$1500 Gift Card Funds in Deactivated Account

This is a copy of the email I finally wrote out of utter desperation to hopefully get the attention of someone with some authority to resolve my issue. The letter is self explanatory. At this time, I haven’t heard anything back. I’ll repost and hopefully have some good information to share whenever I finally get some attention and a resolution. I addressed it to Aisling Hassell and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.

Here is my issue in short: Airbnb is holding $1500 from gift cards in my daughter’s disabled account and I have not been able to get these funds transferred to my account after four calls to your customer service reps for over a week. A year and a half ago, my then 15-year-old daughter opened an Airbnb account with my knowledge and permission. She entered her information correctly and accurately, and supplied a picture and information from her passport as her identification.

Nowhere in the process was she eliminated as underage. She was allowed to proceed and went on to make two reservations for trips she and her father, and she and I took. At no time was her age an issue. If it had been, she would have told me and I would have opened an account for us to use.

Last Monday, June 11, she was attempting to make a reservation in Chicago for our trip in July, and entered $1500 in Airbnb gift cards for the planned two-week stay. She was promptly contacted and told her account was deactivated due to her age. The $1500 is locked in this inactivated account.

I immediately called your customer service number on Tuesday and explained the problem. Your rep said she was unable to resolve my issue and I was assured that someone with that level of authority would call to rectify the situation. When no one had contacted me on Friday, I called again that morning and was advised to open an Airbnb account so the funds could be transferred. Again, I was told that the person on the phone had no authority to help. She said another, higher-level person would contact me within the next half-hour and help resolve this problem.

Once again, no call or email came, and I called back Friday afternoon. For the third time, the rep said she had no authority to help, and the situation had been communicated to another department and I had to wait to be contacted. There was no way for me to contact them, and they would contact me at a later undetermined time. I finally called again today, Tuesday, June 19th, and got the same story from yet the fourth customer service rep.

He had me add a payment method to my account. I’m hoping that is only to have a way for the $1500 to be transferred to my account. Beyond that – same song, 4th verse – he cannot help me and has referred my issue to this mysterious department that can resolve my problem, but just never does it. On top of that, he insinuated that my daughter had been dishonest in the information she originally entered to open her account.

This infuriated me; she used her passport information. Airbnb allowed her to open the account and successfully make two different reservations for stays in New York in February and Chicago in April this year. This is due to Airbnb’s oversight in not recognizing her age. Please look into this. I now have had $1500 tied up in an account for over a week that I still cannot access.

It is unbelievable that there is no one in your first line customer service representatives who have the authority to truly help your customers and not just have to pass us along to another, unreachable, unanswering department. I would appreciate any help you can give me in resolving this issue as soon as possible.

Airbnb’s Unfair Resolution Centre Believes Hosts

I have been a Superhost for five years, and Airbnb has been great in the past. When guests have asked for refunds, I have done my best to be fair. When the dryer broke while gests were staying, I replaced it; I know amenities have a shelf life. It was my understanding that we are part of a nice, fair community.

However, I went to Nice for two days. I’m a single mum and needed a short break away. The second night we couldn’t pull the sofabed out; something was wrong with it. We got home and the host wanted us to buy a new one for €1,200. I am not strong enough to bend metal and damage a sofa, so how is it that Airbnb customer service has given me robotic, copy and pasted emails that day stating I must pay?

There has been no explanation, no kindness… they just took money from my account and have threatened me with ‘removal from the community’. I feel wrongly accused and let down. I still have many Airbnb guests booked for the next few months, and am trying to give them a good travel experience. I can’t believe how cold and unjust customer service has been this time. They won’t answer any of my questions. I don’t know what to do.

Airbnb Charged Full Amount… And Then Kept Charging

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When booking an apartment through Airbnb, I chose “payment in installments” but was charged the full amount of about 1500 EUR by Airbnb from my PayPal account, immediately. I only realized this three weeks later when I was charged by Airbnb, again, from my paypal account. That time it was the first installment of 770 EUR which is to be followed by the second one in a few weeks.

I contacted Airbnb several times via telephone and messaging explaining that they had charged the full amount by mistake and asking for them to transfer the amount back to my PayPal account. So far, one week has passed and I have not been helped at all. On the contrary, one Airbnb person wrote to me that the amount of 1500 EUR was shown but not charged, which is a lie. All transfers are documented by PayPal.

Yesterday, I insisted in speaking to a person with more authorization. Finally, I was called by somebody who literally hung up on me in the middle of our conversation. This morning, I received a message telling me that if I have an issue with a suspicious credit card transaction I should first check on family members who might have used my card information. This was totally off topic as the charges for my booking were made from my PayPal account. I have the feeling that there are very limited means to get any further than the “customer support shell” which is doing anything but solving problems for Airbnb customers.

Unethical Practices Towards Airbnb Hosts and Guests

Airbnb does everything they can to misguide you as a host. Their policies are not clear. They tell you their assurance protects guests in your home but they don’t tell you that they protect items missing or damaged. When you come back and file a claim, if it’s not within 14 days of the checkout or before someone else checks in, they don’t cover it.

What’s the point? I have missing technology someone stole from my home, bleached towels and sheets that someone ruined worth over $1000, and nothing is recoverable. Airbnb doesn’t give a crap about you as a host or you as a guest. They are especially dishonest and unethical to hosts. Here is an email I got recently:

“Please be advised that, per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with regard to these disputes. We are unable to reconsider the decision made in this case we’ve issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly. As further communication will not change the outcome of this case, we must respectfully disengage from further discussion.”

Airbnb is more concerned with getting you to just roll over and get over their BS than actually helping you resolve the issue. Does this seem fair to you? If you are looking to host your place with Airbnb, don’t. If you are a guest with Airbnb, be kind to the home owners and don’t expect a hotel experience. If you want a hotel for ten guests, go rent five rooms and pay what that is worth instead of giving hosts crap.

Canceled my booking while I was on my way

I would not book with this host or Airbnb ever again. She canceled on us five hours before our planned check in. I reserved her apartment eight months in advance. She had even confirmed with me three days prior to the cancellation. I got the text message canceling our reservations on my way to the airport. I was baffled; I thought this must be a mistake.

I called her and she said there was “damage” to the apartment. Airbnb did credit my account and gave me a larger credit than the original price but other than that their customer service was a total fail. I called them three times and spoke to three different representatives; I was disconnected twice. The representative who finally did help me told me to open the app or the website and use the credit to find a replacement myself.

This would have been okay even 24 hours in advance but I was basically at the airport now for a 45-minute flight. The customer service representative asked me for the URL of the other apartments I was looking at. I was using the app; there are no URLs in the app. I told her the name of the listing and she put me on hold for 13 minutes. In the meanwhile, another friend of mine coming on the trip called and booked two rooms in a hotel.

The woman I got on the phone was trying to help me but it was clear that the customer service representatives are not trained in troubleshooting a cancellation on the day of. I was very lucky that we were able to get a place to stay on such short notice. It was high travel season for the city. Most of the accommodations on Airbnb that were available were too small or huge and expensive which the $80 bonus credit was not going to cover.

I really wanted to like Airbnb, but the experience made me appreciate commercial hotel chains. I do not plan on using the app again unless I have a backup place to stay. It’s been four days and I am still waiting for my refund. Even though this cancellation was the fault of Airbnb and they couldn’t adequately address the issue, I still have to wait up to 15 days for my refund.

Extremely Bad Airbnb Host Protection Experience

I wanted to share my extremely bad experience related to Airbnb. I just recently started hosting and had my first bad guest. The guest stayed for two nights, she violated multiple housing rules (that they were supposed to agree to and comply) and damaged my property. After the guest left, I noticed the damage they caused to the bedding and found out from neighbors that the guests didn’t comply with my house rules. I didn’t know how exactly I was supposed to ask for so-called host protection and it was not properly explained on the website, so I asked Airbnb support how I was supposed to file a claim for damage to items in my apartment.

I had to wait for almost three days before getting a reply, even though they promised to reply within 24 hours. When I finally got a reply explaining the procedure, I opened the claim. Here I must mention that guest checked out on March 18th and the claim was opened on March 21st. I couldn’t open it earlier, because I didn’t know how. My claim for a refund of the damaged items was immediately rejected by the guest (didn’t expect anything out of that, but this is procedure), so I escalated it to the host protection request.

Little did I know my request got denied on March 23rd (the same month, I must mention) because I didn’t submit it within 14 days. Ridiculous, you would say? No, not for Airbnb. Apparently, I had 14 days to submit a complaint and I didn’t follow this timeline, when there were just five days that passed between the guest leaving and the answer to my request for host protection being received. I have contacted Airbnb to inquire why they gave me such a ridiculous answer that didn’t make any sense.

After two days of silence, I received a message saying they declined my host protection request because my next guest had already checked in and I had to submit requests only between the check-out of one guest and the check-in of another. Here comes the interesting part: the guest who caused the damage checked out at 11:00 AM on March 18th, but next guest checked in at 11:30 on March 18th. As per Airbnb policy, I had precisely thirty whole minutes to:

• Discover the damage

• Document all the damage

• Find similar items online or buy new items that needed to be repaired or replaced

• Submit a claim via Airbnb

• …apparently also have time for cleaning and greeting the new guest

Who they think I am, Barry Allen? Airbnb rejected my host protection claim on bogus reasons like these. They left me to pick up the bill, they made up ridiculous excuses not to assist me in any way and this is how their host protection works.

As an employee of quite a powerful Belgian law firm, we already had to deal with multiple complaints against Airbnb showing total disrespect for personal belongings or damages caused by guests towards the hosts. It doesn’t matter how severe the damage is and what kind of proof you have, Airbnb will always find the way to dismiss your claim and to not give you deserved and promised protection.

What is interesting is that once hosts start to file complaints, lawsuits and go to the press, Airbnb immediately settles cases, pays the demanded compensation and then begs them not to leak the story to the press any further. Anyway, if you have problems with Airbnb, my advice is complain, complain, complain. The best way is to complain to the California Better Business Bureau, then your complaint will be published in multiple places and will be forwarded directly to Airbnb headquarters. They will have to read and act on it. To lodge a complaint, you don’t have to be in the US; it’s enough that business office is there. We have to force them to respect hosts’ and guests’ rights and stop treating us like cows to be milked.