Airbnb Host Payments Via Western Union

As a Airbnb host in a country where Airbnb does not deposit into hosts’ accounts, I receive some of my payments via Western Union. This has proved successful; Airbnb sends you an email when payment is made quoting a Western Union reference number. I go into Western Union, quote the number, and collect my cash or cheque.

It was great until last week. Airbnb did not send an email with a reference number. After seven hours online with the support center, they gave me a reference code. Immediately on seeing the code I told them it was not a valid Western Union one. Basically a Western Union code (known as a MTCN) starts with MTCN and is followed by ten numbers (no letters).

They supplied a reference with less than ten digits and mainly letters. I explained this to them and they told me to reach out to Western Union. This cannot be done quite simply because I do not have a valid reference number.

After seven hours of back and forth yesterday, Airbnb stopped responding. I started the support process this morning and eventually received a message saying this support case was closed. I then sent through a query, asking how can it be closed if it is not resolved? To which I received the reply: this support case is closed.

Here I sit wondering how to get my 500 USD (slightly over) and how to feed my family. We host not to earn a little pocket money but as a family income. Basically it is the only income we have, so here I am with over 330 five-star reviews, Superhost status for three years… and penniless. Thanks for caring Airbnb. I care which is why I share.

Beware When Extending Airbnb Bookings

A while back I went home to Australia for a few months and booked an apartment for my stay. The place I wanted wasn’t available for the last week of my stay but I booked it anyway, thinking I could stay somewhere else for the last week.

During my stay, I went onto the listing and found out the next guests had cancelled and I could book that extra week. Great, except when I went to book, that extra week was going to cost me around $3000. The place was less than $100 a night so I thought it was a glitch and got in touch with Airbnb.

What happened was the host had raised the nightly price on the Airbnb site during my stay and Airbnb wanted to charge me the new price for my entire stay. I had to pay the higher price for the period I’d already stayed, not just the extra week.

Luckily, in my case I got in touch with the host who was horrified and happily put in special pricing on his end so I could book the extra week at the original price. However, that isn’t always going to happen and if it hadn’t been such a huge difference in the price, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. I wanted to post this because it’s something people aren’t aware of and could really screw guests over.

Airbnb Allows Scammers to Disrupt Bookings

I would first like to say I am a loyal Airbnb customer and generally book big ticket houses for reunions and celebrations. I have been unable to resolve a scamming problem with Airbnb’s customer service department so I am asking for assistance in this matter. Let me briefly explain.

In September of 2018, I booked a mansion in Los Olas, Fort Lauderdale for my spouse’s 60th birthday. The check-in date was February 14th, 2019 and when I booked I paid $7002 for those four nights ($1750 per night). I had family flying in from all over the country to celebrate the big day. Less than 24 hours before check in, I got a cancellation notice from the host.

Now, I detest drama but will admit I had a full blown panic attack – 14 people flying in and no place to house them… not my finest hour. I called Airbnb customer support and talked to someone who was doing everything he could to help me find a different property that was on the water and could house 14 people. Unfortunately anything of size was not available even if the website showed it was available. I was reaching out to a few other hosts and they said the property was booked.

I then found out the host I booked with was a scammer because I was able to track down the real owner of the property. Here is the link to the property I booked that still shows the scammer is active.

It was a miracle that the property was available for the four nights I needed but the price was much higher – a little over $10,000. The owner was amazing and sent me a discounted rate of $8938.90 and customer service got Airbnb’s approval for a $1000 credit to help me get it booked that night. I had to pay $8938 out of my pocket and wait for the refund from Airbnb back on my debit card.

When speaking with the real host, he said he had already notified Airbnb about the scammer that was scamming his property and had filed whatever paperwork was required. He also said that he gets a call once a month
from Airbnb customers because of last minute cancellations.

We had a great four days and then I had to travel extensively for business and just got settled back home. I contacted Airbnb customer support this past Friday to settle this scam business and requested to get the additional $936.90 that I was out of pocket due to the scam.

Here is how the math worked:

$8938.90 to book the same property I originally thought I had booked
$7002 Refunded by Airbnb from the original booking
$1000 Credited by Airbnb
$936 Still out of pocket due to fraud

Unfortunately, Airbnb’s customer support team was not able to resolve my request. In addition, the person I worked with refused to escalate the matter which I had requested twice. I also sent links (shown below) of the exact same scammer still active on the platform. I found these in a simple search using a little of the host’s bio.


https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/27017739
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/31087086
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/30860541
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/32592173
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23679105
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23199550

Copied below is the entire communication regarding this matter. I do not feel I should have to pay almost $1000 more because I was scammed on the Airbnb platform.

 

Airbnb:

“After careful consideration, you will not be refunded the additional $936.90. While we recognize this situation with your host from the reservation did inconvenience your stay, $1,000 above the prior reservation total has already been offered for this reservation.

“Your prior agent who handled the refund in February made every effort to increase your refund as much as possible. I do feel the compensation he provided in February was appropriate given the circumstances. Feel free to reach back out with any future questions or concerns. We are here to assist you.”

Me: 

“That is not acceptable to me. Please escalate this issue to your manager. Of course a last minute reservation costs more than one planned months in advance. Airbnb allowed this fraud to happen and I will not be out of pocket because you allow fraud on your website. Please escalate this issue to your manager. I am also sending you links of the scammers other properties that Airbnb currently has up on your website.”

Airbnb:

“I recognize this news is disappointing. I am a case manager addressing this concern currently and have consulted with my team regarding this decision- including my supervisor. We do take issue of accuracy with listings seriously, as it is one of our hosting guidelines. Here are
the hosting standards below:

https://www.airbnb.ca/hospitality

“In regard to how the host and his listing will be handled for this violation, we cannot disclose further how he will be penalized. Only the account holder or an authorized point of contact can discuss the details of his account with us.

“Additionally, we have begun implementing home visits with our hosts who engage in our Plus so that we can prevent issues like this from arising in the future. Booking with Superhosts in the future allows for a decreased likelihood this type of situation occurs in the future. We do apologize for your experience with this host, and we take issues relating to listing accuracy seriously. A further refund has unfortunately been denied for this case.”

Me:

“Please escalate my case as requested or I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly on LinkedIn. It only took me five minutes to find all these other listings from the same scammer so I don’t know why Airbnb does take care of it. Correction – Does NOT take care of it.”

Airbnb:

“What is your desired outcome here?”

Me:

“I originally booked on your platform in September of 2018 for $7002 for 4 nights. Because of the fraud I had to pay $8938.90. Airbnb paid $1000 to help with the new reservation. I am still out of pocket $936.90, which is unfair. I booked and stayed in the same exact house – it is not like I booked
a more expensive or bigger property. Please refund me the extra money I had to pay because of the fraud on Airbnb.”

Airbnb:

“The additional refund has been denied for reasons outlined above. While we recognize this news is disappointing, the decision is final.”

Me:

“I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly then. I’m sure he will not want the negative publicity of knowing how many scammers are on Airbnb. Your refusal to escalate my situation – requested twice – is not the type of customer service I would expect from a platform that is booking big dollar properties.”

Even though I had contacted both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley, they just referred me back to the same person I had been dealing with. See the remaining messages from Airbnb.

Airbnb:

“Apologies for not responding sooner, I was out of the office the past two days. Your concerns are being taken seriously and your outreach to Greg Greeley has been noted thoroughly. While we recognize this news is disappointing, a further refund will not be issued for this case. We
will look into the listing of concern, but cannot release the full details of how the host or associated listing will be handled.

“Typically, in rebooking cases, we do strive to maintain the same price range as the initial booking. In instances where further compensation is considered, the determination to cover costs is made at the
time of rebooking.

“Your prior agent did consider this request to cover the additional funding for this booking fully. A decision was made to refund $1,000 of the rebooking amount. A further refund will not be issued and
this decision is final. Every consideration for further refund has been exhausted in this situation and further refund will not
be offered here.”

Me:

I emailed both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley this morning. I am awaiting their response before I take further steps.

Airbnb:

“The response you received from me is a response to your concerns. Apologies for any confusion. I am the case manager assigned to your case who the incoming inquiries or concerns are forwarded to. I hope this clears things up.”

Me:

“Are you saying Aisling and Greg referred this matter back to you?”

Airbnb:

“Your concerns and messages to them were referred to me, as I am assisting you with this case. They have been read and considered thoroughly by me in order to continue considering your perspective. I hope that helps clarify things in case there was any confusion.”

Me:

“Okay, good to know. Now when I go public I can add that both of them don’t care about their customers getting scammed and perpetuate fraud on their site. In hindsight you will see this was a bad decision for Airbnb – letting a customer get scammed and then not making them whole. Getting the domain names now.”

Airbnb:

“As a follow up to our conversation, I wanted to provide an outline of the decision we discussed. We will not refund you further for this booking. As explained prior, consideration for costs covered during rebooking occurs at the time of rebooking. Your prior case manager issued you $1,000 for this reservation already. A further refund is outside of policy and will not be considered. Future agents and case managers will uphold this decision, as it is final. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.”

Me:

“Understood. That being said there is nothing Airbnb can do to stop me from sharing my story everywhere. You ripped me off and I lost almost $1000 because of fraud on your site. You should have owned this problem and made me whole. Now I will do what I have to do. There is no response
needed.”

Airbnb Automated Cancellation Problem

I made a reservation through Airbnb for my upcoming spring break along with my friends and booked it at the start of January. The policy stated two divided payments, but when I checked back on March 11th, five days before the check-in date, it was stated that my reservation was automatically canceled.

I tried calling Airbnb and they said that the second part of my payment didn’t go through, so they tried to reach out to me through my email address. The problem here was that I’ve never received an email regarding this problem. So the first option they offered me was that they were going to contact the host of my reservation and talk with them to refund the first part of the transaction and make me re-reserve the place for the exact same date with same amount of money.

Since it was hard for me to find another place within five days and I didn’t want to lose out the money, I requested they contact the host. However, they came back to me saying that the host already was filled with another guest staying at his/her place so it was hard for the host to give me the refund.

I decided to talk with Airbnb about why their notification wasn’t delivered. They investigated the issue, but later came back to me saying that they sent out the notification. I double-checked all of my emails, but wasn’t able to find any single mail that was sent from Airbnb. I tried to ask them to compensate me for this issue because clearly, I did nothing wrong and I was the one who was going to lose out on approximately a thousand dollars without any clear reasons behind it.

It wasn’t my fault that Airbnb’s notification didn’t reach me, and so I asked them “wasn’t there another way to reach out to me to help make the second payment go through?” All they replied was that all they can offer me is a 100-dollar coupon for my next stay, and they just decided to close this case by themselves.

I was so outraged at their customer service and ended up losing 1000 dollars without doing anything wrong. Is this something normal that happens? Why isn’t Airbnb being responsible for the mistakes that they clearly made?

Airbnb’s Fake Policies Include Not Paying Hosts

I’m currently dealing with a broken air conditioner that cost over $5000. Case closed, no reimbursement from Airbnb. I sent in over 15 minutes of video taken as soon as I walked into the home finding all the destruction.

After 11 days, they finally responded to me. They gave me time to send in the evidence – pictures – to find replacements, and send in the receipts. Fine, but I needed more time for the AC since the repairman came and got here by the deadline.

This is what I learned: if they had offered me anything, any amount of money for reimbursement – maybe two dollars? – I would take it and run. Airbnb does nothing to protect properties whatsoever. I also had six people cancel at the last minute who were not entitled to any refund under my strict cancellation policy. Every single one of them made up some story and received a 100% refund.

One girl didn’t receive a refund because I refuse to “authorize“ it. She didn’t deserve it and it would be filing my cancellation policy I protested. The next day Airbnb cancelled the guest whom I had been looking forward to meeting and had a $1001 payout. They cancelled her reservation and told her I canceled it. She got a new place to stay and I completely screwed.

I’m only posting this summer, have received rave reviews from every single guest that stayed here, and I’m currently out over $6000. I counted I bought new towels, sheets, a portable air conditioner, fans, counting on $7000 and payouts that were anticipated due to bookings when I started. I received less than $3000 payout and now, I’ll be lucky if I get $3500.

Airbnb restricted my account weeks ago, because a guest falsely claimed I had a security camera in order to get his refund equal to 100% of the original payment. Ridiculous.

I wish I never did business with Airbnb; they are crooks, and they lie. I’m moving to VRBO.

Hosts: Beware of Airbnb’s fake policies. They will not do what is your best interest even if it goes against their policies. Airbnb caters to the guests, which in my case cost me over $6000.

I’m ready to pull my hair out after this Airbnb

I made a reservation for a long-term stay near Portland, Oregon. We then decided to extend the stay, and I talked with Airbnb representatives, to be sure that nothing bad would happen or they would try to charge me more money at once. We already paid the first month with fees and cleaning charges.

I was sent a “request for alteration” by Airbnb, with the new amount and a payment schedule. Then later on the next day, I received a receipt for the extended reservation, and it was a completely different payment schedule with large amounts on each month, rather than the evenly spaced amounts for the installments.

It’s been two weeks now trying to straighten this out, and they are driving me crazy. The people I talk to either don’t care or read from a script: the same things over and over. Then I was told it would go to a “supervisor,” which is a “case manager,” and still I heard nothing.

Finally, two days ago, they said it should go to the “payment” team, and I would hear from them shortly. Nothing. I’m going out of my mind with these idiots.

Worthless Response from Airbnb Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Airbnb Giving False Tax Advice to Hosts

The matter first began when Airbnb froze payment on my account. I opened a simple ticket to inquire why. First Airbnb said I had to fill out a US tax account form. This was false, as I am in Canada. I spent time and money trying to resolve the matter based on this false tax advice.

Next Airbnb said I needed to become a business and provide my business details. Again, I investigated; this was also false.

Lastly it was a simple matter unrelated to what Airbnb support told me. I then asked to escalate this horrible matter when I was given blatantly false information and to be given a chance to provide feedback on the specific conversation. After wasting my time telling me they’re working on it behind the scenes but can’t talk to me about my own ticket, they had the audacity to tell me I was making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.

Because of how poorly this has been handled I feel very unsafe hosting on Airbnb. Moreover, I have not received any confirmation from Airbnb on what they did wrong. They are sending me cookie cutter generic responses that don’t relate to my issue.

I have an outstanding case with Airbnb. They refuse to give me a ticket number so I can reference our conversation. They have been most unprofessional and unhelpful and keep trying to close the ticket without resolving anything.

Egregious Charges After Airbnb Stay in LA

We booked a lovely looking house in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Upon arrival, it was very clear the house was not as advertised. Photos were very misleading but worse than this, the house was filthy.

I contacted the owner and we actually resolved the issue quickly. He agreed to refund us the days we did not stay and he did not charge us a cleaning fee (we ended up spending two nights there as we tried to resolve the issue). Airbnb was really responsive and my initial reaction was that their service was great.

That’s when it started to go wrong. I was charged over $600 for two nights in a house that I agreed to pay $152/night. I spent the next four days calling and emailing Airbnb, consistently told by customers service reps that they were going to call me back or get someone to call me back. I emailed them repeatedly asking for an itemized list of charges and asking why I was charged. I was ignored.

I finally got them back on the phone and was on hold for an hour and a half until the case manager and I spoke and she agreed to review the case. They refunded me $101, which still had me paying over $500 for a filthy house that was $152/night. The itemized list included a $191 VAT charge because I live in New Zealand. She also said I must have paid with an NZ card and that’s why I accured a VAT charge when I had not in the past.

I’m American and a California resident; I paid with my American bank card. Additionally, and more damning, Airbnb does not mention New Zealand in the list of countries that are charged VAT – the countries that do get charged VAT are on their website.

When I posted the words from the site directly and asked for the justification of the charges the case was closed on me without response. I’m now on hold as I write this review – it will probably be over an hour – insisting that I speak to someone who can help me and have them explain why I was charged VAT for NZ when its not listed on their site or get my $200 back. As it is, I’ll be using VRBO from now on.

Creepy London Accommodation Above Indian Restaurant

I am basically a new user of Airbnb and beginning to have trust in their booking system. This is my fourth booking. I would like to bring to your attention what I experienced. I have no issue for Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Manchester. However, Airbnb in London was the nightmare which almost cost me my holiday.

It was a Europe and UK adventure which started in Paris. I stayed using Airbnb for five days (December 16-20). Continuing the journey to Manchester, I trusted Airbnb (December 20-22) then went down to London (December 22-29) via Airbnb too.

My nightmare started when I booked a place in Hammersmith (London). The whole family was moody when we checked into the Airbnb The place was old and gloomy: creaky floor panels, faulty locks, and lighting. The pots and utensils were dirty. Just imagine bringing a family to London and checking into this old creepy house. Even the backyard balcony made me shiver.

You may not understand the feeling until you have to experience it yourself. Even reaching Tesco was a big problem. We were hardly in the mood to eat at night after having to walk for 25 minutes to the nearest Tesco at Hammersmith Station on a cold winter night with young children. The description in the listing was deceiving.

As it was getting dark and everyone was moody and tired, we reluctantly stayed for the night. The following morning, we called Airbnb and relayed our concerns. We were answered by one of their case managers. We told her about our uncomfortable stay here in the apartment and that we were planning to move out and book another apartment.

She was helpful and I also told her about the next Airbnb host who didn’t respond. She tried calling but up until noon there was no reply. She managed to cancel the booking while we looked for another apartment.

We manage to secure a place in Shoreditch. She advised us to forward all the photos of the apartment in Hammersmith, which I left in the message section before she went on leave. We stayed at the place in Shoreditch from Decemeber 23-28. It was a nice duplex apartment near town.

When we came back home to Singapore, there was still no reply from Airbnb. She wrote that she would be on leave during the holidays. When we checked the Airbnb messages, the case was closed and resolved. To our dismay, there was no follow up from her.

We had to call the Airbnb team and explain the whole story again. We were guided on how we could click on the “Request Refund” option. We had to wait for the host to respond within 72 hours. The weekend passed, and the host did not respond.

We called into Airbnb and were guided to click on the “Involve Airbnb” option. It was too much hassle. After a frantic nightmare in London, we had to go through the process again. A case manager contacted us via email asking for details. It’s really frustrating having to attach photos again and again. After reviewing them, he claimed we were not entitled for a refund following the terms and conditions.

I guess he wasn’t tactful in addressing the case. If you put yourself in our shoes – staying in a foreign land where the house is not in a liveable condition; no lifts, faulty locks, dirty and old premises, and heating elements and lights not working – what would you do? Bearing in mind the mood of the holidays were all down because of this apartment?

We were not cancelling for fun. We paid for it; however, the apartment turned out otherwise. Airbnb should somehow provide exceptions for this kind of case. We are traveling with a family of five with young children. Safety, comfortability and convenience are definitely our top priority. Airbnb management should take this into consideration and carefully weigh the resolutions, not bluntly say ”no”.

Bear in mind we stayed straight from December 15-28 using Airbnb. We had no problems with our previous bookings before the exception with this property in Hammersmith. Airbnb should pay a site visit to understand more of what I meant. I recommend the listing be taken down until they fix up their filthy apartment. This doesn’t only tarnish the image of London on the whole but Airbnb as the agent to promote such homes.

On a personal note, I am beginning to trust Airbnb more since my last holiday went quite smoothly with the exception of London’s accommodation. This is just my sincere feedback as I do not wish to see other travelers share the same fate as me.