Airbnb Quick to Collect Payment, Slow to Respond

I am a Filipino citizen and would like to share this story hoping that would reach the head of Airbnb or the right person to act swiftly and accordingly. During my search for places to stay, for which I needed to attach my visa application for Norway, a friend of mine suggested Airbnb. It was my first time using Airbnb. Their apps and website seemed amazing because they were so quick to find what I needed in Oslo, Norway: a property for a month’s stay from October 13 to November 12, 2017.

The first property that I successfully booked from a host charged my credit card after a week. It was then cancelled by the host and I received an email from the Airbnb Team:

“A refund of ₱62627.91 has been issued to your credit card for your reservation at the ‘modern studio apartment with view’ (you originally paid ₱62627.91). While this refund is immediate on our part, it can take up to 15 business days for the funds to reach your account. Thanks, The Airbnb Team.”

Below my email message to them:

“Good day Airbnb Team! This is my third time to message you to follow up but it seems you are ignoring my messages. I know perfectly well that you are receiving this because in the message itself from Airbnb between the host and guest you immediately deleted you can see an attempt to exchange contact numbers and email addresses. It has already been a month and five days and yet the refunds have not yet reached my account. Give me some updates and actions regarding my refund. I am impatiently awaiting your prompt reply or otherwise you will have a bad image on social media and the international news.”

I don’t know if someone had the same nightmare that I am experiencing, but the Airbnb’s greed in collecting payment quickly but slow to respond or act swiftly to refund payment to the guest is obvious. Though I booked another property with Airbnb which successfully charged my credit card again, I hope this time the host will not cancel it and I hope not to receive or find future surprises from Airbnb. I am still awaiting Airbnb’s refund. I wish that you guys all out there shout out your negative experiences with Airbnb to the international press to expose their greedy scheme. They ignore their responsibility to act immediately in terms of refunding payment to guests like me. I will keep sharing and shout out my story until they listen and act accordingly.

Airbnb Host Locked Women out of Granada Apartment

My daughter just made an emergency call to us from Granada, Spain. She and her friend have a room in an Airbnb apartment, and went out for the evening. They came back about 3:00 AM and the host (a woman) would not let them in. They have been outside for hours, and called the police, the American Embassy, and Airbnb, and no one would help them. These are two young girls (about 22) who have recently graduated from college. Their passports are in the apartment, so they cannot get a hotel room or anyplace else, until they get their passports. This woman is horrible. They know she is doing this on purpose – this is a horrible and scary situation. Their bags and all IDs are inside this woman’s apartment. Airbnb won’t do anything. They should not have such despicable people as hosts that would abuse their guests… Airbnb has put my daughter and her friend in an unsafe and scary situation.

Abandoned by Airbnb When Berlin Host Cancelled

I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.

Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.

I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.

My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.

UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.

Know What You’re Getting Into Before You Book

In the city center of Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, there was a cozy and quiet Airbnb apartment for rent in a building over 100 years old. It was newly renovated and in the historic center of Palma, located 150 meters from City Hall Square (Cort), 300 meters from the cathedral, and just 70 meters from the Plaza Mayor.

I would like to share my experience with you about this Airbnb host. I heard that Airbnb will start doing inspections and I am very glad for this. My last experience at Palma was not very good for a few reasons. I don’t want to make this story very long but I want it to convey what you are getting into if you are thinking about renting this apartment. The only good thing I can say about this apartment is that it was a good location if you like to be downtown. The rest I will be honest with you about; not a word of this is a lie. I have pictures and recordings to document my stay.

The stairs (she mentioned that there was no lift) are a nightmare. They aren’t meant to be used by older people; this should be mentioned in the listing. What she forgot to mention was that the building right beside the apartment (I mean less than two feet away) is under construction. The sound of drilling is still in my head. We had to leave from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The noise seemed like they were actually in our bedroom. It was really terrible and extremely loud.

On a previous trip to Palma, we went to the beach and came back around 3:00 PM to take a nap. Not this time. One day we arrived at the apartment early and it was impossible even to talk because of the noise. I wrote a private letter to the host and the answer I received was not very good. He gave a very poor apology, saying that it was not noisy. I have this recorded.

There was also a very bad kitchen. It said on the listing that the kitchen was fully equipped, but there was not even a kettle to heat water. One knife that barely cuts.

The most important aspect for me was the safety. There was no fire escape, only two fire extinguishers in the second floor (people could be fighting over using them). I don’t know the rules in Spain, but this is unacceptable. An accident can happen when people smoke everywhere. There was no place to go in the event of a fire. There were also ants everywhere; the host was so “kind” that he left an ant killer spray.

Dreadful Customer Service with Airbnb After Host Bailed

On June 30th, I booked a one-night stay in Barcelona. The host messaged at what time I was supposed to check in. It was in Spanish and I couldn’t understand a word of it. My battery was extremely low and I was running out of data. I asked him to reply via text or call, and in English. He did neither. I’d been travelling all day from Granada and had a train to catch for Paris at 7:00 the next morning. It was essential that I slept well. He ignored nine calls and still hadn’t replied to a WhatsApp message over two hours after the time I’d arranged to check in.

I had to find somewhere to sleep and after asking at hostels and hotels that had no available rooms I eventually found a place after walking around with my luggage, tired and annoyed. The only available room they had was 127.34 euros. Was I supposed to walk around and compare prices to find somewhere within the price bracket, assuming they had a room at all!? What’s the alternative, sleeping in a park? What are the chances of finding a last-minute room in Barcelona, let alone one for 60 euros? It’s an impossible task.

Airbnb offered me zero assistance in finding additional accommodation. I was told by the adviser on the phone (after calling twice and being on hold for around ten minutes) that it was too late to book an alternative Airbnb room and I was left totally alone. I had no data or phone battery to research. I had to wander around from hotel to hotel. After being told at numerous hotels and hostels that there were no rooms, I booked the first available room. I didn’t just decide to book the most expensive room available.

I have now been told in a very highhanded manner that I can’t be reimbursed, as I didn’t clear it with Airbnb first. Should I have stood in reception and been on hold for another ten minutes with a dying battery to be told it was okay to book a room? The customer service representative has also refused to forward my case to a senior manager and told me that he considers the case closed.

On Facebook they asked me to send a direct message with my email on Twitter. I did and waited over a week for a response. They only ever messaged via Twitter despite asking for a direct email address. I kept it up and they sent this response: “Thanks so much for your patience throughout the revision of your case. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have decided to reiterate our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Thank you for your contribution.”

The arrogance is astonishing. This is the most appalling customer service. Any advice on what I can do?

Not Paying Attention to House Rules Can Cost You

I had a flight to Zurich two weeks ago. When I was boarding, I made a booking on Airbnb at the last moment, like I always do. This is my travel life style; everything is booked at the last minute, and I thought no host would complain about it. Anyway, I booked it, they charged my card, and after a while this host in Zurich said that I could not check in at the time I wanted (1-2:00 PM) and I needed to wait for him until 9:00 PM. For me, after a long flight the last thing I want to do is wait seven hours with luggage, tired in the airport. Of course I wanted to arrive, take a shower, sleep, and then explore the city.

When I saw his reply that he only checks in guests at 9:00 PM and later, I said he could cancel my booking. He rudely said no, that this was my problem for not looking at the house rules on his profile page before I booked. I checked his page, and it was my mistake. I totally agreed with him and asked him what I could do now. I had already paid. Again, I was completely okay with this being my mistake, because I made the booking in a hurry before my departure. However, from the beginning I saw a rude attitude in his messages and honestly did not want to see his face. Even though I had already paid, self respect is more important than the fifty dollars I paid.

I arrived in Zurich, met my friends for coffee, and told them the story that I had to wait for host until 9:00, and that the host didn’t sound like a host. My friends told me I could stay with them, and forget about paying 50 USD for an Airbnb. I was very happy. That evening this rude host started asking me where I was, and why I was late. Really? I rented a room at his place, where he lives, not the entire home, and he wrote in his profile that checking in anytime from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM was fine. Why should I hurry? He would be home all this time, waiting for me and his other guests, because this is somehow extra income for him. Why would he tell me he is not a hotel and I most arrive at the time which we agreed upon?

What is it, if not a hotel? The moment you start to get any money from a guest it’s called rent, and I’m his customer. I wanted to write a negative comment about him, but was busy with my travels. Now Airbnb is saying I can’t write a comment after 14 days, which is sad, because he wrote a comment about me. I don’t know how to remove it, or how to write and report about him.

Airbnb Disaster Avoided: Almost Homeless in Seville

A month ago I reserved this house in the Jewish quarter of Seville, happy with the price and the location and reassured by more than 30 positive reviews. The host was quick to reply and easy to contact, at the beginning. Five days before the beginning of my journey, I wrote him a message on Airbnb to ask him about some facilities and the check-in procedure. After more than 24 hours of waiting for news from him, I tried to call him on the “verified” number, which turned out to be wrong. As a consequence, I called Airbnb customer service to inform them of what was going on.

The guy from Airbnb told me that he would try to get in contact with the host, who – according to the reviews and to his profile – used to be quite active on the platform. After 36 hours, the host eventually replied to my questions about the facilities, but he eluded the question about the check-in time. I asked again about checking in, and also demanded he provide a proper working mobile number. After some hours, he gave me a new number and told me that he would contact me via WhatsApp straight away (but of course, he didn’t).

Late in the evening, Airbnb customer service called me, saying that they had finally reached the host over the phone, and that he intended to cancel my reservation. Obviously I didn’t know a thing about his intentions, and that happened three days before I was supposed to arrive. When things started to sound weird after contacting customer service for the first time, I reserved another place (not the house of my dreams… but what can you expect with a very last-minute booking?) with flexible terms, in order not to find myself homeless in Sevilla.

Since the host just “announced” his intentions to Airbnb’s staff, but didn’t really cancel the reservation, customer service did it in his place. I got a full refund from Airbnb. I don’t know what this guy had in mind… if he wanted to scam me, or if he is just an awful person who for whatsoever reasons wanted to leave me without a place to stay, ruining my holiday in Seville.

Airbnb Fail, Kicked out of Barcelona Flat

On May 24th, I stayed for one night at a flat in Barcelona, and it was an absolute disaster. That night, things were very loud. Despite going to bed at 10:30 PM I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30 AM when the party outside my window finally died down. These conditions were not conveyed to me ahead of time. I calmly approached my host about this the next morning at 8:40 AM. Rather than trying to resolve or talk through the issue, she canceled my reservation and demanded I leave the flat by 12:00 PM. I received a refund at 9:30 AM after which I frantically tried to contact Airbnb for support while I searched the website for alternatives. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone from their support team, and the website yielded “zero available rentals during my preferred time frame.”

By 9:40 AM, my host became hostile. By 9:55 AM, she was back at the flat demanding I leave immediately. She threatened me by saying: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Don’t make me call someone to remove you.” I tried to reason with her; I was afraid and alone, and I felt it best that I leave immediately. I hailed a taxi to a nearby hotel where I shelled out 500 euros per night for the remainder of my trip (2500 euros total). This was five times what I had budgeted for the trip – the host’s flat was only 80 euros/night. Seven days later, I still have not heard back from Airbnb support on this issue, despite sending the desperate email attached. I am massively disappointed with their vetting process for hosts, and for their lack of customer support in resolving the issue and making me feel like a valued customer. I have three upcoming trips planned with Airbnb over the next six weeks, and I’m tempted to cancel them all.

Airbnb Customer Service Handles Lack of Wifi Poorly

I booked an apartment through Airbnb in Madrid for a long-term stay, about 60 days. I never met the host. This wasn’t a problem, as I was shown around by her friend who was also the person I was to solely communicate with about any problems. The first thing I did when I arrived was check the wifi signal, as it was listed as an amenity on Airbnb. The connection was terrible and always disconnected due to the router being three floors away and shared by a number of other guests. I told the host’s friend about this problem as well as the host herself and they mentioned that they would bring a signal booster around within the next couple of days. I waited patiently whilst delaying my work and losing some income.

Eventually the host’s friend arrived with the signal booster which we set up and tried but it didn’t make a difference at all. The host’s friend also mentioned that some guests have had problems with the wifi in the past too. After fiddling around with the signal booster by putting it in different positions for about an hour the host’s friend gave up and left. At this point I phoned and complained to Airbnb, who told me that they would help me find a new place before my next installment of £1000+ was due. However, they did not keep their promise and this forced me to cancel my booking.

When cancelling my booking the website told me the amount due was for the next 30 days; to cover myself, I paid this so that after the 30 days were up I could move somewhere else. However, this was not the case. Upon canceling my booking on the Airbnb website it stated that I must pay for the following 30 days but it didn’t tell me that I was not entitled to use the apartment for these 30 days that I just paid for. At this point, I was in such a panic and contacted the host telling them what I had done. Luckily they agreed to still let me stay (as they should – I paid for those days). During the 30 days I was staying there I complained a number of times to the host and the host’s friend as well as Airbnb and nothing was done about the situation with the wifi.

After the 30 days were up, I moved into a new place and this time talked to Airbnb to request half of my money back. After a few emails back and forth with the woman who was dealing with my case, she stated that according to their terms and conditions I am only entitled to four days of staying there as after these four days is when I cancelled… even though I paid for 30+ days and lost out on thousands of paid work. On top of this, Airbnb could clearly see in the chat log that the host was lying through her teeth as she said that I sent her a message saying that the wifi was working when there is no such message; there were only messages of me complaining about it. I am never going to use Airbnb again. I thought being a modern company they would have some ethical consideration and take things into account rather than blasting ”according to our terms and conditions” in my face.

To sum it up, I spent £1300 on an apartment for 33 days, and they told me I was only entitled to four days’ refund as I cancelled my booking to prevent myself from losing out on more paid work due to the amenity problem. If Airbnb reads this then they can be assured that they’re going to lose a lot more money than the modest refund that I requested for being screwed over by them and the host.