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.
Recently I had an experience that will make me reconsider ever using Airbnb again. I have been coming to Brussels for work on regular basis, usually renting a room and meeting a real Airbnb host. I never had a problem, and always exchanged positive and genuine reviews. Recently I had to stay longer. Therefore I brought my little daughter with me and an au pair, and to play it safe decided to splurge on a nice apartment in a safe neighborhood. I paid 1000 EUR for 11 days in a one-bedroom apartment, and chose a nine-time verified host.
When we arrived there was no host – just a key in a safety lock. There was no bedroom either, just an alcove off the main living space that contained a kitchenette in one corner and a bathroom in the other corner of what once was a very grand parlor. The apartment had stale air, a lot of grime and dust, electricity provided by extension cords as the wall sockets did not work, a door handle falling off, a non-working stove, and no real bed frames but sort of collapsible beds in the middle of the room (the parlor had ornate, curvy walls – there was not a clean line long enough to put a bed against it).
The host warned us in advance very politely that the stove was not working; after one look at it, it was obvious that it had not worked since the 1980’s. It was a big hassle to have it repaired or replaced, so the host tried to shift the responsibility on us, via phone and email. We never really met him. I had the impression he was running the place, or rather several places (as he said in an email), on behalf of someone else. In the middle of the first week the legs on one of the collapsible beds started falling off – probably because they did not fit the frame and were fastened with the plastic tape. Foolishly I just propped the bed with my suitcase, not willing to enter into another marathon of email excuses which took, in case of the stove, three days. The host was relentless in his correspondence.
Working from 9:00 to 18:30, with two people depending on me for everything, I had no energy or time to look for another apartment. We left very early on the final day, not having seen our host. A couple days later, I received a request for 15 EUR for the new bed legs. I refused, and got myself into trouble. Next came the request for 80 EUR. I refused again, pointing out that the damage was already done and patched up with sellotape. The host then blamed it on a previous guest, claiming he had not noticed, but did not retract the claim.
To make a long story short, the Airbnb dispute resolution board sided with the host. Which makes me wonder – how do they verify the hosts ? Who deals with the disputed issues – is it some real guy or an algorithm? There were obvious loopholes in our host’s arguments. He proved to be not completely honest from the beginning, but also very polite and knew how to use the right words (“never in my life”, “hundreds of happy guests”, “in all of my apartments”, etc.) or rather how to work the system. What also made me angry was the fact that the damage compensation was charged to my credit card by Airbnb UK Limited couple of hours before the dispute decision arrived from the Airbnb Sydney unit. This seems to have gone very far from the notion of a simple platform linking authentic hosts and guests together.
For a one-day meeting in Boston I scheduled an Airbnb stay with an early morning flight out. The agreement was for me to arrive “around 5:00 PM” which is what I did; at 5:02 PM I showed up in front of the locked door of the apartment building. The profile didn’t say which apartment, and the host hadn’t told me me. I called, and there was no response. I texted… nothing. I waited, and no one showed. Fifteen minutes later I texted again. Thirty minutes later again… nothing. By 5:45 PM I had had enough and called a cab to find myself a hotel in Boston, which, on a Friday evening, is a tricky and expensive thing to do. I ended up in the Park Plaza with a shoebox of a room for $330, and I immediately contacted Airbnb through their website to report this issue. Yes, I clicked the “This is about the current trip”. A day later and there’s still no word from Airbnb and no acknowledgment of my email, let alone attendance to this issue. I will continue to nag. I want my money back and I want the added expenses refunded that this has caused me.
We are currently going through an ordeal with Airbnb where a recent guest party resulted in us having to cancel one month’s worth of rentals. We would go into more details about what the guest did and how Airbnb handled it but at this moment sharing more information publicly may make us easily identifiable by Airbnb. They may terminate our account to destroy evidence of message histories and emails, etc. It may also bias a future potential legal case. We filed a claim with Airbnb for theft, damages, and lost booking revenue under the Airbnb Host Guarantee and were sure that they would take responsibility and help us. After many emails and phone calls and not being called back, experiencing the exact same horrific lack of support for hosts as has been described over and over here, eventually Airbnb agreed to compensate us for only some of the stolen and damaged items. They have also agreed to compensate us for our lost revenue from the bookings we had to cancel.
However, Airbnb consistently refuses to compensate us for our lost booking revenue (nearly 10000 GBP) from our cancelled bookings from competing sites such as Home Away, Owners Direct, Holiday Lettings and FlipKey. This despite the fact that we have provided Airbnb with documentation which validates that these are bonafide bookings that we had to cancel in the aftermath of the Airbnb guest party. We have also provided a police report number and other relevant documentation to Airbnb. They are referring to their vaguely formulated Host Guarantee Terms, i.e. this paragraph:
“Booking Income Loss is the loss of booking income from the booked portion of a Covered Accommodation (according to bona fide Airbnb confirmed bookings, contracts or agreements in force prior to the established time of loss) by you, as a Host, resulting from a Covered Loss. Booking Income Loss does not include non-continuing charges and expenses or any loss of booking income during any period in which the Covered Accommodation would not have been tenantable for any reason other than a Covered Loss. The Booking Income Loss will be measured by Airbnb’s insurer starting from the time of occurrence of the Covered Loss and ending when the Covered Accommodation can be made ready for habitation under the same or equivalent physical and operating conditions that existed prior to the damage.”
From this paragraph it is not clear that Airbnb will not cover lost revenue from competing booking sites and Airbnb is clearly just trying their best to escape paying us. So far we have not accepted their offer of compensation as it does not cover our losses from accepting a booking from this verified Airbnb guest. We are now considering our options and we understand from reading various articles on Airbnbhell.com that the only two options available to us are to get media coverage or engage a lawyer.
Can any host on this forum please share with us if they know of any successful cases where a host has brought legal action against Airbnb? Is it worth our time, effort and money to try to fight such a big organization that has the legal backing and resources to win legal battles against entire cities? Do you have any recommendations as to what type of lawyer would be suitable? Is this property law? Contract law? Dispute law? Do you have any recommendations for lawyers in the UK who have had experience successfully running host cases against Airbnb? Or is it better to let the national newspapers run a story about this? If so – would Airbnb be more likely to compensate our losses then? All we want is to get our losses covered so we can keep up our financial obligations for our property and get back on track with our rental. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Airbnb is a terrible, negligent company with awful customer service. I booked an Airbnb in Italy three months prior to my arrival. My credit card was charged and confirmation emails were received. The day of check in, I emailed my host, who said he had no record of my reservation. I called Airbnb and discovered they screwed up the billing and reservation; they never communicated to the host that I paid. They admitted it was 100% their fault. I spent four hours dealing with issues (stress, international phone calls, shoddy internet, unhelpful Airbnb hotline, seven-month pregnant wife, etc.); finally, I was forced to book an expensive hotel as a last minute alternative since everything else was booked.
Airbnb had awful customer service; their offer of compensation was severely inadequate for the additional time and costs that their screw up caused me; they still have not refunded my credit card. Do NOT use this company. If they can’t handle something as basic as this then how can you trust them?