Fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty… and still not reimbursed

I have been a model customer of Airbnb, receiving nothing but five-star reviews. Between various accounts I have stayed in an Airbnb virtually every night since January this year. I was planning to use their service for longer. I book long term rentals (usually always over a month) so we are dealing with high volumes of money. I travel a lot for work and always make sure my booking is extremely close to a tube station.

I had long ago booked a long-term rental in the centre of London which was due to start on August 27th. Four days before this booking, the host cancelled due to extenuating circumstances. I received an email from Airbnb offering to assist me finding a new place at short notice. The assistance they offered me did not help. It was put on the highest priority and they only reiterated to me that there was nowhere similar in the same price range. This took two days.

With two days left, I tried to book into various places with no luck. There were not many places left and the people offering them had made mistakes in their profiles. With one day left, I booked a place that was approximately 1850 pounds. I was travelling and only had my iPhone and limited reception.

Although more expensive than I had planned, the property seemed to fit. It was a one-bedroom apartment listed as within Zone 1, and walking distance to London Bridge. That night due to an error on Airbnb’s system, the booking was automatically cancelled and I spent hours on the phone to a customer service agent who appeared to be helpful and sympathetic to the trouble that Airbnb had caused me. She thanked me for how reasonable and calm I was with her and said that she wouldn’t have been as cooperative as I was. The situation wasn’t fully resolved but she said she would sort it, as I told her I only had my phone with me and found it hard to work on.

The next day, I left Edinburgh for London with my partner and our bags. We had a busy day planned. It was when I got to London that I realised that the apartment was not within ‘walking distance’ from the station (30-minute walk according to Google) so we caught an Uber. We met the host’s mum at the property who showed us the property which we looked at quickly. She told us that the previous guests had only just checked out, and that’s why there were still dirty sheets in the apartment and in the washing machine. I had no time to complain because I had to make the next train to go to an event in London.

We left immediately, and once again took another Uber to the nearest tube station. I was planning to complain about all of this the next day. As I was running into the tube station, Airbnb rang me and asked if we were able to check in. I told her yes, and I was unable to talk at the moment as I was in a rush. We went to our function and got home at around midnight. Whilst walking to the apartment, there were some ‘shady’ characters standing outside of our apartment taking drugs and asking for money. They appeared to follow us down the road and watched us as we entered the apartment.

Once inside, we realised we were unable to lock the door due to some fault with the apartment. We tried for almost half an hour, and as my partner was scared, we grabbed our already packed bags, jumped into a cab downstairs, and went to our friend’s house for the evening (we slept on the couch). It was past midnight on a Sunday. We were tired and my partner had work the next day. We felt extremely unsafe and endangered.

As soon as I woke up at 7:00 AM, I emailed Airbnb telling them I was not staying in the apartment. I did not wish to stay in the apartment because I felt as if it was unsafe and fraudulent. I was tired and I had enough. I requested a full refund. Because I was such a good customer who had always been honest and good to deal with, I stupidly assumed that Airbnb would not want to side with a listing that is fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty. I then borrowed money off my parents who were in London on holidays and booked myself into a hotel. I am still in that hotel.

Airbnb eventually returned my calls the next day, but the representative sounded completely different and chose her words extremely carefully. She essentially said that ‘walking distance’ is subjective; although she doesn’t consider it at this length, Airbnb’s terms and conditions say that anywhere displayed on the map when booking is within walking distance (hours in some cases). She also told me that because I didn’t report the case (after midnight when my partner and I were scared for our safety), Airbnb didn’t have a chance to try and resolve the situation. It essentially was my fault the door was broken. For some reason the onus was on me to fix it after midnight on a Sunday whilst fearing for our safety.

Airbnb offered me 50% of the value of the booking in voucher form and said they would reimburse any Ubers or taxis. I declined this solution. I wanted a full refund at the very least. I have been a good customer and in Airbnb’s own words, beyond reasonable at times. This was a genuine case from someone who had proved themselves to be a loyal and honest customer.

After getting off the phone with her, I did some research and reread the Airbnb host’s profile. The profile said it was in Zone 1. A quick Google Maps search showed that it was not. The property was in fact deep within Zone 2 (closer to Zone 3 than Zone 1). Another finding was that on the map displayed by the Airbnb host, London Bridge Station was nowhere to be found, thus making it not within walking distance due to Airbnb’s own definition of the term.

I immediately rang Airbnb and told them this, and they looked into it. They agreed to the definition of walking distance that Airbnb listed; this was not walking distance. They declined to comment further on the situation and said they would need to look into it. I have since reported these facts to them, and requested a call back several times and have not received any response or contact from them. I told other customer service members about the fraudulent listing of the Zone 1 area. Nothing was done. I also spoke to them about how by Airbnb’s own definition of walking distance this was not walking distance. I sent a screenshot.

They took a couple days to get back to me then told me that it was within walking distance if you use an Android phone to book the property, but not if you use an Apple phone (seriously – this is what they said). Then they said they wouldn’t comment further and had to pass it onto the legal team. Since then, your customer service team has never returned my calls, and emailed me sporadically to ask me to restate the case again. I have been treated horribly.

Originally, I honestly thought that I would just ring up Airbnb and someone would help me find a new place and give me a small voucher for my troubles. I didn’t think I would have to go to this much trouble. I had planned to use Airbnb until the middle of 2019. Now I have checked into accommodation privately until January 2018, and have decided not to use Airbnb again because of the pain and trouble they have put me through. I did not think I would have to seek legal advice. All one has to do is look at my record to see that I am a loyal, good, honest, reasonable customer, that was not trying to scam anyone. I have always booked my accommodations close to a tube station and transport in London. This was the main reason I left.

The account was fraudulent and made out to be in a different area than it was. They have made me try and fight this meticulously and I have proven it according to the law and their own terms and conditions. It is a black mark against the name of their company, and this is not taking into account their blatant disregard for their customers’ safety. I have screenshots of every bit of evidence needed. The host still has the property listed as in Zone 1. Airbnb essentially told me that it was my responsibility to double check all information and only reimbursed me a third of what I spent on the place, despite the above evidence and me never using it. They also (for the first time) said that this was the case because I couldn’t provide evidence of the broken lock, despite the fact that the host admitted to it in private messages.

Hosts Don’t Get Off Easily When it Comes to Airbnb

Don’t bother hosting with Airbnb. I have done so for several years, but this year I have removed my property after it has become apparent that they do not look after their hosts if there is a problem. I had never had a problem before this year, but I think that the combination of advertising on TV and the flood of hosts has resulted in lower weekly payouts and, sometimes, the wrong type of customer. Following one family leaving early (definitely the wrong type), I have been trapped in several months of random communication with Airbnb with no outcome. Their customer service team is a joke. Their decisions (if you can find anyone that can actually make one) are made without your consultation, are random and, in our case, outside of the policies you signed and just hugely unfair. We are still awaiting a payout that they are withholding falsely. I get a different ‘story’ and ‘calculation’ each time I enter into a dialog and I’m just fed up with it. We have offered a charming little family home for very little money and the first time something goes wrong, they stitch us up. Don’t bother.

Hosts and Airbnb: Perfect Partners in Crime

It was my first time using the Airbnb website to rent an apartment in Paris. I expected that I could get a better deal than hotel rooms; in the end, I had been forced to pay more than that for an IBIS or Holiday Inn.

Last month, I went to Paris with four of my friends. They were from Vietnam. They were very excited because it was their first time visiting Paris. All we needed was low cost accommodation for three nights. We decided to get an apartment for the five of us from the Airbnb website. After spending some time searching on the Airbnb website, we found a place in the north of Paris.

However, before three days we arrived, the host sent us a cancellation notice. We had to look for a different place on the Airbnb website; we did not like it very much but had no choice. Finally we found an apartment in the 18th District; it was in a good location, because it took no more than five minutes to walk from the underground station. The size of the apartment was large enough for the five of us, and it was not expensive – only £415.41.

I am living in London; it is very easy for me to get to Paris. I decided to arrive in Paris at lunchtime on Friday, September 8th. Before I left London, the host sent me an email to inform me his coworker would be there to give me the key. The host also told me if I did not keep everything in the apartment in the same condition as before I would have to pay 50 euro.

When I met his coworker, she asked me for 200 euro; she told me that she needed it for a deposit and this was stated in the contact. I thought that it was normal, so I gave it to her. I asked her if she would return it to me on Monday and she said she would. I did not think very much of it because we were over 50 years old, we had no children traveling with us, and we were not planning on making a mess or breaking anything in the apartment.

My friends could only stay in Paris for three days. I tried to take them around Paris as much as I could. Everyday we left the apartment before 9:00 AM and got back around 9:00 PM. Everybody was tired after a long day of walking and all we needed was sleep.

On Monday, September 11th, the host’s coworker came to collect the key. She went to the shower room to tell me it was wet. I did not clean it; I told her that I could not clean it because there were no amenities. The host did not write on the listing that guests had to clean the property before they left. After that, the coworker came straight to the thin worn out plastic folding door, which separated the first and second bedroom. She pulled it out – it was broken – and she said that we had to pay for it because we broke it.

This was impossible because we never touched it. We could not have broken it unless we intended to pull it out and push it back and continued to do it until it got broken. At this stage, I could see the coworker was trying to take away my 200 Euro deposit; she had it in her pocket, so what could I do? I knew I could not get the full amount back but I had to think to get something back. I told the coworker that we did not break the plastic folding door. It was not an expensive door, so how much did she want us to pay?

The coworker did not answer my question. She started to say she had four children to look after, she could not afford to pay the host, and she only worked for the host. She did not call the host to report what had happened. I could not tell her to talk to her host. So I told her to keep 100 euro and give me back 100 euro. She agreed to that. On the way back to London, I sent many messages to the host to report what the coworker did. The host responded with the following text: “Please tell me, how much did you pay?”

The next day I reported the problems to Airbnb. I hoped that they could determine the truth and get my 100 euros back. The Airbnb staff told me under their regulations no cash transaction were to be paid outside of the Airbnb website. After two weeks, I received an invoice from the host requesting me to pay an additional 810.05 euro; the host wanted me to pay for the broken door and the broken bed and said I did not clean the apartment.

The host had called a big decoration company to come to repair the plastic folding door and the wooden bed frame support, but when I looked at the invoice, I could tell it was a fake invoice; there was no company logo or letterhead, and it was designed on A4 paper by using Microsoft Word. There was no cost break down including the materials cost for each item.

After that, I sent an email to the decoration company to ask about this invoice. They said that they never produced it and they never came to this property to repair anything. I contacted Airbnb to prove it was a fabrication. I also told them that my friends were a doctor, a teacher, a finance officer, and a homecare manager. We had no reason to come to this apartment to break a worn out plastic door or jump up and down to break the bed. I sent Airbnb a link to show how much the plastic folding door would cost on Amazon: around 25 euro. I only wanted my 100 euro back.

After one week, the Airbnb returned with the following decision:

“After careful review of all documentation, we do believe that your host should be compensated for the damages caused during this stay. With that being said, we have concluded to charge you 468 EUR for the following:

– Cost to replace the damaged bed frame (labor fee included): 290 EUR
– Cost to replace the broken door (labor fee included): 378 EUR

As you have paid your host an off-site Security Deposit (200 EUR), we have deducted this amount from the final decision. As of today, we have charged and transferred to your host 250 EUR (237 GBP) of the Security Deposit originally authorized with this reservation.”

I did not know about this 250-euro security deposit; Airbnb took it straight away from my PayPal account after they sent this email. They did not allow me to read their email or to ask them why I had to pay compensation. I also wanted to see the invoice of these repairs. Airbnb was not allowed to tell me these costs without evidence.

– First the host sent me an invoice for 810.05 euro. Airbnb’s decision? 668 Euro
– The Host took my offsite security deposit: 200 Euro
– Airbnb deducted this to make 468 Euro
– The Airbnb security deposit: 250 euro
– Finally, I still owed them: 218 Euro, which I had to pay in 48 hours.

If I did not pay Airbnb, they would remove my account. Airbnb always said no cash transactions outside Airbnb. I asked them why they talked about offsite security deposit in their decision; this was a cash transaction, but the host returned 100 euro to me. If the host didn’t take 200 euro, why did you include a deduction of 200 euro in their decision? How could they take 250 euro from my credit card when we had not finished reaching a decision?

I provided a lot of information about the fake invoice from the host and Airbnb did not bother to talk about it. The host broke Airbnb regulations – cash transactions – so how could the host still be allowed to ask for compensation? I requested to talk to a manager. I also told them to please take me to the court because I would not pay 218 Euro. It was my first and last time I used Airbnb. I will find a way to contact the press or TV to tell them about my Airbnb story. I did not receive any more responses from Airbnb. The Airbnb manager never called me. I am a victim. The host got my 100 euro and Airbnb got my 250 euro. Both of them were a good team for stealing money from guests. Please see the 810.05-euro invoice from the host. Was it fake? Other photos are from the worn out plastic folding door and the wooden support bed frame.

Some Absolute Nonsense at Thailand Airbnb

My group had been looking for a beach house in Thailand for a three-day stay for days and finally found a reasonable option for all sixteen members of our group (do you know how difficult that was, logistically?). We booked our stay and they took our money. We thought we were good to go.

The owner emailed us the next day and lied, saying that we had misled her about the year we wanted to stay. She kept saying we wanted to book for 2018. Under no circumstances did we say that. Our reservation was cancelled and now all the other options are over $1000 more than the original price. We can’t be spending that kind of extra money. When we called Airbnb, all they kept saying was sorry. They said they would help us rebook but then reneged on that real quick. That does not help with the money problem.

They also reassured us that the host had to pay a cancellation fee but it’s Airbnb that gets all that money. If we were able to use that money to get a comparable rate then I would be happy to keep using Airbnb, but they get the profit and we have to spend extra money because they did not have it together. Absolute nonsense.

Host Charging me for a TV that was Already Broken

A couple of months ago, my wife, my parents, and I booked an Airbnb in San Antonio. The pictures looked nice and the place was in a central location. When we got there, the place was disgusting, with mold and dust everywhere. The fridge hadn’t been cleaned in ages, and there were dirty sheets on the beds and dirty towels tucked away in the closets. In addition, the TV wasn’t working.

We contacted the host by phone (our mistake – we should have done it on the Airbnb app, but at the time it seemed more convenient by phone). The guy said he didn’t care and wasn’t going to do anything about it, so he would just give us a full refund. I contacted Airbnb for them to find us a new place and they said they wouldn’t (first time something like this happened to us, and it was definitely alarming to see how Airbnb didn’t give a crap about us not having a place to sleep).

Anyway, we managed to find another place, and left this problem behind us. A month later I get a message from Airbnb saying that our host (even though we didn’t stay there) was charging us $2300 because we broke the TV. At first I thought this was a joke, and replied directly saying that we didn’t break anything so I wasn’t paying anything. The host then involved the resolution center. A month later I get an email from the resolution center saying they “feel” that the fair thing to do is for me to pay $1000 (why it went down from $2300 to $1000, I have no idea). I replied saying that I didn’t do anything; I wasn’t paying anything, and that I didn’t give them authorization to charge my card. If they did that, I would consider it fraud, since I am explicitly not giving my consent. I can’t believe that a host can just say that something’s broken and charge it to the guest. Sufficed to say I won’t ever use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Nightmare Nearly Leaves us Stranded Abroad

My recent experience with Airbnb has been nothing short of a nightmare. It all started when I was booking accommodations in San Diego, California through Airbnb from London, where I live. I was about to make a payment when I accidentally clicked on the Paypal button and immediately received conformation of my booking. As I hadn’t used Paypal for over a year and had since changed my payment details, I straight away contacted Airbnb and explained the mixup to the customer service officer.

I needed to give her my new card details so she could take a payment. She assured me she would sort it out and confirmed that although the reservation had been confirmed, no money had been taken from the Paypal account; the full amount would be taken from the card I had just given her. I then emailed the host in San Diego and again explained what had happened and that everything should be okay as Airbnb had my new payment details.

I heard nothing from Airbnb until the morning of September 25th while I was in Colorado and was due to fly from there to San Diego. I received a text from Airbnb to say that my account had been blocked and the reservation cancelled. I then spent hours on my mobile phone trying to contact someone at Airbnb to resolve the issue. When I did get through, I got someone who was unable to assist me. However, I was told that someone would call me back. As we were on a late flight and arriving in San Diego around midnight, I was keen to resolve the problem before boarding our flight. I didn’t want to be lost and without accommodation in a foreign country in the early hours of the morning.

I never heard back from Airbnb and had persisted trying to contact them by phone and email throughout the day without any luck. Just as we were due to board our flight, I then received a message from our host to say that we would not be able to stay as the reservation had been cancelled. Luckily my son was able sort everything out through his Airbnb account and secured the accommodation for us. At some point during the same day I had received a couple of messages from Airbnb saying I needed to update my account but it was impossible to do so as Airbnb had blocked my account. I was unable to proceed beyond the first page, which of course meant I couldn’t update my account.

Some days later I received a message from a friend in London who said that it appeared Airbnb had taken money from her son’s account for the same amount that we had paid for our accommodation. Remember that the accommodation had now been paid for by my son. The only connection with her son’s account was last year when he had book accommodation for myself and the above friend. Airbnb had no authorisation to take the money and it was later refunded through Paypal.

When I returned home to the UK I tried to contact Airbnb to make a complaint. I spent nearly an hour talking to someone who refused to put me through to a manager because the payment details on their system was different to the details they had; it was unbelievably frustrating. I would still like to make a complaint regarding the treatment received from Airbnb but it seems that Airbnb does not have a listed complaints procedure. Had it not been for my son coming to the rescue at the final hour, I do believe that me and my friend, both females, would have arrived in San Diego very late at night with nowhere to stay. Never again will I book accommodation through Airbnb.

Hosts are a bit too Overbearing at Spanish Airbnb

I booked with Airbnb only once, and will never do it again. It was in Tenerife, Los Cristianos, and my host was a complete psychopath. Having just escaped from another psychopath, which was the reason I left the country and traveled abroad, I was pretty overwhelmed. First of all, she lied about everything, was untrustworthy and pushy, and added hidden costs for everything. I kind of knew she was off from the first time she replied to my message when I was still in the booking process; I should have listened to my intuition.

After the first few days of my stay it became worse: she started harassing me in the apartment and sending random people to “check on me”, with the typical “I am worried about you” gaslighting. I was thinking “I am an adult on vacation and you’re not my mom. You aren’t worried – you’re a psychopath.”

I started feeling so unsafe I left after one and a half weeks. I paid for a month, so I called Airbnb. Customer service was of the same mentality, especially because I made the mistake of letting the host know I was about to contact them, and being a good psychopath, she called them first with some made up BS about me as if she were the victim. I never got any refund, and I had to find new accommodations by myself in a panic. I’ll stick with hotels from now on; those provide better quality service anyway, and they’re also safer and more trustworthy. When I’m in a hotel room alone I don’t feel like I’m exposed to a sick person with no help if things go south.

Airbnb’s Policy of Holding Payment is Driving away Hosts

I have been a new host with Airbnb since January. My first booking for late July-early August was confirmed in March. After the first guest checked out on August 5th, I waited a week for my payout. When it didn’t show up in my bank account, despite my successfully establishing a payout method, I attempted to contact airbnb and discovered how nearly impossible that it is. Somehow, way back in August, two months ago, a link appeared on their website asking if I wanted a call back, which I did. As soon as I entered my phone number, the phone rang almost instantly.

The first explanation I got was that there was a problem with my payout method but that quickly changed to my payout would be released on September 11th. I protested that there was no reason to hold my payment and that the date was completely arbitrary. It also happened to be the check-out date of my second Airbnb rental. Both rentals went very well and my condo received glowing reviews from both sets of tenants.

It is now October and my payout of $2,795 is still sitting with Airbnb and showing up as “pending” on my transaction page. I can no longer find that link for a callback or any means of contacting these bastards. I will not rent any more with them until they pay me, which I have begun to believe they never will. Is it possible that Airbnb is a giant scam, holding onto selected hosts’ money over time and assuming that by the time of discovery, they will have gotten away with it? I cannot figure out what is going on but this is a dishonest business and I have no recourse but to take some legal action, possibly through small claims court. Airbnb stinks.

Beware of Airbnb Housing with Bad Hosts

I recently stayed in two different rooms with a lady in Turlock, California. While she was very nice and accommodating, there were serious issues that I felt other prospective tenants needed to be aware of. Airbnb deleted my review. This lady lives in her garage with her three 100-lb dogs. There was no bathroom out there and the dryer was not vented to the outside, which was a serious fire hazard and can cause carbon monoxide and respiratory dangers. The dogs were very clean but she never washed their bedding so there was an aroma of ‘dirty dog’ which permeated the house. They barked and howled loudly at times.

She eavesdropped on my phone conversations, at one time standing in my doorway with her arms crossed until I hung up. She seemed to have some serious mental health issues. There were family photos in the bedroom, two of which were quite large and inappropriate for a room being rented out to the public. She did not let me use the washer/dryer and I could not have cooked unless I had brought my own pots/pans, spices, and cooking utensils, as she does not cook.

Although this is a ‘B&B’ there are no breakfast items ever available, whether it be cold cereal, muffins, or even toast. If you have a problem, do not expect Airbnb to resolve it. They have lousy customer service and are only concerned with their hosts, not the guests. I had to fight to not be required to pay the cost of the entire reservation, and she got to keep almost three weeks I had paid with no refund. I paid for housing in two locations for that time, and I cannot afford that. I will never ever use this service again; they are disreputable and the hosts are not screened.

Lonely and Crazy Homeowner Falsified Ad to Lure Guests

I researched and secured what I thought was an entire home/apartment on a recent business trip to Madison, Wisconsin. Because of a large conference and a major healthcare software vendor in town, every decent hotel in town was booked solid. So I chose what I thought was a private place to stay with the understanding that it was a separate entrance so I could relax and recharge after a long day’s work.

The host’s ad said nothing about having to walk through her front door in order to gain entrance to her basement. She hovered over me and wanted to become my best friend – even in advance of me coming. She called way too much. She sent messages via the Airbnb app way too often. I should have known she was a loon. I thought she was going to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and stand at my bedside waiting for me to wake up so she could talk to me.

Lonely, crazy people should not be allowed on Airbnb. When I called Airbnb customer service they did nothing to help me or credit me back for this nightmare experience. This host was certifiable and lies about the description of her ad so she can become your best friend. I will never use Airbnb again.