Airbnb Guest Pays Double to Avoid Collections

I have been using Airbnb for a while now and I rely on them for work. For three days I had been trying to book my next week’s stay. I got a message saying that I couldn’t and needed to call customer service.

A couple months ago, a payment method evidently didn’t go through so now Airbnb has me blocked from making reservations. I told them that I paid the host because the payment didn’t go through back then after trying and trying to make it work.

After three days of arguing with them I said the hell with it and paid Airbnb another $271.31 to get my account out of collections. My big problem is that no one can tell me when the problem will be fixed. They even have the balls to tell me that they have no way of contacting their own collections department.

Another question that they couldn’t or wouldn’t answer: if I owed them money, why hasn’t anyone called or emailed me? Basically I’m living in Airbnb’s and unable to make reservations, which means that I will be homeless in a couple days. They didn’t care about hearing this.

I’m 54 years old and this is my very worst experience with a customer-based service. I always thought McDonald’s was the worst.

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Thought I was the only one going through Airbnb Hell

I had booked an entire large house on Airbnb for a family reunion and a wedding in Orlando for one week. We have five kids, six grandkids and a few newfound siblings (through Ancestry.com) that were all going to stay under one roof. At my age I do not know how many more times I will get to be together with all of them, so I cherish each one immensely.

The day before the trip, I went to contact the host for the information to get into the house and that is when I saw a big red cancellation notice on my reservation. My heart dropped. My son and his family were in the air on the way. They were going to be the first to check in, and now that he was in the air on his way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, Airbnb had cancelled our reservation.

This was my first message to Airbnb after I saw they cancelled our reservation:

Help! Our entire family and a group of friends are flying from Alaska to Florida for our daughter’s wedding. I went to our reservation to see the check-in procedure and saw that Airbnb has cancelled our entire reservation, without contacting us via email or phone or other.

We have had this reservation for a month and are leaving today to meet up with the others. We had no idea they cancelled us.

As it turns out, our credit card was compromised last month so they sent us a new one. We had no idea this was happening until we received a new card. Airbnb must have tried to run the old number and when it did not go though they just cancelled us without any contact with me letting me know.

This is terrible. What can we do now? Why would they not contact us? Help!

All of our contacts with Airbnb and the host were cordial, but in no way helpful. At least if you have an issue with a hotel, they help secure new rooms. We ended up having to find hotels so none of us got to stay together.

Here is the full story as I told it to Airbnb and still they will not refund my deposit, even though I never cancelled it.

As we grow older we realize there are only so many times left in our life that we get to be surrounded by our whole family: our kids, their spouses, our grandkids. Every single one of them. People grow up and move away.

For our family, Florida was to be that time. And to have a wedding in the midst of this. I could hardly believe I was fortunate enough, dare I say blessed enough, for this family reunion and wedding to be upon us.

The last time we visited Florida, Hurricane Irma chased us away, but now we were back. Imagine my shock when on the night before we were to leave Alaska to begin our amazing family reunion, to see that our reservation had been cancelled. I was in disbelief. Denial. Shock.

How would I tell my kids who were already in the air and were to be the first to arrive with their new baby, my grandson? In my heart I felt somehow someone would be able to work this out, to make it right. It was not to be. I am writing this from my hotel on the other side of town from where our eldest son’s family is staying.

Our daughter who is getting married is at another hotel, and our daughter’s family from Atlanta is arriving tonight to be in yet another hotel. It turned out this was a holiday (Valentine’s Day, which is also the 37th anniversary of my proposal to my lovely bride) so getting hotels together did not work out.

I am telling you this so you will know that you are renting these amazing properties to real people, with real stories, not just numbers on paper. People who work hard so that when it’s time, they can also play hard and love even harder. Real families who cherish their time together.

As we now learned, unknown to us, our credit card was compromised. Between the time I paid my deposit and the time you were to charge the remainder. As someone who has done many hotel reservations, but never an Airbnb reservation, I always assumed if there was an issue I would be contacted. I was not.

My Airbnb profile has my phone, email, address and even a photo of my driver’s license: many ways to contact me. My hope in writing this is to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Ever. What should have been a glorious trip, has been so difficult for me (I was in charge of securing our place to all stay together).

The kids have been great though and are making the best of our situation. The wedding tomorrow will still be amazing, I am still blessed to see see the kids and grands. Florida is about 100 degrees warmer than Alaska. Life is good. But please remember that your guests are real families counting on you to help make their dream vacation destination a reality.

Your job is so important, as most families do not get enough time to play together. To just hang out together. In our situation, a phone called would have resolved this immediately. Immediately.

Because I was not contacted to remedy this situation, which I knew nothing about, I am expecting a full refund of my first deposit. I only hope if this ever happens again, you will contact the guest for a quick solution.

Tomorrow I am contacting the credit card company to demand they cancel this charge as we never received a notice of cancellation. They also hold some responsibility for cancelling my card.

It was really the perfect storm; they cancelled it right at the same time Airbnb tried charging the remainder. My problem is Airbnb never contacted me, even though they said they emailed. They also had my phone number and could have easily called or texted.

This was a really important week for us, and it has caused so much stress. What should have been an amazing week turned into another episode of Airbnb Hell.

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Screwed by Poor Airbnb Host Cancellation Policies

I have been a loyal Airbnb customer now for almost ten years, staying at places both in the U.S. and internationally. I have received nothing but positive reviews from hosts I’ve stayed with, and I have never canceled a stay.

Over these last 9+ years, hosts have either cancelled or ghosted me after confirming my reservation at least three times. I don’t mean cancelling my reservation within a reasonable amount of time before my trip starts. I’m talking about less than 30 days, and in some cases, less than two weeks for trips that I had booked months in advance.

I know folks have had it worse, but the fact that Airbnb continues to let this happen is garbage. All they can offer is a voucher worth 10% of the booking costs. What is the host penalty? Anywhere from $50-$100. That’s it – it’s often a fraction of what guests have paid, many times upfront.

Well, I’ve reached the final straw with Airbnb. I’m turning 40 this year, and as you might imagine with such a major occasion, I began planning festivities well in advance. I typically go to Palm Springs with family around my birthday every year (in mid-March) anyway, but for this milestone birthday, I thought I’d open up the trip to friends.

I polled people I wanted to come to gauge budget and availability, and in November 2019, I booked an affordable place for eight people. While many 5+ bedroom options in Palm Springs exist on Airbnb, the ones that cost less than $800/night are few and far between. Especially in March, which is the beginning of peak season in Palm Springs because of major tennis tournaments, auto shows, music festivals, etc.

Again, being a regular visitor to the area and knowing about these regular events, I always book as early as possible to have the best choice of affordable options. My trip was booked for March 13-18, 2020.

On February 17 – less than 30 days before the start of my trip – I received an email that the host had canceled my reservation. No reason was provided in the auto-generated email, but when I called customer service and asked, I was told that the owner was planning to sell the property.

I obviously don’t know this person’s circumstances, but I don’t think selling one’s home (unless connected with a death) is necessarily an extenuating enough circumstance for such a short-notice cancellation. I spent nearly $3500 on this rental and booked it months ago. It was in a location chosen specifically because it was near where other family were going to be staying.

Of course, when I quickly searched Airbnb after getting the cancellation notice, the cheapest comparable option available was $4691, a difference of over $1300. I was told Airbnb’s policy was to offer a credit of 10% of the original booking cost.

If you’re not a math person, let me explain the problem here: 300-some dollars will not cover a $1300 cost difference. Not only did I express my extreme frustration, but I emphasized that since I booked this place back in November, nonrefundable flights had been purchased, time off from jobs requested, etc.

A host cancellation didn’t just mean my group was out of a place to stay; there was a domino effect of other potential cost implications. After berating customer service about this BS policy, I was approved for a $670 credit. This would have been a fine solution, because since the new property was a bit larger, the cost per person would effectively be the same as the original booking.

There seemed to be some confusing information about the place I was hoping to book, so I immediately contacted that host to get some questions answered. One of which was why I wasn’t able to split the payment as I did with the previous booking and on other listings I had seen. I was not prepared to make a single $4500+ payment, especially given the fact that I was automatically issued a refund, and with Monday being a holiday, it would be several days until those funds would be available.

I was told by the host to contact Airbnb, and when I did, not only did they take forever to respond, they told me I would see the option to do two payments on the final “Request to Book” screen. I think you can guess what happens next. There’s no option to split the payment. I’m still being told I’ll be paying $4691 right now.

I messaged Airbnb again to tell them that – quelle surprise – I have no option to split the payment. You guessed it again – during the time this all transpired, the place I was trying to book was snatched away and showed up as no longer available.

Not only has Airbnb wasted hours of my time, they’ve now cost me more money. Given the ticking clock and the big group I needed to accommodate, I was forced to book the next least expensive property I could find at $4849. Again, if you’re not a math person, we’re now at almost $1500 over the cost of the original booking with only a $670 credit.

To say that I am livid, pissed, irate, beside myself with anger is an understatement. I’m officially done being screwed by Airbnb. I had not intended to spend the few weeks before my big celebration being stressed out dealing with this nonsense, nor had I intended to shell out more money for an already expensive trip which had already been budgeted for.

The absurdly minimal recourse guests have against hosts is unconscionable. Hosts – particularly in big or popular tourist markets – are making hand over fist dollars for these rentals and when they screw up, the guests pay. What started out as being a genius idea has, like most, gone to s%*t because no one seems to care about quality or the consumer. That’s not accountability – that’s greed.

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Need Support after Getting Robbed of over $2000 by Airbnb

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I have been a host in Kobe, Japan for several years with Airbnb and as a Superhost, I had many satisfied guests and enjoyed very decent reviews. Around mid-January this year, Airbnb sent me a notice to do a verification of my account, threatening to block payouts if I did not complete it before February 4th.

I immediately sought out help from Airbnb support staff who walked me through the entire process and helped me fill in the form until the support staff himself was 100% satisfied that everything was in perfect order. He also confirmed clearly that any payout would not be blocked as the verification process was successful.

Below is proof of that chat where he congratulated me and confirmed that the payouts would not be blocked at all. I received a booking for 220,000 Japanese yen for check-in on February 11 and check-out on February 27th (a 17-day booking) with a specified payout date to me for February 13th. Today is February 17th and the nightmare I am facing is already four days into the process of dealing with the most incompetent so-called case managers and support staff.

The experience I am having in trying to collect my money is abusive, and nothing short of real torture as they are all behaving like thugs sitting on my money illegally and giving me the royal run around while whistling Sweet Dixie. No host should ever have to be subjected to this kind of torture I am facing just to try and collect what is rightfully due to me.

This kind of behavior from Airbnb usually comes as a prelude to bankruptcy. I am alerting all hosts to please be cautious because the tactics Airbnb are using here to rob me of my money are nothing short of gangster ones. I have no idea when I will see my money, I have no idea when my nightmare for chasing for my payout will stop, and I have no idea of what options I have.

I am reaching out to all the hosts reading this to please share your experiences with me if it can help me get what is due to me from these thugs. The guest from this payout is still staying in my property and Airbnb is threatening that if I use the option I suggest, i.e. ask the guest to cancel her reservation with Airbnb and demand a refund as I will waive all cancellation fees, to pay me directly, then they will penalize me for trying to deal directly with the guest and bypassing them.

The guest is still staying in the property until February 27th. I do have time to seek some sort of agreement with her but I don’t want to do anything to pay a hefty price later. Any advice on this matter would be highly appreciated. I just want to warn all hosts now and in the future to be totally aware of these gangster tactics by Airbnb to sit on your money whenever they feel like it, as if they have a right to take your funds. This is tantamount to stealing. Please be careful not to get trapped as I have been.

Right now I don’t know what more torture I have to endure from these thugs and their team of the most incompetent staff on the planet. I keep banging my head against the wall trying to recover my money from them. Any advice or helpful comments would be highly appreciated.

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Airbnb Needs to Offer More for Bad Hosts

Our flight was delayed two hours so we eventually rocked up near our Airbnb apartment in Amsterdam at 23:30, cold, wet, and tired. We were in apartment #79. We found #77 without a problem but that’s where the numbers stopped: in place of #79, there was a restaurant. Unsurprisingly they wouldn’t accommodate us but suggested #79 was in the opposite corner of the square (it wasn’t).

No worries. We called the host (who had been s%$t with his communication anyway). There was no answer via phone, Airbnb, Messenger, fax, carrier pigeon, or two cans with a bit of string tied between them. With the assistance of some very helpful locals we decided the property was one of two things: non-existent or well hidden.

S$%t happens but the real issue was Airbnb’s response. We obviously rang, waited the obligatory 15 minutes, and got the helpful “we’ll ring you back.” Waited. 00:45 (in a strange town, twenty minutes outside the centre). Waited. 01:05. Called again. “Case manager has gone home.” 01:30 called again: “Please help”; “A case manager will call you shortly.”

We gave up and dragged our luggage for another half hour to the nearest hotel we could find that would let us in. Hotels are not cheap at 2:00 in the morning.

We we were lucky. It was a nice town with nice people, and we were old enough to be unfazed. Imagine being young, scared and lost in a less convivial place. Airbnb needs to offer better security if their hosts let you down. A call back in the morning and a refund just isn’t good enough.

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Airbnb Host Expects Guest to do All Cleaning

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I planned a weekend in Montreal for my son and I and tried Airbnb for first time. Upon arrival I noticed food crumbs all over the sleeper sofa in the living room. In the bedroom, my son pulled back the blankets; the sheets were stained. We contacted the host and he told me I could find clean sheets in the closet or dryer. After driving 6.5 hours, apparently I should change the sheets. I would also have had to wash the blankets, clean the sofa, stove, the TV, and god knows what was on the table; it had a film of grease on it.

I left and got a hotel for the weekend. My host’s response was to tell me since I left he hoped I had locked the door because I was responsible for the house and he would look at the place in the morning. I checked in with him the next day and heard nothing back. He then contacted me to say his property manager went to check on the place and there was a couple of issues but nothing as bad as I implied. Stained sheets are a deal breaker.

I contacted Airbnb and asked for a refund. Even though I asked for a manager, the agent gave me a $11.32 refund because he felt my issue with the host could have been resolved by me cleaning the place at 11:30 at night and washing all the bedding. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I arrive at a hotel it’s really nice to not have to clean for three hours before being able to relax.

Airbnb Guest from Hell Blackmails Host to Not Pay Damages

I was a host for five years and didn’t have a singe issue with tenants, but still, a guest from hell arrived to rent a room in my beautiful apartment. He violated all the rules of my home immediately. He smoked cigarettes and then weed day and night. He slammed the doors 24/7. He was extremely dirty and the apartment had a horrible smell.

Then he claimed he had a medical prescription to smoke weed. He informed me that he arrived in my city to see a psychiatrist, as he was ‘crazy’. He showed me other medicine he was taking. The man was very tall and huge, triple my size, and he was screaming and shouting. He was throwing his things against the wall.

I thought I was in a horror movie. I was absolutely terrified and scared for my life as a single female being in the house with him. I contacted Airbnb and they told me that they were cancelling this reservation. However, they couldn’t “reach” the tenant and it was I who had to inform him, evict him, and to involve police. They washed their hands of it, leaving me by myself with an aggressive man who was threatening me and refusing to leave.

That was not the end of it. Airbnb sent me two emails informing me about their Million Dollar Guarantee, probably expecting me to claim a lot (fortunately, nothing was damaged). At the same time, in a third email Airbnb immediately accused me – instead of apologizing for their total lack of help to evict this tenant from hell – by issuing me a warning that my email to the customer service was discriminating.

Just to clarity, in my email I simply asked them how they ensured the safety of hosts because people who have mental issues of such proportions get on the platform. What policy is there in place to protect the hosts? Apparently hosts cannot ask valid questions like that, or they are shut down immediately as it is deemed “discrimination” by Airbnb. They even sent me a link to anti-discrimination policy.

What a scam. They lie in all their communications. They abuse and effectively blackmail hosts – preemptively – to ensure no claims for damages are filed, and so they don’t pay. When I asked what action they did take against the tenant, they didn’t give me any details; as per their policy, it’s an “internal” matter. They do what they want and how they want, as long as these guests from hell pay them commissions.

Airbnb really scams hosts because they provide no guarantees for safety and security for our homes. Even if Airbnb covertly turns our homes effectively into asylums for mentally ill people, it’s okay because Airbnb can still make some money off it. They don’t care about hosts, just use and abuse us to make commissions. I really can’t wait till they file for IPO as then all their scams and abuses will explode right in their face, and the market will punish their abuse immediately. Airbnb won’t be able to avoid class action lawsuits at that point.

China Coronavirus Farce = Flight Cancelled, No Refund

I live in Shanghai, China and made a booking last year for a place in Manila, Philippines which was fully paid for at the start of January. About ten days ago, in mid-January, 2020 the Coronavirus ‘lock down’ in China occurred. As a result of this, the flight that I booked from Shanghai to Manila was cancelled four hours before departure, meaning it would have been impossible to arrive at the property.

Whilst the host has on the face of it seemed very understanding about this, I have been advised to “cancel at my end” and “don’t worry as I (the host) will refund the money”. This sounds dubious and is a bit concerning if the host actually has access to the payment details I used to book the place. If I trust this so-called advice and proceed to cancel, it states that I am due to be refunded nothing and I know which outcome I think will be more likely to happen.

Airbnb, despite saying they will ‘usually respond within 24 hours’, so far have not. This was my first ever booking with Airbnb and it has not exactly filled me with confidence to ever use it again. If you, like me are also in China at the moment during this Coronavirus paranoia trip and have booked overseas accommodation, it might be a good idea to change it in case the same thing happens to you.

Guest Life Ban for Complaining About Racism

I recently learned about Airbnb’s regulatory and reputation risk strategy: make a complaint about racial intolerance, then get banned for life. Forever. Irreversibly. Or, as the Airbnb customer service representative explained to me:

“We are trying to cut down on racial complaints. And you made a racial complaint. I see you received a confirmation of your complaint. So your account was frozen.”

This sorry saga about how Airbnb implements their strategic anti-discrimination policy started over the holidays when we responded to an advert about an apartment in Santo Domingo. It was peak season, and this was the last unit showing any vacancies. You can guess why. It was in German – perhaps the only listing in the Western Hemisphere in German. The nearest German-speaking nation is about a nine-hour away flight away, with a stopover/transfer.

Most potential guests seeking to rent in the Dominican Republic would skip the translator and move on. We do not speak a word of German, but my girlfriend and I know how to use the Google translate function. We did. We booked.

We arrived at the unit and were greeted by the maid. She looked us over and asked where we are from (my girlfriend has a dark complexion). I detected a sneer, but I’m no mind reader. My Spanish is lousy, we were exhausted, and so I just took the key and left it at that.

The following week was a nightmare. The next morning at about 8:00 AM, while still asleep, I heard someone opening the bedroom door. I thought we were getting robbed.

It was not a burglary; it was the maid. She ordered us out of bed as she wanted to clean the room. No discussion would change her mind. We stumbled into the living room, waited for her to make the bed and sweep the floor, and then went back to sleep.

The fun did not end. She made herself at home in in the kitchen, turned on the radio, made coffee, and explained she was “working” until 3:00 PM. She was going nowhere, like it or not.

We explained that it was very kind of her, but we absolutely did not require a maid, thank you very much. My partner speaks fluent Spanish. There was zero miscommunication. We thought the problem was solved. If only. The next morning, yet again, the maid returned, walked in the bedroom, and rousted us out of bed again. It looked like we had a live-in roommate.

I repeatedly contacted the host to request she call off her maid and finally got a reply. The maid, she explained, must visit the apartment every morning to “see if everything is okay”. She explained that the maid told her we were not white Americans; my partner nor I do not exactly “look American”.

The host’s exact words, if memory serve me, were, “I don’t want any Spanish, blacks or anyone from the street in the apartment. It’s a dangerous neighborhood.” My girlfriend, who I met through friends in Boston some years back, “is from the street, may be dangerous and could steal things.” Thus, the host required a security guard/maid to check on us, and see what we were up to in the bedroom at 8:00 AM.

The host explained that her Airbnb listing was in German. I found that odd as this host speaks better English than I do. She preferred only Germanic guests: from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Northern Italy – and perhaps the Sudetenland, which was German in late 1930s.

The host noted my partner was a dark-skinned Latina and I did not use an accurate profile photo. In my photo, I appeared 100% Caucasian, as did my small cousin sitting next to me.

I explained to the host that if there was a problem, we would move out ASAP. She apologized away adding that it was not her who had issues, but neighbors in the building complaining to the doorman. They did not want Haitians, blacks, or dangerous-looking people (?). The host simply wanted to make sure nothing was stolen. She was expecting a Caucasian American family; the apartment could house four or five people. Instead, she got an Asian guy, and a dark-skinned girl.

Nonetheless, we stayed and a week later even requested several more days from the host.

On the morning of check-out day, sure enough, the maid woke us up in bed. We got up and let her clean the bedroom. Instead of going back to sleep, I went to take a shower. Some minutes later, when I opened the shower door, I saw the maid was now cleaning the bathroom sink. I am not a prudish guy, but when I step out of the shower that means I am not dressed in business casual.

This was just too much. I asked the maid to leave and even offered her $40. Then I realized what I should have figured out from day one. The maid said she cleaned for five days, and wanted to be paid more – not simply $40. Unfortunately, I only had about $80 on hand. That’s why guests use Airbnb: no cash necessary.

This is an old trick often played on tourists by local scammers; offer the tourist something, hope you take it, and then demand as much money as possible afterwards.

This maid was absolutely not going to settle for $80, or $40. Nor, it turned out, was the host going to pay her a penny. I need to hand over some money. Now.

This explanation about paying online though Airbnb, in my limited Spanish, fell on deaf ears. The maid wanted money. I was a foreign tourist. The host declared open season on foreign tourists, and I was it. I fled to the bedroom, shut the door, and rang the host. No answer. I then texted. Now the maid was pushing in the door and having a go at me.

Excuse the typos. I was holding the door closed with one hand and texting with the other:

In the end, I simply emptied my wallet with whatever I could find (“cash only”, no cards accepted).

The maid finally agreed to wait downstairs for us to pack up and leave. An hour later, we left the apartment with the key under the doormat, as agreed.

The fun did still did not end. While trying to drive out, the doorman refused to open the gate from the parking garage. He asked asking about getting paid a fee for the garage. Yet another tourist scam. The really exciting part was that not only was he keeping us locked inside the garage, but he was backed up by the building security guard who was conveniently armed with a shot gun.

This is an OJ Simpson scenario, and how the Juice ultimately served seven years, i.e. “Give me what I want, my pal here has a gun, and we don’t want anyone hurt.” Hint Hint. Technically speaking, that’s assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful imprisonment.

Fortunately, another car arrived and entered the garage, the gate opened, and off we drove.

While I was at the airport, the host finally called. She said I should have paid the maid a lot more – as she met us to get the key and now was cleaning the unit. And, she added, I damaged the apartment. She sent a dozen photos, one showing stain on a large pillow. The apartment had two bedrooms, many sofas, and zillions of pillows everywhere. The maid did an inventory, found one with a stain, and now I was charged, indicted, tried and found guilty of leaving a stain on her pillow. She argued about the stain with great indignation.

The stain on the$15 IKEA pillowcase was ridiculous. I told it I never saw it, but would simply pay an invoice to drop the matter. I explained, again, we were essentially robbed by the maid, and then held at gunpoint by the guard demanding money for parking. Airbnb must be notified.

Before leaving, I had earlier sent a complaint to Airbnb.

I sought no refund, no discount, no nothing. I naively thought I would be a part of the Airbnb much publicized community.

The host threatened that as I had complained, she would retaliate and complain about me and my girlfriend; we were not white and we were not registered (I am thinking this meant we misrepresented ourselves, as I appear Caucasian on my profile photo, and I am not exactly).

My response to this host at this point was simply: do what you want. I reported the maid, and the attack. If you want to exclude non-Caucasians, Latinos, Haitians, whatever, and have a complaint about me – go right ahead. I suggested we drop the matter, I was about to board my plane, and in the future, she should pay the maid a decent wage.

End of story… or so I hoped.

Two days later, I was contacted by Airbnb customer service in response to my complaint. They said – as expected – the host made a complaint that I damaged the apartment.

I then made a very foolish mistake of addressing each and every photo, in admittedly a smart-alecky manner as the complaints were so trivial, and then pointed out that this host had some hospitality issues. I received a confirmation to my response. In truth, complaining to Airbnb about racism is a very stupid idea.

Later, I got this message that Airbnb was unable to support my account moving forward. They have exercised discretion under Terms and Conditions. They are obligated to provide an explanation.

I am a guest banned for life for making a racial complaint.

I soon learned from Airbnb customer service that my ban resulted from my discrimination complaint. “We automatically block the account after we get that type of complaint – it goes to Trust and Safety,” he proudly chimed, and advised that if I withdrew my complaint, my account would be reactivated.

I also asked if this was about the pillowcase, or any other damages, charges or fees I owe. He assured me repeatedly that nothing was owed, no payment due. Withdrawing the racial complaint should unblock my account, “As we are trying to eliminate these types of complaints.”

Statistically, this makes sense. Out of, say, the last 100 instances of a guest making a complaint, in perhaps 75% of cases, a previous complaint had been earlier sent to “Trust and Safety”. So, if you ban guests upon their first racial complaint, you will likely eliminate most future complaints of racism.

This may have a vague degree of legitimacy from a risk management strategic point, but it is illegal. It is illegal retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). It is illegal to retaliate under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). This is not only my opinion, but also the view of the attorneys at the NYC Human Rights Commission.

Nonetheless, I sent in my apology/withdrawal, later checked my account, and it seemed to work, although I did not book anything. Just last week, I discovered that the “unable to support my account moving forward” will not be reversed. That is what the Airbnb Customer Experience Trust and Safety had said, and they are good to their word.

Once you make a racial complaint, they will be unable to support your account going forward as Airbnb does not want you nor your big mouth complaining about racism. Forever. For life. As they are fighting racism.

So now Airbnb will test their “retaliate against loud mouth guests who complain about discrimination by banning them” policy with the NYC Human Rights Commission. We will go to AAA Arbitration, as per the Airbnb terms and conditions. This will be $10-20K for Airbnb in legal fees. But in the run up to their IPO, banning guests who complain about racism has become a top priority.

Airbnb shall fight on the seas and oceans, fight in the air, and fight on the beaches. But Airbnb shall never surrender in their struggle to eliminate racial complaints – by retaliating against and banning guests who complain, and being unable to support my account going forward.

Never complain about racism to Airbnb. You will be banned for life.

PS: The host was able to list her apartment on Airbnb a few days later.