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.