Airbnb Guest Pays Double to Avoid Collections

I have been using Airbnb for a while now and I rely on them for work. For three days I had been trying to book my next week’s stay. I got a message saying that I couldn’t and needed to call customer service.

A couple months ago, a payment method evidently didn’t go through so now Airbnb has me blocked from making reservations. I told them that I paid the host because the payment didn’t go through back then after trying and trying to make it work.

After three days of arguing with them I said the hell with it and paid Airbnb another $271.31 to get my account out of collections. My big problem is that no one can tell me when the problem will be fixed. They even have the balls to tell me that they have no way of contacting their own collections department.

Another question that they couldn’t or wouldn’t answer: if I owed them money, why hasn’t anyone called or emailed me? Basically I’m living in Airbnb’s and unable to make reservations, which means that I will be homeless in a couple days. They didn’t care about hearing this.

I’m 54 years old and this is my very worst experience with a customer-based service. I always thought McDonald’s was the worst.

Screwed by Poor Airbnb Host Cancellation Policies

I have been a loyal Airbnb customer now for almost ten years, staying at places both in the U.S. and internationally. I have received nothing but positive reviews from hosts I’ve stayed with, and I have never canceled a stay.

Over these last 9+ years, hosts have either cancelled or ghosted me after confirming my reservation at least three times. I don’t mean cancelling my reservation within a reasonable amount of time before my trip starts. I’m talking about less than 30 days, and in some cases, less than two weeks for trips that I had booked months in advance.

I know folks have had it worse, but the fact that Airbnb continues to let this happen is garbage. All they can offer is a voucher worth 10% of the booking costs. What is the host penalty? Anywhere from $50-$100. That’s it – it’s often a fraction of what guests have paid, many times upfront.

Well, I’ve reached the final straw with Airbnb. I’m turning 40 this year, and as you might imagine with such a major occasion, I began planning festivities well in advance. I typically go to Palm Springs with family around my birthday every year (in mid-March) anyway, but for this milestone birthday, I thought I’d open up the trip to friends.

I polled people I wanted to come to gauge budget and availability, and in November 2019, I booked an affordable place for eight people. While many 5+ bedroom options in Palm Springs exist on Airbnb, the ones that cost less than $800/night are few and far between. Especially in March, which is the beginning of peak season in Palm Springs because of major tennis tournaments, auto shows, music festivals, etc.

Again, being a regular visitor to the area and knowing about these regular events, I always book as early as possible to have the best choice of affordable options. My trip was booked for March 13-18, 2020.

On February 17 – less than 30 days before the start of my trip – I received an email that the host had canceled my reservation. No reason was provided in the auto-generated email, but when I called customer service and asked, I was told that the owner was planning to sell the property.

I obviously don’t know this person’s circumstances, but I don’t think selling one’s home (unless connected with a death) is necessarily an extenuating enough circumstance for such a short-notice cancellation. I spent nearly $3500 on this rental and booked it months ago. It was in a location chosen specifically because it was near where other family were going to be staying.

Of course, when I quickly searched Airbnb after getting the cancellation notice, the cheapest comparable option available was $4691, a difference of over $1300. I was told Airbnb’s policy was to offer a credit of 10% of the original booking cost.

If you’re not a math person, let me explain the problem here: 300-some dollars will not cover a $1300 cost difference. Not only did I express my extreme frustration, but I emphasized that since I booked this place back in November, nonrefundable flights had been purchased, time off from jobs requested, etc.

A host cancellation didn’t just mean my group was out of a place to stay; there was a domino effect of other potential cost implications. After berating customer service about this BS policy, I was approved for a $670 credit. This would have been a fine solution, because since the new property was a bit larger, the cost per person would effectively be the same as the original booking.

There seemed to be some confusing information about the place I was hoping to book, so I immediately contacted that host to get some questions answered. One of which was why I wasn’t able to split the payment as I did with the previous booking and on other listings I had seen. I was not prepared to make a single $4500+ payment, especially given the fact that I was automatically issued a refund, and with Monday being a holiday, it would be several days until those funds would be available.

I was told by the host to contact Airbnb, and when I did, not only did they take forever to respond, they told me I would see the option to do two payments on the final “Request to Book” screen. I think you can guess what happens next. There’s no option to split the payment. I’m still being told I’ll be paying $4691 right now.

I messaged Airbnb again to tell them that – quelle surprise – I have no option to split the payment. You guessed it again – during the time this all transpired, the place I was trying to book was snatched away and showed up as no longer available.

Not only has Airbnb wasted hours of my time, they’ve now cost me more money. Given the ticking clock and the big group I needed to accommodate, I was forced to book the next least expensive property I could find at $4849. Again, if you’re not a math person, we’re now at almost $1500 over the cost of the original booking with only a $670 credit.

To say that I am livid, pissed, irate, beside myself with anger is an understatement. I’m officially done being screwed by Airbnb. I had not intended to spend the few weeks before my big celebration being stressed out dealing with this nonsense, nor had I intended to shell out more money for an already expensive trip which had already been budgeted for.

The absurdly minimal recourse guests have against hosts is unconscionable. Hosts – particularly in big or popular tourist markets – are making hand over fist dollars for these rentals and when they screw up, the guests pay. What started out as being a genius idea has, like most, gone to s%*t because no one seems to care about quality or the consumer. That’s not accountability – that’s greed.

Robbed as an Airbnb Host, No Payment Coming

blank

I have been hosting on Airbnb for quite some time now and I had a reservation for January 22nd-26th. My transactions say that I was supposed to receive a payout of 1600 USD on the 23rd. It is now February 8th and I still have no idea when or if I am going to receive my payment. I have had at least a dozen incompetent case managers that have different stories on why I did not receive my payment and how they are going to help me. No one knows how long it takes for them to process my payment because it is a “technical” issue and that is a department only they have access to.

What should I do… call a lawyer?

Confirmed Booking Glitch Cancelled by Airbnb

I had paid for and confirmed a booking through Airbnb, which was cancelled due to a glitch in their system. On the night before my flight and less than 24 hours before my scheduled check in, I logged back into Airbnb to get my check-in information and the booking was gone. It took over an hour to finally get a person on the phone from Airbnb, and then another hour on and off hold.

All they could tell me was that I had a booking and now I didn’t. The host hadn’t canceled; it was simply an error in the Airbnb programming. Then it was less than 24 hours and I couldn’t book with the same host because he had a 48-hour notice rule. Airbnb issued the refund, but when I asked them to help with a new booking, the guy outright laughed at me.

I could not believe how awful the customer service was. This company simply doesn’t care about people, guests or hosts. They are completely profit driven. They pretend to be a brand that cares, but their actions speak louder. I ended up booking a last minute hotel for the same price.

Airbnb Refuses to Admit System Booked Twice

Has anyone else been double booked by Airbnb? I booked a property in Austin after researching various properties. According to Airbnb, eight minutes later, I booked one of the other properties that I had looked at. I received no notice of the booking and only saw it on my credit card statement after 48 hours. The host and Airbnb are only willing to refund half my payment for the extra property. The Airbnb representative was very insulting and insisted that I would have had to have gone to the second property’s page and clicked on the “Book” button. This didn’t happen. When I asked why would I have done that when I was already finished he said, “Well, I can’t speak to the psychology of why you would do that.”

Reservation Cancellation Costs Airbnb Guests $800

I made a reservation with Airbnb for a two-bedroom unit in St. Pete Beach, Florida, for February 13th through the 19th. Initially, there was some confusion as the host indicated that the unit had already been rented. Resolution services at Airbnb contacted the host and then indicated to me that everything was good to go. This all happened around December 20th, 2019.

Yesterday, January 29th, I received an email form the host saying that the two-bedroom unit wasn’t available; would I take a room with two queen beds instead? This came out of nowhere. The reason I didn’t accept this offer is because I reserved a two-bedroom unit and because one of those bedrooms would be for a six-year-old who is hyperactive. Obviously anyone can understand why I wanted two bedrooms.

Anyway, I contacted Airbnb about this email from the host and after being on hold for half an hour, was told that a resolution specialist was not available right then and someone would call me back ASAP. Two hours later, no phone call. As you can imagine, my frustration was building; my trip was two weeks out and all of this was going on.

I called Airbnb again, and after speaking with someone in customer service, who obviously needed a lot more training, was finally able to speak with someone in resolution services. She indicated that she would contact the host and find out what was going on. I received a message from her later that the host wasn’t available and that she was leaving the office.

I called Airbnb again and once again spoke with someone in resolution services, who kept assuring me not to worry about it and that she would contact the host and get back to me. Again, I got a message that she was leaving the office for the day and hadn’t been able to reach the host. In the meantime, I got a email from the host saying I had ten minutes to decide if I wanted the room with two beds or she would cancel.

Just as I was calling again, I got an email from Airbnb saying the reservation had been cancelled and that my money would be refunded within 5 to 15 days. I did speak with someone in resolution services who did confirm that the reservation had been cancelled, but couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me why.

So here I am, two weeks before my vacation with granddaughter and great-grandson, who are flying in from Connecticut, while I am flying in from Wisconsin, and now we have no place to stay. The person with resolution services did send me several listing they had in the area, all quite a bit more that I was originally planing on spending.

I got on the phone and started calling resorts directly, Not surprisingly, everything was booked, and I mean every place I called. Finally, I found one place where we could get two rooms, which was not ideal but better than nothing.

The bottom line is that it’s going to cost me $800 more for the six days than I was going to pay through Airbnb. Refunding my money is one thing, but are they willing to pay me the extra $800 as well? I think not. I’m never going to use Airbnb again, and certainly won’t recommend them to anyone else.

No Payouts for Airbnb Owner for Two Months

One of my owners has been waiting since December 2019 for his payouts. I have contacted Airbnb numerous times, sent emails, rang local Airbnb offices, sent messages through Facebook… all to no avail. Initially they said the issue was there was not enough information on this particular listing, so whilst they were on the phone I did it again, submitted it and waited. Nothing. Rang again. Redid the information again. Re-submitted it. Nothing. Rang again.

I have done this on repeat half a dozen times now, and made more phone calls. Not one person at this organization has done anything. They have very basic skills that are limited to basic knowledge. I have emailed Chesky, I have called the head office and waited on hold forever. I am at my wit’s end now. This poor owner has thousands waiting to be released but these idiots cannot work out the issue.

Never Received Payment from Airbnb

I am hearing many other hosts have experienced this issue. I had guests stay at my Airbnb in mid-December, 2019. Their total was $500.52, which guests paid on time per policy. I should have been paid around the same time, but sadly it is now six weeks later and I still have not been paid.

I have spoken with customer service at least eight times in the past month. It’s always the same response: there’s a technical glitch around the time of booking that is preventing payment; IT is looking into it; a case manager has been assigned; will hopefully have that resolved for you soon.

I’ve tried to escalate, but they tell me there’s no one to escalate to. I’ve begged, pleaded, threatened to take legal action… nothing helps. I can only pray that some lawyer sees this and starts lining up hosts for a class action lawsuit. In the meantime I’m getting ready to dial customer service for the ninth time to hear the exact same BS they told me eight times previous.

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.