Some Absolute Nonsense at Thailand Airbnb

My group had been looking for a beach house in Thailand for a three-day stay for days and finally found a reasonable option for all sixteen members of our group (do you know how difficult that was, logistically?). We booked our stay and they took our money. We thought we were good to go.

The owner emailed us the next day and lied, saying that we had misled her about the year we wanted to stay. She kept saying we wanted to book for 2018. Under no circumstances did we say that. Our reservation was cancelled and now all the other options are over $1000 more than the original price. We can’t be spending that kind of extra money. When we called Airbnb, all they kept saying was sorry. They said they would help us rebook but then reneged on that real quick. That does not help with the money problem.

They also reassured us that the host had to pay a cancellation fee but it’s Airbnb that gets all that money. If we were able to use that money to get a comparable rate then I would be happy to keep using Airbnb, but they get the profit and we have to spend extra money because they did not have it together. Absolute nonsense.

From Host to Host, Payment to Payment, Until Finally Something Stable

I booked a historic firehouse Airbnb five miles from SOHO in Jersey City for August 6-13, 2017. My Discover card was charged $1509. While we were on our way on August 6th, I realized I hadn’t received access instructions. Since I was driving, I asked my son to message the host for access instructions. He messaged back that the property wouldn’t be ready until September 4th. My son messaged him that we had a confirmed reservation and my credit card had been charged. His only response was to call Airbnb. This was about 10:40 AM.

We did call Airbnb and worked with the customer service representative to try to find another place to stay. He sent an email around 11:20 AM with some other properties for us to consider and an offer of a $143 credit toward another property. My son was searching for places on my phone while I drove. I pulled off the PA turnpike into a McDonalds parking lot and we booked a townhouse in Brooklyn, based on the description and pictures in the listing. This was about 11:40 AM.

About an hour later the host of that property called while I was still driving on the PA turnpike. He told me that he noted that we were bringing two dogs and that they treat dogs like guests. I actually thought that sounded good. What he meant, but didn’t tell me, is that he was going to charge me $40 per dog per day for the dogs. It was the next day when I realized this and he had charged my Discover card $611.25. He never got my approval for this charge and I would never pay such an outrageous “pet fee”.

We arrived at the property about 5:45 PM. The property was not as described or pictured in the listing. The property was filthy, smelly, and uninhabitable. Walls were water damaged. Outlets had missing covers. The “couch” in the living area was a wooden bench covered with a throw pillow. The only TV was in one of the bedrooms. The bedrooms were on the upper level and the kitchen and living areas were on the lower level. They were separated by very steep stairs with no hand rail. The “back garden” was an enclosed, paved area with plants that had been cut down and left to decay. As a result it was smelly and bug infested.

There was no way I could stay there with my son and dogs. I immediately called Airbnb. I sent them numerous pictures documenting the condition of the property. I have attached the pictures at the end of this email. They refused to apply the money I had paid and the credit I had been offered to another property. They were awful to deal with. They were supposed to call me back that night and never did. I also called on Monday August 7th, left a message, and never heard back. By this point it was almost 8:00 PM.

In desperation, I found another place and reserved it. My Discover card was charged another $1,572.31. It turned out to be exactly as described and pictured. The host immediately cleaned it up and got it ready for us. We stayed there for the full week and found it to be everything we expected.

To summarize the amounts we were charged and amounts I believe we are due credit for:

– Charged by Airbnb to Discover card 6/19/17 for Airbnb historic firehouse in Jersey City 8/6/17 = $1,509.00
– Credit issued by Airbnb 8/6/17 = ($533.02)
– “Pet Fee” for townhouse in Brooklyn 8/7/17 = $611.25
– Two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn = $1,572.31

– Amount I should have been charged = $1,509.00
– Credit offered by Airbnb for reservation cancelled by host = ($143.00)

Total = $1,366.00
Credit Due = $1,793.54

Airbnb is a Useless Service that Holds Money Indefinitely

We booked three weeks’ accommodation in December 2016 for December 2017. At the time of booking there was a large variety of options to book from at varying prices. We needed to book in a particular resort because we were going to be holidaying with friends (they booked with a different agent).

Last week, nine months after booking, we received an email from Airbnb saying our host had cancelled our booking. For nine months, Airbnb held our money interest free. They appeared to think I should be grateful that they returned our money. At this point there is only one house available in this resort for five times the price. Everything else has been booked long ago. Airbnb just couldn’t care. I emailed them and spoke to them but they were not prepared to listen or help. They claim the host can cancel whenever they want with no compensation offered. Had we decided to cancel as guests we would have had to forfeit 50% of our money. I will never ever use Airbnb again.

Cancellation Policy Defrauds Guests of 50% Payment

I put a question to a host about her apartment directly on the beach in Tavernes de la Valldigna, Valencia, Spain including booking dates. She came back with the answer stating the dates were a little difficult and provided dates that would be better. My dates were still showing as available on her calendar. I was just replying to say those were our only dates when I received two more emails offering a discount if I booked by a certain time that day. The website was showing my dates for the booking and nothing about the dates not being available or “difficult”. I naturally thought she had solved her problem and paid for the dates which were only three weeks away. I then received an email from her saying I had not replied to her email and she was shocked at receiving my booking payment as she had offered alternate dates. When I checked the cancellation policy it said if cancelled more than seven days before booking I would receive 50% of my payment; that’s a good way to fraudulently get money for no work and hassling tenants. If I did not use the refunded money for another booking I would charged a 20% administrative charge for Airbnb to refund it. That is 50% of the total then another 20% of the remaining half… 60% of my money with no booking. Is this fraud, or what?

Did the Full Eclipse Motivate this Cancellation?

Our cancellation by a host in Portland, Oregon was issued about a week before the arrival date. The excuse given was pipe repair and the apartment was to be closed from August 18th. This booking was made well ahead of August 21st so that we could see the full solar eclipse. At the time of the cancellation all reasonable Airbnb accommodation was gone; most hotels were fully booked and those that were not were asking astronomical rates. We could not find anything and have changed our itinerary and have to forgo seeing the full eclipse (a once in a lifetime experience). When asked for proof of the pipe issue, none was offered by the host or Airbnb. Did the host cancel on us for a much better offer? We will never know. Did Airbnb offer appropriate remorse and compensation? That we do know; they did not. They offered a full refund or if we booked another Airbnb property we could use the refund plus 10%. What a joke when demand for that night was through the roof and at a massively increased cost. So… highlight of vacation ruined, extra cost incurred, and the host and Airbnb carry on regardless. Preplanning a stay is fraught with risk under these circumstances. We will never use Airbnb again and will revert to less expensive hotels of good quality where a bed for the night is guaranteed. Airbnb should be held liable.

Vacation from Asia to Europe Ruined Because of Airbnb

Last December I booked an apartment in London for eight nights in July via Airbnb. This booking was the reason for my coming all the way to London from Asia. A few days prior to moving in to the apartment I had exchanged pleasant enough messages with the host, so you can imagine my disbelief when three days before my booking , I received a two-line email saying my booking had been cancelled. There was no reason given and no apology offered.

With such short notice in the peak tourist season there were very few properties available and of course the prices has risen sharply. My much anticipated holiday was in ruins. I have written to Airbnb and been told that I would receive a proper and professional reply but there has been nothing so far despite my follow-up reminders.

On the basis of this my first foray into Airbnb, I would advise anyone else considering Airbnb quite simply: don’t even think about it. It is difficult to conceive of a less professional and ethical organisation whose vetting of hosts and properties alike appears to be non-existent.

Host Cancelled the Reservation Right Before the Trip

I booked a house for a whole week in summer in Hawaii. I looked up a lot of Airbnb houses about six months before I was set to arrive. I found a good condo near Waikiki Beach for a reasonable price. I booked and paid in full right away. It was a family vacation. My parents, my sister’s family (four people), and my family (four people) were gathering and I made the booking on Airbnb.

Horrible things started happening just a few weeks before our vacation began. Airbnb sent us an mail stating that the host had just canceled my booking. That’s it. How could I find another house or hotel in a few weeks in the summer season in Hawaii? They simply refunded me but I could not find any place for that price at that time. They didn’t offer me any alternatives for the same days (Airbnb properties) so I had to spend almost double the money for a very bad hotel for a week. I felt guilty in front of my parents and sister for the whole week. There is no remedy if you had to pay more for the housing because Airbnb cancelled your booking. I’ve traveled a lot every summer and winter but never used Airbnb until now. It’s better to stay at nice hotels with a great breakfast. You may save a few dollars with Airbnb, but you’ll ruin your life.

Angry Owner Demands Guests Don’t Eat Seafood

I originally booked this Chéticamp property in February. Since we were trying to get as much in during our time on the east coast, we changed our booking with this property a couple times, all in accordance with the change and cancellation policies. Early this week, the owner sent us an email stating that we cannot have any seafood at the cottage. When asked why, it was due to the next tenants having seafood allergies. I thought this was an odd request and so after consulting many people, agreed that this was indeed a ridiculous request. I replied to the host that this was a ridiculous request; that is why we booked a cottage where we would feel comfortable buying seafood and cooking it ourselves in the cottage. Since they were not willing to budge, I cancelled this reservation within the guidelines of the cancellation policy and luckily was able to find another place for the days we needed.

Once we cancelled, we received the following response from the host: “That’s good. Don’t book with me again – that’s even stranger.”

I responded that this restriction was not fair and they should have such restrictions listed on their website for people to be aware of. He responded: “Don’t bother me. Thank you. You can’t afford to go to a restaurant like everyone else.”

I stopped responding. I found this reaction disturbing and very unprofessional. When we complete our trip, our next step will be to provide his property with the appropriate feedback.

Airbnb ‘Superhosts’ are Super Greedy Opportunists

Our host neglected to update their calendar to require a three-night minimum. I therefore successfully booked and paid $3436 for two nights. I was excited and let our party know it was booked; they sent me their share of the cost on Venmo, etc. Then the host emailed me that it was a ‘purely business decision’ to cancel my processed payment and reservation. Translation: they can get more than my processed $3436 and they are greedy.

This type of transaction destroys the integrity of Airbnb. Mind you this is a “Superhost” that completes benchmarks such as:

1. Completing at least ten trips in their listings in a year (translation: they aren’t struggling to get reservations, so why are they so greedy?)
2. High Response Rate (translation: they quickly respond to let you know they can get more than your $3436, so they are cancelling your reservation)
3. Five-Star Reviews (translation: if we wouldn’t have unfairly cancelled your booking you would have loved it)
4. Commitment – Superhosts honor confirmed reservations — they rarely cancel. (translation: how ironic. This ‘Superhost’ is a joke)

Lastly, this host has a very strict cancellation policy – only a 50% refund up to one week prior to arrival, except fees. Why is it so easy for them to cancel with impunity? That just doesn’t sit well with me and makes me question the morals of Airbnb and its hosts. The Airbnb motto of “Belong Anywhere” should be updated to “Belong Anywhere as long as you’re the highest bidder.”

Host Cancels and Immediately Becomes Unreachable

If you are looking for an Airbnb the Galway area, avoid this host. I take issue with a few things that happened in my encounter with Airbnb. This was my first time attempting to use the service and because of the way this cancellation was handled, I am unable to leave a review of the host on the other end of this reservation. I think the way this was handled was extremely unfair. I don’t think it is good business practice to not allow me to review this host so that others may avoid this problem in the future.

I booked the reservation for myself and five other travelers. Within just a couple hours of payment, the host contacted me and said that she had accidentally listed the wrong dates and could not accommodate us. However, when I attempted to contact her, the phone number she messaged me with came up as disconnected. I was also unable to message her. I could not reach her to ask further questions about how the cancellation would work and the money was already taken from my account.

I was obviously concerned, so I called Airbnb’s customer service number and spoke with a representative. While he was quite helpful, he did not seem to grasp what I was trying to tell him. She, the host, was the one who canceled the reservation, not me. Airbnb and the host alike both seemed to expect me to cancel the reservation so that the host could avoid a penalty. To some extent I understand this, but on the other hand I believe it to be a dishonest and inaccurate way to handle the situation. The bottom line is, she cancelled, not me. She does not have to pay a penalty but I am out $440 for up to five days as a result of her canceling.

Not only was that situation incredibly frustrating for my first experience with this business, but I am unable to leave any sort of review for this host so that other users may avoid this situation in the future. I am unsure how Airbnb handles affairs with their hosts, but the fact that this cancellation was handled like I was the one who canceled it so that the host could skirt around the penalty is very suspicious and untrustworthy. It is unfair to users who have their money suspended for a week while the host gets off. It is even more unfair that she is completely unreachable and Airbnb has no way for me to leave a review or lodge a formal complaint about this woman.