Before reading this story, quickly Google “Airbnb account hacked” and you will see this is a regular occurrence, happening to many people. Upon signing up for Airbnb, our account was hacked. Access was gained to our personal emails and even work accounts. We do not know exactly how this happened except that it was done through Airbnb. This by itself is scary and completely unacceptable. The hackers accessed and changed our bank details on the Airbnb website. Money was then stolen from us. Without getting into the details, customer service was terrible and infuriating. We fought for a month: phone calls, emails, the lot. Without our consent, Airbnb opted to close the investigation. This cut us off from replying to emails or talking to the customer service team. We never got our money back and ended up cancelling our account. I would strongly advise others to find alternatives. You have no security with Airbnb.
My son reached out to Airbnb support on June 3rd to let them know that he did not feel safe staying at the Airbnb he reserved from June 1-26 after a nearby shooting and the fact the host’s description of the neighborhood had not been accurate. Instead of a vibrant up-and-coming neighborhood like the host had described, my son found a quiet and lonely street with little foot traffic, worn down buildings vandalized by graffiti, barred windows, and surrounded by construction sites.
This was not the first time that this host had been given a review that claims she is giving a misleading representation of the area where she lives, as stated on her profile. In addition, it appears the basement room she has been renting out is in violation of several health and safety codes. I also found out from Airbnb that there is at least one other ongoing case against this host. My son was told by Airbnb to cancel his reservation and work with his host to get a refund.
At first, the host seemed understanding of how my son felt, as a foreigner to the city. He spoke with her in person as he picked up his belongings on June 4th and later messaged her to thank her for her understanding, explaining the urgency of receiving a refund as he needed to find a new place to live. After this, his host never responded again. I tried calling her myself, leaving her a voicemail on June 5th. She never called me back.
I starting calling Airbnb the next day. I was unable to speak to anyone in the United States for days. While the representatives in the Philippines were very friendly and tried to be as helpful as they could, they continued to tell me they “only have so much power” and that their requests to transfer my calls kept getting pushed back. I was told the only thing that they could do for me is message my son’s former case manager, who told him to cancel the reservation, and ask him to reach out to me.
Not only did the case manager never reach out to me, but he was also “never online” the days I kept calling. When the representative from the Philippines, tried to reach out to the host on June 6th, the host told him she was “too tired and hungry” to deal with me, waiting at the other end of the line. The case manager then told me to fill out a form through the Resolution Center to ask for a refund, but warned me that I would have to wait for the host to respond or involve Airbnb after 72 hours of nonresponse.
The host read the message from the Resolution Center immediately after I filled it out with the representative on the phone. She would never respond through the Resolution Center, instead messaging me privately. In this private message, she accused my son of discrimination, saying: “This is a vibrant neighborhood as I stated in my description. People who are not used to diversity and seeing so many people of color, often mistake that for crime.” As a proud Latino hailing originally from Miami, my son was deeply offended by this accusation. She ended by telling my son, “This is really horrible what you guys are doing. And this deeply concerns me that you are creating this when you are here to work for [omitted],” leaving my son worried that she would go as far as to contact his place of work for feeling unsafe in her neighborhood and the room she rented out to him.
After days of countless hours spent on the phone waiting to speak to a case manager in the United States, my case was finally taken over on June 8th. This new case manager promised to reach a resolution given the circumstances. My son desperately needed the money to find a new place to move. She promised to update me every day as to how the case was going. After Friday, her first day working on the case, she stopped answering. The last update we got from her was that the host was not answering her calls. I emailed her every day since and received no response. I called Airbnb on June 13th and they informed me the new manager was on leave, and so she had not been working on my son’s case.
I then spoke to another case manager who told me the only person who could do anything was the one on leave, so I would have to wait until she came back on June 15th to revisit the case. He was extremely apologetic and even admitted that he would issue me a refund alone based on how my son was treated by the host. On June 15th, it will have been twelve days since Airbnb has continued to put off my son’s case. Airbnb has yet to acknowledge their host’s inappropriate behavior that goes against their mission to promote diversity and inclusion, has yet to speak to the host, who continues to ignore their calls and continues to be active on their site, and has yet to tell me anything other than “they have no power.”
This has been the worst customer service experience I have ever had. I have attempted all reasonable means through front-end customer service and am now taking to social media to resolve this issue.
We’ve been hosting on Airbnb for six years. However, we easily went from being Superhosts to “your account might be suspended.” Why, you ask? A couple of malicious reviews and Airbnb’s rating system, which is not averaged. Because we had so many guests, we were unable to keep track of individual reviews and when we got five-star ratings for six out of seven of the features we assumed that we still scored a 4.8-4.9. That is not the case; we got proof recently when we received a review for a new listing. Our guest rated us four out of five stars for the Overall Rating, however he also rated us five stars for everything else (locality, cleanliness, communication, etc). Our listing showed a four-star rating when he was finished. Since we didn’t have any other reviews we were able to finally see why our overall rating on our listings dropped below 4.4 stars while all along we were receiving at least four- or five-star ratings out of the six. We called Airbnb and our guest. Airbnb quickly changed the rating from four to five stars. However, our guest said he never leaves a five-star overall rating, as that would be the equivalent of a room at the Hilton. We seriously don’t blame him. The star rating system for food and accommodations has been around forever, so much so that is almost a subliminal message. He genuinely thought that if six out of seven ratings were five stars, the overall 4.8 would be more than adequate for a $50/night room. That was not the case as apparently Airbnb is using the Yelp system without advising their users about it. This is not even a fair Yelp rating system. At the end of the day, they’ll give you a four-star overall rating even though we scored six out of seven five-star reviews and only a four star…
My roommate and I had a guest staying at our apartment for December break, since we were home visiting our parents. One guest in particular stayed on the 27th of December and decided to host a party. When I say party, I mean that the police were called multiple times, and we reached home two weeks later to find an eviction notice slapped to our front door due to multiple noise complaints. Since the maid service who had cleaned our apartment in between guests had only told us about damages in the apartment and the mess that it was left in, we were shocked to say the least. We went to the building manager to sort things out, and we were met with another surprise. The party that the guest had was not only loud and noisy, but her attendees were throwing things off the balcony, had broken the entry door as not all of them had the access key, and – here’s the kicker – pooped on the stairwell outside our apartment.
Airbnb had been contacted after the guests’ stay as the maid service had informed us about extra cleaning charges, and so we emailed them again telling them the new information. They gave us a two-day extension to provide us with an invoice for the damages. For those of you who have never had to live in an apartment building with a highly bureaucratic administration, you’re so lucky. For us, any little thing that has to be fixed or replaced has to be reported to management, who then has to file a maintenance order for it, report it to their office who will then call a company to take a look at the damage or assess repairs, and then they will call another company to do the actual repairs. The delay between each of these communications is at least two days.
Added to this chain, there is a legal team who is currently handling our file, as they are trying to review what has to be paid for and if we should pay for it. This team is not reachable by our building office or by us; communication has to go through the manager who will then ask them. This adds another few days. I explained this to Airbnb and they gave me another extension of another two days. This went on for a week. Finally, they emailed me saying I have 48 hours and no more extensions. I have repeatedly gone to the office and explained to them that I need the invoice asap, but my urgency was probably not conveyed to the legal team. When I emailed the case manager and told him this he replied saying that this is their protocol and he cannot change it. He refused to connect me to a manager and said that there is no customer care helpline I can connect with (I checked, there is).
Airbnb knows that we are helpless and is using that to get out of paying for the damages caused by that guest. The manager told me that including the cleanup and everything, the damages would amount to approximately $800, maybe more. We cannot pay for this ourselves. We’re students; we were just trying to make up a portion of our rent for the month that were away. Most of it went towards a maid service who cleaned the apartment between visits. Airbnb has turned a blind eye to us, and emails to the CEO have gone unanswered. We cannot pay the amount in damages, and we are at our wits end, missing classes to go talk to the building manager, and staying up looking for other channels of communication since our case manager has shut the door in our face. We cannot afford to start off a term like this, just as we cannot afford to pay an insane amount for absurd damages. Airbnb said that they would commit to better service after their 2011 situation. But everything they had promised isn’t being held up by their representatives, and I don’t know what to do.
The Airbnb system is meant to provide the host’s contact details once a booking has been paid for and confirmed, but what happens if the system itself malfunctions and the contact information is withheld? On a recent trip, when on my way to my next host, I discovered that the Airbnb app was not displaying any contact details for the host. The contact details had been previously displayed in the app so something had clearly happened which had resulted in the information being deleted. I realised that I could use the message function in the app to contact the host, but I travel with an iPod Touch rather than a smart phone. This meant I needed wifi access to use the message function. I was out of range of any wifi network.
Fortunately this was a place which I had stayed at more than a year earlier so I had a general idea of its location. However, I didn’t have a phone number or an address. I tried several times to locate the place, drawing on my memory of my previous stay, but without success. This was in a foreign country in a town where few people speak English. I tried calling into a convenience store to see whether they would let me connect to their wifi. By this time it was evening and the only person on duty could not understand what I was asking. I continued to try to find the home where I was expected. After an hour of wandering around, I decided to try a different shop. This time the person on duty could speak English and offered to tether my iPod Touch to her phone.
I was immediately able to send a message through the Airbnb message system and within a few minutes the host picked me up. They had been expecting me to arrive an hour earlier and had been worrying about what had become of me. After I was settled in we tried to work out what had gone wrong with the contact information. We discovered that the booking was still showing on the Airbnb app as “requested” even though it was in fact confirmed and paid for. Because its status was showing as “requested”, the contact information was not being displayed.
This episode wasn’t the end of my problems on this particular trip. Overnight, Airbnb released an update to the app and I installed the update. What I didn’t realise was that updating the app deleted the contact details for all hosts for this trip. This would be like an update to an email app deleting all one’s emails. Unfortunately, I did not notice what had happened. So that evening I was again put through the excruciating process of trying to make contact with the host in the absence of any contact details. Again, I had to prevail on the goodwill of the helpful manager of another shop, who this time did speak English, and logged me into his personal wifi account.
Both of these situations seem to have been caused by the flakiness of Airbnb’s app, or perhaps by an error in the Airbnb database. We all know that software errors are not uncommon. However, the real issue here is that Airbnb’s business model leaves guests completely abandoned when bugs in their software result in the loss of contact information. Airbnb tries to represent itself as an ethical service company that cares for the wellbeing of its guests but the truth is that the only problems that Airbnb can recognise are those caused by hosts. There is absolutely no recognition in the Help Centre of the possibility of problems being caused by Airbnb itself, nor what to do about such problems when they occur. Just try to imagine how stressful it would be, travelling in a foreign country where few people speak your language and the information needed to reach where one is booked for the night simply vanishes.
I just started using Airbnb as a guest (previously I had managed a hostel which I used to book dorm beds). I stayed four places for 1-4 nights each, all of which went well, with good reviews all around. Yesterday I tried to do another reservation request. Instead of it going through, though, I immediately received this email:
Subject: Reservation [redacted] requires additional review
Hi [redacted] We monitor all reservations and user interactions on Airbnb very closely and always have the best interests of our community in mind. In an effort to support positive experiences in our community, occasionally reservations require additional review. While we review this reservation, your account has been temporarily disabled from booking additional reservations. Any accepted reservations will not be affected. Rest assured, we are working as quickly as possible to get this resolved for you. You still have access to all other functions on your account. We truly apologize for this inconvenience, but appreciate your understanding and support in our mission of creating a safe, trusted marketplace.
The Airbnb Team
I can still log into my Airbnb account, but nowhere can I find anything about being disabled. Also, there is no evidence of my reservation request. So, I’m dropped into a black hole. No clue what kinds of things might trigger a disabled account, or when they might complete their “required additional review” and whether I’ll receive details about what went into the review. In the meantime, I’m travelling in a city with plenty of available options. I thought it would be reasonable to not plan it all weeks ahead, like the guests I was happy to welcome as a host.
I’ve been a host for three years now and have stayed in Airbnbs around the world several times. After several years, I have finally had it: I am ending my relationship with Airbnb and moving on to long term renters. I have two listings; one is private room in my condo, and the other is an entire home (one-bedroom condo) that I purchased for the sole purpose of renting it out. This post is to discourage others from becoming involved with Airbnb. It’s been a rough ride these fast few years… In the early days, there were sweet guests who brought gifts, followed the rules and genuinely wanted to get to know the person they were living with or living under. Over time though, guests seem to be more driven by finding cheap accommodations and the demands are ever increasing. They expect deep cleans of the condo but argue with me over the cleaning fees, ask to borrow my car, and complain about the pillows being too soft or hard. They will empty out my mini bar and leave no monetary contribution, walk around in their underwear, be mean to my cat, etc.
The listing says the condo is not metro accessible but they didn’t want to pay the high rate to stay on the metro line and don’t have a car to get to the grocery store. If the condo doesn’t have something in stock like some flour, they simply knock on a neighbor’s door (which is terribly rude – they don’t have a rapport with that person and sometimes don’t return the item they borrowed). Airbnb requires guests to list a phone number but many times I’ve found that number is not the actual guest’s number or the guest doesn’t have an international plan and his phone is useless. There were some guests that had me constantly running back and forth: they needed more baking sheets, then a crock pot, vinegar, and sunscreen, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a review.
The maximum occupancy is six guests but I charge an additional $5 after two guests; somehow, magically, no one ever has any party larger than two. I realize I could snoop around or try and check in and maybe I could see how many folks are staying there, but the minute I say “Hey, the listing requires an additional $5/person and you have six here so I will be adding $100 to your stay,” I am basically asking for a terrible review. I have seen the nicest people turn vicious and threaten to say I am prejudiced or discriminating. The accusation is already enough to ruin people nowadays. Airbnb touts this “trust community” but over 90% of my guests are first time renters and many of them rent infrequently.
Airbnb asks that I leave fresh flowers, breakfast foods, wine and beverages, games, and snacks. Less than 5% of guests have ever just left a few dollars. A Sam Adams beer might be $7 from a mini bar in a hotel, but you can’t leave $1 for the two you drank? Really? This is how you would treat a friend who was hosting you? Guests have broken things in front of me; I have taken diligent pictures, submitted my quote to Airbnb’s Resolution Center, where as always the guest refuses to pay, and even though I have a Security Deposit and have been a Super Host for three years I have to go through Airbnb’s insurance policy for a $12 plate. I have made a lot of money with Airbnb but I constantly check myself to make sure I am not being greedy and overcharging.
Sometimes, peoples’ personal stories do make me empathize. I’ve let pets stay on request, allowed early or late check outs when I can, picked up items from the grocery store, and given rides to the city center. Guests will ignore my calls for a day then expect me to pick up after two rings every time. As a host it just comes down to Airbnb as a company. I don’t believe they will take care of me if something bad happens. I’ve often wondered if convicted sex offenders can rent out rooms in homes (how would we know?). Airbnb puts all the tax strains on me and forces me to pay the occupancy tax (which I’m happy to do, but it would be nice if they took on the administrative burden).
Despite three years of loyalty I never get a thank you card or Airbnb travel credit, and in the hospitality industry usually employees are at least reminded how important they are. Last but not least, I feel really terrible for my neighbors. Over the years some have been kind while others have gone to the Condo Board and local county government. There was one gentleman who lived in the building who wrote his congressman, county officials, and attorneys. While he was a little over the top, I get it: he wanted actual neighbors and not a revolving door. Who would buy the condo next to the full time Airbnb? If I ever thought I was hosting individuals who were going to have a disruptive vacation I would never have accepted that reservation. It is so hard to screen guests because I only see a picture and a paragraph or two, and anyone can say they are in the area visiting family or friends. The review system is pretty hit or miss; sometimes it’s hard to leave a negative review because I have to question if I’m being too judgmental or expecting too much from the guests. Goodbye Airbnb. You just saw a little piece of your paycheck prance over to YourHomeSuite.
We had a horrible host who did not prepare for our check in even when we confirmed the arrival time weeks in advance. We were supposed to have a nice stay and a nice place. What we were met with was absolutely nothing. Check in was set for 12:00 PM, so we were there at 11:40 AM. We waited until just after 1:00 PM without a sign of the key or the host to greet us. We knocked on the door and got no answer; we called – no answer. What could we have done but leave such a situation? All he had to do was leave a note on what to do with the front desk or the key. This is unacceptable behavior for a host. Saying someone will eventually show up at an uncertain time in the future is absolutely disrespectful. Leaving a paying guest waiting and exposed to uncertainty is unprofessional and, on top of that, trying to say we were a no show or late is insulting. Trying to shift the blame to the guest is a slap to the face. We are demanding a full refund and suggesting that he be removed from Airbnb before he leaves another guest rushing to find suitable accommodation in a foreign country soaked from the rain waiting on him to eventually show up. This is the most embarrassing experience in my professional 40-year career in front of friends and colleagues for us to experience such disastrous service and ridiculing responses. I’m expecting a full refund by the next working day.
I have had two separate “awaiting payment” issues two days in a row. Airbnb doesn’t give you any indication that a guest’s payment may not be valid until you accept the reservation. This automatically holds the reservation and prohibits the host from declining guests or opening up for other guests that might have their affairs in order. I called Airbnb and spoke to a representative about declining these guests; they would not change their policy, so my listing is off the market with no secured payment for 24 hours. Why would Airbnb hold a host’s opportunity to make money hostage? I was told that the odds of the payment issue being fixed are greater than the chances of it failing. Nevertheless, Airbnb takes all the host’s rights away in order to protect the company’s interests for 24 hours. The fact that a host hits accept and gets an immediate “uh oh… there seems to be a problem with the payment” is proof that the software Airbnb uses can immediately detect if there is an issue with a guest’s payment option. This simple line or two of software code should be implemented when guests click “book”, not when the host gets stuck with a blocked calendar. I told this to the Airbnb representative… he would not help me cancel the reservation awaiting payment and left me feeling like this policy is not going to change.
My family decided to vacate the house they live in throughout the year during the summer to rent it out and help pay the bills. The property is located in southern Europe in a region that’s highly sought after during the high season. After accepting reservations booked by guests months in advance we had to turn many away, including requests from other guest on alternative booking sites. We had many added expenses getting the place ready, including cleaning as well as check in and check out fees.
Two consecutive guests decided to cancel their booking at the last minute for medical reasons. (for two separate reservations); the second guest cancelled his booking days AFTER he was supposed to check in. In spite of us having a “strict” cancellation policy, Airbnb agreed to reimburse them for the full cost of their booking leaving us with an empty house at the last minute in the midst of the high season. To justify their decisions, Airbnb only sent us the link to their extenuating circumstances policy, which lists a very wide variety of circumstances left broad and vague on purposes. In this instance, given that both guests had emailed saying their cancellation was due to medical issues, we asked Airbnb which objective criteria had been applied and the list of documents provided by guests to justify the fact they had to cancel at the last minute. In spite of our repeated queries, Airbnb refused to provide any objective criteria used to determine the circumstances of the cancellations. Of course they make these arbitrary decisions without losing any money themselves. Hosts end up losing money without having any say in the decision. These cancellations should be handled with a strict process similar to those applied by travel insurance policies. Hosts are NOT protected by Airbnb and this certainly doesn’t feel like a community.