Airbnb Censored My Negative Review on Facebook

On July 18, I booked a property in Ventnor City, NJ. I was offered and accepted the payment plan when I made the reservation. However, my credit card was charged the full amount of the rental rather than 50% then and the remainder due according to the plan.

I contacted Airbnb within 12 hours of having made the reservation when I saw my Visa card had been charged the full amount of the rental. Since that time I have been communicating with Airbnb’s associates to try to get the then pending charge cancelled and rebilled. The reply has been:

“Upon checking, yes you are correct. You have a point and you are totally correct, Right now, I can not give you details on why those things happened. You should get the partial payment plan, but we are also wondering how come you were charged in full. The system is designed that way if your profile and reservation details qualify for that payment plan, that option will show up. Usually if you are on the payment page, you will see that first. Looking on the details, our reservation is done already, and we don’t have a way to rectify it anymore. With this, thank you for your understanding and patience on the matter.”

Airbnb told me, “your satisfaction is our number one priority.” However, that seems to be a joke. This is the second time I’ve been royally wronged by Airbnb. The first time was when I made a reservation in London, which was cancelled by the host 24 hours before my arrival because he was evicted for illegally renting his condo. I got zero assistance from any Airbnb Support Ambassadors in finding another rental on such short notice. I had to cancel my flight at the last minute which cost me big bucks.

Concerning this reservation, I asked why Airbnb couldn’t just cancel the charge with my Visa card and reissue the charge, based on the payment plan? Airbnb refused to do so. Any other merchant in the U.S. knows how to do that type of transaction. It just seems Airbnb is continuing to hide behind policy and procedure and continue to ignore what’s in the best interest and satisfaction of its clients.

Airbnb’s latest response has been that it took note of everything and would forward this to the proper department to improve its process. After having admitted that its system messed up in charging me the full rental amount immediately, the only thing Airbnb plans to do is to try to do better in the future. The platform seems to have no intention of trying to reconcile the mismanaged charge on my credit card.

That’s extremely disappointing and I plan to refrain from ever booking a reservation with Airbnb again. There are many other booking agencies available who actually take the satisfaction of their clients seriously. My advice to future Airbnb clients is: buyer beware. If Airbnb messes up your reservation or mischarges it, they’ll do nothing but say that policy does not allow them to do anything for you.

Unfortunately, my Facebook post on the Airbnb Facebook page was removed when people started replying they would never use Airbnb again. I reposted the same message, and again, Airbnb intervened and removed the post saying my situation would be reviewed again for possible action. That was now two weeks ago and all the Ambassadors seem to have taken a vacation.

Dynamic Pricing = Fleecing the Client?

I browsed Airbnb for a property in Suffolk able to accommodate 13 for a family holiday in August 2022 and found a great contender. The listing quoted £3,141 for a week but there was no mention of COVID terms and conditions. I messaged the host who replied promptly with a satisfactory answer – so far so good.

On booking however, I discovered that the price had risen overnight to £3,535. I messaged again. The host replied (equally promptly) that it was due to dynamic pricing (i.e. based on demand). However, it was a good location and I went ahead with the reservation for my chosen dates which were for Sunday to Sunday. I thought I was home and dry, but no. The host declined the reservation, saying he only did Friday to Friday in the holidays, though this condition did not appear in his listing.

Another message and another prompt reply later, he assured me that if I rearranged my dates to suit his booking schedule, it would make no difference to the price. I asked him to amend the booking to Friday to Friday. Surely this would seal the deal? If only.

The host responded with the dates amended to six days for approximately £3,600 with an option of an extra day to make it a full week for another £200 or so and called it a ‘special offer’. The seven-day quote had now risen from £3,141 to around £3,800 – all within 36 hours.

I declined to book and he withdrew the offer. The moral of the story is that when you hear the phrase Dynamic Pricing, please remember that it actually means that for every enquiry you make, the price increases. I am not naming the property – the host may be very nice (though I will never find out) – but I believe the Airbnb system is fleecing its customers and will not be tempted down this road again. Airbnb’s loss is Cottages.com’s gain.

Everything That’s Wrong with Airbnb

What is wrong with Airbnb? As a host, it seems like there is a lot wrong with the company, thus the reason why I have decided to leave their platform. I am throwing in the towel after only three months working with the company. I wish I could point to one issue with the platform, but there are too many. I have outlined them below.

Airbnb does not follow its own guidelines to protect property owners. I had a guest book my home for her wedding and never stayed in the home. Instead, the home was a continual flop house party venue for her friends and family despite a “no party or event rule”. Instead of six guests in the home, most of which were supposed to be “elderly”, my home was a party house for over 25 people and nighttime occupancy was closer to 10-12 instead of 6.

When I confronted the guest about the party on the second night of her reservation and the damages, Airbnb allowed the proxy guest (who never stayed in my home) to give me a bad review even though the company states that it will protect owners from bad reviews from any guests who violate the “no party rule”. According to Airbnb, they are going to “take action” against the “guest” or third party “booker”, but that does nothing to change the revenge review on my profile.

Prior to this Bridezilla, I had a 5-star rating. I am eating my property damages because according to the Airbnb community forum, the company’s damages clause does not cover cases when the property was rented on behalf of other people. Only the guest who booked the property is responsible and since she did not stay in the home there is nothing I can do.

Before renting my home through Airbnb I had a gorgeous newly remodeled home that I purchased furnished from a builder owner in April. At least 20% of my guests have caused some damage to my property. We have had multiple guests smoke, despite a no smoking policy, and the marijuana and cigarette smoke smells seem to keep creeping back into the house no matter what we do. I have had broken bar stools and cabinet doors, a damaged kitchen island, multiple gate repairs, and a cracked panel in a Murphy Bed that I do not know how I am going to fix without replacing the entire front with matching wood. I also seem to have to continually replace ruined towels and sheets.

These joyous issues have happened with just over eight guests. Hosts have no access to the security deposit and the time for reporting damages ends when the next guest checks in. Upon making a claim, Airbnb asks to see receipts for the damaged item, a receipt for the replacement item, and repair estimates and receipts. How can any owner be expected to get a repair estimate from a contractor in four hours’ time to comply to with Airbnb’s short window for submitting claims if you have another guest checking in?

In my case, the furniture and much of the personal property within the home came when I purchased the house. I have no access to the original receipt for the Murphy Bed or some of the furniture. Airbnb allows owners to ask for a security deposit, but the reality is that hosts have no access to the funds in the event of a claim. In fact, the security deposit and host damages guarantee seems to be a ruse to placate unsuspecting hosts to list their home with the platform.

When considering an Airbnb or short-term rental, the numbers seem to be attractive. The reality is that damages, wear and tear, and the incredible amount of time dealing with the property and multiple guests eliminate much of the profit. Instead of renting my home on short term rental sites I have turned it into a monthly or seasonal rental, with more profit and less headaches. Plus, the United States has a significant nationwide rental shortage, and it makes sense to help everyday people with a place to live rather than trying to deal with a revolving door of vacationers. In my case I am focusing on traveling contract professionals in the medical field which offers me a lot more satisfaction too.

Airbnb uses foreign customer service employees that respond to host concerns at odd hours (usually in the middle of the night) to coincide with their workday. Additionally, hosts get passed around to different departments on a continual basis. Airbnb and hosts would benefit from U.S.-based customer service professionals. When you can finally reach a real employee, I have found that the Airbnb customer service department is not equipped to handle most issues and honestly seems to be uneducated with Airbnb’s policies and guidelines. Perhaps they need to stop using “bots” and artificial intelligence and invest in real employees that are knowledgeable?

If you are looking for a passive real estate investment, Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals are not for you. Being a host is a job, and I do not need another job. I have gotten calls at all hours of the night for various issues, including guests not understanding how to use the lockbox to access the property and noise complaints.

Let us all be honest, no one wants to live next door to an Airbnb and having a revolving door of vacationers in residential neighbors is bad for values and the neighborhood culture. Despite Airbnb’s media campaign regarding a global ban on parties, it seems to be nothing but rhetoric. Guests rent homes with the intent of throwing a party and entertaining and Airbnb does little or nothing to help hosts deal with problem guests. Airbnb and their business model might be the reason that the values in many communities and neighborhoods start to decline.

If you have any other reasons to stop working with Airbnb that I have not yet listed, please feel free to chime in. Best of luck to all my fellow real estate investors.

The Big Lie Airbnb Hosts are Allowed to Push

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on Airbnb. In fact, I quit using Airbnb a few years ago, because of this BS and other nonsense. However, recently out of desperation (no hotels available) I booked a room for two nights at a “charming” home in Prescott, Arizona. I got a notification that my requested reservation was not accepted. That’s okay: her house, her choice. Then the host sent me a message telling me that it was already booked.

I’m a former Airbnb host. If a space is booked, it doesn’t show up in the listings. That’s how this whole thing works. That’s how reservation systems work. I think hosts should be able to deny requests at any time for any reason. It’s their house. What I don’t like is being lied to. All this host had to do was deny the request. It would’ve been inconvenient, but now its inconvenient and insulting. It’s also happened with confirmed reservations.

I once got a message from a host telling me to cancel my reservation with them because the city they were in (Las Vegas) no longer allowed Airbnb. I wasn’t going to cancel it and eat the service charge. She finally cancelled it and she got dinged. Which she deserved because she freaking lied. Airbnbs are alive and well in Sin City. Twice in the Bay Area I had reservations either cancelled or denied with little warning.

There’s too much drama making lodging plans at Airbnbs. I’m just always waiting for them to pull the rug out. Which, admittedly, it’s their house so its their right. But it’s a crappy way to do business. I have never in all my years of staying in hotels have had to deal with this BS. I make a reservation at a hotel. I show up. I pay. I have a place to stay.

Who needs the Airbnb cloak and dagger mystery theater, “will they/won’t they” drama? I’m over it.

Guests Who Pay Are Your Only Customers — Airbnb Doesn’t Care

I started using Airbnb in 2014. Recently over my last trip to Foster City, San Mateo, California, I picked an Airbnb apartment for a long term stay. The host operates as a leasing and servicing management team, who cared less about servicing or even providing amenities through the nearly two-month stay.

While in the middle of our stay, we wanted to extend for another eight nights. The host claimed that the property was available but Airbnb’s platform features did not allow them to extend. Airbnb chose to play in silence by not participating or responding to any requests. Communication to fix the platform and the host’s booking system issues went on for 3.5 weeks and Airbnb maintained selective silence and never replied timely.

The host proposed and continued to call through our stay, telling us to book directly with them. If that was the intent, then why did we need Airbnb to begin? The host has over 50 properties listed on Airbnb, which means Airbnb has a big supply of customers. Airbnb chose not to lose a supply partner over a guest. I wrote several times to Airbnb but they ignored all my requests with standard replies like “Can we do anything to make your stay comfortable?” and “Is there anything else we could help you with?”

Airbnb and hosts: you both need to know that I, the customer, is the one entity you both need to stay in business. Without Airbnb I would go straight to the host or the like for vacation or long term rentals. Why do I need Airbnb? The host forced me to sign up for an extension with them, so why would they even list on Airbnb? Market and sell your own inventory.

Airbnb is not a platform, not anymore. I deleted Airbnb from my phone before the end of my stay, and I am not staying with this host in the foreseeable future. Goodbye Airbnb. The question is how long can you continue this broken model. Eventually all the suppliers will leave because I, the customer, will not be on Airbnb to create demand.

Airbnb Literally Endangering People’s Lives for Profit

After making the responsible choice last year to cancel all reservations when the pandemic hit and subsequently not receiving any compensation, I received $25. I took it as an opportunity to review my cancellation policy to better protect myself to reflect the new realities of travel.

Fast forward a year later and I made my place available for the month of April and received three bookings, two of which my guests responsibly cancelled due to the lockdown in the province of Ontario. The third one admitted her travel was unnecessary and that she was coming to walk around with her boyfriend. Now she booked a non-refundable option but would not cancel the reservation because she did not want to lose the money despite her choice to book a non-refundable option. Again being responsible, I chose to cancel and the guest was refunded.

I am not the brightest, but I am failing to see how after I adapted and my guest booked a non-refundable option, how she is still being refunded. At first I was upset over the money but at some point it’s not about the money. It’s about the safety of my community and I couldn’t believe the position Airbnb put me in. They refunded some person who booked a non-refundable option and did nothing to respect my cancellation policy or do the right thing and cancel all reservations in Ontario.

This didn’t sit well so I asked them to donate the money to Black Lives Matter (I am a Black person so figured this money could go to some good) instead of refunding this low life guest. They refused, stating their policy. I was laughing at their “support” team. The guy clearly was in no position to even have a conversation and was reminiscent of a robot, programmed to repeat the policy and failing to understand what “human” is.

Companies like these are greasy and hope the collective group robot think pushes your billion-dollar company to higher profits while putting the lives of people at risk. The fact that they are allowing hosts to operate in Ontario at the moment is baffling. They are literally putting profits before the public good and this goes for housing as well. Simply ruining communities.

Airbnb Host Cancellation Leaves Guests with Few Options

I am so frustrated with this platform I am ready to be tied up and it seems a lot of other guests (and hosts) are as well. I was a big fan of Airbnb until a recent host cancellation soured it all.

I had used Airbnb in several countries in Europe and around the U.S and never had a major problem. I had always studied the properties, read all  the reviews, asked hosts pertinent questions (to gauge their competence) and finally figured out where they were actually located (the Airbnb map location is generally not accurate) so I could see them on Google Street view.

As I say, most of my experiences were good. Some exceeded expectations, a few did not meet standards, and some you have to accept based on their value-based location. However, I had never experienced a host cancelling on me. I had not even considered what the consequences would be and it was definitely not good for me on the particular trip I was taking.

I had to totally change my travel plans. Okay, s— happens as they say, but this is where this particular mode of vacation rental booking falls flat on its face. It is, after all, just a website, a platform where hosts can rent their properties on a global scale and likewise guests have unlimited possibilities of places to rent. However, there is an issue when there is literally no customer service.

For my cancellation, I was given a two-word explanation why the host had cancelled at the last minute along with several computer generated emails telling me what I could do. I was told I would receive a full refund (which I have not received yet but have no reason to believe they will renege on that) and also a measly $80 gift certificate if I re-booked on Airbnb.

The problem is I was screwed. There were no other properties available at such short notice. Airbnb customer service is practically nonexistent. All they care about is taking your money, literally months in advance in most cases. I had to completely change my travel plans and ended up booking somewhere else through VRBO.

In the future, I am not sure I will ever use this platform again and even if I do I am going to ask every host under what circumstances they would cancel my reservation. These hosts need to have some kind of backup plan in the event something happens to them or something changes, not just simply cancel. It may seem easy for them as there are little or no consequences, but for the guest this can cause huge issues.

Airbnb doesn’t give a hoot and they damn well should. While this kind of vacation renting may seem like a great idea (I certainly thought so) it does have its limitations. Hosts have had all sorts of problems with bad guests and vice versa and Airbnb apparently could not give a damn. They have your money. The only way they will get the message is if folks stop using them and they start losing money. It will be a bunch of computer geeks shutting down a platform and starting something else the next day.

Such is internet business. It’s great until something goes wrong. The smart ones sort it out for their customers. Airbnb does not.

Airbnb’s Attempts at Customer Service are Laughable

Months ago Airbnb removed security deposits from our listings claiming that we didn’t need them because they had insurance that protected their hosts. Three different claims have resulted in absolutely nothing beyond wasting about 20 hours of my time. They are always waiting for another department to get it done and claim because they are a global company, things take a lot of time.

Hosts no longer have any control over anything. If you are pet friendly, you are inviting Noah’s Ark as they have no provision to limit breeds, age, quantity or anything. People actually think it’s okay to bring their nine cats and six puppies. If the tenant stays beyond their reservation and you ned the sheriff to remove them, good luck getting the extra days’ payment. It’s either their resolution, mediation or some other department that’s handling it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only answer is to add another 10% to my nightly rates on their site and make sure there’s a better deal for them on VRBO. VRBO isn’t perfect either but at least you’ve got a chance. Now that Airbnb is a public company we should all should all show up at shareholder meetings or call ins just to tell them how bad they really are.

Reservation Cancelled for No Reasonable Reason

I made an Airbnb reservation at certain price for five days. The same day I made the reservation I contacted the host with some doubts and she asked me for an increase per night on my reservation and an increase of days; if I didn’t agree, she asked me to cancel my reservation. I didn’t cancel, so she did.

It’s been disappointing that I can’t complain on a review for this specific host because the booking is cancelled. The cancellation policy for hosts is ridiculous; it’s so significant that they can cancel whenever they want, assuming no consequences. On the other hand, customer service does nothing. They even responded offering a discount on another reservation (which I don’t have). They don’t know even what they’re taking about.

I hope that Airbnb’s headquarters cares about its clients (as customers service clearly doesn’t) and I get at least the simple request I’m making: to be able to write a review on the person who did this to me, as I actually had an experience with the host, even if the reservation got cancelled. I have all the WhatsApp conversations with her asking me to pay more and increase the dates.

Take care of your clients. I’m now afraid of using Airbnb as hosts can cancel on me whenever they want. I hope I finally find someone who can actually hear me.

Stripped of My Superhost Title Through No Fault of My Own

Just two days ago I was notified by an email from Airbnb that my Superhost status had been removed, and my many years of hard work and continually abiding by the rules had been cancelled from my Airbnb listing. On investigating the listing, it is true that as of March 20, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had no accommodation sales from Airbnb (in fact it is the same for all our suppliers: Expedia, Agoda, Booking.com, etc).

Our 14 Airbnb bookings were cancelled until January. This was somewhat like “a kick in the guts” or “a kick when you are already down in the gutter.” My accommodation business has had zero guests since March, resulting in no income. I have supported Airbnb for many years, and Airbnb supplies my accommodation business (as they do for many others in Bali) with possibly 80% of our clientele. I am grateful for that.

Bali, being one of the largest tourist resorts in the world, has been closed to overseas tourists since March, and has only just opened in September to its domestic market. Obviously, your automated system is unaware of what is going on in the world, and shows no compassion to many of your clients who have supported you for so long. Even though we have had no guests since the middle of March, I have endeavored to keep all my seven staff employed and on full salary, not forgetting dealing with their emotional issues and trauma  as well as my own caused by this damming virus.

Indonesian citizens receive no financial support at all from their government, unlike the U.S. and many western countries. Life is tough, and in addition to fighting the virus, people are hungry. We are hoping the vaccine is developed quickly and hopefully the Indonesian overseas tourist restrictions will be lifted soon. It is then we will be able to try to get back to some normality.

I am therefore asking Airbnb to consider placing the Superhost title decision on hold until the restrictions from the pandemic are eased, and start to show some compassion to the clients who have supported them so well in the past. It might be of benefit to review the situation, rather than acerbate and remove rewards that clients have worked so hard for (COVID-19 is no fault of their own). This would not only be of advantage to the client (in this case, the Superhost and possibly other related issues) but also be of advantage to Airbnb in rehabilitating a stricken industry.

Airbnb’s demotion email has affected me greatly. Such a shame after such a good association.