Racist Host Cancelled Over Holiday Weekend

What was supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing weekend away with some of our closest friends for Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be a nightmare. Our group consisted of a total of six individuals, ethnically diverse (east Indian and Korean) professionals, a mix of women and men. One might wonder why is it important to mention a description of our ethnic background — why does that need to be stated on an Airbnb review?

With everything happening in the United States, racial profiling and discrimination is something I felt free of in Canada, especially in British Columbia where our communities are multicultural. However, we were all victims of discriminatory behaviour by the host.

We booked accommodations at Campbell River about a month prior to our arrival. The intent of our stay was to have a weekend away with our friends and enjoy what we named “friendsgiving.” We were all excited to share a meal around a table, play some board games and enjoy nature. Upon our search we came across a “luxurious log cabin” and the six of us decided the cabin was to our liking and suited our needs and interests for the weekend. We proceeded to book the accommodation, and the host and hostess accepted our payment.

We started planning. We are all honest individuals and have immense respect for others’ homes. We did not want to bring or do anything which was not okay with the host so we took the liberty to be honest and asked the host if it would be okay if we cooked dinner for thanksgiving at the cabin. In addition to this, we asked if it would be okay if we brought our lovely Luna (our dog) with us. The host was quick and kind to reply that the kitchen is fully stocked for cooking purposes and we are more than welcome to host our dinner. However, she was not okay with our pet.

We respected her wishes and decided to let our dog stay with family and were very thankful that she was okay with us using the kitchen. It does state on the listing that the kitchen is available for use and we do have proof of the host’s messages agreeing to the use of the kitchen.

Two days before we were to leave for the weekend, we got a message from the host asking to change our cabin and to consider making changes to our accommodation. They send us pictures of a different cabin, which looks absolutely nothing like the log cabin we had originally booked — not nearly as nice. We kindly asked the host if we could continue to keep our original log cabin accommodation as the entire group is more comfortable with our initial choice. We promised her our dog is not coming with us and that we are all professionals and will leave the place with no damage. The host agreed to allow us to continue our stay at the originally booked log cabin.

All of our ducks were in a row. Ferries from horseshoe bay were booked. It was the day of departure and the six of us make the six-hour commute to Campbell River. During the drive in the morning, we got bombarded with messages from the host saying we could not stay at the log cabin. She was going to cancel our booking unless we agreed to stay at the other cabin.

We took the liberty of calling Airbnb customer support and explained the entire situation to them. They mentioned that the host is in the wrong and should not be changing accommodations without getting approval from the booking customer. The hostess was strong arming us to stay somewhere we didn’t book. Considering we had already commuted almost four hours at this point and it was a long thanksgiving weekend with no other place to stay that could accommodate six people, we had to agree to changing the cabin. However, our condition was that we wanted to see the cabin first upon our arrival.

Once the first half of our group arrived, the host refused to open the gate and let them in. We called her and messaged her to let us in — we paid for the accommodation and travelled a long way to be here. At first, she refused until we called Airbnb and agreed to cancel our original booking and accepted the new cabin. We politely told her that we would like to see the cabin she was recommending before agreeing to her request.

This is where it gets really ugly. When she finally came out to open the gate and take the group to the new cabin, we noticed that the cabin had not been cleaned at all. There was dirt and leaves everywhere, the sheets looked slept in, there were coffee stains on the tables, and a horrible smell. The cabin looked completely lived in and had not been cleaned at all.

Immediately the group refused to stay there — this was not what we paid for and this was not what we travelled six hours to stay at. When asked why we could not stay at the log cabin we originally booked her words to us were: “People like you stayed there last time and the people like you all burned the stovetop.”

At first we were taken aback by the phrase “people like you” and then expressed to her we had no intention of damaging the place. She could take a larger cash deposit from us and hold onto it until our stay was over and return it once she was content that there was indeed no damage.

Her response? “No, I cant trust people like you, you asked about bringing a dog.”

We reassured her there was no dog. We left her back home. She could have checked our car, but she continued to accuse us of lying about hiding the dog. Repeatedly she used the phrase “people like you.” She never once addressed us by our names. She called us violent people when a friend of ours tried to walk towards the other cabin and threatened to call the police.

Eventually we noticed that there was someone already staying at the log cabin we had originally booked. She accepted our payment but gave the accommodation to a family member of hers to stay at for the weekend and was forcing us to stay at another cabin so she wouldn’t have to return our payment. The host then admitted that she gave the log cabin to a family member to stay at and that she forgot to tell us earlier.

We as a group have never been so humiliated, insulted, discriminated, and racially profiled before. We have never had someone threaten to call the police on us, to be treated so inhumanely and to be referred to as “people like you.”

My advice to anyone of ethnic origin or of colour: please save yourself the long journey and headache and do not book accommodations unless you are okay with your weekend being sabotaged. The six of us had to resort to booking a one-bedroom place which slept three people. 600 square feet for the weekend because there was no other place to stay due to the long weekend. We tried to make the most of our weekend, but the horrendous behaviour from the host and hostess was unforgettable.

Broke and Unhappy After Customer Service Experience

I’m highly disappointed in my recent experience with Airbnb’s customer service. My friends and I booked what turned out to be a scam listing. We were already about 8 hours into our 11-hour drive to the beach when we received a notification from Airbnb that our booking had been canceled and we wouldn’t be penalized for the late cancelation.

We expressed that we were already over halfway there and were left with no place to stay. We were told that Airbnb would book us a new place to stay and get back to us within an hour. We never heard back from them. We ended up booking the only other pet-friendly beach house in the area that turned out to be four times the price of where we initially thought we were staying.

We reached out to Airbnb many times and were told that we had to wait until our assigned case manager contacted us and that no one else could help us. My friends and I now owe a difference of $700 per person for the new booking and Airbnb has refused to cover any of this difference. Now I’m broke and upset and my whole vacation was ruined because of this.

Another Airbnb Last Minute Host Cancellation

This was first, and will be my last, Airbnb booking. I planned a three-week trip to El Dorado, to visit family and friends. In November I put the trip together and chose Airbnb to rent an apartment for the extended stay rather than a hotel. The booking was just around the house where I grew up and was well reviewed.

Fifteen days before traveling, three months after I made the reservation, I received a notice of cancellation, with no explanation. The Superhost responded when I contacted her:

I am so sorry for the canceling. I have someone in the apartment till the end of March. You booked in November and I thought I had all of March blocked off. I just saw the reservation on the March calendar.

I asked how this happened.

I do apologize. I have never in three years had to cancel a reservation. In December I had a guest reserve the room from Jan. 3 to Mar. 28. When I was blocking those days off on the web site, I just enter on the top page to block all days from Jan. 3 to Mar. 28. Airbnb has change up the website. I did not see that you had your reservation in the middle of the other guest stay.

I wrote:

I made a reservation in November and you take a conflicting reservation in December. Then rather than advising the December reservation you made a mistake and have to honor a previous reservation from March 7th to March 28th made prior to their reservation, you chose to cancel mine? I don’t think that is honest or right.

I did not hear from her again. A complaint to Airbnb got a response saying they were sorry. Great. I made an unacceptable and more expensive hotel reservation and paid the flight change fee to shorten my trip.

While she claims this was an honest calendar mistake, I received confirmation and paid the 50% deposit. I would guess this is the kind of cancellation discussed on Airbnb Hell. Though I made the reservation first, for three weeks in March, she had the opportunity to take a much more lucrative three-month reservation.

Even if it was an honest mistake (very doubtful), I would expect her to explain the mistake to the three-month reservation, tell them they have to vacate for my reservation, which predates theirs. I travel several weeks a year within and outside the United States. I have used other rental services without issue.

I will never consider Airbnb again. I have deactivated my account. How can this be permitted? As with the other horror stories, all the investment and planning for the trip and my family is ripped apart.

The other part that angers me is that an automatic review, not from me, was placed for the listing with the notification of the cancellation. As the reservation was canceled, the website does not allow me to review my experience with the host and the property. Nice for Airbnb. Never again.

Thought I was the only one going through Airbnb Hell

I had booked an entire large house on Airbnb for a family reunion and a wedding in Orlando for one week. We have five kids, six grandkids and a few newfound siblings (through Ancestry.com) that were all going to stay under one roof. At my age I do not know how many more times I will get to be together with all of them, so I cherish each one immensely.

The day before the trip, I went to contact the host for the information to get into the house and that is when I saw a big red cancellation notice on my reservation. My heart dropped. My son and his family were in the air on the way. They were going to be the first to check in, and now that he was in the air on his way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, Airbnb had cancelled our reservation.

This was my first message to Airbnb after I saw they cancelled our reservation:

Help! Our entire family and a group of friends are flying from Alaska to Florida for our daughter’s wedding. I went to our reservation to see the check-in procedure and saw that Airbnb has cancelled our entire reservation, without contacting us via email or phone or other.

We have had this reservation for a month and are leaving today to meet up with the others. We had no idea they cancelled us.

As it turns out, our credit card was compromised last month so they sent us a new one. We had no idea this was happening until we received a new card. Airbnb must have tried to run the old number and when it did not go though they just cancelled us without any contact with me letting me know.

This is terrible. What can we do now? Why would they not contact us? Help!

All of our contacts with Airbnb and the host were cordial, but in no way helpful. At least if you have an issue with a hotel, they help secure new rooms. We ended up having to find hotels so none of us got to stay together.

Here is the full story as I told it to Airbnb and still they will not refund my deposit, even though I never cancelled it.

As we grow older we realize there are only so many times left in our life that we get to be surrounded by our whole family: our kids, their spouses, our grandkids. Every single one of them. People grow up and move away.

For our family, Florida was to be that time. And to have a wedding in the midst of this. I could hardly believe I was fortunate enough, dare I say blessed enough, for this family reunion and wedding to be upon us.

The last time we visited Florida, Hurricane Irma chased us away, but now we were back. Imagine my shock when on the night before we were to leave Alaska to begin our amazing family reunion, to see that our reservation had been cancelled. I was in disbelief. Denial. Shock.

How would I tell my kids who were already in the air and were to be the first to arrive with their new baby, my grandson? In my heart I felt somehow someone would be able to work this out, to make it right. It was not to be. I am writing this from my hotel on the other side of town from where our eldest son’s family is staying.

Our daughter who is getting married is at another hotel, and our daughter’s family from Atlanta is arriving tonight to be in yet another hotel. It turned out this was a holiday (Valentine’s Day, which is also the 37th anniversary of my proposal to my lovely bride) so getting hotels together did not work out.

I am telling you this so you will know that you are renting these amazing properties to real people, with real stories, not just numbers on paper. People who work hard so that when it’s time, they can also play hard and love even harder. Real families who cherish their time together.

As we now learned, unknown to us, our credit card was compromised. Between the time I paid my deposit and the time you were to charge the remainder. As someone who has done many hotel reservations, but never an Airbnb reservation, I always assumed if there was an issue I would be contacted. I was not.

My Airbnb profile has my phone, email, address and even a photo of my driver’s license: many ways to contact me. My hope in writing this is to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Ever. What should have been a glorious trip, has been so difficult for me (I was in charge of securing our place to all stay together).

The kids have been great though and are making the best of our situation. The wedding tomorrow will still be amazing, I am still blessed to see see the kids and grands. Florida is about 100 degrees warmer than Alaska. Life is good. But please remember that your guests are real families counting on you to help make their dream vacation destination a reality.

Your job is so important, as most families do not get enough time to play together. To just hang out together. In our situation, a phone called would have resolved this immediately. Immediately.

Because I was not contacted to remedy this situation, which I knew nothing about, I am expecting a full refund of my first deposit. I only hope if this ever happens again, you will contact the guest for a quick solution.

Tomorrow I am contacting the credit card company to demand they cancel this charge as we never received a notice of cancellation. They also hold some responsibility for cancelling my card.

It was really the perfect storm; they cancelled it right at the same time Airbnb tried charging the remainder. My problem is Airbnb never contacted me, even though they said they emailed. They also had my phone number and could have easily called or texted.

This was a really important week for us, and it has caused so much stress. What should have been an amazing week turned into another episode of Airbnb Hell.

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?

Screwed by Poor Airbnb Host Cancellation Policies

I have been a loyal Airbnb customer now for almost ten years, staying at places both in the U.S. and internationally. I have received nothing but positive reviews from hosts I’ve stayed with, and I have never canceled a stay.

Over these last 9+ years, hosts have either cancelled or ghosted me after confirming my reservation at least three times. I don’t mean cancelling my reservation within a reasonable amount of time before my trip starts. I’m talking about less than 30 days, and in some cases, less than two weeks for trips that I had booked months in advance.

I know folks have had it worse, but the fact that Airbnb continues to let this happen is garbage. All they can offer is a voucher worth 10% of the booking costs. What is the host penalty? Anywhere from $50-$100. That’s it – it’s often a fraction of what guests have paid, many times upfront.

Well, I’ve reached the final straw with Airbnb. I’m turning 40 this year, and as you might imagine with such a major occasion, I began planning festivities well in advance. I typically go to Palm Springs with family around my birthday every year (in mid-March) anyway, but for this milestone birthday, I thought I’d open up the trip to friends.

I polled people I wanted to come to gauge budget and availability, and in November 2019, I booked an affordable place for eight people. While many 5+ bedroom options in Palm Springs exist on Airbnb, the ones that cost less than $800/night are few and far between. Especially in March, which is the beginning of peak season in Palm Springs because of major tennis tournaments, auto shows, music festivals, etc.

Again, being a regular visitor to the area and knowing about these regular events, I always book as early as possible to have the best choice of affordable options. My trip was booked for March 13-18, 2020.

On February 17 – less than 30 days before the start of my trip – I received an email that the host had canceled my reservation. No reason was provided in the auto-generated email, but when I called customer service and asked, I was told that the owner was planning to sell the property.

I obviously don’t know this person’s circumstances, but I don’t think selling one’s home (unless connected with a death) is necessarily an extenuating enough circumstance for such a short-notice cancellation. I spent nearly $3500 on this rental and booked it months ago. It was in a location chosen specifically because it was near where other family were going to be staying.

Of course, when I quickly searched Airbnb after getting the cancellation notice, the cheapest comparable option available was $4691, a difference of over $1300. I was told Airbnb’s policy was to offer a credit of 10% of the original booking cost.

If you’re not a math person, let me explain the problem here: 300-some dollars will not cover a $1300 cost difference. Not only did I express my extreme frustration, but I emphasized that since I booked this place back in November, nonrefundable flights had been purchased, time off from jobs requested, etc.

A host cancellation didn’t just mean my group was out of a place to stay; there was a domino effect of other potential cost implications. After berating customer service about this BS policy, I was approved for a $670 credit. This would have been a fine solution, because since the new property was a bit larger, the cost per person would effectively be the same as the original booking.

There seemed to be some confusing information about the place I was hoping to book, so I immediately contacted that host to get some questions answered. One of which was why I wasn’t able to split the payment as I did with the previous booking and on other listings I had seen. I was not prepared to make a single $4500+ payment, especially given the fact that I was automatically issued a refund, and with Monday being a holiday, it would be several days until those funds would be available.

I was told by the host to contact Airbnb, and when I did, not only did they take forever to respond, they told me I would see the option to do two payments on the final “Request to Book” screen. I think you can guess what happens next. There’s no option to split the payment. I’m still being told I’ll be paying $4691 right now.

I messaged Airbnb again to tell them that – quelle surprise – I have no option to split the payment. You guessed it again – during the time this all transpired, the place I was trying to book was snatched away and showed up as no longer available.

Not only has Airbnb wasted hours of my time, they’ve now cost me more money. Given the ticking clock and the big group I needed to accommodate, I was forced to book the next least expensive property I could find at $4849. Again, if you’re not a math person, we’re now at almost $1500 over the cost of the original booking with only a $670 credit.

To say that I am livid, pissed, irate, beside myself with anger is an understatement. I’m officially done being screwed by Airbnb. I had not intended to spend the few weeks before my big celebration being stressed out dealing with this nonsense, nor had I intended to shell out more money for an already expensive trip which had already been budgeted for.

The absurdly minimal recourse guests have against hosts is unconscionable. Hosts – particularly in big or popular tourist markets – are making hand over fist dollars for these rentals and when they screw up, the guests pay. What started out as being a genius idea has, like most, gone to s%*t because no one seems to care about quality or the consumer. That’s not accountability – that’s greed.

Orlando Stay Cancelled in Middle of Music Festival

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Do not book through Airbnb. Your stay can be cancelled with no repercussions for the host. We found what looked like the perfect place for a music festival but were a little concerned about reviews that included cancellations. I asked them about this and they blamed the guest and said the guest would not provide additional documentation.

I booked the unit in August and crossed my fingers. The host cancelled our stay in January and of course I can’t find anything comparable for the same cost because of the music festival. The offered other accommodations that they said were 15 minutes away. I insisted on getting the address and it was 30 minutes away.

Then the host told me to cancel the booking. I am sure it was to screw me again on my refund or so it would not show up in their reviews. Airbnb thinks all is good because they refunded our money but this in no way solves my problem. A lack of suitable options and they are all at three times the price of the property we had reserved.

If we cancel, we lose our money. If the host cancels, there’s no harm to them, but to us and Airbnb does not care. Airbnb does not allow people with cancelled stays to leave a review; it only states “the host cancelled your reservation.”

Do not stay with hosts and do not use Airbnb. What are you going to do at the last minute when your stay is cancelled? If you look through their reviews, cancellations happen way more than you would think. In fact, when I went back to look at their listings, a new cancellation popped up. Don’t risk your vacation with Airbnb.

Airbnb Cancelled my LA Accommodation with no Warning

I have been planning a road trip around the US from Australia for several months now. There are five of us going: myself, my sister, my brother, and two friends who are a couple. Between us we are aged 27 to 43, one of us is pregnant, and we’re all nerdy. Hardly party people, right?

Due to the fact there are five adults needing four beds and we’re driving so we have a car, Airbnb is the cheapest and most convenient way for us to book accommodation. We booked all of our accommodation months in advance.

Last week, with no warning, I got an email from Airbnb stating our accommodation in LA had been cancelled. There was no explanation, no apology, just that it had been cancelled and I would get a refund. I messaged the host asking why he cancelled, and in the meantime searched for a new house.

What did I find? The house I’d booked, back online and available for the dates I had booked, but at an increase in price. Furious, I emailed Airbnb Support. According to their guidelines, if a host cancels the reservation “you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of a cancelled reservation”.

The host responds and assures me he has not cancelled the booking, but Airbnb has instead. Nowhere in my short email and text from Airbnb alerting me to this cancellation is it clear that Airbnb has made this cancellation. The host says it’s due to new laws in LA.

I Googled these “new laws” and found one news article saying Airbnb has cancelled a number of reservations in LA due to complaints of these houses being “party houses”, after a mass shooting at one in October last year. I sent Airbnb a follow up. The host has said that Airbnb is usually pretty good at assisting guests with rebooking after cancellations. This was not something they had offered to help with for me.

I finally get a response from Airbnb Support. They stated: “When we checked the host account, the reason why they cancelled the reservation is due to the new law in California regarding renting the place. Almost all the reservations were cancelled. Their local government is requiring them to do some stuff before hosting. Until the host settle this with their local government, that’s when they will start hosting again.”

I responded, asking why the house in question was still listed as available on Airbnb if the host has to “do some stuff” before being allowed to host again. I also requested advice on how to rebook in LA if this is a blanket law. Airbnb responded saying they do not have control if the reservation is cancelled by the host, which is why there are cancellation penalties in place.

Obviously the people at Airbnb were struggling to read English. This is not the case. Airbnb cancelled my reservation, not the host. I requested clarification, Airbnb responded with yet another weak excuse, blaming the host. I responded expressing my disappointment, asking why they hadn’t addressed my concerns or been able to give me an apology. They didn’t respond.

I’ve been sending them a message everyday, reminding them that I don’t believe my matter is resolved, and requesting to speak to a manager. I’m hesitant to rebook in LA, if the same thing is likely to happen (they won’t address this concern at all) and don’t want to risk my booking being cancelled too close to the trip, as LA is our first stop. Honestly, this has put me off using Airbnb because clearly customer service is not a priority for them. Does anyone know how you make a formal complaint against them?

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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.

Cancelled our booking within 24 hours of check in

We booked an Airbnb months ago in NYC, very close to where my husband was to be a groomsman in a wedding. With less than 24 hours to check-in, we received a cancellation notice without any explanation from the host. After a frantic, stressful search, we found another property on HomeAway (a competitor). When we called Airbnb, they basically shrugged their shoulders, gave us a refund, offered us a $60 credit if we booked within the next month… and deleted all of our communication with the host.

What is that about? We wanted to write a negative review of the host to keep people away from them, but Airbnb would not allow us to. It makes me wonder if this is common practice by Airbnb in order to limit the number of negative reviews to keep people using the site. We won’t use them again.