Airbnb Hosts Fighting Back: Unlist Your Account on April 1

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Calling all Airbnb hosts: Anyone who wishes to participate in the #HOSTSFIGHTBACK initiative please read onward.

On April 1st, 2020 at 9:00 AM we will delist all of our properties from the Airbnb platform in an effort to communicate to Airbnb Corporate that we are not in agreement with their cancellation and refund efforts made during the coronavirus outbreak.

To date, I have lost 65 reservations and almost $48,000 in revenue across my short-term portfolio from Airbnb for the months of March through May 2020. Some of which were guests who received a full refund without falling under the extenuating circumstances policy.

Reading some of your comments on this Facebook Page, it appears that hosts’ cancellation policies are not being upheld and instead of finding creative and fair ways to offer guests and hosts a fair solution during this pandemic, Airbnb has almost completely sided with guests offering full refunds during this difficult time, leaving hosts completely out to dry.

Other short-term rental platforms like VRBO are upholding cancellation policies entirely, and booking.com and corporate hotels are offering travel vouchers to use to be used at a later date. Why are we being treated differently by Airbnb?

Aside from the total disregard of our cancellation policies, I find it appalling that Airbnb is still collecting its host fee on these cancellations they are processing in-house. I have confirmed via the payout transactions page on my personal account that Airbnb collected $79.29 worth of host fees on cancellations from my end, which means they have collected $158.58 total, including the guests’ cancellation fees.

It might sound like a small number, but multiply it by 150 million users on the platform to find out how much Airbnb has taken from you. Go into your “transaction history” page and download a CSV of your transactions. You will see the “host fee” column once you download it.

It appears that the “host fee” is being still being charged or collected on Airbnb’s part and split with the account owner. As you will notice when you check individual reservation details, the service fee is clearly being taken out of your payout (see screenshot).

I believe as hosts and as property owners who are risking our most precious assets, we have a right to be heard. Without us, the platform would cease to exist. Let our voices be heard by delisting your property on April 1st starting at 9:00 AM to trigger an Airbnb meltdown, forcing Brian Chesky and the other decision-makers at Airbnb to hear our concerns and pay attention to our policies.

You do not have to deactivate your account. We are asking that you un-list. How do you unlist? Sign into your Airbnb account and click “listings”. Scroll down to “listing status”. Click “edit” and then “unlist”. This will temporarily unlist your Airbnb listing from the platform which will in turn trigger a response from Airbnb Corporate.

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Unilateral Change of my Cancellation Policy by Airbnb

Airbnb has overridden host cancellation policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This allows guests to cancel at any time without any penalty and without any justification. I have just had a cancellation for £2500 with just three days’ notice and there is nothing I can do about it. I was not consulted and the guest did not have to provide any proof or justification about the virus. Guests have travel insurance for genuine cases but hosts have no fallback provision. Airbnb does not care about their hosts. They bite the hand that feeds them.

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Airbnb is a Scam to Guests as well as Hosts

Airbnb supposedly gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy when you list your property. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy. A woman booked my apartment in Cap Cana three months ago for Christmas and New Years, a 14-day stay. I gave her a discount price for the two-week stay.

Six days before checking in, I received a message from Airbnb stating that they cancelled her reservation and fully refunded the client due to extenuating circumstances. Apparently the client lives in Venezuela and one of the guests needed a visa to visit Dominican Republic.

First of all, I did not know that the guest was coming from Venezuela since in her verified information she said that she lives in Miami. Secondly I never receive any call nor was contacted by Airbnb staff before they decided unilaterally to cancel and full refund her.

They said that she provided evidence to them. Airbnb had her rental money for three months and then cancelled and left me without any rental in the high season. They did not try to help at all. They even lied when confronted, saying that they contacted me, which was not true. If we were the ones cancelling in order to forfeit the penalty under extenuating circumstances we would have to have a lot of paperwork in order for them to consider it.

I asked them to reconsider. They rejected my plead. I asked them to at least give us a partial refund, but they did not. Airbnb does not consider hosts; they do not care about us at all. It seems they do not realize that without our properties they are just a mere application. Their customer service is the worst. They charge a fee for nothing.

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Very Unfair Airbnb Situation on Palawan

I just want to share my disappointment about the decision made by an Airbnb case manager. The decision was made without informing me. He promised us that yesterday morning he would inform us first. However, when we checked our account in the transaction history, the guest already had been given a full refund. Let me tell you what happened, so you can see the whole picture.

A guest checked in on November 15 at 5:15 PM. They called me on my phone at 5:23 PM saying that there was no electricity. We then explained them that the whole city was in total blackout (even our own house and our other listing on Airbnb had been affected). I explained to them that usually when it happens it does not last long. We were consistent in updating them. We also explained to them that they could use the emergency lights while waiting.

At 5:37 PM, they messaged me on my phone, saying that they wanted to cancel their reservation with a full refund. At 6:00 PM after contacting the electric company, I gave them an explanation: three electrical poles had fallen due to a car accident. We also assured her that the electric company was going to restore electricity. We also told them that there was no place to stay in Puerto Princesa with electricity except a hotel with a generator.

She messaged me around 7:00 PM saying they had found a place in Rizal (on the other side of the city) that had electricity. We thought it was their way of saying she didn’t believe us. Then I answered that if they have electricity, that hotel is probably equipped with a generator. After that I didn’t get any messages from the guest.

We messaged them around 10:00 PM to let them know that the electricity came back (after calling the security guards of the subdivision). They never responded to that, so we thought everything was settled. The guest never let us know that they left our place. We sent a message on their check-out day to remind them of the check-out time.

We got a surprise when a case manager contacted us more than 72 hours after the guest checked in. It was for the guest who wanted to cancel their reservation, right away. Why did they wait so long to cancel their reservation?

As an Airbnb traveler myself, we already encountered difficulties in some listings, and we called Airbnb right away. Airbnb called the host, and found an immediate and fair solution. In this situation, it took more than three days before we had been contacted by an Airbnb case manager, and it took four days, which was the last day of the stay before it was finally cancelled, giving them a full refund without our consent.

I don’t have any documentation that the guest really left our place that night. They had full access to the house during those four days; they had the keysafe code. The problem with the electricity was temporary and it came back that night since we had no power outage.

I’m reaching out to anyone here who can help us and give us a fair decision. We’ve been hosting here for years and we keep a good reputation as a Superhost. This is the first time in years that I was stuck in a very unjust circumstance here on Airbnb. I felt very upset. My husband and I are really affected. We felt hopeless. We as hosts strive to do our best for guests every time and this is what we’ve got in spite of all the hard work.

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Taking to the Media – Robbed by Airbnb and Guest

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Not only did a guest rob me and cause over $7000 in theft and damages, Airbnb will not release the $2000 the guest paid to stay there. So as of right now I’m out $9000 and Airbnb could care less. Anyone that can help you will not email or call back. The company makes false promises to help. There is zero accountability at this company. They will not give you their last names, only their first. Hosts beware!

Believe it or not, the cops have been easier and more helpful than Airbnb. They have made thousands of dollars off of my properties but will do everything to not help me. Upper management at this company should be appalled at the practices and procedures they have set forth. I’m going to the Orlando Sentinel on Friday. I think I have a pretty good case for a five-minute bit on the 6:00 news in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world.

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Airbnb Stealing from my Dying Husband

Airbnb has stolen money from my dying husband. I will not stop until we speak to the legal department. Airbnb has been totally disgusting in how they’ve handled this simple but now costly and insulting mistake they have made.

We have been loyal and dedicated and successful Superhosts for several years now, with multiple listings and an established tree house retreat. We have provided ample evidence to support our case to show we were in no way near or under threat by bush fires. Airbnb has given nothing to support their mistake to say we were and they only have been secretive with no transparency. They have stolen money from us and hence my darling dying husband right now is in the hospital with brain tumors.

We are so totally upset that we have been treated this way and my husband and I have not been supported as good Superhosts. Airbnb does not want to understand that the whole Hinterland was not on fire and we were not affected. We had two very positive reviews from guests that stayed through that time demonstrated in their positive reviews they loved the stay and showing no fire or smoke in our area. This was brought to Airbnb’s attention; there was still no response from them.

Airbnb has allowed a guest to get a full refund out of our back pocket at the very last minute on a strict cancellation policy. Based on their event being cancelled that was half a day event at best in a totally different area to use with no associations with us or the stay agreement. This basically tells everyone and anyone is entitled to a full refund for any external event or outing that is cancelled no mater how short the event is to the stay, and on a strict policy, on the night before check in are allowed to have a full refund.

Three guests were coming and no doubt were going to enjoy themselves like all the others had been doing so. But no, security for the hosts. No professional process or interactions have been received as of yet. Why risk placing valuable property in their care? If there is support for hosts using this platform, where is it?

Airbnb seems to think they are allowed to pull the rug under hosts’ feet whenever they feel like it, despite host and booking agreements in place. They do this arrogantly without providing any evidence or sharing any professional or appropriate communication to support the decision. They refuse to share what they are looking at, where they are located, and only taking money out of our pockets. It is unacceptable.

We only have received a secretive and uncaring response, and a very unprofessional response. The case manager was aware my husband is dying, and we rely on the rules of this platform for income for his medical bills as he can not work ever again in his life. I juggle everything, giving several years of positive business dealing with Airbnb through our property spaces.

This counts for nothing with Airbnb it seems; they hide and refuse to share a map with us. One employee even said she saw the map Airbnb had and we were nowhere near the fires. So why does the supervisor refuse to show us? They ignore maps that are official and clearly show we were not near the fires at all. No warnings for our area at all. Water is all around us; it’s a huge area, no smoke or anything.

Airbnb needs to compensate us for their mistake. They should have never refunded money out of our account based on incorrect information they refuse to share with us. We do not deserve this treatment or problem at this time of our lives and we have only done everything right towards Airbnb. We have received no support whatsoever and it’s such a disgusting process. There is no excuse or justified reason to receive no explanation of their process.

Airbnb has affected my ability to pay a medical bill. I will not rest until Airbnb looks at this properly and acknowledges they have made a mistake. Just because a small majority of the Gold Coast was effected by bush fires does not mean the whole of the Gold Coast needs to suffer. Through the worst of the hinterland fires, we had fantastic views you could see the water and city views from our hill, and beautiful reviews of guests on the same weekend.

Airbnb gave a full refund to a guest the night before check in on a strict policy booking. Airbnb is hiding and needs to come out and deal with this properly and start appreciating good hosts and what they sacrifice for a successful business partnership. Airbnb is not providing a stable, supportive, intelligent and respectable platform for dedicated hosts who are providing wonderful spaces for them to actually have guests using their site.

Ultimately, if they do not have good listings, they do not get guests and there would be no Airbnb. Let me stress that our property was not affected by any bush fires. Airbnb says they can justify taking a two-night booking away from us; this was a mistake they are refusing to acknowledge. I have sent them photographs and the reviews and official maps clearly demonstrating there was no fire associated near or in our area.

Still, we get nothing back from them on an intellectual or acceptable level. They only write back saying we have reviewed it and we will not be giving money back. This is without showing anything to support their claim or belief. Where is the map they are looking at? Believe me I have asked and demanded to see it, but they refuse to show anything. I now don’t believe they do have a map that is at all relevant to our area or contains anything factual.

Some cock up from an Airbnb international office has circled all of the Gold Coast to be on fire. Ridiculous. We have shared the maps from official authorities of the bush fires of Queensland to demonstrate all the history of the bush fires as we were monitoring them very closely. Still, Airbnb ignores this. It’s bad enough to lose a lot of summer bookings out of the type of fear associated with the word bush fire. Then for Airbnb to take away your bookings for no legitimate reason is inexcusable and they need to compensate us.

I have worked so hard to support my husband and through this livelihood we have been making it with Airbnb. I see no reason to continue my listings with Airbnb if they can not deal with this properly and correct their mistake. There is no real security or support with Airbnb. I will update this if it changes. They are totally incompetent in their due diligence or they are simply hiding a mistake they don’t want seen.

Give us our money back Airbnb. We provided a beautiful space. We will never get that weekend back and there are policies in place for good reasons. Airbnb needs to respect the agreement they had with us. I’m very disappointed to write this. We have a responsibility to the community to tell and warn anyone about Airbnb in how they have been treating us. At no point in time our property was ever listed in a danger zone. We had fantastic views beautiful water views and happy number of guests through that period of time.

Only one guest capitalized on Airbnb’s mistake, an event that was half a day at best in a totally different area. We had a two-night booking on a strict cancellation policy. They were bringing three people around for the stay. On Friday the 13th in the late afternoon Airbnb allowed them to have a full refund. Based on what? Based on an event that had no relevance to us on the property.

Now I believe that if I book or anyone else books a long stay through Airbnb and their event gets rained on, or their bus gets cancelled, or the singer gets sick, they are entitled to a full refund despite any level of cancellation policy. This is what Airbnb has done to us. Now I know If I ever book with Airbnb as a guest, I can cancel for any reasons for extenuating circumstances.

A full refund is expected. I would expect that for any reason I claimed to be my reason for booking I can get out of it, despite the accommodation having no association whatsoever with the excuse. This is absurd and Airbnb should see it to be otherwise. There is no security whatsoever as a host to provide beautiful spaces if there is no support for loyal and long-standing hosts.

Is there anyone in Airbnb who can salvage a long-standing and good business relationship and multiple listings and wants to rectify this accordingly? Refund us the two-night booking that we had secured. Airbnb cancelled a strict cancellation policy booking,taking money from us based on incorrect data without cross referencing information or sharing it. No transparency, nothing to support their actions.

Airbnb puts Owners on Timeout due to Guest Scam

I have been using Airbnb as an owner for the past year or so. All of my reviews have been excellent except for two. One complained about the furniture, comparing it to a college dorm after she left, but never to me during her stay. Then I had another two guests after her who loved the place and wanted to use it again in the future.

Then a scammer reserved my home for four nights. He asked me to let him check in earlier than 3:00 PM. I told him 12:00 PM would be ok. Then I did not hear from him again. At 7:00 AM, the day after his check in, I got a message he had sent me at 4:00 AM saying that he just got there and found a roach. Therefore, he could not stay there and wanted his money back.

This was a scam because the previous guest never saw a roach and I use a professional bug company to spray the home inside and out. Airbnb had two different staff members ask me to tell them what happened. I did. They asked me if I was willing to refund the money. I said no, because it was a lie. I personally went to the home the day I received the message and did not find any bugs. The Airbnb person said okay, and closed the ticket.

A week later, another guest checked in and had no issues. I also got a guest request for a two-month reservation. After I pre-approved the guest, Airbnb sent me an email stating that they had suspended my listing for one week.

I immediately called them up to find out the reason why. The agent said she could not help me but would refer me to a supervisor who will call me at some point in the future. She had no idea when. I asked her what will happen with the prea-pproval and the guest trying to book my home for two months. She said I will not be able to communicate with her until Airbnb decides to relist my house.

Really? I did nothing wrong. I want to see what kind of hosting business will Airbnb have without any hosts! Please do not use this company to list your properties. Go to VRBO.

How Airbnb Punishes Hosts for Cancellations and Otherwise

Hello hosts, has anyone else noticed how your ranking (listing rank on searches) dumps when you or Airbnb make any kind of cancellation Declining inquiries seem to be second on the list of items affecting ranking.

I was told by Airbnb reps (4-5) that there would be no “punishment for cancellations” if I called Airbnb customer service and they made the cancellation due to a guest that was not a fit for my cabin. These included smokers, pets, oversized groups, guests wanting events, guests wanting to film movies on the property, etc.

Has anyone also noticed a severe decrease in customer support (now called customer experience) on Airbnb since 2019? Do you get the “I am sick or leaving the office for two days and will call you back then” line over and over? Then they send a message a week or two later asking to close the case… with no efforts to help on the issue… or any kind of acknowledgement of the questions or exact issue you asked? Please let me know. I need to know it is not just me feeling more negative about Airbnb.

New Hosts Beware: Airbnb will Change your Listing

We are writing this in the hopes of saving other new Airbnb hosts the trouble we have had in our first two weeks as hosts. So, far we have encountered two major problems – three if you count Airbnb’s arrogant, incompetent, inadequate, and totally unacceptable response to our problems. I hope you keep reading because this stuff is actually hard to believe and you need to know it if you are going to try to become an Airbnb host.

In our first week as hosts, we encountered two major problems. One was disappointing. The other amounts to fraudulent representation and downright theft in my opinion. I’ll try to make this as concise and informative as possible.

Creating a listing is not hard. It is tedious. The Airbnb help system does little more than guide you through the screens. No insights, no explanations and absolutely no flexibility. But, with the assistance of the many hosts who posted their experiences in the Airbnb online community and other Airbnb informational websites, we got our listing up and running.

Our listing is a private home. We have two private (each with its own separate entrance) guest suites available. We set the price for our listing at $125, thinking we would be renting each suite for $125. We made sure to disable Smart Pricing and Instant Booking. We got our first booking at our set price of $125 minus a 20% discount as our first guests. The disappointment was learning from our first guests that although we made it clear in the text of our listing that we had two separate guests, that was not the way Airbnb presented our property.

Airbnb applied the pricing we set to the entire listing – i.e. “both rooms” not “each room” – resulting in us getting half as much revenue per room as we wanted and thought we were going to get. Furthermore, we learned when one room was booked, Airbnb marked that date as unavailable on the booking calendar, so no one could even see we had an additional room available. We were surprised by this (and monetarily penalized… keep reading).

After reading through the community forums we discovered we were just one of hundreds of Airbnb hosts who were both surprised and disappointed to learn this. We found out that if we wanted to rent each guest suite separately we had to list them separately. This cost us money with our very first booking. If our first guests would have known they could have booked our other guest suite, they would have booked another family member to stay with us.

We learned our lesson. We will list both guest suites separately, but why did we have to find this out the hard way? Nowhere is this made clear in Airbnb’s guidelines for setting up and creating a listing. We have noted hundreds of complaints going back more than five years about this particular issue but Airbnb has done absolutely nothing to address it. In fact, Airbnb appears to deliberately obscure this critical fact in its listing guidelines. That’s bad. What happened next is far worse.

Within a week we got our second booking, which we accepted. Big mistake. To all hosts: never accept a booking until you have examined every little detail. Here’s why: we had set our price. We made sure we turned off Instant Booking and Smart Pricing. We weren’t looking for bargain hunters. We were looking for folks who wanted a special experience in a magical place and were okay with paying a little more to get it. Airbnb cares nothing for that. If they see a new listing that isn’t getting enough action (making Airbnb money) then they will take action and arbitrarily lower the price without even notifying the host. That’s right – they will cut your listing price without even telling you. Little did we know Airbnb had lowered our price from $125 to to $60 for both rooms, i.e. $30 per room/per night.

Now, we are stuck with a booking that is paying us less than our set price, because as a new host we don’t want to cancel the booking. That’s not even enough to cover our costs. We reset the listing price, using the Airbnb hosting interface, to no avail. The host interface reports the price we set, but the listing continues to show on Airbnb’s website at much lower prices that on average are less than half of the price we set.

We thought this must be a glitch in their software. We spent hours on the phone with Airbnb support, who were absolutely no help. They could neither fix the problem nor explain why it occurred. They said they had to escalate it to “IT”. The bottom line is that Airbnb’s customer support people are essentially script readers. If the problem is not covered in their script then they are useless.

This problem is now a week old. Calling back Airbnb tech support is a waste of time. They just say the incident has been reported to IT and there is nothing they can do. They can supply no time frame as to when or if the problem will ever be resolved. Are you kidding me? I’ve worked in high tech for almost 40 years. I’ve run customer service departments and development projects. I worked in development at Microsoft. This is the most incompetent, arrogant, and totally inept customer service I’ve ever encountered. Microsoft’s customer support (of which I’m not a fan) is a 10 by comparison. Airbnb’s support doesn’t move the needle on the scale. It’s worse than nothing. You think it can’t get any worse? Nope. It can. Keep on reading…

As I said, this problem is now a week old. In that week, we’ve been doing lots more reading and research on Airbnb. We’ve read hundreds of online posts from other frustrated hosts. This is what we’ve learned: this pricing issue is apparently not a glitch but corporate policy. Many, many other hosts have had the same experience. Clearly, what’s happening is that Airbnb is using an algorithm (an automated computer program) to set whatever arbitrary price they think will net the most bookings (meaning money for Airbnb), totally ignoring, and in fact actively circumventing, the wishes of the owners of the property.

In my opinion this is fraudulent misrepresentation and essentially amounts to Airbnb stealing our money. We aren’t looking for bargain hunters. We have a special and beautiful property that is worth every penny and more. All we want Airbnb to to do is turn off their pricing algorithm and leave our pricing alone. That’s where we are now. We have had to snooze (temporarily disable) our listing because we don’t want any more bookings at the prices Airbnb is setting.

Airbnb is literally stealing money from us and apparently brazenly plans to continue doing so to us and others if we allow them to. Airbnb is the most unresponsive and arrogant company with the worst customer service of any company we have every dealt with. They are a multi-billion dollar company. They need to be held accountable. They need to support the folks that are making them money not abuse them.

P.S. This is just the tip of the iceberg. While researching our problems online we read of many others, including those from hosts who have had their listings suddenly disappear and their bookings drop to zero. Beware!