Airbnb Steals My $550, Then Host Ghosts Me

I am planning a trip to NYC in mid-November. I usually book with VRBO but wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, so I tried Airbnb. Being my first time on their site, I wasn’t aware of the “Instant Book” feature. When I pressed the button, I thought I was only contacting the host as I hadn’t read the listing fully yet, but my card was charged immediately. I realized also in that moment by reading a few reviews that it was a room in the house with many other random boarders and that had not been made clear. I canceled within minutes but only received half back. I contacted the host in all manner of ways and he did not respond. I contacted Airbnb and they said they would contact the host for me. Five days later, they told me the host refused to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do on their end. I asked to speak to a manager but no one ever called back.

$550 was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do? This host lost no booking time because of my mistake; he is just collecting free money. I have written to him now five times over the course of a week and he is ghosting me. Airbnb won’t take responsibility for the host. Isn’t this supposed to be a hospitality business? The only thing I can think of is to threaten this host with eviction by telling his property management company that he is illegally profiteering on their property (I looked up the address and called the realty company to inquire about subletting). Any ideas?

Airbnb Refund Hell: Designed to be Complicated?

Airbnb has no mechanism for dealing with outright reservation mistakes. I inadvertently clicked on the book button when I just wanted to see how much a stay was going to be. It took several days before a refund could even be considered because the steps to initiate a refund is kept in a deep, dark hole accessed through a maze of misinformation and platitudes. There is no easy 24-hour buyer’s remorse option which should be standard for cases like mine. To initiate a refund, you have to get out of the main website and go to a resolution site. The steps initially shown for refunds are misleading. It is not as easy as it sounds; you do not get all of your money back.

The whole refund process is extremely stressful because Airbnb does not make it easy, period. I had to contact the poor, unsuspecting host and tell them I made a mistake and didn’t mean to book at the time. I’m lucky the host was sympathetic and you will need yours to be, if ever you make the same mistake I did. Why? Because Airbnb will ask them to advance half the refund amount. Who does that? Who would advance a substantial amount of money on behalf of someone they don’t know? Apparently, 100% of the money that I paid first goes to Airbnb. Airbnb did refund me 50% of what I paid right away, less the booking fee. As for the remaining 50%, they absolutely have to keep this money for 60 days for reasons unknown before they release it to the host.

If Airbnb has my money, why can’t they just refund me? Why do they even have to involve the host who doesn’t have any of my money and who hasn’t been involved in the whole process? Why even release the money to the host 60 days after the fact when they already know that the booking was made by mistake? There is a lot that can be done to make this whole process easier but I believe Airbnb set out to make the whole refund process complicated. It’s like Airbnb is hoping that people just walk away in frustration and forget about getting their money back. That way they get to keep it all. Even if it’s not intentional, this unwieldy way of getting refunded one’s money is shameful of a big, extremely profitable company.

Host charged me for a service I did not accept

The 08/09/2014 at 1:16pm we(customer/guest) decided to book Sharon’s (host/vendor) place (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/294657 cf copy of the ) through the mobile phone for the same night.
At 3:45pm we still hadn’t any news of the host and believed that she wouldn’t answer us as the check-in was supposed to be at 4pm (in 15min). We tried to cancel the booking request but couldn’t find any button on the mobile app.
She finally answered at 3:55pm saying that the place would not be ready before 7pm and asked for our approval for the booking since the conditions had changed (cf first mail of Sharon). Thus, as the contract conditions had changed the host or Airbnb should wait for the customer approval before charging the expense as specified by the FTC “charges for service you didn’t accept or that weren’t delivered as agreed”. (check in supposedly at 4pm being finally at 7pm)
We did not answer to Sharon’s mail and de facto did not approve the new contract (check-in at 7pm instead of 4pm). Meanwhile, at 4:47pm (47min after the normal check in), Sharon took the responsibility to accept the reservation, without our consent on the new conditions (check-in at 7pm instead of 4pm), which resulted on charging us the total amount of the night: $401.
As a matter of fact, I am requesting that the error be corrected, that any finance and other charges related to the disputed amount be credited as well, and that I receive a total refund of the $401.

Camper van for rent in Bordeaux

We rented 3 properties via air bnb. We were quoted all in Canadian funds, and when we were charged on my credit card it was in US funds. We are out over $ 400 and Airbnb pocketed our money. This was the BS response we received by them when we asked to have the difference credited.

Anna,
We were quoted in CAD and charged the same amount in USD!
For instance the rate in Canadian for Lloyd’s RV was 120 per day CAD.
We were charged the same 120 in USD!
Is airBnB just pocketing that extra money?
The booking for Lloyd’s alone is over 300 dollar in exchange rates!
The rate we should have been charged:
WPRETW is 2368 not 2694.76 (a difference of 326.76)
XZWTJN is 456 not 506.47 (a difference of 50.47)
MPCSSN is 68 not 75.52 ( a difference of 7.52)

The charges that you have unnecessarily added are 384.75 CAD in total and is NOT clear or stated on any receipt or any transaction record that I have been sent that I would be charged the same amount in USD as opposed to CAD. Please send a payment for 384.75 to my AMEX card.
If that is too difficult for you then credit the AMEX card and I will pay each transaction with my VISA.

I have contacted my bank and AMEX regarding this matter. Please rectify it as soon as possible.
I have attached the receipts that I was sent from airBnB for these bookings.

Regards

Trevor Leigh

Quoting response@airbnb.com:

TO RESPOND TO THIS TICKET, REPLY TO THIS EMAIL

Airbnb: Your Reservation with Lloyd

———————————————-

Anna M, Jul 18 14:28

Hi Trevor,

Thank you for your patience! This is Anna again, and I’m happy to clarify why you were charged in USD for reservations WPRETW, XZWTJN, MPCSSN.

The currency in which you will be charged is listed during the booking process before you submit your reservation request. Here are examples of the booking pages for the listings that you booked:
– http://cl.ly/image/0I3G2m0h1n1j
– http://cl.ly/image/1Y2o0f1S1A2w
– http://cl.ly/image/263x0W3m3H2Q

While filling out your payment details, you were asked to select the country in which your payment method was located, which populated the field where you entered your credit card details. This field also contained the total amount and currency to be charged.

The available currency is automatically determined by the guest’s billing country and credit card type. The only currency available for AmEx credit card payments in Canada is USD. I am very sorry that in your specific case this is not the best option!

While we cannot change your payment to CAD, I’d like to provide you with a $50 coupon to use toward future travel on our site. Your coupon code is LCSVIZPS, and it expires on the 18th of July, 2015.

I apologize for the inconvenience, and I am happy to help with any additional questions about booking on our site.

All the best,

I find this to be totally sneaky and dishonest.