I have been using Airbnb since 2011 and generally have had good experiences. However, my most horrific experience happened in May in Kiev. I arrived from the airport late, went to the apartment close to the centre, took the keys from below the door mat, and entered the apartment. Five minutes later, the host entered the apartment with knocking saying that he still wanted to clean. Even when I insisted that this was not needed, he said he wanted to do so and also needed to get some stuff. I gave him permission but had to leave the apartment right after to buy some groceries.
The next morning, I had a bad surprise as I could not find half the clothes that I had left in a plastic bag. I called the host, who sounded shocked, saying “Oh man, I did not know these were your clothes!” He told me that he had put my clothes some place in the apartment but did not know where exactly; I should call him in the evening. I waited until the evening, when I received a message from him saying: “The bag of clothes that you left in the apartment – I did not touch it, so try to remember where you left it!”
I got really upset, because it became clear what was happening: he had taken the clothes and was now denying responsibility. I called him and he finally admitted that he had taken the clothes because they were in a plastic bag; he thought that they were from an old guest and thus thrown them away. He had thrown away my clothes, including a jacket, a blazer, shirts, sweater, and a 150-euro anti-radiation underwear. We tried to recover them but they were gone.
I asked for compensation, to the amount of the value of the cloths, that I listed. Not the value of buying them new, but the value taking into account that at least the jacket was over a year old. The total value would have been over 500 euro but I asked for 237 euro, the minimum amount. The host agreed to this compensation. I asked him to pay via PayPal. Airbnb wrote me within minutes saying that I could not ask my host to pay me via PayPal, only the internal payment method. I tried internal payment but that only gave me 70 USD, which was the price of my stay.
I asked Airbnb customer support agents and in fact have talked to five case managers. They still have not answered my question how I can get compensation for the stolen goods. Before leaving the apartment, I wanted to get compensation from the host, but he did not respond. I remained at the apartment, but called Airbnb and was told that I had to leave the apartment right away. I said, “Once I am gone, the host might never compensate me.”
They responded: “Do not worry; we’ll take care of it! You just have to leave the apartment now”.
I left, but when I asked for compensation, neither my host nor Airbnb wanted to pay. I got a new case manager who told me I needed to upload pictures of my clothes, so that they could compensate me. I did that but then the case manager disappeared and I got yet another case manager. That case manager talked to the host and reported he did not want to pay anything in compensation: “I am sorry! There is nothing else I can do.”
In short, my clothes were taken by the host and neither the host nor Airbnb wants to compensate me. I had five case manager changing every few days, none willing to help. I was promised that Airbnb would take care of it, and they did nothing, only assigned it to a new case manager. I was told I could not use PayPal but was never offered a way to get compensation. I was told to leave the apartment and that they would fix it, but they did not do anything. The only thing they did is ask the host if he wanted to compensate me, and if host says no they say, “Sorry, we cannot help you.”