Three Hours at Airbnb Cost us $14000

It is December 10th and Airbnb has yet to resolve this. It started on April 2nd. My company has used Airbnb to the tune of well over $60000, most of that within the last two years. This was going to be a four-month rental. We were there for three hours, tried to work things out with the host as Airbnb suggested, reported everything the next day, and we were still charged over $14,000. We’ve contacted Airbnb on numerous occasions in regard to this, always told this should have been taken care of some time ago.

The entire place reeked of cat urine. This in and of itself was intolerable. The host left all of his belongings in dressers, etc. The host asked three women (my two employees and client) if he could stay on the property. The host left Playboy magazines and condoms in view

We contacted Airbnb numerous times, and was told each time “Oh, this should have been taken care of some time ago”, promised a call back, then nothing happened. The host agreed to settle for $1000 and a good review, then his daughter looked at the terms and said “we can get more than $10000”. The host has had similar complaints and violated several other Airbnb policies.

Airbnb continued to charge our Amex when they knew we were no longer a guest (the second day), when they could have helped us resettle and let the host relist. Instead, Airbnb has now paid the host and infuriated a very good client. There are several other things I could mention, but you get the gist here.

I just saw Airbnb’s CEO on the news promising to clean things up. Here would be a good start. We’ve been in business 15 years and are an extremely moral and ethical company. We do not deserve to be treated in this manner. I hope to hear something soon from Airbnb’s department that is supposedly working on this again.

Airbnb laissez-faire when it comes to customer service

In April, I booked a room in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico wanting to visit a festival in January 2020. The room was not cheap. The reviews of the host were good. The listing contained a street name. After booking, I asked for a full address. To this day I have no exact address and the confirmation email link leads to a museum.

This feels like a complete fraud. Airbnb already took hundreds of euros off my credit card, offering no refund so far since I have complained. To make sure I did not get stranded or relocated far away from the action, I also booked a hotel (this week) because I think Airbnb is very laissez-faire when it comes to customer service.

I travel alone and safety is a priority. I am done with the fact that they do not check the location of the rental nor do they check if the host has any right to rent it out. Beware because you may be next to get stranded or lose a lot of money. No more Airbnb for me.

Airbnb Hosts Cannot Request Government Issued Photo ID?

I have been a Superhost for more than three years. I recently started to require all guests to provide a digital copy (picture via Airbnb message thread or text message) of their government-issued photo ID before check-in details are sent to them. This is for our security as hosts in case anything happens, and we need to file a small claim or lawsuit to recover for damages, fees, etc.

The requirement is disclosed in the house rules. We, as hosts, know Airbnb does not honor their one million dollar host guarantee. I called Airbnb to assist with reaching out to a particular guest who was having issues with sending their ID. The first Airbnb rep claimed that it is against their terms and conditions for guests to provide this information to the host. I told the Airbnb rep she was incorrect because I’ve done this for months and a prior Airbnb rep assisted me with this same situation for another reservation.

Long story short, I called a total of six times and four Airbnb reps says it was against their terms and conditions. Meanwhile, two said the request was alright if it was disclosed in the house rules. I requested to speak with an Airbnb case manager, and the four Airbnb reps who made the false claims about the terms and conditions would not transfer me to a case manager.

If it is true Airbnb does not allow hosts to obtain a government-issued photo ID from the guests, even when it is disclosed in the house rules, hosts have no security if anything serious arises. I would love to hear thoughts from other hosts and guests.

Beware Hosting on Airbnb: One Negative Review

To potential Airbnb hosts: beware of Airbnb. I’ve had it. The rating system is a complete joke. I’ve had a number of great reviews from people that love my two units, but I just had someone give me a one-star review because the dishwasher wasn’t working (took one minute to unclog) and a light bulb in the hall was out.

Clearly the man was in distress as he was visiting Philly to get his wife medical treatment, and he said he had never stayed at an Airbnb before. When he was clearly unhappy, I offered him a full refund, including cleaning fees. He took the refund and blasted my apartment, lying through his teeth about the apartment, and the neighborhood, stuff that is just total nonsense, and easily disproved.

This cost me almost $400 for the stay, but then my listing was put on hold for five days because it dropped below 4.2 stars. In his review, this guy said the “neighborhood is dirty”, which honestly, I’m not even sure what that means. The property is exactly one mile from UPenn on a main drag, in University City in West Philly. If he wanted an apartment in Center City, he would have paid double what I charge for mine.

Anyway, I contacted Airbnb to see if they would consider removing the review, knowing that the robots that work for them would stick to the script. Honestly, somebody should tell the management that the people who answer the phone are not helpful at all, ever. I really think they are automatons. They follow a formula/script whenever you call in, taking calls from a call center somewhere outside of the US, and they never stray from the set procedures for their precious review system.

If someone doesn’t post something universally offensive, no matter how preposterous, they will not change a guest review. Airbnb pretty much always sides with the guest. It’s a very lopsided review system. Again, this guy had never stayed at an Airbnb before. He may never again. I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this property and have given Airbnb so much, and they don’t care about me.

Well, I’ve had it. I’m going to try out the competition, and I hear good things about them. I could bring so many more properties online with this company, but will I? Airbnb now offers me $700 now to refer hosts, but they don’t seem to value me as a host.

Systemically Sick Customer Service at Airbnb

As a really respected and successful Airbnb Superhost, when I hit the road, I bring a serious set of expectations to the traveling guest side of the equation. As long as everything is perfect and there is no wrinkle in the reservation or use of the selected Airbnb, I have to admit that I generally enjoy exceptional experiences.

My only hedge in ensuring that outcome is picking properties with Superhosts at the helm. I know what it takes to get that status and keep it and it involves a level of commitment that should be the minimum requirement for being an Airbnb host. I wouldn’t have to be wasting a perfectly beautiful afternoon writing this if that was the case. It’s not.

One-hundred percent of my contact with Airbnb support over the last five years has been a nightmare. The level of competence can only be described as several sandwiches short of a picnic. Powered by the deadest batteries in the bunch. Problem solving individuals need not apply.

The sad part is that the robots Airbnb puts in these jobs didn’t start as robots. They are first people that have a brain and heart. However, after being held accountable to uphold and execute the policies Airbnb has in place to resolve the simplest to the most complex issues, they turn into idiots, non-thinking livestock that salivate when the phone rings and they fire up their prepared scripts, emails, messages that all say the same thing: “We can’t help you, it’s not our problem, it’s yours…”

This happens every painful time I attempt to get “support.” They are racing Comcast to the bottom on this one.

Example #1 – Travel Disruption (TD)

This topic is a multilayered nightmare when it rears its ugly head. Every organization I deal with in the “real travel industry” has solid plans and strategies for dealing with TD. It comes with the territory. Try getting Airbnb to help when there is a TD in your plans and you might as well go back to the alternate universe you apparently came here from. Airbnb is not a travel company; they only masquerade as one. You have an Airbnb problem? Good luck, because they have a policy that alleviates them from any help. Incredible. You’re on your own.

Example #2 – No Airbnb

This is different from a travel disruption because it precedes it and is directly caused by Airbnb and their blatant distancing from the false environment they’ve created. They don’t own any of the properties, so why should you expect them to manage them? You shouldn’t but you also shouldn’t have to pay for them when they don’t exist and you have a contract with an organization that says they do. The system is flawed, so buyer beware. Have that direct line to the credit card charges dispute line on your speed dial. It’s the only way to combat the incompetence built into the system to handle anything but a perfect rental.

I could go on, but the real work needs to be done a systemic level within the Airbnb organization, instead of wasting resources on “animal stay promotion” or “experience” sales. They make enough money on the float from the transactions, obscene amounts that haven’t been seen since American Express was in the check printing business.

There are no shortage of travel companies that could be used as a model for Airbnb customer support. Marriott and Westin come to mind. Avis and Alaska Air work. Don’t hold your breath. Airbnb is building a Part Patrol that will be as ineffective as the rest of their organization when it comes to service…

Ghost Airbnb Hosts and Gaming the System

I first used Airbnb in 2014 and have used it 15-20 times since with good results most times. As a journalist, I even wrote a favorable article on the subject. However, in last three years I have noticed five troubling trends.

One: ghost hosts. The person or couple pictured is allowing use of their photo and bio by a third party. On a trip to Florida, a young woman was ghosting for her elderly grandparents who spoke broken English and did not know how to host. In Tennessee, a woman switched her listings to hide bad reviews. Also in Tennessee, a young couple with young children fronted for several properties in an apartment building and resented being contacted by phone for instructions to get into the place.

Two: Fake reviews. In Montana, a host buried a bad review that carefully and credibly listed problems under several one sentence reviews that looked fake. Tip-off in Tennessee: overuse of the word “amazing” in reviews of the host. The Airbnb rating scale is badly designed. “Met expectations”, for example, could be very good, but is only three stars.

Three: Increasingly impersonal. The founding principle was person to person. Now that is rare. Four: Customer service is awful. Impersonal, manufactured, and ignores constructive thoughtful critics. Five: Pricing is deceptive. Cleaning fees of $50 to $75 or more added to a list price of, say, $48, which can change as suddenly as airline ticket fares.

Someone’s Trash could be your Airbnb Furniture

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I checked into my Airbnb last night. As my son and I opened the filthy front door, the smell of mold filled the room. We walked up four flights of filthy carpeted stairs to reach the apartment, where the front entrance had a huge filthy moldy stain the size of a Labrador. The sofa looked like it was picked up from the side of the road when someone put it out as garbage; it was sunken in and dirty, with stains throughout the whole thing.

This is where my son was supposed to sleep the night and we would pass our days watching TV and socializing for six nights, for which I paid $620. There was a loft with a filthy futon mattress up above this dirty yellow staircase. The bed sheets were stained and looked unclean.

I contacted Airbnb right away and spoke with someone for 35 minutes on their 1-800 number, after which I realized I was calling from the UK to the US on my cell minutes; I knew that was going to cost me a lot of money. I was told to go to sleep and someone would contact me in the morning. I contacted the host as well, sending photographs to both. Still, with no response this is taking up hours of my few days I have here in Leeds visiting my son.

These hosts seems to have many rentals and are considered to be Superhosts. I’m baffled. I did read the complaint of the last person that stayed in this apartment, which should’ve raised a red flag. I figured if Airbnb gave them a Superhost badge, that would have to mean something. I really don’t understand how people can be so unethical in running a business.

Hospital Stay Prior to Hosting Questions Policy

I recently applied for a refund within 24 hours of booking. I spoke to the host to explain the situation but Airbnb refused to give me more than a 50% refund because I had visitors coming to my home for a week. The week before their arrival, I broke my ankle and was in a cast and wheelchair.

When I got home from the hospital I realised that in two days I was not going to be ready to host guests in my home so I took a lovely little apartment for them to stay in which I booked in the middle of the night. The next day, my guests decided that because I wasn’t well, they would not visit.

I applied for a refund to Airbnb with this story which of course I am prepared to present proof of hospitalization, documentation, etc. From a 700+ Euro booking cancelled the next day, they refused to refund me more than 300 Euros because it was not my guests who were staying in the apartment who had the accident. They were healthy enough so this did not apply.

I find this quite far removed from the community-based hospitality concept that started out with Airbnb. I wonder who gets that 400 Euro difference, Airbnb or the host? Someone needs to come up with a new Airbnb-like concept.

Stay at Airbnb Once, Shame on You. Twice, Shame on Me.

I booked a room in London for myself and my boyfriend for one night because we were going to look at a gallery or museum and I also had an appointment. I paid online and turned up in Pimlico where we were meant to stay. I rang the host and then rang a few times after but there was no reply at all.

We walked a long way; my partner has a very painful knee and I had an injury. We walked to a block of flats and not only was it a long walk from the tube but also a long walk inside an estate that looked the same for hundreds of blocks. No map in sight. We walked and asked, asked and walked, and a woman we met who lived there was even a bit outraged on our behalf.

I tried to ring Airbnb many times but there was a wait and also in some parts of London there was no signal. Hours went by and it was very hot weather. We had to buy a cold drink and snack in a cafe and still had no room for the night.

Airbnb was very unhelpful and suggested I pay for another room. I protested that I did not have the funds for that but that also there was no signal at times for the phone (not the internet, which I have data for ). The very relaxed rep did not seem able to get any contact from the host I had paid.

After walking round the estate for a long time we realised we would have to find another room for the night and we had to stay due to an appointment I had. After many calls with Airbnb, in which I tried to get a refund, I managed to get them to agree to give me enough to get another room, but it was nearly evening by then.

We found a room that seemed nice online and went there. It looked okay, a bit scruffy for the price, but the bed looked clean enough. We went out for the evening nearby and slept there. The next morning there was no breakfast which had been advertised as part of the price nor was there any light in the bathroom then or the night before. This made things difficult of course.

The woman who owned the flat was okay but did not bother with us at all: really and clearly just wanted the money. Her boyfriend was not clothed in the sitting room where they were sleeping. I did not write a review of the awful experiences on Airbnb because I forgot. I wish I had.

The second host had the cheek to message me on the site and tell me I was lucky to have gotten a room and that I should be grateful. I was disgusted with the whole process but was given a voucher for a few pounds to put towards another room. I know some people have great experiences, e.g. my daughter abroad somewhere, but if this is the standard in London… what a rip off.

I am trying to book a room with my voucher now but have found out that guests need to verify their identity nowadays on the site by sending a copy of an official document such as passport or driving license to the host using a link that has not worked for me. Customer service has rung me back twice to try to help but the woman on the phone was laughing at what I told her.

It’s not inspiring but hopefully I can get somewhere better this time (if I can work out how to send the document and I need to send a ‘selfie’. A nice little – I mean big – earner for some hosts who just provide a bed or mattress and not much else sometimes it seems. Good luck out there.

Confirmed Airbnb Reservations Mean Nothing

My wife and I had a reservation for Cologne, Germany from August 31st to September 3rd. We booked an Airbnb three months before. The apartment was confirmed and we send an email to the host. When we arrived in Cologne we reached the host at 6:00 PM. She said that she wasn’t in Cologne, and that she was in Berlin. She said she was going to contact the host, because, according to her, there had been a mistake and it was Airbnb’s fault.

After two hours she called us and said there was no apartment. That it was a mistake from Airbnb and that we should contact them. We did so and contacted Airbnb Germany. Airbnb said that the host was a mess and they proceeded to cancel the reservation. I asked them what to do, because we were alone at a city we didn’t know. We asked for Airbnb to find us a place, because it was not possible to leave us just like that in a foreign city. They said they were going to do so and they were going to contact us.

They never got back to us and we had to stay at a hotel. We asked Airbnb to help us pay the hotel. They said they could pay 50% of what we were supposed to pay on our reservation. That was 30 Euro. The hotel was 189 Euro. That was the cheapest hotel we could find that night, because there was a world event at the city. Airbnb said that was all they could do.

They never took responsibility for never contacting us and not helping us find a place to stay that night. Airbnb said they are only brokers, so they can’t do anything if a situation like this happens, because they are not liable for bad hosts. So if you don’t get a confirmed reservations you won’t be able to do anything.