Serious Lack of Security at Airbnb over Fake Listings

Sadly I viewed Airbnb listed in April 2018 and to my dismay and horror I found my holiday home listed not once by total strangers but twice. The first listing even had written reviews attached to it. I later found these people lived close to where my house was situated. Foolishly I believed I could rectify this by writing to Airbnb customer service.. What a mug I am. I have no doubt that “mug” is imprinted in large letters across my forehead.

Not only was my complaint ignored, the members of staff moved the listing of my home by these unknown people to the top of listings at half the price at which I had it advertised: 30 Euro a night for a fully fitted entirely modern home that can sleep up to seven people. I requested that these listings be removed and asked for a full explanation as to how such a lack of security could take place. I expressed how cross and angry I felt about the whole situation. It proved to be writing to a brick wall.

I viewed 27 other listings for the same very lovely ancient village and found that other English people whose homes 2-4 doors down the same street had their holiday homes listed. These homes are both much smaller than mine, sleeping four people at a price of £118 per night. They were fully booked via Airbnb for £118 per night for the whole season.

To this day, August 22nd, 2018, though I have emailed and even sent recorded letters to both the registered offices in both London and Dublin Eire the staff of Airbnb have not removed one of these listings even though I have provided the listing numbers. In fact the most recent email supplied by customer service suggested that the other listing was not going to be removed. I truly believe that such a lack security is illegal and that the directors who have entirely ignored my many complaints should be taken to task.

Airbnb Refuses to Remove Fraudulent Listing

I have been in dispute with Airbnb for a good seven months regarding a fraudulent listing not authorized by myself (the property owner) on their website. The listing had been created by an agent that had been working without my knowledge with a property manager I had employed to look after things as I live abroad. I have since discovered that the two had been allowing their own clients into my property for over a year, not disclosing this to me and therefore making money from my property.

I have confronted the two who admitted to doing so. I am currently in the process of removing my property manager from his post, however this has proven some what difficult as he is also living at the property. Needless to say it has been a hellish situation exacerbated more so by Airbnb’s refusal to remove the listing. During countless calls I have made I have been assured that the matter has been escalated to the right department and that someone is looking into it. The case has been closed and re-opened without my knowledge.

The last response I got was from an agent who questioned if the listing was indeed fraudulent the customers will not be able to gain access. I have explained that I am dealing with a dishonest staff member who is still living at my property and allowing entry to customers despite my insistence that this should be stopped. I feel powerless to do something regarding the listing, all the while trying to remove this former member of staff from my property has its own challenges, in a country of which does very little to support foreign investors and business owners.

Airbnb Changed Prices, Won’t Make Up the Difference

As a host, I know my market very well and set my nightly rates manually. I do not allow Airbnb to make suggestions or rate changes for my property. Despite this, I received a reservation request from a guest who received a rate $300 less per night for a three-night stay so that I would receive about $1000 less than I should. Every single other night’s rate surrounding these specific rates are all the correct rates that I set. Magically, this one specific reservation request gets different rates, and I am confident I could have filled those nights at the correct rate so there was never any possibility that I would have ever allowed those rates to be published.

When I contacted Airbnb customer service, the first person with whom I spoke did not speak enough English to be even understand what I was trying to explain. She passed me to another agent, with marginally better verbal skills, who told me that Airbnb has the right to set whatever rate they believe is ‘fair’ to get the property booked. Knowing this is not accurate, I asked to speak to a manager who could clarify. The manager did indeed tell me this was not accurate however it still must have been I who changed the rates down (on a holiday weekend, no less) and that I could cancel the reservation myself.

I do not believe that this particular guest is at fault and should not have his reservation cancelled. I also do not believe I should accept responsibility for some “strange glitch” as the manager offered, and then having to live with the very public note that says the reservation was “cancelled by owner” which never goes away. I then spoke with one more manager who told me very seriously that she would make sure the right people were informed and that I would be contacted that Monday.

That was about six weeks ago, and every single one of my emails has gone unanswered. No one will now even speak to me on the phone about it since I had already opened a “case file.” I have been listed on VRBO for almost five years and have never had any issues. Every time I call my issue is resolved, and I am extremely pleased with the reservation requests and bookings I get on that site. I tell absolutely everyone to avoid Airbnb; the properties are just as good if not better on VRBO and from an owner’s perspective, a much better platform. Airbnb will never do the right thing.

Want my Refund after Airbnb Double Billed me

On April 30th, 2018 I made reservations for an apartment in Scottdale, Pennsylvania. I then paid the fee of $1,400. Unfortunately, Airbnb double-billed me. Using my bank and customer service from Airbnb, I was able to obtain $1,400 back for my double billing. This meant I had only paid for one reservation for June 27th. On that day I called the host to obtain the keypad number. She informed me that my reservation had been cancelled on May 22nd. I then proceeded to call Airbnb; they reiterated that my reservation had been cancelled. After numerous attempts -approximately 23 – and numerous customer services representatives, they indicated that I was in fault and therefore did not deserve a refund. Finally after insurmountable attempts, I was told that everything was resolved and I would be given a full refund and an additional 10% or $180 for my inconvenience. I have not received a full refund.

Airbnb Host Guarantee is Airbnb Host Fraud

We have a brand new house that we have listed on Airbnb and we recently had a bad guest. We made a claim using the host guarantee. To be honest the Airbnb Host Guarantee isn’t worth the toilet paper it’s appears to have been written while Chesky was sitting on the can. It’s a huge scam and needs to be the subject of a consumer fraud class action suit.

For $1,800 in damages that this guest caused, they offered us $251. After doing some research, we found they offer everyone about $250 no matter how much damage the guest causes. That has to amount to billions that hosts have lost around the world.

We have an almost new house, six months old at the time the guest stayed there. The lit hookah coals on our new glass stove top permanently disfigured the top. That part alone without installation is over $200. The installation is over $200. A new stove is $700. They offered us $130 for that.

Our house rules clearly stated there was a $300 fine for smoking in the house. When they left the house they left all of the windows open, the air conditioning on, and the vent fans on because of the smell. This guest also disconnected and removed all of the smoke detectors. He used the toaster oven as a step stool to do this. He took the batteries out of the detectors and didn’t put them back in. They were all going off because of this.

They didn’t pay us the fine, for putting the smoke detectors back in or replacing the smoke detector batteries. All of which cost a lot of time, which is money. The brand new toaster oven which cost over $50 to replace plus a trip to the house? For that they offered us $20. What kind of crapola is this? It goes on from there. In short the host guarantee is the host ripoff. Calling it a guarantee is a fraud.

Case Closed, Reopened, and Cleaning Fees Deducted

My Airbnb guest arrived and found the house to be “beautiful.” Three days later she decided to leave. She complained about crumbs in the toaster. I offered eight separate times to send up the housekeeper but she refused. She stayed another four days. She wanted a refund for the last three days. A claim was made and the cleanliness issue was not found in favour of the guest as under the guest refund policy it states very clearly that the guest must try to resolve the problem. She refused to have the kitchen re-cleaned so under no circumstances did she try to do this. The case was closed. Two weeks later it was reopened and £500 was deducted from my account for a “cleanliness issue”. Airbnb meanwhile paid $900 to the guest. I sent in all of the texts with the guest as additional proof that she failed to comply. There has been no response from the case manager. The case has been closed. Four other Airbnb case managers have failed to provide an independent review. I suspect fraud.

Airbnb Guests Part of Identify Theft and Fraud Ring

I always ask people what time they are arriving and get a confirmation on a time frame. Locking them into a set time gives me an idea about what kind of people they are too. Since this individual confirmed for 2:00 PM, he had me sitting there until 11:00 PM without showing. It smelt of “let me sleep over and then look through your s$%t when you leave home for work.”

I just got that vibe and I was correct. I did a Google search and found I was in a Airbnb Hell story. It was already past the cancellation deadline on the website. Dude was outside my house; I had to deal directly with Airbnb instead and get the knife out of my hand. They probably intended to rob me. I intended to wait at the door and prepare for any kung fu battle that always begins with an ambush.

I told Airbnb he was not coming into my house. They said, “Wow, how did he manage to make a reservation this time? We have procedures in effect that were bypassed by the reservation system.”

I said I didn’t care what was bypassed or how they managed to do it; there was no way they were coming in.

Airbnb said “You wont be getting any money for cancelling.”

“I could bloody care less, and I don’t care about my Superhost status either.”

Airbnb Property Fraud, Long Con Scam in London

blankblankblank

I would like to report that my husband and I were just victims of an elaborate property fraud here in London by a long con Airbnb scammer. We lost our entire apartment deposit and what we thought to be our lovely new London flat we had been working for months to save money for and were preparing to move into this Monday, April 30th. I really want to make other consumers and families looking for new apartments aware of the potential dangers and get our story published to raise consumer awareness. It’s shocking what happened; I’ve never heard of such a thing.

As far as I can gather from police and what has happened so far, the situation is as follows. We saw a property advertised on Gumtree in our zone in London when we were looking for a new flat to rent for this year. We contacted the advertised “landlord” via phone to chat and set up a time to view the property for rent. We went the next evening in person to see the apartment after work for a walk through viewing. All seemed normal: there was a man who met us, and showed other couples through after us. Nothing seemed off. We even went back a second time for a second viewing.

We spoke to the “landlord” a few more times. He created a tenancy agreement. I had him amend several clauses on the rental agreement before we all signed the final agreed tenancy agreement. We sent over the bank transfer deposit for the property. We received an emailed receipt. We were told he would contact us a few days before the move in date to hand over keys and do a final walk through.

All seemed fine and normal until this week when my husband was unable to reach the landlord all week. Getting concerned, we walked to the flat – it’s in our local zone – to knock on the front door. A couple answered and said they were staying there until today, Saturday, April 28th, renting it via Airbnb. They told us the name that they had been given for the “host” who rented it to them, which was a different name than what we had been given as the landlord’s name for the property, the person who had showed us physically inside of the flat, drawn up our tenancy agreement, and taken our deposit.

We went home and found the property advertised on Airbnb by the host’s name (name now changed in Airbnb, I noticed) the couple had given us. I logged into my current Airbnb account in order to chat with the “host.” At first I thought maybe everything was still okay, and that the landlord would still contact us as I saw the flat was marked as not for rent at all after Saturday except for three days in May (which was odd, because we were supposed to be moving in Monday, April 30th).

I was hoping it was an error on the part of whoever was temporarily renting it out on behalf of the landlord on Airbnb. The host’s bio on Airbnb said he was a professional property manager. I saw 22 other listings, so I thought maybe it was a company. Wanting to investigate further, I asked if the property was still for rent. The host said it was, and told me to go ahead and book the dates in May. I asked for his phone number; he refused unless I confirmed the booking. I then asked for address confirmation, and the “host” gave me another post code, which was for another address, so that all seemed immediately alarming and suspicious given we were supposed to move in this upcoming Monday.

We phoned our bank immediately, and sure enough, the bank details we had been given weren’t even for the same bank name. Our hearts sank. We reported the fraud to the bank and started preparing for the next preventative steps. I decided to return the next evening after work to the flat. We again knocked on the front door of the apartment. The current Airbnb guests said they had called their host who agreed to let us have his phone number.

We called the host and he said he was a manager from a property management company called Prime Estate Agents, and his company had been managing the property for years. He claimed that one of his tenants at the property had conducted the scam, and had also taken deposits from other couples as well. He said although he was willing to cooperate with the police, he would give me no further information. However, I was welcome to visit his realty office.

When I went to see him yesterday, he was extremely evasive, would not answer questions about why he gave me a different property address and name when I had chatted with him via Airbnb. All he said was that there were multiple other victims in the scam, and that my lease was not valid even though the landlord’s name listed on the lease agreement was the correct one. He claimed anyone could find out this information via land registry. He would give me no details about who it was that had the keys from the rental agency on that night/stayed there via Airbnb booking, just said it was one of their tenants, and that they would not give any more information unless it was to the police.

Airbnb has not helped me at all, the property company says its not their responsibility, our bank says we cannot get money back unless the criminal’s account still has money in it, and now we have no flat to move into. The police said they may or may not investigate, and we are left with no deposit or flat, and no one that will help us. This has been a heart wrenching experience, and I hope by sharing this that maybe others can avoid such potential scams. We have been living in London less than a year and worked saving money for this flat, and are left speechless after this. Also, I believe this professional property company is breaking council and tax laws by renting full houses out not properly zoned for extended periods of time.