Double Listing Leads to Trouble Cancelling Airbnb

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I can’t make this story colorful because it simply is not. I hope it helps others. I went to see an Airbnb before moving in as it was for a long-term stay. I found the lift out of order (other inhabitants were complaining about it as it was an antique and probably not up to current standards). I was able to climb the four high floors (I have a respiratory ailment) and found the current guest, who let me in. I did not ask to see the room but the rest of the place convinced me I didn’t want to climb all those stairs on a twice daily basis for a long stay in that place.

When I tried to cancel, I learned that the host had put up two different ads for the same room – with two different cancellation policies. Airbnb in that country – Italy – does not seem to check the validity of the ads. Also, the exact geographical location was not revealed until the full payment was processed and the exact address was not provided until I asked for it, the day before departure for Italy.

I finally got reimbursement, but not before filing a complaint with the European Commission for Consumer Fraud online. Airbnb Italy kept phoning me during my work time to try and stall on payment of the reimbursement. Once you give them your phone number, ostensibly for contact with the host, they keep it, and use it. I was ready to go to the police for telephone harassment. Only Airbnb Ireland could finally solve the problem. Never again. Use professionals who are inspected and fiscally in line.

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Airbnb Cancels a Long-Term Booking without Consulting Hosts

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About a month ago I had a 31-night reservation that was cancelled without consulting us after 48 hours of checking in. Our guests wanted to leave the place after they spotted two cockroaches in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Our house is located in Bondi Beach, Australia, where cockroaches are simply everywhere in the summer, with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees, especially when guests leave the windows and doors open or food exposed.

Our property was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. Airbnb cancelled on our behalf without consulting us prior; even though we only have 5-star reviews from all other guests. Since then, apparently, we owe Airbnb for 29 nights, so almost $20,000.

When receiving this booking request four months ago, we decided to go for a long holidays with our kids during the rental, based on the money that we were supposed to receive from Airbnb. In short, we owe 20K to Airbnb and had to pay for our holidays. Usually, Airbnb gives the hosts 24 hours to fix the issue. In our case, Airbnb cancelled our 31-night strict cancelation policy reservation without approval from us or even trying to find a solution, which seems extremely wrong.

Looking into the Extenuating Circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, and natural disasters are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was cancelled does not fall into this scenario at all. Finally, completely to the contrary, Airbnb did not publish the bad review left by the guest. Airbnb didn’t agree with the review, but agreed with the guest to cancel the booking. Our lawyer is now on the case. If you have any advice or tips, please share.

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Airbnb Refunds are not Honoured as Advertised

I cancelled a long-term reservation and fully expected to pay a penalty. What I did not expect was that the penalty would be 100%. The host’s listing stated that if a reservation is cancelled more than seven days prior to the start, then a 50% refund would be given. See photo of screenshot.

After contacting the host a couple of times, who did not respond, I sought a resolution by involving Airbnb. They correctly stated that Airbnb’s policy is a one-month penalty on long-term bookings but that hosts can decide on different terms not strictly supported by Airbnb. If that is the case then it is misleading, deceiving travelers into thinking that they will get a refund when in fact they will not.

The host has since changed his listing to match Airbnb’s conditions. The host has also found a loophole in Airbnb’s platform. Somehow the host was able to delete all previous reviews of their listing. Again, this is deceiving travelers. All this was pointed out to Airbnb in the photos attached. They closed the case and are now refusing to respond to my emails. I have now lost a substantial amount of money which I believe was through misleading information. I will never use or recommend Airbnb again. I feel sorry for all the legitimate hosts using Airbnb’s platform.

Left Airbnb with Nothing but the Clothes on our Back

My 16-year-old daughter and I just relocated to California and made a long-term reservation through Airbnb (11/18/17 – 03/30/2018) to provide us time to find a permanent home. We are renting a guesthouse in Sylmar, CA, right in the center of the fires which are currently raging through LA.

I contacted Airbnb yesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM, after being advised by my host (the owner of the guesthouse I’m renting) that due to toxic smoke it is unsafe to return to Sylmar. I was just leaving my office in Culver City, so had nothing but the clothes on my back (same for my daughter). My host also contacted Airbnb, advising them of the dire situation. I waited and waited for Airbnb to contact me, but after they failed to do so, was forced to book a hotel.

Airbnb did not contact me until the next morning and after re-explaining the entire ordeal, the case manager advised that she would have to speak to my host and I would also have to send documentation proving my situation. I advised the Airbnb case manager that I would have no problem proving the situation and she could verify by simply googling “LA Fires”. After about three hours, I received an email from Airbnb stating that although they are sorry about the situation, the only thing they can do is cancel my long-term reservation, from yesterday (12/5/17). I immediately called Airbnb to discuss this, as they should have.

Cancelling the reservation is not a solution. We have just relocated from Arizona, have no family out here, can’t get any of our stuff, and can’t afford to stay in a hotel every night. As I explained to the Airbnb case manager I was assigned, I just spent $275 on groceries for the month, which is money that I’ve now lost and couldn’t afford in the first place. The case manager said, and I quote: “It is not Airbnb’s fault that the fire started and we don’t have any alternate places right now that we can book you in, so there’s nothing further we can do for you.”

I asked to speak to her supervisor and she hung up on me. I don’t know what to do and am in desperate need of assistance. This treatment by Airbnb during such a scary situation is horrific and unfair. This wasn’t a week-long booking; we were supposed to be there until the end of March. We have nothing; all of our stuff is stuck in a guesthouse we cannot gain entry to and we have nowhere to go.

Crooked Host Holds Deposit After Long Stay

We arrived in Utah on June 20th, 2017 as a result of a military move from Arizona. This was our nineth move in 18 years, so my family and I were used to it. Utah was exceptionally difficult to find accommodations while we were waiting for base housing to become available. Air conditioning at the temporary lodging facility on base was broken and hotels were booked in the surrounding 30-mile area from the base.

I decided to give Airbnb a try. I found a property listing in Ogden. I messaged the host and asked if he would be willing to negotiate a deal on the property since I needed a place to stay for a month. He agreed and stated that there would be a $500 dollar deposit for the property that would be returned once his property manager determined there was no damage when we moved out. We agreed to the terms and paid for the stay in full.

Our stay was great with the exception of the condition of the mattress in one of the bedrooms and the downstairs sink that was cracked. The landscape outside was a mess: dirt and open irrigation holes were everywhere. The lampposts outside were on the ground and wires were exposed. We were assured that the landscaping would be completed soon. In the month we stayed, hardly any progress was made with the numerous half-completed projects. We never complained and just figured it was a money issue. We left the property on July 20th and moved into our house on base.

This is when the problems began with the host. We inquired when we could expect the $500 deposit to be returned. I was then contacted by the property manager asking about a shampoo bottle ring on the master bathroom shower shelf. I said it may have been caused by my wife’s color stay shampoo and we were glad to come clean it and see the stain for ourselves. We were assured we would have the opportunity to clean the bathroom and see the stain. We inquired several times over the next few weeks without any response due to the fact the invoice stated that the deposit would be returned in three days.

When the host finally responded, he said we would have to wait to clean the unit due to another guest staying there. We waited several weeks to hear from either the host or property manager but they never responded. I contacted the property manager six weeks after we moved out and asked about the stain and when we could expect the deposit back. I never received a reply. The next day my wife received a text from the owner asking for my email stating that his lawyer would contact me for to settle for damages. We are honest people so we gave it to him.

I received an email on September 11th from a bus stop bench lawyer located out of Orem stating that his client was not going to return the deposit and was in fact wishing to seek an additional $1575 for replacement of the entire upper vinyl shower piece. On the estimate, there wasn’t a itemized list of parts or labor, only a dollar amount and the name of a repair company. The estimate didn’t even have a business address. The lawyer also stated there were additional damages such as a scratch on “high end” furniture and stains on towels. The lawyer stated that I have received pictures of the damages; however, I have not. I have text messages from the property manager saying there were attached photos but I never received them and I said so in a response back to her. The unit was also supposedly occupied immediately after we vacated the property, which also calls the damages into question.

Be aware of staying in Ogden with this host. I strongly caution anyone to stay elsewhere. You will be opening yourself up to a money grubbing host looking to make a profit at your expense based on false claims of damages.

Airbnb Left us in the Lurch in Southern France

We rented an apartment for five months through Airbnb. We arrived at our destination and contacted our host as previously arranged. He did not meet us as planned but left a key in an empty mailbox on site. We were immediately disappointed in the apartment and its furnishings. We had paid top dollar only to find rummage sale furnishings, broken window blinds, stained carpet, a broken bed, a television with no user information, linens in poor condition, and a building filled with the smell of cigarette smoke. We contacted the host within the 24-hour window and requested remediation. He missed two appointments to address problems and didn’t even contact us until we were in our third day of this distress.

At this point we contacted Airbnb. We were contacted in swift succession by a number of Airbnb representatives. One of them indicated that it was clear we could not stay at the location. He recommended that we leave immediately and that Airbnb would pay up to $150 for a hotel. We were told to go online and cancel the contract. They did not tell us that this would mean that we would still be responsible to pay rent for the next 30 days. At this point Airbnb went entirely silent and basically abandoned us. There was no follow-up after being told to hit the street. We believed that the contract was cancelled because the landlord had not lived up to his contractual obligation and that we would be reimbursed. It turned out that “strict cancellation” means that the guest pays under any circumstances, even when Airbnb knows it was a bum deal.

Airbnb gave us no further instructions about arranging for another Airbnb property or about negotiating with the landlord for another property the the landlord had on hand. At that point we simply didn’t trust him. The host actually threatened physical confrontation. No one takes any responsibility at Airbnb. As it happened, a colleague rented another location from this “five-star” landlord to find that dozens of rats inhabited the attic. It took days to get that addressed. Airbnb does not oversee or caution hosts with serious complaints against them. Another money making racket with no concern for what it delivers. We contacted Airbnb again. After mediating with the host, Airbnb said that the host would return a mere $365 of the $1700 monthly rent.

Airbnb Long-Term Cancellation Policy: Buyer Beware

My husband and I booked a two-bedroom, two-bath condo for our 25th wedding anniversary. However, my knee gave out and I was unexpectedly forced to have total knee replacement surgery. We booked the condo through Airbnb and the owner had a 30-day cancellation policy. That was fine. We canceled three months and one week in advance because my surgeon did not want me to travel on a 5.5-hour flight over the ocean with no chance of stopping after undergoing the surgery, due to concerns about edema and blood clots. We were penalized 50% of our total amount because the hosts “have a super strict policy.”

First of all, we did not know about such a policy until after we booked; I was contacted by Airbnb when we attempted to cancel. The only policy we were given at the time of booking was the owner’s policy of a 30-day cancellation. Sure enough, on the Airbnb website, after much searching, I found the 50% penalty policy. Interestingly, it says in order to be afforded this tremendous opportunity, one must be “invited.” We weren’t invited; we never even knew about it. However, Airbnb says it is a policy for this particular listing. The owner of the condo says it is an Airbnb policy.

Whichever organization or company made the policy, Airbnb indicates that they have an appeal process, which we followed; my doctor wrote a letter explaining that I could not fly such a long distance until the very end of the year due to the possibility of complications (which I experienced with my first knee replacement). I even sent them my MRI results and an explanation of the surgery. They denied our appeal, again saying they “have a super strict policy.” To cancel over three months in advance and be penalized well over $1,300 is beyond absurd. So, when I can fly at the end of the year, we will never stay at this particular listing again (although we have stayed there many times), and we will never use Airbnb again (it was our first experience with this company). What a scam.

Cold House from Airbnb, Used Electric Oven to Stay Warm

This is my personal Airbnb Hell story. I was born in Canada but had not been there in almost 50 years as I had moved to the United States when I was very young with the rest of my family. However, I had no choice but to return for personal reasons. I arrived at the Airbnb listed as “Comfy Room” at a house located in Surrey on August 21st, 2016. At first, everything went well. In fact, I lived there for several months before things starting falling apart.

I began to notice the following issues. Every time that Lyn Taylor (real name Evelyn Mercado) would clean my room she would turn off the nightlight that I had plugged in so that I would not be stumbling around in the dark when I woke up during the night to use the restroom. The nightlight only uses 0.7 Watts. She later complained to me that I was leaving that light on – how cheap can you get? The weekly housekeeping started turning into every eight days, then nine days, then ten or more days. Eventually it got to the point where I had to get myself a clean towel as I could not depend on either Paul or Lyn to take care of that.

They have Instant Book so people would be checking in at all hours of the day and night, including 2:00 AM in one case. Many times they were not even there when people would come to check in and I would have to answer the door and explain to them that I was only a guest. Many guests were told that the key to their room was in the lock box outside the front door, but when they opened the lock box there was no key inside. They were staying in the basement suite underneath the house but it began to feel at times like they were absentee landlords.

I stayed there only because I had no close family in that area. At that time I had not driven in over four years and did not have a drivers license. The weather was turning cold, so I did not want to take the chance of going through all of that hassle to find another place that might be just as bad, or even worse.

One time I was having trouble sleeping. It was almost 2:00 AM; I heard noises outside my room and noticed that some lights were on. I opened my door and discovered that Lyn was cleaning downstairs, in the middle of the night. Another issue I noticed is that several times when I was taking a shower the warm water disappeared and all that came out was cold water. One time the water was so cold when I got out of the shower I actually felt warmer. They rented out all five rooms in their house and were staying downstairs in the basement. When the house was full there could be nine people or more using the hot water to take a shower, wash clothes, etc.

I also noticed that as it got colder outside that I would feel cold in the house even when I was wearing a flannel shirt over another shirt. I mentioned this many times to both Paul and Lyn and they would always say “the thermostat is set at 22 Celsius” even though I complained numerous times. I know that 22 Celsius is the same as 71.6 Fahrenheit so I knew that was not the real temperature; 71.6 Fahrenheit is a very comfortable temperature. I told Lyn that I was feeling cold one time and she told me that “I am sweating inside here while I am working.” Of course this ignored the fact that she was dressed in very cold weather clothing and was vigorously cleaning around the house. Many other guests also complained to me personally about feeling cold. Eventually it got to the point where my hands felt like ice even when I was fully dressed. One evening another guest who had also complained to me about feeling cold took their meal out of the oven and then told me that they would leave the oven door open for a while to heat the room up. I noticed that soon after he did that the room started feeling warmer. This other guest and I began to use the oven to keep us warm. Otherwise, we would have felt like putting on our jackets inside the house. That is how cold it felt. We did that for about a week.

The other guest left on a Saturday morning as he was retiring and moving to a property that he had purchased. I continued to use the oven every now and then to warm things up and on Sunday, the day after the other guest left, Paul and Lyn confronted me about using the oven to stay warm. I told them that I had only been using it for a week and had only used it because I was so cold. Lyn became very angry and told me that “ever since you have moved in our electric bill has gone up.” She told me that “I want you out of here tomorrow.”

I truly believe that she would have thrown me out then and there even though it was cold with snow on the ground outside except for the fact that her husband Paul said, “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” Lyn threatened to report me to Airbnb and give me a bad review if I did not accept their cancelling my reservation. I left the next day as they requested. Lyn sent me an email in which she accused me of taking hot showers even though it was “minus 5 outside.” What does she think I am going to do, take a cold shower when it is so cold outside? She also accused me of leaving the oven on when I went to bed which is not true. I owned up to what I did and told them why I did it. I would never have done that if they had not ignored my numerous complaints, as well as the complaints of other guests about feeling cold.

I had paid for the entire month of March yet I moved out on March 6th. I received a message from Lyn in a day or so in which she said that she and Paul were in line to become Superhosts and they would appreciate it if I could give them a good review as she felt I was a good person. Against my better judgment I gave them a good review and Lyn had stated that she would review the February and March billing for the electric and get back to me about a refund. I never heard anything back so I contacted Lyn in April about my refund. She stated that she was still having jet lag (even though she had returned home about two weeks before) and that she would get back to me by the end of April.

When May arrived I then contacted Airbnb to see what I could do as I was told by my bank that I had to contact them to see if I could resolve the issue as they were the actual merchant. Airbnb checked with Lyn and their last message stated: “Thanks for your patience. I wanted to give you an update on your refund request for your reservation. At this time, Lyn hasn’t agreed to issue you a refund for the adjustment to this reservation.” I have now filed a formal dispute with my debit card issuer as I am owed for the 25 days in March that I paid for and did not receive. The only refund I received was $18.00 Canadian dollars and a $75.00 credit from Airbnb. I am owed about $840.00 Canadian dollars. It is obvious to me now that Lyn never had any intention of refunding my money and just tricked me into giving them a good review to help them become Superhosts. I feel used, to put it lightly. Basically I got ripped off big time. I will never use Airbnb again. I could care less about the $75.00 credit they gave me.

Airbnb Customer Service Handles Lack of Wifi Poorly

I booked an apartment through Airbnb in Madrid for a long-term stay, about 60 days. I never met the host. This wasn’t a problem, as I was shown around by her friend who was also the person I was to solely communicate with about any problems. The first thing I did when I arrived was check the wifi signal, as it was listed as an amenity on Airbnb. The connection was terrible and always disconnected due to the router being three floors away and shared by a number of other guests. I told the host’s friend about this problem as well as the host herself and they mentioned that they would bring a signal booster around within the next couple of days. I waited patiently whilst delaying my work and losing some income.

Eventually the host’s friend arrived with the signal booster which we set up and tried but it didn’t make a difference at all. The host’s friend also mentioned that some guests have had problems with the wifi in the past too. After fiddling around with the signal booster by putting it in different positions for about an hour the host’s friend gave up and left. At this point I phoned and complained to Airbnb, who told me that they would help me find a new place before my next installment of £1000+ was due. However, they did not keep their promise and this forced me to cancel my booking.

When cancelling my booking the website told me the amount due was for the next 30 days; to cover myself, I paid this so that after the 30 days were up I could move somewhere else. However, this was not the case. Upon canceling my booking on the Airbnb website it stated that I must pay for the following 30 days but it didn’t tell me that I was not entitled to use the apartment for these 30 days that I just paid for. At this point, I was in such a panic and contacted the host telling them what I had done. Luckily they agreed to still let me stay (as they should – I paid for those days). During the 30 days I was staying there I complained a number of times to the host and the host’s friend as well as Airbnb and nothing was done about the situation with the wifi.

After the 30 days were up, I moved into a new place and this time talked to Airbnb to request half of my money back. After a few emails back and forth with the woman who was dealing with my case, she stated that according to their terms and conditions I am only entitled to four days of staying there as after these four days is when I cancelled… even though I paid for 30+ days and lost out on thousands of paid work. On top of this, Airbnb could clearly see in the chat log that the host was lying through her teeth as she said that I sent her a message saying that the wifi was working when there is no such message; there were only messages of me complaining about it. I am never going to use Airbnb again. I thought being a modern company they would have some ethical consideration and take things into account rather than blasting ”according to our terms and conditions” in my face.

To sum it up, I spent £1300 on an apartment for 33 days, and they told me I was only entitled to four days’ refund as I cancelled my booking to prevent myself from losing out on more paid work due to the amenity problem. If Airbnb reads this then they can be assured that they’re going to lose a lot more money than the modest refund that I requested for being screwed over by them and the host.

Airbnb System Allows Everyone to Request Same Dates?

This is my second time booking through Airbnb; the first time was fine. I sent a request for one apartment for two days and the next day the host declined it, saying that “it conflicts with another booking.” Now, my first thought was: what? What other booking? Shouldn’t my selected dates become unavailable for other people to book? Or does Airbnb allow everyone to send requests for the same dates, so that the host can then dig through them and pick her favorite one? On top of that, after I had been declined, that property was still available to be requested for the selected dates. I messaged the host, asking her to explain, and she said she is “waiting for confirmation for a couple that are looking to book for more days.”

Apparently, it’s true that Airbnb allows unlimited requests to stack up for the same dates. That’s a terribly immoral business model they’ve created, creating competition between guests for the host’s favor. Now, it’s understandable that hosts would prefer longer bookings over shorter ones. However, if their system allows requests for same dates to stack up, allowing the host to pick and choose, then people who need a short stay basically have no chance against longer-stay guests. It’s basically an auction system, where guests bid on who will rent a longer stay. Imagine if hotels started to operate on the same principle: there will be public outrage. Or, imagine if hotels would accept “bids” for a maximum price the guests are willing to pay per night. Then rich people would take all the rooms, leaving everyone else with nowhere to stay. It’s the same here, except with lengths of stay.

I’ve researched this a bit and apparently hosts can choose whether they want the requested dates to become unavailable for others, or not. Why is there even such an option? It puts all the power into the host’s hands. I don’t want to use Airbnb if the hosts will treat me as some undesirable scum just because I only want to book two nights. It creates inequality. Guests and hosts are supposed to be on equal terms.

So, in conclusion, to remove this horrible inequality, Airbnb should:

  • Only allow booking requests for the same dates one at a time.
  • Penalize hosts who decline booking requests for no good reason (as it’s still a major inconvenience to wait a day just to receive a decline, then wait another day for another one)
  • State that a short stay is not a good reason to decline a request (because there is already a minimum stay rule that can be added to the listing)