Worthless Response from Airbnb Customer Service

My experience with Airbnb has been less than pleasant. Let me first state that I do not have an account with Airbnb, not as a host or guest. However, charges were recently made on my card from the company. Calling the number or contacting them via email was essentially fruitless since they were requiring your Airbnb account info to log in.

My wife has an account (which my card and bank info is not associated with – we double checked) so she contacted them for me. She gave the info that was requested and was told not much could be done since the charge was still pending. An email was sent by Airbnb stating that our concern was being “escalated”.

After three days of waiting, the charge (roughly $950) cleared my bank and an additional transaction, a deposit (roughly $266) by Airbnb, had appeared on my statement. After searching for a phone number on the site, which I couldn’t easily find, I Googled ‘Airbnb number’. Calling the number gave the same automated login request for Airbnb clients – again, I am not.

No option was explicitly given to actually talk to someone. However, I did figure out that pressing 0 would direct you to someone. Once again, I was given the same scripted response of providing the same info, being told that my concern was “escalated”, and that I’d receive an email.

After the call ended I went to my bank to see if they could give me any info about what was going on. The bank associate didn’t have any additional info but offered to see if they could make any headway with Airbnb. After the bank associate made initial contact, the Airbnb representative requested to speak with me and once again started going through the same script. I explained I had already been through this.

At this point I became perceptibly irritated after three days of requesting info of fraudulent charges made on my bank account through Airbnb. I explicitly requested to speak with someone in the security department but was denied. In the end I had to dispute the charges with my bank and terminate my card so a new one could be issued.

Later I received an email stating the $950 had been refunded and that they suggest I “work with my bank to secure my card. If I’ve already filed a dispute with my bank they kindly ask that I cancel it.”

What? Airbnb was given three days to look into this and didn’t take any action, especially any “escalated” action, until I became irritated. For three days my account was possibly compromised and vulnerable. After Airbnb’s inaction I was forced to dispute the charges with my bank and they sent me an email stating they were refunding the money. However, if I disputed the charge with my bank, please cancel it?

How does a company operate like this? Lack of any clear contact info on the webpage. Little help from customer service when contact is made, only a scripted response. Why not just put that in a recording? That’s as helpful as my experience was. Why was it impossible for Airbnb to put me in contact with someone from their security department? It would seem that would be a priority when fraudulent charges are being made through any company. A huge failure on Airbnb’s part. Don’t expect much help if there is an issue, especially if you don’t have an account with them.

Airbnb Colludes with Host to Fraudulently Charge Guest

A few months ago I rented a large property on Airbnb in Cape Town, South Africa. During our stay we accidentally caused minor scratch damage to one of the interior walls whilst moving our belongings up a stairwell. I notified the host via email of the damage to his wall (including attaching a photo of the wall) and offered to immediately arrange for repair work to be done (i.e. a refill/replaster of the scratch and repaint of the affected wall in the existing wall colour).

After no response from the host, I decided to go ahead and call a local contractor to do the repairs on our last day at the property and then sent a picture to the host of the repaired wall and asked him to confirm if he was satisfied. A couple of weeks later, the host sent me an email demanding to be paid R4000 (USD 300) for the cost of repair of the wall damage and the replacement cost for a couple of broken wine glasses. I naturally queried this, as the wall had already been repaired by a professional for half this cost claimed by the host, and at my own expense. I therefore asked the host to provide photos of any additional repairs he had allegedly done and invoices for those expenses.

He refused but instead sent a formal complaint and damages claim to Airbnb more than a month after my stay at his property (which according to Airbnb policy is not permitted beyond two weeks following a stay). I then sent several emails to the relevant Airbnb consultant, disputing this claim. Airbnb never responded to any of my emails. Several calls to their call center/”help centre” also proved fruitless. A month or so later, without warning, Airbnb summarily deducted USD 400 from my credit card account (claiming those funds would then be transferred to the host for damages.

The host has yet to provide a single shred of evidence that any such expenses were ever incurred and why his damages claim suddenly jumped by a further USD 100 from the initial USD 300 the host had first claimed to me directly. Should you ever find yourself in such an unresolved dispute , I recommend you cancel or block your credit card before Airbnb can make such fraudulent deductions on your card.