Airbnb Hell in Japan After Cancellation

I had the worst experience in my life with Airbnb in Japan. I’m a permanent resident in Japan and had to book a place for a short stay while I’m waiting to go back home. The host who handled my stay treated the situation as if it was nothing. The place was dirty with cockroaches everywhere, plus bedbugs.

I tried to contact him by phone several times and he didn’t answer the calls at all. I don’t know what his issue was with residents: he didn’t answer the calls, he just didn’t want to chat. I decided to report directly to Airbnb support, which tried to get a refund to minimize the damage from the situation.

On Oct. 3, after Airbnb tried to reach the host for a whole day, the host cancelled my stay at 10:00 PM and asked me to leave the place by 10:00 AM the next day just like that, without any previous notice. I had to spent money on transportation, hotels, and handle the moving out by myself with more than 300 kg of suitcases and stuff.

I confess that Airbnb did a good job but I don’t see any protection for the guests in these cases. How come hosts can do this with such short notice? Especially in Japan, where everything is so proper and you have to give notice for everything. I’m very disappointed with the service, the place, the host, and specially his attitude.

I don’t recommend foreigners stay at Airbnb properties in Japan. You won’t have any rights. It’s much better pay for a hotel where you won’t have troubles like this. I will go determine my rights with my lawyer, because this is not the right attitude. I felt offended and disrespected.

Airbnb Rip Off in Austin Forces Guests Out

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I’m a PM for a Internet technology company and I’m responsible for choosing Airbnb rentals for staff, usually 2-4 staff members. In September, I chose a host in Austin for one month. The rental had good reviews and looked good in the photos, so our admin assistant booked the unit for one month, starting the second week in September to the second week in October.

The staff arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday and were immediately underwhelmed, The cleanliness of the location was poor; there was debris in the front entry, dirty and dusty tile floors from the gap under the door allowing debris to blow in, sticky counter tops, a refrigerator with plenty of odds and ends from previous tenants with sticky unknown substance in nooks and cracks, and pubic hair in the toilet rim. In addition, the light bulbs and face plates in the house were not maintained and looked like the owner did not care to present a home they cared about, just a take or leave it house. However, they took 100% of our payment, $3,369.

Since our staff had to go through me and the company admin, the issue could not be addressed until Monday morning. Well, the host had an excuse for every issue, refused to let us out of our term, but was willing to send cleaners back over. After two days in the unit (not a home), our staff said “no way” to staying in this unit and we care and trust our staff. The host only offered a $220 refund and Airbnb is completely complicit in this behavior (they bear no responsibility or customer support for such situations). Since July my firm has spent approx. $41,000 with Airbnb. I will be recommending Extended Stay hotels to my executives for future projects.

Broke and Unhappy After Customer Service Experience

I’m highly disappointed in my recent experience with Airbnb’s customer service. My friends and I booked what turned out to be a scam listing. We were already about 8 hours into our 11-hour drive to the beach when we received a notification from Airbnb that our booking had been canceled and we wouldn’t be penalized for the late cancelation.

We expressed that we were already over halfway there and were left with no place to stay. We were told that Airbnb would book us a new place to stay and get back to us within an hour. We never heard back from them. We ended up booking the only other pet-friendly beach house in the area that turned out to be four times the price of where we initially thought we were staying.

We reached out to Airbnb many times and were told that we had to wait until our assigned case manager contacted us and that no one else could help us. My friends and I now owe a difference of $700 per person for the new booking and Airbnb has refused to cover any of this difference. Now I’m broke and upset and my whole vacation was ruined because of this.

Higher Rates on Airbnb Than Other Sites

Airbnb isn’t the first company in this industry to believe they can treat owners with arrogance. Most readers know who I’m referring to and that company has had an amazing attitude adjustment after seeing both owners and guests flee from their site.

Booking agents are totally irrelevant without owners, who take most of the risks in this industry. But since most owners are small operators and booking agents tend to be huge companies run by overpaid CEOs, they start believing they can enforce outrageous policies and treat customer service as a cost they want to get rid of.

Ever try to call Airbnb? Good luck. Question one of their policies? You get a ChatBot responding to you.

We own many properties and knowing full well how badly they need us, our response to their arrogance is simple: you can rent any of our properties anywhere else, for less. We list on several sites, and Airbnb is useful to us — some guests only look there and they book from the site. Others shop around and we get a hit for the same property on several sites. I’ve yet to see one choose to pay more just for the privilege of booking on their site.

I doubt anyone at Airbnb cares at the moment. After all, they are so much bigger than us. But I’ve seen this before, from their once-arrogant competition. Sales will falter, the C-Club will demand answers (only when they don’t get that fat bonus, forget the obligations to the actual owners of the stock) and people will be sent out to kiss ass and “try to understand how they can be a better partner.” Then we will set terms for them to get equal billing, just as will did with those other guys.

Ultimately, they will listen… money is common language. So from one CEO to another: a storm is coming your way. Enjoy the sunshine while you can.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Finished Dealing with Amateurs at Airbnb

Although I have never had a horror story with Airbnb as some people have, in the six or so years that I have been using it, this is what I have found:

90% of the time, there is some significant issue. Either it is in trying to find the place, or in trying to gain entry. Or the place is dilapidated or has many maintenance issues. I have found the reviews to be unreliable as well. In contrast, when I book a hotel, there are only significant issues around 10% of the time, plus the reviews are much more reliable.

In using Airbnb, I am relying on amateurs. The problem is that when a person travels, they are more vulnerable and insecure because they likely have no network of friends in the area. Traveling is generally stressful enough without unpleasant surprises. I find that in using Airbnb, I really save little money and its just not worth the hassle. In the future, I will be using hotels and other alternatives.

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Complaint Concerning Airbnb Gift Card Balance Usage

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I made a reservation for a family trip with a total cost of around $1,500. I benefitted from purchasing gift cards in advance so used my balance for the initial payment. Recently, I added a night to my reservation which created an immediate charge of $267. I was surprised that my PayPal account was charged even though I had enough gift card balance to pay for the modification.

I called Airbnb customer support. The agent couldn’t explain why the gift card balance was not used for this transaction. He went on hold for about ten minutes and came back referring to the gift card facts page. He texted me the link. Buried in the page is the policy that gift card balances will only be used for the initial payments and not for modifications nor the final payment.

Please note that there is no reference on the Airbnb gift card packaging that states that gift cards will be used only under certain circumstances. It says that it will be used “when you book your next trip.” Is that a clear statement of Airbnb’s gift card policies?

I asked the Airbnb agent her honest opinion as to why this gift card policy exists as it makes no logical sense to me. She said she could think of no reason why my gift card balance isn’t used.

I am now stuck with a $900 gift card balance and will be required to use my PayPal to pay for $900 with the recent modification and the upcoming second payment. I guess VRBO will be my preferred option in the future.

Identification Trouble from Airbnb Hell

I’m not a frequent Airbnb user, but it has always been a good experience for some years now. Recently, Airbnb requested some real identification and asked for a copy of my passport. No problem, I can understand about that kind of request. It may even be some improvement to avoid scams or other abuse.

However, Airbnb then asked for verification with a live image of mine. I tried. I tried ten times with the app. I could take a selfie with the app, but then I just dropped back to the home page of the app. There was no kind of confirmation whether this image was received, and obviously it never was.

In parallel I tried to contact Airbnb support. They always wanted to walk me through the confirmation process. I did three times and it never worked. I asked to escalate this problem to someone who could find another solution. They walked me through the process again.

They asked me to install Airbnb on another phone. I did. Now the app asked for a confirmation code, which I received on my own phone. Again, that’s a reasonable request, but the second app did not give me any option where to enter this four-digit code which I had received.

I’m still in identification hell. I tried to book two different accommodations several times. After 12 hours this reservation will be deleted automatically since I still lack proper identification. You might guess that there should be any kind of bypass for the support team to accept any other kind of identification, but there is nothing else they claim they can do.

Broken app which has never been properly tested? Broken support, who can not help you at all? Unfortunately, there’s not much alternative to Airbnb nowadays (in Germany), other than ordinary hotels and booking.com.

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Empty Airbnb House with no Utilities Hooked up in Winter

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This happened this weekend. It was my second time using Airbnb and what a nightmare this has been again. The first time I booked with this host she called me at 1:00 PM for my 5:00 PM check in to tell me she had no water but she would be willing to bring me portable water. I needed to shower. She said okay.

I had to call Airbnb and they gave me my money back since I had at that time booked a second Airbnb, and that host was so good especially since it turned into a really last minute booking. I drove by my original booking and saw that there was a tag on the door that showed the water was turned off due to lack of payment. Okay, so the poor girl ran into tough times. I then felt really bad for her, so decided to give her another shot two months later. She accepted my booking and didn’t answer any of my messages, which was a red flag.

I showed up. It was -30 C and snowing. There was a little more than a foot of snow from the sidewalk to the door with no footprints, and a bunch of newspapers that were brown in the mailbox. There was no smoke from the chimney and clearly no doors had been opened at this house in at least a month. I took pictures of the front and back. The snow had not been shoveled all winter so far and clearly no one – upon examining the back of the house – had lived there in months.

I took pictures and called Airbnb. After half an hour they told me they were going to pass my file on to someone else who could actually help me. After going to the event I was going to that night it was 10:00 PM and Airbnb had not assisted me at all. I found a hotel and booked it.

The next day, there was still nothing from Airbnb. I sent messages and got radio silence. I used my points and booked yet another hotel, so my $122.22 booking had now turned into $122.22+$135+$140. I couldn’t afford to keep booking hotels so I booked another Airbnb for my final night at $82. I had now spent $479 on accommodations that I budgeted and booked for originally $122. Just an extra $357… No big deal, I guess.

Finally I was so fed up I called Airbnb again. They informed me my file had never been passed on; I need to restart the process. Yep, do it all over again. This time they were wondering if they could possibly find me a new Airbnb. I’m like: “look at my profile; I already did so and paid for it. Finding me a new Airbnb should have happened two days ago.”

At this point I was just begging to get my original booking money back, and the host’s stay taken down so no one else had to deal with this ridiculous scam artist. I’m not holding my breath.

Airbnb and Identity Theft: Think About your Data

We’ve done business with Airbnb in the past and it was okay. This time around, our email address had changed, so we had to come in ‘new.’ That meant we had to go through the process of setting up a new Airbnb account, and boy, has that process changed.

First we were asked to give them a phone number so they could send us a code to proceed. I don’t like giving out my phone number, but okay. They called, I got the code, entered it, and continued. Next they wanted front and back photos of a government-issued ID with my photo, and specifically asked for a driver’s license of a passport.

Think about how much information about you is on either of those documents: they get your full name, date of birth, address, license or passport number, photo and your signature. A hacker’s dream. I instead entered pictures of two of my dogs (they later came back and said those were insufficient).

They let me continue at that point and now asked for a new picture of me using my computer camera (don’t have one) or an app they will send to my cell phone. At this point I quit and complained to their so-called ‘help’ site (never got an answer).

If this happens to you, no matter how good that rental looks, stop and think about all the personal information you’d be giving to Airbnb. No site is immune from hacking. Airbnb can claim they’ll protect your information, but that’s baloney. They don’t care about your private information or they wouldn’t ask for it. Asking for it also shows that Airbnb simply doesn’t trust you. They assume from square one that you’re trying to screw them somehow even though they will have your credit card to assure payment.

Other rental sites, like HomeAway, have rentals at comparable prices in the area you want to rent. I’ve been renting all over the world for forty years (well before Airbnb existed). These other companies don’t ask for the detail of information that Airbnb does. At least not yet.