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.

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Airbnb Implied We Should Risk our Lives and Health for Booking

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My family is living in Vancouver, Canada, and we had an Airbnb booking from Aug. 18 through 22 in Penticton for our vacation. I had to cancel it two days before our booking because of wild fires and consequent air quality issue.

Wild fires were literally burning every route from Vancouver to Penticton. If we were going on our vacation, we literally had to drive through the road on which wild fires are burning. Consequent air quality was also an issue. Wild fires were not burning in direct vicinity of Penticton, but multiple wild fires were burning within a one-hour drive of the area. The air quality in Penticton was extremely unhealthy.

Airbnb implemented a new extenuating circumstances policy in January that states: “When this Policy allows for cancellation, it controls and takes precedence over the reservation’s cancellation policy.” I believe my case was definitely an extenuating circumstance as no one would go on a vacation in such circumstance risking the health of my children as well as that of myself and my wife.

I contacted Airbnb’s Online Support, but they rejected my refund request. They said my case was not an extenuating circumstance. They didn’t consider my case as an extenuating circumstance, and that automatically means that they think I should have risked my family’s life and health to honor my Airbnb booking. They never said it directly, but what else could it mean?

I asked them: Would you go on a vacation in that kind of situation? I asked multiple times, but they never answered this question.

I almost gave up on getting the refund, but I thought that I at least deserved an answer. I asked them to explain why my case was not an extenuating circumstance and explain why the extenuating circumstances policy can not be applied to my case. They never answered these questions, and they closed down my session. Now they are completely ignoring me.

Three Days of Pure Harassment over a Simple Misunderstanding

We arrived at our Airbnb today after 3:00 PM to check in. I walked in the backyard and found a pair of shoes — I didn’t know they were expensive, tried them on, and bought them back into the house. My son and I went out to dinner and when we came back we’re accused by host of stealing them. She stated they were her daughters and expensive and now she can’t return them and called the cops on me. I was horrified; I took them into the house to protect them. I didn’t text the host because I didn’t think it was my job to find out who these shoes belonged to. I offered to pay for them but they started to say nasty things to me again with the police there so I said we should wait until tomorrow.

I’m here with my family and we have nowhere to go. Everything is booked and there are no available rooms. The host broke into the house to get these shoes without my permission. I even called my husband during this and he stated what if I found a frisbee or a bottle of wine? How am I supposed to know? I didn’t harm or use anything. Just took them into the house. I want to feel safe here and not be pressured to buy these shoes.

The next two days were pure harassment. She called the cops on us for the next two days to force us to buy the shoes. It was a complete waste of time for the police and for my family. The host continued to watch the cameras on the home to see when we would come back from an activity. As soon as we arrived back at the home the cops would arrive 15 minutes later. The host also yelled profanities from the street to the house in the sunroom when we were putting sunblock on. My son took video of that interaction and we sent it to Airbnb.

Since this story has been uploaded to the platform, the matter has been handled by Airbnb and I was given a full refund and the host has been banned. You are not allowed to break into someone else’s space unless it is an absolute emergency. I want to thank Airbnb for handling this matter in a timely, professional way, listening to the guest’s side, and not thinking of the money made from the host.

When the host found out she was going to be banned, and the police said I was not going to be charged, she started yelling at Airbnb and the police. If any items are left in a shared space contracted by an Airbnb guest it is not the responsibility of the guest to secure the items.

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Airbnb and Host won’t Accept Weather-Related Cancellation

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I had my flight cancelled twice due to hurricane conditions while travelling overseas. I contacted Airbnb and the host in Tokyo more than 24 hours before the check in time. I was told they would do everything to help me. I didn’t hear back from either for more than 46 hours despite constant attempts to contact. Even though their policy clearly states if notified 24 hours you will get a free refund due to travel disruptions caused by weather I was given the runaround and avoided by both staff at Airbnb and the host.

I have been waiting 15 hours now for an update. I have lost the funds from the entire five-day booking and both the host and Airbnb continue to avoid their responsibilities. I will be filing a complaint with Consumer Affairs Association.

Save the headache and just get a real hotel. This company has no honesty or integrity towards guests or hosts in my opinion. I was able to get in contact with Airbnb customer service and they told me the storm had not registered on their system so only the host can provide a refund. The host has been completely dishonest through the whole process.

I wonder why Airbnb allows this type of activity. I have attached a picture of the host so if anyone is traveling to Tokyo steer clear of this agency because the host on Airbnb is not actually the host or owner just a front for the agency.

Everything That’s Wrong with Airbnb

What is wrong with Airbnb? As a host, it seems like there is a lot wrong with the company, thus the reason why I have decided to leave their platform. I am throwing in the towel after only three months working with the company. I wish I could point to one issue with the platform, but there are too many. I have outlined them below.

Airbnb does not follow its own guidelines to protect property owners. I had a guest book my home for her wedding and never stayed in the home. Instead, the home was a continual flop house party venue for her friends and family despite a “no party or event rule”. Instead of six guests in the home, most of which were supposed to be “elderly”, my home was a party house for over 25 people and nighttime occupancy was closer to 10-12 instead of 6.

When I confronted the guest about the party on the second night of her reservation and the damages, Airbnb allowed the proxy guest (who never stayed in my home) to give me a bad review even though the company states that it will protect owners from bad reviews from any guests who violate the “no party rule”. According to Airbnb, they are going to “take action” against the “guest” or third party “booker”, but that does nothing to change the revenge review on my profile.

Prior to this Bridezilla, I had a 5-star rating. I am eating my property damages because according to the Airbnb community forum, the company’s damages clause does not cover cases when the property was rented on behalf of other people. Only the guest who booked the property is responsible and since she did not stay in the home there is nothing I can do.

Before renting my home through Airbnb I had a gorgeous newly remodeled home that I purchased furnished from a builder owner in April. At least 20% of my guests have caused some damage to my property. We have had multiple guests smoke, despite a no smoking policy, and the marijuana and cigarette smoke smells seem to keep creeping back into the house no matter what we do. I have had broken bar stools and cabinet doors, a damaged kitchen island, multiple gate repairs, and a cracked panel in a Murphy Bed that I do not know how I am going to fix without replacing the entire front with matching wood. I also seem to have to continually replace ruined towels and sheets.

These joyous issues have happened with just over eight guests. Hosts have no access to the security deposit and the time for reporting damages ends when the next guest checks in. Upon making a claim, Airbnb asks to see receipts for the damaged item, a receipt for the replacement item, and repair estimates and receipts. How can any owner be expected to get a repair estimate from a contractor in four hours’ time to comply to with Airbnb’s short window for submitting claims if you have another guest checking in?

In my case, the furniture and much of the personal property within the home came when I purchased the house. I have no access to the original receipt for the Murphy Bed or some of the furniture. Airbnb allows owners to ask for a security deposit, but the reality is that hosts have no access to the funds in the event of a claim. In fact, the security deposit and host damages guarantee seems to be a ruse to placate unsuspecting hosts to list their home with the platform.

When considering an Airbnb or short-term rental, the numbers seem to be attractive. The reality is that damages, wear and tear, and the incredible amount of time dealing with the property and multiple guests eliminate much of the profit. Instead of renting my home on short term rental sites I have turned it into a monthly or seasonal rental, with more profit and less headaches. Plus, the United States has a significant nationwide rental shortage, and it makes sense to help everyday people with a place to live rather than trying to deal with a revolving door of vacationers. In my case I am focusing on traveling contract professionals in the medical field which offers me a lot more satisfaction too.

Airbnb uses foreign customer service employees that respond to host concerns at odd hours (usually in the middle of the night) to coincide with their workday. Additionally, hosts get passed around to different departments on a continual basis. Airbnb and hosts would benefit from U.S.-based customer service professionals. When you can finally reach a real employee, I have found that the Airbnb customer service department is not equipped to handle most issues and honestly seems to be uneducated with Airbnb’s policies and guidelines. Perhaps they need to stop using “bots” and artificial intelligence and invest in real employees that are knowledgeable?

If you are looking for a passive real estate investment, Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals are not for you. Being a host is a job, and I do not need another job. I have gotten calls at all hours of the night for various issues, including guests not understanding how to use the lockbox to access the property and noise complaints.

Let us all be honest, no one wants to live next door to an Airbnb and having a revolving door of vacationers in residential neighbors is bad for values and the neighborhood culture. Despite Airbnb’s media campaign regarding a global ban on parties, it seems to be nothing but rhetoric. Guests rent homes with the intent of throwing a party and entertaining and Airbnb does little or nothing to help hosts deal with problem guests. Airbnb and their business model might be the reason that the values in many communities and neighborhoods start to decline.

If you have any other reasons to stop working with Airbnb that I have not yet listed, please feel free to chime in. Best of luck to all my fellow real estate investors.

Airbnb Stole My Refund — No Results for a Month

This matter is super easy, for a normal company. Of course for the spawn of hell, Airbnb, it is impossible.

I checked into an Airbnb. The apartment had construction in progress that was not disclosed. I immediately cancelled with the host in line with their cancellation policy. We stayed two nights and the host agreed to refund the rest. Airbnb confirmed on June 2 that the refund was paid.

It is now 32 days later and there has been no refund. Airbnb has taken the money from the host and this refund has now been misappropriated by Airbnb. Never in my life have I dealt with a more incompetent and horrifically inept service team than at Airbnb. They lie and lie without taking any action to resolve anything. I have escalated this over five times and very single time the consultant says they don’t know where the refund is, then transfers me to an “expert” who I assume is the same person with a different persona. Then after that they suddenly never respond again.

Airbnb has already agreed to the refund? So why not pay it? What is Airbnb hiding? All I want us to know where my refund is and then for Airbnb to make immediate payment. Airbnb is hands down the worst company I have ever had the displeasure of using. I will pay more to stay directly with hotels in future in order to receive actual service.

Airbnb Refusing to Refund Service Fee Despite Cancellation Policy

My wife and I booked an Airbnb property that stated it had a full cancellation policy if we cancelled by August 15. I went to cancel on June 21 (two months ahead of the date where the policy changes) and the website refused to refund the $500 service fee. I contacted customer support and they stated if we cancelled that day and ahead of August 15 we would receive the $500 service fee.

Customer support has been a nightmare and then later said the cancellation policy states the service fee is non-refundable. My wife and I both checked the cancellation policy ahead of time and it was a full free cancellation. In addition, the previous customer service person agreed that the service fee is refundable. The property is no longer showing on the site so I’ve asked them to produce the actual cancellation policy tied to the listing and show it to me. They’ve failed to do this. This is horrible customer service. $500 may be a small amount for a company like Airbnb but this is a huge amount for a family. Extremely disappointed by their level of service here.

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.