Frustrating Lack of Response from Airbnb

I have really liked the Airbnb platform and had a great response so far with them. However, I now have a problem, finding it a little the opposite. I am getting quite frustrated with the lack of help from the Airbnb team in relation to a booking during the festive season that I feel needs to be cancelled.

A booking was made before March 4, but travel is for later in the year between Dec. 20 – Jan. 21. I have a family who have booked our home for four weeks over the Christmas period and are travelling from the U.K. to Australia. Our government currently has Australia in lockdown from overseas holiday travellers unless they are returning citizens or permanent residents. No tourists are permitted.

Our government has stated that they can not see any overseas travel allowed until the end of the year or until next year as of Sept. 3. I have been in touch with the guests and they do not want to cancel as they will be charged over half of the booking by Airbnb. If I cancel, the dates are blocked and I also get a cancellation review and get charged a cancellation fee. It defeats the purpose of cancelling as I want to have the dates open for local guests to book or I will ultimately miss out both ways.

I’m feeling very disappointed with Airbnb response to this matter. I have messaged through their portal and had very limited if any response: all generic and have asked for documentation. What documentation? Is there anyone else feeling this frustration and does anyone have any other way of contacting Airbnb? They really are not very helpful at this time. I feel they should be extending their extenuating circumstances cancellation policy. Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Airbnb’s Dishonesty Over COVID-19 Cancellation

In February I booked a house in Manly Sydney for two couples from within Australia and New Zealand. Then came COVID-19 and with border closures flights were cancelled and borders closed.

I contacted the owner and was told cancelling would not be a problem and I would get a refund. I duly did so and it read that I would receive AUD 450.00 which was slightly less than I had paid. Then I received a email from Airbnb informing me that I would get no money as company policy was since I hadn’t paid in full, there would be no refund. I asked about a voucher but the answer was no.

Their blurb said if COVID-19 was the reason for cancelling and a booking had been made prior to shutdown then they would refund but actually that’s a lie. A lot of messaging between myself, the owner and the company was a waste of time. The owner blocked any communication and then Airbnb stated that due to COVID-19, property owners were struggling with their own debt hence the reason for no payment. They too refused to accept any further communication. The host did say that any reimbursement was out of his hands as Airbnb didn’t pay him until the date of the booking.

It is saddening that this company can take money from people and not return it when it’s a genuine reason for cancellation. The airline returned the full cost of tickets without even requesting the same but Airbnb is cheating us of our funds.

Airbnb has lost me as a user and I’ll stay with other honest short-term holiday rental companies that have been reliable in the past. I only used this one as it was exactly what we wanted and located where we wanted but I’ll look elsewhere and trust the company of choice. Use Airbnb at your peril but never again for me.

Airbnb Doesn’t Delete Confidential User Data

I wanted to unsubscribe from Airbnb emails but they have no unsubscribe function as required under Australian law (Spam Act 2003). To unsubscribe, Airbnb’s terms state only to “send us an email” to terminate the agreement. An email was sent as requested with the subject and body “cancel my account” for two accounts (i.e. Germany and Australia).

For the first account, Airbnb advised me with three reply emails sent from a third party (zendesk.com) that the requested account was cancelled. I conducted a test five days later to confirm the cancellation had failed. Access was granted to the cancelled account on login with the last password. Confidential account and profile information including my date of birth and phone number were still accessible, able to be updated, and obviously still held by Airbnb.

Airbnb refused to cancel my second account unless a “government ID” was provided, in spite of the request being sent from the same email address used to login. Airbnb was advised that the email reply was indistinguishable from a “phishing” scam. Airbnb was asked to state what legal authority Airbnb relied on to demand a government ID from me to cancel my account.

Airbnb simply continued to demand proof of identity to cancel the account without stating the legal authority for their demand other than suggesting it was merely an Airbnb policy. After replying to all further Airbnb responses with automatic resending of the original “cancel my account” request, Airbnb finally advised that the account had been cancelled but the data would not be deleted due to my failure to provide ID.

Airbnb has demonstrated their: failure to provide an unsubscribe facility as required by the Australian Spam Act 2003; failure to terminate (AKA “cancel my account”) the agreement while claiming to have done so; failure to give physical effect to the termination of the agreement granting Airbnb the right to hold confidential personal information necessary for service delivery by not deleting that information on termination.

The above evidence shows blatant breaches of Airbnb’s own policy, the Australian Spam Act 2003, and the German GDPR, which proves Airbnb’s intention not to protect consumer information.

Darling Harbour Penthouse Airbnb Nightmare

We had two families (six people) staying in a penthouse suite in Darling Harbour, Sydney to celebrate the wife’s 52nd birthday properly. We were travelling six hours to get to the property. After checking in, we decided to go out for dinner, and headed back to apartment at 11:00 PM.

We found that the lift was broken and non operational, so we called the host (no answer). We tried to use the fire stairs to get to the 6th floor with no luck as it was locked from the other side. We tried a couple of locksmiths, but because it was a fire door they couldn’t touch it. We called all the emergency numbers and the host again (no answer).

We then called called Airbnb and explained the situation. We also explained that in the property was heart medication and medical equipment that we needed access to. Airbnb then advised us they would contact the host. At 11:34 PM Airbnb advised us they could not contact the host and they would keep trying. We again explained we needed access to meds/equipment and advised us to find a coffee shop while we waited, saying someone would contact us soon.

At 1:25 AM, there was still no reply from Airbnb or the host so we had to find alternative accommodation with only the clothes on our back and no access to our meds/medical equipment. After finding some emergency accommodation for the night, the next morning I received a call from host apologising after reading my messages and stating that he was asleep. This was a complete joke; we had vital medication/equipment that we could not access, we had absolutely no help from the host, and we had no help from Airbnb.

We are out out pocket with additional expenses from finding emergency accommodation, and its been two weeks since anyone has got back to us from Airbnb after promising we would get a call. All this can be verified as we have transcripts of our conversation, even a message from host telling us how much of a disaster it was for him.

Had to Cancel due to Air Quality in Australia

Our Airbnb host is not honoring the stated policy of 60 days’ notice for a cancellation. We gave him notice today. Our check in date is April 22, 2020. That’s over 80 days’ notice.

I have health issues (asthma) that do not allow me and my wife to travel to Sydney, Australia because of the air quality; it is the worst it has ever been. According to the Australian government, these brush fires will continue through May. We are in our late 60s and our doctor has advised us not to travel to Sydney.

There is now the second concern of the Coronavirus. Many airports are not allowing unrestricted travel. The host wants to charge us $1800 for cancelling, based on a $3300 total. This seems to be excessive based on the requirements of a 60-day notice that was given to the host. Further information will be given when Airbnb contacts me at my email.

Australia Phone Number for Airbnb Customer Service

The Australian number I used for Airbnb was 0285203333. From outside of Australia it will be +61285203333. Don’t ask where I found that – my other half, The Fixer, found it; he can find anything.

I’ve not had the pain some have had going by the stories here. However, my login to my account on my phone and laptop became a total nightmare and I couldn’t get in, so I lost our New Zealand stay at the last second, and made a scramble for another stay. My login had me dropping in and out of the site/app which was hugely frustrating. I tried to sort it but couldn’t: even the techs were bewildered. Three months later I took another stab at it and it’s finally resolved.

I just wanted to give a phone number for those that want one. Maybe the Aussie number could direct harried customers to the correct country number.

Airbnb Stealing from my Dying Husband

Airbnb has stolen money from my dying husband. I will not stop until we speak to the legal department. Airbnb has been totally disgusting in how they’ve handled this simple but now costly and insulting mistake they have made.

We have been loyal and dedicated and successful Superhosts for several years now, with multiple listings and an established tree house retreat. We have provided ample evidence to support our case to show we were in no way near or under threat by bush fires. Airbnb has given nothing to support their mistake to say we were and they only have been secretive with no transparency. They have stolen money from us and hence my darling dying husband right now is in the hospital with brain tumors.

We are so totally upset that we have been treated this way and my husband and I have not been supported as good Superhosts. Airbnb does not want to understand that the whole Hinterland was not on fire and we were not affected. We had two very positive reviews from guests that stayed through that time demonstrated in their positive reviews they loved the stay and showing no fire or smoke in our area. This was brought to Airbnb’s attention; there was still no response from them.

Airbnb has allowed a guest to get a full refund out of our back pocket at the very last minute on a strict cancellation policy. Based on their event being cancelled that was half a day event at best in a totally different area to use with no associations with us or the stay agreement. This basically tells everyone and anyone is entitled to a full refund for any external event or outing that is cancelled no mater how short the event is to the stay, and on a strict policy, on the night before check in are allowed to have a full refund.

Three guests were coming and no doubt were going to enjoy themselves like all the others had been doing so. But no, security for the hosts. No professional process or interactions have been received as of yet. Why risk placing valuable property in their care? If there is support for hosts using this platform, where is it?

Airbnb seems to think they are allowed to pull the rug under hosts’ feet whenever they feel like it, despite host and booking agreements in place. They do this arrogantly without providing any evidence or sharing any professional or appropriate communication to support the decision. They refuse to share what they are looking at, where they are located, and only taking money out of our pockets. It is unacceptable.

We only have received a secretive and uncaring response, and a very unprofessional response. The case manager was aware my husband is dying, and we rely on the rules of this platform for income for his medical bills as he can not work ever again in his life. I juggle everything, giving several years of positive business dealing with Airbnb through our property spaces.

This counts for nothing with Airbnb it seems; they hide and refuse to share a map with us. One employee even said she saw the map Airbnb had and we were nowhere near the fires. So why does the supervisor refuse to show us? They ignore maps that are official and clearly show we were not near the fires at all. No warnings for our area at all. Water is all around us; it’s a huge area, no smoke or anything.

Airbnb needs to compensate us for their mistake. They should have never refunded money out of our account based on incorrect information they refuse to share with us. We do not deserve this treatment or problem at this time of our lives and we have only done everything right towards Airbnb. We have received no support whatsoever and it’s such a disgusting process. There is no excuse or justified reason to receive no explanation of their process.

Airbnb has affected my ability to pay a medical bill. I will not rest until Airbnb looks at this properly and acknowledges they have made a mistake. Just because a small majority of the Gold Coast was effected by bush fires does not mean the whole of the Gold Coast needs to suffer. Through the worst of the hinterland fires, we had fantastic views you could see the water and city views from our hill, and beautiful reviews of guests on the same weekend.

Airbnb gave a full refund to a guest the night before check in on a strict policy booking. Airbnb is hiding and needs to come out and deal with this properly and start appreciating good hosts and what they sacrifice for a successful business partnership. Airbnb is not providing a stable, supportive, intelligent and respectable platform for dedicated hosts who are providing wonderful spaces for them to actually have guests using their site.

Ultimately, if they do not have good listings, they do not get guests and there would be no Airbnb. Let me stress that our property was not affected by any bush fires. Airbnb says they can justify taking a two-night booking away from us; this was a mistake they are refusing to acknowledge. I have sent them photographs and the reviews and official maps clearly demonstrating there was no fire associated near or in our area.

Still, we get nothing back from them on an intellectual or acceptable level. They only write back saying we have reviewed it and we will not be giving money back. This is without showing anything to support their claim or belief. Where is the map they are looking at? Believe me I have asked and demanded to see it, but they refuse to show anything. I now don’t believe they do have a map that is at all relevant to our area or contains anything factual.

Some cock up from an Airbnb international office has circled all of the Gold Coast to be on fire. Ridiculous. We have shared the maps from official authorities of the bush fires of Queensland to demonstrate all the history of the bush fires as we were monitoring them very closely. Still, Airbnb ignores this. It’s bad enough to lose a lot of summer bookings out of the type of fear associated with the word bush fire. Then for Airbnb to take away your bookings for no legitimate reason is inexcusable and they need to compensate us.

I have worked so hard to support my husband and through this livelihood we have been making it with Airbnb. I see no reason to continue my listings with Airbnb if they can not deal with this properly and correct their mistake. There is no real security or support with Airbnb. I will update this if it changes. They are totally incompetent in their due diligence or they are simply hiding a mistake they don’t want seen.

Give us our money back Airbnb. We provided a beautiful space. We will never get that weekend back and there are policies in place for good reasons. Airbnb needs to respect the agreement they had with us. I’m very disappointed to write this. We have a responsibility to the community to tell and warn anyone about Airbnb in how they have been treating us. At no point in time our property was ever listed in a danger zone. We had fantastic views beautiful water views and happy number of guests through that period of time.

Only one guest capitalized on Airbnb’s mistake, an event that was half a day at best in a totally different area. We had a two-night booking on a strict cancellation policy. They were bringing three people around for the stay. On Friday the 13th in the late afternoon Airbnb allowed them to have a full refund. Based on what? Based on an event that had no relevance to us on the property.

Now I believe that if I book or anyone else books a long stay through Airbnb and their event gets rained on, or their bus gets cancelled, or the singer gets sick, they are entitled to a full refund despite any level of cancellation policy. This is what Airbnb has done to us. Now I know If I ever book with Airbnb as a guest, I can cancel for any reasons for extenuating circumstances.

A full refund is expected. I would expect that for any reason I claimed to be my reason for booking I can get out of it, despite the accommodation having no association whatsoever with the excuse. This is absurd and Airbnb should see it to be otherwise. There is no security whatsoever as a host to provide beautiful spaces if there is no support for loyal and long-standing hosts.

Is there anyone in Airbnb who can salvage a long-standing and good business relationship and multiple listings and wants to rectify this accordingly? Refund us the two-night booking that we had secured. Airbnb cancelled a strict cancellation policy booking,taking money from us based on incorrect data without cross referencing information or sharing it. No transparency, nothing to support their actions.

Risks for Hosts and Guests in Unapproved Sublets

I own approved short-term accommodation in Australia. The state government and the local authority require me, as part of the conditions to operate, to comply with requirements of health, safety, insurance, and local amenity or I can be closed down and/or fined.

For example, doors leading into or out of the accommodation cannot have a lock on the inside requiring a key to be opened in case of fire, the smoke/fire detector system is superior to that required for normal residential use, linen must be washed every three days in at least 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees F), pests (cockroaches, rodents, flies etc) must be controlled by regular fumigation/baiting/barriers, and pets are not allowed in the kitchen, bedrooms or swimming pool area due to disease.

Very strict rules are in force if I supply any food, e.g. sugar cannot be available in an open container, milk must be date stamped and in an unbroken sealed container and refrigerated below 4 C with logs of purchase and use by date, and the fridge must have a thermometer and be kept below 4 degrees Celsius. Regulations for the swimming pool are horrendous but all for the health and safety of guests. I also have to pay a yearly license fee to operate.

The premises are regularly inspected, without notice, by Government Health & Safety Officers. These measures obviously cost more than that of normal residential accommodation as they are over and above the usual requirements. Consequently, I cannot compete in price with an individual who rents out on Airbnb a spare room in their home or the whole of their accommodation when they go on holiday. Airbnb encourages people through incentives to let out their accommodation, with no checks of their legal standing to do so. Unapproved and illegal lets regularly crop up on Airbnb before the authorities shut them down.

People being people seek the cheapest deal and so bypass me in favour of an Airbnb sublet. This causes loss of business for me. It also means guests expose themselves to hazards, disease and financial risks by staying in unapproved accommodation.

For example, a recent newspaper report of an illegal Airbnb property advertised as ‘family friendly’ had a young family as guests over Christmas. The property had swings built by the owner. The father was pushing his two young children on the swing when it toppled over as it was not anchored in the ground. The younger child was crushed and killed on the spot. The other child was admitted to Intensive Care at hospital with life threatening injuries. The owner had invalidated his insurance as he was operating illegally so stands to lose his house in litigation for personal damages/injury. He was also fined by the authorities.

This would not have happened it he had stayed in approved accommodation such as mine. Bear in mind that all insurance is invalidated if not operating legally or to purpose. Most homeowners have residential property and contents insurance. Insurance companies view letting out a room or property to the public as a commercial activity and not residential use by the owner/occupier. Thus any claim for third party liability, damage, loss or injury will be dismissed by the insurer if found the property was not used in accordance with law and insured purpose.

We all know how insurers try to evade paying out if possible. This means a guest must proceed against the host’s personal assets, which may be nil if renting and not an owner or insolvent.

The choice is yours: make some bucks via Airbnb and risk losing your home or being declared bankrupt if things go wrong as well as being prosecuted, or, if a guest, save a few dollars and risk sickness, injury or death without benefit of the host’s insurance, if any, if let out illegally.

Airbnb Property Insurance is Scamming Hosts

The Airbnb host guarantee is a lie and scam. I can prove this and don’t trust anyone from Airbnb’s response team; they are trained to deny your damage claims.

My house got damaged. I was paid only 30% of my claim and still underpaid by $400. To save themselves more money, they refused to pay me in Australian dollars. My picture frame got damaged and smashed. Airbnb denied my reason was fitting even though I proved I brought it brand new only four months ago. My door handle to the bathroom was broken and bent, the lock broken. Airbnb denied it, stating paint could fix it.

My $500 new coffee table got broken. They denied it and stated it could be salvaged. My marble bench tops got deep scratches. I got a polishing company to repair and state the damages on the receipt. Airbnb denied it, stating general cleaning products could be used to fix it.

For four weeks I complained to Airbnb. No one ever called or emailed me back. I sent 25 emails; they just said they reserve the right to deny claims and basically “sorry, continue being a great host,” etc. These people are trained to deny your claims and Airbnb covered it all up. If they say “contact us”, you’re wasting your time you will never ever get anything.

I’ve spent five weeks calling and emailing. I got no response. They only protect their reputation. People from customer service should be sacked; they lie and commit fraud to deny your claims. I accept I have lost thousands of dollars in damages and I accept Airbnb will never pay me. Be careful of Airbnb Australia.

Beware When Extending Airbnb Bookings

A while back I went home to Australia for a few months and booked an apartment for my stay. The place I wanted wasn’t available for the last week of my stay but I booked it anyway, thinking I could stay somewhere else for the last week.

During my stay, I went onto the listing and found out the next guests had cancelled and I could book that extra week. Great, except when I went to book, that extra week was going to cost me around $3000. The place was less than $100 a night so I thought it was a glitch and got in touch with Airbnb.

What happened was the host had raised the nightly price on the Airbnb site during my stay and Airbnb wanted to charge me the new price for my entire stay. I had to pay the higher price for the period I’d already stayed, not just the extra week.

Luckily, in my case I got in touch with the host who was horrified and happily put in special pricing on his end so I could book the extra week at the original price. However, that isn’t always going to happen and if it hadn’t been such a huge difference in the price, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. I wanted to post this because it’s something people aren’t aware of and could really screw guests over.