Robbed as an Airbnb Host, No Payment Coming


I have been hosting on Airbnb for quite some time now and I had a reservation for January 22nd-26th. My transactions say that I was supposed to receive a payout of 1600 USD on the 23rd. It is now February 8th and I still have no idea when or if I am going to receive my payment. I have had at least a dozen incompetent case managers that have different stories on why I did not receive my payment and how they are going to help me. No one knows how long it takes for them to process my payment because it is a “technical” issue and that is a department only they have access to.

What should I do… call a lawyer?

Airbnb Host Guarantee Scam: No Payment for Damages

On or about September 5th, a tenant in my Hamptons home reached out telling me he accidentally broke a shower handle in my guest house. A few hours later, I sent in a handyman who notified me that the guest house was completely flooded as a result of the damage to the shower handle and the guests hadn’t even put down towels to dry the wooden floor which, in turn, was soaked in water.

I immediately reached out to Airbnb asking them to please notify their insurance provider and assist me. As a courtesy, I also offered to contact my own insurance (note: Airbnb asked me to lie and not disclose that an Airbnb guest caused the damage). Airbnb assured me that they’d pay any difference or deductible I may incur.

My insurance ended up confirming and estimating the flood damage at 21k (stating they’d reimburse 10k but not the deductible of 2.5k and a sum that they attributed to amortization, essentially because my guest house was built ten years ago and wasn’t brand new). In the meantime, Airbnb neglected to send in any adjuster, even if I repeatedly asked them to do so, and put me in touch with about 15 different anonymous individuals with no last names or phone numbers to reach.

After three months and when the remediation work had been finished for over a month (and after having reviewed all my final paperwork and invoices, which they knew well), Airbnb notified me that they decided to send an adjuster. The adjuster, in turn, called me stating that it was ‘crazy’, ‘in bad faith, and ‘unheard of’ that Airbnb would send him in so late and to simply verify that the work was done and that’s not something an adjuster should do. Instead, he told me, Airbnb should have sent in someone immediately, which they didn’t. Following that, I received an anonymous rejection of my claim, essentially stating that Airbnb wouldn’t cover what my insurance wouldn’t and claiming that my insurance didn’t recognize the damage (which is a lie as, in fact, they covered almost half of it).

I have loved Airbnb and I still believe in their business, but those practices are brutal and really show how unsafe hosting can become with some (terrifying) guests like these (who also smoked marijuana and disrupted an entire neighborhood by the way). I ended up spending 11000 USD of my own money and numerous days of my own work trying to remediate this and desperately trying to speak to multiple anonymous Airbnb employees.

All in all, I still believe in Airbnb but please don’t rely on the insurance. Unfortunately, some guests can destroy your homes and Airbnb won’t help you at all. They’ll instead put you through anonymous employees to make your life a miserable hell in the hope you’ll give up eventually.

Airbnb $900 Coupon Magically Changes to $84

A few weeks ago, I booked a trip to Tahoe to go skiing with a group of six friends and coworkers. A few days before the trip, the host cancelled, so I received the cancellation refund and booked another place. On the day of the trip, around noon when half of the group was on their way up to Tahoe, that host cancelled the trip as well. So I spent about four hours that afternoon on the phone with several Airbnb customer service representatives trying to find another house that was available for the weekend, that could accommodate our group size, and within our budget. Finally after two more cancellations during that four-hour ordeal going back and forth with Airbnb representatives, we found a new place, booked it, and were confirmed that it was would be good. We left for the trip two hours behind schedule.

On our way up, we asked for check-in instructions from the host, but never got a response. After another several hours on the phone with Airbnb, we were told we could have a $250 hotel credit for one night. It was approaching 10:00 PM, and we were in Tahoe with nowhere to stay. We finally got into a hotel at midnight. Unfortunately, the hotel didn’t have any more availability beyond the one night or we would’ve stayed there the entire weekend. So throughout the next morning and afternoon, all seven of us would come off the mountain and start searching for Airbnb houses and asking Airbnb Customer Support to help us contact the host to ensure we’d be able to stay there. However, over the course of the day we booked and confirmed two or three separate houses, and then had them cancelled.

After the last house we saw a $900 coupon that effectively comped the price of the booking, and we thought: “Awesome, Airbnb is finally taking care of us.” Unfortunately, that host also cancelled, and we no longer saw the $900 coupon in our account. Again we called the Airbnb Customer Support line to ask where it went and how we could apply it to our next booking. After speaking with Customer Support, they assured me that if I went to the most recent cancellation email and clicked the link to “book another place,” the coupon would still be there. I did that, and it was there like she promised – in the Airbnb app, under the Payment Breakdown, a coupon of $900.

Since there were now no more places that could accommodate a group our size within our price range within the surrounding Tahoe area, we were forced to look at places beyond our budget. We found one of the cheapest and closest places for a total of $1,000/night for the two remaining nights, and we figured with the $900 coupon, it would even out to be about within our budget (excluding the difference of the hotel that we had to pay the night before that the $250 credit didn’t cover). Because Airbnb assured me that the credit was there, and I saw the $900 coupon in the Payment Breakdown of the house I was about to book, I thanked her and hung up so that I could book it. As I hit the “Book Now” button, the coupon changed from $900 to $84 and I was then charged the full $2,000 on my credit card.

I’ve been on the phone with several of the Airbnb Customer Support representatives since the booking to try and figure out why this has happened. After weeks of back-and-forth calls and emails, I spoke with someone who told me they would not do anything more for me other than providing a 10% refund on the Airbnb we booked. However, the problem is that we never would have booked that house in the first place had we not had a $900 coupon. They have refused to help me, but I will be calling their customer support this week and will edit this post if they decide to change their decision.