Airbnb Complicit with Hosts on Bait and Switch Fraud

These are the facts regarding two identical occurrences over a 10-month period where Airbnb was complicit with hosts in a fraudulent bait and switch business practice. The first instance cost me $2,000, and the second instance cost me an additional $600. If you are a lawyer reading this and are interested in a lawsuit against Airbnb, class action or otherwise, please contact me.

I’ve spent hours upon hours communicating with the overseas customer support center. On the first occurrence Airbnb admitted to their wrongdoing. On the second, no admission. I have pages upon pages of these communications and the lackluster efforts of Airbnb customer support.

First I made a booking and sent payment to Airbnb. A receipt of the transaction was provided to me. Then the host cancelled with no explanation given. Eventually a refund of payment was issued by Airbnb. Immediately after the cancellation, for the exact time period of the booking, the host raised rates, and was allowed by Airbnb to book new guests at the raised rates.

I was told by Airbnb customer support to find a new Airbnb to book, as there was “nothing they can do.” Airbnb and the host both financially profit more from the new bookings at the higher rates, after my cancellation. Per Airbnb’s policy regarding host cancellations per the company’s website, the following actions did not occur.

A. The host’s calendar will become blocked and they won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the cancelled reservation.

B. If the host cancels before the day of check-in, an automated review will be posted to your listing’s profile. These reviews cannot be removed.

C. “Superhost” status was maintained, although neither listing met the 1% cancellation rate threshold at the time.

D. In neither instance was an Instabook used, which gives the host wiggle room to avoid penalty under an “uncomfortable with reservation” loophole.

So to summarize, Airbnb and the host both benefitted financially at my expense due to the host’s post-cancellation rate increases for the same exact time period. To me, this is a clear cut bait and switch fraudulent business practice. It was communicated to me but Airbnb customer support found another Airbnb reservation, the host’s “Superhost” status was not revoked, and in my opinion this is a complete fraud of a designation. The automated message in the host’s reviews detailing the cancellation was never posted to warn future guests of the risk they are taking with a particular host. So the reviews you read are not inclusive of cancellations, and in my opinion, fraudulent.

Airbnb Denies Comic Con Cancellation Refund

We reserved a property with Airbnb last November for Comic Con 20 in July. On April 17, Comic Con was cancelled due to the World Health Organization gathering guidelines dated March 11 and California Governor Newsom stating that group gatherings in California before August could not happen.

When I tried to rebook the property for Comic Con 21 next year, I discovered the property had been marked up $10,000 for our five-day stay. Instead of costing $6472 like it did this year, it was marked up to $16,879 for a stay of the same duration and for the same reason, a 180% markup.

I cancelled my reservation and requested a full refund of the $3264 I had made on the first of two installments. On April 9, Airbnb had said their COVID-19 full refund only applied through May 31 and despite having an extenuating circumstance policy for epidemic disease, it did not apply to COVID-19 cases.

Since my COVID-19 case was after May 31, then neither the COVID-19 or epidemic disease policy would cover my cancellation refund. This is also when I found out that the Airbnb 50% refund policy is not a 50% refund of what you pay, but 50% of the total bill, so instead of about $1500 back from my initial payment, I got $62.

I appealed to the property owner. Their response was to talk to Airbnb. I appealed to Airbnb, and they told me to talk to the property owner. So when I paid last November, my money was effectively gone after 48 hours. I had at least three different conversations with Airbnb and the host, but they insisted that the COVID-19 policy to May 31 was the end all and be all policy and did not apply to the Comic Con COVID-19 cancellation in July.

The COVID-19 and epidemic disease policies for Airbnb deny the reality of the pandemic after May 31. Ironically, this same property is listed on VrBO with a full refund policy through May 22, 2020. I am moving on to arbitration via the American Arbitration Association.

Host Cancelled Booking then Offered it for Double the Price

I would just like to share my recent experience with Airbnb. I booked and paid for a property in New Orleans in August 2018 in preparation for Mardi Gras February 2020, three weeks ago. After just shy of 12 months of it being booked, the host canceled and the host’s booking page was suspended. I did received a full refund which was little help as the prices in New Orleans have gone up considerably; Mardi Gras is approximately five months away now. The thing that has really annoyed me is that last night the host messaged me through Airbnb to inform me the house is available again albeit just over double what I’d initially paid. My first booking totaled £1019 now the host’s price for the exact same dates are £2189. Could someone please explain to me in what world can this sort of practice be legal or acceptable?

Airbnb Invoice after Holiday for Additional Money

I used Airbnb thousands of times; it was never big a problem until now. My boyfriend booked accommodation for 1900 pounds for four months. After two months, the host told him he was not the owner of the flat and the owner would come tomorrow for they keys; he was going to cancel the reservation.

Airbnb called him (my boyfriend) to see if he agreed to end the reservation because the host wanted to cancel – he said yes. He found new accommodation through Airbnb and waited for his refund. He checked his profile to find a completely different reservation – the reservation was only for two months and the price had doubled.

He contacted Airbnb support. They told him that his host didn’t cancel the reservation; he wanted to avoid a fine so he made a change to the existing one. Tomorrow he will be charged a one-time payment of 450 pounds, which he tried to avoid, making the total for not even two months’ accommodation 1500 pounds.

Airbnb, instead of solving this, insisted that the price had doubled – 30 pounds for one night instead of 15 – because he stayed only two months, but it was not his choice. We can’t block the payment through the bank. I think this is insane after the accommodation, reservation and agreed-upon price, they still charged our credit card because they decided they wanted a higher price for his stay.

Host Extorted Money for Confirmed Reservation During Eclipse

Last week, we wrote a review for a host who made us to pay more money for our confirmed booking (a month after we had paid in full) because of the high demand for booking her location during the August 21st eclipse. She claimed there was a booking glitch and she intended to have Instant Booking charge us more. When we booked, there were other options, but at that point (a month before the eclipse) there was nothing left. We couldn’t afford what she was asking, and were worried she or Airbnb would cancel our booking if we complained, as has happened to other guests on forums where hosts claim a “booking glitch”. This would have left us high and dry with our small children. We offered to pay her $500 instead of $1700, which she accepted.

After our stay, I wrote a review detailing the experience, but I have yet to see it posted on her site. Do you know how long it takes to for a review to show up for a host? It has been a week since I submitted it, and I hadn’t received any messages that anything was wrong with it. I’m worried the host will get Airbnb to not post it. They will be able to see it is accurate; all our communication was done over Airbnb messages, including her request to “adjust the price” and her explanation that she decided to adjust the price due to demand. Ultimately, I’d like to see the host respond to our review with a refund of the money we paid under duress, and to agree to post surge-pricing dates on her site in the future, and address future website booking glitches within 24 hours and with Airbnb rather than putting pressure on guests.

Some Airbnb Hosts are as Dishonest as they Come

Hi everyone, please see the attachments and the photograph of the host in it. This guy is Alejandro. He owns three rooms at the Ft. Lauderdale Hilton Beach Resort. He likes to play games with people and raise the rate on them while they are trying to book a reservation. He had his property listed at $349/night for a stay from December 25th, 2016 to Jan 1st, 2017. My wife and I were using the Instant Book feature to put all of our information in to reserve the room. While doing so, we used the phone app to message Alejandro to make sure the place had a pull out bed. He replied that it did… and then sent a follow up message that he had adjusted his rate. In the middle of us trying to book the reservation, he raised his rate from $349/night with a 3% discount for booking more than four days to a $439/night rate with no discount. I messaged him about it, but he ignored the message. I called Airbnb Customer Service, and they said they really couldn’t do anything about it. However, they agreed that Alejandro was running very shady business by treating customers that way. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Ft. Lauderdale, I would avoid any of Alejandro’s properties at the Hilton. He’s greedy and dishonest. Find another host to save yourself the headache.