Airbnb is a Scam and Supports Thieves

I have to share my nightmare story with Airbnb supporting theft via their site via a man in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. One evening a couple of weeks ago, we booked a place via Airbnb. A few minutes after we called to check in, we were told we needed to pay €30 extra for a late check in. This cash requirement late at night seemed dodgy and we immediately cancelled the booking.

Surprise, surprise: the host had a ‘no cancellation refund’ policy. In the meantime, I contacted the host to explain that we had booked for three days and it was a mistake. The host agreed to repay some small part of the amount I paid. I paid £143 and he agreed to repay €125 minus taxes; all in all, a big amount lost for nothing.

Then he kept making excuses that I should ask for the money back via Airbnb, which was the first thing I did. He kept claiming he could not see the request, which was clearly a lie. Then I realized that he kept leading me on so I didn’t have the time to write a bad review. Instead, I cut my losses and wrote a very expensive bad review for the host.

Airbnb has been on his side not compensating me in any shape or form. Therefore, the host, with Airbnb’s blessing and full support, stole £143 from my account. Please beware of these thieves. I was also a host on Airbnb. Needless to say, they have lost me with this support for thieves.

Beware of these scammers; do not book their place. Use Booking.com — what you see is what you get with no hidden fees and theft of money from accounts with lack of service provision.

Superhost Status is a Joke for Cancellations

I had booked an Airbnb in Sydney well in advance for my wife’s significant birthday in April. Exactly two months before check in, we made the difficult decision to postpone our trip from New Zealand due to the Australian bush fires (smoke which was polluting Sydney’s air) and the worsening worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

We advised our Superhost, believing that we were doing the decent thing by letting them know well in advance. Because we had passed the free cancellation period, the Superhost refused to refund any of our money (we’d paid for half the stay), saying she’d refund us if she secured a replacement booking for the same dates. Despite our pleas, she was immovable and wouldn’t listen to reason.

By the time Easter arrived, Australia and New Zealand were in lockdown so we wouldn’t have been able to travel anyway. We contacted Airbnb to get their help but initially there was confusion as both parties (Airbnb and the Superhost) said it was the other’s decision whether to refund me. Neither wanted to make a decision. As I had no luck with the Superhost, I turned my attention to Airbnb Support to try to have them refund me from Airbnb’s not insignificant funds.

They’ve so far refused to, citing in email after email their Extenuating Circumstances policy and that I was not covered by this (since I’d had the decency and foresight to cancel before the policy was introduced). I’ve also emailed senior management at Airbnb to ask them to help but no one has replied to my emails, preferring to pass my request onto the Airbnb Support team, who keep giving me the corporate line about not being able to help. They do apologize each time though.

The senior Airbnb staff I’ve contacted repeatedly — most recently on all correspondence with all the different “Support Ambassadors” assigned to my emails — have included Brian Chesky (CEO and Founder); Susan Wheeldon (Australia & New Zealand Country Manager); Tara Bunch (Global Head of Operations) and Derek Nolan (Head of Public Policy, Australia and New Zealand). But. Not. One. Response.

I’m not sure where to go from here. Guess I’ll keep emailing them so they have to assign another Support Ambassador to me. Or maybe by some miracle Brian or Susan or Tara or Derek will get in touch. Or I’ll get that refund I asked for months ago.

Airbnb Hell in Japan After Cancellation

I had the worst experience in my life with Airbnb in Japan. I’m a permanent resident in Japan and had to book a place for a short stay while I’m waiting to go back home. The host who handled my stay treated the situation as if it was nothing. The place was dirty with cockroaches everywhere, plus bedbugs.

I tried to contact him by phone several times and he didn’t answer the calls at all. I don’t know what his issue was with residents: he didn’t answer the calls, he just didn’t want to chat. I decided to report directly to Airbnb support, which tried to get a refund to minimize the damage from the situation.

On Oct. 3, after Airbnb tried to reach the host for a whole day, the host cancelled my stay at 10:00 PM and asked me to leave the place by 10:00 AM the next day just like that, without any previous notice. I had to spent money on transportation, hotels, and handle the moving out by myself with more than 300 kg of suitcases and stuff.

I confess that Airbnb did a good job but I don’t see any protection for the guests in these cases. How come hosts can do this with such short notice? Especially in Japan, where everything is so proper and you have to give notice for everything. I’m very disappointed with the service, the place, the host, and specially his attitude.

I don’t recommend foreigners stay at Airbnb properties in Japan. You won’t have any rights. It’s much better pay for a hotel where you won’t have troubles like this. I will go determine my rights with my lawyer, because this is not the right attitude. I felt offended and disrespected.

Booking Cancelled Suddenly Without Any Reason

I booked an apartment in London in mid September. According to Airbnb, the host was new; she joined Airbnb recently, and the platform showed that she replied to messages in an hour. We liked her apartment so we wanted to give it a try.

As instant booking was available, we booked her apartment and told her the time we would come to London. Unfortunately, we waited for a week and she did not reply. We sent her another message asking for her confirmation. Again, there was no reply from her.

Then, we started to contact Airbnb support and finally they were able to contact her. She explained to us that her mobile was not working so she was not able to reply to us. More importantly, she confirmed that her apartment would be available and would give us more information tomorrow.

However, again, we have waited for another week and we received no information from her. When we almost wanted to send her another message and ask Airbnb for help again, I suddenly saw a message in my mailbox from PayPal that I received a refund from Airbnb. However, there was no other formal notifications from her or Airbnb telling me that my booking has been cancelled and explaining why.

I had to log in to my Airbnb account, check my booking and see a message that my booking has been cancelled. I feel like I am serving Airbnb but paying them a service fee at the same time. I took responsibility for confirming with the host that the apartment would be ready and I spent a lot of time checking and sending her messages to ask for her replies.

Eventually, my booking was cancelled without any reason and formal notification and I was forced to look for another apartment myself. Many apartments are not available anymore or became much more expensive.

Host Refuses to Communicate About Cancellation

We had plans to travel to the U.S. in October that were cancelled due to COVID. Alternative bookings were made for a property in Australia from Oct. 3-10 (we had stayed in this property 12 months ago with a great review from the host).

The cancellation policy on the listing at the time of booking was a 50% refund up until Sept. 25. We raised the question of flexibility to change dates if restrictions applied at the time of booking. The host responded “let’s talk about this in September.”

Flights cancelled by the airline, borders closed by our state governments and penalties (both financial and potential jail sentences) for breaching COVID quarantine restrictions forced our decision to request a change of dates to April 2021 to give us time for recovery post COVID. There was no response from the host.

We reached out to the Airbnb Support team who promised to look into the matter. We reached out to the host in September who advised that this property would no longer be available after February 2021. We were unable to take leave before February so pushed the “cancel” button and requested a refund. The host’s response was a “$0.00 refund.”

We reached out again to Airbnb Support who asked for evidence to be uploaded. They advised they were in contact with host. We were frustrated at how long it took to respond to a message. It would be great to actually speak to someone about this. I have been a very frequent user, supporter and promoter of Airbnb but the lack of real time support has left a very disappointing mark.

Unfair Treatment by Airbnb Over Honolulu Booking

On Jan. 3, we booked an apartment in Honolulu for five days and paid the requested 50% payment, 1451.45 NZD. When COVID arrived, we assessed the situation on this booking for May 13-18 but as the airline we had booked on was no longer flying, we cancelled the booking with the hostess on March 19 assuming we would get at least the 50% back — 725.70 NZD, as stated on the booking rules.

Sadly the host only refunded 43.39 NZD… why? There was no explanation at all. What I cannot understand is that she would not even refund the cleaning fees of 372.68 NZD as we had never been there. On top of all that, the service fee of 341.69 NZD will be a coupon waiting to be used. The CEO Brian Chesky also sent a letter to say that Airbnb would repay the hosts the full amount that they would lose, so why would the host not pay us back?

Cancellations During Pandemic Mean No Refund

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control, i.e. COVID-19, we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of 10 had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their Airbnb was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service charge Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware — the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

Nine Months of Holiday Plans Ruined by Host

Our host cancelled our nine month pre-booked reservation just two weeks prior to our arrival. Although our planned stay met all of the many restrictions this host listed as conditions for occupancy and without acceptable communications, this person abruptly terminated our long-awaited vacation plans stating she was uncomfortable with our plans due to COVID-19.

Our travel plans met all health guidelines and moral practices of this pandemic. As a volunteer leader of an organization of medical professionals providing humanitarian assistance to people around the world, I of course fully endorse and practice the most strict standards in response to the current pandemic and our anticipated travel plans did not in any capacity conflict with regional health guidelines or rules.

As a courtesy I informed the host that our upcoming plans would include my spouse and I occupying the three-bedroom (maximum of six guests allowed) home with friends, a family of four joining us for three nights of our week-long vacation and upon their departure another family of four would join us for three nights, never exceeding the six-person maximum.

Upon notification of our plans the host responded with, “she had concerns of the large group of people” even though we would never exceed the host’s maximum six-person restriction. Without any further allowance to communicate to discuss concerns and a resolution just 20 minutes after the host’s initial message of concern, she abruptly and arbitrarily cancelled our reservation. This host displayed a lack of compassion and understanding of the impact of such an action.

We of course have made many plans in anticipation of our once-a-year summer vacation. We had paid for ferry reservations and other financial commitments based on this nine-month commitment.

There has been a complete absence of support by Airbnb. As a former Airbnb host, we understand the rights a property owner requires to operate their rentals. However, there is a moral obligation to meet your commitments to guests when they are willing to follow regional rules and Airbnb guidelines and the host’s very own restrictions. There is also an expectation with such important life plans, especially during these challenging times, to communicate honestly and provide an opportunity to resolve any issues that can sometimes arise.

Absolutely zero allowance or opportunity was given by this host to responsibly discuss a concern that arose so close to a long awaited vacation. We and our friends are now scrambling to find alternative plans. Shame on you for your insensitivity.

Same Name, Same Crimes to Airbnb, Apparently

In short, I’m moving. My father got a new job in Texas and while the house is finishing we needed a place to stay. We use Airbnb. We made this reservation months ahead of time. In the middle of the night a few days before we moved, they cancelled. According to Airbnb, my father had a criminal record. Weird, because he doesn’t have one. They claim that he committed a violent crime in 1992 in a different city. Some brainlet at Airbnb probably uses Google with a name and state to check someone’s background. So some guy they Googled with the same name and state is now my father I guess. It doesn’t work like that. I’m now using Elon Musk’s naming scheme from now on so non-diligent companies won’t mistake me for someone else who committed murder in 1854. Absolute troglodytes over there.

Is COVID-19 Not an Extenuating Circumstance?

How is anything related to COVID not an extenuating circumstance, after the government put in place a stay at home order after having everything open, preventing anyone from traveling into the island?

Our trip to the USVI got cancelled, per the governor shutting down travel, and in contacting the airline about this (they gave us our full refund without question by the way) the airline told me that if the island was shutting down they would not be flying in — so we could be stuck there.

Now the host had told me that I would need to cancel for reasons including COVID and I should get my full refund because it was out of their hands. Airbnb only refunded us half and it would’ve been less had I not done it sooner. The host said she is unable to do anything about refunding us because she hasn’t been given the money.

Airbnb stole thousands from me. Neither myself nor the host has been able to actually get in touch with anyone at the company, all I get is a phone recording that just hangs up on me. Never again. Do not use this company.