The Worst Airbnb Customer Service Experience

Hey everyone, here is my story. We’ve been using Airbnb for two years and rented about 15 places around the world. The big issue came on our last reservation in Hawaii that we booked seven months in advance. We made a booking on July 30, 2019 for our stay for January 17-24, 2020.

On August 1st, the state of Hawaii had a bill passed that prevents short-term rentals to rent with no license for less than 30 days. It’s becoming a common practice around the US and the world. However, our host waited until the last minute to cancel on us and advised that their listing on Airbnb was flagged by local authorities, who advised them if they kept renting illegally they would get fined a lot of money.

While I appreciate the host’s honesty, I don’t appreciate that host was well informed about the upcoming laws and technically was running their own business illegally while Airbnb was paid – also illegally. The host cancelled four weeks before our check in. I reached out to Airbnb and they advised us that they don’t have any responsibility at all regarding local regulations; it’s up to the host to decide if they want to do business legally or illegally.

We decided to re-book a similar place but it was more costly since we only have four weeks left before check in. According to the bill, any short-term rental agent must provide their license or advise the customer if the property is listed legally. When I asked this question to my new host, the host ignored me and kept silent. I followed up on the next day asking the same question. The host then reached out, saying that they wouldn’t rent this place to us and wished me good luck. With a strict cancellation policy allowing no refund and refusing to cancel the reservation, this host told us we had to cancel. Well, this sounded like a scam to us.

We reached out to Airbnb with this situation and they also refused to do anything on their part. After multiple hours of calling them and asking for a manger they rudely advised us that they were denying my request to talk to a manager and we on our own. My first thought was, “Wow, we just got scammed by Airbnb in real life.”

Within twenty minutes of this disaster, the manager called me. I explained the situation to him, then he told me that he would reach out the host for clarification. Ten minutes later, the reservation was cancelled with a full refund that we still have not received. We were quite shocked about what actually happened and we probably would never use Airbnb anymore. We actually did some research and ended up booking a better option with a hotel.

It also looks like that price-wise, Airbnb and hotels are not that far apart, but if something goes wrong with Airbnb, you will regret any business with them. It’s actually a disaster dealing with Airbnb customer service.

Charged in Different Currency Leads to Airbnb Nightmare

I have an Airbnb setup in Atlanta that was split into three payments. The first payment was on September 16th for 1570.44 USD that went through correctly and successfully. The second payment was on November 12th and it was supposed to be 1485.58 USD; instead, I was charged $1496.08 and a $44.88 international fee because Airbnb charged it in pounds. On the second payment I updated my Mastercard as the primary card on file was stolen.

When I called Airbnb, I first spoke to someone who was absolutely no help and blamed me for the issue. I called again and spoke to someone who said he would escalate it to the software team because it may have been a glitch and I would hear from someone. Nobody ever called or emailed me back. I then called a third day and spoke to someone who transferred me to his supervisor. I had to explain the entire situation all over again and she advised that she would try to process a refund in pounds back to my card and then re-charge me in USD for the correct amount.

She told me she would call me back in an hour. I told her I did not believe she would call back because nobody had returned my calls. She promised multiple times that she would call back but as I suspected, she never did. I called back a fourth time and spoke to someone who once again provided no help and advised he would “try” to get the original agent to call me back. I then called back and spoke to someone who was incredibly rude and said she couldn’t do anything besides request that a supervisor call me back.

I spoke to my bank and they are willing to dispute the charge as fraudulent after I explained what was going on. I am also in the process of filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau because I have never received horrible customer service like this before in my entire life. I will never be using Airbnb again.

Australia Phone Number for Airbnb Customer Service

The Australian number I used for Airbnb was 0285203333. From outside of Australia it will be +61285203333. Don’t ask where I found that – my other half, The Fixer, found it; he can find anything.

I’ve not had the pain some have had going by the stories here. However, my login to my account on my phone and laptop became a total nightmare and I couldn’t get in, so I lost our New Zealand stay at the last second, and made a scramble for another stay. My login had me dropping in and out of the site/app which was hugely frustrating. I tried to sort it but couldn’t: even the techs were bewildered. Three months later I took another stab at it and it’s finally resolved.

I just wanted to give a phone number for those that want one. Maybe the Aussie number could direct harried customers to the correct country number.

Very Unfair Airbnb Situation on Palawan

I just want to share my disappointment about the decision made by an Airbnb case manager. The decision was made without informing me. He promised us that yesterday morning he would inform us first. However, when we checked our account in the transaction history, the guest already had been given a full refund. Let me tell you what happened, so you can see the whole picture.

A guest checked in on November 15 at 5:15 PM. They called me on my phone at 5:23 PM saying that there was no electricity. We then explained them that the whole city was in total blackout (even our own house and our other listing on Airbnb had been affected). I explained to them that usually when it happens it does not last long. We were consistent in updating them. We also explained to them that they could use the emergency lights while waiting.

At 5:37 PM, they messaged me on my phone, saying that they wanted to cancel their reservation with a full refund. At 6:00 PM after contacting the electric company, I gave them an explanation: three electrical poles had fallen due to a car accident. We also assured her that the electric company was going to restore electricity. We also told them that there was no place to stay in Puerto Princesa with electricity except a hotel with a generator.

She messaged me around 7:00 PM saying they had found a place in Rizal (on the other side of the city) that had electricity. We thought it was their way of saying she didn’t believe us. Then I answered that if they have electricity, that hotel is probably equipped with a generator. After that I didn’t get any messages from the guest.

We messaged them around 10:00 PM to let them know that the electricity came back (after calling the security guards of the subdivision). They never responded to that, so we thought everything was settled. The guest never let us know that they left our place. We sent a message on their check-out day to remind them of the check-out time.

We got a surprise when a case manager contacted us more than 72 hours after the guest checked in. It was for the guest who wanted to cancel their reservation, right away. Why did they wait so long to cancel their reservation?

As an Airbnb traveler myself, we already encountered difficulties in some listings, and we called Airbnb right away. Airbnb called the host, and found an immediate and fair solution. In this situation, it took more than three days before we had been contacted by an Airbnb case manager, and it took four days, which was the last day of the stay before it was finally cancelled, giving them a full refund without our consent.

I don’t have any documentation that the guest really left our place that night. They had full access to the house during those four days; they had the keysafe code. The problem with the electricity was temporary and it came back that night since we had no power outage.

I’m reaching out to anyone here who can help us and give us a fair decision. We’ve been hosting here for years and we keep a good reputation as a Superhost. This is the first time in years that I was stuck in a very unjust circumstance here on Airbnb. I felt very upset. My husband and I are really affected. We felt hopeless. We as hosts strive to do our best for guests every time and this is what we’ve got in spite of all the hard work.

Airbnb Customer Service Ignores Fraudulent Charge

My wife and I received a fraudulent charge from Airbnb while we were out of town on our honeymoon during a holiday weekend. We could not stop the charge for $832.38 since the banks were closed for the weekend and the holiday on Monday. Our Airbnb account showed no upcoming trips for the charge to be tied to.

We contacted the Airbnb call center five times to have the charge investigated but we have gotten nowhere. Airbnb is protecting those committing fraud by structuring their company so that customers can never speak to anyone but the operators in the call center. They still refuse to refund our money or cooperate with us in any way. They are only concerned about money and the fees they are paid regardless if the charges are fraudulent.

I will be sharing our experience in as many places as I can find. I will never use Airbnb again and I hope others can learn from our experience.

Airbnb Hosts Cannot Request Government Issued Photo ID?

I have been a Superhost for more than three years. I recently started to require all guests to provide a digital copy (picture via Airbnb message thread or text message) of their government-issued photo ID before check-in details are sent to them. This is for our security as hosts in case anything happens, and we need to file a small claim or lawsuit to recover for damages, fees, etc.

The requirement is disclosed in the house rules. We, as hosts, know Airbnb does not honor their one million dollar host guarantee. I called Airbnb to assist with reaching out to a particular guest who was having issues with sending their ID. The first Airbnb rep claimed that it is against their terms and conditions for guests to provide this information to the host. I told the Airbnb rep she was incorrect because I’ve done this for months and a prior Airbnb rep assisted me with this same situation for another reservation.

Long story short, I called a total of six times and four Airbnb reps says it was against their terms and conditions. Meanwhile, two said the request was alright if it was disclosed in the house rules. I requested to speak with an Airbnb case manager, and the four Airbnb reps who made the false claims about the terms and conditions would not transfer me to a case manager.

If it is true Airbnb does not allow hosts to obtain a government-issued photo ID from the guests, even when it is disclosed in the house rules, hosts have no security if anything serious arises. I would love to hear thoughts from other hosts and guests.

Feeling Like A Freak, Felt Discriminated

I’ve never been able to use Airbnb. The first time I installed the app I was asked for a picture, driver’s license and credit card. I submitted everything, but I never received an approval nor an email, nothing. Since this was some months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico (2017) and we were surviving with the Google Loons, I thought that it was the lack of a good internet connection and forgot about it.

A year ago, November 2018, I wanted a place for a surfing trip. To my surprise all my information was in the Airbnb account: my ID checked, my profile with a picture, my Amex approved as payment method, all cool. When I tried to reserve something, I wasn’t able to do because my credit card needed to be checked (again) and since I wanted a place for the next day (swells don’t wait) I forgot about Airbnb.

In the last couple of weeks (October 2019) I started looking for places to stay during a surfing competition. All my information was there on my profile, and when I tried to reserve a place I wasn’t able to. The message from Airbnb was that my card needed to be verified. I agreed for some debits to be made to my credit card to confirm.

I had been a front desk and reservations agent for Hilton and Hyatt. This was kind of a strange procedure, but I decided to wait for the approval. I started receiving emails, text messages, and messages in the account inbox on the Airbnb app, all messages pressuring me to reserve, the property owner greeted me, but guess what?

I wasn’t able to reserve anything. Now they were asking for a picture of my credit card statement. “No way,” I said to myself. I kept receiving messages from them the whole night.

The next morning I had notices to reserve because I had a pre-approval from the owner while they verified my Amex. I tried to book, and once again I wasn’t able because they needed a picture of a recent credit card statement. Nervously to the maximum extreme, I took the picture and sent it.

A couple of hours later I received an email message through the app and a text message to hurry and book because I had been approved and verified and the property was being held for me for a couple hours more. But as you can imagine already, I wasn’t able to book. Now the nightmare begins.

I decide to review all the messages before contacting the help center and all the messages on the app were gone. My credit card information, gone. I wrote the help center and when they answered hours later it seemed that they thought I was hallucinating or something. They told me they were transferring the situation to customer service (the chat with him was customer service).

I explained the situation over and over to different customer service representatives who contacted me. My main concern was what happened to the information I was providing them. Had I been scammed? Was this procedure normal each time that you tried to book? They wrote me back each time: “Enter your credit card information on your account and wait for it to be verified.”

I couldn’t believe it. Were they morons? I breathed and breathed each time I answered back to be polite and well mannered and to restrain myself from saying what I just said. I even asked if I was talking to a computer. I wrote that I wanted to communicate with a supervisor. I was feeling very angry because I thought he was making fun of me for being a middle-aged Hispanic woman.

I was completely ignored now. I told them I would report them to Consumer Affairs. I was feeling like a freak. I couldn’t believed what happened. Was I overreacting? I took screenshots of this last conversation before they disappeared again.

Looking for their corporate information and willing to even write a classic certified letter, I found this blog. Now I know I’m not a freak. Airbnb customer service is the most inefficient, disrespectful and inconsiderate that I’ve ever seen.

Systemically Sick Customer Service at Airbnb

As a really respected and successful Airbnb Superhost, when I hit the road, I bring a serious set of expectations to the traveling guest side of the equation. As long as everything is perfect and there is no wrinkle in the reservation or use of the selected Airbnb, I have to admit that I generally enjoy exceptional experiences.

My only hedge in ensuring that outcome is picking properties with Superhosts at the helm. I know what it takes to get that status and keep it and it involves a level of commitment that should be the minimum requirement for being an Airbnb host. I wouldn’t have to be wasting a perfectly beautiful afternoon writing this if that was the case. It’s not.

One-hundred percent of my contact with Airbnb support over the last five years has been a nightmare. The level of competence can only be described as several sandwiches short of a picnic. Powered by the deadest batteries in the bunch. Problem solving individuals need not apply.

The sad part is that the robots Airbnb puts in these jobs didn’t start as robots. They are first people that have a brain and heart. However, after being held accountable to uphold and execute the policies Airbnb has in place to resolve the simplest to the most complex issues, they turn into idiots, non-thinking livestock that salivate when the phone rings and they fire up their prepared scripts, emails, messages that all say the same thing: “We can’t help you, it’s not our problem, it’s yours…”

This happens every painful time I attempt to get “support.” They are racing Comcast to the bottom on this one.

Example #1 – Travel Disruption (TD)

This topic is a multilayered nightmare when it rears its ugly head. Every organization I deal with in the “real travel industry” has solid plans and strategies for dealing with TD. It comes with the territory. Try getting Airbnb to help when there is a TD in your plans and you might as well go back to the alternate universe you apparently came here from. Airbnb is not a travel company; they only masquerade as one. You have an Airbnb problem? Good luck, because they have a policy that alleviates them from any help. Incredible. You’re on your own.

Example #2 – No Airbnb

This is different from a travel disruption because it precedes it and is directly caused by Airbnb and their blatant distancing from the false environment they’ve created. They don’t own any of the properties, so why should you expect them to manage them? You shouldn’t but you also shouldn’t have to pay for them when they don’t exist and you have a contract with an organization that says they do. The system is flawed, so buyer beware. Have that direct line to the credit card charges dispute line on your speed dial. It’s the only way to combat the incompetence built into the system to handle anything but a perfect rental.

I could go on, but the real work needs to be done a systemic level within the Airbnb organization, instead of wasting resources on “animal stay promotion” or “experience” sales. They make enough money on the float from the transactions, obscene amounts that haven’t been seen since American Express was in the check printing business.

There are no shortage of travel companies that could be used as a model for Airbnb customer support. Marriott and Westin come to mind. Avis and Alaska Air work. Don’t hold your breath. Airbnb is building a Part Patrol that will be as ineffective as the rest of their organization when it comes to service…

Money Taken for Properties I did not stay in

My credit card was recently billed £1225.00 for two properties in Spain that I didn’t book and did not stay in. The details were sent to the wrong email address so I couldn’t even cancel or sort it out at the time. I have made eight calls now to Airbnb customer service. I have to repeat the story over and over. They say my issue has been escalated – whatever that means – and I never get a call back. Surely with a company doing so well they can employ competent people who can help me. They have lost a customer, both as a potential host and a guest, and I could never recommend them. Next stop action fraud.