Airbnb Promised Partial Refund, Host Said No

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My husband and I were heading to Bali to renew our vows. Exciting, right? The backstory is that my husband is terminal with an aggressive form of MS that now requires chemotherapy. We were planning a trip for just the two of us.

The host was aware of our restrictions and his handicap and illness. When COVID happened, we immediately reached out to our team of doctors and they agreed that it would be dangerous for my husband to travel. We got our documents together and sent them to the host as well as Airbnb.

They told us at the time that we would be entitled to a partial refund based on the host’s cancellation policy. It never came. We reached out again and heard back from the host stating that she was not in a position to refund any money. Let me state we cancelled in March and our trip was not until August.

Airbnb said that there was nothing they would do and the host said “sorry” and “I wish you well.” I can’t understand how a business can knowingly do this. It’s heartbreaking.

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COVID-19 Scam Over Bali Cancellation

I booked an Airbnb in early February 2020 with a host in Bali, Indonesia from May 15, 2020 through May 28, 2020. Well, sure enough, because of the coronavirus, my flight got canceled and both Singapore, where my layover was, and Bali are no longer accepting non-essential travel. This can be proven on both governmental websites.

I decided to cancel on March 25, 2020 and called Airbnb to speak to a representative. The representative informed me that because of their extenuating circumstances policy, I would be able to get refunded since I booked in early February.

Due to her negligent misrepresentation about the company’s policy, I cancelled my trip only to be refunded $0 and my cancellation had to be accepted by the Airbnb host. I immediately called back and was informed now the host had to accept my cancellation.

Well, the host never accepted my cancellation, told me he basically “had mouths to feed”, and I wouldn’t be seeing my $560 deposit. I immediately called Airbnb and told them I was impossible to go to Bali and it is unconscionable to take my money due to the first representative’s misrepresentation and the fact the government isn’t allowing me to travel. She informed me to submit documentation for internal review.

After this, Airbnb informed me he’d be eating my money too since I cancelled before the policy updated to extend to May 31st even though I cancelled five days before the extenuating circumstances policy updated.

I am advising everyone not to book with this Superhost who should have this status revoked and never to book with Airbnb. I have filed a complaint with the BBB since this is unconscionable and is a complete scam.

Even people who are covered under the extenuating circumstances policy still have to go through the same runaround and get the host to accept their cancelation. Airbnb is a scam.

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Steal our Money, Cancel our Reservation, Then Ignore us

Last night my family had the beginning of the Airbnb experience from hell, which we are in the middle of. We had a 30-hour journey from Chicago to Bali, for the first time with our baby who is nine months old, and we had planned to stay in Airbnb accommodations.

We booked nearly a year in advance but yesterday we got an email that our reservation in Ubud had been cancelled due to me not updating the payment information. I was alarmed, as I had updated my payment information last week on my account.

I called Airbnb, and they told me there was a glitch in the system and gave me incorrect information. I can just simply “make an inquiry to the host and have the host send me a special offer.” This is incorrect, as due to the glitch in Airbnb’s system, it looks as though I am the one who cancelled the reservation and there is no ability to just make an inquiry.

Airbnb customer service was condescending to me and was eager to get me off the phone without helping at all. They told me there was no way to reinstate the booking. I called back and spoke to another equally unsympathetic and unknowledgeable associate who gave me further incorrect information and told me that “all we can do is wait now.”

I then asked to speak to the manager who was completely unhelpful, had the delusional idea that the host (who has a strict cancellation policy) would completely refund the money to us and then allow us to rebook (no host in their right mind would do that). He promised me he would get this resolved, fix this for us and absolutely nothing has been done and no follow up whatsoever.

Airbnb has completely screwed us. We trusted that the money we paid would be used for our accommodation, but they left us in the horrible situation of taking our money, cancelling our reservation, and we are about to get on a long haul flight with 30 hours of travel with a baby. The host in Ubud has our money and we do not know where we can stay.

We have spent over three hours on the phone with rude, unhelpful associates who forget about the BS that Airbnb has left on our doorstep and expect us to deal with, when we should be packing and being excited to go on holiday. We are going to a foreign country with a baby and no accommodation, due to a “glitch” in the system.

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Inaccessible, Leaky House in Bali Makes for a Bad Stay

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We booked a house in Bali this February 2018 for 25 days. Overall the reviews were good – 4 1/2 stars – so we trusted in them. However, as we arrived we saw that the whole house was a rundown disaster. The most it was capable of was for private use, but not in any condition to rent out as a holiday home at all.

We are pretty sure the house was built on a cliff without any permission. During rainy season the part of the cliff where the house was built on was eaten away by big rock and mudslides due to the fact that the water was running down to the sea nearly every day… that was scary. The only access to the house was over steps, but not normal steps; you had to climb around ten minutes down the cliff, over broken, irregular, slippery, tumble-down steps.

When it was dark, of course there was no light on the property. To give it a little bit more of a kick, there were cables everywhere and water pipes running over the steps; we had to clamber over them. The whole stair system wasn’t maintained at all; we all slipped away, because it was so mossy and slippery like ice. My son and I were injured on our arms and legs and we’re not too stupid to walk up steps. As we were travelling with our child, it was impossible to walk up them everyday during those 25 days. In the Airbnb listing the host didn’t even mention one word about the steps or difficult access to the house and she knew that we were travelling with our child.

The house and the whole area were so rotten and covered with trash and mud that there were rats climbing into the main room and over the roof of the bedrooms. In one bedroom, there was a lot of water damage; there was always water running down the wall over the ceiling when it was raining… and we stayed during rainy season. It was extremely humid, stinky and moldy. There was no way to use this room.

We already had the electricity break down on the first night, but we couldn’t find the fuse box. The next day the housemaid came, because we informed her an electrician had to come. He just “fixed” it superficially, but at least we knew about the fuse box. We were shocked to see an open box with just three simple fuses for the whole house, open wired cables, no FI switch, everything outside behind the house just a few centimetres away from the thatched roof. In front of the box was construction waste and big glass shards, so it was hard to get there and not get injured. The whole situation was unacceptable and really dangerous.

Not even this was not enough. The host placed two night table lamps next to the bed in the main room. One lamp had parts of a broken cable with open wires; she just fixed it with paper tape. The other lamp she extended not with a proper extension cord, just by cutting the plug from two cables and connecting them very amateurishly. This was one reason for the regular electricity blackouts until the whole makeshift wiring started to burn down under our bed. I could make the list longer and longer.

Just to be clear – the host wasn’t Indonesian. We met extra friendly and reliable Indonesian people whilst travelling over seven weeks in Bali. All the other accommodations we had stayed in were above average, the same price level with a super fair price-performance ratio. The host from the horror house came from Europe. She was travelling the world and wrote that she studied economics; she should have known better. For sure everything she did was on purpose and her whole behaviour was negligent.

We were really in shock about the whole situation and we tried hard to find new accommodations near us for a long term stay. We moved out on day 3 of 25. We tried to find a solution first with the host, then “together” with Airbnb; that’s what made the situation even more absurd. We wrote a safety warning addressed to Airbnb about this location, but they seemed fine with everything.

Airbnb’s “mediation center” decided that everything was perfect in the house and there was no refund at all for us – we paid over €2000. No apology or regret from the host, just lies and rudeness. We filmed and photographed the whole circumstance, so we could prove it all. We gave all the information to Airbnb, as we were told. We talked on the phone to our “case manager”, someone who seemed mostly trained to deny, and not provide customer service or problem solving.

The host lied to Airbnb by saying that the photos and videos weren’t from her house, but if you compare them, it’s easy for anyone to see that they are. The case manager just didn’t care. Obviously it worked better for her denying policy to just not see the issues? Just be careful with Airbnb claims – you have just 24 hours to file a report with Airbnb. After that you are out, no matter what is up. This time is set not to make it customer friendly – it is set up to exclude an enormous number of claims.

Our realistic, but not good review just came up on the page, when we pressed Airbnb. It even came up late. Normally it has to be posted within 14 days and we wrote it on the first day of the automatic invitation to review. Did you know that every guest has to write a review first and then the host has to review it before his review will be published? When he does nothing and he is clever enough, he can censor the review or even prevent it from being posted.

Of course the host gave a bad review for us on Airbnb with lots of lies and incivilities, even though we left her house with respect, no damages, no mess, and no dust or trash behind us. After all of that, we still got a bad review. This review system in our opinion is not a realistic or democratic process. We don’t trust it at all anymore, and we don’t trust Airbnb.

They just want to get bigger and bigger. It is not about hosting anymore, it is just about making money and winning market shares. They don’t care about a single customer, they take it all from us, and if they skip one they take from the next. They don’t care about the neighbourhoods or the cities they are destroying, they don’t care about the originally nice idea of hosting, and they don’t care about culture. They are just pretending. They are abusing everything to get more. They are a hypercapitalist ulcer that pretends to bring the people together, but they really don’t care… we are not conspiracy theorists.

The house is still online. Airbnb is doing nothing, so be careful with booking with them, something I would never do again, even when there are lots of nice hosts. I’m sure I will find real hospitality somewhere else. We booked Airbnb five times. We had two really bad experiences: the first we tried to take with humor and did not complain, but the second one was enough. We put Airbnb on the case, and that’s what made the whole situation even more obvious that this would be our last time.

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Irresponsible Host Causes Accident at Bali Villa

My family and I made plans to go to Bali and decided to book an Airbnb. We settled into this nice villa in Seminyak. We went there for a family getaway trip with my cousin’s family, just hoping to relax and enjoy the beauty of the villa and Bali. We arrived late at night around 10:00 PM, got settled, and was amazed how nice the villa was. It really was as described and how it looked in the pictures.

We went on a short trip shortly after to buy some food to eat in the villa. There were three other villas in the same area. To get to the villa where we were staying, you needed to walk for about 15 meters, and the path is paved with block paving. However, one of the blocks was not perfectly placed – part of it was bulging out. As it was late at night and there was minimal lighting to aid us, my brother tripped on it.

At first we thought that his thongs (flip flops) just broke. However, he said that he was in pain. Once I turned on my flashlight I started screaming. A lot of blood was pouring from his left foot. There were so much that I almost puked and had to look away. My family helped him right away and shouted for the villa’s security, asking if they had first aid kit. They didn’t.

However, security was nice and helped him to get into the car to be taken to nearest hospital. My brother ended up getting a tetanus injection and six stitches across his bottom toes. As a result, he was not able to walk properly nor could he enjoy the pool and beaches. Our holiday trip was really disturbed.

In addition to that, on the third day of our stay, the AC in the first room was broken, causing water leakage into the wardrobe. My cousin’s clothes were soaking wet. He had to buy new clothes afterwards as there were no more clean and dry clothes left.

What made us so unsatisfied with the place was that the owner did not take any responsibility for my brother’s incident. The fault was clearly on them as they were not able provide a safe place for us to walk. The paving block was easily fixed right away after my brother’s accident. They were just too lazy to do so, as they said that they needed to open it again. If that was the reason, they should have put a sign or plant around it so that people could avoid it.

We were not able to contact the owners right away as they were based overseas. We had to deal this matter through their employees, who said that the owner would not take any responsibility and that we should just claim it on our own insurance. We travelled domestic and our airline did not provide travel insurance. I also requested reimbursement through Airbnb but the hosts said that the accident happened outside the villa. It happened next to the villa’s parking space and on the entry way to the villa. We really did not enjoy our stay here. Thank you for reading.

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Host Cancellation Policy Not Worth Paper it is Written On

Just a warning for you hosts out there. Airbnb can refund 100% of the rate you have agreed upon with guests, and will not even inform you about it. The first you will know is when you receive a statement saying they have taken the money from your bank account, or deducted it from a future booking (which is what happened to us). It does not matter if you have a strict cancellation policy; Airbnb’s terms and conditions allow them to override this and “steal” (there really is no other word for it) your money and give it back to the guests, and not even inform you about it.

We had a booking in August – our peak period, and so we spent time, money and effort preparing our property for these guests, including purchasing food for their stay, paying for staff (our villas are serviced), and arranging cleaning, only for the guests not to turn up at all. As people fly to Bali, such a late cancellation left us no chance of finding other guests to take their place. When we contacted the guests, we found out that their grandmother had unfortunately died, and so they had decided not to travel.

While we had sympathy for the guests, we assumed that they had travel insurance (as we recommend for all guests) and so would claim on that, and so we offered to provide whatever paperwork they needed to do so. This is our business and our only source of income, and so we have a strict cancellation policy, as losing an entire week of income would be a big blow to us. We thought because of our cancellation policy that we were protected by Airbnb.

If guests contact us we normally work something out, and have in the past. For example, we have let guests stay later in the year for free. However, instead of claiming this on their insurance, the guests just went directly to Airbnb, and the next thing we knew, 100% of the amount paid had been taken from us. No warning or discussion from Airbnb. No discussion or message from the guests. We had had no argument or difficulties with the guests, just minimal conversation as we assumed they were busy with the funeral arrangements.

We are left here with all the costs of setting up the villa for the guests and yet zero income, and no ability to get other guests to stay or to recoup the income we had expected. We complained to Airbnb and they told us that when using Airbnb, we have to follow a policy called Extenuating Circumstances. In Airbnb’s view, their policy is evenhanded as it allows hosts to cancel at the last minute, as can guests for reasons outside of their control. However, if a host cancels due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is repaid to the guests, and if the guests cancel due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is also repaid to the guests. The host loses out in both cases.

Guests can also insure against unforeseen emergencies, but there is no such insurance to cover hosts for last minute cancellations leading to a significant drop in forecast income. With no discussion, notice, message or anything we were given zero opportunity to challenge or question this. Airbnb did not even check if the guests had travel insurance, and could have claimed that; they just quietly took the money without telling us. Not only is this policy grossly unfair to hosts, it is totally unethical to implement it without any discussion at all, and tells you that trusting Airbnb as a company is a very dangerous thing to do. A massive warning to Airbnb hosts: you are not who Airbnb cares about.

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Dreamland Nightmare: No Amenities in Bali

Friends and I decided to go for a surf trip to Bali, Indonesia. We found a good looking place for a good price as we are students and don’t have a lot of money. On arrival in Bali we were told that the manager of the house would be waiting for us at the villa to open it. When we got to the villa there was someone different: not the host or the manager, some random person. He struggled with English and quickly left once we were in.

We soon realized that our beds had no bedding or linen. This was a bummer. We also realized that there were no towels so a shower after the long plane flight was a no go. The villa was dirty and falling apart. Shelves and cupboard doors were falling off their hinges. There was no kettle. The gas stove had no gas and to top it off, the wifi that was promised seemed nowhere to be found.

We contacted the host, and she was very responsive and apologetic. We asked for the linen, towels and wifi and she assured us it would be there tomorrow, as we arrived late in the night. We have been here for three days and nothing has changed. We have contacted the host countless times. Every time she reassures us that our needs will be met but we have yet to see anything happen from her part.

Halfway through our stay the manager arrived randomly one evening. He did not bring bedding or towels. He couldn’t speak a word of English so communicating with him was extremely difficult. His friend who accompanied him told us that they need to do renovations two days before we are supposed to check out. This was very weird and we were extremely confused. He then told us that he will move us to the house next door for the remainder of our stay.

This is ridiculous. It’s a complete joke. The host is extremely useless and is treating us terribly. Hopefully we can get a refund or something because no one should be treated this way. Thank god the waves are amazing because it’s the only thing keeping us happy.

Airbnb Hides Whenever There Are Problems – No Service At All!

In the middle of a trip through Indonesia I booked a stay in Bali. In the communication with the host we came to an agreement that it would be more convenient for both of us to stay somewhere else. That was no problem, and there were no bad feelings about it. I booked another stay for the same date. The problem I have now is that Airbnb already took the whole payment for the now-cancelled booking from my bank account. I tried to contact them on their dubious help center. There is no option in the pre-selected answers that fits my needs. After calling their telephone hotline I waited for 45 minutes without someone picking up the phone until my account was emptied. Now Airbnb is completely silent without any response. How can they charge two bookings for the same dates anyway? Do they think I split in half and stay at two places at the same time? This platform seems handy if everything goes smoothly. When there are problems, especially if the problem is caused by Airbnb itself, it is nearly impossible to get into contact with someone from Airbnb. This looks very strange to me when you consider the high sums they charge for their “service”. There is no service!

Christmas Disaster in Bali Thanks to Airbnb

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I wanted to share my last Christmas experience so others can learn from it. I live in Singapore but am originally from France. This year we decided to bring our family from France to Bali to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Ideally, we wanted to find a house for the family so I decided to use Airbnb. The initial experience was good, but issues started to arise when we tried to reach the house (a quite peaceful paradise in Kuta). It took us more than 45 minutes with a private guide to reach the house as most of the time the host was not reachable. The house was advertised as a quiet and peaceful paradise in the middle of the busiest street. The real issue came when we reached the house. Paint was peeling off the roof, the bed sheets were not cleaned, the kitchen full of rust, and last but not least, taking a shower was part of an experience in which you had to wait about half an hour to get sufficient water to wash your hair.

I was feeling so bad that I immediately called Airbnb and the owner. The owner just said he was sorry but the cancellation policy is clear; there would be no reimbursement (does not take into consideration any difference between the pictures and reality). I decided to call Airbnb, which is in itself a challenge. I ended up talking to a person who said that he would call back to help me to find an alternative place to stay and mediate with our host. After five days nobody called, so I had to manage to find a last-minute hotel for the whole family. Today I received a reply from Airbnb saying that they were sorry but there was noting that they could do.

So my conclusions are:

  1. If you have a crappy house, rent it on Airbnb with no reimbursement policy. If the guests are not happy, too bad for them. Airbnb will not do anything as they need the transaction to get their cut.
  2. Airbnb is a high risk solution to accommodation. You may have the chance to find an honest host with great properties but you could also end up in the garbage. In both cases, Airbnb is only there for the transaction and will not risk the lost of any rent. This essentially means renters are screwed.

Villa Bali Cliff Kuta South – Experience Review

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I suggest anyone considering Airbnb in Bali be very careful with this property and the host. The villa had two living room doors per room which did not isolate us from the outside wild garden area. Two palm-sized spiders came through closed doors or the roof on our second night. Tropical spiders may be very poisoning and dangerous to your health. It was obviously not safe to sleep inside. A big frog came in too. After this, we started to study our living conditions more closely. We found red ants living in the antique furniture. There were big piles of chips attracting them, insect excrement on the mirror frame, and a spiderweb underneath the bed. Obviously there hadn’t been any major cleaning in a while.

The host was kind and nice but only before we started to talk about issues with the property. Both evenings that we were at the villa we smelled alcohol on his breath. When we started talking about issues, he promised to find a solution and asked us to wait, which at the end turned out to be a play for time. He simply waited until Airbnb transferred our payment to his account and stopped responding after that. We should have immediately called Airbnb, which I now suggest everyone do if they see a problem.

When we decided to leave early, our host offered us a 50% refund for remaining days but under the condition that we write a good review. Nice of him, isn’t it? He wrote this in the Airbnb app chat so we can share to confirm. I don’t know if you need to believe all the positive reviews of his villa. Our goal is to provide information and not to judge.

The following day after we discovered the spiders we moved to a hotel. Our host knew that problem with the doors exist, confirmed by his responses in our chat. You surely won’t see it in the pictures here but plaster comes loose from the celling in different areas. The good news is that we have house pictures and videos (sent to Airbnb too). We would be happy to share with readers too, to know what you pay for. To excuse himself, our host guessed in the app chat that we simply wanted a party area of Bali. We moved to Nusa Dua, which is similarly not a party area. Right now the question of reimbursement is still open and under the Airbnb team’s review. We hope that they can help. Sadly, we sense that we won’t even receive a full refund for the remaining days we were out of the villa. Hours of wasted holiday time. Please feel free to contact us via cyrilreview@gmail.com. Here is a link to more pictures.