Airbnb Quick to Charge, Slow to Refund

I currently live in Australia and made a booking for a property in Somerset West, South Africa From September 28 to October 12, 2018. I paid 50% of the total booking fee, but a month before the check-in date I was informed by the host (who appears to be living in Sydney) that he had to cancel the booking as he was in a dispute with his Body Corporate about using this property for Airbnb accommodation.

I immediately took this up with Airbnb and in the meantime I hastily looked for alternative accommodations for our family reunion, rebooked, and paid the fees as required (again through Airbnb). A few days later Airbnb advised me that they had difficulties in cancelling the reservation – something which I truly do not understand. I was assured, however, that they are looking into my case and that the matter will soon be resolved.

Since then I have had four different caseworkers, made numerous phone calls during which I was promised quick action, received generic emails expressing their sympathies and apologies for the inconvenience caused to me, was given a false promise that my refund was processed, received notification that my case was closed, was ignored for weeks on end, and have yet to see my refund…

I am at my wits’ end in dealing with Airbnb. This huge company is so unapproachable and seems to not care one bit about small fish like me. It has cost me way too much time and energy trying to receive fair and just treatment and on top of that it has caused me a great deal of stress. It feels to me that the whole issue is drawn out deliberately to try and force me to just abandon my hopes of receiving my refund. Any ideas how to proceed further will be most welcome.

Fatal Fall from Airbnb Illegal Hotel

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On October 28th, 2018, my son was a guest in a New Orleans Airbnb. He was only there for a few hours after work and before another early morning shift as a chef at Commander’s Palace. It’s been two months and the NOPD are still “investigating” his unexplainable fall through a solid 3’x 4’ window positioned over a sofa.

In my attempts to contact Airbnb, they offered their sorrow that since our son was not the one who rented the room there was nothing they could do. They did offer to cancel any future bookings so he did not get charged for future trips.

I explained that, along with endless questions and frustrations, I expected to get my son’s possessions that were left in the room. Airbnb stated that they could not require the host to get in touch with me. Apparently I put some pressure on him and suddenly the other guest later returned my son’s phone, shoes and shirt. I’m still asking for my son’s backpack and chef’s knife kit, which he took to and from work every day.

Airbnb “closed their case with me” after asking me four times if the host had contacted me, which he hadn’t. I messaged the host on Facebook messenger and then called the host on his Facebook messenger app. Nada. The host had five listings on Airbnb that I found and now I see that four of them have been removed. I reached out again to Airbnb yesterday via Twitter and they said they were “escalating the case” (which I heard before they closed it last time), which have not heard from Airbnb.

These photos show the mysteriously single pane window in a building renovated in 2011 after the for windows requires hurricane-proof glass.

Poorly Managed Safety from Airbnb Corporate

My story is how poorly Airbnb as an organization is run and how dangerous it is for hosts and guests. I have been an Airbnb host for the past two plus years. I have about 15 listings of homes in Los Angeles.

I was very excited to join Airbnb up until last night. Yesterday I had a booking from a guest who threw a huge party with over 80 guests. The house is ransacked but the most troubling part was I almost got hurt by these individuals. The police were called several times last night.

There was a young girl carried out unconscious from my home in a hurry by these partygoers. I called Airbnb several times but only got a call back from a safety person who barely spoke English and made it a more frustrating experience.

I sent several emails. I called and asked for a supervisor but no one called back. I messaged an individual who said he was a supervisor from Airbnb at least 20 times if not more to get the person to call me. Another customer service person advised me that per Airbnb policy a senior management person never gets on a call or deals with an issue. This truly surprised me: that a company of this magnitude is not involved in such a serious incident.

From my experience I find that reply to be negligent and unacceptable. I just emailed their top management to see if they would care, waiting for a reply. While this happened at my property I had other guests, an older family that was staying in the same building who happened to be hosts in Vegas. They shared similar stories.

I feel our story, including possibly the footage my camera captured, might be an opportunity for other people looking to get into this business or thinking about renting an Airbnb. Or possibly getting more serious rules and responsibilities placed on these booking sites to make sure this does not happen to others.

Airbnb Customer Service Doesn’t Care

I am sending this to share the unhelpful service that I received from Airbnb customer service in resolving my issue of getting credited to use the funds for another booking. I had to speak to multiple people over the course of the day attempting to solve my issue. Even though each person that I spoke to took notes on my case, I had to explain my case each time I called or got transferred.

After explaining my case to each new person, they asked me to give them an hour or another amount of time and my issue would be resolved. I would wait the requested time amount and not have my issue resolved. Therefore, I would have to call back and begin the process of explaining myself to someone new and start the process of being asked to wait again.

The issue was not waiting within itself, but after waiting each time being told that the person I would need to speak to is no longer available became very frustrating. Today alone, I have spent almost three hours attempting to get my issue resolved- which has yet to happen. Customer service tells me “I understand.” However, the response is always “I will put in the notes and someone will message you soon.”

Unfortunately, “soon” appears to never come because I know if I did not call back and ask to speak to someone I would have waited for days and not had a place to stay in the coming days. In all situations, I attempt to be understanding of both ends; however, the chain of command that Airbnb has established is not beneficial to their customers. My issue has yet to be resolved and my trip is three days away.

After Cancellation, Never Again Airbnb

I have had misleading and conflicting responses from Airbnb support since I cancelled a booking I made for an Airbnb listed property in South Hobart, Tasmania in late August this year.

The cancellation was made in early December, due to non availability of a stove for cooking; I only became aware of this just before I cancelled. This included amenities, pots and pans. Why would these be needed if there was no stove?

I should have checked more carefully before making the booking, but the inference I got from the pots and pans, led me to believe there was a stove, I believe this to be false or misleading advertising. We were supposed to be staying for ten nights and cannot afford to be eating out for every meal; we also prefer the option of home cooked meals occasionally.

This host has a strict (with grace) cancellation policy which means you only get 50% of the accommodation costs refunded if you cancel before 48 hours of booking and seven days before arrival. I paid $768 (AUD) as part payment, Airbnb has now concluded, after I escalated this matter through one of their “case managers”, that I will receive $177.81 refund, which is three nights’ accommodation (which they state was graciously agreed to by the host since he has now received a booking for three nights of the period I originally had booked).

My understanding of the strict cancellation policy is that I should be entitled to a 50% refund of the accommodation payment I made, of $592.65 + $175.40 Airbnb service fee. (Airbnb has refunded 30% of the accommodation fee ($177.81 (not $296.32 which is 50%) and they kindly retain the service fee.

I responded to the Airbnb “case manager’s” communication regarding the refund that they were arranging, as I did not agree with their conclusions. I asked for an explanation regarding the pots and pans inferences in the kitchen facilities as I thought this to be misleading, and asked for proper refund according to the cancellation policy.

Airbnb has now marked the case as closed and have not responded to my message. If anyone can offer some advice on pursuing this matter further with any regulatory authority or otherwise I would be most grateful as I have not been able to find anything suitable to date in Australia.

Airbnb’s Negligence Damages Equipment

My wife and several of our friends recommended that I stay at an Airbnb for my trip to Barcelona. The apartment was exactly as advertised, and the host was very responsive to my inquiries. That is until a storm came.

I went to a museum and when I came back to the apartment, the entire dining room area was drenched, as if someone had opened a faucet from above. The table was drenched, the carpet underneath was drenched, and my photography equipment on top of the table was damaged.

I tried contacting the host and Airbnb. The host was nowhere to be found, and Airbnb refused to put me in another place. Apparently, there were no other apartments available in all of Barcelona, so I was forced to stay in this apartment and even clean the mess.

This was a month ago. I have been calling Airbnb for a month now, and I get the exact same response: “My apologies, sir… this should have never happened sir… this should have been resolved within 48 hours sir… you have all the right to be angry sir… I can see that Airbnb is negligent on this matter sir…”

Every time, they say that this issue has not been picked up by a case manager yet and that they are going to expedite this because the last rep I talked to didn’t escalate this. They repeat this every single time I call. I don’t know what to do. My equipment is valued at over 5000 dollars, and I am also asking for a full refund of my stay. I don’t know where to get help on this. If anyone has suggestions, please help.

$40 Airbnb Email Credit Offer Not Received

I received an Airbnb email saying that I would receive a $40 credit the next time I traveled and stayed at an Airbnb for a trip that was $75 or more. Our family had travelled to CA to do college tours with our daughter. Since it was the week of Thanksgiving, there weren’t a lot of hotel options left in Southern California at reasonable rates. My husband wanted to book through Hotwire, which he uses frequently. I had only used Airbnb once when traveling overseas and everything had worked out fine for me, but he had never tried Airbnb.

I finally convinced my skeptical husband to let me find a place with Airbnb for two of the nights since we could take advantage of the $40 credit. Since we were already traveling when I made my reservations, I was using my new Android phone to find and book the house. When I clicked on the email link with the offer on my new phone, it asked me if I wanted to install the Airbnb app, which I did. After installing the app, I clicked on the $40 credit link and it offered me several different ways to log into the App, including Facebook, Google account, etc.

Since my Google account was already set up on my phone, I used that option. Instead of linking my Google account with my primary Airbnb email account with the $40 credit offer, I found out later that it created a new account using my Gmail address as the primary email on the account. Most software apps will link your Google, Facebook, or Microsoft account to your existing account login, but not the Airbnb app.

After booking my reservation for two nights (we did have a lovely stay… great house and view overlooking Pismo Bay), I realized Airbnb charged the full amount without ever applying a $40 credit. After spending at least an hour on the phone with Customer Support, (mainly them going around and around saying there is nothing they can do since the stay was booked under another email address instead of the email address that the offer was sent to, even though I accessed it through the link they provided in the promotional email), they finally only gave me $25 credit towards my next stay…if I book through them within the next year.

It was a very frustrating experience. They need to fix their login credential links so that other login options offered for Facebook, Google, etc., will actually recognize that you access their website or their app through the email link with the credit offer. When I let Customer Service know that I was going to post reviews of my experience on social media, they tried to withdraw the offer of the $25 credit. When asked about why I would “post bad reviews after giving me a $25 credit,” I let them know that I still had not been credited with the full $40 that was promised, instead the $25 credit will only be applied if I decide to book through them again in the next year, and I let them know that I was only going to post an honest review of the actual events that occurred.

In the end, I do have that $25 credit on my account, but I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to travel again within the next year. I still have not decided if I would try Airbnb again after this experience.

Unhonored Airbnb Cards as Wedding Gifts

Recently married. On our registry we asked for Airbnb gift cards if people were inclined to gift us something; we love traveling and we’re in our 30s with most material items we could possibly need. A lot of people obliged and we received several gift cards in denominations ranging from $50-100/ card.

Today we went to load the cards to our account, and not one… not two… not even a few… but 13 of the gift cards aren’t able to be accepted. We called customer service and spent over an hour being told yes, we see seven gift cards accepted out of the 20+ new numbers you tried to enter (so they acknowledged the cards were only ever entered today, and that only a fraction were accepted). Then the rep proceeded to inform me she wasn’t trained or knowledgeable to assist us with this matter, and that we would ‘have to be escalated and transferred to payments center’.

I inquired as to whether I would be speaking with another person about this. The rep said “no, that’s not an option for customers” and that the only rep we would be able to physically speak with would be through the help center (which apparently was the number I had called to reach this rep). Okay… so then I requested to speak with a supervisor. I was informed there was none on site, or none with whom I would be able to speak period.

When in the history of business is there not a supervisor available to ever speak with? Then the rep informed us she never said she would transfer me, but meant that she would email the payment center. I asked when we could expect a response. She claimed within an hour (seemed really unrealistic especially since there was nobody but this person available to talk).

It’s been five hours, and I still have yet to hear from anyone. I have over $1300 in gift cards from family, friends, and coworkers that were given to us for Airbnb which this company has managed to swindle away somehow, and make unusable. There were zero real attempts to appropriately assist us. Highly unsatisfied here.

Airbnb Cancelled Our Reservation… Just Because They Can

We are a family with a four year old daughter. We booked two residences through Airbnb in Bangkok. The first was for an 11-day period and since the first host was already booked from that point on, we chose the second residence for an additional two weeks. All bookings were made well in advance of our arrival in Thailand.

Upon reaching Bangkok and having spent the first three days in our first house (which was actually excellent), we received a cancellation from Airbnb for our second reservation (by now eight days away). Their explanation was that the host was being suspected as a fraud. They gave us a 10% credit and told us to either find a new residence via Airbnb or ask for a refund.

Needless to say, with all three of us still in the wake of our jet lag, scrambling to find new accommodation wasn’t exactly our idea of a good time. My wife and I have travelled extensively in all sorts of countries (including Thailand, where our Airbnb crisis was unfolding) and this was the first time ever to come across such a situation. We had repeatedly arranged for accommodation over the phone with hosts of all kinds in many locations and no one ever cancelled a reservation, even in cases where there was nothing but their word binding them. No credit payments, no deposits, nothing. They kept their side of the deal regardless.

Airbnb on the other hand not only had the audacity to cancel our fully paid reservation while we on our behalf had done nothing wrong, they even acted like everything was cool and we should be happily going through the hamster wheel of finding new accommodation through their (so called) service, just because they gave us 10% credit. Just to clarify, we are from Europe. Imagine being stuck somewhere 15 hours by plane away from home and trying to resolve this mess.

Of course, trying to book a new place within a short time window (even though this wasn’t a high demand season), meant that we were left with poor options in the price range we had initially booked (i.e. places that were far from the city center or metro stations, or both). An equivalent residence via Airbnb would now be not 10% but 35% more expensive. We decided to opt for the refund – this was quickly devolving into a fully fledged scam – and book either via Booking.com or go around asking.

What would you know: Airbnb refunded our initial payment, but didn’t even give us the 10% credit back for all our trouble, or at least store it in our account for some later booking. We contacted their customer service through chat to complain and try to get some resolution. They initially tried to play it down and pretended we should be happy with their lousy 10% credit that we weren’t even entitled to anymore. We threatened to get vocal with our dissatisfaction unless they did something to set things right.

After several messages being exchanged and being passed from one “representative“ to the other two or three times (while we were arguing it was their responsibility to arrange for new accommodation, not ours) they finally obliged to at least provide a list of recommendations. When we pointed out we would take one of these alternatives, provided we were only charged what we had already paid for our cancelled accommodation, they ceased all contact. That’s quality customer service for you right there.

We know that online services of all sorts have their flaws. Airbnb is setting an all-time low, not so much because of their bad handling of bookings, but their inability to address the situation once the inevitable screw-up occurs. Giving a lousy 10% credit and forcing someone to an almost certainly more expensive last minute re-booking (which he is required to complete on his own) is an outright scam, not a valid method to appease dissatisfied customers.

All in all, I’d say our overall experience with Airbnb was atrocious and would seriously advise everyone to stay away from it. You will be far better served by respectable online services or go the good old conventional way of finding your own accommodation on the spot. Do not be deceived by the enticing price tags of Airbnb. This is an unreliable “service”, plain and simple, and it isn’t worth the risk.

Airbnb Admits There’s an Unfixed Bug on their Site

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When we first starting hosting a year ago, I noticed that when you put the name of our city into the Airbnb search engine, you get zero results, even though there are dozens of hosts in our city. When I complained about this, I was told there was nothing that Airbnb can do, that they rely on Google Maps.

Fast forward several months. I started looking into Google Maps, and noticed that the map is correct for our city. Airbnb put up the wrong map. The one they put up was for a city called Capacabana instead of Copacabana. Armed with this new information, I was sure Airbnb would finally listen to me.

Each time I wrote to Airbnb customer service, they acknowledged the error. They said they had reported this to the tech department and then closed the case. I finally got furious and insisted they not close my case until this was fixed and I got this response: “I apologize for my previous colleagues, but if you have any other inquires you can message me here and I will personally answer you. I won’t close this ticket until the issue has been fixed. I give you my word.”

The next message I received: “This support case is closed. Still need help? Visit our Help Center.”

I’m sorry but what is wrong with Airbnb? Not only do they not care, now they lie to me. A customer service representative gives me his word that he won’t close the case and several days later, case closed, with no resolution. You can imagine how much fun it is finding guests when your city doesn’t even exist on the Airbnb search engine. I have been complaining about this for a year and Airbnb does nothing to fix it.