Airbnb’s Dishonesty Over COVID-19 Cancellation

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In February I booked a house in Manly Sydney for two couples from within Australia and New Zealand. Then came COVID-19 and with border closures flights were cancelled and borders closed.

I contacted the owner and was told cancelling would not be a problem and I would get a refund. I duly did so and it read that I would receive AUD 450.00 which was slightly less than I had paid. Then I received a email from Airbnb informing me that I would get no money as company policy was since I hadn’t paid in full, there would be no refund. I asked about a voucher but the answer was no.

Their blurb said if COVID-19 was the reason for cancelling and a booking had been made prior to shutdown then they would refund but actually that’s a lie. A lot of messaging between myself, the owner and the company was a waste of time. The owner blocked any communication and then Airbnb stated that due to COVID-19, property owners were struggling with their own debt hence the reason for no payment. They too refused to accept any further communication. The host did say that any reimbursement was out of his hands as Airbnb didn’t pay him until the date of the booking.

It is saddening that this company can take money from people and not return it when it’s a genuine reason for cancellation. The airline returned the full cost of tickets without even requesting the same but Airbnb is cheating us of our funds.

Airbnb has lost me as a user and I’ll stay with other honest short-term holiday rental companies that have been reliable in the past. I only used this one as it was exactly what we wanted and located where we wanted but I’ll look elsewhere and trust the company of choice. Use Airbnb at your peril but never again for me.

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Airbnb Host Offers no Flexibility During Pandemic

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This was the worst Airbnb I have ever stayed at in my life. It was like walking on eggshells. I can’t believe I stayed here and extended my stay. I was manipulated and taken advantage of at the same time as well.

Since I was trying to save money in the middle of the pandemic, I figured I should probably stay in a cheap place with a kitchen. I was hesitant with booking with this host since the kitchen was not allowed. I figured she might be able to make an exception so I decided to message her first.

In our conversation, she told me “light cooking” would be okay. Unfortunately, that was my mistake. “Light cooking” was her way to get me to book the room so that she could make some extra cash during the pandemic. Apparently sautéing was not considered to be “light cooking”. Light cooking to her was considered to be making a sandwich, which is not really cooking at all. Because of this miscommunication, I had to throw away $30 of groceries.

My host also came into my room and moved my stuff around so that she could tidy up one day while I was gone for the afternoon. If I can’t come into your room I would really appreciate it if you didn’t go into the one I paid for when I’m not in the apartment. I mean how do I know if my stuff is safe in the room?

I can also see why previous guests were complaining about the bed. I had to fix the bed frame several times since it’s made out of wood. On her listing, it also says that a laptop friendly space is included. When I was at a desk typing on my laptop I was told to go to my room because “the living room wasn’t an office”.

If you’re a tourist and you’re not in the apartment a lot I can see why you would leave a good review but this was not my experience. I’ll never use Airbnb again.

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No Reservation Fee Refund for July Travel

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing events and the related travel restrictions we are unable to travel to Croatia this July. We had paid the large reservation fee at this point.

I spoke to my host to cancel the reservation and discuss refund options. She seemed to sympathise and said she had changed her cancellation policy and hoped I got all my money back. However, when I tried to cancel the booking there was no refund indicated as due.

I contacted my host who basically stalled me. I have tried to go via the resolution centre but cannot as it states I have not paid the full fee. I am prepared to negotiate a fair number with the host but she continues to stall. I am concerned that it now looks like I’m paying a large reservation fee for an apartment that I cannot stay in for no fault of my own.

I cannot take it to resolution as I have not paid a fee. The help centre is absolutely no help at all. I’ve sent multiple messages with no response. Is there anything I can do or have I lost all the money?

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Airbnb Refuses to Refund First Responders

We had a group of first responders planning to stay at an Airbnb for three days in April. During this time, the COVID-19 virus had made its way to Southern California. We have been transporting symptomatic patients everyday and many of our paramedics/firefighters have been contracting the virus. This virus has the possibility to be asymptomatic and our fear was coming in contact with civilians that could suffer life-threatening symptoms.

I reached out to the host explaining how it was best if we cancelled. Our host had the ability to give a full refund and said he was on board. Immediately after I canceled, he went back on his word and kept the money.

A few days later, Airbnb released extenuating circumstances for a full refund for customers that fell within certain dates. Although my dates were included, I had already cancelled; they refused the refund. I tried to explain the situation I had with my host.

I received very generic and automated responses from customer support denying any help. I am very disheartened about how Airbnb customer support has handled this situation. This has cost me a lot of money and I don’t see my myself ever using their services again. To all that are reading this: stay safe during this tough time.

Host Tries to Charge Guest $6,000 for Fake Damages

Last November I was traveling with a friend from Tennessee to Delaware. We stopped several places along the way and our first stop was actually in Alabama. We got there and the Airbnb was difficult to find and seemed like it was in a sketchy area. Once we found the place, it wasn’t so bad.

The next morning we wanted to do a load of laundry and there had been a washer and dryer listed for usage. Well, in order to use the washer, I had to get the host’s stuff out and load it into the dryer. I thought I was being helpful anyway.

After a few minutes, my friend and I smelled something burning. I went over there and sure enough there was something wrong with the cord. We were not told that this was the case, but I had to make sure to unplug the dryer. I had to move the dryer to make sure I could unplug it which was difficult since it was hot to the touch.

We opened windows and the door. We even called 911 to get the fire department out even though there wasn’t a fire just yet. We knew we needed to leave, but needed to make sure nothing happened. We stayed until the smoke cleared, but from a distance so we wouldn’t inhale the fumes. We also called the host and told her exactly what happened and she was cordial and okay with us when we were on the phone and thanked us for letting her know.

That night I got a call from the host screaming at me for ruining her stuff and that I had caused significant damage. I let her know it was due to her error in not letting us know the dryer had faulty wiring, but she insisted that it was on us. She went ahead and complained to Airbnb and said we did that as well as stole some stuff. We are not thieves.

We got a call from Airbnb letting us know the complaints and we let them know the real issue. They told us, “Yeah, it is a little ridiculous what she’s saying and it’s way more than could happen in one night.” So they said that we would be okay and that they would eliminate this complaint.

About three days later I got an email trying to charge me $6,000 for the damages. I called about it and once again they apologized and said they would remove the charges. However, a few days later I got an email saying that my account had been disabled due to not following the terms and conditions in accordance with Airbnb policy.

I have since tried and tried to talk to Airbnb and ask why my account was disabled, but they keep emailing me and letting me know to reply to with my Airbnb inbox, which I cannot use since they disabled my account.

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Terrible Host with no way to Contact Airbnb

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Airbnb hosts accused us bringing extra people and that is not true. We booked for 12 and there were 11 of us. Proof is attached. I’m writing on behalf of members of KC Nippon and myself. I was a world karate champion. We travel a lot and use Airbnb very often. We never had a bad experience like the one in NYC.

I came to NYC for a competition with ten kids. The apartment was not ready when we arrived: the house was dirty and some workers were putting on a bathroom door that was completely missing. The other door was broken and some of the furniture as well.

After two nights, the toilet broke and all the sewage was coming back up. We contacted the super and she promised to fix it. That was very risky for the kids’ health and we had to close that bathroom. We couldn’t use it for the rest of our stay. That caused a lot of delays in our program and a lot of complaints from kids’ parents.

When we complained about it, the host sent threatening SMS messages (see attached photo). She also came the day that we were leaving to check everything, and when we complained she start to be very rude and was yelling at the kids. She is listed as a real estate agent and I’m not even sure can she legally rent apartments on Airbnb in New York State.

When we came back we saw a very impolite message: the agency wanted us to pay them extra money. We booked and pay in advance for 12 persons, but there were only 11 of us. We will not pay anything extra.

At this moment we would like to request a refund for our expenses. The kids’ health was in danger (considering coronavirus and all the unsanitary conditions). My personal opinion is that Airbnb should protect their users from hosts like this.

Bad Airbnb Owner Trying to Scam Guests

My wife and I chose Airbnb to find a location to have our wedding reception. The first day was very busy getting people from the airport, getting and putting up decorations, helping the caterer, and so on. Given that, we noticed but disregarded the broken refrigerator and dirty house and other odds and ends. We took a couple of pictures but carried on getting things done.

The week went by, and we head home. My wife received a message from the owner saying that we damaged many things and needed to pay $300 in repairs. She messaged her back calmly saying that these things were already broken and sent the pictures timedated to her as proof.

She said that her management service is very thorough and accused my wife of lying. She became very hostile when my wife pointed out all the other things that were substandard with a $3000 house rental. She insisted that we were lying and gave my wife a very negative review saying, “It would have been nice for you to be honest about it.”

Now she is publicly calling my wife disrespectful and a liar when we have the proof of her management company’s negligence. To add insult to injury they have deleted my wife’s review of the house while the owner is still allowed to publicly bash and harass us online and on her personal email.

When you “stole” something that was never there

I want to preface this by saying that this is my first time ever booking with Airbnb, and I definitely made some amateur mistakes.

I let my host text me exclusively since they wouldn’t respond through the messenger. I also accidentally signed up for one guest. When you’re searching for a stay, you can choose the option for two guests but I didn’t realize that didn’t transfer over when you booked. I texted my host that I was coming with another person the day before our check in and they replied “excellent” since it was no extra charge (which they denied, because it wasn’t on the messenger. Luckily I had screenshots.)

I believed that people wouldn’t try and scam me without proof or accuse me of stealing something that was never there. I recently got back from a weekend trip with Airbnb and this is my first time booking a reservation myself (yay for adulting).

I thought the host was a tad bit aggressive on the trip, because they were constantly texting me with their personal number and asking what we were doing. I didn’t think much of it and gave them five stars since they claimed they would rate me five stars as well if I did (which is extortion?).

I got home and everything seemed to be fine, but then I got an email that ruined everything. The host is claiming that I walked out with a comforter and a 55-inch TV in broad daylight with no proof other than “it was here before they checked in and gone when they checked out.”

When we got to the apartment there was no TV. The bed was missing a comforter and it wasn’t made. In their defense, we did arrive an hour early (but they told us we could still come in). I didn’t report the unmade bed, because, again, this was my first time renting an Airbnb and I didn’t want to seem rude to someone that was letting me into their home. I also didn’t think it was that a big a deal since we were the ones that arrived early.

With the TV, we assumed that it wasn’t included or being repaired. They gave us a list of amenities to check, and while the TV was pictured on their page when we booked, it wasn’t on the list they sent us when we arrived. We assumed that meant it wasn’t included. We did tell our host about a few other missing items, and even sent pictures telling them that we didn’t want to be charged for things that were missing upon our arrival.

At this point I’ve sent them a receipt of a comforter that we had to buy and a speaker that we purchased for our personal laptop, since we couldn’t watch movies due to no TV being there. I’ve asked that surveillance be checked and for our reports of other missing items to be documented, but the host keeps saying that we need to refund them immediately.

They’ve told us that there is a cleaning person that comes in between us and their other guests, and that’s the only reason that I can think of that might be why the TV and comforter are gone. Maybe another guest took them or they were never there to begin with. The keys for the apartment are also outside in a lockbox that’s on a rail on the street for anyone to access.

They also told us to never contact the front desk for anything as we were not allowed to; we didn’t have a lease in our name. Is that normal for other Airbnbs? I wouldn’t know because this was my first time booking one.

For the first time since we’ve been back, the host used the messenger to claim that we never sent anything to them regarding issues to the apartment or my second guest. They are telling Airbnb that I’m lying about everything, because the communication I’m talking about never happened. I may not have the videos of the apartment, but I do have screenshots and text messages to share, which the host isn’t taking kindly to, saying that my character and responses can’t be trusted since I’m “insane” and a “liar”.

The host has harassed me every other day in private messages for money, I guess Airbnb isn’t moving fast enough for them. People are probably wondering why I’m so worried if I have nothing to hide, but I have an anxiety disorder that’s constant and makes me stress and worry about things that I shouldn’t: “What if they don’t believe me, because my host didn’t update that I had a second guest; what if they assume that the TV being gone is my fault, because they didn’t check that their last guest had it; what if I can’t get another Airbnb because of the review this host left on me.”

It’s a lot to think about. I had to block my host with this final message after they called me insane:

“Everything about this experience has been so stressful. I just wanted to have a good time with my partner and you keep saying that we took your TV with no proof. Your keys for the apartment are outside. Anyone could have gone in and taken your device. Next time get insurance on your items or put something into the booking to protect you from something like this.

I’m really sorry that your TV is gone. I’d be upset if someone took my things, but I’m not the one that did it. Instead of waiting for Airbnb to decide on an outcome, you keep messaging me to pay you for something that you have no proof of me taking because it wasn’t in the apartment to begin with.

We assumed that your listing was inaccurate because of the missing blanket, TV and bracelets. We didn’t report it, because we arrived early and assumed your cleaning person didn’t have time to prepare. And if we reported the pool bracelets not wanting to be charged, why on earth would we take something so expensive as a TV? It doesn’t add up.

This entire time, you’ve been unprofessional. You’ve attacked me. My character. And my honesty. This is the very last time that I will message you directly. If you are so sure that we took your TV, just let things play out the way that they are supposed to and leave me alone. Especially if you have the evidence to back up your claim. I hope you have a great day and that no one else has to go through an experience like this.”

I’m not sure if I ever want to use this service again after this, especially since support won’t do anything about the host harassing me.

Last-Minute Cancellations are Schemes by Hosts

I made my first Airbnb request for my bosses staying in Orlando for a conference. The host confirmed the reservation and sent me a written confirmation. I paid the full amount for the reservation.

At the last minute, he called me to say the unit was suddenly not available, even though I have a written confirmation in hand and I paid the full amount. There’s a conference in town and he obviously got more money from someone else and cancelled on me. To get my money back, I had to “cancel” the reservation, but didn’t get all my money refunded.

When I contacted the host, he said I cancelled, not him. So now it’s a matter of he said/she said. Since Airbnb holds the money and doesn’t send it to the host until you check in, this is a great scheme for the host. Who has the money that wasn’t refunded to me?

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Sudden Construction at Airbnb House in Miami

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This report is about a host who spontaneously thought he could cancel our reservation four days before our arrival because there were (suddenly) renovations that were not “foreseeable”. My husband and I wanted to rent a condo from this host for about one month (mid-December 2019 until mid-January 2020). The pictures were breathtaking and promising. Also the testimonials of other guests had convinced us to spend a little bit more money than usual and to get in exchange an accommodation where we could live well for about one month.

We paid about 1950 Euro for the accommodation and quickly got the confirmation with the instructions. On November 27, 2019 I received a message via Airbnb from the host that he still needed copies of our passports, as he wanted to send them to the administration so that we could check in without any problems. November 27th was a good two weeks before the arrival date – that’s going to play an important role in a moment.

I sent the host copies of our passports via email the same day. After that, there was no further communication. On December 7th, I received a message via Airbnb from the host. He wrote that there was a problem with the apartment and that we could not stay. However, he would cancel the reservation and he was sorry. I answered him promptly that this was very unpleasant and if he cancelled, we would charge him the difference to the new accommodation.

His answer was that this was not what Airbnb policy says and that he can only refund me the apartment fees. He further explained that there was supposedly a large construction site or extensive construction work going on in the building, but it will not be finished in time – at least not at the time of our stay.

With effort and distress and under great temporal stress we were able to cancel the reservation (on the part of Airbnb) and found a new accommodation, which nevertheless gave us a nice holiday experience. The new accommodation was about fifteen minutes away from the original one (North Bay Village) and so we decided to drive past the building complex in question and see what the status of the construction work might be.

Well, who did not suspect it yet: There was no construction site, no construction noise, no construction vehicles, nothing. We drove past several times on several dates to rule out that it might have been due to the holidays, but even after several visits there was nothing to see of a construction site. Well I ask myself, if there really was a construction site or work, it should have been known at least on November 27th.

For me (and not only for me) this means that our host either didn’t have an apartment there anymore, it was rented twice or maybe he was warned by the administration. Whoever finds an offer from a host in North Bay Village anywhere should be careful. By the way, all communication between him and me was very slow.