Airbnb Steals My $550, Then Host Ghosts Me

I am planning a trip to NYC in mid-November. I usually book with VRBO but wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, so I tried Airbnb. Being my first time on their site, I wasn’t aware of the “Instant Book” feature. When I pressed the button, I thought I was only contacting the host as I hadn’t read the listing fully yet, but my card was charged immediately. I realized also in that moment by reading a few reviews that it was a room in the house with many other random boarders and that had not been made clear. I canceled within minutes but only received half back. I contacted the host in all manner of ways and he did not respond. I contacted Airbnb and they said they would contact the host for me. Five days later, they told me the host refused to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do on their end. I asked to speak to a manager but no one ever called back.

$550 was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do? This host lost no booking time because of my mistake; he is just collecting free money. I have written to him now five times over the course of a week and he is ghosting me. Airbnb won’t take responsibility for the host. Isn’t this supposed to be a hospitality business? The only thing I can think of is to threaten this host with eviction by telling his property management company that he is illegally profiteering on their property (I looked up the address and called the realty company to inquire about subletting). Any ideas?

Domestic Horror at Airbnb Forces Guests to Call 911

My husband and I decided to use Airbnb for the first time because we were looking to spend a romantic weekend in the Poconos area of Pennsylvania. When we got to the house we were greeted by the hostess’ husband who informed us that his wife was delayed by a flight coming from Texas and he would go pick her up at midnight. My husband and I were offered beer and later this man asked my husband to go fishing. It all seemed wonderful and when they returned from their fishing trip we went to bed expecting that the man would go out around midnight to pick his wife up at the airport.

Sleep was difficult because the mattresses thrown on the floor were uncomfortable and squeaked at every turn. Nevertheless we had agreed to make the best of the one-night stay. Well, around 1:00 AM, I was awakened by loud cursing and yelling by a male voice, which I tied to ignore. Soon I heard more yelling and now a female voice was involved. I figured the hostess had been picked up from the airport and was settling home to go to bed. However, the voices got louder as did the cursing and it all seemed to be outside.

I looked outside our window and saw the hostess’ husband yelling at another man and later as the other man got back into his car the hostess’ husband kicked his car, which angered the man in the car (I later found out he was a taxi driver the hostess had used to get home). The man got out and the two men began to argue again, but eventually the taxi driver got in his vehicle and left. The issue did not end there as the hostess’ husband continue to argue with her, to the point of smashing her fingers on the door. This caused her to scream which caused us to come down.

We offered the hostess to call 911 as she told us that he smashed her fingers and also poured beer all over her luggage which was still outside the house in the driveway. We offered to assist bringing it in, but her husband would not allow it. When she tried to go get it, he tried to lock her out of the home. He escalated in his loud verbal attacks and threats to the point where we had to call 911 at around 2:00 AM. Once police arrived we waited to get the okay from them to be allowed to leave. We left around 3:30 AM and had to sleep in our car. While this ordeal was going on, we found out that the husband was never consulted by the hostess about her plan to make their home into an Airbnb, which he disagreed with. He informed us that he had assaulted another guest who arrived at the house around 10:00 PM on a night when the hostess’ husband was expected to work the next day. We found out from the hostess that her husband was on parole and has a criminal record. What a night.

Airbnb Evicted Guests, Then Let Them Leave 1-Star Review

I’ll start off by saying that these were my first guests with Airbnb. We rent out a guest room in our house, with access to our sun room, kitchen and pool area. The guests were a father and son. The father did not speak English, but assured us that the son was fluent. They arrived and promptly began breaking all of our (very simple) house rules. They hung out constantly in areas that were not included in the listing, took our groceries, ruined a set of sheets and mattress pad with blood, talked loudly on FaceTime while wandering through the house, and were unsafe in the pool.

After a week of this activity, we sent a reminder email with the house rules, asking that they please follow them, and also slipped a copy under the door with a translation. The men apologized and said they would stop breaking the rules. They did not stop breaking the rules. The final straw came when the father returned to our home after visiting with friends, completely intoxicated. He was giggling and running around the house, trying to get me to swim with him in a pretty inappropriate way (my husband was at work, and I was working from home). I refused the swim.

My husband came home and we went out to dinner, only to return to find the man, still intoxicated, running around the house in his underwear. The next day I contacted Airbnb, and the representative escalated me to a higher up team member. The higher team member said, “Oh, no, we can’t have that,” and proceeded to terminate their stay with us and said they would contact the guests and have them placed elsewhere. She explained that we would lose out on the rest of the money from the listing, which I agreed to (just get these people out of my house).

When I returned home, the men were still there, not making any move to leave. When we spoke to them, they said their information on Airbnb was out of date and they had not heard from them. We explained the situation, and they became agitated and started arguing with us, saying that the underwear situation had “only happened once.” I had to threaten police intervention to get them to finally pack up and go.

Now, in an obviously retaliatory fashion, they have put up a one-star review with one sentence in their native language, but the listing is, obviously, ruined. When I contacted Airbnb to express my frustration, they said it was the guests’ chance to tell their side of the story. Except… they’re not telling their side of the story. They’re downrating our home so we will have trouble booking (as I mentioned, this was our first experience). I have been back and forth with Airbnb about the false nature of this “review” and the fact that it is defamatory. Supposedly my grievance has been forwarded to the legal team. I’m considering deleting our listing altogether and starting over. Shame on me, I suppose, for thinking they wouldn’t recommend eviction if they were going to allow these guests to ruin our listing.

Scammed For Over £1500 On Fake Spain Listing

I decided to use Airbnb for the first time recently, in order to book a villa in Spain for my family. Having never used Airbnb before, I contacted the host, put in my bank details and ‘requested to book’. The host wanted to speak on the phone, so I gave them my number. We spoke on WhatsApp, albeit in Spanish, with myself consulting translators. I was then sent a series of official looking emails, from what I assumed was Airbnb (the links even took me to the brand’s social media accounts). I was instructed to make a payment into a bank account in Valencia. Again, to a first time customer, without fraud even entering my mind, I made the payment. Weeks later, the day before we were due to fly, I couldn’t contact the ‘host’ and their profile had been removed from the site. After a few panicky phone calls to Airbnb customer service, it became apparent that I had been scammed. We were due to fly in less than 12 hours, and Airbnb cheerfully shirked all responsibility in this matter, even asking politely if there was ‘anything else they could help with?’ Weeks later, I have been emailing them and calling them with barely any response. They seem to be impossible to contact, and they are getting away with assisting fraudsters on their platform.

Never Again: Airbnb Holds Payment for Thirty Days?

Airbnb is a joke. They got their money. My guests came and stayed at my house. I chose PayPal as to how I wanted to receive my money; the system told me I would have to wait 3 to 5 business days, which was cool with me. I called today to check on the money and talked to a non-native English speaker. I couldn’t understand everything he was saying but he told me that they were sending my money to my Paypal account today. Then he put me on hold for about 40 minutes and never returned. I hung up, called back, and talked to an American English speaker. She informed me that since this was my first time using Airbnb without a certain number of guests, hosts have to wait 30 days to get their payout. Are you serious? What’s the reason I have to wait if all my credentials check out? I’ll never use Airbnb again. I will be taking down my profile and anything I have on this website. There’s no reason for me to wait 30 days for a payout; it’s ridiculous.

Things to Avoid When Using Airbnb for the First Time

Last winter, after my wife’s bout with cancer, a catastrophic national election cycle, and a few other disasters, my wife and I decided to take a month out of Minnesota’s winter and go south to New Mexico. This was the first time I tested the Airbnb waters and that was probably not the best time for an “adventure”.

Our first three overnight stays were lucky and misleading. All three hosts were incredibly honest about their facilities and were terrific people. Our destination was in Truth or Consequences, NM (TorC, to local residents). We were trapped in TorC three years earlier when our VW-based Winnebago camper trapped us there for the entire winter, in my first year of retirement. As a result, we had friends in TorC and knew the area well enough to think we could figure out which Airbnb rentals were not just good deals but in a decent area. TorC, for a tiny place, has some really bad neighborhoods and even the “good ones” are in serious decline.

The place I selected had a slightly different description than the current, i.e. “You’ll love my place because of the privacy it affords. Not having to share a house with others. It is in a very quiet neighborhood in a Vintage Mobile Home park. Many guests end up making friends here!” It described being close to the Rio Grande River (it wasn’t) and having great views (it didn’t). That “very quiet” remark avoids mentioning a bunch of Harley gangbangers in the park and in a shop right behind the trailer… it was a trailer and not one that even begins to meet safe rental standards.

I have no idea how the host managed this picture, but it doesn’t even come close to describing how tightly the trailers were packed together. I would hear people coughing and snorting from three directions that first night. My wife has a moderate petroleum allergy and began to feel claustrophobic and agitated the moment we stepped into the trailer. To be frank, it stunk of cleaning chemicals and natural gas. All of the CO2 and fire detectors had their batteries removed. That is when I discovered what “strict cancellation” policies are all about.

In the end, my wife negotiated an exit for all of us, including us not notifying the host’s landlord that she was illegally renting his property. It cost me about $200 for that one night’s stay, but we found a far better rental through one of our TorC friends and I will never make that sort of mistake again with Airbnb.

Another Host Cancels – Airbnb Needs to Stop This

I have never completed a stay with Airbnb before and will definitely never try to use it again. However, I will certainly make sure that no one I know ever uses it. I was in the UK and planned a four-night break in NYC as a treat for my wife. I booked my flights months ago as well as an Airbnb apartment on the upper east side. I did read the host reviews and was slightly concerned as there was a complaint that the host tended to cancel at the last minute. I contacted the host, who assured me it was due to his unfamiliarity of how it worked and all was well… so I booked. I have just received a message saying my booked is cancelled and I have been refunded.

What good is that to me? Just try contacting Airbnb; there’s no email and a good wait to call the states from the UK. After looking into it, last minute cancellations seem to be common practice and Airbnb has the worst policy to prevent them: they only charge the host $100 if they cancel less than seven days before the booking. Soes the customer get the $100 for their inconvenience? No – it goes into Airbnb’s pocket. At the very least, the host should be charged a minimum of $100 for cancelling at any time and up to the total cost of the booking less than seven days and give it to the customer who has been stiffed over. I’m never using Airbnb again.

Reservation Mix up with no Fix in Sight

Our first Airbnb experience has been horrible. We booked a room through Airbnb for our vacation to Nashville. We got our reservation confirmation through Airbnb for June 19-24th. On our way down we called the resort to confirm and they had the reservation as June 19th-23rd. Right away we tried getting in contact with the host who never once got back to us even though over a period of four days we had called, emailed, and texted. After that wasn’t successful, we contacted Airbnb who told us our case was a priority. After didn’t hear back from them we called again and again. Finally we were told that they got in contact with the host and the situation has been resolved. The next morning after that message we called the front desk to confirm that it had been dealt with and the checkout date was the 25th and found out that nothing had changed. Now after we have been dealing with this for our entire vacation we have to check out tomorrow morning two days early even though we paid for two more nights. This has been beyond frustrating. There needs to be three-way calling for some way to confirm the host actually does what they say they are going to do. The host has been horrible. He hasn’t gotten in contact with us even once and he’s the only one that can fix this. We will not be using Airbnb again because they ruined our vacation. Something that was supposed to be family fun and relaxation has not be that but consumed with trying to fix this.

 

Marietta Nightmare: Everything is an Uphill Battle with Airbnb

Last week, my business partner and I had a last minute business trip come up. We needed to go to Marietta, Georgia. Most hotels were full or their rates were sensational, so I decided to give Airbnb a shot for the first time. Normally I take my time, do my due diligence, and made sure everything is in order, but I only had two hours to find a place to stay, book it, get last minute briefings finalized, and pack. I admit, I should have done more research on the place.

The place reminded me of Victorian townhouses you see sprinkled across England. The rate was $120, which seemed fair for a full townhouse. I noted check in was anytime after 4:00 PM. All seemed well, so I clicked “accept.” Next thing I know I get a message. The host wrote to me in broken southern English and immediately I was concerned. He says he works until 6:30 and has to get the place ready, so he can’t let us in until 8:30 PM. I was annoyed and it was obviously contradictory with what he had stated on his profile. However, I went along with it.

Two minutes later, my phone dinged again. It was another message from the host: this time he was trying to change the reservation. Instead of offering a full house, he was trying to have us agree to just use the master bedroom, so that he can rent other areas of the townhouse to other people. Then I was pissed. I declined the request and sent him a rather forceful message demanding that he honor the original reservation. He apologized and explained that he thought he had set the price a night at $129/139; he said was going to lose money now, but he would honor the price set anyway.

At this point, I wanted out of the reservation. I could feel that this was now going south and sensing that when we arrived, he was probably going to try and hit us up for more money. I just knew this was only the beginning, so I logged onto Airbnb to try and cancel my reservation. It had literally only been about 15-20 minutes since I booked the place and I figured I’d have no problems cancelling. That’s when I found out I was only getting 50% of my money back. I tried calling their number and after several attempts, realized that I would never be put through to a real person.

I was freaking out, but decided to keep an open mind. We arrived in Marietta and first things first: we wanted to see where we were staying. It was only 4:30 or 5:00 PM, so we figured we’ll do a drive by, go eat, and then meet the host afterwards. Hopefully, all would be well.

As soon as we turned the corner into his cul-de-sac, my heart dropped. It was a ghetto: broken down cars everywhere. Nasty, filthy… and then I saw the place. He had taken a close up shot of the front of his house, so that you wouldn’t see what it was actually surrounded by: human decay.

I was out. I was so out I couldn’t even see straight I was so mad. Mostly mad at myself, for not having done my research. I logged into Airbnb again and decided I would take the loss of $100 and change. Nope, it had changed again; now, I would lose the entire payment. We went to the Hilton and checked in there. We waited it out and I decided I would go back around 8:30 PM and let the guy know I wasn’t interested in the place. Then I would speak to Airbnb and explain that “based on their terms and conditions”, I was eligible for a full refund. It clearly states in their terms, if you feel your safety is in jeopardy, you are entitled to full compensation.

I definitely had a case. The guy never showed up at 8:30, so now I’m golden. Or so I thought… I went back to my nice, clean, safe hotel and started a conversation over the Airbnb messaging service. I explain what happened in gross detail and requested a full refund. Some guy who barely spoke English told me he needed photos as proof. I never thought to take pictures; I hadn’t even been inside the place, so I Google mapped it and send him screen shots of the dilapidated neighborhood. Long story short, the Airbnb desk jockey told me he was not refunding my money. I could have gotten nasty. Told him he was nothing more than a slave to a silicon valley, or a corporate monster… but I left it at that and phoned my credit card company. I’ll get money money back, but my vengeance isn’t over. This post is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll rant and rave until the day Airbnb finally goes bankrupt, because they will. There’s just no way a company with that kind of customer service is going to make it.

Giving up on Airbnb Verification Process to Book Bungalow

I registered with Airbnb, as there was one property in particular that we just had to have: this really beautiful seaside bungalow with views to die for. I made a booking and the owner accepted it, but in order to finish the booking I needed to get verified. I thought that would be no problem. I got my email and phone number verified, and then they asked me for my passport. Last time I checked, only border authorities have the right to check passport, but I just wanted to book my holiday so I went ahead and sent it in. I made a photo of my passport and waited. The website said there was a problem. Then I made another photo, this time with perfect lighting conditions and saved it in the highest resolution; Airbnb gave the same response. I held up my own passport in my webcam (a real person, with real documents) crossing my fingers that a computer would recognize me as a real person with a real document; nothing happened.

Normally this would have already been a few too many steps for me, but my girlfriend and I were just in love with this bungalow, so following all the guidelines and help desk information (which was not a lot, considering they are massively invading my privacy with this verification process) I linked my Google account so they could cross reference my name. I still had no luck, just a lot of frustration. At this point it wasn’t just coming from losing our dream holiday. The frustration was also coming from realizing what I have just done, allowing some website (and whatever 3rd and 4th parties behind them) to go through my personal emails, including my PayPal information, and have a perfect high resolution photo of my passport.

Needless to say I have deleted my account and will never return to this website. The keen traveler I am, with 80+ nights booked with my Expedia account, I will finish my experience at Airbnb with zero nights and actually quite a bit of fear and frustration that I had to go through using personal documents and still not getting recognized as a human being. I will never return to this website, unless in the following years I ever end up being a victim of some identity theft.

I did respect the fact that it’s because of Airbnb that I found this bungalow, so I never wanted to cut them off, and was more than happy paying their share. They cut me off with their ridiculously faulty (and arguably dodgy) verification system. After that I had no other choice but to Google the name of the property, and after a little research, I ended up with a direct contact to the owner. I do not encourage anyone to do this; it is against to policies and also not a “nice” thing to do. However, it was literally the only choice they left me with. Ironically, it saved around 100 bucks, shared between the owner and myself.