Airbnb: Nothing More than Sanctioned Extortion

Twice I have utilised Airbnb to secure accommodation whilst travelling and been ripped off both times. The first time I utilised their services was in 2018, when I travelled to Dublin. The host was terrible, to the point I had to leave after only two days into a three-week booking. I tried to retrieve my money from Airbnb but they sided with the host, who lied about the circumstances of my departure, and so failed to reimburse me my money.

Now, I have just experienced another difficulty with this organisation. I was booked in with one of their hosts to stay for a month, again in Dublin, from November 2019, when I had to cancel my booking, due to circumstances beyond my control. Airbnb then refused to reimburse me my money, saying the host had a “fixed cancellation policy” that prohibited refunds.

Never again will I use this organisation. They do not support the traveller under any circumstances, instead taking your money, without allowance for taking into account your side of the story, and effectively “stealing” your funds. They are crooks of the highest order.

Airbnb-Hosts-square

Airbnb Refund Confirmed then Rejected

I booked a stay in Vegas over Christmas and New Year’s back in April and paid a deposit of £710.60. The host’s cancellation policy stipulated “cancellations must be made within 48 hours of booking to get a full refund. Otherwise a 50% refund will be given if cancelled one week before check in date”.

Unexpected events last week meant I needed to cancel, and I thought I would be courteous and give the host plenty of advance notice so that they could get another guest in over the holiday period. I submitted a refund request through the resolution centre for 50% of £710.60 (minus service fees, etc.) which was then rejected by the host, stating that the refund should in fact be for $774. I then received an email from Airbnb advising that I was to be refunded £593.29 and that it would clear on my card within five working days.

Five working days later and there is no refund showing on my card. Apparently, Airbnb has been communicating with the host and he has now refused any refund whatsoever. The last communications I have just received from Airbnb state that if I had paid the full amount (£1,303.89) I would then be entitled to a refund of 50%. Nowhere in the host Ts and Cs does it stipulate this.

Airbnb had apparently “reached out to” the host and he has “refused to give any partial refund and wants to stick to their cancellation policy.” I have screenshots of said cancellation policy and all the notifications back and forth confirming refunds.

Basically, I am now out of pocket by £710.60 and the host has ample time to get another guest in. If I’d paid the full balance and cancelled a week before arriving, I would be entitled to a refund of 50% of £1,303. It actually wasn’t worth me being courteous to a host and cancelling so far in advance. No idea where to take this further. Any suggestions, anyone?

Airbnb-Hosts-square

Airbnb is Inconsiderate to their Customers

On Monday August 26th, I scheduled an Airbnb at 9:24 PM. My check-in day was August 30th. Later I found out I couldn’t make it and needed to cancel. I went to try and cancel, and it said they would only refund me $250.78 out of my total of $1,615.09.

I called the Airbnb customer support number at 10:16 PM, less than an hour after I confirmed my booking. I was told I need to be handed off to a case manager. The first case manager told me they need the host’s approval to issue a full refund and that it was my fault I didn’t read the full policy, which states “a cancellation must be made within 48 hours of booking or creating the reservation” (which I did) and “a cancellation should be at least 14 full days prior to the listings local check-in time” which according to Airbnb I did not do.

However, since I booked this on a Monday and my expected check-in day was Friday, it falls under seven days anyway – basically a trap. After this the customer support team stopped responding to me. I reached out the host myself and they had no idea what I was talking about and kept telling me to call Airbnb, which I already did. The host then stopped answering me.

The next day I called Airbnb and asked why no one from customer support responded to me. They said, “oh, your case manager went on vacation.”

Basically, no one was going to reach out to me and address this issue? I then was given a new case manager. He told me that if the host doesn’t respond within 24 hours to myself or Airbnb, I would receive a full refund and I should expect a call from him later that evening around 6:00 or 7:00 PM. he also advised me to cancel the reservation and receive the $250 refund.

Well, 8:00 PM rolled around and I heard nothing, so I called yet again. The case manager was on the phone working on another case, but the customer support member assured me he would call me that evening. Yet again, I heard nothing, so I called the next morning.

I called Airbnb again and my case manager was not in; this time I had another new case manager. Long story short, she said no one had been able to make contact with the host and I would not receive a refund. She also told me I was basically in the wrong because “I didn’t read the policy”.

Not once have I ever had an issue with Airbnb until now. I always cancel within 48 hours if need be. I tried to be considerate of the host and cancelled ASAP so they could find someone else to rent the house for the weekend. This case manager was no help with her rude attitude, and I asked to speak with her manager or supervisor. She told me they would call this afternoon. Here we are again with empty promises and I received no call. I called my bank to dispute this transaction because I was at the end of my rope and quickly losing patience.

I woke up with a message from customer support saying:”We have attempted to contact your host multiple times regarding your reservation and we even have attempted to call them, apparently, we did not receive any response and at this point, we would need to abide to the Cancellation Policy applied on the reservation. I understand this is not the outcome you were hoping for. We do our best to fairly and reasonably mediate these cases. We regret that this decision has negatively affected you, but we believe this to be a fair resolution, all things considered. Per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination regarding these disputes. Please know, we are unable to reconsider the decision made in this case — we’ve issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly.”

I received a call about two hours after this message and it was my case worker. She told me they finally made contact with the host and he was only willing to give me a 50% refund. This man waited until the day before I would check in, and purposely did not answer anyone so he could steal my money.

Airbnb is protecting their hosts but could care less about their customers. The amount of frustration this has caused is unbelievable. I have taken hours out of my work day for this inconvenience. I personally feel scammed and violated about this whole situation.

Airbnb-Hosts-square

blank

Airbnb Refused Refund Despite Published Policy

blank

My husband and I booked with Airbnb to go to our annual beach vacation in Lewes, Delaware. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to severe weather conditions that made it unsafe to travel. According to Airbnb policy, that is an “extenuating circumstance” which allowed us to receive a full refund. The Airbnb manager agreed that it was unsafe for us to travel and we were entitled to a full refund.

However, our host was completely insane. She was rude to me despite the fact that I was always polite to her. She refused to “agree” to the refund. Why she needed to agree when there is published policy is beyond me. Airbnb published the policy and its up to them to enforce that policy with their hosts whether their hosts like it or not.

We are still owed over $500. I have provided Airbnb with the detailed weather warning and report from NOAA. Their own manager agreed it was unsafe for us to travel based on the weather warning from NOAA which the manager verified. Airbnb policy states that I’m entitled to a full refund based on “extenuating circumstances” in this event. I’m still waiting.

Airbnb-Hosts-square

blank

Strict Cancellation Policy Costs me Hundreds

blank

I reserved a duplex in Las Vegas for a business trip. I used a corporate credit card to make the reservation and paid the full amount for one receipt (almost two months out from reservation). The host has a strict cancellation policy, but I was okay with that because I had no intentions of cancelling the trip (already paid for the conference I was attending). I read through the policy as best I could.

The next week I found out I violated the company travel policy and was told to cancel the reservation ASAP. I did. I got back half the total amount, minus service fee, since it was past 48 hours, but well within 14 days.

I contacted the host for mercy on the refund policy, since it was extenuating circumstances. Initially the host said I could either re-book another date, or she would refund two thirds of the price if the place was re-booked. I asked again for mercy that I could not afford to just leave $450 out there. My complaint was that if I had only paid the down payment, I would have only been out half of that amount (a quarter of the total). I was stupid enough to pay the full amount, not expecting any problems. I stated that I would pay the service fee plus another $100.

The host cut off all contact with me. I got a case worker involved and another case worker when the first was awful, then a manager of the case workers involved. Now I can’t even get the two-thirds refund that was stated in the host’s message, and Airbnb has told me they can mediate no longer with the host since she wishes to stop all communication. So I get screwed, while Airbnb and the host profit off of half of a six-day rental that I never took… and the place did re-book. What is Airbnb’s responsibility to the guest?

The last message said this: “We can no longer continue to assist you, as a final decision has been made on this case. I’m truly sorry for all that has happened, and I believe the host should be accountable, but we can no longer mediate anything from them as they are not willing to mediate with us any longer. We have a final decision already made by the last agent, so there would not be any further discussion about the refund.”

Apparently the host can decide when the case is shut, even more than a month before the reservation date. How is this even legal? Thankfully it wasn’t a super expensive place that would’ve cost me thousands instead of hundreds. Lesson learned: never pay the full amount up front and never rent from hosts with a strict cancellation policy.

I have a lakefront property that I was considering renting through Airbnb and wouldn’t ever do this to a renter. How do people sleep at night, knowing they essentially stole money from someone? I basically donated $450 to the host and Airbnb for a few email exchanges and phone calls. I should get a donation receipt.

Airbnb-Hosts-square

How do I get a refund on a last minute booking?

I’ve never really paid attention to Airbnb cancellation policies as I’ve always been able to cancel bookings (have actually only canceled one so far) but usually far in advance. This one though was made today and I requested a cancellation 15 minutes later, after getting the address and realizing how far it was from downtown. I rented a car that I was planning to return the following day and get a Uber back to this place but then I realized the place was about 40 minutes away. That was going to eat up all my transportation money.

Right away I requested a refund but the host was not budging. I contacted Airbnb and they’ve asked me to wait until tomorrow since the host hasn’t responded to them yet. The host has a strict cancellation policy and she already told me she won’t refund me. I want to get a full refund, not even half, otherwise I’m fighting this with my bank. I mean this is not a situation where the host was waiting and expecting me for weeks or days. I asked her if she was unwilling to refund me because she needs the money.

Has anyone been through this? What are my options?

Airbnb-Hosts-square

Airbnb Business Relies on Creating Deception

I have had a few horrible experiences which I will describe below. The underlying problem is Airbnb’s self-protectionist deceptive practices. The review system is but one facet of the core problems.

I was booked a stay in an RV which the owners, who also had rooms in their house, would not let you use the bathroom. I asked if it was alright to come in at night to use the bathroom. As soon as I asked that question, the hosts (who are Superhosts) told me that the refrigerator had something smelly in it. This was the afternoon that I was to stay the night.

I told them I did not have time to change my plans (I was at work) and hoped that was the only thing wrong. The “superhost” kept trying to contact me so that I would reassure her that I would only give her positive reviews. Mind you, I had not stayed there yet and I was unable to return the contact because I was at work.

She cancelled my reservation at the last minute out of fear of the tiniest chance someone might give her a bad review and because I think she really did not want me coming in the house in the middle of the night. I ended up sleeping in my car that night and missing out on the next day at work because I had nowhere to shower and I was so tired. I missed out on making money and disappointed a lot of people. It took days to get my money back.

Another Superhost decided to sell her house and we were told we could not be in the house during the day so the realtor could show it. Also, this Superhost was never really there. She left this crazy tenant in charge who made life miserable for everyone else. When I brought my concerns to the Superhost about what was going on, she told me I could leave if I did not like it. She told me she would give me a full refund on the whole time I was there.

Then she told Airbnb she was cancelling my reservation and they told me to leave, even though I had done nothing but relay concerns to the Superhost and I was only refunded the part of the stay I was not there. It took Airbnb days to refund me. This was in the middle of my daily month-long radiation treatments and I could not work. I ended up sleeping in the BART station.

I have paid for an Airbnb in which no one ever came to the door. When I emailed the hosts they said they had forgotten and did not want visitors in their house after all. I had to email them myself for six hours to have them cancel so I could get my money back. Airbnb was no help at all and when they did finally cancel the reservation, it took days to get my money back from Airbnb. There I was again with nowhere to stay. Airbnb actually told me to get a hotel, which is $200 around here.

There are other similar incidences. Airbnb has a review system set up so that guests cannot get good reviews without giving a good review and may be penalized otherwise for not guaranteeing a good review for the hosts before the guest even arrives. This is really to Airbnb’s advantage so their company appears to be more positive than it really is. People continue to be Superhosts while other people get to sleep on the street, all for Airbnb’s profitability. This is a form of false advertising and one day there will be legal ramifications. I look forward to it.

My Airbnb Refund is in the Clouds Somewhere

I initially made a reservation for a luxury condo on Wednesday, September 19th online through the Airbnb app. All I received as confirmation at that point was an email. It did not give any policy information about cancelling.

The host then responded and had questions that I needed to answer about those that would be staying under the reservation, to which I had to respond through the message link on the Airbnb application. After responding I received a booking receipt in an email on September 20th. On none of the emails was there any information about the host cancellation policy.

There were six of us planning to go. I paid the initial payment of $2,266.75 on my credit card. I tried to contact the host through the app ten months ago to pay the final amount as some of our party wanted to make sure it was paid for before traveling. I had planned to ask if we could change out one guest for another due to one not being able to travel. The host did not respond to my message.

I contacted Airbnb directly on March 15 about how to cancel due to another one of the guests being in a car accident and not being able to travel due to serious medical issues that were detected during examination after the car accident. I reached out to Airbnb due to not hearing back from the host previously. I was told by the Airbnb representative over the phone that if the host had not made contact that I should report it to my credit card company, which I did on March 15th.

I was told by the credit card rep that it wouldn’t be a problem and that CitiBank would open an investigation. I was also told by the Airbnb rep that if the guest that had been in the accident would provide his medical records, Airbnb would do a refund due to special circumstances. The guest did not want to provide his personal medical information as he felt that was a violation of his privacy, which he has a right as to what medical information he wants others to see.

The Airbnb rep said to report it to my credit card company, which I did when I made the initial call. I had to respond to an Action Required report that the credit card company sent out and I returned on April 1st. During this timeframe I also found out that my mother was gravely ill and unexpectedly passed away in early June. We were planning on her traveling with us to Grand Cayman as a replacement for the guest that was in the accident.

As you can imagine this is devastating to me and to my sister who was also part of the party traveling. The Airbnb rep also told me I should get a full refund due to special circumstances and cancelled the reservation. Not true; I got no refund. In the meantime the credit card company did their investigation and the host or Airbnb send the cancellation policy information to them. They in turn sent it to me but is was not legible, neither the paper copy nor the emailed copies.

The credit card company sided with Airbnb and the charged me back the $2,266.75, stating that all information was conflicting on my part. The host rebooked the accommodation because it was not available after the cancellation At that point not only did he make money off of me but off of others as well. I did not receive any of the policies that he sent to the credit card company in the chargeback investigation.

I resent my justifications to my credit card company and let them know that Airbnb stated to me that this was a special circumstance. This is a special circumstance with one party being ill and unable to travel and another party now deceased. I feel that the host did not provide the correct information when I booked the reservation. It should have been clearly stated on the email confirmation which it was not. Also, his failure to respond to my correspondence should also be taken into consideration.

I should not be responsible for services not received, especially when not receiving proper documentation. Never, when cancelling other overnight accommodations have I been asked to provide personal, private, or medical information.

I decided to reach out to the host directly through the Airbnb app message portal hoping by chance he would get it, which he did. He responded on July 16th that he thought it was all taken care of by my credit card company but since it was not, he would refund me $1,980 (less a service fee, which I was okay with). It was supposed to get a credit back within 5 to 7 business days.

I waited ten days and contacted my credit card company. They stated that they did not see a credit. They also reopened the investigation with the new information from the host I provided. I then contacted Airbnb who stated it was not something on their end that I needed to contact my credit card company. I told them I had but they again stated that there was nothing they could do. I again reached out to the host who contacted Airbnb and was told it would be processed shortly.

Three days later it was still not processed. Airbnb was contacted again, and this time I was told it was going to their investigative team and they would reach out to me in a day or two. As of August 16, I still have not heard back from them. If the host is wants to refund me, what is the hold up?

This was my first experience with booking an Airbnb and will most definitely be my last if I ever get this resolved. That amount of money may not be an issue with Airbnb but it is to me. Expenses relating to my mom’s funeral are immense and I am not a wealthy person. I work for state government for a very meager salary.

Any advice or direction on how or who to contact would be greatly appreciated. I have not faults now with the host. He seems to be genuine. My issues are with Airbnb directly. And of course my credit card company. It’s been a battle to say the least between the Airbnb and my credit card company. Very stressful at an already difficult time. Still awaiting refund or at least communication with Airbnb and my credit card company. Maybe I need to go to social media or national news.

Host Cancels and I Lose the Service Fee?

Here is my letter to Airbnb after a recent trip to Croatia. I sent this a week ago and haven’t had any response yet. The host  has three listings in Split.

Please go back and read the email chain between myself and this host. Also, read the emails that went between myself and Airbnb. Check the times and dates on them. I booked this listing on the morning of July 12th. The host accepted my request and took my money for the booking, including all fees.

My wife and I then got in the car and drove from Trieste, Italy all the way down to Split, where we expected to check in. After paying $40 in tolls, a tank of gas, and the 4+ hours of driving, I received a message from this host claiming, “Thank you but I am so sorry, booking and Airbnb something mix. We are not free today”. But she had already taken my money.

So, there we were, room cancelled from right under us, after all this driving. This was when I started my communication with Airbnb. After a few messages between Airbnb and this host, my money was refunded… minus the Airbnb service fee. That was about $40. WTF is that?

Over the next few days, I sent several emails to Airbnb asking for my service fee back. When Airbnb did reply, they told me that “service fees are not refundable”. I heard this in all replies from Airbnb after explaining what had happened.

For an operation as big as Airbnb, this is truly a scam. Seriously, read the messages from this host. They cancelled the booking, not me. How can Airbnb think that they can take my money, when I didn’t cancel the booking? And even worse, every response from Airbnb simply restated that service fees are non-refundable. Either you didn’t understand that the host cancelled, or you are just a scam of a business.

After reading up on Airbnb hosts, I have been led to believe that this is a common scam that some Airbnb hosts pull: list the property on several different booking sites and accept bookings for that day only to cancel all of them except the highest one. Why wouldn’t the hosts do this if they don’t have to reimburse the service fees? Yet, Airbnb feels that they are entitled to keeping the service fee from the person who books? Dirty business on the host’s, and Airbnb’s part.

In the end, after several days of trying to get my service fee back, Airbnb offered me the amount back in a “goodwill credit”. Huh? Goodwill? Credit? At this point the last thing I wanted was a credit that obligates me to booking another Airbnb listing. This situation took over three days and nine messages from me to Airbnb, plus several messages to the host, to ultimately having Airbnb not give my actual money back.

Below is a quote from your last message to me. “Please know that we appreciate your loyalty and I am personally looking forward to many more years with you. We are here to support you 24/7 and can be contacted any time over email and the phone.”

24/7 support? At one point, I didn’t get a reply to my messages for over 48 hours. Please, read all of the messages that went back and forth regarding this booking. Any reasonable consumer will see how I got scammed here.

On the day that I drove to Split, only to have my booking cancelled, I ended up having to book a place at the last minute in Trogir, 30 minutes outside of Split. This was a direct result of one of your hosts cancelling my booking… and you charged me the service fee.

Airbnb wasted a lot of my time (booking, driving, rebooking, messaging, follow up, etc) and caused me to have to rebook 30 minutes away from the original booking. This made me incur more costs that shouldn’t have happened. As a consumer, I figure that Airbnb owes me money, not a bogus “goodwill voucher”. Airbnb should be going after this host to cover the my costs involved. Airbnb wants reviews of their hosts, and Airbnb. I did review this host but, of course, that review doesn’t get posted. Apparently, Airbnb is protecting this host’s listing and credibility. That is very deceptive to potential renters.

If you won’t post my reviews, I will post my own. Twitter, Facebook, etc. I don’t have to embellish this story in any way at all. I will be sure to include the host’s information and listings as well. So that is why my score is so low. If the exact same thing happened to you, you’d be pissed too.

Airbnb Helps Scammers Rob Unaware Guests

After hearing about Airbnb for years, we decided to try it. We were visiting family and were too many to fit comfortably, so we decided to get an Airbnb nearby since hotels were 30-40 minutes away. The idea was to minimize the travel time. The price of the Airbnb was more than the hotel, but again, we wanted to be nearby.

We arrived to find the Airbnb was in a crime-ridden area of the city, with lots of people talking loudly on the stoops at 10:00 PM, drinking and smoking. Absolutely no parking around, even double parked cars. Police and emergency activity in the surroundings. We did not feel safe staying in this place, that by the way, was a tenement.

The listing made it sound like you would have a private apartment for your family, but what they have done is divide a house into rooms, each with a lock. Even the former living room was converted into a bedroom. There were four individually rented rooms in what used to be a three-bedroom house. That was not what we signed up for and paid $99/night. For comparison you could get a 2-3 star hotel room for $80.

We decided to squeeze with family and cancel this awful place. Then we discovered that even though we canceled the host was entitled to keep our money since most of what we paid was non-refundable. We only got 10% back.

I thought Airbnb protected the guest, but unfortunately they only protect the hosts. There is absolutely no reason that the host can rent this dump and when just arrive and decide not to stay, they get to keep all your money even though they can re-rent the place. Maybe they should keep the money for the first night, but all of it? Needless to say we would never, ever try Airbnb again.

PS: We Googled the address after seeing it and found that there was a murder next door in 2016, drug arrests, shootings and more in the recent past. How Airbnb thinks this is a place to offer to unaware guests is beyond me.