From a Loyal Airbnb Customer to a Duped One

This is my sad Airbnb story. A group of friends and I planned a trip to Amsterdam and Ibiza. We found the house we wanted on Airbnb; the host was a registered user with good reviews from the apartment, so apparently everything was normal. We contacted the host through the site, who responded to our request via email where we exchanged information to confirm the reservation. We went back to the property page, to proceed with the booking, and once again everything seemed normal… or the site was a perfect copy of that on Airbnb. Maybe even an original, because everything was the same: logos, fonts, layout, etc.

I proceeded with the reservation and confirmed the same details, then I got an email from (again, the same as that sent by Airbnb) to pay for the booking to a bank in the UK, HSBC BANK PLC. Unfortunately, once the payment was made, we received a new email confirming that the host had been transferred the money, and the reservation was ready and secured. The host confirmed by email that Airbnb was informed that he had been paid the booking, and told us that on the day of our arrival we should contact him to arrange delivery of the house keys.

With our start date approaching with no response from the host, we began to get suspicious that we were victims of fraud. We contacted Airbnb, who just informed us that there was no reservation for that number, and asked for our payment information and other documents; we sent everything to them. More than 48 hours have now passed and there has been no response from Airbnb, which forced me to make a complaint on their Facebook page. By a sheer miracle, this made them send me an email immediately, saying I had been defrauded. They apologized but said they can not do anything. It is amazing how a company the size of Airbnb does not help victims of these crimes, nor take responsibility for a scam that happened on their website with a registered user, using their platform to catch victims!

The first instance of fraud is accomplished on the real Airbnb website; they should take responsibility for it. I did not ask Airbnb to give me back the money I lost, but at least to improve their customer service and provide information on the host, including how he was able to defraud me. I believe it is an inside job from someone who works at Airbnb along with another person outside the company, because the initial contact is always done on the Airbnb site, where they “fish” their victims.

Lucky Escape from Fake Airbnb Listing

My boyfriend and I are currently looking for a long-term rental in Milan, and we have already come across three scammers. The most significant one we have experienced was for a huge flat right in the centre, that was advertised on Bakeca. It was for just 940 Euros a month (very cheap for Milan)! The flat was beautiful, but we couldn’t see it in advance because (like I’m seeing with many stories here) he was supposedly out of the country. We exchanged a few emails and he said that he used Airbnb because it was the safest option. It was clear that it was an email he had copied time and time again because he never answered any of the questions I asked and he never addressed me by my name. Nevertheless, I trust Airbnb because I have always had good experiences, so I asked him to send the link to the flat. The site looked normal, the reviews were incredible, and yet something seemed off… then I noticed that the usual padlock that marks that you can pay securely wasn’t in the address bar like it is on the real Airbnb website, and if you tried to click on any of the links they didn’t work… apart from payment of course! Anyway, although I noticed before it was too late, I very nearly went through with it. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM!

Airbnb Protects Hosts at the Expense of Guests

We booked a house near Aix-en-Provence in the south of France for 10 nights. When we arrived we discovered it was in a different location than that on the Airbnb map and actually right next to the highway. The host, Virginie, misled us into believing her house would be suitable for two small children using public transport (La maison MAChaBaGa, 194, Avenue du Camp de Menthe). It was the opposite of this. The doors did not lock, there was construction work taking place around the house, the pool she said we could use was very dirty, and there were no shops or restaurants – the host told us there would be. She told us the bus stop was right outside the property to get to town, but the nearest stop was actually a 15 minute walk along a dangerous road into oncoming traffic. Clearly not suitable for small children.

Workmen lit a fire next to the house, there was no privacy with the workmen appearing at the non-locking glass sliding door windows at random times, a plug socket fell off the wall exposing dangerous leads, and the host said she would provide towels and there were none; this seems like a minor inconvenience but is a real pain with two small children. It was a horrendous experience overall. We only stayed two nights and left as soon as somewhere else became available. I passed all of this information onto Airbnb who said that “we needed to let them know within 24 hours, we don’t qualify for the refund policy and the case is now closed”.

I’m in absolute shock at the appalling customer service. The host has taken almost £1000 from us and nothing is being done to stop her. We stayed two nights and she knew we had left after two nights, but has chosen to keep our money even though her house was unsafe and not at all as described. We’re very upset and now realise why Airbnb has been so successful – they avoid ever paying refunds to guests. They have offered us a pitiful refund, a fraction of the amount we are owed. They have even taken away the opportunity to write a review of the property to warn other guests. Hopefully they will find the information they need here. I will never use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Kyoto: Not Everything in Japan is Pristine

Our first booking was cancelled by the owner, and it took some persistence to get the money refunded on our return. Our second booking in Kyoto, Japan turned out to be ghastly. The “owner” had a profile picture 0f his baby in his arms with a spiel about how friendly he was, how much he loved the neighbourhood, and how he would let people know all the good places to eat! We never saw him! The apartment was not clean, and the bedding was appalling. No spare linen, and it looked like the linen had not been washed – there were only two pillows with cases, and one of them was dirty. For the price, it was sub-standard accommodation, even for Kyoto, and the only people who may not have complained would have been five backpackers sharing the price. Never again. The shower, which was always damp, was a haven for footrot, and there was barely enough light. The only thing which worked was the wifi, which was good enough to check out some good hotel accommodations in the area and get the hell out of there. I selected this because it was close to the railway station – it would have been preferable to have slept at the station.

Pregnant Wife and Donuts on the Streets of NYC

I booked an apartment on Airbnb, only to discover there was no apartment, there was no landlord, and my money was gone. The result: I was stuck at 11:00 pm with a pregnant wife on the streets of New York City in a Dunkin Donuts. I read about similar scams for new users like me on Airbnb; I understand bribery is an important part of their business: it attracts new users at least. Airbnb did nothing to help me, my money is gone, and they replied to my complaints “there is nothing we can do, this will be the last email you receive from us.” Their platform is full of frauds and there is no serious attempt to exercise oversight on the users. Stay away from these people. They are not a serious company. My experience with Airbnb has been a nightmare.