Watching the Boston Marathon… from Salem?

In October of 2018, I booked an apartment in Cambridge for the weekend of the Boston Marathon in April of 2019. As I was preparing to fly to Boston, I realized that I had not heard from my host. I sent an email and then a text message the next day.

On April 11th, before I was to fly to Boston on the 12th, I unearthed a telephone number for Airbnb, called and asked for help. They contacted the host and told me that the listing had been withdrawn. I was in total freakout. They gave me a $60 credit to help find another listing.

Seriously? Everything in Boston had been booked for weeks or months. I posted something on the Airbnb Facebook page and their customer service was calling me with new listings and higher credits. Well, all of the listings were for “Boston” but were actually in towns like Salem, miles away from public transit and Boston proper. It was like planning to stay in NYC and being offered lodging in Connecticut.

Finally, one of the reps who called got it: that location was critical and that Boston lodging had been booked for months. I was lucky enough to stay with the daughter of a friend of a friend. I will never again use Airbnb when I have to have guaranteed lodging.

Cancellation Three Days Before Austin City Limits

I made a reservation three months in advance. I also noticed that the host had cancelled two booking in the past about five days before arrival. If you ever see that pattern, beware. I foolishly booked the place and about three days before arrival she cancelled, using the excuse of a “family death.” It was just way too coincidental, being on the same exact weekend when Austin City Limits festival was happening, to be believed. Those weekends the locals gouge room rates of 200-300% of normal. The next cheapest room I could find was $100 more expensive. Airbnb gave me $12 to offset the difference. I wrote them, asked for a callback, and got nothing. They have completely erased the listing and booking from my history.

Edinburgh Fringe Hell After Last-Minute Cancellation

I booked a central location for myself and eight actors for the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe on October 13th, 2017. All was good until four days before the largest arts festival in the world, I got a message from Airbnb saying my reservation had been cancelled: no apology, no reason, and a mere £100 compensation to find somewhere else for nine people, four days before the festival.

I phoned the host who told me Airbnb hadn’t charged festival rates so I had to pay an extra £1,600 if I was to stay. I then phoned Airbnb who constantly read from a script, thus never giving me a clear answer. They constantly put me on hold and hung up on me on five occasions, only for me to go through the whole process again.

Three hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, I finally got a call from a case manager who told me not to worry and they would find me somewhere. They also told me to keep looking myself. Two days passed and I didn’t hear a peep from them. This was at a time when accommodation for so many at a festival for my cast number was constantly getting rarer and more expensive. I finally (and very luckily) found a place costing an extra £650 out of town, meaning I also had to pay for each cast members travel expenses.

I emailed the host saying how disgraceful they had acted and they replied immediately saying I could still have the room at the original price… too little too late. They informed me it was Airbnb who had made the cancellation with no explanation to them and to me. Throughout the Fringe Festival, on top of performing in two shows and producing and directing one, I emailed Airbnb on four occasions with no response.

After the festival I phoned once more to be told that the case manager wasn’t responding but my case is of urgency so they will find me a new case manager who will phone me in 24 to 48 hours. Still no response. I contacted Trading Standards who told me to email them saying they had clearly breached my consumer rights. I emailed Airbnb; two days later there was still no response. I phoned them and spoke to someone yesterday who said my case is ‘urgent priority’ and she will continue to pursue my case manager and let me know by the end of her eight-hour shift or today.

I still haven’t heard a thing. This spat between the host and Airbnb should not have affected me as I paid the said amount nine months in advance. They should have honoured this but instead have made me suffer both mentally and physically on top of all the other work I had going on at the festival. They ruined my experience as I could no longer afford to network and eat as I had planned due to my losses. They have also wasted a lot of my time.

Host Extorted Money for Confirmed Reservation During Eclipse

Last week, we wrote a review for a host who made us to pay more money for our confirmed booking (a month after we had paid in full) because of the high demand for booking her location during the August 21st eclipse. She claimed there was a booking glitch and she intended to have Instant Booking charge us more. When we booked, there were other options, but at that point (a month before the eclipse) there was nothing left. We couldn’t afford what she was asking, and were worried she or Airbnb would cancel our booking if we complained, as has happened to other guests on forums where hosts claim a “booking glitch”. This would have left us high and dry with our small children. We offered to pay her $500 instead of $1700, which she accepted.

After our stay, I wrote a review detailing the experience, but I have yet to see it posted on her site. Do you know how long it takes to for a review to show up for a host? It has been a week since I submitted it, and I hadn’t received any messages that anything was wrong with it. I’m worried the host will get Airbnb to not post it. They will be able to see it is accurate; all our communication was done over Airbnb messages, including her request to “adjust the price” and her explanation that she decided to adjust the price due to demand. Ultimately, I’d like to see the host respond to our review with a refund of the money we paid under duress, and to agree to post surge-pricing dates on her site in the future, and address future website booking glitches within 24 hours and with Airbnb rather than putting pressure on guests.

Tenants Rented out Home for Super Bowl

I am a realtor and was selling a home for a client. Since the home was vacant, the seller elected to have a home tending service put tenants in the home (it helps owners with utility expenses and whatnot in exchange for a tenant staying for reduced rent paid to the home tending company). We found a buyer and are under contract, and gave the home tenders their 30 days’ notice to vacate. The buyer’s agent emailed me to say the buyer saw the home listed in Houston for the Super Bowl at $2000/night (which occurs before their 30 days is up). The home tender obviously did this (the owner didn’t). I called Airbnb to report this. They refused to even tell me whether the home was rented (we can’t find the listing now because it was likely rented out). They just would not help me, with the representative telling me they didn’t know who I was. I asked if they would like the owner of the home to call them, and they said they wouldn’t help there, either. They are just allowing fraud. The representative was insanely rude and told me to call the police. With what proof since the listing is gone? I honestly can’t believe they do business this way. I used to use them myself. Never again.