Host Cancels Four Days before Arrival in Norway

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Two months before our trip, I booked a full apartment rental for four nights in Rjukan, a small town in southwest Norway. Nine days before our arrival, our host informed us that he was planning to go on a ski trip, but his partner was injured. He was wondering if he could share the apartment and sleep on the sofa bed of the small apartment.

While I pondered the decision of sharing an apartment with a stranger, he cancelled the reservation. The town is fully booked due to a climbing festival and there are no available homes or rooms during these four days. Airbnb customer service assured me that “they are with me every step of the way.” However, they have only managed to find rooms 1.5 hours away and offered no reimbursement. They used the phrase “rest assured we’ll have this taken care of” three times, and taken over 24 hours to respond, which sort of undermines it. At this point I’m just trying to get them to admit that they can’t help.

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Double booked, left stranded in sub-freezing temperature

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We booked a house to stay in Hunter Mountain, New York for a skiing weekend and our other friend’s birthday weekend. There were 12-16 guests arranged to arrive on Saturday and Sunday to stay until Monday or Tuesday. The first group of us arrived early Saturday to go skiing in the morning and planned to check in to the Airbnb after around 3:00 or 4:00 PM.

When we arrived down from a long day of skiing in 10 degrees Fahrenheit, one guest arrived at the house confused and embarrassed to find a whole load of people he did not know. It turned out the host had double booked. We try to call the host and of course he did not answer.

We then tried to contact Airbnb who refused to talk over the phone and would only contact us by message. The person who was on the other end would only tell us to just rebook a place ourselves. This was the busiest weekend of the year in Hunter, as it was MLK weekend. There was nothing else to book. When asking her to call us she responded, “I am currently on a call. Is there any other listing you are interested in?”

We were standing outside in the freezing cold in front of the originally double booked house. Not only was this response incredibly rude but this was three hours after we first made contact with Airbnb. It is now 7:00 PM. We are trying to find a new place. The bar and resort at Hunter Mountain, where six other guests were patiently waiting, is now closing and the staff are asking them to leave.

We started calling hotels who were all saying they were booked up, until finally the fifth place we called had rooms free. It was 9:00 PM by the time we got a hotel after arriving at the original house before 3:00. It is shocking to know that Airbnb would happily leave their customers stranded in sub-freezing temperatures with nowhere to stay or even have the decency of a phone call. We are horrified by this carry on.

In summary, we experienced: a systematic error that caused a double booking by a scammer host (side note, the guests that were staying in this house said it was nothing like advertised – it was dirty and there were leaks, etc.); the original booking was $1650; dealing with incompetent staff at Airbnb who were arguing with us. We were in a difficult situation and were stressed out. A professional would have been polite and done everything they could to relax us and help sort out the situation.

It is also worth noting that I contacted Airbnb the Thursday before arriving because I was suspicious of the listing. I was called back twice to confirm and assure me that the booking was okay and I had nothing to worry about. The stress caused by over six hours of not knowing where to go or who to contact was multiplied by eight people who were tired and hungry and still in their ski gear or clothes they just traveled in. We were unable to confirm to the guests arriving on the Saturday if they were going to have somewhere to stay or to bother coming up the next morning at all. Multiply that by eight people whose weekend plans were now up in the air hours before they were to rent cars, rent ski gear, and pack.

The time and effort of having to check out and move from the hotel to the new booking before going skiing on Saturday was a factor. If you have ever been skiing you would know how much stuff there is for each person. I’d say we all lost out on about two hours each of valuable skiing time. This is not cheap: $75/day/person, the average skier skis four hours a day, that amounts to $37.5 X 6 skiers = $225

Airbnb’s continued their lack of communication the week after. When trying to resolve this issue, the only phone call that was returned was at 10:30 PM on Friday night while I was at work. We still have had no response from Airbnb since this incident and have posted this message to them by multiple sources, even directly to a colleague who works at Airbnb.

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Both Host and Airbnb won’t Accept Negative Review

Here is a review I posted on an Airbnb host’s site. It was posted for one day and then Airbnb removed it from the post. I contacted Airbnb support and went back and forth many times and they refused to put the review back on the host’s rental site.

You will see in my review that I not only complained about the rental but also provided some positive feedback. It seems to me that the host and Airbnb don’t want negative reviews so they removed it. When I told the host I was posting a negative review, he threatened that if I did he would post something negative about me. I didn’t care about the negative feedback I would receive as I felt it was important to share my experience with others who may rent this house.

We also had five couples in the rental (all over 60) so I can’t imagine what he could have said about us. We were there less than 24 hours and took great care of the house. Since Airbnb wouldn’t post my review on their site I am now hoping to share it here:

Beware of this host. First let me say that we have rented many homes through VRBO and most recently Airbnb for over 15 years. This will be my first negative review I’ve written so I put a lot of thought into this post. Our first interaction with the host was amazing. She was quick to respond to all of my questions and allowed us to rent for only one night on a busy NYE stay – although at a premium rate of $1,600 per night (I believe the normal nightly rate is $500). We had five couples to share the cost so we felt the price was worth us spending a night in a nice house.

Now to the reason I’m writing a negative review. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the pool had not been cleaned; it was dirty and had leaves on the bottom of the pool. I contacted the host and she offered to come over and sweep it for us. We declined as it was starting to get dark and cool for the evening. Again, the host quickly responded to my question so communication was good. As the evening progressed we discovered many other issues. By this time of night it was getting late on NYE so we decided it was too late to call her. A list of issues we found that I want to share with potential renters:

1. When one of the guests went to prepare for bed she pulled back the top sheet and there was not a fitted sheet – only the mattress pad, which had many stains on it and was covered with hair. She found the fitted sheet wound up in a ball in the closet; it was wet so she couldn’t put it on the bed. She had to move all of her stuff to another bedroom which also had bedding issues (holes in the shams and stained sheets).

2. An ice cube fell on the floor so we grabbed a paper towel to wipe it up. The paper towel was black from the dirt on the floor. We tried wiping other areas in the kitchen and saw how dirty the floor was. We decided that we wouldn’t go barefoot in the house. In fact, by the bar area our shoes would squeak from the stickiness on the floor.

3. The fireplace didn’t work – or if it did we couldn’t find the instructions on how to use it.

4. One of the bathrooms had a hole in the drywall, the tub faucet was broken and the sink handle fell off when we turned it.

5. The ice dispenser didn’t work – we had to open freezer to get ice out of the bucket.

For $1,600 we expected a lot more from this rental. It didn’t have to be perfect as we understand many renters come and go through these houses, but clean and in working order was not too high of an expectation.

The next day I contacted the host and she said she was mortified about the linens and would repair all of the items I listed. Although too late for our stay, I hope it is better for the next renter. Her reasoning that things were not taken care of was that no one had ever told her about anything wrong in the house. I understand that others wrote good reviews so she wasn’t aware of any issues which is why I’m writing this review so the next potential renter can be informed.

All in all, the host was good to work with. We just felt that for the amount we paid to rent the house we deserved so much more.

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans Cancellation

I booked a condo months in advance for my family near the French Quarter in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve, as we were returning from a cruise that day. The listing had a normal price (not New Year’s Eve French Quarter pricing).

Three days before, host cancelled due to one of those rare plumbing problems that can’t be fixed within three days. I spent the last day of my cruise on the computer, trying to figure out an alternate plan with everything nearby booked up. With no luck and $500 a person to change flight dates, I rented a one-way car and set out to drive home. I’ll spend New Year’s 2018 with my kids in a motel on I-55.

The best part is, with my reservation canceled, there is literally no way to leave a review for either the host or his listing and no way to complain to Airbnb other than generic website feedback. Maybe the plumbing problem is real (who knows?) but why should a situation like that not be allowed to be noted in the reviews? I can tell you my first Airbnb experience will also be my last, and I wish the host and his plumbing anything but a prosperous New Year. Cheers to all from the Motel 6!

Driven from Airbnb Horror on a Snowy Christmas Morning

On a snowy Christmas morning in the Rockies everyone was staying in a poorly maintained house we rented due to a malfunctioning alarm system that flashed lights without stopping on the first floor of the house after beeping without interruption for several hours Christmas Eve afternoon (a missing sensor on an exterior door would not allow us to turn off the system). Adding to this awful situation we were told we could not adjust the heat in the house, as it was remotely controlled by the owner in Boston. Cabinet doors were torn off of the cabinets. The house was very sparsely furnished and in very poor repair. A king bed was not properly put together; nails were used instead of screws and in the middle of all the chaos it broke and the mattress fell to the floor. There was a large stinking pile of garbage in the kitchen. The house had two doors to the outside, and two were broken and unusable. We had complained about all this to the property manager who said she contacted the owner. This turned out to be a lie. She was unresponsive and lied when she did respond. Faced with this charming situation, we packed and departed the house about 6:30 AM on Christmas morning in a snowstorm. The owner in Boston responded with a blanket denial of all issues. We are in the process of a well documented dispute with Airbnb.

Airbnb’s Failure at Preventing Fraud Ruined Birthday

I bought Jay Z tickets for Arizona for my birthday weekend. I bought concert tickets, as well as ones for the Grand Canyon, food, etc. All that was left to pay for was my room and board and airline tickets. I found a nice place on Airbnb, and then booked it. I then called the host to ask a question about the stay. The host gasped in horror, saying that he did not have that property, and went to the lengths of sending me the actual cancellation request.

I immediately contacted Airbnb. I asked for a manger but had to settle for some idiot. He told me that he would give me a credit to use, so that my card wont be charged again, along with 10% off. He said that I would receive it that day. I received it the next morning, along with several charges of $186.00 x 4. $744.00 out of my account, all from Airbnb.

I called in horror; I couldn’t buy plane tickets, pay rent or use that cash, as it was charged by mistake by this fraud company. I called hysterically crying for them to apologize. I demanded a manager all to have a dumb ass call me back, apologizing yet again. He then asked what would make everything better. Can you believe I had to suggest to Airbnb how to appease their mistake? I said they should pay for my stay. He said he would send me a credit for the stay.

That same night I went home to use this credit, only to be told I could not use it for bookings, just like restaurants, etc. Guess what? By then the airline tickets had almost doubled, and I could not afford the trip. I still haven’t received the refund yet, and this Monday is Columbus Day, which means banks are closed. I am out of money and time; I cannot make the trip or pay my rent.

My bank had to issue a new bank card (time and money they cannot replace). I had to cancel my trip; as you know, prices for flights are less the further in advance you book… Airbnb cost me a whole week. I asked for a manager, but they only have dumb asses who lie about their names. The manager I dealt with should be fired. I am doing to do my best to find illegal Airbnb listings in New York and contact their landlords to help get my money back.

Host Cancelled the Reservation Right Before the Trip

I booked a house for a whole week in summer in Hawaii. I looked up a lot of Airbnb houses about six months before I was set to arrive. I found a good condo near Waikiki Beach for a reasonable price. I booked and paid in full right away. It was a family vacation. My parents, my sister’s family (four people), and my family (four people) were gathering and I made the booking on Airbnb.

Horrible things started happening just a few weeks before our vacation began. Airbnb sent us an mail stating that the host had just canceled my booking. That’s it. How could I find another house or hotel in a few weeks in the summer season in Hawaii? They simply refunded me but I could not find any place for that price at that time. They didn’t offer me any alternatives for the same days (Airbnb properties) so I had to spend almost double the money for a very bad hotel for a week. I felt guilty in front of my parents and sister for the whole week. There is no remedy if you had to pay more for the housing because Airbnb cancelled your booking. I’ve traveled a lot every summer and winter but never used Airbnb until now. It’s better to stay at nice hotels with a great breakfast. You may save a few dollars with Airbnb, but you’ll ruin your life.

Seven Guests Who Will Never Use Airbnb Again

On May 1st, 2017, through Airbnb, we booked and fully paid for a beautiful property at Helensvale on the Gold Coast which perfectly suited our needs in order to spend Christmas with other family members who are residents there. On June 15th, the host withdrew the property for personal reasons. We received a perfunctory automated email from Airbnb that the property had been withdrawn, our booking had been cancelled, and a full refund had been initiated. Seven people were left with no accommodation and out of pocket to the tune of all the credit card costs.

We immediately emailed Airbnb to ask why we were not offered the choice of a refund or assistance to rebook a suitable equivalent property, as per the policy published on their website where it supposedly explains what happens if a host cancels. It took five days to get a response from Airbnb that this cancellation policy only applies in very specific circumstances and not to us. We asked Airbnb to refer us to where we could read and understand the specifics of this policy and how it didn’t apply to us. Airbnb refused to do this. We also asked Airbnb why they had immediately refunded us without consultation, again apparently in contradiction of their published policy. Again, Airbnb refused to provide an explanation.

In fairness to Airbnb, they did provide links to several alternative properties which they said “may suit our needs”. We had been very specific that we needed five bedrooms and large living spaces, even if it meant a higher cost. The alternatives Airbnb suggested were 2, 3, or 4 bedrooms and all entirely unsuitable, as though they had completely ignored our requirements. When we asked why Airbnb kept offering completely unsuitable alternatives which were in no way equivalent to our original booking, Airbnb refused to respond. When we tried to pursue the matter further, Airbnb effectively terminated the conversation saying they could offer no further assistance. Further emails to Airbnb have met with zero response.

The lesson from our experience is that Airbnb may work satisfactorily when things go well, but if there is a problem, such as the host cancelling, Airbnb will leave you high and dry. They are very difficult to reach to resolve an issue in a timely manner, they seem to apply their published policies arbitrarily, they refuse to respond to the specifics of a guest’s legitimate questions, and their responses are generalized as to what Airbnb “can’t” do rather than what they “can”. In summary, don’t expect any useful assistance when things go wrong. You have been warned.

Bad Airbnb Host Cancels our Mexico Vacation at the Last Minute

I had a similar Airbnb Hell experience with Sofia in Tulum, Mexico. I had reserved her place for a three-week stay a full month in advance. We were so excited to have found a nice place at a reasonable rate. It was priced fairly enough that we could do some of the other fun adventures in the area. Ten days before the trip I tried to connect with Sofia to ask a few questions about the place; she did not respond. As we got closer to the departure date, and after a few more attempts to contact her, I started to worry. I contacted Airbnb and they confirmed the reservation was fine. Well, somewhere between takeoff and landing in Cancun, Sofia cancelled our reservation. She never explained why, refused to answer any questions, and never contacted me again. With only one day’s notice, we ended up having to book another Airbnb that was very nice, but twice as much money and nowhere near the beach, which meant a lot of money on taxis and not the Maya Riviera vacation we had planned for, dreamed and reserved. Because I was still on vacation, I missed the window to leave feedback on her profile on Airbnb. I suspect she got a longer stay offer or more money as it coincided with spring break in Cancun. I’m very disappointed. I spent well over $1000, more than I ever intended to, and it was not a relaxing time; it was very stressful. How can a host just cancel for no reason?

Airbnb Left me High and Dry for Nashville Music Festival

I booked this property on September 4, 2016 for a vacation I’m taking June 6-12, 2017. That’s nine months in advance because I knew the majority of properties would rapidly fill up and be extremely expensive seeing as it is the week of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. I booked my property and paid in full that day for a great price and the house was spacious and beautiful. With that said, I stopped looking for places to stay because I had already found one. On Saturday April 29th, I received an email stating that the property had been sold. With that I expected to at least have a conversation with the host with alternatives or even an apology. What I got was a message saying “sold property.”

I’m utterly disgusted and livid about this situation. Why would a host be allowed to list a property that is for sale? Had I known the host was selling the property months ago or even weeks ago, I would have had many more options but I was kept in the dark. I’ve used Airbnb in the past and thought it was great but this experience has changed my perception. I’m absolutely out of luck at this point because now I have to find a different place to stay, all of which are nearly triple the price now if not entirely booked already. Airbnb says 75% of properties are booked for that time frame. Because of this, I’m looking into ways to cancel my flight and car rental but it’s not looking so promising.

I am absolutely outraged and disgusted by the host and the service of Airbnb. Clearly all the two care about is making a profit and not putting a single thought into the customer or their experience. I already paid close to $500 for the flight alone to enjoy this special vacation with my friends and now we’re looking at well over $400-$500 each more for just a place to stay because this service is unprofessional. I can’t believe our entire vacation was abruptly ruined without even a simple “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” or replacement accommodation.