Host’s Calendar was Full, Didn’t Bother to Tell me

I found an apartment from a new host. I liked it and booked it. After arriving, I noticed it was an agency’s apartment. I tried to book more nights but the host didn’t let me know that her calendar days were not available (didn’t update the calendar, as many hosts don’t do). She let me know which days were available so I booked and paid; she accepted it.

I was thinking there was an automatic system for calendar updates but now I know many hosts play with calendar days to be full when guests try to make bookings so they get money from 2-3 new guests at the same time and then also half of the cancellation fees. The calendar days were available and then full when I made the reservation and paid. She accepted it; the calendar was available to me and then it was not.

After that she sent a new reservation request with new days, without telling me about another guest’s reservation for the same days. Only after the payment was accepted did she tell me she had other guests arriving also for the day and so I had to shorten my stay. She also changed the check-out time to be earlier without any mention of it before. Because of this, she would get more money for shorter stays and I couldn’t accept it.

I declined her offer because I made bookings for those days. The host also told me I could pay with cash but I never do this with anyone. I had to search information on how to cancel the payment for my five-day reservation. The host accepted the reservation and got half of my money without telling me how to cancel. It was the host who was messing with her calendar and changed the days. In the end, the host got more than half of my payment because Airbnb’s cancellation system works like that; it work well for hosts and badly for guests. You lose money if you have to make a cancellation as I had to. I did nothing wrong but the system is making it the guest’s fault when a host plays with the calendar days to be full.

Before this, I heard only positive brags about Airbnb. It’s an incredible system, but it can’t work if bad hosts can do anything they want. There is usually not enough help for guests. I have to wait 1-2 days to get any answers from the Airbnb customer service team. Nobody has helped me. I’m a guest and when I see rules, I follow rules. I also have to verify my profile every time I log into Airbnb. The system is working much better for hosts when they can do anything that they want. Hosts should be more trustworthy. It’s like they are sending guests back to camping and hostels after these experiences.

Peruvian Penthouse Sheet Stain Mystery

Bring your own pipe wrench and king-size sheets if you holiday with Airbnb. My recent vacation in Peru began with four chilly days in a flat in Cuzco with no central heat. Not to worry: on the 34-degree nights, there was a small space heater in each bedroom that you could carry to the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, there was an unfortunate seepage from the bottom of one toilet (if you have a toilet leak, this is definitely not the end to have it come out of).

Then there was the shower. On a cold Cuzco morning, I’m sure there is nothing like a hot shower to get you going. I wouldn’t know. My shower emitted a stream of hot water for the first one and a half minutes. After that you had to brace for a blast so cold it puckered you at both ends. If you’re hearty enough to tough it out you get rewarded with one cycle of lukewarm water for rinsing your bits and then you are on your own. This was The Good Place.

Next stop was the “penthouse” in Miraflores. This deluxe apartment had seen better days and the master suite won the award. Upon arrival, I set up my toiletries in the bathroom and went to wash my hands. No running water. I flushed the toilet. The tank did not refill. The water to the entire bathroom had to be manually switched on because the vanity plumbing was broken and constantly ran. So every shower, hand wash and toilet flush involved a two-step process. Plumbing was definitely not the priority because nearly every faucet in the house was loose. There was also another toilet leak on the first floor. What’s up with me and the toilets on this trip? This flat was the gift that kept on giving.

Upon my return home, I was greeted with a complaint from the owner with pictures of blue-stained sheets and an accusation that I must have worn wet jeans and sat on the bed and transferred dye. Since nobody on this site knows me, I feel compelled to let you know that I am that guy who leaves a note when I back into a parked car. I am also the type of guy who makes sure that he wears dry blue jeans. It’s kind of a thing for me. I am also not a Smurf.

Needless to say, I vehemently denied her crazy accusations, and let her know that there is no logical way that I could have put a stain on her sheets. I suggested that she speak with her cleaning crew, recommended washing whites with whites, and pointed out that the running water issue might be one to prioritize. This made her mad. After a few more exchanges I rejected her demand of $60 for a sheet.

By rejecting her damage claim, I went into Airbnb’s kangaroo court. What happens is that you get an opportunity to send Airbnb a private message to explain your situation anytime you electronically reject a claim. I told them that this was either a scam or a laundry mishap that I was wrongly blamed for. I gave them my cellphone number for them to reach out and offered up my traveling companions as witnesses.

Their response: A form-letterish email stating that they had reviewed the case and were siding with the owner since she reported the incident with a photo before renting to another party. You mean to tell me that is the standard of proof? Seriously? What about the cleaners? What about the owner herself trying to make an extra buck with a blue sheet scam? Who knows if that photo is even of a sheet that was in the house I stayed in?

Apparently that didn’t matter because Airbnb had already billed my credit card for $60. They made it very clear that I had already agreed to this in the fine print as a security deposit. I guess it is back to the Marriott for me. Airbnb and its total disregard for the customer has given me the blues. Literally.

Booking Cancelled by Host and Refund is only 40%

This was the first time I used Airbnb. Two days after having a confirmed booking, my host informed me that her house rules did not allow single men. This was actually stated on her page but only if you clicked to expand the rules list. The first line dealt with “no smoking”, etc. As it was the first time I used the site, I didn’t think to check carefully through this as I assumed it dealt with “do”s and “don’t”s at the property. The booking was accepted, payment taken and two days later the host informed me of her rule.

I went to cancel the booking and despite the fact that the host rejected my booking and I selected that option, Airbnb informed me that I would only receive £45.00 GBP back on a booking of £105.00. Either Airbnb or the host keeps the balance. Interesting that the host – who I emailed at the time of booking – had waited two days to respond, which brought me just within fourteen days of the booking date. According Airbnb terms, a cancellation within 14 days returns only 50% of the booking fee and 0% of the administrative fees.

Hosts are free to cancel on you and it would seem, keep half the booking fee. Presumably they are then free to resell your room. I have searched to find a way to contact Airbnb and they are clearly another internet giant hiding behind anonymity: no obvious numbers, no contact forms and just not interested in anything but your money.

Pointless Bookings with no Immediate Refunds

This was our first and last booking with Airbnb. Having booked an apartment in Spain for two weeks, the booking was accepted and we paid the total amount. I was then informed by the “host” that she was now talking to another party who was interested in the same dates plus additional days. She cancelled my booking and I was informed by Airbnb that would I be refunded within five working days. This is not good enough and totally lacks any aspect of professionalism. Once a host accepts a booking, it should a commitment, a contract. Otherwise they should be banned from any further dealings with Airbnb. Secondly, the refund into one’s account should be immediate. Not everyone can afford to wait for the refund whilst financing an alternative accommodation.

Dishonest Host Takes Advantage of Airbnb and Decent People

I booked a room in Clearwater, Florida for a month with the most evil, manipulative and dishonest woman I have meet in my life. I do not recommend this room to anybody; it was a nightmare. The air conditioning didn’t work right, my room in the afternoon was so hot that I had to stay out, the ceiling fan didn’t work, and the glass lamp felt off, so I couldn’t even use it.

The host was expecting to get a new roof during my stay, and moved me to a room in her house as her convenience – another problem. She knew of all this but did not tell me at the time of my booking. The ceiling in the bedroom was all damaged, with open holes; it was disgusting. The door didn’t close properly, so anybody could get in or out of my bedroom without my permission.

The host couldn’t care less about my concerns. One day I came back to my bedroom. The door was open and the smell of fish was so strong that even my clean shirts smelled bad. She didn’t have the decency of closing my bedroom door when she was cooking. From the first day I got there I told her my concerns about the heat in the bedroom; she told me that the air conditioning was off, and added that the cleaning lady left it off and that was the reason for the bedroom to be so hot – another lie. Day after day, she manipulated the air conditioning; one day it was okay, and the next it was off, really making it a hot room.

The worst thing was her intrusive and imposing behavior. She kept inviting me to drink beer, and I kept telling her that I don’t drink. She ignored my words, and every day kept inviting me out to go dancing and do other activities. I told her I wasn’t interested, but she would not stop pressuring me. I started to feel intimidated by her abusive behavior.

Another concern was she had a obsessive compulsive control issue; everywhere you looked was a little piece of paper telling you what you can do or not do in the house. There were paper posts all over the house which made me feel like I was in a military camp: so many rules. She also told me things that I was not interested in hearing, bad mouthing all the guests that gave her bad reviews in the past (she is always the victim).

The garden was a mess. There was no way anybody could sit and relax on that patio. They had chairs that didn’t work. She even told me to be careful about the rats, and the coyotes. How could you live or enjoy a whole month in a place like this?

At the time I didn’t know one could call Airbnb and make a complaint, and I am sure many new Airbnb users had similar experiences but are not familiar with all the rules. I also tried to sit and read in the living room when my bedroom was too hot, but it was not a very cozy place. The whole house was full of objects and boxes that the host used to sell online. She was also trying to sell me a bicycle. I even hurt my knee one night when I needed to go to the kitchen by hitting the same bike she was trying to sell me: she left it next to the kitchen sink, and she keep bringing up the idea of how nice it would be for me to have a bicycle.

After seven day of broken promises, she didn’t fix anything and kept up her abusive behavior. I dint know what else could I do; I was in her house. I told her again about the air conditioning. I was so tired of this situation and I decided to leave. She begged me not to call or report her to Airbnb and “promised” to pay me back the other three weeks I hadn’t stayed. I believed her. I thought there was a bit of decency in this woman; I even felt sorry for her.

A few hours later, somebody from Airbnb call me and promised to resolve the situation. I was surprised because I hadn’t reported her. The host called them. She went about her manipulative ways, called Airbnb, and told them that I had decided to leave. She knew that I was new in this kind of situation and took advantage of the opportunity. Airbnb told me that without any pictures, written complaints, or any proof, they couldn’t help me. I paid $1,250 for a whole month’s rental and stayed only one week. The hostess never paid me back the money she promised. She is a scam artist, and now I know better. I just hope that my terrible experience with Airbnb prevents other decent people like me from been used and robbed.

Last Minute Cancellation, No Response From Airbnb

Our first ever Airbnb booking was cancelled this morning, two days before we were due to land in London. Airbnb sent a text message saying they had emailed us with an offer of 10% off an alternative booking. No such email arrived. I called them; they said a Case Manager would call me to assist. I called back again two hours later and there was no Case Manager to speak to. I was told a refund could take more than two weeks.

When I made this booking, had I cancelled it even an hour after having made it, I would have been charged 50% of the fee I paid but there is no meaningful compensation for the host having cancelled at the last minute. I have now had to book a hotel in London, costing a lot more, and Airbnb cannot even be bothered speaking to me about what is literally a breach of contract. I have other bookings with Airbnb for this trip throughout Europe and now don’t know whether we will even have accommodation when we get there. This is thoroughly unprofessional, skewed in the hosts’ favour and I will never, ever use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Paid for Pest Control but not a Refund

We stayed in a Toronto loft recently where Airbnb took the side of the host. The host was contacting us outside of Airbnb which is against policy. That wasn’t a problem until we had issues with the place. There were mice and roaches. Pest control had to come out and kill the mice – which we weren’t happy with as were animal lovers – but we shouldn’t have paid over $2000 to stay in a mice-infested room anyway.

I couldn’t believe when I complained to Airbnb they had the audacity to say she was a good host, take her side, and even paid for the pest control. They promised me compensation for my bad stay but closed the case as soon as I checked out and didn’t send me any money. They even made it impossible for me to leave a review for this host, meaning loads of guests who are none the wiser will be checking into this hell as Airbnb stops anyone leaving them a bad review.

It is absolutely crazy how much they sided with them, as if they have some sort of secret deal with the company. They even suggested I move out the apartment before they gave me any money back. Bear in mind I was in a foreign country with no other money or home to go to. The guy who lived downstairs even had the code to our room and would let himself into our “private loft” when we were sleeping or out of the house. Airbnb later just ignored any message I sent regarding this case and closed it without anything else said.

No Penalties for Airbnb Hosts Increasing Rates

blank

My mother is visiting me in Sydney from Canada this February. She booked her trip months ago after we told her of our news that my husband and I will be expecting our first child. She is visiting for close to three weeks and we wanted her to be comfortable and within walking distance from our place in Coogee.

Having lived in the eastern suburbs of Sydney for almost five years and a host on Airbnb myself I know how quickly places near the beach book out especially in summer, so I started my search in September as soon as she booked her flight. I was thrilled when I found her a two-bedroom apartment close to the beach within ten minutes walking distance from us. Not only that but the price was reasonable; it seemed perfect.

I contacted the host prior to sending through my booking request letting him know I was booking on behalf of my mother visiting from Canada and asking if I could go ahead with my booking request. As an Airbnb host myself, I always appreciate receiving a message from potential guests finding out a bit more about them and feel it is important to do the same as a guest. He replied right away, agreeing and advising that he was “flexible with check-in times so to let him know what time she arrived.”

This was great news, so I proceeded to book and pay for her accommodation. However, while my husband and I were overseas on holiday over Christmas I received a notification from Airbnb that I had been refunded my booking fee for my mom’s stay. I received no other communication from Airbnb or the host explaining why this had been cancelled. I contacted the host as soon as I found out, asking him why he had cancelled my booking and did not receive a reply. I still haven’t over a week later.

I soon discovered he had rebooked his apartment on Airbnb for double the original asking price he initially listed for my exact dates. I contacted Airbnb right away and was informed by a member of their customer service team that the reason for the cancellation was that I was in breach of their “third party booking” policy and that I should not have booked on behalf of my mother. My mother is 70, not particularly tech savvy, and has never booked with Airbnb before. Not to mention I would be staying with her some of the time, I was making the payment in AUD, and I had checked with the host.

I screenshotted my correspondence with the host to Airbnb and the customer service representative merely offered an apology that the host had not informed me he was “uncomfortable” booking on behalf of my mother. They did not address my concerns that he had subsequently relisted his apartment at double his original asking price for the same dates I had booked. I also asked the representative if the host had been in contact with Airbnb to which he replied: “No. I have yet to speak to him.”

The customer service member also sent me several links of new places to check out. Out of the four links he sent me, none were remotely in the location I wanted and were well over what I had paid originally. In one case, a rental was almost $1500 more. I did a quick search myself and there was less than 3% availability left for our dates in my area. To add insult to injury, on my Facebook, Instagram and Airbnb app the apartment I booked is advertised everywhere as a place to book. Seriously?

On the Airbnb website it states: “Because cancellations disrupt guests’ plans and impact confidence in the Airbnb community, the following penalties will be applied for host cancellations: unavailable/blocked calendar. Your calendar will stay blocked and you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the cancelled reservation.”

However, when I asked customer service why this has not applied to the host involved in my case, this is the reply I got: “Hosts and guests do have the ability to cancel a reservation for whatever reason they choose on our platform and in this situation, he will not be penalized for wanting to cancel this reservation.”

The bottom line is Airbnb safe guards the host’s right to make more money should they decide they listed a property at a bad price. There is no booking protection for guests. None. You can pay for accommodation and think you’re secure but you’re not. Airbnb presumes to know why a host has cancelled a booking despite never having been in contact with them. Hosts don’t need to have a reason to cancel your reservation. I have advised Airbnb that I want to escalate this matter further, to which I haven’t received a reply.

Beware of Moderate Cancellation Policy, Negative Reviews

My family of four plus two grandparents booked a whole house in Phuket, Thailand with a moderate cancellation policy, allowing for cancellation during the stay. In the master bedroom, the en-suite bathroom smelled of poor toilet drainage, and the house was generally filthy despite the advertised housekeeper. After a few nights we decided to cancel and book ourselves into a hotel. We would have acted sooner but were very jet lagged after a 24-hour flight, We gave the host a heads up and followed the moderate cancellation policy (allowing for a 50% refund for unused days).

The host was very angry and wrote a negative review saying we were the worst experience he ever had. We left the house in a cleaner state than when we had arrived with no breakages. We were highly courteous throughout the stay. After going back and forth with the case manager Airbnb decided that the review was within guidelines. I am writing to warn future guests to document everything through email and photos and if you make a complaint do it within 24 hours even if there is a moderate cancellation policy.

Accused of Breaking Host’s Things Without Any Proof

blankblankblankblank

I stayed at a complex called Platinum Suites one night through Airbnb. After my stay, I was accused of damaging one air conditioner – there are three AC units. From the start of my stay, I only turned on two units; the other was not turned on because it seemed to be broken.

Shortly after check out, the host filed a claim saying I had damaged the air conditioner. How could I have reached an air conditioner mounted high on the ceiling, when the stairs were not available? I’ve contacted the Airbnb resolution center; they said they have documentation, but when I asked what was the evidence that I damaged anything, they could not answer. Please be careful when staying at an Airbnb, or wherever you stay. You should first video the contents of the room so you are not accused of damaging the property of people. Airbnb has no proof I did anything but still made a statement as they liked it to appear. It is unfortunate. Even though this apartment was in good location – nice scenery, nice swimming pool – I stayed somewhere else.