Airbnb Almost Homeless in San Juan

My initial correspondence with an Airbnb host was early in November when I made a reservation for 12/22-12/23. Her last remark to me was that I would hear from her closer to the check in date with the information I would need.

Fast forward to 12/20. I had still not heard from her. I sent two emails through the Airbnb website. No response. On the evening of 12/21, I called her, having a feeling of panic that I would not have a place to stay upon my arrival the next day. I was able to get in touch with her and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about. She also said I needed to install the app so that she could send me all the information I needed. I immediately followed her advice. There was still no message from her.

While sitting in the airport on 12/22 on my way to San Juan, my expected arrival date, I sent her two messages through Whatsapp. No response to either one. I called her through Whatsapp. No response. My plane was now getting ready to take off and as far as I was concerned when I landed, I would have no place to stay. I tried calling her multiple times and no response. Finally at 7:37 PM on 12/22 she responded: “Tomorrow I’ll be in the property waiting for you. Check in time is 3:00 PM.”

It was nice to finally have a response, but I was supposed to check in that night. When I arrived in San Juan at 2:00 AM, I tried calling four times until she finally picked up. It was at this time that she gave me an attitude that she was sleeping and there was no way she would be able to meet me at the unit. My reservation was for this evening and I previously explained to her that I would get in very late at night, so I am not sure why I received an attitude. I then requested that she cancel my reservation so that I would have my money refunded. She told me that she was sleeping and couldn’t do that; I needed to cancel the reservation. This worried me because of the cancellation policy of 24 hours.

I went on my vacation for ten nights and came back to an email from Airbnb that my money was in fact refunded. I do not recommend you choose to stay at a place where the host clearly has no regard for her tenants. This is unfortunate as it was my first time trying Airbnb. I will be very hesitant to use this service in the future.

Bad Day using Airbnb in Baden-Baden Germany

We stayed at Michael’s home in Baden-Baden using Airbnb for one night on July 1st, 2017. When we awoke the following morning, we found ourselves alone. Michael and his family had left for a destination unknown and left no note. After carefully checking that we had packed everything, we left the house key on the table and shut the front door. Only then did we realize that we had left our iPad, which was hidden behind a pot plant, in our room. Is it normal for a host to abandon a guest before they have checked out?

Our communication with the host:

Guest: Michael, where are you? I left my iPad in the bedroom. Can you please let me know when you are at home and I will pick up. Please call me ASAP.

Host: Hello Malcolm, we are back home now. Unfortunately the number you sent is not available. Please call us or send a mail when you want to pick up your iPad.

Guest: Too late Michael! We are now in Metz. We were surprised when we found the house empty this morning and no note. Do you have a valid phone number?

Host: Good morning Malcolm. We were surprised that you forgot the IPad. In 8 years of using Airbnb no guest has ever forgotten anything. I just tried to catch you on the phone again. There is no contact on the phone – even when I call back the message on our answering machine. Today you can reach us until 8:00 or then after 14:30

Guest: Sorry I missed your call but we had a bad day yesterday. First we inadvertently left our iPad (there is a first time for everything) and could not contact you either by phone or mail. We waited in Baden-Baden until 6:00 PM and went back to your home but were unable to get iPad. In the many years we have used Airbnb we have never had a host leave without prior warning and then be unable to contact them. Second, we had our car towed because we had unknowingly parked in a restricted zone! To retrieve the auto cost €300. This caused us much distress and anxiety as you can imagine. I believe we both must accept some responsibility for the first problem. I suggest a compromise that the cost of postage be shared 50%. We will be in Nantes until Friday. If it is possible to deliver before then please post the iPad to us.

Host: Hello Malcolm, the telephone number you gave us is not valid in Germany. So we were not able to contact you. In fact you missed something from your things in the room and realized it later. We are Airbnb hosts . This is not a hotel. We have time with our family on Sunday. When you forget something you are free to pick it up at our place, but we cannot send it somewhere else. You can tell somebody else to pick this up or come to us to get your things back, but we will not post it for our own safety. Sorry for your bad day, but the reason for the inconvenience came from your side. Hope to hear from you about your decision to solve this issue soon.

Guest: Sorry Michael but the phone number is valid in all of Europe. I don’t know anyone in Baden-Baden and I am not able to return as we have a travel schedule to follow. I appeal to you as a decent human being to do the right thing and post the iPad. I accept full responsibility if the device is lost or damaged.

 

Terrible Communication with Airbnb: No Error Message

As a first time Airbnb user, I booked a place for one night. My visa card was debited immediately. After that, I needed to contact my host regarding details for an airport pick-up. Over a 3-4 day period, I found that the Airbnb messaging system is worse than useless. I received both emails and texts from my host, but I couldn’t reply to either. The texts came in truncated; only a few words appeared. However, my replies appeared to have been sent (no error messages after sending). I also replied to emails, which appeared to have been sent (again, no error messages). After a few days with no response from my host, I realized she was not getting anything from me. I also finally received an email error message saying the Airbnb address did not exist. I then spent about an hour on the Airbnb website trying to contact them for a fix, but got into an endless loop on their help pages. As far as I can tell, they have absolutely no customer support. Finally, going back to their website and messaging from there was the only thing that worked. If the emails and texts simply did not work, they would be useless. However, this system is worse than useless because it gives the appearance that it is working. The Airbnb email invites you to reply and returns no error message when you do, so it looks like it sends successfully. In the case of texting, who does not reply to a text? It’s quick and easy. Again, there is no error message saying the text was not sent. As far as I can tell, the only way you can contact your host is by going through the Airbnb website and sending a message from there. I am astounded at the stupidity of the people who designed software that wasted my time and caused a lot of confusion between me and my host. They need to put a disclaimer such as “you cannot reply to this email” or “do not reply to this text” and send the user an error message if they do try to reply.

No Customer Service or Response for Superguest

I was planning a vacation with an east coast friend I hadn’t seen in 43 years. We planned a trip to Squaw Valley/Tahoe. Since my husband and I have stayed at the resort at Squaw Valley several times, I was excited to find a condo available through Airbnb. I am a “superguest” known for leaving rentals “cleaner than when arrived”, quiet, respectful and like “your favorite aunt was visiting”. I know how important it is to communicate. The condo stated: “Please, no shoes in the house as we just replaced the carpet”; “luxury condo”; “recently remodeled”. The old friend with whom I was sharing the condo is a physician. We both value a clean, safe comfortable “luxury condo with a bedroom on the ground floor”. We’re retired. We needed a ground floor. What we found was a condo complex completely empty. No cars. Three stories to the front door. An animal house ski condo that was remodeled in 1980, musty, smelly, and filthy. Torn furniture and nothing on the “ground” floor but a bedroom. Another flight up to main area. No patio chairs, broken screens. You get it. This is the living room chair picture we paid for a motel and still cannot get with a live person or refund of over $500. I’ve sent three messages to every connection I can find. Nada. It’s very scary that a “superguest” has no credibility or support.

Cancellation Nightmare: Host Agrees, Airbnb Denies

I booked a stay on Airbnb for a family funeral but had to change my reservation. the host assured me that a cancellation was fine based on the circumstances and that she would provide a full refund even though she posts with a strict cancellation policy. I received (via Airbnb) less than half of my payment but have been trying to get the remaining amount refunded. Airbnb has not responded to any of my inquiries and the host is unable to communicate with me about sending me a refund check because all communications are encrypted; we can not share phone numbers or addresses. This is a nightmare and I feel that Airbnb should take more responsibility in supporting our efforts to communicate.

Bad First Time Experience in Vancouver

My husband and I planned a vacation to Vancouver in August 2016. We had never gone the Airbnb route, but knew friends who had good experiences. We decided to book a studio apartment in the heart of Yaletown. This was in May 2016. Reviews for this place were excellent. The pre-booking responsiveness from the host was very good. As soon as she had our booking, everything went downhill. After the booking, I tried contacting the host, as I had a couple of questions about the unit. No response, even though I tried contacting the host via Airbnb messaging, email, and telephone (left messages).

A month later, I really began to question if we did the right thing. You really shouldn’t have to worry about this stuff when you’re planning a vacation. I tried calling the host again, but this time did a *67 so that my telephone number would be blocked. Sure enough, the host answered. She was in Costa Rica for a vacation, and said she answered because a “weird number showed up.” I told her I had been concerned because I hadn’t heard from her in a month and that I was relieved to talk to her. She apologized and said everything was fine and not to worry; we could meet up at the Starbucks at the bottom of her building at a specified time. Everything seemed good.

In August 2016, a week before our stay, I tried contacting the host to see if we could meet a bit earlier (flight issue). Again, there was no response, even with follow-up Airbnb messaging, email, and phone message. I contacted Airbnb the night before we were scheduled to arrive. They said they would help us find alternate accommodation if there was a problem. We arrived at the meeting spot, not knowing if the host was even going to show up. Fortunately, she did, and apologized, saying that she had been very busy. At this point, I was just relieved to see her and just wanted to get to the unit. She gave us the keys, did not come up to show us anything, and said she had Apple TV only, not cable (as specified in her ad). This was not a big deal, as we were on vacation and probably only going to watch TV in the morning or late at night. We told her we didn’t have any experience with Apple TV, and she said, “Just play with it. It’s really easy.”

Thankfully, the unit was okay, but it could have used more cleaning in some areas. There was salt all over one part of the kitchen counter, the top of the fridge was very dirty (only noticed because we were placing something there), the microwave oven was very dirty on the inside, and there were leftover items in the fridge from previous guests (not perishables, but used bottles, etc). The place also hadn’t been dusted in a long time. Thankfully, the bathroom was clean and the sheets had been changed. Even though I didn’t think I should have to do this, I did a quick clean of the place, as we were going to be there for a week. Not a huge deal, as the place was small, but guests should show up to a clean place: that should be a given. My husband spent about an hour and a half figuring out how the Apple TV worked. Of course these things are easy when you know what to do. All was good.

After about three days, the Internet and Apple TV died. We figured it was temporary, but after half a day, I contacted the Internet provider, and they told me the host didn’t pay her bill. Really? I was surprised they even disclosed that information to me. We had to play the contact-the-host game again, which I knew was not going to be fun, based on our past experience with her. No response, but no surprise. The next day, we contacted Airbnb to let them know about the host’s lack of responsiveness and the Internet issue. They also couldn’t get in touch with the host, and offered to find us new accommodations (including hotels). It was very late in the evening, and they couldn’t find a reasonably priced hotel in the area where we were staying.

We wanted to stay in the Yaletown neighbourhood, as we were vacationing with relatives, who had booked a hotel a couple of blocks from our unit. We were also concerned for the next guest, who was slated to arrive right after us. Airbnb told us that if they didn’t hear from the host within a specified time, they would find alternate arrangements for the next guest. This was communicated to the host, and all of a sudden she got back to us the next day. I suspect the only reason this happened is because she was afraid of losing the next week’s business. She apologized again, said it was a billing glitch, and that it would be resolved quickly. Thankfully, it was resolved within 24 hours. By that point, we had spent so much time and energy dealing with this that we decided to just stay put. We really didn’t want to use up more vacation time dealing with all this by moving to another place. Airbnb ended up crediting us $250 for our trouble.

In my post-stay review, I didn’t go into details, but said that the host’s post-booking responsiveness was terrible, and that, for that reason alone, I would not book that unit again. The host is then allowed to comment on your review. In a nutshell, she said she was troubled by my review, that the key passing went fine, and that I must’ve been a little worried about the check-in process and lack of concierge to check us in. Really? She didn’t get it at all. We were never worried about the check-in process. It was the lack of responsiveness that caused us issues. I don’t understand all the great guest reviews. Maybe we were just unlucky, or maybe people who had issues don’t post reviews, as it’s always more difficult to post a negative review after you’ve met the host, especially if the person is nice. If someone wants to be in the Airbnb rental business, getting back to guests on a timely basis is really important in my book. Not sure if we would go the Airbnb route again. Maybe we’d try it again if we were going somewhere nearby for a couple of days, but only with a backup plan.

Airbnb technical hell

I’m running a small rental company. I’m an experienced host and I’ve advertised my properties on Airbnb since more than 3 years, in total 3 apartments and 7 rooms. I’ve received more than 500 excellent reviews from happy guests. Everything went well till the technical problems started to occur a few months ago. One day I suddenly couldn’t send or receive any messages from guests and potential guests. Nor was my calendar working properly. Being able to communicate with your guest and update your calendar is crucial to rent out, especially if you coordinate several properties.

Of course I immediately called Airbnb and explained the issues. A friendly customer service agent told me they would look into the problem immediately and she passed the case on. But as the days went by and the problems continued to occur, I contacted Airbnb again and asked about the status of my ticket. I was told my case was passed on to the technical department and I just had to wait. So I waited, for more days, and WEEKS.

And the problems started to pile up. As I could no longer communicate with guests through the airbnb system I had to make expensive calls to all guests to arrange their arrival and departure and other practical details. Worse was it to reach those guests with no phones and no visible email address on their profile, resulting in several lock outs and angry guests, and also bad reviews. Several times I tried to contact Airbnb regarding these severe issues, but all I got was the same response “we’re sorry for your problems, but we cannot do anything, you’ll just have to wait”. So I waited, for weeks and MONTHS. I wrote, called, yelled and begged, but no matter how much I stressed the urgency of the very bad situation I got the same answer from Airbnb customer service “we’re sorry, we cannot do anything, you’ll have to wait till the technical department decides to give your case priority”, and there was no way I could be put through to the people responsible for my problems. Those 3 months were a living hell, full of stress, angry guests and misunderstandings. Furthermore, my properties couldn’t be booked because of technical issues, causing a big loss of money.

Finally, after nearly 3 MONTHS the problems got fixed. I asked Airbnb to refund the extra expenses I had as a direct consequence of the technical issues, but those requests were ignored.

For those who doubt this story is true, I can provide screenshots of all written communication with airbnb customer service.

So, my message to you is: Never ever believe that Airbnb will help you if you need urgent technical assistance. You’ll probably be able to reach a customer service agent saying he / she is sorry, but you’ll never be able to get through to those people responsible for your problems.

I’m now using other, more reliable services, you can check them out on my website similar-websites-to-airbnb.fastweb.no