Stripped of My Superhost Title Through No Fault of My Own

Just two days ago I was notified by an email from Airbnb that my Superhost status had been removed, and my many years of hard work and continually abiding by the rules had been cancelled from my Airbnb listing. On investigating the listing, it is true that as of March 20, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had no accommodation sales from Airbnb (in fact it is the same for all our suppliers: Expedia, Agoda, Booking.com, etc).

Our 14 Airbnb bookings were cancelled until January. This was somewhat like “a kick in the guts” or “a kick when you are already down in the gutter.” My accommodation business has had zero guests since March, resulting in no income. I have supported Airbnb for many years, and Airbnb supplies my accommodation business (as they do for many others in Bali) with possibly 80% of our clientele. I am grateful for that.

Bali, being one of the largest tourist resorts in the world, has been closed to overseas tourists since March, and has only just opened in September to its domestic market. Obviously, your automated system is unaware of what is going on in the world, and shows no compassion to many of your clients who have supported you for so long. Even though we have had no guests since the middle of March, I have endeavored to keep all my seven staff employed and on full salary, not forgetting dealing with their emotional issues and trauma  as well as my own caused by this damming virus.

Indonesian citizens receive no financial support at all from their government, unlike the U.S. and many western countries. Life is tough, and in addition to fighting the virus, people are hungry. We are hoping the vaccine is developed quickly and hopefully the Indonesian overseas tourist restrictions will be lifted soon. It is then we will be able to try to get back to some normality.

I am therefore asking Airbnb to consider placing the Superhost title decision on hold until the restrictions from the pandemic are eased, and start to show some compassion to the clients who have supported them so well in the past. It might be of benefit to review the situation, rather than acerbate and remove rewards that clients have worked so hard for (COVID-19 is no fault of their own). This would not only be of advantage to the client (in this case, the Superhost and possibly other related issues) but also be of advantage to Airbnb in rehabilitating a stricken industry.

Airbnb’s demotion email has affected me greatly. Such a shame after such a good association.

Airbnb Might Seize my Payouts Should I Die of COVID

Airbnb has blocked my access to my payout and transaction history for eight months, and they refuse to explain their so-called “security reasons” for removing my accounts. Perhaps they’ve taken this illegal action during the pandemic in the hopes that they can seize my payouts if I die of COVID.

Finally, on Dec. 7, Airbnb gave me access to my account. However, the transactions of those not paid, i.e. the payouts I was supposed to receive were still blocked. The last time Airbnb showed me those transactions, my payouts were $19,000 — an inaccurate, low amount. Now that amount has dropped to $14,000.

I have made numerous requests by phone and email for my money, which I was saving for my sons’ college tuition. Airbnb’s unprofessional and illegal actions have disrupted my filing my taxes, getting my stimulus pay and filing for unemployment, and has contributed to my depression.

Dirty Hip-Retro Cabin in Big Bear — Not Airbnb Worthy

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The first weekend in November, my family and I (girls only trip), I stayed at an Airbnb property in Big Bear. The visit to this beautiful city, generally speaking, was nice. We arrived with no snow anywhere and were able to experience a snowstorm and see the landscape change to all white overnight.

Now I don’t know what to do. It is as if I have no voice or that my words do not matter. This is why I have sent this information to Big Bear Lake Mayor, Council and the City Manager. It is as if the host of the property I rented is a powerful man; he is getting undue favorable treatment by Airbnb. He has misrepresented his cabin, which is not in a condition to be Airbnb worthy. This host has supposedly reported me to Airbnb. I just can’t understand why and how this continues.

I originally made my reservation for the “hip-retro cabin” in August for a stay in September. On the day of check-in, we were told to cancel by a San Bernadino Forest representative because the El Dorado Fire was flaring up in the direction of Big Bear in addition to the air quality being dangerous to be outside. We had called because Google Maps advised one of two roads up the mountain was closed. All visitors were advised not to come up the mountain. Residents were okay, but visitors were advised not to come.

I contacted the host to tell him I was not comfortable going against the advice of the Rangers and that I did not want to cancel but would prefer to reschedule. The host asked me to select a date but to please avoid holidays. I chose Nov. 6-8, giving the fire time to be extinguished, avoiding Halloween and Thanksgiving. We both agreed to the new dates.

Two days before we traveled, I reached out to the host asking if it would be possible to extend an extra day because the winter weather was coming and traveling down the mountain on the 8th was not looking safe for us to drive. We are not experienced drivers in snow and certainly not during an active storm. The host was very helpful to extend another night and we paid an extra $357. Our new departure day was Monday, Nov. 9.

We arrived at the cabin around 5:00 PM on the 6th. It was getting dark, cold and windy: 38 degrees, and the storm was close. We were thankful to have arrived and get settled before the road conditions got bad. We had two cars. When we got into the cabin, as we brought all food and kitchen items inside, we noticed the countertops had old food debris and needed to be wiped. We brought Lysol wipes and used the paper towels to complete the job. It was very disgusting how much dirt there was. We decided to sit and eat our lunch that we missed hours ago and determine who would sleep where.

After eating, we put away the food and began to look around. I texted the host at 7:14 PM to ask if they were available for a call. I first had tried to reach them through Airbnb but the app was not easy to navigate. I wanted a live person to speak with and for the number I called I had to select several options. I decided that it would be easier to contact the host. In my conversation I shared that we are uncomfortable with conditions in the cabin and moving to somewhere else would not be easy with my daughter driving while it is snowing (18 years old). I wanted her to stay parked for the weekend.

Here is everything I verbally shared. There were dirty counters and floors, no dish soap, no dishwasher soap, the coffee pot was dirty/moldy with old grounds still in it, all the towels in the cabin are wet (not damp, wet), the heater on the second floor was not efficient, the third floor bathroom sink was stopped up/draining slowly and leaking under the sink, and the first floor bathroom sink had no hot water. The host’s response genuinely seemed concerned and that he wanted to help us. He sent his “house manager” within an hour.

She did not knock — just left bags on the doorstep with towels (which were also damp and smelled like cigarette smoke), dish soap, dishwasher soap, and firewood. He advised he would refund the cleaning fee, $180, and offered a cleaning crew to come the next day. We declined due to COVID-19 parameters; we were not going to allow non-family members in our space, indoors. The cabin should have been cleaned before we arrived. In addition, the storm was in full force we were not going to leave the cabin.

We had decided, as a family, we were going to stay positive and make this all work. But I do feel the $1900 I paid for the three-night stay, minus the offer to refund the $180 cleaning fee, is not what I agreed to. I agreed to pay this amount for an Airbnb Plus property that is clean and in good repair. What I got was a cabin that was decorated as advertised, “70’s hip-retro,” but I did not agree to dirt, grime, thick dust and poor heating (to withstand outside temperatures, as low as 9 degrees).

Here is my text that I sent to the host, at 6:30 PM, the last night of my stay:

We have our last night in Big Bear. My family and I have had the FULL winter experience! Wow- cold, wind, snow. Our lodging has been a little frustrating but we have made the best of it. As an Airbnb Plus property host, residing out of town, I am alerting you that the cute Retro Cabin, through poor upkeep, needs general cleaning-as pics show, in addition to my previously stated communication.

The condition makes me worry there has been no additional sanitizing due to COVID-19? Here is some cabin info: 3rd fl: bath sink plugged and leak under (we couldn’t use); and 2nd fl: heater is caked with dirt(see pic), many dishes in cupboard are dirty, dead bugs in kitchen light casing (which is not completely affixed to the ceiling-see pic), screen slider to the deck was off track/nearly blew away in wind-we had to secure it, snow coming in at slider as well as significant draft; and 1st fl: bath no hot water at sink, heater controls not safely mounted/wouldn’t turn on (didn’t use) 35-40°on 1st fl, mold on blinds. We found a vacuum &ran 15 minutes on main(2nd) floor and nothing was picked up in the bagless canister which is why we couldn’t clean the heater. (The extra towels delivered, *thank you* arrived wet – sprayed w/Febreeze – to cover up cigarette smell (unsuccessfully.)

Asking if you would consider refunding some fees? I am hoping for a fair amount. $180 cleaning fee, $357 extra day fee, Plus any additional you would deem appropriate for the inconvenience and discomfort we experienced. I will not provide a review at this time while we settle the situation, as you have been responsive to me reaching out to you. I saw on numerous reviews that you have communication with many of your guests. I would be glad to speak with you if you would like me to further elaborate on details. Thank you.

Almost immediately, he called me. He tried to tell me that my expectations were too high for a mountain cabin and that I should have stayed in a hotel since I was looking for a luxury experience. He said that he did not agree with me that anything I described was a problem and that he would be glad to reimburse the cleaning fee and, under his breath, he said he could offer me a free night at another time, but I wouldn’t want that, he knew.

He also stated after 30 minutes of trying to shift my attention from the poor lodging conditions to the fun family time and great memories we made from the weekend together. And the fabulous, stunning view this beautiful cabin offered us all weekend. And then finally, he said it. He said he would give you back the additional $357 we paid for the extra night if we gave him “a 4- or 5-star glowing review.”

I was astounded, offended, and disgusted that this man was trying to buy a good review from me to show on Airbnb. This explains all of the numerous reviews that state he’s “a great host, very responsive every time we needed something.” I now know that is an absolute red flag, in hindsight. A host should not be needed so much. Why would a host be needed? If the property is all that is represented, why would a host need to be contacted so often?

As I have taken our time, me typing this message, and you reading, I would like to conclude with a plea. A plea for a review of my entire experience. I really wanted to make things right with this host and help him with his property. I wanted to leave a satisfactory, he-did-the-right-thing kind of review. But not only did he reject my request for reimbursement, on the up and up, he has left lies and inaccurate statements in his response to my review. I was not mean or emotional when writing the review. I gave facts.

I called Airbnb the night we returned home and was able to reach a person. She advised that once she could validate the information I shared that I could be eligible for 50% of each day’s fees refunded to me. Since then, I have had messages back and forth with a case manager and most recently received one this evening from another stating that the decision to decline any additional refunds will be upheld.

What happened? Why did my request get disregarded? Please, can someone please review my file and all of the notes and the pictures I have attached here and even more in the Airbnb app? I would be most grateful for a phone call and an honest review. When will this host be held responsible for his actions, words, and dirty cabin? I have received suggestions and many angry sentiments from friends and colleagues. My hope is that Airbnb will see me as a valued customer, person, and family woman trying to do the right thing and give a proper evaluation of this property and refund what is deemed appropriate.

No Compromise For Changing Dates Whatsoever

Over the last three years I have stayed in 19 Airbnbs. I would consider myself to be a loyal Airbnb customer. I made a reservation for the Thanksgiving holiday for 10 days in San Diego because it was not only a vacation, it was also an attempt to support Airbnb during these difficult times. I know that Airbnb hosts are probably suffering from lower than normal occupancy rates.

A couple of weeks ago I started having growing concerns because the number of COVID-19 cases was starting to rise. I contacted the host, who in this case was represented by a vacation rental company in La Jolla. I mentioned to them that I was concerned about the situation and wanted to know what my options were. I never mentioned the idea of requesting a refund. Rather, I asked if I could modify the dates until the time when the virus started abating. Their response was that they would not allow any modifications.

A few days later the State of California raised the level of COVID restrictions from Code Red to Code Purple. It is the highest level that they have, effectively closing all restaurants to indoor seating, closing all non-essential businesses, and closing all theme parks (if they weren’t closed before). In addition, a stay-at-home recommendation had been issued for the area. I also mentioned the fact that state officials were recommending a 14-day quarantine if one traveled to California.

I brought this to the attention of the vacation rental company and they refused to accept an official modification request for the dates. After pleading with them about being upset that my entire $4,900 deposit was in jeopardy, they said that, if I canceled my reservation, they would attempt resale and issue credit for what they could resell. On the outside that sounded reasonable until I realized that they would sell it for a greatly reduced rate and that if they were unable to sell any of it, I would receive no credit.

I want to also include here that, if you go to the availability chart for this property, with the exception of one week over Christmas, this home is completely unavailable until Sept. 4, 2021 — good luck to those renters if they decide not to go. I decided not to accept their offer. It’s not like they would be refunding me and losing this income; all I wanted was a modification of dates. I went to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and noted that this company is not held in high regard. I also noted that Airbnb has an “F” rating. The BBB apparently is looking into this issue and we’ll see what they come up with.

I have also written the Governor’s office. Airbnb has been essentially worthless. They sure know how to support their hosts, but the customer is screwed. I have written 4 emails to the CEO of Airbnb and have heard nothing in response. The management company constantly refers to the fact that they are going to follow the letter of the contract I signed. That, to me, is laughable.

I signed a contract a month earlier for a home in Truckee or the month of June next year. It was accepted and I got the “you’re going to Truckee!“ message. That to me is confirmation of a contract and I got the receipt for the full payment. Five days later I got a message from the owner asking me if I could change the dates of my stay in order to accommodate other clients. These clients turned out to be people he referred to as friends. To make a long story short, Airbnb customer support — instead of defending me and supporting my contract — cancelled my reservation.

I am feeling incredibly frustrated. I am not seeking a refund in this issue with the house in San Diego. I am just wanting to change the dates until the Code Purple restrictions are relaxed and it’s safe to travel again. I would appreciate any assistance in my issue with Airbnb. It’s getting to the point where a lawsuit appears the only thing that will get their attention.

Money Lost After Host Lied and Airbnb Didn’t Care

I booked an apartment and thought the host was flexible… how wrong I was. Now COVID is everywhere and I had a headache, but it was not a good reason enough for a cancellation.

Airbnb let the host keep the money. I tried about everything I could. I tried to change the day of arrival for later but the host lied. He promised I could change the day then disappeared. When the host came back he told me it was not possible to change days. He booked days for new guests and left the calendar open for anyone else. I had good reviews and felt I didn’t deserve that.

The host got paid twice and also got a new payment from other guests. Airbnb let the host keep the money from both. I booked multiple apartments through Airbnb before but they don’t have any kind of service or respect for guests anymore. I used to book multiple apartments with very expensive service fees (compared to one night in a hotel). They didn’t care to help.

I can’t trust booking through the page anymore. Airbnb service centre sent me only some automatic messages about its cancellation policy, rules, etc. Nothing necessary and not helpful. As a guest I felt like I was not important. For them it’s the same if I end up outside as long as they get the money and also the service fee. Nothing else matters anymore.

All of them took advantage of the COVID crisis but it was me who felt sick and had to cancel — nobody cared. I used to book through Airbnb because it was cheaper than hotels but with money lost it is really more expensive. Now I feel like many others better not to book anything. If they do book, they should choose other platforms and ask for better offers.

Superhost Status is a Joke for Cancellations

I had booked an Airbnb in Sydney well in advance for my wife’s significant birthday in April. Exactly two months before check in, we made the difficult decision to postpone our trip from New Zealand due to the Australian bush fires (smoke which was polluting Sydney’s air) and the worsening worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

We advised our Superhost, believing that we were doing the decent thing by letting them know well in advance. Because we had passed the free cancellation period, the Superhost refused to refund any of our money (we’d paid for half the stay), saying she’d refund us if she secured a replacement booking for the same dates. Despite our pleas, she was immovable and wouldn’t listen to reason.

By the time Easter arrived, Australia and New Zealand were in lockdown so we wouldn’t have been able to travel anyway. We contacted Airbnb to get their help but initially there was confusion as both parties (Airbnb and the Superhost) said it was the other’s decision whether to refund me. Neither wanted to make a decision. As I had no luck with the Superhost, I turned my attention to Airbnb Support to try to have them refund me from Airbnb’s not insignificant funds.

They’ve so far refused to, citing in email after email their Extenuating Circumstances policy and that I was not covered by this (since I’d had the decency and foresight to cancel before the policy was introduced). I’ve also emailed senior management at Airbnb to ask them to help but no one has replied to my emails, preferring to pass my request onto the Airbnb Support team, who keep giving me the corporate line about not being able to help. They do apologize each time though.

The senior Airbnb staff I’ve contacted repeatedly — most recently on all correspondence with all the different “Support Ambassadors” assigned to my emails — have included Brian Chesky (CEO and Founder); Susan Wheeldon (Australia & New Zealand Country Manager); Tara Bunch (Global Head of Operations) and Derek Nolan (Head of Public Policy, Australia and New Zealand). But. Not. One. Response.

I’m not sure where to go from here. Guess I’ll keep emailing them so they have to assign another Support Ambassador to me. Or maybe by some miracle Brian or Susan or Tara or Derek will get in touch. Or I’ll get that refund I asked for months ago.

Airbnb Allows, Maybe Even Assists, in Fraud

I booked a place via Airbnb to stay at Shawnee Village Resort. I booked through Airbnb instead of via Craigslist, because I felt Airbnb would reduce my risks and provide assurances against anything irregular such as fraud. Even though I could have booked a lake front home near the Shawnee Village Resort for the same amount of money, I just felt uneasy booking with someone on Craigslist — does the house even exist? What guarantees do I have that they won’t pull a fast one and take my money or ruin my weekend? Booking through Craigslist, I have nothing to support me.

S0, I booked this two-bedroom place for three nights in order to get away for the long weekend. I booked it on Oct. 1 and it was confirmed for Oct. 9-12 by the host via Airbnb the same afternoon. Then on Oct. 8, he contacted me and said that “due to COVID restrictions” he was unable to provide us the first night and our RSVP needed to be amended to arrive on Saturday, so only giving us Oct. 10-12. That is not a long weekend get away.

He said that I could phone the resort and enquire about the COVID restrictions, which I did. I spoke with the property manager, who told me that no new restrictions have been put in place; they are operating under the same rules as when they reopened in July. She also told me that they have been “booked to capacity (which was limited to 75% since July) for this long weekend for more than two weeks.”

My point is, the host advertised and accepted a reservation from me for a property that he did not have at his disposal. It wasn’t available to be rented on Friday night, and instead of telling me that on Oct. 1 or any day in the last week (when I may have had better options) he waited until the last minute, knowing that I would be stuck and have no choice but to accept the shortened stay. He screwed me.

As if that’s not bad enough, Airbnb has done nothing to make this right by me. In trying to get a hold of anyone, their answers were late and didn’t even provide an answer as satisfactory as the solution (a discount) that I had already worked out with the host on my own.

What exactly am I paying Airbnb for? I would have been better booking on Craigslist. I hope they make some attempt to correct this. The host advertising a property that is not available is fraud. Airbnb enables him in committing that fraud.

Vacation Rental in Charleston Goes Wrong

We had a poor experience with an Airbnb in Charleston. In the midst of COVID-19 and the challenges of traveling at this time, we were disappointed that neither the host nor Airbnb would refund (nor give us a credit for) our $670 deposit.

My friend and I booked our trip to Savannah/Charleston back in October 2019. Our original dates of travel were for March and April 2020. With the onset of the pandemic and our optimistic belief that we would be able to travel again, in early March, we contacted our Airbnb hosts and changed our reservations to September. They both agreed and extended the reservations until September.

In June, we cancelled our Airbnb reservation for both Savannah and Charleston. We did this for several reasons: instances of COVID-19 and resulting deaths increasing in our country; restrictions put on place by our governor for travel to New York from South Carolina; nothing in the data indicating that the pandemic would be over (or a vaccine/cure would be ready) by September; and my personal health issues of diabetes and hypertension.

Advice from the CDC and my own physician indicated that individuals with these conditions are more vulnerable for serious health implications from COVID and should not travel. In good faith, we wanted to give our hosts plenty of notice and the opportunity to rebook if possible. Our Savannah host did refund our money except for $81.45 in fees which we appreciated. However, our host in Charleston refused to refund us our $670.

When we reached out to the Airbnb Resolution Department, the representative was not able to resolve this issue for us. He was professional and kind but simply quoted standard cancellation policy. At his request, we provided him my personal health information and a letter from my doctor. Bottom line, no refund.

We have written to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky as well and are awaiting a reply (so far two certified letters have gotten lost). We find this unacceptable and unethical. Our Charleston host has $670 of our money for services we are not receiving due to the pandemic. Airbnb’s own extenuating circumstances policy was recently extended to the end of September.

In good faith, we gave plenty of notice of cancellation. We feel strongly that an exception should be allowed for this pandemic. Airbnb has stepped up to provide assistance to their hosts in this financially difficult time. We are shocked that they are not supporting their customers in the same fashion. Be aware if you are booking through Airbnb.

No Refund for $2600 Due to COVID Circumstances

We cancelled our rental on March 21 for our stay in Austin scheduled for October 22-27 through Airbnb with a deposit $2,581.62 due to COVID-related complications. We booked in January. Neither the host nor Airbnb will refund our money due to their strict policy of “no cancellations” unless there are extenuating circumstances. COVID falls under that clause.

We have been fighting with them since March to get a refund. Our business was shut down due to COVID on March 13. We are now hiring an attorney to recoup our money. Do not use Airbnb. They have no compassion for the current climate or what people are having to endure. These are huge businesses which are not interested in the welfare of the clients. Losing $2,600 is a big deal to us, especially now.

Unfair Treatment by Airbnb Over Honolulu Booking

On Jan. 3, we booked an apartment in Honolulu for five days and paid the requested 50% payment, 1451.45 NZD. When COVID arrived, we assessed the situation on this booking for May 13-18 but as the airline we had booked on was no longer flying, we cancelled the booking with the hostess on March 19 assuming we would get at least the 50% back — 725.70 NZD, as stated on the booking rules.

Sadly the host only refunded 43.39 NZD… why? There was no explanation at all. What I cannot understand is that she would not even refund the cleaning fees of 372.68 NZD as we had never been there. On top of all that, the service fee of 341.69 NZD will be a coupon waiting to be used. The CEO Brian Chesky also sent a letter to say that Airbnb would repay the hosts the full amount that they would lose, so why would the host not pay us back?