My daughter just made an emergency call to us from Granada, Spain. She and her friend have a room in an Airbnb apartment, and went out for the evening. They came back about 3:00 AM and the host (a woman) would not let them in. They have been outside for hours, and called the police, the American Embassy, and Airbnb, and no one would help them. These are two young girls (about 22) who have recently graduated from college. Their passports are in the apartment, so they cannot get a hotel room or anyplace else, until they get their passports. This woman is horrible. They know she is doing this on purpose – this is a horrible and scary situation. Their bags and all IDs are inside this woman’s apartment. Airbnb won’t do anything. They should not have such despicable people as hosts that would abuse their guests… Airbnb has put my daughter and her friend in an unsafe and scary situation.
I use an electronic lock to let guests in as a largely absent host. The guest locked himself out by inadvertently entering a code that disables the lock until you open it from the inside. This had never happened before in years of using the lock. He called me at 9:27 PM on a Friday night and said the lock was not working. I happened to be there outside in my motorhome set to have taken off that day but got delayed and was prepared to leave in the morning (me being onsite is really unusual). I walked 50 yards to the door, came over, and the lock didn’t work.
I told him I could get him in the other entrance upstairs (that has access to the mechanical area and common laundry). I unlocked that door, walked up the stairs, crossed the apartment down the guest access stairs to the entry area, and opened the door. As I walked through the apartment to the other entrance, I noticed the place was as messy as I have ever seen a place in eight years of hosting; it looked like a tornado hit it with my pillows on the floor, and clothes everywhere. I was shocked.
Nonetheless I kept moving and went downstairs to the door. We tested it a couple of times and it worked flawlessly. I have no idea why it didn’t work (then). I went back to my motorhome and send a text at 9:45, literally 18 minutes after he called. My text said the place was very messy and caused me concern about excess cleaning (they were relatively long stays, 13 days with kids). I asked him to try to be neater so we didn’t have a problem. I said I was glad to be around to get them in. I smelled alcohol on the guy’s breath as we interacted but it wasn’t really a problem; he was fine.
In the morning he wrote Airbnb and claimed I had locked him out to tell him off about being messy and that I had entered his premises illegally without justification. He tried to cancel the reservation and get his money back. I am dealing with this nightmarish guy, who literally will say anything and probably can’t remember much.
I used Airbnb for the first time a week again and I will never use them again. The studio we rented was totally misrepresented. When we arrived at the rental, we discovered the building was a construction site. The hallways and stairwells were being decorated and the floors tiled. There was dust everywhere, building materials on the landings and stairwells, doors held open with fire extinguishers, and bags of rubbish left in the halls. There were workmen coming and going, and they were grouting the hall outside the rental while we were there.
The studio rental was also directly above a nightclub. The host gave no indication of the nightclub in the description and at no point contacted me beforehand to let me know about or apologise for the building work. In addition, the keypad system to enter the building stopped working. We were in fact locked out of the rental on our first evening. It was late and only by the sheer luck of another resident turning up with a key were we able to re-enter the building and get back to our belongings. I emailed and left a voicemail for the host the following morning about this issue and to date he has still not had the decency to contact me. Fortunately the estate agent next door that managed flats in the building was able to get us a key. However this took over an hour of our time, during which we could not leave for fear of not being able to re-enter.
As soon as I returned I logged an issue with the resolution centre. Again, the host has not had the decency to respond to me. I have now forwarded my issue to Airbnb directly, and despite a standard response saying I would be contacted within 24 hours, I have not had any communication from them. Previously I have used Booking.com and Hotels.com for both personal and work travel and I will be staying with them from now on. They are both excellent services that Airbnb could learn a lot from.
I have been a quiet, law abiding Airbnb host for quite a few years now. I have tolerated, after agreeing to an Instant Booking, being warned that I shouldn’t say ‘no’ again (I only did once) and, if it happened again, I would be listed lower in the search results and potentially scrapped altogether. I have also quietly accepted being told with great fanfare that I was suddenly a Superhost complete with virtual badge and then told I was no longer a Superhost essentially because of one iffy review by a very difficult man who arrived very late, left very early, and hadn’t read or realized that we were rurally located. So, now I find that my listing has almost disappeared, that my calendar has gone (blank page now), and I can’t access anything on the Airbnb website. I therefore can’t keep anything up to date so am just waiting for another patronizing blast from the blokes who seem to run the show because I really am pretty hopeless as a host. I have tried, via various computers, to access the Help Center, to contact Airbnb via email, and all to no avail. None of my attempts will register a message so I am now totally unable to contact Airbnb to seek help. What can I do?
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.
I reserved a room for a week and confirmed with the host that I would be returning at 1:00 AM from a conference each day. He did not have a problem with this and I was quite respectful of his space. On the third night when I got back I was locked out. He had locked the inside door to which I did not have keys. This was my first Airbnb experience and the last. It was 2:00 AM (I took an Uber from Downtown LA through construction). I had a long day at the conference and had to be back up to prepare for the conference bright and early. As a woman locked out in Inglewood, not knowing the area, only having enough money for food and transportation for the week, it was a pretty traumatic situation.
I could not locate Airbnb’s phone number to file a complain anywhere online when I looked during my brief breaks I had at the conference. After it was over, I finally searched online for awhile and was able to find a phone number and called only to be strung along by Airbnb. I don’t know which is worse, getting locked out in the middle of the night or the fact that Airbnb staff was unwilling to assist me in this matter. I have called three different times and spoken with a supervisor, who was not very helpful either. She said I needed to go through the resolution center. The host and I communicated through Airbnb before I contacted customer service. He was only willing to reimburse for two nights when he locked me out, and an additional night so I could stay there. We spoke briefly the following day after he locked me out and I informed him I was not comfortable staying there given the fact he locked me out and I didn’t have access to my belongings. He offered to reimburse me $50 at first. I have asked to speak with a manager and the supervisor informed me she was the highest person there. She refused to inform me who her supervisor was. I am not impressed and would not recommend Airbnb.
We recently had a two-week stay on Airbnb. There was a subsequent corporate hell odyssey that was one awful rip off after another, first by the host and then by Airbnb itself. I don’t even know where to begin. First of all – and this is nowhere near the worst thing – the place was filthy upon arrival. There was pubic hair all over the bathroom and a semen stain on the sheets, and a layer of dirt so thick on the floors that simply touching a paper towel to the floor turned it into black finger spots. We contacted the host and he agreed to send over a cleaning crew the next day and replace the sheets. That was the last time the host did anything remotely right.
Then the power went off. We thought there was a blackout in the neighborhood or some breaker problem, but after seven hours, some spent talking to the electric company, they told us that the power had been shut off because the host didn’t pay his electric bill. We called the host and he grumbled something and said he would pay the bill. An hour later the power was still off and we sent the host a message via Airbnb. At some point the lights came on so I guess he paid his bill. Who knows?
From the very start we noticed the key was jamming in the deadbolt lock. On the fourth night it just stopped working and we were locked out of the apartment. We called the host, who claimed to be out of town, and sent over an after hours locksmith. The locksmith broke us in to the apartment and then replaced the lock, noting that it had broken due to fatigue over time. The bill was over $800. The locksmith then claimed that he couldn’t accept payment from the host over the phone. We called the host and he told us that we should pay the locksmith and he would pay us back the full amount. He promised, so we trusted him.
You can probably guess what happened after that. If you guessed that the host dropped off the face of the Earth, you are correct. We tried Airbnb messages, texts, and phone calls, over days, all of which went unanswered. Finally we initiated an Airbnb “Resolution Request.” The host is given 48 hours to respond, which he did not, after which it gets escalated to Airbnb management. Airbnb also did nothing for a long time. Our trip ended and we flew home, again with no word whatsoever from the host or Airbnb.
One day I got a message out of the blue that the host had written his review of me. He was alive after all. What did this host who tricked us into replacing his lock for $800, promised to pay us back, and then disappeared, have to say? Well, in the private message that the host can send to a guest with the review but which doesn’t get posted or seen by Airbnb, the host gloated that I “got played” (presumably by him) during the whole thing. What a lovely individual, am I right? I was hopping mad but I thought that Airbnb would deliver justice with the Resolution Request. Again, my mistake. After many more days of nothing happening someone from Airbnb called me and said that the host was claiming that he only wanted the locksmith to break us in to the apartment and not replace the lock. Therefore, I should pay for the lock.
I pointed out that that is a ridiculous claim. If the host intended to leave us with just a broken lock and no functioning deadbolt that would have been a violation of Airbnb’s safety guidelines, and also if the host is claiming that I bought a lock that he didn’t want he can send me the lock rather than keep using it. The Airbnb representative said those were good points. I also pointed out that the host promised to repay us the whole amount then disappeared for weeks and that was extremely shady. If he had wanted to talk about the situation he could have responded to one of my many messages or calls.
In spite of those good points, Airbnb followed the money, which of course comes from hosts with multiple properties and not guests. Airbnb first ruled that the host only had to pay me for the cost to break in to the apartment, not the cost to replace the lock. Then, on top of that ridiculous ruling, they added the bill incorrectly (probably intentionally) and decided that the locksmith’s $120 “service call” charge was the cost to break us in to the apartment, when that was actually $365 on top of the service call charge. Airbnb decided that we should get basically nothing and aided the host in scamming us out of almost $700.
As for the electricity being off for most of a day due to the host not paying his bill, Airbnb decided to credit us merely a third of a day’s stay for that. If we follow that logic, the electricity could be off for eight hours of each day during your stay, rendering the accommodations unusable, and you would only be entitled to be refunded a third of the amount. I called them to point out that even with the pittance they were crediting us, they added the numbers incorrectly on the bill. The representative agreed that they did so, and said that she would “bring it up with her team.” Again, as you can probably guess, I never heard from them again.
I was surprised at how thoroughly and brazenly they cheated us, and how long it took them to do so. They don’t even have the courage to let you know they are going to screw you up front – they take weeks and weeks to do it. I guess I would say to avoid this host – the name he uses on Airbnb is Tony della Morte (don’t know if that’s his real name or a particularly appropriate alias) and he has several listings around Menlo Park, CA. The rot and corruption here extended way beyond the host to Airbnb itself, so really the lesson from this is do not trust hosts or Airbnb. I would say to avoid Airbnb, period. This has been the worst rip off and worst experience I have ever had with a merchant in my life.
I was going to Houston for a wedding. Because the official wedding hotel was the uber fancy St. Regis, I figured I would book an Airbnb across the street instead to save some money. What a mistake that was…
There were bad omens from the start. Just checking in required me to get the keys from the front desk of a building that did not actually allow Airbnb hosting, so I had to pretend to be a friend staying the weekend. The front desk seemed to have all sorts of problems copying the electronic key fob for me to use for the weekend, so it took thirty minutes just to get the keys. It also turned out the building was massive with hallways that sprawled for what seemed like a mile (everything really is bigger in Texas), so just finding the right apartment was a challenge. I briefly pondered how hard this would be later that night coming back after a few glasses of wine and decided I better try and keep it together.
Finally stepping inside, the apartment was nice enough, but the delay meant I was running late for the rehearsal dinner. What a lovely dinner it was; the food, wine, and atmosphere were splendid. After a great night, the group decided to cap it off at the St. Regis bar. I met a girl. No, she was not a prostitute (as my friends speculated), but she did make things pretty easy for me. She eventually asked if I had a room in the hotel. I couldn’t believe my luck, but had to be honest and said: “No, but I do have an Airbnb just across the street!” She went home. I guess I can’t blame that on Airbnb, but it was a painful reminder of how your cheapness can come back around to bite you.
After that, I decided it was probably time to call it a night. And so I began my two-minute journey across the street to my place, trying to remember again where in the labyrinth of a building I was actually staying. I thought to myself how ridiculous it would have been had I brought the girl back and we couldn’t find it. It immediately started to rain. Hard. Thank God I was only across the street, because I was in my suit. After the two-minute trek, I hit the key fob against the sensor. Nothing. I tried again – nothing. One more time. I start to panic. The front door staff was long gone. Clearly the problems they had activating my key fob were worse that I thought. I called the emergency number. I reached someone on the phone who explained they could not send anyone to help me until the following morning. I asked what the point of the “emergency” number was then.
I called my host. She explained she couldn’t help me because she wasn’t in Texas, and with the staff gone there was nothing she could do. I called Airbnb to see if they could find me a place. The estimated wait was over 45 minutes. I stayed as long as I could, but my phone’s battery wouldn’t have lasted that long. It was raining, I was in my suit, and it was almost 2:00 AM. I had nowhere to stay, with all my luggage in a room in a building I couldn’t access. I considered waiting around until someone walked in or out for me to follow, but realized that would only get me to the apartment door which I still would not be able to open.
Remembering that someone said the St. Regis was booked, I started to look for other hotels on my iPhone. 17% battery. It was about to go. Then it was gone. I had no other choice but to run back to the St. Regis, hoping people were still at the bar. It was empty. I explained my situation to the sympathetic people at the front desk. Fortunately there was, contrary to belief, still a room available. The kind folks gave me the wedding rate, which at that point seemed beyond worth it. They also gave me an iPhone charger. I walked into my beautiful hotel room and instantly realized why hotels are far superior: when you travel, whether you like it or not, you are not a resident but a customer. Customers frequently require customer service, which Airbnb just does not offer.
Airbnb revoked an already existing booking for a two-week stay just three days before departure, and never responded to any emails to correct it. Essentially I got a notice that my credit card refused to process an Airbnb payment request for a booking. I then cancelled that booking and tried another place. The same message appeared but allowed me to resubmit payment, which I did, using another card without any block. That cleared with both me and the host being given confirmation of the booking. About half an hour later I received emails from Airbnb telling me my account was disabled and my money was being returned for my confirmed booking because the original l payment was blocked. When I checked with the credit card company, the reason my bank didn’t honor the charge for the booking is because the credit card fraud unit considered Airbnb’s charge to be suspicious and would not pay without confirming it with me.
So it’s a beautiful catch-22 completely orchestrated by operating systems. The bank’s computer refuses to pay because Airbnb’s charge sends up a red flag, something that I cannot know will happen when using a valid card with plenty of available credit for the charge. Airbnb’s computer returns the favor by immediately flagging me for not paying my bill. Their computer, without human intervention, orders my account disabled while refunding the money and cancelling the reservation I made and paid for 30 minutes. Without an accessible Airbnb account, I cannot contact my host, contact the Airbnb help center, or get information of any kind how to resolve the problem. I have sent five emails to Airbnb in the last 24 hours. I have heard nothing back from a human being. I remain blocked from my account and have to rebook a reservation in three days outside of Airbnb under considerable stress.
Airbnb has the worst customer service system I have ever seen. They cause a problem, then give you no method to contact them whatsoever, except emails that no one ever responds to. Do not use them. They will screw up your plans for reasons beyond your control.