Airbnb Charging in Wrong Currency with Excess Fees

I was trying to pay my host, but the Airbnb system kept rejecting payment saying ‘server error, please retry’. I kept retrying and eventually selected PayPal as the payment mechanism.

I am booking an Italian property, with charges in EURs, and have a EUR credit card (despite living in the UK). My PayPal account has default currency of EUR and the EUR card was linked to it. However, when submitting payment via PayPal Airbnb kept changing the payment currency back to GBP. Airbnb then charged my credit card several times for this rental despite not finalising payment via PayPal, with automated email confirmations they have refunded it.

I opened the support message, which closed with no action. I phoned and was called back by people who have not bothered to read my support chat, saying I needed to ‘verify’ my identity. I did not need to do as I had already completed my account setup. Airbnb support are simply responding to the common issues people phone with, but absolutely not my issue. I was promised they would investigate and call me back. They didn’t.

It’s simple. I had a booking in EUR and I wanted to pay for it using EUR. I sent a message saying if I paid in GBP then they would need to refund me the 6% charge (3% Airbnb charge from EUR to GBP, and then 3% my bank charge converting GBP back to EUR). There was no response.

As the deadline for making the payment approached (on the special offer price) I needed to confirm everything, so I contacted my bank and transferred EUR into my GBP account, and then changed my payment method to use this account. However, now the system actually charges me in EUR from my GBP account. So, I now face bank charges from my bank converting EUR into GBP. This does not need to be this difficult. I simply wanted to be able to select a payment mechanism and select the currency.

I contacted Airbnb to refund this transaction and allow the correct payment to complete, but no response. I am sure as a UK consumer I am allowed to request a refund when the vendor misleads the consumer. All of this is documented on Airbnb message centre with screenshots, but I see this morning the case has just been closed with no comment. All of this is simply because Airbnb is trying to force payment in certain currencies so they can charge exchange rate fees. Their systems simply did not work as they should, and customer services are not empowered to resolve. I simply want these fees I have been charges refunded due to their system issues.

Leaves Guests Homeless in Athens Rather than Give them a Refund

To start off, I’ve used Airbnb a lot. I’ve given them tons of money in fees and pretty much never had any problems in the many years and countries that I’ve used it. I have great reviews. I thought that being a long-term and good customer would be something they value but clearly they don’t.

I booked this place in Athens, which clearly said it was a house. The pictures suggested it was a house and all communication with the host suggested it was a house. Since I planned to stay there for December and January, I specifically looked for a place with heating, which was a given here. Also, I liked the fact that it was recently refurbished and certainly looked so in the pictures.

I arrived at the property at 7:00 PM only to discover that it was a ground floor flat. The heating was a single A/C unit located in the living room, with the host saying, that the master bedroom does get cold. In fact, when I arrived, he had locked the master bedroom and prepared only one room for me with one of the two single beds. He seemed very surprised that I said that I would like to have a double bed for myself. He unlocked the master bedroom and then went on to lock the two-bed bedroom, saying that I won’t need it anyway. I was surprised to say the least and said that if I pay for the whole property, I would like to have the whole property.

In addition, the flat looked sad and worn, with dampness in the bathroom, paint falling off the walls, an electricity socket falling out of the wall in the kitchen and the sofa cover being worn and looking dirty. Furthermore, I pointed out to the host that there was no TV nor hairdryer. The host replied that no one in his how-many-years doing Airbnb has asked for a TV. But in fairness he did say he would get a TV and hairdryer in a few days.

After spending about an hour in the really sad looking flat and freezing my butt off, I decided that it was time to give Airbnb a call. Little did I know that my nightmare was just about to begin. I got connected to a case manager who works in the PST time zone. The first few minutes she didn’t sound that terrible, until she saw that it was a long term reservation; then she let out a groan.

In that split second she flipped from someone trying to help to someone most definitely not trying to help. She started off: “Do you realize these aren’t big complaints at all? Do you realize it is around Christmas time, so all other places will be booked? How will you find a new place.?

I said, “Well, I can’t stay in this place.”

She said she would send me an email, which she wrote right there and then, to which I would need to reply with pictures of the defects and then she would contact the host. A mere half an hour later I received the email which among other things said:

“As per the call, please inform your Airbnb host of the issues you are experiencing. I should point out that if the reservation is cancelled under our guest refund policy this would have to happen tonight and as I mentioned on the call, it is getting late to find an alternative. If you stay at the listing tonight, and decided to leave tomorrow then an alterative to end the reservation could be possible and a partial refund for nights not stayed upon agreement with the host to end the reservation.”

At this point I was confused because she never said I had to contact the host. It was already 9:30 PM in Athens. I called Airbnb again; they had her call me back. She now started to use her favorite phrase which is “following the process.” There was a process and that was I had to write to the host right then and tell him about the issues. It didn’t matter that I had already told him and I couldn’t do it then next day; I had to do it then. She also looked at the pictures that I sent, but they were not good enough for her. Then she wanted wide angle ones. I also say that I wanted to get a full refund, so what was I supposed to do? Could I stay at the property that night? What about their 24-hour reporting policy? What if I’d only reported all this the next day?

She said that she had sent the host a message and that we would have to wait for him to respond, which might not happen that night. That did not solve my housing and refund crisis, so I asked her what I was supposed to do. It was two hours before midnight and I was willing to book a hotel. She said she would ask her manager and call me back in 5-10 minutes. A mere 25 minutes passed… no call. I called Airbnb again and asked for her. Meanwhile I got a support message on the Airbnb platform:

“As per our guest refund policy: have used reasonable efforts to remedy the circumstances of the Travel Issue with the host prior to making a claim, including messaging your host on Airbnb to notify them of the issue. We’ll verify this in your account. Also please send me the wider photos of the apartment you took. I will send him an email and inform him of the issues you are experiencing.”

This was not helping me at all, so I asked again and again: “What am I supposed to do regarding my overnight stay?

Airbnb customer service: “Please bear with me. As I mentioned we have to follow a process. Did you message the host over Airbnb as I mentioned?”

I told her I would go ahead and book a hotel (it was almost 11:00 PM)

Airbnb: As per our guest refund policy: have used reasonable efforts to remedy the circumstances of the Travel Issue with the host prior to making a claim, including messaging your host on Airbnb to notify them of the issue. We’ll verify this in your account.

Me: Sorry?

Airbnb: We need you to raise the issues with your host over Airbnb messaging.

Me: Ok, I’ll do it after I go to the hotel. I have the 24 hour reporting time.

Airbnb: We spoke about this two times on the phone, that you have to message your host with the issues if you are to be valid for the guest refund policy. Also you host said he would replace TV tomorrow and the host also said that you mentioned the hairdryer to him and he said he would send a hair dryer. (So I don’t understand if she has actually been able to reach the host at this point?)

At this point I was taking off to the hotel and told her to contact me on the phone. That ended up a total clusterf&%k with her asking me to meet all of her demands by essentially midnight, without a care of how I could stay in a freezing cold flat, where I would sleep instead, that I am a human being, and so on. I told her I would continue the next morning. She sounded happy about that.

The next morning (doesn’t get any better) I called Hellbnb again at 9:00 AM. I was informed that the representative to whom I had spoken was not there and that they couldn’t do anything about my case until she came back. They didn’t know when she would be back. They said they were hopeful my case could be resolved that day. I told them that I literally didn’t have a place to stay so I would like to have a different case manager. After some struggle they agreed.

It didn’t get easier. I was told by the new agent that because I left the property, that means I didn’t try to resolve the issue, so it was not their problem anymore. No matter how I tried to explain the situation last night, I was at fault. I asked them how they imagined the host could have solved the issue that it wasn’t a house but a flat, that it was not refurbished, but apparently that was no problem for Airbnb:

“Did the flat have a separate entrance? If it did, then that is a house.”

“No,” I said, “it didn’t.”

“Aaah,” said the agent, “but you haven’t proven it! You have to film it!”

I said, “No problem; I’ll go back and film it.”

The agent clearly didn’t like that answer. She searched some more, then said that if I had searched for “entire place” on the Airbnb website then there was also a category for “entire apartment”. That’s what the flat clearly was and always has been, so clearly I was in the wrong. She completely dismissed the refurbishment and said that the host will bring a TV… so that surely solved all my problems?

At that point I was losing it. I had a long and difficult year so I was looking for at least a pleasant ending. Now I was literally having a nervous breakdown. The Airbnb agent couldn’t have cared less. She told me to talk to the host and plead with him to refund me.

At this point I needed to check out of the hotel and I was homeless on the streets of Athens. After a while I called the host and asked what was going on on his side. He told me he actually agreed to refund me because the flat didn’t fit the description but now Airbnb wasn’t approving the refund. We had to wait. It was 3:00 PM when I finally got someone helpful from Airbnb on the phone, who was actually nice and resolved all of the issues in 30 minutes. He also told me he would be able to transfer the money from my previous booking to the new booking.

At 3:30 PM Airbnb called me again. She said that nothing was possible; it was most definitely not possible to transfer the money. The nice person I spoke to clearly didn’t follow the process, because they have a process and returning money is not part of it.

I told her that I was on the streets and that I don’t have enough money to make a new booking. It was getting dark. Being a human being is clearly not part of this process, so she was more concerned about the nice person not following the process rather than helping me find a home. At this point I told her I didn’t want her on my case. I maxed out my credit cards and made a new booking, extremely stressed out and depressed at this point. Later that evening, I received a message from Airbnb:

“I am sorry if this has been a stressful time for you. If you experience any issues with your new reservation please do not hesitate to contact us.”

…if this has been a stressful time?

Whenever You Need Help, Airbnb Isn’t There

I’ve never seen a company like Airbnb. Whenever you need help, they are there not to help but piss you off and wish you to hell. I have never gotten any help either by email or by phone. The representatives are rude as if you are living in hell and you deserve their condemnation. I have never seen a company in my life to be that unhelpful. I have received this template email at least three times and no help has come so far. I don’t know what is wrong on their end: no explanations, no information, nobody to talk to and template email responses with no real communication and no intent to communicate. Their technical errors put you on the hook for the blame.

“My name is XX and I’m a Trust & Safety specialist at Airbnb. We regret to inform you that we’ll be unable to support your account moving forward, and have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s). This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account. Furthermore, we are not liable to you in any way with respect to disabling or canceling your account. Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with respect to such matters, and this decision will not be reversed. We’ll contact you if anything changes in the future, but until then, we won’t be able to assist you any further with your account issues. Please see our Help Center for further information: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/432. Regards, XX”

Left Airbnb with Nothing but the Clothes on our Back

My 16-year-old daughter and I just relocated to California and made a long-term reservation through Airbnb (11/18/17 – 03/30/2018) to provide us time to find a permanent home. We are renting a guesthouse in Sylmar, CA, right in the center of the fires which are currently raging through LA.

I contacted Airbnb yesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM, after being advised by my host (the owner of the guesthouse I’m renting) that due to toxic smoke it is unsafe to return to Sylmar. I was just leaving my office in Culver City, so had nothing but the clothes on my back (same for my daughter). My host also contacted Airbnb, advising them of the dire situation. I waited and waited for Airbnb to contact me, but after they failed to do so, was forced to book a hotel.

Airbnb did not contact me until the next morning and after re-explaining the entire ordeal, the case manager advised that she would have to speak to my host and I would also have to send documentation proving my situation. I advised the Airbnb case manager that I would have no problem proving the situation and she could verify by simply googling “LA Fires”. After about three hours, I received an email from Airbnb stating that although they are sorry about the situation, the only thing they can do is cancel my long-term reservation, from yesterday (12/5/17). I immediately called Airbnb to discuss this, as they should have.

Cancelling the reservation is not a solution. We have just relocated from Arizona, have no family out here, can’t get any of our stuff, and can’t afford to stay in a hotel every night. As I explained to the Airbnb case manager I was assigned, I just spent $275 on groceries for the month, which is money that I’ve now lost and couldn’t afford in the first place. The case manager said, and I quote: “It is not Airbnb’s fault that the fire started and we don’t have any alternate places right now that we can book you in, so there’s nothing further we can do for you.”

I asked to speak to her supervisor and she hung up on me. I don’t know what to do and am in desperate need of assistance. This treatment by Airbnb during such a scary situation is horrific and unfair. This wasn’t a week-long booking; we were supposed to be there until the end of March. We have nothing; all of our stuff is stuck in a guesthouse we cannot gain entry to and we have nowhere to go.

Airbnb Disavows Coupon, Accuses me of Hacking

I was notified about a coupon code that would provide a substantial discount to any stay booked with Airbnb. I went to check that this code worked as I wanted to book a mini weekend getaway and, with the code applied to the stay, it would have been very cheap, making the trip almost free. I selected a condo that was in a great location and entered the coupon code in the section provided on the pay out page. The discount was applied so I knew that the coupon code was valid.

I decided quickly to run the dates by other other parties who were planning to join on the trip before I submitted the payment. This in total took about four minutes from when the coupon had been successfully applied. I went to change the amount of guests as we now had an additional person who wanted to join. This reset the page; I entered everything again including the coupon code and the coupon now suddenly did not work. Just four minutes later, and Airbnb said the coupon had now expired.

I called Airbnb to inquire why the page reset and explained that I had successfully entered the coupon already a few minutes before and the discount has been applied – why it was now coming up as expired just minutes later? The agent then began accusing me of making this up and that they do not provide coupons (even though there is a spot for them on their payments page) and that a scammer must have hacked their system and created this coupon code to harm their company.

None of this made any sense. Perhaps the code was not meant for everybody and was a programming mistake by Airbnb that worked briefly and then maybe they noticed their mistake and retracted the offer or something. However, this was not the explanation given. They started interrogating me like I was the bad guy or making the situation up and needed to provide them proof of all of this like it was my job to to their job for them and report all my findings to their Trust and Safety Team who would now be investigating me. I said I had nothing to do with this and that the source was a reliable travel website showing the promo code. I was certainly not a hacker. If I were, why would I call in and report myself?

The whole situation left me feeling very shaken and angry. Not only was my vacation ruined as I could not afford the trip without this code that they refused to honor, I was treated like a criminal for even asking about it . What a horrible experience and abysmal customer relations provided by Airbnb. Shame on them for treating customers in such a manner. In the future I will be booking any vacation stays with hotels.

My Story Hosting on Airbnb in Ottawa

On September 17th, a guest arrived. The next day I received payout of $808.01. This guest was supposed to stay for 13 nights. On September 19th, Airbnb requested an alteration for one additional night but did not include the amount to be paid for this one night.  I accepted this alteration for one night and within two hours, I cancelled it, due to what I believe was a technical problem. I have a lot of correspondence with Airbnb and the guest from that date to support this statement.
Airbnb made an input error and showed that I must make a refund of $808 or more (uncertain) to the guest. When I learned of this, at the beginning of October, they told me that they would correct this error. This did not happen.
Airbnb has kept payouts from three of my guests, totaling $795.40 to cover this error.  I closed my account for one week. Managers assured me that I would receive the money owing me. I reopened my account for guests, and learned that they did not do what they said they would do. I am now closed down permanently as my calendar will confirm. Even PayPal shows that I owe $261 in addition to what they have kept – or at this time I wish to say, stolen.
I have dealt with customer service representatives daily now for 17 days, including a few managers. I call Airbnb or email daily, only to receive similar responses every time. I am good with details as you can see, and everyone with whom I spoke could see where the problem lay and the mistake, but no remedy was forthcoming. Written responses in no way reflected the content of our conversations.
One representative from a North American office, listened, understood, and told me on October 8th that I should receive what was owed to me within 24 hours, but his written response instructed me to “check with your bank”. Another manager told me that it was stuck in the system and would take a few days. Another manager told me that my case had been sent on to their payment department. A manager from the Manila office refuses to communicate with me in any way.
October 20th: I was informed that I requested a new manager.
October 23rd: I spoke with Airbnb’s Manila office. They mentioned that they would need to contact the guest.  That is not my problem, and Airbnb, like any company, is obliged by law to compensate victims from hardships of errors.
October 24th: Customer service told me that I have almost paid off my debt, and would get a partial pay out for the next guest. This was after I had reviewed the details, the error – as if I would be comforted.
October 24th Airbnb’s Nevada office informed me that I had a new case manager.
October 25th: The manager was not available.
I have repeatedly asked for a supervisor above the manager to be told that there was no such individual.
Many support workers replied with the statement “I hope you are happy with the resolution”.  They do profusely apologize. I cannot count the times that I have heard “I am very, very sorry”.
I have been hosting for two years, with over 90 reviews and 4.7+ star ratings. I am a senior, rely on this income, and do enjoy all the wonderful guests that I have hosted, but now my income is gone, and I have shut down as mentioned earlier.  This is a tragedy, and I will hope and pray that the principals of this site can direct me to someone that can intervene, and give me justice.

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.