Fake Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand

My daughter booked an Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand via the Airbnb site. Her plane landed at night. When her ride took her to the address, the building was totally dark. No one answered the door. She could not reach the alleged host by phone.

While she was wondering what was up, someone drove into a neighboring property and told her that building was not an Airbnb and that he’d had to tell many people that. My daughter did find another place (albeit expensive) to stay for the next two nights. She did reach Airbnb.

The alleged hostess had somehow gotten a clue she’d been twigged and ‘canceled’ my daughter’s reservation several hours after she stated the check-in time, so all that was refunded. Airbnb gave her an additional voucher for a significant fraction of the reservation amount as damages, which she applied to a valid Airbnb for the rest of her stay, and made her feel a lot better.

I did a google search on that address. An New Zealand realty site listed it as zoned commercial. I located a doctor, a dentist, and a travel company, all having that address. The exterior is a house, but at least that block, if not several or the whole street, is commercial now, and it’s been remodeled into offices.

Our major beef with Airbnb at this point is: why on earth did they not do at least this simple Google search on that address when it was first listed? If they did, why did the stuff I found so easily not raise huge red flags for them? The listing now seems to have been taken off Airbnb, and it ended reasonably well, but a lot of midnight stress could have been avoided. It’s certainly colored our whole family’s perception of New Zealand. The reason she went through Airbnb is she knows so many people for whom it’s worked well.

Word of Warning: Do Not Book Airbnb for Popular Cities

If you are like me, Airbnb has become my #1 priority when booking accommodation for a trip abroad. However, Airbnb cancelled my booking in New York with only weeks to spare, even though the booking was made eight months prior. Their customer service has no responsibility to find you alternative accommodation.

For Airbnb this is good business, because now the betrayed and baffled traveler has two expensive options: to book again with Airbnb and either pay more for a similar listing, or select a poorer quality listing. Alternatively, a person can book a hotel which is also more expensive as there is such a short time left prior to the trip.

What was shocking is that Airbnb originally blamed the host for cancelling. Moments after this, I received a message from the Superhost stating that he had no idea why it was cancelled. He had 50+ five star reviews. Airbnb removed all traces of the booking including our conversation chain and the host’s profile.

Airbnb might be good for small cities but for big ones, I would avoid booking as there is a high risk your booking will be cancelled and you have no way to expect the sudden additional expenses.

Guest Caused Thousands in Damages, Airbnb Let Her Go

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I had a verified and reviewed POS and her family stay. They caused thousands of dollars in damage. I instantly called Airbnb as I suspected she had gone to another Airbnb; she had. Airbnb consistently stonewalled me, claiming not to be receiving invoices, receipts, and photos. There was no explanation as to why they allowed her to go to another Airbnb. You cannot post a bad review without giving at least one star. Whilst I’m on about it, the Washington police, in a breathtaking comment, advised that they thought our photos indicated “maintenance issues”.

Unfairness is the only way to Describe Airbnb

Be aware about listing your property with Airbnb. They only care about money and don’t take care of their hosts. I had three listings with them and cancelled all of them. I was a Superhost on all of them with five-star reviews.

They didn’t pay for doors damaged by guests on one property. On the other one, the guests decided they didn’t want to stay any longer and moved out without any notice, holding our dates. Airbnb decided to refund their money. I didn’t have any input in their decision.

They don’t listen to your responses and if you don’t agree with that decision they will tell you there is nothing you can do, because they already decided. Customer service is very bad; don’t book with them. They hold your money for a very long time. I was contacted by the guests who cancelled about a refund, because it took forever. They were not happy.

Reserved Eight Months in Advance, Host Canceled One Month out

I booked a condo eight months before an event I attend every year. Usually I book a hotel, but I thought it might be nice to have a kitchen and an extra room for my son. I booked early because the event is very popular. Since I wanted to be within walking distance of the venue, and I wanted to have a place to leave my car, I knew that lodging with those qualities would be in high demand.

Just over a month before the event, the host canceled, as his property is not zoned for short-term use. His last message said that “Airbnb says they will help you find a new place to stay.” That “help” has so far consisted of phone support sending me other Airbnb listings that are miles from the venue, that don’t have parking, or that are five times the price of my original listing for the dates I want because, again, it is a popular event.

Here I am, a month out, all the hotels within walking distance of the venue are now booked solid, and the ones farther away are 30% more expensive than they would have been when I booked the condo. Airbnb is offering no “help”: no compensation, nothing. Lesson learned: I will leave lodging to the lodging professionals from now on. No more Airbnb, ever.

Resolution Center Terrible, Lying Host in Boston

I had a bad experience that shows how companies like Airbnb can get away with terrible customer experiences hiding behind “we’re not responsible”. First, here is the link to the listing I rented from.

I went to Boston this summer with my wife and daughter for college orientation. The main page on Airbnb showed a rental with air conditioning, and a great location for doing a little touristy stuff (that worked out great). We showed up on a 90-degree weekend, and there was no AC in the apartment. We double checked and his listing and welcome email still included AC. The microwave and coffeemaker didn’t work (I flipped every single circuit breaker, still no luck). There was no soap. No coffee filters. Tea but no way to heat it up. No convenience store nearby to address. Ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts across street closed during our stay. Minimal sleep due to heat.

We texted the host; there was no reply (ever). We requested a refund (no reply either). We involved Airbnb through the Resolution Center (RC), following all their rules (noting the difficulty of taking a photo of a missing amenity or proving online that an appliance doesn’t work). Below I share the detail of shenanigans Airbnb put me through (at least eight different agents), but on the subject of the host, I saw that he has 29 other properties – (now 32; I just checked). If you click the listing above, you hear all about his family and dreams, but doesn’t mention that he’s really a property management company (he does mention being out of the country for 3.5 months). I checked the ownership of the property through the city and found a different owner listed.

Airbnb never followed up with me. I initiated contact about 15 times, and every time I had to repeat what the complaint was. Why couldn’t they refer to the original complaint? They never did anything about getting the listing changed. I see another guest about the same time noted the lack of AC stating “It would have been terrible if it had been hot” when she was there. Anyway, I never received a response from the Resolution Center in six weeks.

We contacted the Help Center and got an email stating that they’d get back to me. We got an email that the Case Manager (CM) would be out for 2-3 days. We called after ten days. A new CM sent a “helpful” email telling me to go through the Resolution Center. I called back in, talked to an agent who confirmed they could see I was already in the RC system, and a CM would have to get back to me. Finally, I got to speak to a CM who said my ticket would be closed as I was in the RC system. I asked how I could contact RC since I’d never heard back, and the CM said “there isn’t a way – they’ll call you”.

I never heard from the RC, and after six weeks I went through the Help Center again. I had to go through the short version again (then the long version when they asked the same questions as the prior agent), including explaining the difficulty of “providing evidence” of something that doesn’t exist and/or doesn’t work.

Even though I pointed out the review confirming my complaint, the listing stayed the same, noting amenities that didn’t exist or didn’t work, and Airbnb basically sided with the host on what I was owed. Ripoff, and no accountability. No “I’m sorry” from any of the agents. I spoke with or messaged with at least eight different people at Airbnb. I’m not using them again. I’m in on any class action lawsuit.

Really this is a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issue, and people should be aware that this organization has also been weakened substantially since 2016. To favor ripoff businesses like this can screw over customers (apparently hosts and guests) and they get away with it because apparently it isn’t illegal to lie about a rental property that you don’t own. I am fortunate to have a congresswoman who listens and cares about this, but I doubt things will change.

I am truly sorry to people who have gotten royally screwed, as my story is really not that bad; I wasted $250 on a life lesson. Even though my 6-7 other experiences were fine to great, and every other host has exceeded expectations, I cannot do business with a company that doesn’t even pretend to be serious about egregious misconduct. I want no part of financially supporting a company that must screw over thousands of people worse than I was treated.

Airbnb Helped My Ex Steal $1700 From Me

Airbnb assisted my ex-girlfriend in stealing $1700 from me, effectively involved themselves in my breakup, and sided with my ex-girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend and I shared an account with Airbnb, during which time I was the primary account holder. The email address on file was my email address. My ex and I also shared a credit card account, from which we each had our own cards. I was the cardholder of the credit card on file, and my name was the name on that credit card.

On June 24, while still together, my girlfriend and I confirmed a two-month reservation in France, as we were to relocate. Accompanying me to France was my six-year-old daughter. A charge of $1700 was made to my card, and the reservation was confirmed. Shortly after making the reservations, the relationship ended, and as part of our separation, my ex took sole control of the credit card account. I turned my card over and had myself removed from the shared credit card account on or around July 6th.

During the account separation, I provided my ex with $1700 to cover the expense of the Airbnb on our card; she of course was not coming to France. On or around July 8th, I updated the Airbnb account information to reflect only my name, and removed my ex’s contact information from the account. During this update, I also provided Airbnb with a new credit card number to charge the remaining balance of approximately $800. This new credit card was also in my name.

On July 18, my ex contacted Airbnb and claimed that she was the cardholder of the card that had been on the account. This was false. She further claimed that the charge of $1700 made was unauthorized. This too was false. She apparently went on to claim that she was being restricted from staying in the Airbnb, and again this was false as she chose not to travel to France (not that it’s relevant or even remotely appropriate for Airbnb to have asked this – keep reading).

I received an email from Airbnb stating that I had 48 hours to reply to a dispute by the authorized cardholder. I replied promptly stating that the dispute was not valid, and that I needed to be contacted via phone to discuss it further. About one hour later, I received notification that the refund had been issued to the card, and that I now had a balance of $1700 with Airbnb.

As I stated above, I no longer had access to this card. I made several attempts via email and phone to dispute this, including speaking with a man at Airbnb, who explained to me that my ex was the authorized cardholder, which was not true. Regardless, he apparently had no interest in understanding what I was trying to explain to him. He went so far as to tell me that the money was refunded to my ex because she was not allowed to stay in the Airbnb. At this point I began to wonder if I was dreaming, or in the twilight zone, or both.

I called back and got another agent on the phone. That agent quickly transferred me to someone in the experience department. He seemed to understand the gravity of the situation and stated that he would work on it and call me back in the morning. When I heard back from him, he explained that his supervisor was not letting him work on the case and that it had to be deferred to Trust and Safety. He legitimately wanted to help, however it is my opinion that was he prevented from doing so.

I am now waiting to hear from someone at Airbnb to resolve this. In summary, I have been cheated out of $1700, Airbnb inappropriately refunded the wrong person for a charge that was in fact authorized, Airbnb did not provide a forum to me to discuss and explain, and the result is that I am now without a place to live in France when I move there on August 20th.

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.

Airbnb is a Total Sham when it comes to Damages

I had a reservation which Airbnb failed to collect payment on and still allowed these guests to check into my place. I called and sent a message to Airbnb. I was told numerous times that everything was okay and that I should not eject these people.

On the second day of the stay, I discovered that my books had been torn and thrown all over the the apartment. Food and drinks had been spilled everywhere and the apartment was filled with the smell of poop and urine. I had no choice but to remove them to prevent them from further damaging my place. Feeling bad for her and her two small children, I paid for a hotel night for them.

I came back to the apartment to find that she had allowed her mentally handicapped child to poop and pee on my carpet, and bed. It took my cleaning crew of two people six hours at $25 an hour to clean the apartment. Stanley Steamer came in the next day and charged me $169 after I could not get that smell out of my carpet with my home steamer. My books can not be replaced as they were my culinary school books. The bed, which was purchased in February when we had an interior designer design the apartment for us, had to be hauled away because the smell was so bad.

I submitted a claim for $1500 for replacement of the bed, and absorbed all the other costs as I plan to write it off as the cost of business on my taxes. After two weeks of back and forth – submitting pictures, quotes, etc. – Airbnb responded with “Congratulations! We have approved the coverage of your damages: $183”

What a joke. Their statement for that was that the damages did not affect the functionality of the mattress. Are you freaking kidding me? My apartment cost us $90,000 to complete because we will have my mother-in-law eventually coming to live with us. I thought in the meantime we would use Airbnb. People are paying $100 a night for my apartment, and Airbnb doesn’t think that the smell of poop and urine affects the functionality of the mattress. What a bunch of idiots. Who is going to pay $100 a night to sleep on a bed that smells like that? What kind of reviews do you think I am going to get and how will that affect my listing?

The bottom line is Airbnb doesn’t give a rat’s ass about damages to their hosts’ property. After I complete my current booking with Airbnb I will be taking my listing elsewhere.

Greed and Lies Win the Day Every Time with Airbnb

Airbnb prioritizes greed over ethics, morals and subverting the law. They have endangered the lives of our guests – a single mother with two young children late at night in foreign country. Airbnb purposely blocked all means of support to all involved. Then they lied to both parties. Their customer service routinely lies to both guests and hosts when it comes to dealing with issues. Airbnb always sides for themselves to unscrupulously take your money and prevent any sort of dialogue that leads to a resolution.

We have been ripped off by Airbnb on several occasions. The first incident was as new hosts. Airbnb made serious errors in instructing our staff setting up the new listings. The results were very damaging to us and our guests. Airbnb errors resulted in a double booking (they admitted technical issues due to an “upgrade”), yet immediately denied any responsibility. They refused to provide any assistance to us nor our guests. The results put the well being of a single mother with two young children at serious risk of further harm.

Airbnb refused to provide any effective assistance to us nor our two groups of guests. They could have easily contacted the guests before their flights to a foreign country (where they were then unreachable). We sent four staff by taxis to the airport and the resort. We alerted airport security and other valuable contacts to help us find our guests. I had found a much superior accommodation (at great personal costs) to provide for the two separate parties.

Instead an Airbnb “manager” blatantly lied to both myself and the guests during a three-way call, stating that it was our fault. The Airbnb manager continued to lie to all of us – stating that there was “no accommodation available”. This Airbnb manager continued to bully myself and staff threatening to penalize us and steal more money from us. Airbnb admitted their error then lied to the guests and stole our money. Eight months of effort – (we recorded an additional 72 lies by Airbnb staff about resolution, and promised compensation) have lead to us being bullied to exhaustion.

We put this aside until the most recent and third major incident of their lying to steal your and our money to put into their pockets already fat with money they have effectively stolen from other hosts and guests. Most recently a guest decide to leave in the middle of his stay to go to another resort where other family members were staying. The next day the guest made a false complaint to Airbnb that the power had failed (not true) and demanded a refund.

Airbnb was informed that the guest left without notice and that the claim of power failure was false. We even provided a free upgrade to my very superior two-story penthouse, and a free week any time they liked. The guests were more than pleased with this. Two weeks later – without notice – Airbnb stole all the rent money. We have spent over 65 hours – mostly on “1-2 minute” holds that averaged over 37 minutes. Always diverted to a wrong extension, that only resulted in them bullying myself and staff with further lies and threats of yet more penalties.

Airbnb has a culture of lying that has been promulgated by their senior executives: to steal as much money for themselves while making huge efforts to obstruct resolutions. Does anyone know the names and contacts of these senior executives and board members for service of legal documents? Does anyone else want to join the cause for truth, prevention of further abuse, bullying and illegal actions? I believe that a settlement at this point will only serve them to be able to continue to hide their very serious infractions. A court decision will be thus made public. Hosts, guests, staff, service providers and perhaps even the competition will find this valuable.