Airbnb Guests Might be Waiting a Month on Refunds

During the early days of the pandemic I understood that people were unsure about hosting strangers, especially someone traveling from another country in their house. In March, I had a few hosts either just not respond to my booking or else politely tell me that they’d suddenly had a family member turn up and therefore the room wasn’t available. They cancelled the booking and I got my money back… eventually.

Sometimes it can happen several times in a row and that can hurt you because I’m a world traveller, not a tourist, and I book for a month at a time to save money. Long after the pandemic fear was an issue, I sometimes had lazy hosts who may not have even been renting their house, just failed to respond to a booking. Sometimes it took a ridiculously long time to get my money back.

I arrived in Mexico after one fraudulent booking and I only had enough money left to take a cheap place for a week until I could afford to book again, which of course cost me more. Then I booked a really nice house in the mountains. The guy had only one review and it was terrible but I could also see that the person complaining was being completely unreasonable. I can see through those sort of reviews — some people are just whiny and expect champagne on a beer budget.

One thing that bothered me was that the guy had a long response time listed, so I tried to message him first. I didn’t get a reply for half a day. My current place was about to expire and I didn’t want to book again for a single day at a higher price, so I took a chance. I mean… people can be busy, right? So I booked for a month.

I waited. After 24 hours he hadn’t responded and Airbnb said I would get my money back. Sometimes this takes a few days. Sometimes it takes a week. Airbnb will always say that it’s PayPal’s fault or your bank’s fault, but I have a very efficient bank (Citibank) that accept intra-bank deposits instantly, and updates my account statement instantly. I don’t have that problem. When there are delays, it’s never my bank.

This time… the money just didn’t come back. I had to borrow money in order to make a new booking, which was really awkward. I’m stuck overseas. It’s hard to find work when I slap down a month’s rent and the renter doesn’t even answer. Airbnb has taken my money that really leaves me in a pickle.

I contacted Airbnb and of course it took a day to get some outsourced, incompetent idiot, to whom I complained at length, who ignored what I said, and gave me canned responses. When I complained further they escalated and then still gave me a canned response saying it could take “2-5 days” to get my pending transfer released. I pointed out that at this point it had been two weeks and then they changed their tune and said, “Well, actually it can take up to 30 days depending on your bank.”

I was just like, “No, man. Make up your mind. Is it 2-5 days or is it 30 days? It’s never been that long before.”

I’m currently at three weeks and my bank says the money hasn’t been released. PayPal say it has. Airbnb just says, “It’s not our problem.” But the thing is, I’ve had this crap happen several times this year and Airbnb just doesn’t care. I’ve been outright defrauded by hosts who’ve demanded huge (one month) deposits in cash and Airbnb hasn’t delisted them after complaining.

I’ve tried to book at places whose hosts have immediately cancelled the listing and messaged me saying, “That’s really just an advertisement. We don’t really accept bookings through Airbnb. You have to pay us directly.” Airbnb hasn’t removed those listings either.

Airbnb doesn’t care. They don’t remove fraudsters and they don’t remove people who just don’t bother answering their messages or accept bookings. It doesn’t matter how much you complain. They’d rather have millions of listings than actually weed out the BS ones and make sure that they have some sort of quality control, and their system of taking your money before the host accepts your booking is absolutely unconscionable.

If you’re a young backpacker, or a student, or you’re just living from week to week on a tight budget… if you slap down a month’s rent on a place and then it takes 21 or 30 days to get it back when the host doesn’t even bother accepting your booking, you’re up the creek without a paddle. Regardless of whether it’s your bank or PayPal’s fault, Airbnb should not do things this way. They shouldn’t take your money until the booking is confirmed and it’s absolutely ludicrous that they will take your money for up to a month on a speculative “this booking might be accepted.”

I’m so sick of having my money taken by Airbnb and having to fight with them to get it back, or have them tell me I just have to wait a month. I’m not some rich jetsetter. I’m just a schoolteacher who is trying to make a life moving from country to country. I don’t have the sort of money to have month’s worth of rent tied up in failed bookings. This system clearly has no regard for the customer’s rights and is designed with mistrust as the primary motivation. There is no situation in which it makes sense for anyone to take a customer’s money and hold onto it for a month before a booking is accepted. That’s not protecting anyone.

We’re all verified users with our passports on file. We’re not going to make fraudulent bookings. We can’t. No one’s going to book a place if they don’t have the money. If they did that even once, they could be reprimanded or banned. Instead the attitude is, “We don’t trust you. But we do trust the hosts. So we’re taking your money now just for expressing interest and even if the host completely ignores you… you’re not getting that money back for a long time so I hope you have spare cash to book something else because you might be waiting up to 30 days to get the money back. Sorry not sorry.”

It’s just not good enough. You shouldn’t pay for goods or services before it’s confirmed that they are available.

Airbnb Made My Move to Montreal Traumatic

In January 2017, I moved to Montreal, Quebec for work. I was a single woman moving from the west coast of the U.S. and was fearful and looking for a secure place to live for my first month while I looked for a more permanent place. I saw a listing that seemed nice and paid ahead of time for it. I was very poor at the time and so it was a difficult gamble to make but I did it because I trusted that such a big company like Airbnb would protect my best interests. Boy was I wrong.

The day I was to move into my Airbnb rental I brought along a new friend to help me carry my luggage and make sure I felt safe. I am so glad she came with me — I would’ve been in a horrible situation if it wasn’t for her. When we showed up to the building there was a different person waiting for our arrival than the one listed as the owner on Airbnb’s site. It was a young male who gave off very creepy vibes. He walked us up a small/crammed stairwell to my “apartment” and stood in the doorway while we looked around.

Right away I noticed there wasn’t a bed but a futon couch, which wasn’t mentioned in the listing. I also hadn’t gotten a new cell phone number and was relying on wifi. Well, this apartment shared a router with the entire building and so the wifi was non existent. As my friend and I were making these observations out loud, we heard the aforementioned creepy guy muttering to himself about how wrong we were about the apartment.

Feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, I called Airbnb on my friend’s phone and they advised me to leave the Airbnb and go somewhere safe. We took a taxi back to my friend’s place and Airbnb called me back on my phone this time via the wifi from her apartment. They asked if we had taken video or photos of the apartment and we said “No, your Airbnb customer service rep told us to leave immediately.” This new rep insisted I had to go back and take photos.

Of course the Airbnb host wouldn’t permit us back into the building and refused to refund me. Airbnb insisted that because we had no photo evidence that my only option was to ask the Airbnb host for a refund which of course wasn’t given. I cried and panicked. I was in a new city with no money for an apartment or hotel and only my new friend’s couch to sleep on.

Thankfully my new friend’s brother in law is a lawyer and he advised me to call my credit card company instead and make a fraud claim with them. They could undermine Airbnb and get me my money so I could find an apartment. My bank was immediately helpful and believed me. They refunded me the money while they investigated and a few weeks later I was told they did find what Airbnb did was fraudulent. Take that Airbnb.

I’ve never used the site again to book anything. If you do, be sure to take photos and videos especially if there’s a creepy property manager. I’m including the listing to the Airbnb rental.

Kicked Out of Airbnb After Accidental Slip

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In February, I booked a room in Barcelona for five weeks to attend a language school. The hostess fought to give me a different room than the one I had booked. I didn’t accept that. When I later asked to prolong maybe the time of rental she said she just accepted cash. I didn’t accept that either.

Shortly afterwards I received the message that my father was very ill. I phoned a lot in my room. At that night I had to go to the toilet with the floor wet and I slipped. The hostess called the police and an ambulance. The police left but I was driven to a hospital. There was nothing badly found and I drove back to my room. The hostess did not open the door. So I now had to call the police to get to my things.

The hostess said a lot in Spanish, kicked me out, and reported something to Airbnb. A neighbor girl who was interested in my room because she had a smaller one put my things in a sack without being asked. I was that upset and helpless. I flew home and tried to contact Airbnb. The platform banned me without ever listening to me.

I am deeply sad about this behavior by Airbnb. I’ve had so many years of outstanding good experiences with that platform. I wish somebody could help me open my account or look at my story again.

Cheap Airbnb Host Charges Extra for Everything

I was looking to stay at a place for ten weeks and found a good deal. The minute I expressed interest the host basically harassed me until I signed and kept saying that “if I didn’t agree he had others lined up.” He actually cancelled on me until I went back and said yes (this was within 24 hours).

Anyways, his post had pictures of a pool table and a large couch with projectors. He also told me that he and his girlfriend traveled quite a bit and that I would have the whole townhome to myself. When I arrived, however, I found out that I basically got one bedroom and was told that downstairs was off limits. He then said that I could have one shelf in the fridge. I was in a room with no central air and the bathroom was absolutely disgusting. The sink took a while to drain but I was fine with that.

At first it was okay and I never used the kitchen. However, one time he and his girlfriend left and I began to spread out more into the upstairs living room areas. One day, I left for my rotation day quite early and was planning on cleaning up that evening. My host got back a little after I left and sent me image after image saying how disgusting it was to come back to a dirty house. He then kept sending me images and pictures saying that I was irresponsible and that I needed to clean up. He kept harassing me until I paid him $50 apologizing after which he basically didn’t say anything. The irony was he and his girlfriend moved a bunch of their stuff back and piled it all over the kitchen.

I was pretty much just left in my room all the time because it was too awkward to go use the house. He disabled the heat and the cable while he was gone so there was a span of five days where I was living in a 50-degree house. After I checked out, he messaged me saying that one of his towels was missing and that the drain was clogged. After three weeks, he sent a message requesting $45 to repair the drain. When I mentioned the $50 I had already paid him previously as an extra/coverage for such fees, he said that that didn’t count and that I paid him without him asking — this time, he was requesting the $45.

It was awful. I was confined to a room for ten weeks and basically never really got to use the house. He got angry when I tried to clean up the kitchen with cleaning supplies I bought (he didn’t leave any cleaning supplies). He said that he only preferred to clean with his own supplies but he kept them hidden away and would charge $30 every time something needed to be extensively cleaned, which he found to be quite often. Furthermore, there were amenities on his listing (pool table, a projector lounge, large TV) that were inaccessible to me. Basically, he harassed me to sign up and then I stayed in one room. Horrible.

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Chicago Airbnb Listing Gone Horribly Wrong

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Even though I thought my host was attentive in the beginning, she dropped the hammer when it came to my noise complaint. She basically said that I was a light sleeper and that the refund policy is strict. I did feel that this was in bad taste. I don’t expect a full refund but I did want to check out early and not stay the month that cost over $2,000. I was disappointed in this since I approached the matter with kindness and gratitude for her attentiveness.

I lived in the downtown Chicago area for 15 years and came back for work and had to stay a month. This was the loudest building I’ve ever encountered in all my years of living there. I hate leaving negative reviews but the description is inaccurate and the host blamed me for not reading it. Airbnb looks out only for hosts since it looks like what’s in the listing is the golden rule (you will be held to this very strictly).

Here’s what was different from the posting. It was actually a studio, not a one bedroom. The listing said, and I quote, “Due to the apartment’s prime location, you may encounter some city noise, nearby train.”

That’s all it says. I’ve taken time to outline what this really looks like below. No CO2 detector as indicated. The smoke detector also did not appear to work (I saw no blinking lights) and it was loosely hanging by wires. TV remotes didn’t work. There were dirty walls with holes and splash marks and a dirty downstairs area with trash everywhere. No ethernet as promised or indoor fireplace as listed. No dedicated workspace as listed. There are two pop up countertop areas and one was broken. The other was not a “dedicated work area.” I tried to setup a workstation there but could not.

Here is the truth about the noise. There are multiple trains that run right past the building all day every day. The orange line, green line, and red line (underground). You hear every train announcement and the screeching and rattling. There are also multiple sets of tracks. Don’t forget the Metra train whistle that you can also hear. It basically sounds like you are living at the train station.

You also have the regular street noise which includes people shouting (and cursing), music, car mufflers, buses, horns, and sirens. I can even hear people skateboarding down the sidewalk. Roosevelt is an extremely busy street that connects to Michigan avenue. It’s like staying next to an expressway.

The building in itself is noisy and the lobby area is pretty run down. I heard loud music blasting at late hours and other hours in the day. There is also the sound of screeching chairs and the smell of marijuana that comes into the unit. I work from home so I had to spend a lot of time in the unit. If you are coming to sightsee (which you currently can’t because of COVID) and won’t be home often, then it could work. I myself had to sleep with noise-canceling headphones and constantly spray because of the smells wafting in.

To top it all off, the host basically accused me of vandalizing the unit and insisted that there was no damage before I got there. I had been there less than 24 hours when I sent her and Airbnb photos of the holes, scratches, and damaged smoke and CO2 detectors on top of the noise complaints.

I learned my lesson: report any and all damage right away. Because when issues start popping up, people will look for any way they can to make you pay the price. She also kept apologizing that I didn’t understand the listing and sent me screenshots of all of the good reviews. She then told me that her husband was a lawyer if I needed one. I was forced to leave the property because there were no working smoke or CO2 detectors and the noise. Airbnb customer service just said she did offer to fix it and expected me to continue to stay there and put my health and safety at risk.

Airbnb No Longer Reimbursing Hosts for Material Damages

Two guests booked two days for our 35-foot motorhome during a local Renaissance fair. We’ve been hosting 3.5 years. I should have been suspicious when three guests showed up. The guests were drunk when in residence — a bit loud, but tolerable because the motorhome is remote.

Then we went to clean for the next guests. What a mess. They had been cutting and sewing costumes for the fair, both inside and outside the coach. Strings and pins/needles were everywhere in the carpet. They ruined one set of sheets and towels with black goop that my wife couldn’t get out, so we had to order new ones for $65. They spilled coffee with creamer on the fabric couch and dribbled it on floor.

Normally takes about 2.5 hours to clean the unit. My wife spent five hours cleaning and I spent three extra hours spotting the carpet and steam cleaning the couch. I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to remove all the tiny threads, and pins/needles so the next guests would not injure themselves. I’m an an old guy but we got it cleaned.

The three guests left just after a noon check out, and new guests arrived at 4:30 PM and had to wait until we were finished. This was the first time this has happened in 3.5 years.

Here is the clincher. When we contacted Airbnb for reimbursement for the sheets and towels (not for our extra five hours of cleaning) we were denied because we didn’t meet their “complaint before next guest arrives” time frame. The next guests arrived before we had finished cleaning. Did I mention the extra time Airbnb demands to meet their COVID-19 cleaning requirements?

What have we learned from this lesson? Airbnb does not cover hosts’ damages even through they require a damage deposit from guests. Do not allow new guests to check in until you have made any claims, even if it means cancelling the new guests. We are rural and must drive to town to upload pictures due to our slow internet. We have no cell signal here. We increased our price 25% to cover any material losses because Airbnb will not charge guests for them.

When our “weird-s–t-O-meter” goes up for new guests…. we go with it and deny them access to the property. Don’t get me wrong: we have had good results with listings from Airbnb. Their fees are more expensive than most other platforms and our guests in the past have been top notch. I find that it is Airbnb, not the poor guests, that are the problem. Airbnb has always paid us the $50 per night on time and correctly.

If you cannot “personally” manage your rental check in and after rental inspection then I would not recommend them, as I do not believe you will be reimbursed for any property damage. Talking to a large number of Airbnb guests has convinced me that “hosts” are not cleaning to the Airbnb standards on the website as we do. But I must admit when we have traveled using Airbnb we have gotten very clean and tidy places to stay.

No Compromise For Changing Dates Whatsoever

Over the last three years I have stayed in 19 Airbnbs. I would consider myself to be a loyal Airbnb customer. I made a reservation for the Thanksgiving holiday for 10 days in San Diego because it was not only a vacation, it was also an attempt to support Airbnb during these difficult times. I know that Airbnb hosts are probably suffering from lower than normal occupancy rates.

A couple of weeks ago I started having growing concerns because the number of COVID-19 cases was starting to rise. I contacted the host, who in this case was represented by a vacation rental company in La Jolla. I mentioned to them that I was concerned about the situation and wanted to know what my options were. I never mentioned the idea of requesting a refund. Rather, I asked if I could modify the dates until the time when the virus started abating. Their response was that they would not allow any modifications.

A few days later the State of California raised the level of COVID restrictions from Code Red to Code Purple. It is the highest level that they have, effectively closing all restaurants to indoor seating, closing all non-essential businesses, and closing all theme parks (if they weren’t closed before). In addition, a stay-at-home recommendation had been issued for the area. I also mentioned the fact that state officials were recommending a 14-day quarantine if one traveled to California.

I brought this to the attention of the vacation rental company and they refused to accept an official modification request for the dates. After pleading with them about being upset that my entire $4,900 deposit was in jeopardy, they said that, if I canceled my reservation, they would attempt resale and issue credit for what they could resell. On the outside that sounded reasonable until I realized that they would sell it for a greatly reduced rate and that if they were unable to sell any of it, I would receive no credit.

I want to also include here that, if you go to the availability chart for this property, with the exception of one week over Christmas, this home is completely unavailable until Sept. 4, 2021 — good luck to those renters if they decide not to go. I decided not to accept their offer. It’s not like they would be refunding me and losing this income; all I wanted was a modification of dates. I went to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and noted that this company is not held in high regard. I also noted that Airbnb has an “F” rating. The BBB apparently is looking into this issue and we’ll see what they come up with.

I have also written the Governor’s office. Airbnb has been essentially worthless. They sure know how to support their hosts, but the customer is screwed. I have written 4 emails to the CEO of Airbnb and have heard nothing in response. The management company constantly refers to the fact that they are going to follow the letter of the contract I signed. That, to me, is laughable.

I signed a contract a month earlier for a home in Truckee or the month of June next year. It was accepted and I got the “you’re going to Truckee!“ message. That to me is confirmation of a contract and I got the receipt for the full payment. Five days later I got a message from the owner asking me if I could change the dates of my stay in order to accommodate other clients. These clients turned out to be people he referred to as friends. To make a long story short, Airbnb customer support — instead of defending me and supporting my contract — cancelled my reservation.

I am feeling incredibly frustrated. I am not seeking a refund in this issue with the house in San Diego. I am just wanting to change the dates until the Code Purple restrictions are relaxed and it’s safe to travel again. I would appreciate any assistance in my issue with Airbnb. It’s getting to the point where a lawsuit appears the only thing that will get their attention.

Airbnb Guest Urinates on Bed in Stockholm

I have had more than 100 guests and have loved it. Never any problems and I have earned Superhost status with 5.0 in terms of customer ratings.However, I have now had a guest where I immediately discovered urine in the bed after check-out. The bed is the Swedish brand, Hästen, handmade and extremely exclusive. The mattress is ruined and must be replaced immediately as I have new guests arriving.

The guest admits that she “accidentally poured water into the bed with a leaking water bottle” and says she is willing to pay for cleaning. But Airbnb customer service does little or nothing. It still takes time for them to even look into the matter, even though I do what is expected of me.

The problem has not been solved, and still being handed by Airbnb. No decisions regarding compensation yet. I realize that as a host I only have obligations but no “rights.” An extremely sad discovery and I am considering leaving Airbnb altogether.

It is interesting that a company whose content is only about people being willing to rent out their accommodation or parts of it is not faster to deal with problems that arise and support a host or a guest. Now Airbnb is planning an IPO, a company earning their income on booking fees, which however, presupposes that there are landlords and tenants.

There’s No One Home at Airbnb Support

I just spent a splendid two weeks trying to get through to Airbnb support. I have received robot messages from several mythological support people. Some are insulting, some claim to be supportive and not do anything, and none seem to read the messages I sent. Yesterday they added another fun category of pretending to call me back and claiming there was no answer.

I think even a robot could see that the messages were being sent from my phone that was in my hands. I have blocked all my time with Airbnb and plan on finding a company with actual people in it to take my money for use of the website. They charge nearly as much is a reputable rental agency and give nothing in return.

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Accused of Theft and Lying About Smells

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My wife and I rented an Airbnb e to celebrate our first anniversary. From day one it smelled like a dog kennel. The second day, we found one bed bug which the co-host implied that we could’ve been responsible for rather than just quietly making things right. She moved us to a different room that was much better, but then the next day, she and her daughter accused us of messing with the way their appliances were plugged in and costing them $95 for an electrical inspection, when we didn’t and had absolutely no reason to.

The host’s daughter did not objectively serve us and was hardly involved as opposed to her mom. We filed a complaint with Airbnb the next day and the hosts kicked us out, though we had not officially told them we were canceling our reservation. They falsely accused us of filing a complaint of theft against them and took pictures of our naturally messy room before we had time to clean it up. They reported us to Airbnb corporate for vandalizing and trashing their place.