Airbnb Fail, Kicked out of Barcelona Flat

On May 24th, I stayed for one night at a flat in Barcelona, and it was an absolute disaster. That night, things were very loud. Despite going to bed at 10:30 PM I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30 AM when the party outside my window finally died down. These conditions were not conveyed to me ahead of time. I calmly approached my host about this the next morning at 8:40 AM. Rather than trying to resolve or talk through the issue, she canceled my reservation and demanded I leave the flat by 12:00 PM. I received a refund at 9:30 AM after which I frantically tried to contact Airbnb for support while I searched the website for alternatives. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone from their support team, and the website yielded “zero available rentals during my preferred time frame.”

By 9:40 AM, my host became hostile. By 9:55 AM, she was back at the flat demanding I leave immediately. She threatened me by saying: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Don’t make me call someone to remove you.” I tried to reason with her; I was afraid and alone, and I felt it best that I leave immediately. I hailed a taxi to a nearby hotel where I shelled out 500 euros per night for the remainder of my trip (2500 euros total). This was five times what I had budgeted for the trip – the host’s flat was only 80 euros/night. Seven days later, I still have not heard back from Airbnb support on this issue, despite sending the desperate email attached. I am massively disappointed with their vetting process for hosts, and for their lack of customer support in resolving the issue and making me feel like a valued customer. I have three upcoming trips planned with Airbnb over the next six weeks, and I’m tempted to cancel them all.

Airbnb Trust and Safety Department Beyond Horrible

Letter to the owner of Airbnb. This is my fifth attempt sending it. Of course, there has been no response.

Dear Brian, Alena, Anvita, and others,

First, Brian – I’m appealing to you since you left your email address stating to bypass the Trust and Safety Department and communicate with you directly. I’m taking you at your word that you will become involved. Utter frustration, there is no other way to put it. Yesterday I spoke with a supervisor of the “non-trip department.” I requested the following: “Please have the Trust and Safety Department call me.” I left my phone number and once again requested they email me. I also gave her another email address for them to communicate with me since my first one was not getting through. Incidentally, they also have this other email on file. She assured me she would “accelerate the case and the would get back to me.” I’ve heard that from 20-25 non-trip representatives… very laughable. That’s the line of BS that is common amount if all the reps. Now I’m being financially compromised, and I literally am losing sleep… I cannot rent my home since I don’t have a calendar of my renters and I’m afraid I’ll double book someone. I’m also with VRBO and I can’t rent with them as well. I will soon initiate a lawsuit. I regretfully have been left with no other choice and I will inform the media how Airbnb treats its hosts. As a 5-star host since 2014 I wonder what I’ve done to deserve this? Everything is documented below.

On May 15th:

The Trust and Safety Department blatantly ignores my problem. It was Anvita, now it’s Alena… maybe they are the same, who knows? Avery, your tech, said that they fixed the back end but not the front end and therefore I’m not able to log into my account. I’m in serious trouble. These people are so inept. I have no clue as to who my future renters are and I cannot reach them to give them directions to the house, not to mention I cannot rent my home. Please help! Please!

On May 11th:

Dear Mr. Hassell,

My name is Alan Mayer and I’ve been a 5-star Airbnb host since 2014. My relationship with Airbnb has always been excellent until just recently. Approximately five weeks ago, unbeknownst to me, Airbnb deleted my account and changed my email address to an unknown email address. Subsequently I have not received any inquiries for the past five weeks and my profile has been assigned a different property. In addition, this incorrect property information is being sent to my renters, causing confusion and anger. Six days ago I contacted your technical support team and spoke to several individuals who all assured me that a urgent high priority ticket would be sent to the appropriate team. I was told that Anvita would be assigned my case. For the past six days, I’ve received multiple phone calls and assurances by your representatives that the case ticket has been forwarded to Anvita. I have received no correspondence from Anvita. Therefore I’m locked out of my account and unable to correspond with my renters or access my Airbnb calendar. I respectfully request immediate assistance in solving this issue. Neither of us wants bad reviews nor loss of revenue.

Today is even worse than the past week. The password Anvita sent to get into my account doesn’t work and the wrong home is still being displayed. Regina (who’s been wonderful) tried to activate the password to no avail. Anvita at the Trust and Safety Department issued a notice saying the issue has been “solved,” when actually it’s worse than ever. Respectfully, I’m requesting another case worker be assigned. Anvita isn’t qualified nor will she communicate with me.

Host is a Scammer, Leaves my Parents outside in Barcelona

I’m searching how can I get a live and not automatic reply to the problem my parents encountered during their last visit to Barcelona. My parents’ English is not good enough for written communication so I’m writing on their behalf. My parents booked an apartment via Airbnb from my mom’s profile. They wanted a Russian-speaking host in order to overcome any language barrier. The host’s name was Olga. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of leaving a review on her page, for a reason… It is very important to me that this post gets the notice of Airbnb so that they may remove the host from Airbnb and other people won’t experience the same problems we did.

This host is a thief. When my parents arrived in Barcelona, they contacted Olga and she told them she was a realtor and not the owner of the flat. The flat owner, Ivan, should provide them the key. She told them she was not in Barcelona now and could not meet them. My parents tried to contact Ivan with no success for a few hours. My parents are in their mid 60’s – not a young couple – and this was very stressful for them. To find themselves in the middle of Barcelona with no place to stay, in addition to the fact they do not know Spanish and their English is very poor. After understanding that they were deceived on Airbnb (the website that we use a lot while traveling and usually are very satisfied with it) they had no other option but to just book a room in the hotel just next to the host’s apartment since they didn’t feel well and were very tired.

From the next day they found a cheaper hotel and booked there for the rest of their stay. We find it unacceptable to not have an opportunity to get in touch with someone at Airbnb and all the system provides is automatic replies. I asked Airbnb to contact us and to refund the difference between the booking and the hotel price (both hotels were the most simple ones). I have all the needed receipts and some Whatsapp conversations with the host and the owner of the flat. There were also lots of calls that were of course not recorded, unfortunately. I’m waiting for someone at Airbnb to please contact me asap.

Bachelor Party Last Minute Cancellation – Nowhere to Stay

Having booked an Airbnb to stay three months before my bachelor party, we were notified at 9:00 PM the night before check-in that our host had been evicted. In the email notifying us, the case manager provided a refund and a $200 credit, along with three listings that were 30-50 miles away from our original location. Needless to say, there were no desirable homes, and very few suitable ones for a group of our size. After finding a number to call via a friend who works at Airbnb, I spoke with an agent on the phone, and the agent told me they were going to run a few more searches and call me back. An hour later, I called again, found out that outbound calling was having trouble that evening, and the agent wasn’t able to call me back. They also weren’t able to help us in our search for housing either. We ended up finding two entire homes on the site our own and booked them that night, utilizing the $200 credit as well. In the morning, we were denied one house (it had already been rented, apparently) and were told that the host would be staying with us in the other as they weren’t able to find alternative housing on such short notice… tell me about it. We cancelled the second home, although we were charged for a day because we were within 24 hours of check in. We ended up booking hotel rooms instead. A week later, we still haven’t received a refund for that one day and have no credit to compensate us for the additional cost of a hotel and pain that this cause. Overall, I couldn’t be more disappointed with Airbnb’s customer service and lack of effort with what was a really important weekend for me.

Ghosted Without Notice for Two Weeks and Counting

I posted my spare bedroom in my “Rustic Basic Ecohome” on Saturday, April 22nd. Apparently I got a booking around noon the next day. The guest claims she drove to my house at around 3:00 PM and tried to call me. I was at home, sleeping with my phone off due to working the night shift. She got flustered when she called my Google voice number and heard my nickname rather than my legal name, the one that appeared on the listing. She never rang the doorbell. When I woke up, I tried to contact her for hours; apparently she was in some conference or meeting. She cancelled the booking and Airbnb incorrectly assumed I cancelled it. Up to this point, I felt okay with the situation; perhaps my guest was a bit skittish, so it’s probably better she found another place where she hopefully felt more comfortable.

Then Airbnb said they will not allow other bookings for the duration of the cancelled booking (two days) and admonished me for cancelling (which I did not do – rather, the guest gave up and perhaps pinned the blame on me to get her payment back). In the days to follow, I received no bookings. My listing showed up when I went on the site from my computer. Finally, after 13 days, when a friend tried to go online and vouch for my character, he got a broken link message. I asked him to look for my listing and he could not see it. I called Airbnb and they saw it as a “technical issue”. They started a case and referred me to the Trust & Safety Team, who only communicates via email. The tech support representative sent me an email that said “Ghosted”.

I think their temporary block for duration of the cancelled booking somehow wasn’t removed after two days. As of today, May 10th (17 days since the cancellation), my listing apparently remains non-operational with no explanation from Airbnb. I had originally planed to remodel a bathroom to give my guests their own suite. I’m so glad that I started with an existing bathroom and bedroom, considering how haphazard the process has been so far. I just put a listing up on Wimdu. Hopefully that process will go smoother than Airbnb.

Airbnb Nightmare in Portugal with Children

We booked and paid for a pad for our family of seven including minors in Lagos, Portugal. With a confirmation and weekly reminders we were excited for the upcoming trip and stay. Finally, when we arrived at the reserved place there was no host or key. We were abandoned by Airbnb and literally on the streets of a foreign county with children who were worried and traumatized by the experience. Our 3:00 PM check in to a place after a long transatlantic trip never happened. Calling Airbnb was a total waste of time because they did not seem to care that we didn’t have a place to sleep. Airbnb cancelled our reservations to the place the following day. We were supposed to be staying in a place I had paid for all the way back in February. I will never use Airbnb again and if you have children I would advise you to be careful booking with them. They never answered my letter of complaint and that just proves how careless they are when it comes to customer service.

Massachusetts Airbnb Host Tries to Jack up Price

I booked a four-night stay in August for a listing in Provincetown, MA back in February. At first, Airbnb charged my credit card twice for the large amount (almost 2000 USD) and then told me I had to wait five days for a refund. After speaking with about 234 representatives and supervisors, I got my refund and a whopping $50 credit (…thanks). Fast forward to a few weeks ago, the host (Ned) decided to attempt to increase the rate by $400. When we spoke with Airbnb, they said they would negotiate with him. They said he would change it to $200 increase and Airbnb would cover half. It was still a scam, but I didn’t think it was worth the fight. Then he cancelled the reservation entirely. I have been waiting for my refund for 2.5 weeks now and Airbnb is trying to say that I already received payment since they refunded the second charge. I now have a formal investigation through my credit card company to get my refund. It’s been a headache. Never book with Airbnb – it’s a joke. And the supervisors and case managers are flat-out liars. Once I get the refund, my account will be cancelled.

Airbnb Left me High and Dry for Nashville Music Festival

I booked this property on September 4, 2016 for a vacation I’m taking June 6-12, 2017. That’s nine months in advance because I knew the majority of properties would rapidly fill up and be extremely expensive seeing as it is the week of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. I booked my property and paid in full that day for a great price and the house was spacious and beautiful. With that said, I stopped looking for places to stay because I had already found one. On Saturday April 29th, I received an email stating that the property had been sold. With that I expected to at least have a conversation with the host with alternatives or even an apology. What I got was a message saying “sold property.”

I’m utterly disgusted and livid about this situation. Why would a host be allowed to list a property that is for sale? Had I known the host was selling the property months ago or even weeks ago, I would have had many more options but I was kept in the dark. I’ve used Airbnb in the past and thought it was great but this experience has changed my perception. I’m absolutely out of luck at this point because now I have to find a different place to stay, all of which are nearly triple the price now if not entirely booked already. Airbnb says 75% of properties are booked for that time frame. Because of this, I’m looking into ways to cancel my flight and car rental but it’s not looking so promising.

I am absolutely outraged and disgusted by the host and the service of Airbnb. Clearly all the two care about is making a profit and not putting a single thought into the customer or their experience. I already paid close to $500 for the flight alone to enjoy this special vacation with my friends and now we’re looking at well over $400-$500 each more for just a place to stay because this service is unprofessional. I can’t believe our entire vacation was abruptly ruined without even a simple “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” or replacement accommodation.

Airbnb Fake Listing – I Got Scammed in Dublin

I’m afraid I will have to be adding to the list of guest horror stories of scams involving Airbnb. It’s great to know (and let others know) that if things go wrong with this company their stance is an complete and utter refusal to accept that they have operated with any neglect to customer protection when in fact the opposite is true. I was recently looking for an apartment to rent in Dublin as I’m having a party there in October. I found a great apartment listed normally along with lots of others on Airbnb. This listing turned out to be completely fake but led me to transfer – in good faith – £834 to a criminal’s bank account whilst parading under a false Airbnb official-looking email address. I had never used the site before and was unfamiliar with the payment process. The following day, having reported the fake listing, I contacted my bank’s fraud department; a friend of mine was still able to find the fake listing and communicate with the fake host. It’s so infuriating that Airbnb did not even attempt to take the fake listing down immediately to protect others. I have had an official email ending my dispute from Airbnb exonerating themselves completely from any blame. My bank has asked Barclays for the funds back from the criminal’s account (highly unlikely) and informed me not to get my hopes up as MACs transfers are virtually irreversible. I feel totally disgusted by Airbnb’s response to my problem, their lack of urgency in taking the fake listing down, and the hundreds of other stories that I have since read with the same problem. Airbnb should not get away with this.

Nightmare in Nicaragua: Playa Yankee Power Outages

I’d been eyeing this place as a possible vacation spot since I had started planning our trip over a year ago. We had originally intended it to be a ten-day vacation but I splurged and extended it specifically so we could stay here. We stayed at the great Casa Las Mareas in Encanto del Sur, just north of San Juan del Sur. As good as our stay was there, we were excited to come here. I’d had visions of teaching our eldest daughter to swim in the pool here while my wife enjoyed the view with our younger daughter. We got there on a Wednesday. The view heading to the water was spectacular but immediately marred by the sight of the green pool; hornets were swarming in the shallow area as well as some elsewhere in the pool. My daughter was understandably freaked out. I asked Gilberto, the caretaker, about it and he said (translated quote), “It’s an open area, there’s nothing you can do about them”. I thought back to our stay at Casa Las Mareas and its pristine pool, also in an open area. I let the idea of asking him to put out wasp traps slide after I realized I didn’t want to dip my head in a pool that looked like this.

The first time the power went out was before 11:00 PM our very first night. My wife and I woke up within five minutes of one another, sweating and wondering why. The fan, our sole source of ventilation, had turned off. We chalked up this outage to the planned power outage the entire San Juan del Sur area goes through on Thursday, figuring maybe they were getting an early start. We had our girls (three years old, seven months old) with us in bed and sweltered through the rest of the night. The following morning, the power came back on briefly, then went out again after about thirty minutes. We (my wife, our two little girls, my uncle and I) took a day trip and came back to the house. The power stayed on for a little over one hour this time, just enough to give us hope that the power issues were behind us. The power went out again and we settled in for another sweltering night.

I arose before sunrise and walked outside. The houses below (known as Beach House Beauty when it was listed on the market) and Casa Alta both had power. A five-minute walk in the opposite direction revealed Casa Monet had power as did Orquídea del Sur. The next day I spoke to the caretaker at length about the issues. I asked him why we were having power issues if we had a solar power system (after I heard the humming and spotted the batteries and put two and two together). He explained to me that the “solar system” had broken six months ago and the panels had been removed. The main power appears to be inexplicably running through the solar power inverter and more than likely through the batteries, as they were humming.

I asked him if the owner was aware of this and he eventually admitted that the owner was in fact aware of the issue with the power going down constantly. It was on this day, our second-to-last full day of our time here, we were told there was a generator available for us. At this point we still weren’t sure if the power issues would continue. My wife and I thought about the sound of the generator and how it would decimate the sound of the ocean way down below, but at least we’d have power. I asked him to please set it up and he agreed to do so. Ten minutes later I heard an engine start and unfortunately for us it was his motorcycle’s and not the house’s generator. Gilberto took off and I didn’t see him again until the next day. My wife tallied our time without electricity and including a three-hour spurt, we had four hours of power and communications (no cell phone reception at the house, no wifi without electricity).

We ignored the groceries we had purchased and placed in the refrigerator for fear of letting out whatever cold air may have been left and spoiling our perishables (these ended up spoiling anyways). We reluctantly went out to dinner again, an hour roundtrip into town, so my uncle and I could get wifi and communicate with our respective jobs and clients. I grew up in El Salvador both during and after its civil war and it was a rare day that the power didn’t go out. I am well aware of the fragility of the power grid in this part of the world. So you can imagine my frustration when every house in the vicinity had power except for ours. This is a completely preventable issue of which the owner is absolutely aware, according to the caretaker.

The next day, Saturday, the caretaker was there and I asked him again, more urgently, to please set up the generator. We even discussed the best place to situate it. He said, “como usted quiera” (as you wish). Not five minutes later, I heard his motorcycle start and by the time I got out there all I saw was the dust rooster tail that disintegrated before my frustrated eyes. That dust cloud would be the last sign of Gilberto for the duration of our trip. Rather than enjoy our last vacation day, we planned our first of what would turn into three trips into town (down a VERY bumpy long stretch of dirt/rock road). We had to go there because the next day was our last day, and we had to confirm our trip to the Liberia airport in Costa Rica. We had no way of communicating from the house because of the power issues.

We didn’t know when and if or for how long the power would come back so we got ahead of the issue and drove into San Juan del Sur. We were able to message the shuttle company, the rental car pick-up person, and the surf shop from which I’d rented my surfboard to coordinate. We didn’t get to confirm with everyone, so another trip was necessary before our last trip in the evening to ensure nothing had changed for the next day and get dinner (more unnecessary gas and food costs we could have avoided had the owner cared). The power was out when we got back all three times, but came on for about four hours total again. We never saw Gilberto again. We left the keys hanging by the door hoping they’d make it back to him without issues. We never got any guidance on what to do with our trash and spoiled groceries. The shuttle came and we were relieved to be gone.

How terrible does one’s experience have to be when they can’t wait to get home from vacation? We were absolutely blissful at our first rental and are completely angry with the owners and manager for what amounts to fraud. The crystalline pool shown in the Airbnb listings was so inviting and we arrived to a hornet-blanketed science experiment. Lack of power to only this house meant stress for everyone involved. I couldn’t get in touch with work clients until I went into town. My uncle was dealing with an intricate project which he dealt with as best he could with the little time we had power and our too-frequent trips to San Juan del Sur.

This was supposed to be the absolute climax of our trip and it was an absolute nightmare. The pool was unusable (the owner did offer to have it “cleaned” our last afternoon there even though I’d sent him pictures where chemicals and time were clearly needed). Nicaragua is blessed with an almost constant wind thanks to Lake Nicaragua. Many houses are shrewdly built to take advantage of the natural ventilation possibilities. The roof eaves at Casa Pablo were short-sightedly dropped down to cover the ventilation holes throughout the house, including those facing the predominant wind direction. This means you won’t get the natural cooling effect as described above. If you have power issues approaching our massive ones, you will be soaking in sweat at night.

UPDATE: The owner wrote me to say I was lying about the generator. He said Gilberto told him he had hooked it up for us. He told me he had seen the above videos (presumably tipped off when I submitted a review) and he still insisted I was lying. Why would I write to him our second full day of our stay and complain if the generator was going and all was well? Why is there no power in the above videos? Why isn’t there the loud sound generators make in the video?

The listing still up on Airbnb as of this writing.