First Airbnb Experience was Extremely Disappointing

I joined Airbnb on Sept. 1. I found a suitable place and went ahead with the booking process for a two-week stay. Having booked various hotels and properties previously, I assumed it would be straightforward.

After inputting my details, dates, and agreeing on a price, I was asked to enter payment details. Fine, I thought. It asked to check my details — fine, I thought. Everything seemed to be okay but it was only after all of this I was then I was asked to verify my identity. There had been no mention up to this point including when my card details were checked which came as a surprise.

Unfortunately I couldn’t do this at that time which was 10:00 AM until I returned home at 6:00 PM. The booking was due to commence the next day and by 3:00 PM the host hadn’t confirmed. I was unaware they couldn’t confirm anything until my ID was verified. I checked my bank and the funds had been taken by Airbnb despite them clearly informing me no bookings could go ahead without official ID verification. I cancelled the booking so that I could verify my ID and rebook later.

I then contacted Airbnb by phone at 6:00 PM when the money had not returned to my account, nor made transferable. I was told by Airbnb it was my bank’s fault and the money should be available. Maybe it was my bank’s processing time, I was told. I was told for the future I should upload my ID before making a booking. Like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

I contacted my bank (Halifax) the following day who said no, it was Airbnb who needed to cancel the pending. It wasn’t even a refund so should only take 24 hours maximum. That was last Thursday.

Skip to today, and there has still been no movement on the funds. I contacted Airbnb and the rep clearly didn’t have a clue how to resolve this. Not her fault at all, so I asked to speak to someone who may have dealt with this before because. The only other resolution was to raise the issue and complain via the bank and let them complain to Airbnb.

she agreed to transfer me to someone but then said they would call me back. I said okay, but asked if I could have her details in case there’s no call back. At which point she then started to pretend she couldn’t hear me for about a minute. She told me I’d pressed mute, which I hadn’t. I knew she was lying because there was an echo on the line and she paused at one point when I spoke over her to say I could hear the echo. I called back and what do you know…. no follow up recorded. Completely unprofessional.

My money should never have been taken. These people have not only prevented a host from a substantial booking, prevented me from rebooking, but now caused excess expense to me as I’ve been in a hotel waiting for this to resolve. With regard to trying to resolve it they’ve got systems not fit for this purpose and clearly employ dishonest tactics. They simply do not care at all. They have left both guest and host out of pocket.

Listing from Hell and the Song that Made it Worse

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I showed up, escaping Hurricane Ida, to an Airbnb in Houston. It’s Labor Day weekend and we had dogs in tow, so the pickings were slim. Still, this looked okay. Four of us were splitting the property; it was 3 bedroom/3 bath, a townhouse, in a nice part of town. I lived up the street when I came here for medical treatment two years ago.

I showed up and there was no key where it was supposed to be. The provided garage door opener didn’t work. The entire place smelled like mothballs and the modem and router were on the floor in the foyer. There were giant stains on the carpet up and down the stairs. It wasn’t clean and hadn’t been vacuumed. The furniture was split and there was just a sofa. No other furniture was provided in the living room. There were large water stains where some of the plaster had fallen from the ceiling in the living room.

There was a pool table (“don’t sit on the pool table” as if it was some heirloom and not a piece of crap from Walmart) but no tables — literally no tables anywhere. There were two stools to use at the counter in the kitchen. No coffee table. No end tables. The third bedroom was also locked from the inside.

The best part was that the host called himself “Premier Lux.” There was a plastic wrapper on the box spring of one of the beds. None of the bedsheets had been changed. You could see the outline where someone had slept in it. I refused to touch any of the linens because this screamed “bedbugs” to me (and I’m far from bug phobic). There was a large cardboard box of dirty laundry in the laundry room.

To recap: it was filthy, I couldn’t lock the front door and one of the bedrooms was mysteriously inaccessible because it was locked from the inside. I kept wondering “who is in there?” The entire place looked like a crew of eight 20-year-old frat boys had just moved out a few days before after a four day bender.

I turned to Airbnb (I am a host in New Orleans, so I know their drill pretty well). To make it “better.” Airbnb put me on hold to get a “Support Ambassador” on the line. So it started. Their horrible Airbnb song — you know the one, in which the waify girl singer that they always play on repeat to make people hang up, saying “Followww me”? Follow her right to the depths of hell.

The support person claimed he had to come back every two minutes to ask me again “may I put you back on hold” and the song started over again from the beginning. You heard that right. He claimed he had to get “permission” to put me on hold again. I’m 57 years old. I’ve never encountered that particular piece of customer service nonsense.

If I had any hair left, I would’ve pulled it out. It took 45 minutes for a “support ambassador” to come on the line. So I listened to the first two minutes of that “song” (it’s really a musical abortion) 22 times. Ultimately Airbnb made it right and refunded all of my money (and added a $200 coupon for next time), but not before adding heavily to my post-hurricane stress and aggravating me beyond measure. When they cancelled the reservation (and refunded my money) it was as if the host had cancelled, so I can’t leave a review. The listing is still there for the next sucker.

Needless to say, the host never responded to my phone calls, Airbnb messages or text messages to his phone. He’s a scuzzball who should be banned from Airbnb, but likely will not. I’m only posting one photo because it was the most bizarre. The huge box of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. That kind of summed the whole place up in a nutshell.

Airbnb Host Tries Bait and Switch Over Memorial Day Weekend

This is the letter I wrote to Airbnb about my experience:

I am writing to tell you about my horrible Airbnb experience in the hopes of getting some resolution. My family and I have used Airbnb several times and never had a bad experience before now. We are so devastated by what has happened to us that we will never use Airbnb or VRBO again.

I have reached out to customer service three times with no result. I get the impression that I am calling a call center in another country and that the people that are answering the phone are just telling me that my issue is being investigated with no result. I have reached out to the Better Business Bureau, the Virginia Beach Police Department, and the Virginia Beach Housing Authority. I will be seeking the advice of my attorney. I have also discussed the situation with my bank’s fraud department and they are conducting their own investigation.

We booked a condo on May 13, 2021. We planned to take our 16-year-old daughter to Virginia Beach to see the beach, aquarium, and Norfolk Botanical Gardens. As we were leaving around 8:00 AM on May 28 I looked at the listing to see what the check-in procedure was and it said there was a lockbox. I messaged the host on the Airbnb app and she asked me to let her know when we were an hour away.

I messaged her again at noon to tell her we were an hour away. She said the house wasn’t ready and check in was at 3:00 PM. I told her no problem, I was just letting her know when we would be arriving in the area. Then she called my cell phone and said something about how she was waiting for a delivery but she would try to get the house ready for an early check in.

We arrived at the condo at 2:30 PM. We called the host and let her know. She sounded flustered and said that the toilets were broken at the condo and that she was waiting for a couch to be delivered. She told us she wanted us to stay at her other property, that it was brand new and we would be the first guests. She gave us the address. It was 15 minutes away.

When we arrived we were shocked and disturbed. The apartment was in an unsafe looking neighborhood in what looked like Section 8 housing. When we walked into the apartment it was hot, there were boxes of her personal belongings in the middle of the floor, the furniture was unplaced and still had tags on it. There was only one bed and only one bedroom was furnished. There was no TV.

She offered to blow up an air mattress for us. She said that she was waiting for a bed and mattress to be delivered. She called the delivery company and put them on speaker phone. They told her they didn’t know when they would arrive. She instructed us not to tell people that this was an Airbnb and to tell people that we were her friends. We told her that we were going to get a cold drink and called Airbnb and spoke to a young lady and told her what was going on. She said someone would email us.

We went back and told the host we were uncomfortable and asked her to cancel. She said she didn’t know how and suggested that we call and lie and say that we were cancelling due to COVID. At one point she handed me her phone and asked me to help her figure out how to cancel. When I cancelled the trip on her account it said that the trip had been referred to a support team. She then said that the toilets were fixed and that we could go back to the original condo if we wanted to. We didn’t believe her and didn’t feel safe interacting with her anymore.

We left and as it was a holiday weekend it took us two hours to find a hotel. I called Airbnb again that night and spoke to a young man who informed me that he may not be able to help me because we didn’t take pictures, but that he would try to help me. He said he would contact me with updates. I never heard from him again. I called and spoke to someone the next day and she said that she would investigate and update me. I have not heard from anyone.

I am a social worker in private practice and my husband is a mechanic. We cannot afford to lose $828. This has been an incredibly upsetting experience for us, particularly as the whole thing happened in front of our 16-year-old daughter. This trip was a treat for her as she has been cooped up in the house for a year doing online learning. I am appalled at the customer service I have received from Airbnb. I implore you to help us resolve this issue.

Airbnb Verification Process and Dysfunctional Customer Support

I am an established Airbnb guest. Over a month ago I reserved a beach house near Charleston. All seemed fine and they had no problem taking 100% of the funds from my credit card. A few days before checking in I got an email at 11:00 PM demanding that I provide a photo of my driver’s license or passport plus a selfie for “verification”. The email threatened that my reservation would be cancelled if I did not comply within 24 hours.

I don’t mind the verification process and understand the safety/accountability issues, but waiting until days before my reservation to spring this on me is absurd. Worse, the 24-hour window is egregious. I don’t check my email every day, much less every hour. I had family from three states joining me and now it was all in peril. I submitted the required info and photos on time only to get a vague “we are working on your verification” that lasted two days before I called Airbnb customer service to resolve this absurdity. The rep was pleasant but clueless and powerless to resolve since he “did not work in the verification department.”

I asked to speak with supervisor or someone in the “verification department” and was told that was impossible and that I must wait for an email from them telling me my verification was confirmed. All this a few days before check-in by my entire family and weeks after making my reservation and paying a large sum of money. Thankfully direct contact with host allowed me to go around the Airbnb insanity confirm the reservation. To this day I have not received any verification confirmation from Airbnb. I am shocked this company is so popular given its incompetence, indifference, arrogance and dysfunction.

Airbnb’s Attempts at Customer Service are Laughable

Months ago Airbnb removed security deposits from our listings claiming that we didn’t need them because they had insurance that protected their hosts. Three different claims have resulted in absolutely nothing beyond wasting about 20 hours of my time. They are always waiting for another department to get it done and claim because they are a global company, things take a lot of time.

Hosts no longer have any control over anything. If you are pet friendly, you are inviting Noah’s Ark as they have no provision to limit breeds, age, quantity or anything. People actually think it’s okay to bring their nine cats and six puppies. If the tenant stays beyond their reservation and you ned the sheriff to remove them, good luck getting the extra days’ payment. It’s either their resolution, mediation or some other department that’s handling it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only answer is to add another 10% to my nightly rates on their site and make sure there’s a better deal for them on VRBO. VRBO isn’t perfect either but at least you’ve got a chance. Now that Airbnb is a public company we should all should all show up at shareholder meetings or call ins just to tell them how bad they really are.

Hosting is Always a Nightmare with Airbnb

As a property manager I use many OTA (online travel agent) platforms. The most difficult to deal with is Airbnb. Their lack of customer service makes it impossible to resolve issues in a timely fashion, if at all. The last issue I had was a staff member accidentally putting a refund request through to the wrong guest. Ten seconds after this was done, we contacted Airbnb and explained we had two guests with the same name and they had granted a refund to the wrong guest.

The outcome was the guest who stayed did not choose to give back the refund so Airbnb closed the issue. The complaint that we had was that Airbnb took weeks to refund the guest. During peak COVID time when we were busy refunding guests they took so long to refund people who desperately needed their money that we had to consistently follow up with them and force them to refund them.

We have had to give many apologies to guests waiting long periods to be refunded, yet they refused to intercept the request to cancel with their accounts department. Instead they refunded a guest who did stay, who did have a good time and who was happy with our service. I think that in this age of choice, whether we be a host or a guest, there are so many more ethical businesses out there to deal with. This company is a disgrace to the original concept of Airbnb. This company should be investigated for its disturbing way of dealing with both hosts’ and guests’ needs.

Calendar Blocked, No Idea When Airbnb Will Contact Me

After a decade with Airbnb, they suddenly blocked the calendars on all my listings with no explanation. I found out when I was checking my Airbnb calendar (because I have been very busy) and realized that all the dates were blocked.

I have called several times a day for six days now and gotten no explanation as to why this has happened or when it will be resolved. Every time I call I get customer service who says “I am so sorry, we understand but I can’t help you. I will escalate this.”

No matter how hard I push I can’t get through the firewall in place which adheres strictly to the Airbnb “policy”. There is a team (but no one can tell me what team) that supposedly is looking into this issue (which will not be identified). So just like that, Airbnb is preventing me from getting any bookings.

I have contacted Fair Shake because it is wrong for a big company to treat me like this. I also emailed Brian Chesky, but who knows when he will respond. I spent the day posting this on various websites so others are aware of how terrible customer service is with Airbnb. There is literally no one who can answer legitimate questions.

I am looking for alternatives. I started with VRBO. Where else can I post my listings?

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Host Violates Texas Property Code, Airbnb Doesn’t Care

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On Oct. 4th we moved into an Airbnb for a four-month stay for a military temporary duty travel. We noticed that the back door had water damage to the frame and the property did not have a strike plate for the locking deadbolt. The host was notified of this issue and said they would fix it.

The host told me two days later to reduce the length of my stay to end on Dec. 4, and then from there I could pay them directly to stay for the rest of my time. On Oct. 24, the problem was still not fixed. There was no action at all by the host.

I contacted Airbnb for assistance. Airbnb said the host would send a handyman to fix the issue. The handyman came and replaced the doorknob and deadbolt, but did not install a strike plate due to the water damage and rot to the frame. He said the frame and door needed to be replaced and he would come back later to do it. He later said it would take another week to fix the issue.

Airbnb closed the case on Oct. 31. By Nov. 12 the issue had still not been fixed. I opened a new case with Airbnb, requesting to end my stay early since I found a new place to stay. Airbnb closed the case on Nov. 19 without resolution, so I opened a new case.

During my call with Airbnb, they told me my case was an “urgent priority” and someone would contact me. The support ticket chat tikd me that they couldn’t get a response from the host, so they could not do anything. They said: “Well, it seems that you can lock the door and the door opens and closes. I wish you a great rest of your day. Kind regards.”

I told them to elevate the case to someone above them. They did and said “He’ll be in contact within 24 to 48 hours.” 48 hours later, and there was still no contact. I called Airbnb again, and was told by the “catch and dispatch” person that answered that they would elevate my ticket to urgent and the case manager would contact me shortly. I demanded they let me talk to someone above them, and they forwarded me to a case manager.

The case manager, who had a thick accent, said that they could not do anything for me since the ticket has been elevated. They said that the supervisor should get back to me within 72 hours of the elevation and might call me in a few hours. I said I would call back tomorrow if I did not hear anything.

Texas Property Code, chapter 92, sections 92.154 and 92.164 state that all rentals must have a locking deadbolt with a strike plate. If the issue is not repaired within 7 days, the tenant can unilaterally nullify any agreement, leave the property, and be refunded a prorated amount for payments made. Airbnb and the host do not seem to care at all about this.

What are my options? A chargeback on the credit card?

Broke and Unhappy After Customer Service Experience

I’m highly disappointed in my recent experience with Airbnb’s customer service. My friends and I booked what turned out to be a scam listing. We were already about 8 hours into our 11-hour drive to the beach when we received a notification from Airbnb that our booking had been canceled and we wouldn’t be penalized for the late cancelation.

We expressed that we were already over halfway there and were left with no place to stay. We were told that Airbnb would book us a new place to stay and get back to us within an hour. We never heard back from them. We ended up booking the only other pet-friendly beach house in the area that turned out to be four times the price of where we initially thought we were staying.

We reached out to Airbnb many times and were told that we had to wait until our assigned case manager contacted us and that no one else could help us. My friends and I now owe a difference of $700 per person for the new booking and Airbnb has refused to cover any of this difference. Now I’m broke and upset and my whole vacation was ruined because of this.

There’s No One Home at Airbnb Support

I just spent a splendid two weeks trying to get through to Airbnb support. I have received robot messages from several mythological support people. Some are insulting, some claim to be supportive and not do anything, and none seem to read the messages I sent. Yesterday they added another fun category of pretending to call me back and claiming there was no answer.

I think even a robot could see that the messages were being sent from my phone that was in my hands. I have blocked all my time with Airbnb and plan on finding a company with actual people in it to take my money for use of the website. They charge nearly as much is a reputable rental agency and give nothing in return.