Ransomware Attack Doesn’t Qualify as Extenuating Circumstances?

My family booked a trip in the mountains for North Carolina. Three days before our trip, the Colonial Pipeline was hacked and held for ransomware. This lead to a gas shortage and state of emergency that was declared in the state. We contacted Airbnb customer service to see if we could cancel our trip due to the state of emergency and the fact that we wouldn’t be able to make it to our destination. They told us they would look into it.

We reached out to them every day for five days, and continued to be told they were looking into it. Finally, after our trip was scheduled to be over, they came back and said it wasn’t covered under the extenuating circumstances policy but wouldn’t tell us why, even though a government-declared state of emergency is clearly listed as part of the policy. We asked for a manager to give us a call, so that they could give us a better explanation.

Instead of a call, a manager that was based in Europe emailed us to let us know that the decision was final and that she couldn’t call us in the U.S. because of the time zone difference. We asked for a manager located in North America or more specifically in the eastern time zone. She came back and said if we want to talk to someone, we can call the customer service line again and start over with a new ambassador. We still believe that our claim falls under the extenuating circumstances policy and would really like to talk to someone that understands why the decision was made to deny the claim.

Airbnb Hosts: If you want to get paid, beware

I am a multi-host with Airbnb and operate in Palm Cove, Queensland as a fully qualified real estate agent. I recently had two bookings, one in Palm Cove and the other in Sanur, Bali. Both payouts were due very close together. When no payment was received I checked my account only to find that somebody had hacked the Airbnb page and added their details as the default payout party. Total money lost: just under $2000, of which $1500 belongs to my clients and I have to honour.

I immediately contacted Airbnb after changing my default details and password. I was told that the Airbnb computer system was secure and that they had no idea how this could have happened. I was told my case was being referred to their Trust & Safety Team to investigate, and that I would be contacted very shortly. Well over a week later, and almost daily calls by myself to Airbnb, I have yet to get a call back from anybody, despite promise after promise to do so, and “Of course, we are so sorry this has happened.”

I have asked to speak to the Trust & Safety team to see what they are doing about my money. I was told today that the Trust & Safety Team works in the back offices and they don’t have phones. Well I kid you not, I nearly wet my pants I was laughing so much.

If that weren’t bad enough, here is stage two of Airbnb at its best. I was invited to join Airbnb’s Plus Programme where they send a party to your nominated property to inspect and do a photo shoot. This, according to Airbnb, will elevate your listing to a preferred status whereby potential guests will be convinced to book your property because you are a trusted host whose property has been inspected by their professional team.

I put forward the two properties Airbnb had chosen from my portfolio. A date was set for each property, and here are Airbnb’s requirements: schedule your home visit; choose a date and time for an Airbnb partner to visit your home in person. The visit will take 1-3 hours and includes an inspection and photoshoot. You or someone who maintains your property should be there the entire time.

You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Of course Airbnb did not turn up to either property to either prearranged time and date, and I had to pay my staff for sitting on their backsides watching TV waiting for Airbnb to turn up. So once again I have to contact Airbnb to get a credit for $236 which they charged for these two non-visits. Then again, they are oh so sorry for what has happened and will arrange a credit.

Now I know you are going to ask, did they credit you? You already know the answer. Of course not. “Please go away and stop bothering us” is the impression you get when you ring and get put on hold time after time after time. For today’s call I was on hold for 14 minutes. I am sure they were just hoping I would go away. They are like insurance companies who receive a claim, and adopt the declined declined declined response, until they realize you mean business.

Today I have reached the end of my tether. I have been told that the Trust & Safety Team does not have phones and when I requested to speak to a Public Relations Officer, I was told Airbnb does not have one. I just got the round robin treatment of “Well, we cannot do anything from here as we are a call centre.” I asked to be directed to a phone number to speak to somebody who can actually act with responsibility. “I am so sorry, we cannot give out other numbers as we are only a ‘call centre.'”

Time to go public and tell the news media. I know they just love this juicy type of story to get stuck into Airbnb.