My BFF and I booked our first ever Airbnb for a trip down to Los Angeles for a race we were both participating in. We booked in advance, but realized we hadn’t heard anything from our hosts until we were on our way down to LA (again, it was our first Airbnb experience, so we had no idea what to expect). We texted, called, and messaged our hosts for hours, only to get nothing back. Finally, after hours of already being in LA (it’s a four-hour drive from where we live) we got a response that an unexpected emergency came up… yeah, right. We ended up having to pay for a hotel room at the last minute. We requested a refund multiple times, and never heard a word from the hosts. They have now stopped being hosts… I wonder why. Airbnb has not been any help either.
One of my best friends and I decided to take a trip to New York City. We thought it would be a great experience because I have never been before. I reserved an Airbnb over a month before our stay. Keep in m.,ind it was my first time using the platform because I was told it was a cheaper alternative. I even paid for an extra night for an earlier check in because we took a red eye and would be landing at JFK at 5:00 AM.
Just as I was about to contact the host to let him know we had landed at the airport and would be on our way, I received a message from him saying: “Hey, unfortunately the reservation had to be cancelled. The website will do everything on their end to help you with it. Appreciate it and I hope you will find a great place.”
So now there we were in New York City, having traveled across the country with no place to stay and no place to go. I received no real explanation from the host which I’m sure had just been copied and pasted from Airbnb with zero contact information. I spent over a grand on a place where the host could just cancel at any time and leave the guests stranded with nowhere to go.
I finally got a phone number from Airbnb Hell (which, by the way, is 100% correct). Customer service said I was issued a refund as soon as the host cancelled – which was a lie; my bank confirmed they had no incoming refunds. Basically Airbnb is a POS service, and here we are almost three hours later and still stuck at JFK trying to find a place to go. All in all, it was not a lovely first trip to NYC.
On April 9th of this year, my wife and I reserved an apartment in Colorado Springs with Airbnb for the entire month of September. We received a confirmation from our host the same day. Plans were underway and we were anxiously anticipating our autumn trip to Colorado. We made round trip airline reservations from Raleigh-Durham to Denver and made other ancillary plans and reservations for a rental car, etc.
On the evening of August 23rd, I checked my email and was shocked to learn that my Airbnb reservation had been canceled by the host. She explained that she had to sell the property but didn’t tell me until seven days before my flight to Colorado. A subsequent cancellation email arrived from Airbnb. My wife and I worked frantically to find another property, but due to the popularity of Colorado (especially during autumn), we were unable to do so. I contacted Airbnb and a customer service representative offered to help us find another property. He sent a list of five or six properties for us to evaluate. After an exhausting evening of research and property evaluation, we determined that only one met our long-term stay criteria of a kitchen, laundry facilities, and in a safe neighborhood. That property was almost $1,000 more.
However, to salvage our trip, we had no other choice but to shell out $1,000 more to book the only available property in Colorado Springs that met our criteria. When we tried to reserve the property, we were informed that it had already been booked just minutes before we submitted our reservation request. At that point, we were frustrated and exhausted. Greatly disappointed with the last-minute cancellation and with Airbnb’s inability to provide comparable lodging, we reluctantly cancelled our trip.
We had no place to stay. After several email’s to Airbnb Help Center and several phone calls, the Airbnb manager said that I didn’t give Airbnb a chance to resolve the problem and that “I was being too picky.”
Really? Who cancelled the reservation seven days before my trip? Never again will I book with Airbnb. It’s simply too risky and Airbnb isn’t willing to resolve the issue. I lost a considerable amount of money in non-refundable fees, but Airbnb only offered a refund for my lodging and less than 40% of the nonrefundable airfare/hotel costs. Other expenses linked to lodging were absorbed completely by me. The biggest disappointment was our loss of a much anticipated vacation in Colorado during the fall. Airbnb’s “Long-Term Policy” is supposed to be neutral, protecting the host and guest equally. In this case, the policy protected the host with the last-minute cancellation and shifted the burden to me. I’m very disappointed.
Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.
I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.
Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.
I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.
My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.
UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.
Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.
We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.
We booked a two-bedroom apartment in London two months prior for some relatives arriving from Japan. The night before – 11:00 PM – I received a cancellation notice. However, the apartment was still listed as available for those dates but at a price 50% higher than that which I had booked. Disgusted, I contacted Airbnb who “kindly” offered alternatives (all of which were of much poorer quality given the timeframe) and a paltry £25 credit toward the cost. Booking anything comparable was going to cost me £200 or more at that stage.
Airbnb policy does not allow customers to post reviews if a reservation is cancelled the day before, even though in my case there was only 14 hours before check in. The host clearly does this regularly as some prior reviews alluded to. However, Airbnb wont take any action against the host to enforce the contract or prevent similar occurrences. I’m appalled by their apathy and refusal to see it for what it is: greedy and unethical behaviour. We won’t ever use Airbnb again after this experience.
Last December I booked an apartment in London for eight nights in July via Airbnb. This booking was the reason for my coming all the way to London from Asia. A few days prior to moving in to the apartment I had exchanged pleasant enough messages with the host, so you can imagine my disbelief when three days before my booking , I received a two-line email saying my booking had been cancelled. There was no reason given and no apology offered.
With such short notice in the peak tourist season there were very few properties available and of course the prices has risen sharply. My much anticipated holiday was in ruins. I have written to Airbnb and been told that I would receive a proper and professional reply but there has been nothing so far despite my follow-up reminders.
On the basis of this my first foray into Airbnb, I would advise anyone else considering Airbnb quite simply: don’t even think about it. It is difficult to conceive of a less professional and ethical organisation whose vetting of hosts and properties alike appears to be non-existent.
Here are the grisly highlights of the single worst customer service experience I have ever dealt with in my 36 years on this planet. That includes all credit card companies, landlords, and United Airlines. Three months in advance of our arrival, I booked a villa for ten guests in the Caribbean island of Anguilla for $3504. Two days prior to my arrival, the host (Host A) had to cancel to due septic issues: very plausible on a sandy island. Host A offered a replacement villa; it was not satisfactory, lacking the same amenities and farther away from our planned activities. Host A found a better replacement listing that was operated by Host B.
Keep in mind this is happening as other guests are arriving from all over the world. Host A’s concierge met two other guests and I at the ferry terminal in a van to take us to Host B’s villa. Host B could not find said villa; we ended up at a vacant lot down a dirt road. Instead, all ten guests had to make new bookings on the fly at a local motel. Host A responded by offering a new villa after the trip free of cost. I passed this along to someone who was staying in the Caribbean. I live in the Bay Area, so returning was not feasible for me.
Airbnb did not refund my payment for six weeks. I called them over thirty times to have this situation resolved. This is a conservative estimate confirmed by a representative when I asked how many times I called. It took another dozen or so phone calls to pry a $175 credit out of Airbnb for my trouble. Feel free to ask for details. This was literally Airbnb Hell.
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.