Fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty… and still not reimbursed

I have been a model customer of Airbnb, receiving nothing but five-star reviews. Between various accounts I have stayed in an Airbnb virtually every night since January this year. I was planning to use their service for longer. I book long term rentals (usually always over a month) so we are dealing with high volumes of money. I travel a lot for work and always make sure my booking is extremely close to a tube station.

I had long ago booked a long-term rental in the centre of London which was due to start on August 27th. Four days before this booking, the host cancelled due to extenuating circumstances. I received an email from Airbnb offering to assist me finding a new place at short notice. The assistance they offered me did not help. It was put on the highest priority and they only reiterated to me that there was nowhere similar in the same price range. This took two days.

With two days left, I tried to book into various places with no luck. There were not many places left and the people offering them had made mistakes in their profiles. With one day left, I booked a place that was approximately 1850 pounds. I was travelling and only had my iPhone and limited reception.

Although more expensive than I had planned, the property seemed to fit. It was a one-bedroom apartment listed as within Zone 1, and walking distance to London Bridge. That night due to an error on Airbnb’s system, the booking was automatically cancelled and I spent hours on the phone to a customer service agent who appeared to be helpful and sympathetic to the trouble that Airbnb had caused me. She thanked me for how reasonable and calm I was with her and said that she wouldn’t have been as cooperative as I was. The situation wasn’t fully resolved but she said she would sort it, as I told her I only had my phone with me and found it hard to work on.

The next day, I left Edinburgh for London with my partner and our bags. We had a busy day planned. It was when I got to London that I realised that the apartment was not within ‘walking distance’ from the station (30-minute walk according to Google) so we caught an Uber. We met the host’s mum at the property who showed us the property which we looked at quickly. She told us that the previous guests had only just checked out, and that’s why there were still dirty sheets in the apartment and in the washing machine. I had no time to complain because I had to make the next train to go to an event in London.

We left immediately, and once again took another Uber to the nearest tube station. I was planning to complain about all of this the next day. As I was running into the tube station, Airbnb rang me and asked if we were able to check in. I told her yes, and I was unable to talk at the moment as I was in a rush. We went to our function and got home at around midnight. Whilst walking to the apartment, there were some ‘shady’ characters standing outside of our apartment taking drugs and asking for money. They appeared to follow us down the road and watched us as we entered the apartment.

Once inside, we realised we were unable to lock the door due to some fault with the apartment. We tried for almost half an hour, and as my partner was scared, we grabbed our already packed bags, jumped into a cab downstairs, and went to our friend’s house for the evening (we slept on the couch). It was past midnight on a Sunday. We were tired and my partner had work the next day. We felt extremely unsafe and endangered.

As soon as I woke up at 7:00 AM, I emailed Airbnb telling them I was not staying in the apartment. I did not wish to stay in the apartment because I felt as if it was unsafe and fraudulent. I was tired and I had enough. I requested a full refund. Because I was such a good customer who had always been honest and good to deal with, I stupidly assumed that Airbnb would not want to side with a listing that is fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty. I then borrowed money off my parents who were in London on holidays and booked myself into a hotel. I am still in that hotel.

Airbnb eventually returned my calls the next day, but the representative sounded completely different and chose her words extremely carefully. She essentially said that ‘walking distance’ is subjective; although she doesn’t consider it at this length, Airbnb’s terms and conditions say that anywhere displayed on the map when booking is within walking distance (hours in some cases). She also told me that because I didn’t report the case (after midnight when my partner and I were scared for our safety), Airbnb didn’t have a chance to try and resolve the situation. It essentially was my fault the door was broken. For some reason the onus was on me to fix it after midnight on a Sunday whilst fearing for our safety.

Airbnb offered me 50% of the value of the booking in voucher form and said they would reimburse any Ubers or taxis. I declined this solution. I wanted a full refund at the very least. I have been a good customer and in Airbnb’s own words, beyond reasonable at times. This was a genuine case from someone who had proved themselves to be a loyal and honest customer.

After getting off the phone with her, I did some research and reread the Airbnb host’s profile. The profile said it was in Zone 1. A quick Google Maps search showed that it was not. The property was in fact deep within Zone 2 (closer to Zone 3 than Zone 1). Another finding was that on the map displayed by the Airbnb host, London Bridge Station was nowhere to be found, thus making it not within walking distance due to Airbnb’s own definition of the term.

I immediately rang Airbnb and told them this, and they looked into it. They agreed to the definition of walking distance that Airbnb listed; this was not walking distance. They declined to comment further on the situation and said they would need to look into it. I have since reported these facts to them, and requested a call back several times and have not received any response or contact from them. I told other customer service members about the fraudulent listing of the Zone 1 area. Nothing was done. I also spoke to them about how by Airbnb’s own definition of walking distance this was not walking distance. I sent a screenshot.

They took a couple days to get back to me then told me that it was within walking distance if you use an Android phone to book the property, but not if you use an Apple phone (seriously – this is what they said). Then they said they wouldn’t comment further and had to pass it onto the legal team. Since then, your customer service team has never returned my calls, and emailed me sporadically to ask me to restate the case again. I have been treated horribly.

Originally, I honestly thought that I would just ring up Airbnb and someone would help me find a new place and give me a small voucher for my troubles. I didn’t think I would have to go to this much trouble. I had planned to use Airbnb until the middle of 2019. Now I have checked into accommodation privately until January 2018, and have decided not to use Airbnb again because of the pain and trouble they have put me through. I did not think I would have to seek legal advice. All one has to do is look at my record to see that I am a loyal, good, honest, reasonable customer, that was not trying to scam anyone. I have always booked my accommodations close to a tube station and transport in London. This was the main reason I left.

The account was fraudulent and made out to be in a different area than it was. They have made me try and fight this meticulously and I have proven it according to the law and their own terms and conditions. It is a black mark against the name of their company, and this is not taking into account their blatant disregard for their customers’ safety. I have screenshots of every bit of evidence needed. The host still has the property listed as in Zone 1. Airbnb essentially told me that it was my responsibility to double check all information and only reimbursed me a third of what I spent on the place, despite the above evidence and me never using it. They also (for the first time) said that this was the case because I couldn’t provide evidence of the broken lock, despite the fact that the host admitted to it in private messages.

Hosts Don’t Get Off Easily When it Comes to Airbnb

Don’t bother hosting with Airbnb. I have done so for several years, but this year I have removed my property after it has become apparent that they do not look after their hosts if there is a problem. I had never had a problem before this year, but I think that the combination of advertising on TV and the flood of hosts has resulted in lower weekly payouts and, sometimes, the wrong type of customer. Following one family leaving early (definitely the wrong type), I have been trapped in several months of random communication with Airbnb with no outcome. Their customer service team is a joke. Their decisions (if you can find anyone that can actually make one) are made without your consultation, are random and, in our case, outside of the policies you signed and just hugely unfair. We are still awaiting a payout that they are withholding falsely. I get a different ‘story’ and ‘calculation’ each time I enter into a dialog and I’m just fed up with it. We have offered a charming little family home for very little money and the first time something goes wrong, they stitch us up. Don’t bother.

Airbnb is Spewing Hot Air Regarding Their Policies

Hotels are expensive, so I thought I would check out the bed and breakfast plan for accommodations. Having just returned from Canada and having paid more than I thought I would for a regular hotel – it advertised in and I booked in US dollar; I paid in Canadian – I got pulled over by customs for bringing back fruit (which was declared) and got the full inspection. I was in no mood for any more surprises.

I found a nice listing on Airbnb near Toronto and it mentioned a parking permit was required by the city. I asked the host what the procedure was: did she or her husband provide this, or did I have to obtain the permit? I also asked if there were 13% taxes on top of the listed price. She replied that she only responds to serious inquiries and I should get back to her when I “get my travel plans right.” Then she would explain the parking procedure.

How does she know if I’m serious or not? I found that to be very rude. I responded that I asked her politely and the site explicitly requests the guest to “explain a little about themselves.” I thought the story about the hotel was appropriate. She replied again: “No disrespect or rudeness intended. I am not comfortable with your story, your wording, your inquiry, and no picture.” A photo is not required by the website and she didn’t mention that the first time.

I replied with a full explanation of why I was inquiring. I found it very odd that she had a problem answering questions and that I found her insincere that she “meant no disrespect” when she disparaged everything in my brief inquiry. I contacted Airbnb. Everyone but the last person to whom I spoke was very courteous, and I will admit they said at the beginning it didn’t seem to violate their policy of nondiscrimination. However, I would say if you read their “about us” policy clearly, they go on and on about respect and inclusion. I see no reason they couldn’t have contacted the host and simply asked why it was such a problem to answer a question or two.

Oddly, they then sent an automated response “we hope you problem is resolved.” If it wasn’t, I had 24 hours to respond. I replied and didn’t hear anything for several days. I called back and the representative I spoke to refused to transfer me to a supervisor and told me it sounded like I had a “personality conflict” with the host. They advised me to “find other accommodations.” I already said that in my reply to the host that I would seek other lodging.

For a site that blathers on and on about respect and inclusion, at the very least they should have chastised the host for being so rude. Airbnb should have contacted me and let me know my complaint was dismissed, especially since they required a response within 24 hours.. If Airbnb can’t require hosts be courteous, I would never trust them to resolve a complicated issue.

The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

Scammed For Over £1500 On Fake Spain Listing

I decided to use Airbnb for the first time recently, in order to book a villa in Spain for my family. Having never used Airbnb before, I contacted the host, put in my bank details and ‘requested to book’. The host wanted to speak on the phone, so I gave them my number. We spoke on WhatsApp, albeit in Spanish, with myself consulting translators. I was then sent a series of official looking emails, from what I assumed was Airbnb (the links even took me to the brand’s social media accounts). I was instructed to make a payment into a bank account in Valencia. Again, to a first time customer, without fraud even entering my mind, I made the payment. Weeks later, the day before we were due to fly, I couldn’t contact the ‘host’ and their profile had been removed from the site. After a few panicky phone calls to Airbnb customer service, it became apparent that I had been scammed. We were due to fly in less than 12 hours, and Airbnb cheerfully shirked all responsibility in this matter, even asking politely if there was ‘anything else they could help with?’ Weeks later, I have been emailing them and calling them with barely any response. They seem to be impossible to contact, and they are getting away with assisting fraudsters on their platform.

Nightmare Customer Service, Cancelled without Explanation

I am honestly shocked at how terrible my experience with Airbnb was. It really seems like they just don’t care. I signed up for an account on a Friday afternoon and booked a $3900 one-month stay. Two hours later, Airbnb cancelled my booking with absolutely no explanation. Saturday I called customer service, and they couldn’t explain why they cancelled the reservation. They said the $3900 refund would take 10-15 business days to clear my credit card. The problem is, their “hold” on my funds created a situation where I couldn’t rebook the reservation, because it would have put my credit card over the limit. After a nightmare of five phone calls on Saturday, they finally agreed to ask the host to block out the dates, until my credit card refund hit the account and I could rebook. They also promised to waive the $200 service fee as an apology for the mistake. Luckily the host was very nice, and agreed to hold the property until I was able to rebook.

On Sunday the refund on my credit card cleared the account, so I tried to rebook the house on Airbnb. However, Airbnb was blocking my credit card payment for some reason. My credit card company said that it was fine on their end; this was an Airbnb problem. I literally spent all day Sunday calling Airbnb to resolve the situation. They never responded as promised, and would never let me speak to a supervisor. The customer service was totally horrendous. Then Airbnb asked me to “confirm” my credit card by uploading a copy of my most recent card statement.

Why am I having to do this? They already charged my card and refunded it; why the extra hassle now? I had already given them my name, address, phone, email, photo of my face, copies of my driver’s license, and all my credit card details. I need more crap to deal with now? I uploaded the card statement.

By late Sunday night they finally emailed and said “you can rebook now, and your credit card is approved.” Of course when I tried to rebook, Airbnb still had a hold on my credit card. Here we are four days later and I still can’t book the reservation. They are now asking me to upload a photo of my credit card itself, as well as other documentation that my credit card is associated to my email address. At this point I just gave up. Seriously Airbnb, you make it this hard to do business with you? The service was awful, the people were rude, and it is absolutely impossible to speak to a manager that can make anything happen. Stay away from Airbnb. This company obviously doesn’t care about service at all.

Airbnb Nightmare – Roaches at Two Properties

This was my first time using Airbnb and it will definitely be my last. I just moved to Louisville, KY, and needed a place to stay for a week before my lease for my apartment began. I booked my trip and got to my new home for the week, where I was dropped off along with a huge carful of my stuff (to avoid renting a moving van, we decided to bring stuff down in different trips). The host was nice and the place was older, but clean. But I quickly realized there was an issue when I found roaches running around the kitchen and the bathroom. I took pictures and contacted the host, who was mortified and apologized for it, saying she would send maintenance out that day to take a look and spray. Maintenance didn’t come, and for another few days she kept giving me excuses about why they didn’t make it over yet.

After having a roach scuttle across the bathroom floor as I was getting out of the shower, I decided enough was enough and that I would call Airbnb. I thought it would be a quick process since obviously the listing had vermin, but I was on the phone for four hours, from midnight until 4:00 AM. They were originally refusing to refund anything except the nights that I didn’t stay at the residence (if I checked out early), but eventually I did receive a full refund for the nights I didn’t stay, as well as a 50% refund for the nights that I did stay, free accommodation at a different Airbnb location for the remainder of my stay, and compensation for the UberXL I needed to transfer my stuff to the new accommodation. It sounded pretty good, even though I had to fight for it.

When I got to the new residence, I found that there were more roaches there too. I made this video and contacted Airbnb customer service again. I requested a hotel room for the remaining two nights since I didn’t want to stay at another Airbnb location, for obvious reasons. I also asked for my stuff to stay at the dwelling since it was already paid for and I had no way to move it again, especially through a hotel (do you know how many trips on the elevators I would need? Let alone another Uber which I would need to pack and unload). The supervisor I spoke to told me that they could only pay for one hotel night, saying I could “use my refund to pay for the second night in a hotel,” and that they would only pay for the one hotel night if I canceled the current booking, which I needed for my stuff.

Let me remind you that my refund and paying for the new accommodation was meant to remedy the first roach-infested dwelling. Paying for two nights in a hotel would remedy this current dwelling’s affliction, but Airbnb wouldn’t make it right. Now I have potentially brought roaches into my new apartment, and Airbnb definitely doesn’t reimburse for pest control. I wanted to share this so that others don’t get screwed over by this company, since they apparently don’t seem to care about customer service based on my experience. Trust me, you’re better off booking a hotel.

 

 

Incompetent Response to a Question on Transaction

I noticed from my credit card statement there was an unrecognized transaction about Airbnb. I reported to them, saying I first wished to dispute this transaction. They said I should first contact Airbnb. This was the start of a hour’s merry-go-round on the Airbnb website trying to locate their telephone number. If someone found it they deserve a prize. Finally I found this website who displayed their customer service number. I called them. They took down some information about myself to verify I am who I said I was. When I told them the item I was disputing they said I should take a screenshot of what the transaction was. The transaction was not in my itinerary (that’s why I queried it in the first place). Anyway, then she said she was not the appropriate “department” to investigate this matter. She said she would send me an email to gather more information so that the investigative team could look at. Wish me luck.

Worst Customer Experience, Fake Airbnb Fees

I booked an Airbnb about a month in advance of my trip to San Sebastian, Spain. I had a few messages with the host and felt good about the booking (good location, all good reviews). My last comment to the host was that I had to arrive late: about 10:30 PM due to traveling all day from another city in Spain. I sent this 24 days in advance, yet four days before my trip he replied saying that he will have to collect a 40 euro “late check-in fee” at the door.

I immediately contacted Airbnb to voice my concerns and to find out if this was something he had the right to do. This “late check-in fee” was nowhere on his listing. After three phone calls and a lot of being put on hold, customer service at Airbnb said the host is not allowed to charge an extra fee that’s not clearly on the listing for all to see. They said they would reach out to him right away to “resolve” this as they did not want to cancel the booking without hearing his side of the story.

I called Airbnb for three consecutive days begging for some sort of answer up to the point that I had passed the cut off for cancelling without a penalty and no one could help. Finally I had to beg and plea the night before my trip to escalate to a case manager. She attempted to assist, but literally said she was hamstrung and they do not issue refunds or reimbursements – ever – without at least letting the host respond. Since it was past the cancellation period, she said there was nothing she could do now that they should have reached out to the host sooner. She also said they could issue a coupon for a future stay, but that the max they could ever issue is $200 USD. I don’t know if any of this is true, but it sounded like complete BS to me.

I called my credit card company. They said I was not the first to dispute an Airbnb charge, that it’s not a problem, and they would take care of me. How dare Airbnb take the side of the host. He had three weeks to reply to me and towards the end I bet he was dodging the calls and emails from Airbnb. Airbnb needs to get their act together.