAP when I was about to depart. They said they would and two days later, they still had not come through. I was already in the country staying in a hotel.

My third week was to be in another country on the beach. The night before my arrival, the host sent me an email saying the sand fleas were over abundant, to bring bug spray, and don’t lounge on the beach. There was limited and poor wifi, almost no taxi service, and no restaurants in the area. I was supposed to take a taxi from the airport, go to a supermarket, then get to the lodging with all my cooking supplies for four days. I had to cancel but was financially penalized. Airbnb would not intervene or even address the issue. I lost over $500. To make matters worse, any refunds took four different contacts to get the ball rolling.

The company needs to fix their software application to do the checks and balances on hosts and cancellations. The company needs humans to monitor and work with hosts to provide a standard level of service. The company needs to allow disappointed travelers to comment on hosts even if they don’t stay at the lodging. But mostly, Airbnb needs to monitor their hosts constantly and penalize those who damage their brand by misbehaving.

Host Forgets About an Advance Booking, Denies Refund

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I booked a place in Delhi around December 22nd, 2016 (our trip to the Himalayas started on December 24th). I made a booking for the night of December 31st at a place whose host was called Kshitij (the listing was “cozy room for three”). He had amazing reviews on Airbnb, and before our trip we had a brief chat in which I told him about the flight details and the place to which we were traveling. The Himalayas have yet to receive reliable wifi service and as we were a little distracted by the beauty of the place, we didn’t check our phones (our mistake, I agree). We reached Delhi on December 31st at 5:00 AM and from that time I tried to reach Kshitij over Airbnb messages, considering Airbnb sends an email or text for each Airbnb message. We waited for him to wake up, have his breakfast, and so on and so forth. By 12:00 PM I got hold of his number and called him to find out he had completely forgotten about the booking and was not in Delhi. We paid him 15 days prior and he forgot; I was sure he had used the money by then already.

Anyway, he helped us to find a hotel near his place which straight away said no to an ‘unmarried couple’ (yes, we’re Indian and not married). We had to pay double our booking charges with Kshitij to find a room for the night. Since then, I have been contacting Kshitij through calls, messages, WhatsApp and Airbnb texts; he hasn’t responded properly. He also said he has started the refund, however I haven’t received anything. I called him again on March 1st, and eventually after an argument he disconnected the phone, and sent me a text: “This is the number for Airbnb. Please call them and share all your grievances from the last three months.” I am shocked to know how these people are exploiting guests in the name of a big organization like Airbnb. On the other hand, Airbnb has no support system or help available for anyone using services from Airbnb. I have attached our conversation screenshots in case you want to browse through them.

Identity and Credit Card Information Stolen Through Airbnb

After renting an Airbnb in December, I received an email stating that my email address had been changed and to notify customer service if we did not make that change. We emailed them and didn’t receive a return call or message. We contacted them again after attempting to log on to our account (we could not access our own account to shut it down and still cannot to this day). There was no return call or email. About four days later, I received a random call telling me that if I needed additional towels, to please let them know. I then waited for over thirty minutes for a customer service representative over the phone. She confirmed that my account had been changed and that a rental in Brooklyn was active. $867 had been charged to the credit card linked to my account.

I felt great after speaking to her; she assured me that I would receive a call within four hours from the Trust and Safety Department to gather the details for the investigation. She also told me that she “placed a hold” on my account so that no additional charges could be made. Three weeks later after many phone calls, emails, wasted time on hold and additional charges on my credit card, and I have never received one single call or email from the Trust and Security Department. I continued to receive calls about my “stay” and even received a direct email from the Brooklyn host telling me that she gave me a five-star rating. Airbnb did not even notify the host that she had a renter that had stolen all of my information and was using my name and credit card. I received requests in the middle of the night for codes to be entered to change additional information on my account, which I’m assuming was the same person that originally stole my information. Airbnb was notified of all of these events and has never done anything to investigate or help us in this situation. It’s absolutely unbelievable that a company can function in this manner and stay afloat.

Airbnb Host Slammed Door in my Face, No Help Offered

My host “cancelled” by saying something about not speaking English in German and then slamming the door in my face. When I arrived late after walking for over an hour, I could see the lit-up house. I knocked and shouted hello, but the host refused to open the door. I set up my tent in their front yard in subzero temperatures. In the morning they came out to tell me I couldn’t camp on their yard. I tried to say that I paid for the entire house already, but they basically said something in German about not speaking English, then they just slammed the door in my face. For hours upon hours I tried to reach Airbnb to get my service fee refunded. I am also completely screwed by having my vacation ruined since the dates and locations were planned according to my reservation. I still had to attend a conference in the area, but with no place to stay.

Now I am homeless, in a half-broken tent in sub-zero temperatures because Airbnb took five days to refund my money. The service fee and currency conversion fee will probably never be paid back and I have tried many many times to file claims with all kinds of subjects in the header, including “EMERGENCY”. Five days after filing a claim (which took hours – it is close to impossible to email, chat or get in contact with a human being) I was contacted by an agent. He offered no help at all, apart from booking a new place for my two remaining days (unclear if this would be free of charge). However, I had already made arrangements at that point, and couldn’t risk having to pay for those two days either way. All in all, there was no help, no compensation offered, and the host is still up for business. Airbnb cares more about making cents on the dollar than people running the risk of losing fingers in the cold. Airbnb may be cheap and lucrative, but do you want to risk freezing to death? If there is any problem, what will you do? It is impossible to get in contact with a human being. The only support available (as far as I could tell) is totally worthless enough it makes me wonder if people created it as a bad joke to those stranded.

Airbnb Just Doesn’t Care People Are Being Scammed

I too have fallen victim to the scam that Airbnb seem to allow to run through their website. I clicked on several advertisements for beautiful apartments in New York that are showing up on their website. I noticed some of the hosts had issues with their calendars not updating and were requesting potential guests email them directly. I thought this was odd, so I Googled “Airbnb email requests” and found an article that talked about how hosts like to vet their guests before allowing them to stay in their apartments and that this was normal for Airbnb. When the host replied to my email stating that the apartment that I was interested in was now booked long term I thought nothing of it. She said she would email me details of another apartment if I would be interested. I was, and asked her to send through the details with a link to the site so I could book. When she sent the details over she didn’t send the link and asked instead for further information on why I wanted to stay in her apartment and wanted a little more information about me. I told her all about my group and why we were wanting to stay in New York, our dream holiday to celebrate an 18th, 21st, 40th and 60th birthday. She responded with the link and said we could book her place.

I was really pleased as I was worried she wouldn’t rent it to us (following what I had read in the online article). I was even more pleased when it was an Airbnb link, as I was worried about it being an unknown site. I clicked the link and got taken to an Airbnb site showing the apartment and a “click to book” button. I clicked the button and was taken to another Airbnb page, this time showing bank details and asking me to send payment via bank transfer. This didn’t appear odd as this is how I had paid for another apartment on a different website and I thought this was safe. Anyway, I emailed the host back and told her payment had been made and she was happy and asked me to ensure I kept in touch and provide a mobile number closer to the time so she could arrange to meet me. I received email confirmation and invoice from Airbnb telling me I was all booked. The next day the money was sent from my account.

The day after Airbnb got in touch to say they believed I could have been involved in an email scam. I phoned them quickly and asked about my booking. They had no record of that nor the person with whom I had been dealing. I started to get upset on the phone and the customer service person told me not to worry; I would be in safe hands and that they would get my money back. She told me she had to pass my case on to someone but to not worry as they would solve this for me. I waited and no one returned my call. I called back later, was told it was being investigated, and again told not to worry, that I would get my money back. I received an email later that night to say that Airbnb accepted no liability as this transaction was done outside their platform which they advise against. They told me this was the end of the conversation and they would not reply to any more of my emails. I tried again and they said they would look into it further. Still there has been nothing; no replies or anything.

You know the worst part? The page is still active, along with several more that I now know to be fake even after I emailed Airbnb with the page link and told them it was still online. I’m not a stupid person; the pages that appeared from the link seemed genuine. I now know that they were just part of an extremely clever scam, one that has cost me and my family our dream holiday. I feel ashamed that I have allowed this to happen to me and my family. I am hoping to seek legal advice but to be honest I am not hopeful. Airbnb needs to take responsibility for what is happening to their potential customers. There are no warning signs on their site so new customers are informed that they only accept a certain form of payment. There are so many reasons why I believe Airbnb to be in the wrong, but no one at Airbnb will even listen. I expect because they are inundated with these complaints, that in itself tells you something.

Airbnb Won’t Take Responsibility For Fraud

I was unfortunately the victim of fraud from an Airbnb listing. Yes – I know, I’m stupid – I should have known better. I was new to Airbnb and had no idea that what I was proceeding with was not standard protocol. Ultimately I found a listing on Airbnb with a description that requested I email the provider to make the booking. He then used a very elaborate scheme to make me believe I had returned to Airbnb to submit payment for the listing. Now my money is gone and Airbnb is insisting that because I went outside of the platform I was 100% liable for what had happened. What really crushes me the most is that Airbnb allowed this user to make a listing with a description that gave detailed directions to email them outside of the platform. Airbnb did not properly vet this account and did not ensure that they were posting accurate information. I naively found this listing on Airbnb’s trusted site and thought that because it was posted in the description, it would be ok. After that I was quite foolish and fell for the rest of his scheme. I lost a good amount of money and it is devastating to my family but I’m sure big corporate Airbnb doesn’t care at all what they’ve accomplished; after all, this is pennies to them. The investigative “trust and safety” department issued a resolution with bias and untrue grounds that just so happened to benefit the company. Now they are refusing to speak with me any further and insist that there is no way to communicate with the investigative team. I’m just so thrilled to hear that their own investigation went so well for them without any of my cooperation. My point is that Airbnb did not properly vet this posting and fully allowed the listing to get published with detailed directions that resulted in me being the victim of fraud. They are partly responsible for this incident and refuse to accept that in any capacity. I don’t know what else to do to get their attention but they have been completely uncooperative with me.