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.

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Airbnb Strict Cancellation is not as Strict as it Seems

Airbnb gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy which, per their terms, means a ‘full refund’. A woman booked my house many months ago at a heavily discounted price for this week. I received a message from Airbnb today stating that they cancelled her reservation today as she didn’t complete the payment. When I called (the email had zero explanations and was automatically generated) they stated that they would pay me only $800 (payment due was $2450) as she didn’t pay in full. Essentially, even if you have a strict policy and no privity of contract with the ultimate guests, Airbnb asks the hosts to carry the burden of their credit risk. Of course, customer service is anonymous and miserable and they refused to connect me to their legal team to explain to them why their cancellation policy is currently wrong and misleading.

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Unreasonable Deposit Taken by Airbnb Host

I have had two Airbnb experiences. Both were a nightmare, but the second was the worst. I cancelled an Airbnb eight weeks prior to my stay and the host still kept my deposit. It is the most unfair practice ever. Even hotels allow you to cancel up to 48 hours prior to your stay. Eight weeks. The host had plenty of time to re-rent the suite, so he basically stole $300 from me for the deposit. He was unresponsive and I think that Airbnb should be shut down.

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Stranded in LA after Airbnb Nightmare

When I arrived at my Airbnb I would have had to walk over a group of homeless people living inside of the building just to get into the apartment. The host refused to give me a refund and refused to help me.

I called customer support and they told me they would help me find a new reservation and call me back. They never did. I called back and waited for hours for any call back or help. I was stranded in LA alone, hungry and beyond nervous in the dark for hours without a place to go.

After countless phone calls to get a refund I still haven’t heard back. The people in customer service are not helpful or professional.

On top of all this the reason the host wouldn’t cancel was because he knows he will still get the money; even if I complain, he doesn’t have to give the money back. He gets to keep the money, he told me a lot of people complain about his rental but if he doesn’t agree to give a refund, he keeps the money. I can’t leave a negative review and I can’t do anything about it.

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Airbnb Can’t Understand How Cancellation Policies Hurt

The situation: I booked an expensive condo in Montreal for the Osheaga Music Festival. I had a situation that made me not be able to make it for those dates in early August. I was confused by the language on Airbnb and thought I had up until 14 days from the check-in date to cancel. I let the property management company know more than 60 days in advance. They refused and said the only option was to pay them $1100 to cancel.

The property management company (not the real host) was really hard to deal with. They were uncompromising and only gave me options that would allow them to rebook the listing and still get my $2200. I even said I would be willing to pay the cancellation fee of $260.
They were argumentative and kept giving me false and confusing information. They claimed they had to pay more to Airbnb to have a strict cancellation policy. That turned out to be a lie. I felt it was really unfair given that this was the most popular weekend in Montreal for the entire year and I gave them 60 days notice of my need to cancel.
They claim to have a deep empathy for guests in their mission statement. This doesn’t seem to be the case. They are currently hounding me to cancel or lose my money.
On a more human note, I am getting married a week from now and this situation has made things really stressful. Before you book with any of these companies I strongly encourage you to remember how much time and money you will lose if something goes wrong.
I live in San Francisco and know a couple people who work in data for Airbnb. They said that having a more apparent cancellation policy would lower conversion and revenue.
The company claims to bring people in different communities together and make people feel welcome. I toured their facility a while back; they have designed a conference room modeled around the first Airbnb (the founder’s home). The HQ is like a palace with things like on-tap beer and wine and dedicated sleep rooms.
Let’s just say they don’t seem like they are hurting for money. Unfortunately it has devolved into a money/IPO-hungry company that doesn’t really care about guests. The issue is compounded by all these third party property management companies that are more driven by the rips they make off the actual owners of the property (the true hosts).
Airbnb is probably going to try to go public this year. If you have been screwed by them I encourage you to voice your opinion. Here is a link to a recent article regarding an Airbnb guest that was confused by the deceptive language on the Airbnb website.

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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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Account Deleted After Guest Used Dodgy Credit Card

I began my journey with Airbnb in November of 2017. I manage an apartment building for my mom – who is the owner – in Accra, Ghana. Everything was going well; I had hosted over 30 guests, became a six-time Superhost with five-star reviews, and all was good in my world. 
  
In April 2018, I received an instant booking with an email confirmation from a new guest for a same-day arrival. I called the number attached to the booking to see when the guest would be arriving. The guest said within an hour. This hour stretched to a five-hour wait.
 
Call it intuition or something, but I went back into my Airbnb account and found that the reservation had disappeared from my inbox. I still had the email confirmation. I immediately called the guest to say I didn’t have a booking for them and that they shouldn’t come. They didn’t complain and just simply hung up. I then messaged Airbnb support to let them know what happened and was told that they had flagged the guest’s account for fraudulent activity. I thought the matter was closed. 
 
About a month later (mind you, it was a quiet month with no bookings) a former guest who had my number contacted me asking if I was still on the platform because she couldn’t find my listings on Airbnb. I started checking and couldn’t find my listings either even though in my hosting dashboard, all looked well.
 
I contacted Airbnb support and my client did as well. The first few contacts were useless with the agents telling me that there was nothing wrong with my account. One week later, nothing was solved and I began to call the helpline. After three separate calls, I found an agent who actually wanted to help. She investigated for about four more days and finally found out that the Airbnb department that deals with fraud and works pretty autonomously sent me an email back in April asking me to confirm my account or my account would be put on hold.
 
I frantically went looking for the email and found it sitting in my spam folder. A follow-up email was never sent. Long story short, after responding to the email, it took a week plus a few more calls to get an email response saying that my account had been activated again and that I should be mindful of the Airbnb Terms and Conditions. 
 
Two weeks after being reactivated, I received a new booking for a same-day arrival. The person who booked said he would be coming from another city the following morning but his cousin and a friend would be arriving that evening. The booking was paid for and there was government ID submitted.
 
The cousin and friend arrived and proceeded to stay for the entire eight-night reservation. The guest who booked never arrived and never returned my phone calls. At the end of the eight-night stay, the cousin said he wanted to extend the stay but this time using his own Airbnb account. I told him to go ahead and make the reservation when they were ready. By this point they had moved out of the apartment.
 
Two nights later, I received a booking request from him on Airbnb. I confirmed it and the reservation was confirmed. I received an email confirming it from Airbnb. I went about my errands and saw an email that came through stating that the reservation was cancelled. Then I received another from that special Airbnb department stating my account had been deactivated for not following the terms and conditions.
 
I called their agent immediately and was told that they were not obliged to tell me why my account was deleted. I sent an email telling them how I came to know the guest and then received another email saying that my account was permanently deactivated and they didn’t have to explain why. 
 
Thanks for reading that. My takeaways from this were:
 
– I was terribly disappointed that a so-called professional company would treat its hosts so poorly.
– There was a new scam being run by guys in West Africa and instead of Airbnb protecting the hosts, they decided to protect themselves and not explain their position.
– If you are a host and receive a same-day booking from someone, please go back in the system and make sure the reservation exists or you will end up the same way I did. 
– Think twice before reporting any dodgy behavior because you may be held liable for it.
 
Now, I shall look for other portals to list my properties on but the financial damage has been felt.

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Deposit Scam: Cancelled Within Four Minutes

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I was looking to book a place close to home for my wife and I while we had renovations done on our house. This is when I came across this host’s place. I went through the request process and paid. Just as I did, I noticed that it did not suit my needs, as it was only a room in a shared house.

I quickly cancelled (within four minutes) my request to stay. Then I received an email for the cancellation and another one for the credit. This is when I saw I was only getting back 50% of my money. I tried contacting the host to explain what I had done in error. He said: “No problem, just cancel.”

I told him that I did. He then stated that it was the cancellation policy to keep half. I called Airbnb and they said it was up to the host. This host has no morals at all. I did speak to a nice girl from Airbnb and she is trying to help me. If she is unable to help me I am out $2300 dollars. All because this host has no soul. Please avoid dealing with him.

No Refund Despite Cancellation Policy

After cancelling a booking five days after I made it and after messaging Airbnb about this, I waited over a week my refund. The host’s cancellation policy clearly stated “cancellation within 48 hrs. of booking and 14 days before check-in to get a full refund”.

I notified my credit card company, who promptly issued me a refund. I thought all was well (I love Mastercard). Three weeks later, a charge was posted to my credit card for $487.00 (the amount of my first deposit). I messaged back and forth many times to Airbnb asking them to remove this charge and got a whole string of double-talk but no refund.

I opened a dispute with Mastercard and they collected the money from Airbnb. However, I have never experienced so many stalls, lies and downright BS from any company before. I do not recommend them and please be extra careful if you do decide to book – they are not reputable.

Word of Warning: Do Not Book Airbnb for Popular Cities

If you are like me, Airbnb has become my #1 priority when booking accommodation for a trip abroad. However, Airbnb cancelled my booking in New York with only weeks to spare, even though the booking was made eight months prior. Their customer service has no responsibility to find you alternative accommodation.

For Airbnb this is good business, because now the betrayed and baffled traveler has two expensive options: to book again with Airbnb and either pay more for a similar listing, or select a poorer quality listing. Alternatively, a person can book a hotel which is also more expensive as there is such a short time left prior to the trip.

What was shocking is that Airbnb originally blamed the host for cancelling. Moments after this, I received a message from the Superhost stating that he had no idea why it was cancelled. He had 50+ five star reviews. Airbnb removed all traces of the booking including our conversation chain and the host’s profile.

Airbnb might be good for small cities but for big ones, I would avoid booking as there is a high risk your booking will be cancelled and you have no way to expect the sudden additional expenses.