Recently we met our German friends for our annual November retreat. We decided to use Airbnb this year since they had a lot more locations over our normal rental unit management company. We always stay in the Ft Myers/Naples area so there were a lot of great places to choose from. Our rental home was owned by a German couple who were responsive throughout the booking process and all in all seemed good.
What I didn’t appreciate was the fact that they gave us a “daily usage allowance” for electricity, something we were unaware of until the day of check in. Our German friends arrived the day before us (we traveled from Virginia) and checked into the house. The management company made them sign a document that they would pay for any additional electricity over the daily allowance ($3.50 per day). I’m not sure where you live but $3.50 per day for electricity when you have a pool, A/C, lights, an oven, etc. is pretty darn low. The really sad part is when you review the listing on Airbnb all the fine print is in English, until you get to the part about “Electric”, then it changes over to German.
We called Airbnb on this fact (after we had already checked in) and they said “That’s illegal. All our listings in the US are to be in English.” We thought they were on our side then they said, “Well, you will need to work out the electric bill with the host…”
Seriously? The Host breaks the rules and you tell me I have to work it out? Airbnb customer service also said “You should not engage in any agreements outside of the Airbnb system.”
I wonder why? Because they lose out on any additional cut they might be entitled to? It’s akin to bidding on an item on eBay that you eventually lose, only to be sent an email by the seller a few minutes later wanting to make the sales transaction “outside” the eBay system – at the same price you bid, of course. So they can avoid paying eBay the 5% fee. This was a foul by the host.
Sensing our frustration after several calls to Airbnb, during our vacation no less, they told us they would refund us $30 for our troubles. That was five weeks ago and there has still been no refund. I asked them why I did not get a link to provide feedback after the stay was completed. They said that because they knew our feedback would be negative they would not be allowing us to provide any comments – hence the reason I’m writing here.How do they expect things to improve if they deny their customers an opportunity to provide accurate and rational negative feedback? It’s pathetic.
Sadly that will be our one and only stay with Airbnb. I chose not to include a link to the host’s listing because while their idea of charging for electricity is misguided (especially in the USA) the home was pretty much as described. I would recommend the host abandon the “daily allowance” idea and increase the daily cost for the home by $10 which would likely cover most of the electricity (we stayed 15 days so that would be equal to $150). As far as Airbnb goes in general? I would highly recommend that everyone stay away from this sham of a company.