Unauthorized Charge; I Don’t Use Airbnb

I had a $1258 charge show up on my debt card for Airbnb. I don’t have an account with them nor has this card ever been used for an Airbnb purchase. I contacted Airbnb support and got this response:

Thank you for your patience as we looked into your question about a suspected, unauthorized charge on your credit card. We understand your concerns, but please rest assured that a full and thorough investigation has been carried out on the disputed charge.

As outlined in the previous message by my colleague, a refund cannot be issued in cases in which we believe a friend or family member who has access to your payment method has used it unintentionally. Unfortunately, we’re unable to release any information regarding the reservation or the user accounts involved without a formal request, such as a subpoena, from a government agency or law enforcement. If a government agency or law enforcement contact us regarding this issue, Airbnb will fully cooperate with their requests.

We again recommend getting in touch with anyone you may have given your credit card details to in the past. Additionally, we would suggest contacting any friends or relatives who have an Airbnb account that you have traveled with on Airbnb previously—if you added your payment credentials on another account and decided to save these credentials for future use, this could be what caused the unexpected charge. Best, Conn.

Fitting the message was signed “Conn”. I’m livid and will not stop until this is corrected.

Complain to Airbnb about Your Privacy

I wanted to share that I emailed Aisling Hassell using her email (aisling.hassell@airbnb.com) to complain about Airbnb’s new policy of requiring guests to upload a photo of their government ID. I got a response from response@airbnb.com:

Hi [Name], a wonderful day to you! This is a community education specialist and I would be glad to assist you today. I understand that this situation is difficult, but let’s try to find a solution. I’ll make sure to exhaust all resources I have to resolve your concern.

The identification info you provide to Airbnb is governed by our Privacy Policy and transmitted using secure encryption, the same process that websites use to transmit credit card numbers. When we receive information from your driver’s license, passport, or national identity card, we store the number in an encrypted form, so you should only have to confirm your identity once.

Only authorized Airbnb employees are allowed access to your original documentation for troubleshooting or internal purposes. Our third-party databases store information according to our written instructions. If allowed under the laws of the jurisdiction where you reside, you may request that Airbnb not process your personal information for certain specific purposes (including profiling) where such processing is based on legitimate interest.

If you object to such processing, Airbnb will no longer process your personal information for these purposes unless we can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for such processing, or such processing is required for the establishment, exercise, or defense of legal claims. You may exercise your rights to object just tell us.

Other Airbnb users who are concerned about their privacy could try emailing Aisling or just response@airbnb.com and then requesting to exercise their right to object to data collection. The Airbnb privacy policy also directs users to opt-out@airbnb.com.

Don’t Buy or Rely on Airbnb Gift Cards

I planned my honeymoon six months in advance and decided on staying in an Airbnb. I booked the house and selected the pay later option. Basically Airbnb allows you to pay some upfront and then the rest later in installments.

A week went buy and there was a deal on Airbnb gift cards. I purchased hundreds of dollars to use on my second installment/payment. Airbnb said that they were having trouble letting me use the gift cards on the payment. They sent me to a specialist who told me they would get back to me in less than 24 hours.

Three days went by with no response. I contacted them again and was told they would contact me in 24 hrs. Two days went by with no response. I contacted them a third time and they told me that their policies didn’t allow Airbnb credit (through the gift card) to be used on a payment. I asked for my money back and they said they couldn’t refund my gift cards either. So now I’m out $600. I’m thinking about leaving a Federal Trade Commission complaint because they are literally not letting me use money or get my money back.

Conspiracy Theory: People Manipulating Airbnb

Somebody manipulated Airbnb. I had two reservations all set up, one in which the host gave me a fake address; the people coming out of the flat didn’t know the guy, and his name wasn’t on the buzzer. After calling for 15 minutes, I left since somebody had painted something offensive near the entrance indicating something was wrong. The guy then called me screaming at me, demanding to know where I was after he refused to answer. I was then stalked at the train station.

The Airbnb crew offered to help with a hostel. It was peak season that summer so I could only stay there two days. I immediately found four hosts willing to let me rent for a month, when suddenly Airbnb told me their system had been frozen; nobody could reserve a place, and they would communicate with me the next day.

I contacted a friend of mine who rents from them. She tried to rent a room and she was able to rent immediately. I called them again, and they sounded like they were lying. The next day they told me something else; it seemed like somebody was stopping them from letting me rent from them. I had to book an expensive emergency flight back to England instead of staying there as planned.

What happened there afterwards wrecked the rest of my future. It had nothing to do with Airbnb, but if that host hadn’t messed with me none of this would have happened. After I moved to stay at another reservation I made prior to that, the host than contacted me apologizing, saying that they really wanted to rent to me but somebody had canceled the reservations.

After I politely contacted Airbnb about all of this mess, they suddenly just deleted five years of my rentals and positive references as if to erase previous hosts’ contact information. For some reason they didn’t want their references on my account, despite being positive.

Thereafter they refused to communicate for a whole two years. I was stuck struggling to rent in England. They allowed me to reopen another account but without being able to use my positive references from prior renters they refused to explain why.

When I was desperately seeking a property to get out of air pollution hell and harassers causing me serious health problems, I started to see weird rental properties in my searches: a room covered in tin foil; a living room with a drawing of a woman crucified; a tent for £80 per night with odd things on it. I thought somebody had asked them to mess with me, leaving me stuck without a home.

The animosity and discrimination has since stopped me from renting from Airbnb, which is frustrating since they are one of the most secure online rentals or the most convenient in my situation. I went to the Facebook offices in London about everything that happened to me which they and Twitter participated in. They told me to sue Airbnb. It’s been five years stuck without a home. My biggest concern is getting lung cancer and dying.

Stealing + Worst Customer Service = Lose Loyal Customers

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I have been waiting three weeks for Airbnb to pay me AUD 1,338.33 owed to me as a host for two reservations. Airbnb has confirmed the guests have paid them but they have not paid me due to a “computer glitch” with “no timeframe” for a resolution.

My messages to Airbnb support get no replies. During calls to them I repeat the story over again, get told they will “investigate”, and no one follows up. When I requested an escalation, I was told no managers were available. I have also tried Twitter and get nothing but platitudes off them, saying there is an “open case” on my account; the case is marked as closed within the app.

The cherry on top is my current guest lied to me and has sublet my place to total strangers without my permission. I reported this user to Airbnb and have had no follow-up from them.

I have used Airbnb since 2013 as both a guest and host with a total of 47 reservations. After this horrendous customer service experience, never again. Airbnb has clearly overexpanded with all the ridiculous ‘experiences’ and has forgotten to look after its original customer base. The trust culture and sharing economy values it was founded on no longer apply.

You are not too big to fail, Airbnb. Word of mouth built you up and will tear you back down again. Fix your shoddy app full of glitches; I thought you were supposed to be a shining example of Silicon Valley disruptive tech?

It’s totally outrageous that Airbnb expects me to wait while they fix their crappy tech when they could just pay me instantly; they already have money belonging to me. A painful realisation that there is nowhere to turn to when the s$%t hits the fan with this company, one that will drive me back to hotels and real bed and breakfasts as a guest. I will never host again.

Airbnb Can’t Stay up to Date on Tax Laws

Recently I was contacted by the County of Marin, stating that I owed $2,400 due to Airbnb paying the wrong amount of Transient Occupancy taxes. I was notified by the county after one year, so the mistake was very expensive.

I contacted Airbnb approximately three weeks ago, and I still have not heard back. I have called numerous times. They promise to call back within 24-48 hours but they never do. I spoke with a supervisor who said he would call back within 24 hours, but no success.

I keep getting reservations, and they still are still charging the wrong amount. I have asked at “a minimum” to please change it to the correct amount, which they have verified to be accurate on their end, and they tell me someone from “the appropriate department” will contact me. This never happens.

This is only one example of the horrible customer service received by hosts. I recommend that everyone boycott Airbnb, and go to VRBO. That is the only way this monopoly will learn how to treat their customers with respect. Absolutely horrible customer service.

Payment for Extra Guest was Never Released to me

Airbnb let a guest stay in my home on December 21st. Come the 22nd after they checked out I didn’t get the payment deposited into my PayPal account. After trying in numerous different ways to talk to someone, I was told that the guest paid the majority of the fee, but when the guest altered the stay for more people they didn’t pay the extra $30.

Airbnb allowed them to stay in my home but refused to pay me my money. It’s been 14 days and I keep getting told someone is working on it and they will get a hold of me but no one has. When I ask to speak to someone above them they say they don’t have that information for me.

Somebody in Airbnb Development should be Fired

I am three days into a four-month trip to Peru. This is with three reservations via Airbnb of one, one, and two months. For whatever reason (I entered a wrong password, am trying to sign-in from Peru, am using my new laptop) the Airbnb site is asking in a pop-up to send me a verification code.

It offers just two options: in a text message to my phone or in a call to my phone. My phone does not work in Peru so I have no way to receive the verification code. I have called the toll-free number a couple times now. The wait time has been short and the person on the other end appears to be trying to be helpful but today I was told it was given to a case worker and there were none available. BS?

I suggested there was a bug in the website in that it was only showing those two unworkable options. She said there was no bug. BS? I suggested that if that was by design that a traveler was required to carry a US-working phone with them when traveling (and there was no way for the help center to intervene) then that was a very bad design and that designer should be fired.

Everybody I’ve talked to in the help center seems to agree this is stupid but nobody can do anything about it. Airbnb needs to get some better developers.

No Hell until you’ve Dealt with Airbnb Customer Service

You have not been to hell until you’ve dealt with Airbnb customer service. My ongoing nightmare began on November 18th, 2019. It was a dark and stormy night. In a brick brownstone in Portsmouth, I started my fight with Airbnb over the new Massachusetts short-term rental law.

Under the new law there are a few exemptions, one being about bed ‘n breakfast and timeshares. Bonus, right? Well, what I thought would be easy became very stressful in nature. I contacted their wonderful support team, mentioning that I am tax exempt under the short-term rental law and asking them to please make all of my timeshare listings a zero exemption.

Thinking the elves in the Airbnb workshop would work some magic on my behalf, I waited patiently for a response. Airbnb sent an email stating every rental owner is required to sign up. The next morning I called the government to verify, that I am indeed, tax exempt. “Yes, you’re tax exempt and just a heads up – we had many meetings with Airbnb and they’re required to have a drop down menu for tax exemptions on the site.”

Great news. I called Airbnb back to see what the customer service elves could do. The next email I got from Airbnb stated this was a voluntary law and you will see below, the actual response from the Regulations Department at Airbnb.

I work on a specialized team here at Airbnb. Thanks for reaching out about our collection and remittance of local transient taxes in Massachusetts. I understand you would like your listing to be exempt from taxes during reservations on our platform, because it is a timeshare.

As you are aware, Airbnb entered into a voluntary collection agreement with the local tax collector. We will be filing one tax return per jurisdiction, with the total combined reservation revenue. This means that all hosts located in your area will be represented by one remitted amount, and we will not be providing your personal information on the return. Regrettably, hosts at this time are unable to opt-out of automatic tax collection (collection & remittance feature).

For more information, please review our Help Center article. Your local tax office can share more information about the Voluntary Collection Agreement with Airbnb and how this process may affect your tax reporting and/or collection. For example, some areas request that hosts fill out worksheets indicating the amount that has been paid on their behalf. If you have additional questions regarding policies in your area, we recommend reaching out to a local tax professional or your local tax authority.

In short, I will say, to this day, I continue to fight for myself and the others out there who are suffering from Airbnb Hell.