Airbnb’s Unfairness Leaves me without Answers

I booked and paid twice with Airbnb, then both of my bookings were cancelled by the hosts without an explanation from them or Airbnb. I got my money back those times but my third host was a scammer. I know I should be more careful, but after two cancellations I was desperate to find a property in London for my family at the busy time of year.

My host approved my booking and was recommended as a good host by Airbnb. He claimed he had flats in London and Florence, but he was totally a scammer. Before I sent all the documents verifying this to Airbnb, they closed my case and my questions were not answered:

1. What procedures do you take to determine if hosts are good?
2. Do you have proof of the existence of your hosts’ properties, the identity of those hosts, and their contact information?
3. Did you really think my host was a good host to recommend to me?
4. Can you contact my host on my behalf?

I wrote here because I asked these questions but Airbnb closed my case with auto-reply emails. I tried to write the Airbnb trust and safety team back, but my emails were blocked by them and my negative comments on Facebook were blocked. That’s why so little negativity is shown on their Facebook page.

One way communication makes me feel bad. It is so unfair. Airbnb approved my host and now said he was a scammer, mentioning they are not responsible for any money loss or fraudulent information being circulated around Airbnb as well as outside the platform. Airbnb helped these criminals when they were recommended on a public site, and are still doing it. Can you really say Airbnb is not responsible?

Police suspect these scammers get inside help because; Airbnb didn’t even deny this when I asked. As upset as we were, the day of check-in, December 28th, 2017 in London, we waited for a return phone call from a supervisor at Airbnb’s customer help desk to help us to find an alternative property in London. They promised me twice over the phone and we waited three hours in a café in central London while checking other sites. We didn’t get any calls from them and all we got was an auto-reply email three days later.

We had to book an alternative place to stay through Booking.com and spend extra to buy a same day check-in. Airbnb promising something it couldn’t deliver was more upsetting. We also saw another young couple were waiting to get in to the property. How many more people will get scammed because of false recommendations by Airbnb? I hope they reconsider their system errors, and give some support and proper answers to me and my family after all this irresponsible service.

No Help with Refund One Hour After Reservation

Earlier this evening I made a reservation on the Spanish Airbnb site for myself and five other friends to go to La Coruña in March. Having made the reservation, we were given the address (I cannot understand why this is not available before payment is made) and now according to my friends the apartment is not where it appeared to be from the photos uploaded. Therefore, it is too far away from where they wish to be. I have been asked to cancel.

When I try to cancel I am told that the amount I have paid (50%) will not be refunded as the payment policy is strict. I am stuck I have tried to cancel one hour after making the reservation and cannot possibly understand how I can be charged 50% now when the reservation is for mid-March and only one hour has gone by. The host says she is new to Airbnb and cannot as intervene “because she will be penalised.” As you can imagine I am not happy at all about this and have emailed Brian Chesky requesting him to please intervene and authorise a full refund as I cannot speak to anyone – every time I try the Help Centre telephone number it cuts out. As you can see I am not a happy bunny

Airbnb Booking was Reserved on Another Website

I couldn’t believe that the cottage I booked on Airbnb had been booked six days earlier after I paid via PayPal on January 6th. The host messaged me after my itinerary was confirmed to tell me. She said that I could not stay in her accommodation even though I had paid and my booking was confirmed. She told me that January 8th had been booked out via booking.com on New Year’s Eve. This must be a new year’s resolution joke. You can’t place your accommodation on different websites like this. You are managing your booking details yourself. You should’ve had sufficient time to indicate “the property is unavailable ” on your Airbnb bookings. There were six days between New Year’s Eve and January 6th. You messed up your bookings and you should take responsibility. You can’t walk away after having taken money. That is called ripping people off. I have also attached my booking files to support my true personal experience with this Airbnb host and the website. I am sure that both the host and Airbnb are to blame. Both of the parties have faults. Now I am stuck.

Greed and Lies Win the Day Every Time with Airbnb

Airbnb prioritizes greed over ethics, morals and subverting the law. They have endangered the lives of our guests – a single mother with two young children late at night in foreign country. Airbnb purposely blocked all means of support to all involved. Then they lied to both parties. Their customer service routinely lies to both guests and hosts when it comes to dealing with issues. Airbnb always sides for themselves to unscrupulously take your money and prevent any sort of dialogue that leads to a resolution.

We have been ripped off by Airbnb on several occasions. The first incident was as new hosts. Airbnb made serious errors in instructing our staff setting up the new listings. The results were very damaging to us and our guests. Airbnb errors resulted in a double booking (they admitted technical issues due to an “upgrade”), yet immediately denied any responsibility. They refused to provide any assistance to us nor our guests. The results put the well being of a single mother with two young children at serious risk of further harm.

Airbnb refused to provide any effective assistance to us nor our two groups of guests. They could have easily contacted the guests before their flights to a foreign country (where they were then unreachable). We sent four staff by taxis to the airport and the resort. We alerted airport security and other valuable contacts to help us find our guests. I had found a much superior accommodation (at great personal costs) to provide for the two separate parties.

Instead an Airbnb “manager” blatantly lied to both myself and the guests during a three-way call, stating that it was our fault. The Airbnb manager continued to lie to all of us – stating that there was “no accommodation available”. This Airbnb manager continued to bully myself and staff threatening to penalize us and steal more money from us. Airbnb admitted their error then lied to the guests and stole our money. Eight months of effort – (we recorded an additional 72 lies by Airbnb staff about resolution, and promised compensation) have lead to us being bullied to exhaustion.

We put this aside until the most recent and third major incident of their lying to steal your and our money to put into their pockets already fat with money they have effectively stolen from other hosts and guests. Most recently a guest decide to leave in the middle of his stay to go to another resort where other family members were staying. The next day the guest made a false complaint to Airbnb that the power had failed (not true) and demanded a refund.

Airbnb was informed that the guest left without notice and that the claim of power failure was false. We even provided a free upgrade to my very superior two-story penthouse, and a free week any time they liked. The guests were more than pleased with this. Two weeks later – without notice – Airbnb stole all the rent money. We have spent over 65 hours – mostly on “1-2 minute” holds that averaged over 37 minutes. Always diverted to a wrong extension, that only resulted in them bullying myself and staff with further lies and threats of yet more penalties.

Airbnb has a culture of lying that has been promulgated by their senior executives: to steal as much money for themselves while making huge efforts to obstruct resolutions. Does anyone know the names and contacts of these senior executives and board members for service of legal documents? Does anyone else want to join the cause for truth, prevention of further abuse, bullying and illegal actions? I believe that a settlement at this point will only serve them to be able to continue to hide their very serious infractions. A court decision will be thus made public. Hosts, guests, staff, service providers and perhaps even the competition will find this valuable.

Host Took Over $2000 for Immediate Cancellation

An Airbnb host is stealing over $2000 from me (50% fee) and there has been no answer from Airbnb for days. A “dedicated case manager” is just a waste of time and a way to make time thinking you can “forget” or maybe settle for much less. This must be a scam in which both Airbnb doesn’t care (makes a profit too) and some hosts steal from customers (especially first time users like myself) on a regular basis.

I am a first time user coming from a difficult situation where a host had just canceled a rented property (still waiting for a refund on that too) and needed a house ASAP for seven people including seniors and children. I explained this to the host and he agreed that I needed more than two beds for seven people (his information said sleeps “up to 16”). He then claimed that because of the five minutes from when my transaction occurred between booking, texting, and canceling, as per his claim, he was free to charge me for a cancellation. That five minutes’ processing time is now going to cost me over $2000 right before Christmas. I’m filing a BBB complaint and I want to start a class action lawsuit against Airbnb after reading lots and lots of complaints.

Late Cancellation? Travel Insurance is a Must!

A good friend and I – both disabled vets – booked an apartment in Miami South Beach with an Airbnb host two months before our vacation days when prices were still affordable. We then booked cheap airfares – we both live on modest incomes – that could not be refunded.

Three weeks before our arrival date our reservation was cancelled by Airbnb with no reasons given. They offered us $129 as compensation for our inconvenience and invited us to re-book. We then looked at available bookings with the same amenities for January and they were now 50-200% more expensive than our original booking, which priced us out of the market.

With the $129 they attempted to fob off on us, one would be lucky to pay for one day of accommodations on South Beach; it wouldn’t cover our lost money for non-reimbursable airfares. This debacle occurred after yet another earlier booking was cancelled because the dates advertised as being available were not in fact available (or the host got a better deal with some other customer through another third party booking agency; or still yet, the host was perhaps racist and by tracking our emails on social media discovered that my veteran friend was African American).

We began to think that Airbnb is less a booking agent than an auctioneer. If hosts can cancel reservations a month after they are made without explanation to the customer one wonders if the room was rented to someone willing to pay more. In popular locations like Miami South Beach in January that is not an unreasonable suspicion.

I complained vociferously to the very polite Airbnb customer service representatives who duly commiserated with us over our misfortune at first, yet rendered no resolution. I was told to call back the next day, which is not what one wants to hear when someone has your money and has just cancelled your reservation a few weeks before arrival. Only after sending emails to their corporate headquarters in San Francisco threatening to file a breach of contract claim in Colorado courts did I finally receive a phone call from a manager of what appeared to be their customer service center in Idaho. She was a competent problem solver and she immediately offered to help with the increased cost of re-booking.

We luckily found a venue with similar amenities that cost $340 or about 30% more than our original booking. Airbnb covered the additional cost without making me jump through any hoops and we were satisfied. My warning to all is that a “confirmed reservation” with Airbnb is not the same as a confirmed reservation at a Motel 6 or a Holiday Inn. If you think you have a confirmed reservation and then feel safe to go and book an El Cheapo non-reimbursable air fare you are at risk of losing your accommodations and being stuck with a ticket to a destination without a room waiting for you. In peak travel season when the reasonably priced accommodations fill up fast your re-booking could be quite costly. Bottom line: reduce the risk by getting travel insurance.

Hotels are Always Preferable to Unreasonable Hosts

After deliberating at length, I’m sharing my story and advice. I planned a trip to Paris, my favorite city, to celebrate my birthday. I carefully chose an Airbnb based on reviews and location, with price being my least concern (but still looking to minimize). My host notified me via email the morning of my departure that my check-in could be two hours earlier.

My transatlantic flight, which included a layover in London, touched down just after 14:00. After claiming my luggage, getting my bearings and securing train tickets, etc., I headed to the city. Combining these activities would warrant at least a two-hour window, even if I knew the exact location already, which I did not (though after eight previous visits I know Paris somewhat).

Once off the train I texted the host again, noting I was in a cafe for a break before heading over. It was 30 degrees F and sleeting outside, and I needed to consult my map and have a quick bathroom break, unsure of just how close/far I might be. The host rang my phone immediately and was very curt, saying I was late. I knew I had been expected at a certain time, and he had been waiting for 30 minutes.

I stated that based on weather, my fatigue and (obviously) his displeasure I was happy to seek hotel refuge and regroup, to start over the following day. I had paid for six nights. He said he would not be free any other day to meet with me and pass over the keys. Following this statement to me, as I made an effort to explain my situation, he hung up. I was shocked and dismayed, so I went to a hotel.

What transpired afterwards was just more and more of my precious vacation time texting, emailing and phoning with Airbnb. To sum this up as I see it now, a hotel (even a small privately owned one), would have been available based on the demands or shortfalls in my schedule, and would have recourse for a complaint, refund or even cancellation based on my customer experience, without requiring added time and energy.

I will use Airbnb again, but strictly within the US, where there is little or no language barrier added to the experience. I did receive a portion of my fees returned, but my hotel stay far outshined and surpassed what that apartment could have offered, for the same price. Lesson learned.

Airbnb: Unprofessional Standards Drive Guests Away

In the last three months I have stayed in three Airbnb apartments and houses: each for a month. I moved to a new Airbnb house two days ago. Already, I have noticed the TV system has a fault, there is no hot water, the fob to the garage doesnt work and I had to climb over the gate all day yesterday because I didnt have a key. The last two places were just as bad.

They are amateurs: they only want your money, and have no sense of professional responsibility or standards. No wonder the terms don’t allow refunds. If you find the electricity constantly cuts out, or the plumbing is so noisy it keeps you awake, or you do not get the necessary keys, or there is not enough hot water for two people to shower, or the fob to the garage doesn’t work, or there is little privacy to work there, or it’s cold with no heating, and consequently it’s overpriced – complain, or leave a bad review. It’s your duty to do so. We are the regulators.

Whenever You Need Help, Airbnb Isn’t There

I’ve never seen a company like Airbnb. Whenever you need help, they are there not to help but piss you off and wish you to hell. I have never gotten any help either by email or by phone. The representatives are rude as if you are living in hell and you deserve their condemnation. I have never seen a company in my life to be that unhelpful. I have received this template email at least three times and no help has come so far. I don’t know what is wrong on their end: no explanations, no information, nobody to talk to and template email responses with no real communication and no intent to communicate. Their technical errors put you on the hook for the blame.

“My name is XX and I’m a Trust & Safety specialist at Airbnb. We regret to inform you that we’ll be unable to support your account moving forward, and have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s). This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account. Furthermore, we are not liable to you in any way with respect to disabling or canceling your account. Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with respect to such matters, and this decision will not be reversed. We’ll contact you if anything changes in the future, but until then, we won’t be able to assist you any further with your account issues. Please see our Help Center for further information: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/432. Regards, XX”