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.

Airbnb Lied And My Credit Card Company Reimbursed Me

In May 2017, a Swedish Airbnb host failed to provide essential amenities described in the listing, obliging me, the guest, to check into a hotel for the first of a week’s visit in costly Stockholm. The first Airbnb agent contacted by phone promised to rebook me and offer compensation for expenses but the next day another Airbnb agent wrote that no compensation would be offered and, instead of rebooking me, gave me a minimum reimbursement claiming I had cancelled the reservation (not far enough in advance for a full reimbursement as per the host’s strict cancellation policy).

I tried to resolve the matter pointing out that I had never cancelled the booking but it fell on deaf ears. The Airbnb agent never replied to my showing her the agent’s name and case number I was given who had promised to rebook and offer compensation. Instead, when I placed into dispute with my bank the sum paid out in advance to Airbnb, Airbnb countered with a copy of their cancellation policy. I informed Visa I never cancelled it and that it was the second Airbnb agent who did this unilaterally and tried to lie about it. I also wrote a letter to Airbnb’s CEO in San Francisco detailing the case with names, dates and reference numbers. No one from Airbnb replied to my letter.

In the end, Visa reimbursed me because Airbnb was unable to uphold their claim with any evidence; the bank believed me. I have been an Airbnb host and guest for well over ten years. None of this mattered. I will think twice before I use this intermediary agency to book any future stays. Instead I will look for alternate ways to book private homes. It is truly shameful that Airbnb treats its loyal clients in such a shoddy manner.

Real Airbnb Hell with Snowstorm Approaching

We’re having an unacceptable Airbnb day today. Let me explain what happened. We were not happy with the room at our first reservation, as it was so small that there was no place for our luggage. We have taken pictures of the room (and the rest of the house); the pictures in the listing are not false advertisement but not fair either. There’s no full disclosure of this.

We called customer service at 5:00 PM, after a long trip, to know our options. We spoke to a case manager who did his best. We were told we would get called within the hour but they were “experiencing system issues”. It eventually took hours to find a solution. The first hour we waited at a restaurant and customer service was kind enough to offer a $25 coupon for our dinner.

When it closed, we waited outside. It was freezing in NYC at that time. It was impossible to reach them because the system was down. We eventually went back to the flat, where our stuff was, and called again. In the meantime, the host told us he didn’t feel comfortable having us in the flat and that we should get the refund on his terms and find another solution, like going to a hotel. The situation started escalating.

Three hours after our first call, we received a call back. His best solution was to rebook us but by the time he called us back all the listings that we had looked at and throughly read were already gone. We looked at some other listings together and found a listing that was online. This was already between 8:00 and 9:00 PM and we had no luck booking it. As the situation at the host’s place escalated and we were tired and stressed, we just wanted to get out of there and as customer service found a listing in a different neighbourhood, we had no better choice but to take it.

Customer service sent us a coupon for that listing and we had to add 4 euros and take an Uber to the next place because there was no public transportation at that late hour. As we were not able to thoroughly read the listing because of the said conditions, we asked if it was okay to book the next place just for one night – a reasonable thing to ask after the earlier experience – and Airbnb said that we had to book all three nights. We had no choice and we were happy to get out of a situation where we felt compromised and unsafe.

We got to the place where we are now at 10:30 PM, 5.5 hours after placing the first call. This is a different neighbourhood than the one we wanted, and it seemed sketchy. The house is run down and we found out that this listing is a dorm type of situation with seven rooms rented out and who knows how many people; this was not stated in the listing. So many people are coming and going, the shared rooms including the kitchen and bathrooms are busy and it’s noisy. It’s a hostel here, not an Airbnb. Also the window is broken and wind is coming in with a snow storm coming tonight. We took pictures of it.

We feel like the solution we got was worse than the original problem. We were pushed to take just any solution. We are very upset with the way this was handled. Airbnb could have at least provided us with a hotel room, instead of making this situation worse. We don’t want to stay here and we also don’t want another bad situation with the host just like what happened earlier today. We have been using Airbnb for six years now and this has never happened to us. This is really bad. We feel very upset.

It is almost midnight and we are still chatting with Airbnb customer service, who is still trying to find a solution. The host is asleep of course, but the guests are still running around in this “hostel”. It’s been seven hours and our nerves are wrecked. This is not fair. Tomorrow the weather conditions are going to be terrible, with a snow storm. A comfortable and safe environment is essential. This is what we expect Airbnb to provide, especially after all we’ve been through.

The Worst Customer Service I Have Ever Seen

During this winter vocation, I traveled with my friend to Munich, Germany. We lodged at a German’s flat. It was a wonderful trip and the host was a nice guy. Actually I think it was a wonderful experience there. However, several days after we left, we received a message from that host, who informed us that the glass desk in his living room had been broken. He suspected we did it, which was ridiculous. Why he didn’t he talk to us while we were there, instead of several days after we left?

If we considered this issue important, I thought it would be better to connect with the police at first time. Well, after discussing it with my friend, we thought that the less trouble, the better. We are international students and aren’t willing to get stuck in any trouble. We decided to agree with the host and pay him back 80 euro as a solution to terminate this problem. At that moment, the Airbnb nightmare began.

The Airbnb charged the fees twice, a total of 160 euro. We connected with customer service several times. They made a promise to us that they would return the fees to another credit card which I have saved on my Airbnb Account, but not the card which I used to make the payment before… how absurd they are. Once I connected with them, instead of solving the problems for us, they always said that the fees had been transferred onto the credit card, and we should ask our bank for help.

The bank clerk told me if they had transferred the money into my account, I would have already received it. However, at this moment, I still haven’t received it. What makes me anger is once you connect with Airbnb, customer service doesn’t always reply to you or, if they do, it takes several days. In 21st century, this is the most “wonderful” service I have ever seen.