Unethical Practices Towards Airbnb Hosts and Guests

Airbnb does everything they can to misguide you as a host. Their policies are not clear. They tell you their assurance protects guests in your home but they don’t tell you that they protect items missing or damaged. When you come back and file a claim, if it’s not within 14 days of the checkout or before someone else checks in, they don’t cover it.

What’s the point? I have missing technology someone stole from my home, bleached towels and sheets that someone ruined worth over $1000, and nothing is recoverable. Airbnb doesn’t give a crap about you as a host or you as a guest. They are especially dishonest and unethical to hosts. Here is an email I got recently:

“Please be advised that, per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with regard to these disputes. We are unable to reconsider the decision made in this case we’ve issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly. As further communication will not change the outcome of this case, we must respectfully disengage from further discussion.”

Airbnb is more concerned with getting you to just roll over and get over their BS than actually helping you resolve the issue. Does this seem fair to you? If you are looking to host your place with Airbnb, don’t. If you are a guest with Airbnb, be kind to the home owners and don’t expect a hotel experience. If you want a hotel for ten guests, go rent five rooms and pay what that is worth instead of giving hosts crap.

Airbnb Induced Stress Keeps Guests from Enjoying Paris

I booked an Airbnb for four of us (two couples) in Paris and, having used the platform before, it seemed easy. We were confirmed in a “Charmant appartement spacieux”, and we thought all was well, until about two weeks before we were to travel when I tried to contact the host to find out where we would get the key, etc. I tried every method available for a week, and all communication, both to Airbnb and to the host (if there is such a person) disappeared into a black hole. Panic and anxiety followed as I envisaged four seniors sleeping on the streets of Paris. On careful reading of the reviews (which I should have done before) it appears no one has actually stayed with this host, and three have had the same experience as I had.

I eventually cancelled, because I believe the post is dodgy in some way, and we couldn’t arrive in Paris with no confirmed lodging. However, now Airbnb has kept the $110 cancellation fee, which it should not do, as I don’t think there ever was a genuine product/service for sale, but I can’t find any way to present this argument. All emails funnel you into drop down lists that are not appropriate for this case, and none allow for genuine contact. They keep saying “contact the host” but that was the problem. It’s back to proper hotels for all of us.

Bogus Host Posts Private Home as Ancient Castle Airbnb

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I was looking for my next stay while touring Scotland and Northern England as a freelance writer and blogger with a dog. I had stayed in a lovely cottage in rural Ayrshire for three weeks. It was time to move on and find the next interesting place to stay. Imagine my surprise and delight to find an Airbnb listed as an “Ancient Castle” in Scotby, Cumbria and ideal for people with mobility problems. I am near 60 and have creaky knees. It also said there was a gym and pool available.

I was not sure how it worked out, but the normal price was £139 per night, seemingly for group bookings. However, it came down to individuals and the way it worked out with the weekly booking discount seemed really cheap. Still a little suspicious, but hopeful, I booked two weeks between April 29th and May 11th. I would have stayed in Scotland but the opportunity was too good to miss if true. I bought a train ticket down to Cumbria and waited until the check-in time, between 2:00-4:00 PM, before hiring a taxi costing over £10.

Taxi droppped me off at a pub. I did Google it and thought maybe it was a property behind the pub or in the ground. They knew nothing about it and pointed out the address was further down the road. I walked a half mile and could not see anything which looked like a castle. It was a rural surburban street with beautiful but ordinary large semi-detached family homes. I looked at the numbers on the gates and at #39 and counting up reckoned that #47 was another semi a few houses along.

As I came up to #47, I felt embarrased; it was clearly a family home and not a castle. I wondered how I should do this: should I go up, knock on the door, and ask if they were an ancient castle? Would that make them think I was a mad woman? Just as I approached two teenage girls came up, knocked on the door, spoke to their mum and explained that they were just dropping off their things after school but going out to see friends. The girls shot past me and the mum still stood at the door. I shouted at her “Er, excuse me… could you help me? I am looking for #47, which according to this information on Airbnb is an ancient castle.”

The mum came up and looked. That was her address, and that was even her post code, but she did not have an ancient castle, just a family home. She did not do any hosting or hiring out spare rooms to Airbnb, She was concerned who was using her address, as anybody could turn up at her home and demand entry. What if just her children were at home, and let someone in, not knowing?

I got another taxi back into Carlisle and contacted Airbnb from a pub with wifi. As usual, they didn’t get back to me for the rest of the night. It was getting on and by 10:30 PM with accommodation being snapped up for the Easter weekend I found and booked cheap accommodation in a truckstop on the edge of town in the middle of an industrial estate. That was all I could do.

I did eventually get through to Airbnb, and it was a pathetic response. They did take the fake host and the posting down, but again seemed blasé and offered me £2.73 on top of the refund as compensation. It was a very small change for the extra expense. I would not have gone through the hassle and stress if their host had not advertised an innocent family’s home as an “Ancient Castle” and had strangers turning up at their front door demanding and expecting being put up for the night.

Airbnb did not really provide a satisfactory response to this with only £2.73 to help towards other accommodations. A host tried to evict me onto the streets during Beast from the East and did not care I had no transport. Over 13 people were killed at this time, including a seven year old girl. When will Airbnb take responsibility for the welfare and well-being of their guests?

Airbnb Lied And My Credit Card Company Reimbursed Me

In May 2017, a Swedish Airbnb host failed to provide essential amenities described in the listing, obliging me, the guest, to check into a hotel for the first of a week’s visit in costly Stockholm. The first Airbnb agent contacted by phone promised to rebook me and offer compensation for expenses but the next day another Airbnb agent wrote that no compensation would be offered and, instead of rebooking me, gave me a minimum reimbursement claiming I had cancelled the reservation (not far enough in advance for a full reimbursement as per the host’s strict cancellation policy).

I tried to resolve the matter pointing out that I had never cancelled the booking but it fell on deaf ears. The Airbnb agent never replied to my showing her the agent’s name and case number I was given who had promised to rebook and offer compensation. Instead, when I placed into dispute with my bank the sum paid out in advance to Airbnb, Airbnb countered with a copy of their cancellation policy. I informed Visa I never cancelled it and that it was the second Airbnb agent who did this unilaterally and tried to lie about it. I also wrote a letter to Airbnb’s CEO in San Francisco detailing the case with names, dates and reference numbers. No one from Airbnb replied to my letter.

In the end, Visa reimbursed me because Airbnb was unable to uphold their claim with any evidence; the bank believed me. I have been an Airbnb host and guest for well over ten years. None of this mattered. I will think twice before I use this intermediary agency to book any future stays. Instead I will look for alternate ways to book private homes. It is truly shameful that Airbnb treats its loyal clients in such a shoddy manner.

Booking not yet Confirmed Cash Withdrawn

I sent a request through to the host asking him for the exact location of his home and was prompted on the system that he would need to reply within 24 hours. He did with the address and before I could confirm, the booking went through and the amount was taken from my account. There was no payment screen – I did not authorize any payment. How is this even possible? Surely I have to go through a process of entering my bank details and authorising payment?

I then proceeded to cancel the booking and was told that I would only get a 50% refund in ten days. The host said he only received payment the day after I arrived from. Where has the money gone in the mean time? I then proceeded to request the balance from the host and have had no reply, which makes no sense as he was quite prompt in replying to all my messages.

I have reported fraud to my bank on this transaction but the point is how was it even possible for Airbnb to have this authority over my banking details? Is this what a host can do, confirm a booking and payment from his side without the consent or authorisation from the prospective guest? Because he has a strict cancelation policy, he can now keep 50% of my money, from a booking that was never authorized by me? I am extremely disappointed in this system.

Fraudulent Airbnb Listing in DC with Different Address

I found a host on Airbnb. He advertised a large house for rent in Glover Park, Washington, D.C. He listed his address as a quiet, two-lane residential street off of Observatory Circle in northwest Washington, D.C.. My family and I were looking for a large house in that precise area for my niece’s graduation weekend from college. We paid over $3300 in advance. Afterward, I learned there is no such address, and that his house is actually located on Wisconsin Avenue, over a half mile away from where the house was supposedly located, and on a noisy and busy thoroughfare.

When questioned about it, the host immediately blamed Airbnb for the problem, and did not address my question of why Airbnb would give a phony address for a house unless the host had given it to Airbnb in the first place. Then without warning he just canceled our reservation, forcing us on short notice to find another place on a weekend that is nearly impossible given the onslaught of graduations. Steer clear of this liar and fraudster. Airbnb customer service utterly useless and indifferent – the phone always comes up as busy, and no one ever replies to the emails.

Airbnb Charged my PayPal Account for a Fake Reservation

Late last night I had a notification from PayPal saying I had been charged £450 for an Airbnb. I looked at my emails and had three emails that stated:

1. Confirming a reservation I had never made
2. My receipt from PayPal
3. Airbnb confirming the reservation had been cancelled and due to the host’s policy I wasn’t eligible for a refund.

Airbnb said to use the resolution centre for extenuating circumstances (which was impossible as my account was later cancelled). In the next 2-3 minutes I was also sent a billing receipt email from Airbnb, an email asking for payment verification details, and then finally an email saying my account had been cancelled (in which it implies it wasn’t cancelled by Airbnb, but rather, had been cancelled by the ‘user’).

At this point, any attempts to log into my account failed (as it was cancelled) which means I had no way to access my account details, or to access the resolution centre previously mentioned, and no way to contact customer service since every help or “contact us” page seems to just link to a “log in for help” button. I am astounded at this – surely if you have a cancelled account you should have the means to be able to contact Airbnb to resolve problems? Apparently not.

I then had to Google a contact number for Airbnb. Why they couldn’t have just put that in their emails is anyone’s guess. I called customer service. There was no answer at all; I was on hold for 30 minutes. I then sent a Twitter message to Airbnb help, advising them of the problem. They didn’t reply until four hours later, and even then, only to ask for my email address. It has now been 12 hours since I messaged them and the only progress made is just messages from them asking for my account information or reservation information – no real action, no offer to call me, no information on a phone number I can call for more help, and certainly not sorting out the issue fast enough given the amount of money involved.

I spoke to my bank who said that I need to go via PayPal first, and if they don’t refund the money then I could come back to the bank who would then try to help. I raised a dispute via PayPal last night, and this morning called their limitations team to ask for more information and to get a fast resolution as it was a lot of money. To be fair to PayPal, the customer service agent was very helpful and was able to confirm during the call that my case was closed in my favour. They have now refunded the full amount back to my account.

It turns out that Airbnb was able to charge my PayPal account because they were set up as a subscription on PayPal for automatic payments, something I was not aware of and something not made especially clear on their website. Given that someone else had a very similar problem only three days ago this is obviously not a one-off instance. Someone is accessing accounts without permission – both guests and hosts – in order to steal money. Something needs to be done about this, as it is fraud.