Terrible Communication with Airbnb: No Error Message

As a first time Airbnb user, I booked a place for one night. My visa card was debited immediately. After that, I needed to contact my host regarding details for an airport pick-up. Over a 3-4 day period, I found that the Airbnb messaging system is worse than useless. I received both emails and texts from my host, but I couldn’t reply to either. The texts came in truncated; only a few words appeared. However, my replies appeared to have been sent (no error messages after sending). I also replied to emails, which appeared to have been sent (again, no error messages). After a few days with no response from my host, I realized she was not getting anything from me. I also finally received an email error message saying the Airbnb address did not exist. I then spent about an hour on the Airbnb website trying to contact them for a fix, but got into an endless loop on their help pages. As far as I can tell, they have absolutely no customer support. Finally, going back to their website and messaging from there was the only thing that worked. If the emails and texts simply did not work, they would be useless. However, this system is worse than useless because it gives the appearance that it is working. The Airbnb email invites you to reply and returns no error message when you do, so it looks like it sends successfully. In the case of texting, who does not reply to a text? It’s quick and easy. Again, there is no error message saying the text was not sent. As far as I can tell, the only way you can contact your host is by going through the Airbnb website and sending a message from there. I am astounded at the stupidity of the people who designed software that wasted my time and caused a lot of confusion between me and my host. They need to put a disclaimer such as “you cannot reply to this email” or “do not reply to this text” and send the user an error message if they do try to reply.

No Country for Apartments: Airbnb in Berlin

My 13-year-old son and I had the trip of a lifetime planned to Germany and Austria. I travel to Germany often so I know my way around. We stayed in Hilton hotels in most of the cities in which we only stayed for three or four days before going to Berlin. We both love Berlin and stayed in apartments the last two times we were there. Unfortunately, the company I used to use to book the apartments has gone out of business due to a new law in Germany restricting the renting of apartments due to tax issues. I decided to book through Airbnb and found a great apartment for 16 days. I booked with the owner and paid for the apartment several months ahead of time. I printed the instructions from the owners a week before the trip and started our trip to Germany on June 15th, 2016.

We were having an enjoyable time until we showed up to pick up the keys from a bar in Prinzlauerberg after a nine-hour train ride from Vienna. It seems that Germany, or at least Berlin, has just enacted a law that doesn’t allow people to rent apartments using any service like Airbnb legally for less than 30 days. Now, any company that truly cares about its customers would make sure it notifies you about a cancellation with more than an email to your account… which went straight to my spam folder. They would call to notify you of such a problem or at least make sure you got an email. Airbnb did nothing more than send an email, so my son and I were stuck in Berlin for 16 days with no apartment.

I want to be fair to Airbnb and say when I called them they tried to help and offered to pay for two nights here in Berlin up to $200. They offered to try to get us another place here but every listing that was available online was not able to take us. We tried eight new ones. They were sorry about the fact that I did not get notification of the cancellation but would not take responsibility for not making sure I got the notification. I had printed the instructions a week before I left and therefore thought everything was ok. The money was refunded but not until a month later and my wife just got our statement with the credit yesterday.

Luckily, I am a seasoned traveler and was able to get us in to a Hampton Inn for the last two nights and was able to book the same hotel for all but the next three days here. My problem with Airbnb is that they did not make sure I got the notification of the cancellation in the first place. This is my first and last experience with Airbnb. A company as large as this should make sure that customers get notification of cancellations and not blame it all on the customer. A phone call would have solved the entire problem. I will never use Airbnb again. They have ruined the experience that they so want you to have as advertised online and on TV. We were so looking forward to staying in that apartment in Berlin.

WARNING: If you are trying to reserve anything in Germany from Airbnb, don’t! The laws here have basically made it illegal to rent through Airbnb unless the stay is over 30 days. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER Airbnb or you will soon be the next Internet company to go bankrupt!

Airbnb technical hell

I’m running a small rental company. I’m an experienced host and I’ve advertised my properties on Airbnb since more than 3 years, in total 3 apartments and 7 rooms. I’ve received more than 500 excellent reviews from happy guests. Everything went well till the technical problems started to occur a few months ago. One day I suddenly couldn’t send or receive any messages from guests and potential guests. Nor was my calendar working properly. Being able to communicate with your guest and update your calendar is crucial to rent out, especially if you coordinate several properties.

Of course I immediately called Airbnb and explained the issues. A friendly customer service agent told me they would look into the problem immediately and she passed the case on. But as the days went by and the problems continued to occur, I contacted Airbnb again and asked about the status of my ticket. I was told my case was passed on to the technical department and I just had to wait. So I waited, for more days, and WEEKS.

And the problems started to pile up. As I could no longer communicate with guests through the airbnb system I had to make expensive calls to all guests to arrange their arrival and departure and other practical details. Worse was it to reach those guests with no phones and no visible email address on their profile, resulting in several lock outs and angry guests, and also bad reviews. Several times I tried to contact Airbnb regarding these severe issues, but all I got was the same response “we’re sorry for your problems, but we cannot do anything, you’ll just have to wait”. So I waited, for weeks and MONTHS. I wrote, called, yelled and begged, but no matter how much I stressed the urgency of the very bad situation I got the same answer from Airbnb customer service “we’re sorry, we cannot do anything, you’ll have to wait till the technical department decides to give your case priority”, and there was no way I could be put through to the people responsible for my problems. Those 3 months were a living hell, full of stress, angry guests and misunderstandings. Furthermore, my properties couldn’t be booked because of technical issues, causing a big loss of money.

Finally, after nearly 3 MONTHS the problems got fixed. I asked Airbnb to refund the extra expenses I had as a direct consequence of the technical issues, but those requests were ignored.

For those who doubt this story is true, I can provide screenshots of all written communication with airbnb customer service.

So, my message to you is: Never ever believe that Airbnb will help you if you need urgent technical assistance. You’ll probably be able to reach a customer service agent saying he / she is sorry, but you’ll never be able to get through to those people responsible for your problems.

I’m now using other, more reliable services, you can check them out on my website similar-websites-to-airbnb.fastweb.no