Airbnb Almost Homeless in San Juan

My initial correspondence with an Airbnb host was early in November when I made a reservation for 12/22-12/23. Her last remark to me was that I would hear from her closer to the check in date with the information I would need.

Fast forward to 12/20. I had still not heard from her. I sent two emails through the Airbnb website. No response. On the evening of 12/21, I called her, having a feeling of panic that I would not have a place to stay upon my arrival the next day. I was able to get in touch with her and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about. She also said I needed to install the app so that she could send me all the information I needed. I immediately followed her advice. There was still no message from her.

While sitting in the airport on 12/22 on my way to San Juan, my expected arrival date, I sent her two messages through Whatsapp. No response to either one. I called her through Whatsapp. No response. My plane was now getting ready to take off and as far as I was concerned when I landed, I would have no place to stay. I tried calling her multiple times and no response. Finally at 7:37 PM on 12/22 she responded: “Tomorrow I’ll be in the property waiting for you. Check in time is 3:00 PM.”

It was nice to finally have a response, but I was supposed to check in that night. When I arrived in San Juan at 2:00 AM, I tried calling four times until she finally picked up. It was at this time that she gave me an attitude that she was sleeping and there was no way she would be able to meet me at the unit. My reservation was for this evening and I previously explained to her that I would get in very late at night, so I am not sure why I received an attitude. I then requested that she cancel my reservation so that I would have my money refunded. She told me that she was sleeping and couldn’t do that; I needed to cancel the reservation. This worried me because of the cancellation policy of 24 hours.

I went on my vacation for ten nights and came back to an email from Airbnb that my money was in fact refunded. I do not recommend you choose to stay at a place where the host clearly has no regard for her tenants. This is unfortunate as it was my first time trying Airbnb. I will be very hesitant to use this service in the future.

Hotels are Always Preferable to Unreasonable Hosts

After deliberating at length, I’m sharing my story and advice. I planned a trip to Paris, my favorite city, to celebrate my birthday. I carefully chose an Airbnb based on reviews and location, with price being my least concern (but still looking to minimize). My host notified me via email the morning of my departure that my check-in could be two hours earlier.

My transatlantic flight, which included a layover in London, touched down just after 14:00. After claiming my luggage, getting my bearings and securing train tickets, etc., I headed to the city. Combining these activities would warrant at least a two-hour window, even if I knew the exact location already, which I did not (though after eight previous visits I know Paris somewhat).

Once off the train I texted the host again, noting I was in a cafe for a break before heading over. It was 30 degrees F and sleeting outside, and I needed to consult my map and have a quick bathroom break, unsure of just how close/far I might be. The host rang my phone immediately and was very curt, saying I was late. I knew I had been expected at a certain time, and he had been waiting for 30 minutes.

I stated that based on weather, my fatigue and (obviously) his displeasure I was happy to seek hotel refuge and regroup, to start over the following day. I had paid for six nights. He said he would not be free any other day to meet with me and pass over the keys. Following this statement to me, as I made an effort to explain my situation, he hung up. I was shocked and dismayed, so I went to a hotel.

What transpired afterwards was just more and more of my precious vacation time texting, emailing and phoning with Airbnb. To sum this up as I see it now, a hotel (even a small privately owned one), would have been available based on the demands or shortfalls in my schedule, and would have recourse for a complaint, refund or even cancellation based on my customer experience, without requiring added time and energy.

I will use Airbnb again, but strictly within the US, where there is little or no language barrier added to the experience. I did receive a portion of my fees returned, but my hotel stay far outshined and surpassed what that apartment could have offered, for the same price. Lesson learned.

Avoid Hosts who Leave you out in the Cold

We arrived to be left on the doorstep for 45 minutes. It was damp, the gutter was dripping on us the whole time, someone was obviously in the room (they looked through the curtain of the room we had booked and paid for). We continued to knock until eventually I banged on the door saying that if the door was not answered I would be calling the police. By some miracle, the host came to the door and asked, “Why are you banging on my door?”

I asked, “Are you [host]?”

She said, “No, who are you?”

I explained that we had booked and paid for the room for six nights. She then said “You will get your money back. I am cancelling your booking.”

We had been travelling all day, starting early that morning from Spain (she knew this). There was someone in the room we had paid for (probably why the door wasn’t answered). This person, who resembled the picture on the site, was the host, proof of which was clear when she said she would cancel.

We are both getting on for 68 years of age, my husband wasn’t well, we both received extremely bad colds, mine resulting in bronchitis due to standing on the doorstep in the cold night air, getting wet. We had nowhere to sleep that night and ended up sleeping the first night in our hire car, as there wasn’t anything available in the vicinity. The rest of the time sleeping on the floor of our daughter-in-law’s. As we had paid over a month in advance, and this was obviously double booked without giving prior notice, I find this appalling behaviour.

What were we supposed to do? Just disappear into the sunset after paying for the privilege of standing on the doorstep for the better part of an hour knocking on the door? Avoid Airbnb like the plague.

Host’s Tardiness Keeps me from Getting a Refund

We did not see our Airbnb hosts with the key for hours; they were working. There was no A/C. There were no curtains in the living room or bedroom; those above you could look in. The patio door opened at night for air and noise. Daytime hall door open for air. Garbage left behind. Did not know where the garage was so was not able to use it. Bedroom to small for suite case to come into. I was standing outside the building waiting to get in, I had no wifi and I was from out of country with no phone service. In the end, I was very unsatisfied and went home.

I was finally able to reach Airbnb about a refund. I was told that because I did not contact them within 24 hours I was not entitled to one. I told them I was not able to find my host. As of today, I was not able to contact anyone in reference to my $100 credit, which means I was not able to use it. Airbnb is a very difficult service especially if there is an issue. They are not there for you. The rental property I wanted was priced $80 plus a service fee. Why are we paying for a service fee? Should that not be part of the host’s fee? Not again. This is not worth the hassle.

Worst Customer Experience, Fake Airbnb Fees

I booked an Airbnb about a month in advance of my trip to San Sebastian, Spain. I had a few messages with the host and felt good about the booking (good location, all good reviews). My last comment to the host was that I had to arrive late: about 10:30 PM due to traveling all day from another city in Spain. I sent this 24 days in advance, yet four days before my trip he replied saying that he will have to collect a 40 euro “late check-in fee” at the door.

I immediately contacted Airbnb to voice my concerns and to find out if this was something he had the right to do. This “late check-in fee” was nowhere on his listing. After three phone calls and a lot of being put on hold, customer service at Airbnb said the host is not allowed to charge an extra fee that’s not clearly on the listing for all to see. They said they would reach out to him right away to “resolve” this as they did not want to cancel the booking without hearing his side of the story.

I called Airbnb for three consecutive days begging for some sort of answer up to the point that I had passed the cut off for cancelling without a penalty and no one could help. Finally I had to beg and plea the night before my trip to escalate to a case manager. She attempted to assist, but literally said she was hamstrung and they do not issue refunds or reimbursements – ever – without at least letting the host respond. Since it was past the cancellation period, she said there was nothing she could do now that they should have reached out to the host sooner. She also said they could issue a coupon for a future stay, but that the max they could ever issue is $200 USD. I don’t know if any of this is true, but it sounded like complete BS to me.

I called my credit card company. They said I was not the first to dispute an Airbnb charge, that it’s not a problem, and they would take care of me. How dare Airbnb take the side of the host. He had three weeks to reply to me and towards the end I bet he was dodging the calls and emails from Airbnb. Airbnb needs to get their act together.

Not Paying Attention to House Rules Can Cost You

I had a flight to Zurich two weeks ago. When I was boarding, I made a booking on Airbnb at the last moment, like I always do. This is my travel life style; everything is booked at the last minute, and I thought no host would complain about it. Anyway, I booked it, they charged my card, and after a while this host in Zurich said that I could not check in at the time I wanted (1-2:00 PM) and I needed to wait for him until 9:00 PM. For me, after a long flight the last thing I want to do is wait seven hours with luggage, tired in the airport. Of course I wanted to arrive, take a shower, sleep, and then explore the city.

When I saw his reply that he only checks in guests at 9:00 PM and later, I said he could cancel my booking. He rudely said no, that this was my problem for not looking at the house rules on his profile page before I booked. I checked his page, and it was my mistake. I totally agreed with him and asked him what I could do now. I had already paid. Again, I was completely okay with this being my mistake, because I made the booking in a hurry before my departure. However, from the beginning I saw a rude attitude in his messages and honestly did not want to see his face. Even though I had already paid, self respect is more important than the fifty dollars I paid.

I arrived in Zurich, met my friends for coffee, and told them the story that I had to wait for host until 9:00, and that the host didn’t sound like a host. My friends told me I could stay with them, and forget about paying 50 USD for an Airbnb. I was very happy. That evening this rude host started asking me where I was, and why I was late. Really? I rented a room at his place, where he lives, not the entire home, and he wrote in his profile that checking in anytime from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM was fine. Why should I hurry? He would be home all this time, waiting for me and his other guests, because this is somehow extra income for him. Why would he tell me he is not a hotel and I most arrive at the time which we agreed upon?

What is it, if not a hotel? The moment you start to get any money from a guest it’s called rent, and I’m his customer. I wanted to write a negative comment about him, but was busy with my travels. Now Airbnb is saying I can’t write a comment after 14 days, which is sad, because he wrote a comment about me. I don’t know how to remove it, or how to write and report about him.