Boycotting Airbnb Until They Stop Advertising Falsely

I recently experienced a truly unpleasant encounter with Airbnb that has left me and my partner totally guttered and disappointed at the way Airbnb management has handled our complaint. They have given me no other alternative than to take to social media on all platforms to make others aware of a system that puts profits before honesty and integrity.

We booked a stay on Airbnb for two nights and informed the host two days prior that there were two of us staying and the approximate time of arrival. On arrival, the host was unable to meet us but had another person check us in. The room was not as listed and so I insisted that I speak with the host; he said that I could find another place if I wasn’t happy with the room booked but he wouldn’t refund our money.

I took photos (attached) and forwarded them to Airbnb. At the time they gave us a 50% refund which was satisfactory as we were not in a position to argue the difference, let alone try to find another place at the last minute. Airbnb also informed me that the host was in breach of Airbnb policies and would address the matter directly with him.

During our stay, the linen we believe to have been from an “Op Shop” had a musky smell and the Doona for a child’s single bed with teddy bears on it for a listed king-size bed was in fact for a queen-size bed. The listing stated there was a bathroom (not listed as shared nor did Airbnb state that within the house that all the other rooms were rented out as well) and at our time of stay we had to share the bathroom with six people; the house can accommodate up to nine people at any one time with only one bathroom.

The other issue with the listing was that most of the door handles had one screw holding in the handle which could result in the handle falling off into either the bedroom or bathroom, leaving a person locked inside as the host doesn’t live at the house. On my return some three weeks later I checked to see if the listing was still listed as we saw it; to my surprise, it was.

I messaged Airbnb about the situation and instead of addressing my concerns, they removed my comments that I left on the host’s page that provided an honest description of our stay. Second to that, the host at the same time left a message about us, trying to swing the situation around. I decided to ring Airbnb, which went to an offshore call center. I explained my experience with the stay and how I was extremely disappointed with the fact the host was still listing the property exactly the same as when we booked and stayed. I told Airbnb that it appears profit has been put forward over integrity and requested a full refund for my stay, including having the host’s untrue comments erased.

I mentioned all of the above to an Airbnb senior case manager who informed me via message that the case was closed and no further actions will occur. As a loyal customer for the past several years with multiple listings worldwide, I have now decided to boycott Airbnb until they can address my concerns in a professional manner, including making the changes that I believe are truly overdue with falsely advertising listings so that the customer is aware of all the facts prior to committing to a booking. Airbnb gave me no alternative than to take my concerns to social media on all levels. This was conveyed to Airbnb prior to this post with little to no concern as profit appears to be the governing factor at play rather than addressing genuine complaints.

Airbnb Support: Kafka Meets 2001’s HAL 9000

Fictitious conversation between two Airbnb upper management staff. Disclaimer: This conversation has no relationship to anyone or any company, living or dead.

UM Staff 1: Hey, I’ve got a great idea for saving money!

UMS 2: Yeah?

UMS 1: We just set up a support team that basically blocks customers from causing us hassle and money.

UMS 2: Ok… but won’t there be problems?

UMS 1: No, no… you see, we keep the customer absolutely powerless. Sure they will get frustrated and suicidal and their finances will go down the toilet, but they will have no way to get past the wall that we set up, so they will never be heard. That way we can keep the commission low on the vast majority of hosts, the vast minority will sing our praises, and the minority who complain will be drowned out. Even if the customer threatens legal proceedings we can cover it from the vast amount of money we are raking in. The complaining customer will never be able to compete.

UMS 2: Hmm, sounds a little risky.

UMS 1: No, see I’ve read Kafka; you just basically gaslight the single customer, suggest their reality (fairness, morality, responsibility) is completely wrong. As for the people who have to actually interface with the… ‘customer’ we set up the HAL scenario.

UMS 2: What’s that?

UMS 1: Well just get the support staff to repeat ‘Siri-like’ computer generated phrases like “we have a team working on it 24/7” and use passive statements like “it has been reported to a team (that I cannot tell you the name of).”

UMS 2: Beautiful. Let’s do it!

I was delisted on June 3rd (wrongly). I can’t enter the details of my license (first attempt June 11th) into their network (computer error they say). I have been given the runaround ever since, with the last ‘senior customer service staff’ member being the least helpful. No surprise there. I am exhausted, beyond frustrated, angry, and depressed.

Airbnb Customer Support Reneged on their Promise

I am looking for a lawyer to represent me on a contingent basis to litigate against Airbnb. Can someone help me please? Please see the chronology of my situation last night.

I tried to establish a connection with my Airbnb host last night at 9:15 PM; the host’s phone was unreachable, but I tried calling multiple times over a 15-minute period. After that I called the Airbnb helpdesk number; they also tried the host unsuccessfully. Airbnb support transferred me to a “case manager”. This person tried to arrange an Airbnb or hotel for me but could not find anything as it was already 10:00 PM.

The Airbnb case manager specifically instructed me that I could go ahead and get a hotel at my own expense and Airbnb would reimburse me for the full amount (this call was recorded, I was told). The case manager also confirmed that I would get an email with a link and instructions.

My wife and I tried online to find available rooms in a 10-mile vicinity of the host’s property. Only the last hotel (a Ritz) confirmed they had one open room available for $850 + taxes. I walked to the hotel and got into the hotel room at 11:00 PM, then received a very strange email from Airbnb support that I would get a refund of the $100 Airbnb booking and an additional $10, which obviously made me very aggravated and disturbed.

I called Airbnb support. A representative spoke to me and apologized for the confusion. He reconfirmed that I would be reimbursed for the hotel that I had to book. I got an email confirming the same as what he told me on the phone, then I got a call from the same case manager as before. He was very impolite and suggested that I misheard him in the prior call. He was not aware of the other rep’s conversation with me and his email. He was clearly flustered as if he was being reprimanded.

The last call with the case manager left me very disturbed and I could not sleep all night. I have aggravated blood pressure and I lost one full day of meetings for ill health. Airbnb is not responding to my messages.

Fraudulent Listing in Moscow Leaves Guest at Hotel

At the end of July 2017, I rented a room for two nights with Airbnb in Moscow, Russia. I sent text messages to the host of the apartment a couple of times asking him about his apartment number. Not getting any answers led me to believe there was an international communications problem.

When I got there, I called him many times but still got no answer. I went to the address which was centrally located and like many other apartment buildings in Moscow, it had security personal at the entrance. I asked the security guy about this listing and he answered me that the building had eight apartments. He had never seen the host in the picture I provided nor did he know any resident who rented an apartment in that building. He also contacted his partner who worked the same shift but he got a negative answer as well. That was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

I tried to contact Airbnb but I was unsuccessful. They had no help nor support from the website. I tried until around midnight by browsing with my luggage from one restaurant to another with no luck. I spent that night in a nearby hotel, paying around $100. The next day, after many hours of trying to rent a different apartment, I gave up and changed my return ticket to the earliest date, which happened to be on August 21st. That date was almost ten days earlier than my originally planned return date of September 2nd.

After changing my ticket, I rented a different place with Airbnb after many hours where I could spend the time enjoying my vacation. The place that I rented was not centrally located. Finally I contacted Airbnb, and told them that the listing was fraudulent. Because of that fraudulent listing, my entire trip was derailed and I was very much depressed.

When I returned to the states, I contacted Airbnb and spoke with a person at customer service who sent me an email earlier, presenting herself as a help/support department manager and promising to compensate me $300. According to her, this was the maximum amount that Airbnb could pay. I asked her whether this conversation was being recorded and she responded that it was. After speaking with her back and forth, she promised to compensate me with $400 plus my refund of $81 for a rental. I received an email today from a representative at Airbnb, stating that their company will not compensate me the amount that had been promised. I don’t like companies that don’t understand how to calculate their costs and benefits. In my case, if I don’t rent with Airbnb for three or four times, they lose me as a costumer and the amount that they had to compensate me.

Airbnb Nightmare in LA Leaves Family Stranded

My wife accompanied our daughter on a move to Los Angeles to start a new job. We own resort property and list through VRBO because they provide exceptional customer service and communication. A previous experience with Airbnb was problematic. We were reluctant to book through Airbnb again but my daughter liked one of the listings and it was close to her new job. When they arrived, they were met by the son of the owner who was out of the country. He handed them the key, wasn’t helpful in any way, and he left. When they opened the door they found a filthy apartment with bits of food on the dining table and kitchen counters. The appliances were greasy, there were stains on the furniture, and there appeared to be blood splatter on one of the walls.

My wife found the son to ask if the unit had been cleaned and he handed her a bottle of Formula 409. She asked to speak with the owner and he got him on the phone. He claimed his son is a “idiot” and lazy. My wife requested he arrange for a cleaning crew to come in while they wandered through LA. The owner went ballistic, said my wife was rude, and she wasn’t going to order him around. He also said they would not get their money back.

She took pictures with her phone, then called Airbnb. She spoke with someone who seemed helpful at first. She sent the pictures, and he said he’d call her back in five minutes; he never did. When she called back, she was told that he left for a minute and would call back, her credit card would not be charged, and they could apply the amount to another Airbnb property.

They found one that was acceptable, called Airbnb to advise them to move the funds to the new property, and were told that they processed the charge, and her pictures weren’t good enough evidence to cancel the reservation. My wife called her bank who reversed the charge, and they were left with no place to stay. Her credit card was tied up while she waited for the credit.

I believe the owner violated his agreement with Airbnb because his home was not safe, healthy, or inhabitable. He also failed to resolve what clearly was his responsibility. In addition he failed to disclose that there was a massive excavation construction project next door that was quite noisy and caused the ground to vibrate. Airbnb needs to better vet their hosts and create a more user friendly process for their guests. Perhaps they are unaware that guests may also own rentals and could be clients of Airbnb as hosts. I’m a real estate broker with influence in my market. I am going to do everything in my power to share this story and review. My attorney will be calling the owner to discuss his abusive language and fraudulent real estate activity.

Airbnb Promises to Pay us Back for Damages, but then…

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While Airbnb claims it has people in every major city of the world, they remain unreachable when you are locked out in the middle of the night in Paris. Whatever action you take, such as calling a locksmith, Airbnb will not cover the inconvenience, even when you rent one of those superstar flats. We had to call a locksmith who ultimately cut the lock open and charged us 1200 euros, and left us with an open door all night. When the host calls the help center (they only respond when it is a host), they promise to reimburse the guest, but then after one month of back and forth lingering, announce they are not covering the costs. Here is our 1200-euro story.

We arrived at the flat after a romantic dinner in Paris at about 12:30 in the middle of the night. When we inserted the key, it somehow got jammed in the lock. After trying incessantly to unlock the door, we finally called the host. There was no answer. The Airbnb help center? No answer. Our passports and belongings were in there, including our credit cards which are required to book a hotel. So we called a locksmith… on a public holiday. Finally we got hold of a locksmith that came over, and forced the key out. Now that the key was broken, the only option was to cut the lock with a mechanical saw. Once inside, the locksmith is quick to pimp the bill with holiday and nighttime labor fees which finally amounted to 1200 euros. The next morning we got a hold of the host who quickly contacted Airbnb (she is a Superhost and quickly gets their attention). Because she insisted, Airbnb called us and told us not to worry about the money; they would reimburse us. After one month of back and forth emails, always asking for the same clarifications, they finally announced that they closed the case, and that we should ask the host for reimbursement. Bottom line: Airbnb is like renting your friend’s flat, but without insurance. Just pray nothing bad happens.

Airbnb Customer Service is Filled with Liars, Plain and Simple

My boyfriend and I were looking to book a place for two nights. I was booking this through the Airbnb app. After maybe four attempts, my card kept getting declined, so I said to myself, “okay, I’ll try again tomorrow.” I woke up the next day, and my card was charged. I checked my emails and there was no confirmation of my transaction. I called my bank, and they told me that in fact I was charged by them. I called Airbnb to tell them that I was charged but didn’t receive confirmation, so I’d like to cancel and re-book. I decided that I wouldn’t book at this place, so we booked another place. After several phone calls, talking with various different representatives, and receiving different answers, I couldn’t get anyone to locate the payment. I called my bank; they told me to wait 15 days, and then to open a claim. I did this, and visa returned my money within 2-3 days. I just received a notice in the mail that the transaction had been reversed. They still want me to pay the amount, even though we did not stay there, did not confirm the booking, and received no confirmation of this transaction, other than my bank confirming it. Airbnb went on to deny that I contacted them, even though I have many emails between myself and them. I don’t know what to do about this anymore…

Airbnb Edits Review to only Show Positive Feedback

We rented an apartment in Oslo, Norway for two nights early in November. Though offered, there was no Internet, wireless or otherwise. We needed to buzz in to the third floor apartment, but the buzzer did not work. We stood on the street attempting to reach the owner by phone to advise her cleaning lady to come down and let us in. A balcony door handle was broken so the apartment could not be locked securely. No paper towels or cleaning supplies were provided. We mentioned all these details in our review; our one positive comment involved how helpful the cleaning lady was in showing us the apartment and surroundings. This was the only part published by Airbnb.