Host Switched Addresses: No Refund Given

Our party of eight had booked this 5-bedroom in Manhattan for our family vacation. Approaching our departure date, we discovered that the host been cancelling on people very close to their arrival or directing people to an address different than the one that we had booked through Airbnb, with one bedroom fewer and bunk beds. We were traveling all the way from Denmark and naturally we would have liked everything to go smoothly upon our arrival. So we began to worry. Three days prior to our departure, we got a message from the host with a different address, four blocks away from the original. In light of several prior reviews stating the same thing happened to them, we contacted Airbnb in the hope of getting a return. The host has a strict cancellation policy, so we could’t just cancel ourselves, as then we would lose all the money for the booking.

This is when we really experienced the fear and horror of trying to get proper customer support from Airbnb. It was nearly impossible to get someone on the line who was able to help us and we called Airbnb back repeatedly the following days (getting six different representatives). They kept promising a certain group called “The Trip Team” would call us back and that our case was marked as urgent as possible. That call never happened and every time we called back to follow up, we had to start all over with someone new. We were also told that if The Trip Team did not call back, we could call and ask for the emergency hotline. However, after calling and asking for this emergency hotline, we were told it did not exist.

The supporters gave very vague messages and empty words of comfort back (such as a generic “I can understand how frustrating this must be to you, but rest assured, we will find a solution” about 100 times or so…), but they did advise us not to contact the host any further – they were going to take care of that – and asked us to look for another listing in New York, which Airbnb could offer us instead. They also told us that if we could not find another suitable listing, we could get our money back. Since none of the available listings could host all of our family together, we thus opted for the refund. Over the phone, Airbnb agreed to the refund and we asked for it in writing.

Less than a day before our departure, we got the following in writing: “After speaking with her [referring to the host], that’s the only time we can apply a cancellation on this particular reservation. Your host payout is already frozen so rest assured your funds are safe with us.” At least this meant our money wouldn’t be transferred to the host, so Airbnb could honor their promise of a return, right!? While not exactly as concrete as what they’d promised over the phone, this is the last communication we managed to get from Airbnb prior to our departure and we had clearly made them aware that we might not be reachable via email. At least Airbnb and the host had a US number they could reach us at after our arrival in the US. And we clearly and in good faith stated our intend of having Airbnb cancel the reservation with a full refund. Hence we “rest assured” that there was nothing more that we could do.

Meanwhile we had booked a hotel in New York, certain that the Airbnb deal was off and it was only a formality to get our money back. Airbnb even acknowledged that we could book a hotel by compensating us with a tiny amount of $162 for the first night, i.e. at this point they even acknowledge that there is a problem. What a terrible thing to go through right before leaving on vacation! But it didn’t stop here…

After checking the email connected to Airbnb several days later, we were shocked to learn, that despite Airbnb’s promise of the opposite, the money had been transferred to the host and on Airbnb’s site it looks as if we made a cancellation. Consequently, our family paid approximately $3000, which has already been distributed between the host and Airbnb!! At the time of writing, we have tried all that we can with Airbnb to get them to honor their agreement and return the money, but to no avail. They only evasively answer and insist that we had simply misunderstood the host. Yet we have in writing that the host changed the address prior to our arrival and in light of the other reviews stating the same, we cannot accept Airbnb’s unfair ruling in this matter.

Furthermore, we have been acting all in good faith and based on the advice from Airbnb support and been promised a refund, in addition to being told explicitly in writing to “rest assured” that the money was frozen… only to find out later that Airbnb went ahead and completed the transfer. In any simple matters of trade, the buyer cannot be required to pay for something, which is not what was agreed upon in the first place. This matter is no different! Rest assured, Airbnb, that we will continue fighting this until we get our money back. Meanwhile we hope that this posting helps others learn how few options they have of getting a return (if any?), if they have booked one place through Airbnb and learn in advance that upon arrival the host directs them to a different place. And how terribly Airbnb treats guests in such matters. It is pretty obvious that there is a severe conflict of interest, when, by siding with the host, Airbnb earns money, and in case they side with the guests, they don’t. So before you go out and book your vacation through Airbnb, have this very costly and horrifying experience in mind!

Last, but not least, avoid booking a “Huge UWS 5 Bedroom by Super Host” in New York from this host (Kyleen Taylor). And yes, she’s still a Super Host, despite her cancellations and scam! If it helps others, the original address of this listing is “168 W 78th St, New York, NY 10024, USA” and the address the host gave us three days before was “78 W 82nd Street”.

Guests cook pot butter – Stench lingers a week later!

New Years Eve we had guests arrive with a late night check in at 2 am… They were supposed to spend the next few days skiing…but instead they stayed inside and cooked pot butter! They invited 6 other guest who joined in the partying and at 3 AM we had several strangers smoking a huge bong, noisy, stinky mess! They left without one word. My beautiful guest house was trashed. Food, garbage, wet towels, pillows, blankets and 3 day old dirty dishes left for me to clean up. I was horrified by the level of mess left behind, but the worst part is the stench of the marijuana butter/oils they made and used to make brownies and cookies. Its been 4 days, windows open and the smell is just as bad. Several bottles of FreBreeze and its still beyond stinky and I cannot host other guests until the smell is gone. The carpet is new and they must have spilled this pot oil all around. My husband is beyond angry, disappointed and upset….I’m kicking myself for signing up for this airbnb…so NOT worth this heartache…our beautiful guest house was trashed…I don’t get why someone would destroy a beautiful home. Why not go to some cheap hotel in trashy area and do this type of crap?

If you have a serious problem, Airbnb is nowhere to be found

New host. Had several reservations booked. Became concerned when I didn’t hear back from my correspondence with guests. Had one guest who became pushy and passive aggressive before her rental dates. Informed Airbnb. Customer service was good at mediating and said they’d protect me. To call them if I had a problem with guest. Guest was not a good communicator and had no graciousness at all. Wanted me to let someone into the unit before her, that had not made the reservation. I wasn’t comfortable with it. Airbnb had every excuse for the guest and said I should let other members of the group in that didn’t make the reservation. Ended up cancelling reservation. Reached out via text message to next guests cell phone, only to find out she never received my emails through their site. Tried to talk to Airbnb and some dope named Lyle senior case manager decided it was all my fault and I’d pay a penalty for it. Tried to call with new information that guests don’t receive email, got tossed around. Got contacted via email from Lyle even though I asked to go above him. Was told their community relations dept would call me back. They never did. Called them a day later. They disconnected me. Called again. They had no record of the day before a conversation and reiterated that the decision by Kyle was final. They never let me talk to anyone higher. I dumped their service, app, my reservations… Everything. They couldn’t care less.

I was gang-raped in Budapest – and Airbnb ignored me, then insulted me

I was in Budapest on Memorial Day weekend. Checked into an Airbnb rental at 7 pm and the host, Gabor, told me that I could call or text him anytime with any questions. Despite it being a Saturday night, I immediately began working on a report titled Women, Business, and the Law. At 9 pm, I realized that I hadn’t eaten since 8 am. So I texted and called Gabor, asking for the location of the nearest convenience store. I received no response. At midnight, I did the same—and again, had no response. Finally, at 2 am, I stopped working and left the unit. It had been 16 hours since I’d eaten. Immediately, I realized that I’d left the key to the apartment inside. What to do? No one was working at the front desk. Airbnb wasn’t answering. The US Embassy wasn’t answering. So I wandered Budapest, doing my best to avoid the drunken crowds. Took photos. Called my best friend from high school, Michele (in Texas, where it was a reasonable hour). But after an hour, she had to go feed her kids. Around 6 am, I came around a corner and saw a woman being harassed by a group of men at a major intersection. I won’t abide seeing a woman in distress, so I told them to stop. They said, “make us—either with force or money.” I said, “I’m not an idiot…I didn’t bring much money, knowing that I’d be among large groups and I’m clearly not Hungarian.” They said, “Oh, so you must be American—so get money.” I said, “I brought one credit card, and I don’t know the PIN for it. I don’t take money out on credit cards.” That made them angry. So, I’m told, they hit me in the back of the head with a steel pipe. Dragged me into an alley. And 4 to 6 men raped me. The next thing that I remember, I was awakened on a gurney in a hospital covered in blood, with most of my clothes cut off and an orderly screaming in my face that I was a “disgusting American maggot f***ot who deserved what happened and probably liked it.” He also said I had to leave the hospital immediately. Even though I was in shock and completely confused, I managed to ask, “What happened to me?” He said, “You know what happened—and you wanted it.” So I got up, found the doctor and asked if I really had to leave. He said, “My god no! We still need to do a CT scan, blood work, and more invasive tests. We thought you might be dead. You have to stay here at least 12-14 more hours.” I asked again, “What happened to me? Please tell me.” He said, “You really have no idea? Even through the pain medication?” And then I realized. So I left the hospital; I couldn’t wait through that. So I tried to talk to the police, to file a report. They laughed at me and said, F you, American f***ot. I got to a hostel, but Airbnb still wouldn’t answer. I still couldn’t contact the Airbnb host or get back into the unit. Then I had to call my mother and tell her what had happened to the youngest of her five sons. Then the US Embassy, who provided advice on getting a locksmith for the Airbnb unit and a replacement phone (mine had obviously been stolen during the attack). A couple days later, I left Budapest for Prague. Airbnb wouldn’t help me there either. I had to walk everywhere because I had no currency—including to a clinic to get post-HIV and STD exposure medications. The meds made me incredibly sick. I lost 40 pounds. Finally, in Berlin, Airbnb started calling me incessantly. Trying to seem like they were my friends. I said, I’m not talking to you. Everything has to be by email. Because you failed me as a company and as human beings. This will all be documented. So they called my mother—without my knowledge or permission. My mother, who has been dealing with my father’s Alzheimer’s. And told her that I’m “unbalanced.” My mother told them (politely) that she didn’t have a word to say to them. My parents both worked for the US government and don’t like attention. Then Airbnb changed their rules and said I could no longer contact them or their Legal Department. I lived in San Francisco for 17 years, before I moved back to Charlottesville, VA, in August 2014 to help my mother deal with my father. I’ve been in one relationship for 24 years. I work for international organizations, foreign governments, NGOs, and charities. I do anything I possibly can to help make the world a better place. Airbnb does not. It placed profits before people long ago. Proposition F in San Francisco MUST fail. I apologize for the length of this post. Thank you.

airbnb scam, airbnb hosting

MAJOR AIRBNB FLAW EVERY HOST SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

I’ve been an Airbnb Host for over a year without significant problems, but this experience showed me that I’ve really just been lucky not having a nightmare hosting experience before now!

Long story short, I had a guest book one of my rooms for a 3 months stay, just like I’ve done many times before.  I received my first payment from Airbnb as usual… but then when the second monthly payment was due, I received a crazy email message from Airbnb saying that they couldn’t process the payment from the guest!  What’s even crazier, they didn’t cancel the reservation until 7 days AFTER the last date had passed that the guest had actually paid for, meaning that I was going to lose at least a full 7 days of rental income and presumably I no longer had any form of security deposit to protect me… ALL WHILE THE NON-PAYING GUEST WAS STILL LIVING IN MY HOUSE!!!

What sort of idiotic policy is that?  Airbnb waited until the last minute to charge the guest, then waited an additional 7 days before cancelling the reservation with a message (attached) that basically said “sorry, but we’re not going to pay you anything else, beginning 7 days ago.  Good luck getting rid of this leech of a guest!”  Why wouldn’t Airbnb charge the guest sooner, so if there was a problem I could cancel the reservation and kick out the guest before their paid time expired?

I wrote back to Airbnb asking them to clarify the situation… but they never responded!  I emailed them asking if they could use the $400 Security Deposit (my standard deposit) that they should have previously collected to at least pay me for the 7 days the guest had already stayed without paying before the reservation was finally cancelled… no response from airbnb after several days.

What a total scam airbnb has become!  I thought it was a brilliant concept, and it is, but the execution abysmal and the policies lack any sense of foresight or basic protection of their CORE value, their HOSTS, it’s truly shocking to me that no competitor has destroyed them by now!  It’s like comparing Facebook to Myspace.  Myspace was “great” until Facebook came along and showed everyone just how horrible Myspace actually was!  Who will be the new “facebook” of home rentals and put Airbnb out of business?

PLEASE share this story with any current Airbnb Hosts you know so perhaps they can save themselves from this type of horrible situation dealing with such a stupid and irrational company.

 

airbnb scam, airbnb hosting

How to scam airbnb! Guest doesn’t pay, and airbnb waits 7 days before cancelling reservation. Host is left holding the bag and takes a total loss!

 

airbnb ran away and hid behind it's horrible policy

No response from airbnb! Host lost money because guest didn’t pay, even though EVERYTHING was handled through the Airbnb system!

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Airbnb thinks a crappy appartment is suitable for rent

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We arrived in Roma at the beginning of August after renting an Airbnb apartment called “Slice of Heaven” (https://fr.airbnb.ca/rooms/7335934). The apartment was so crappy that we made the decision not to stay. We took pictures of the main defects, stopped the leaking air conditioning and left. We left because: – The air conditioning was not working properly. The host explained that it was due to the extreme heat. As a consequence it was dribbling and two cups were put on the floor to receive the leaks. We were asked to make sure that these recipients stay on the floor to avoid damages. – The walls were damaged on several places, not only due to previous dribbling of the air conditioning, but also caused by previous patches of painting on many parts of the walls and the ceiling. – The ceiling of the bathroom and of the master bedroom had obvious traces of moisture. – There were oil spots on the floor of the terrace. – The speakers shown on the Airbnb website pictures did not work. When we asked the host about them, he told us that they were broken and that he should get rid of them. When asked to review the case, Airbnb told us that we were wrong to leave, and made us pay for one night. After I insisted, they refunded us entirely with Airbnb coupons. Airbnb thus thinks that an apartment with moisture and leaking air-conditioning is suitable for rent. More generally, once a reservation based on the nice Airbnb pictures is done, there is nothing guests can do, even if the pictures are a fraud. The pictures we took in the appartment and the pictures advertised on Airbnb website have nothing in common. We wrote a very negative comment to the host. After one week, the comment had disappeared because Airbnb removed it. It is clear that Airbnb does not care about what kind of apartment guests are actually renting.

Biased Help Center, Two-Faced Host

I cancelled my airbnb account because I was disappointed with the way the help center dealt with my issues with a host. Ironically, airbnb claims to value freedom of speech but could not accept me saying that my friend and i felt “unfairly treated”. Afterall, feelings are subjective isn’t it? When the host left a bad review saying that she had a “hard time”, i accepted it. However, what i couldn’t accept is the lack of professionalism on the host’s part and the service person who responded to my complaint. First of all, I had contacted several airbnb hosts before booking with, let’s call the host S. As we had plans to visit a local theme park on the first day, i asked S if it would be alright for us to leave our luggage before check-in time. And she said ok. This was the deciding factor for booking with S. 5 days prior to my trip, i contacted S again to remind her of my early arrival but there was no reply from her. Her room was PIN-coded and she was supposed to let us know what the PIN is, before our trip. When we arrived, we tried calling her but she did not pick up our calls. We were locked outside for almost an hour. Thankfully, there was a cafe downstairs which had free wifi and we planted ourselves there to message her. Though she gave us the PIN in the end, the room was still occupied and i decided not to waste anymore time but to leave our luggage at the lockers in the train station so that we could head over to the theme park, which was quite a long journey away. We retrieved our luggage from the locker at 10+ pm at the cost of 16,000 won each. When we finally got in, we found used towels in the washing machine that were left behind by the previous guests. The towels gave off a damp stench. We contacted S on Whatsapp Call and found out that the laundry lady had forgotten to remove them. However S said that the laundry lady would clean up the towels the next day and do the laundry for us. When we returned, the towels were still untouched and i texted S about it. She then said that we had misunderstood her and that we did not pay for laundry. Then she said that they are not a hotel, which was quite uncalled for and said that she would accept a bad review from us (which i had preempted her should things not improve). Also, the clothing rack in the bathroom collapsed suddenly and i informed her about it, so that she could get it fixed before the next guest checks in. When i got back, she left a bad review of me, saying that we had given her unclear complaints, while i left a factual review. In my review, i mentioned the convenient location and cosy room which met our basic needs. Of course, i also mentioned how there was no breakfast provided, even though it was stated in her amenities description, but wasn’t a problem as the neighborhood has plenty of cafes. I also cited the hiccups which we experienced. She then replied saying that she accepts my honest feedback and included a few smiley faces 🙂 in her public reply. I then texted her after the review was published to tell her that we were indeed not mistaken about the breakfast as she had posted that under her descriptions. She then replied saying that we had disturbed her privacy by contacting her day and night and added on by saying that we are childish. Seeing how things got personal, i contacted airbnb help center. The personnel defended the host and overlooked the points that i pointed out. He even said that i should resolve matters by talking to the host and not threatening to leave a bad review. Airbnb has access to our private messages with the host, in which he selectively quoted words that supported his claim. He brushed off the fact that S’s remark of calling us childish is not covered under the guidelines. So it seems like guests’ safety in private conversations aren’t protected? But he protected S based on her private messages with me. From this harrowing experience (albeit being my first with airbnb), i’ve decided to discontinue with airbnb as it seems to protect hosts more than guests. Probably so since guests are the ones who give them business. It also disturbs me that guests are rather powerless when issues arise and this will of course pose problems to mutual trust. Of course, my experience is a unique one but i will certainly not return to airbnb in the near future.