I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.
My wife and I are writing to express our absolute frustration with Airbnb. We have had our reservations cancelled, at the last minute, three separate times in the last two years. The latest cancellation was for a stay in St. Louis, and our reservation was finalized almost a year ago. We aren’t questioning the host’s reason for the cancellation, but each of these cancellations was received just days before we were to arrive. Each of these reservations was made so that we could attend a specific event in St. Louis, and since the cancellations were done so close to the event, there were no properties left to rent anywhere close to the event venue at all. No hotel or bed and breakfast rooms were available either. Airbnb offered us a refund or an additional $50. for another Airbnb property is pretty laughable compared to the time, effort, and extra expense we have had to make to even locate a rentable property that is quite a distance (12 miles compared to 5 blocks) away from the event. We also planned to do other things in the area where the original property was located, but now that won’t be happening. We should also mention that, for each of these cancelled reservations, we were (and are for this latest cancellation) in the middle of a vacation. Trying to deal with this situation while on the road has been extremely difficult. We couldn’t be more frustrated with this situation and are wondering if Airbnb can give us a reason why we should continue to book with them.
In late 2016 I made two reservations on Airbnb for a New Zealand holiday. In mid-January 2017 (i.e. one and a half months later) I discovered two unauthorised transactions dated January 14th and 15th using the same credit card for Airbnb in China and two non-Airbnb charges in the UK. I contacted my bank and told them which transactions were unauthorised; they cancelled the card. The bank notified Airbnb of the two unauthorised transactions and refused the two pending charges in the UK. Three weeks later Airbnb contacted me to tell me that their security team had identified suspicious transactions. They just cancelled the two earlier reservations in New Zealand without checking with me to see if they were legitimate. Then I had to try and contact them to get the problem fixed. Emails just bounced back as undeliverable. I couldn’t contact the hosts to try and let them know that we were still coming and what happened.
Finally, I located an Airbnb phone number and waited until someone answered. I explained the problem and was told how it would be fixed. I then received repeated email messages telling me the reservations had been cancelled, and there had been a problem with my card. I couldn’t reply by email, spent ages on the phone, and could not get transferred in their call centre to the person who knew about my case. They promised they would call back, which sometimes happens and often does not. I am recovering from cancer surgery and the New Zealand holiday was something to look forward to doing with my wife, but it is now a nightmare that I can totally do without.
To cut the story short, they still have not managed to fix the problem and are trying to charge my cancelled credit card, not using the new card in my profile. We had used Airbnb twice before without any issues and thought it was a good service. Now, I will never use them again and will tell all my friends to do the same. This is a classic situation in customer service. A customer who complains is giving the company an opportunity to fix the issue. If it is fixed promptly the customer will go away but still tell others about a good experience. If it is not fixed the customer goes away and becomes a negative walking and talking advertisement for the company, because not only did the company screw up, but they did not fix the problem or – in some cases – even try to fix the problem. Customer service like this damages the brand far more than any positive advertising can hope to repair. Airbnb really needs to up its game.
Our family is planning a trip to New York. Upon finding a house that fit our needs and that was in our price range, we decided to contact the host for more details. We liked what we saw and heard, so we decided to book the seven nights, paying with our credit card through Airbnb. After the request for booking was made and after having several messages between the host, Frann (the host) decided to significantly raise the price per night of the house, and raise the cleaning fees. Therefore, the Airbnb fees were raised, adding an additional $1200 dollars to the total bill. Frann was not willing to accept her advertised price. Therefore we had to cancel our reservations. Under the Hosting Responsibilities portion of Airbnb, the host is required to advertise the correct price. I’m very disappointed and makes me leery about using Airbnb for future rentals.
Beware of this Airbnb host. I am sharing my experience so that no one else books a strict policy booking with this host and loses their money. I accepted a lower priced invitation (1200 USD) to sleep in this hosts living room for the month of January. She encouraged me to book and pay immediately since there were other interested parties. I did. Unfortunately, two days later, a family emergency arose and I realized I would have to cancel the stay. I immediately contacted the host so that she could rebook with the other interested parties and reimburse me. This is when I discovered that she had imposed a strict cancellation policy on the booking. I did not even know such a policy existed since, in my experience, normal and fair business practices are flexible bookings. The strict policy means that no matter what, you do not get any money back. Family illness, death, force majeure… it doesn’t matter. The host declined to pay back the 1200 or any part thereof, even though she had ample time to find someone else; I was not due to arrive for a few days. As a landlord, if a tenant’s plans change, I try to reimburse what I can. I would not keep a full month’s rent when there’s the possibility of finding a new tenant. I find that such an extreme position shows a lack of class and character. I have always had positive Airbnb experiences but the fact that they even allow such a policy makes no sense to me. There are hosts offering real private rooms (not living rooms) at similar rates and they offer flexible bookings. Most people are reasonable. Things happen in life. Unless you are prepared to throw away money on services not received I would not risk a strict booking with this host or any other hosts on Airbnb. Flexible bookings are another matter, but make sure you check.
I am sharing this story to warn my fellow travelers for making bookings through Airbnb. The company provides a platform and charges money for it, but does nothing to secure your stay. I made a Instant Booking at a five-star property – in IMPZ Dubai – for $890 from December 25th to January 1st on August 1st, 2016. I paid in full, and received a confirmation mail from Airbnb that the booking was done. We were content and planned other details for the trip. On December 6th, we made a call to the host just to touch base. He flatly refused to accept the booking, saying he did not have any ties to Airbnb and the booking had not been confirmed. On being told that Airbnb was showing the booking as confirmed, he cancelled the reservation. We received an automated mail from Airbnb informing us of the cancellation, with their regrets and suggestion to make an alternative booking. With great effort, I found the email address for Airbnb, where the customer service representative first apologized and then suggested I make an alternate booking. She took a couple of days to share two listings; both cost double the price of the original booking. The representative simply refused to do anything beyond provide a $100 coupon as compensation. Many email exchanges followed and finally they closed the case with a blunt mail stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication. I had to make another booking on my own which was worth $1900, suffering a loss of more than $1000 over my original booking.
Airbnb is great as long as nothing goes wrong. But the whole process is too complex for nothing to go wrong. In our case we were not able to travel to our booking in Yosemite National Park because of a national weather service advisory about a winter storm which clearly mentioned “not to travel unless in a emergency”. When we contacted Airbnb they suggested that we need to first cancel the booking and then claim a refund under their extenuating circumstances policy. After we cancelled the booking we filed a claim. The entire customer service experience was horrible. First of all, Airbnb could only be reached by email, which was slow. It took almost three days for Airbnb to reach a conclusion: they will not refund a single penny. When I asked for an escalation, a blunt email arrived stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication.
We booked a reservation for our Christmas vacation in the Bahamas three months in advance. I requested the host send me the agreement and instructions on how to get into the house no fewer than either times. He would not send it. The day before we were to fly from Michigan to the Bahamas, he cancelled (I highly suspect he rented it for much more money or a longer period of time). We could not find another place on the island. We had to pay to rebook our airfare and cancel deposits for fishing and diving trips. We lost $1500 and could not even contact Airbnb to request any type of resolution.
Four days before our flight we booked accommodation through Airbnb and it was only afterwards we realized it was a house share, which was a deal breaker for us; we like our privacy. We cancelled within one hour of booking. The total order was for approximately £346, and we were refunded only £146 a few days later. When I called Airbnb to find out why, they said they have a strict cancellation policy and that I would need to ask the host to refund in full. I emailed the host and said whilst I appreciate the terms and conditions with all due respect she did not lose business in this hour between our booking and cancellation. She said that she hardly gets any money, and the majority goes to Airbnb. So neither the host nor Airbnb are willing to help. I am sure this was the quickest £200 they made. Surely they should apply some common sense here and refund us but they are sneaky and hiding behind the terms and conditions. I am absolutely disgusted at both the host and Airbnb; they should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, I am sure many other people will have this problem, I would recommend people stay away from this nasty organisation that clearly lacks common sense and customer service.
I wanted to book a room for two nights and found this listing that I liked. I was under the impression that if a room is advertised it should be available, so I went ahead and sent in my booking request to the hosts through Airbnb. I have verified myself on Airbnb through my driver’s license. This reservation is during Christmas when prices go up within a few hours. After almost 12 hours, the host responded and requested I cancel the request as she has family coming over. I went ahead and cancelled, but I still saw the listing available on Airbnb. Why is it still up if they know family will be taking up those rooms. Is this not discrimination?