Airbnb Quick to Collect Payment, Slow to Respond

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I am a Filipino citizen and would like to share this story hoping that would reach the head of Airbnb or the right person to act swiftly and accordingly. During my search for places to stay, for which I needed to attach my visa application for Norway, a friend of mine suggested Airbnb. It was my first time using Airbnb. Their apps and website seemed amazing because they were so quick to find what I needed in Oslo, Norway: a property for a month’s stay from October 13 to November 12, 2017.

The first property that I successfully booked from a host charged my credit card after a week. It was then cancelled by the host and I received an email from the Airbnb Team:

“A refund of ₱62627.91 has been issued to your credit card for your reservation at the ‘modern studio apartment with view’ (you originally paid ₱62627.91). While this refund is immediate on our part, it can take up to 15 business days for the funds to reach your account. Thanks, The Airbnb Team.”

Below my email message to them:

“Good day Airbnb Team! This is my third time to message you to follow up but it seems you are ignoring my messages. I know perfectly well that you are receiving this because in the message itself from Airbnb between the host and guest you immediately deleted you can see an attempt to exchange contact numbers and email addresses. It has already been a month and five days and yet the refunds have not yet reached my account. Give me some updates and actions regarding my refund. I am impatiently awaiting your prompt reply or otherwise you will have a bad image on social media and the international news.”

I don’t know if someone had the same nightmare that I am experiencing, but the Airbnb’s greed in collecting payment quickly but slow to respond or act swiftly to refund payment to the guest is obvious. Though I booked another property with Airbnb which successfully charged my credit card again, I hope this time the host will not cancel it and I hope not to receive or find future surprises from Airbnb. I am still awaiting Airbnb’s refund. I wish that you guys all out there shout out your negative experiences with Airbnb to the international press to expose their greedy scheme. They ignore their responsibility to act immediately in terms of refunding payment to guests like me. I will keep sharing and shout out my story until they listen and act accordingly.

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Airbnb Does Not Have the Backs of Superhosts

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I am disgusted and disappointed with Airbnb, and I couldn’t be more heartbroken to admit that because over the last year, after Superhosting over 55 guests, having almost perfect scores across the board (last check was 4.9 Stars), being an advocate for Airbnb to everyone I know, feeling so lucky to be able to make much needed income while still working and taking care of my family, Airbnb has made me feel like nothing the only time I’ve really needed them, for damage that was done while a guest was staying.

On August 29th, almost a month ago, during a guest’s stay in my Airbnb-hosted basement, the toilets got clogged. As always, when a guest needs something, we have done everything in our power to help, fix it and exceed expectations. Since the electricity had gone off down there to a portion of it, along with sewage water flooding from my storage room down there too, I immediately made arrangements for my guests to move (at my own expense) to another home, bought them pizza, and called out a plumber to see what was going on.

After the plumber finally arrived that evening, he finally found the problem: baby wipes had been apparently flushed down the basement toilet (he literally pulled them out of the broken pipe in the storage room). He attempted to get the ejector pump working again. Realizing it was completely broken – also advising us that the overuse of the electricity the pump was putting out while trying to process the baby wipes, had tripped the electricity – he said that because the pump had been installed with the home when it was built, he would have to call the manufacturer to get a quote and then include installation fees and he said we’d also have to pay for an electrician to come out to fix the wiring.

In the meantime I went to the basement to start taking pictures of everything before I started my normal “cleaning up” after guests. Since there wasn’t electricity, it was the first time I really had looked in the bathroom area (where the toilet had gotten clogged in the first place). There was an empty container of baby wipes still sitting on the counter next to the toilet. I immediately look pictures of that and it was only at that moment I had evidence this was something my guests (not intentionally of course) obviously did.

After getting the estimate from the plumber of over $1250 just to fix the broken pump (several days later) and knowing the costs of the amount of things I had thrown out due to sewage water in the basement, the future cost of an electrician, etc., I was so deflated because I knew it was something one of my Airbnb guests had caused and I knew I wouldn’t be able to host (which has been a large portion of my income over the last year) until I could get that fixed. As a struggling mom trying to take care of her family, I knew I couldn’t afford the costly repairs on my own, which started me really looking into the host guarantee that Airbnb had always talked so highly of (especially to me, as a Superhost). As long as we submitted all documentation and proof of the damage and followed the steps of the process, I thought everything would be fine.

I won’t bore you with all the details (and I have every single one of them written down) but sadly since my first call to Airbnb on September 2nd (where I not only got hung up the first time, but waited over 20 minutes the second time, only to get a representative that didn’t seem to know anything about what he was talking about), I did everything they asked. I sent in a claim. I sent several online messages (that took them days to respond to and offered no real help in any way. I submitted documentation, pictures, and estimates from the plumber. I finally successfully got a case submitted, and had to wait for the guest to decline it for Airbnb to get involved.

Once they started getting involved on September 17th it really got quiet. Even after multiple calls to Airbnb, calls I made to them (as no one ever reached out to me proactively, despite the promises of getting assigned a person or that someone was “working on it”) days continued to go by, days with me getting no income or even being able to begin repairs to the area. I couldn’t even get the security deposit back, even though that is something the guests agreed to from the beginning.

After every call, after hours on the phone, frustrating conversations that led nowhere and being told “that group can’t get inbound or make outbound calls”, “we have no way of contacting them”, “they’ll get to it”, the most disgusting response of all being a guy who told me “I’m sorry, there’s no supervisor or manager you can talk to because they won’t be able to do anything to help either”, I was at my wit’s end. I begged for a supervisor, a manager, or anyone that could escalate the situation, not just the claim either.

At that point, since I was unable to host or even start repairs since that last guest checked out on September 6th in my basement, I had lost over $1700 worth of income based on what my rentals had been running after a year of hosting. I was getting nowhere and begged for someone to just tell me what to do, since I was late on bills and had a basement that didn’t even work. My bank account balance didn’t allow me to repair it myself and I shouldn’t have had to pay for it anyway, since it was the guest’s fault.

Airbnb does not have our backs, as hosts or Superhosts, no matter the good and dedicated Superhosts we’ve been to them and all of our trusted guests. I’m stuck. I’ve ended my relationship with Airbnb – not because I wanted to, but because they are forcing me to. I was wasting so many frustrated hours on the phone getting nowhere, talking to people that ultimately couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything, and no one is losing more than me in that. I am left with no guests, no repairs, and more bills I can’t afford to pay (bills that I shouldn’t have to pay) and Airbnb doesn’t seem to care at all, despite the faith I had in them.

I just want to be able to fix my basement, be compensated for my losses and loss of income from the days in which my case had just been waiting to be “looked at”. I guess at the very least I just hope someone who really cares about what Airbnb truly stands for will see this, hear me, fix what they should fix and do something, do anything to regain my trust. I just can’t tell you how much sadness and anger this whole situation has added to my life over the past month, a month that was hard enough as it was. I worked so hard to host happy guests. It had brought me so much joy up until I saw Airbnb’s true colors, and those colors certainly aren’t as pretty as they first might appear.

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One Discrepancy in my Airbnb Ad Cost me a lot of Money

This past weekend, three lads from London were supposed to stay at my apartment, as I was out of town. After one day, however, I received an email from their agent at Trip Advisor, speaking on behalf of these men who stated they had left my apartment.

The reason? I had -unintentionally- misqualified my couch, classifying it as a “bed sofa” when the correct phrasing should – as I’ve come to learn now – have been a “sofa”. Airbnb agreed with their complaint, and imposed a penalty on me: the young lads would get all of their money back plus a restitution of their hotel expenses (except for the one night they did stay). This implied that I was left with nothing but a bad review and no revenue from renting out my apartment for the other two nights.

To make it very clear: I have one king-size bed, which is for two guests. My second bedding option for any third guest is my sofa, which is perfect for sleeping and measures the exact same as a normal person-sized mattress. It’s not a matter of me not being transparent or being dishonest by not offering three beds or sleeping options. I have three bedding options. I just ticked one box wrong in my ad (clicking “sofa bed” instead of “sofa”), without being aware of this immense aberration. As I’ve come to learn from Airbnb, a sofa bed is one that you pull out and a sofa is not (my couch is not a pullout).

This is according to Airbnb regulations which are nowhere to be found on the site. Even the manager I talked to acknowledged that that is something at Airbnb that ought to be changed. Still, Airbnb lets me ‘bleed’ anyways, instead of taking part of the responsibility (e.g. have me cover a part of the cost, instead of 100%). How should I have known this difference? English is not even my first language and I’m not a bedding expert.

The penalty is disproportional in my view, since I will not receive any money for the two nights they had booked, plus I am certain I will get a bad review. I have no doubt about that. I have never heard any Airbnb guest or other guest sleeping on my sofa complain about my couch. It’s truly a comfy couch, as is the rest of my house. I daresay that about my apartment because I spent months renovating my home and decorating it (one of my hobbies). My home truly is my sanctuary.

In fact, one reason I bought this couch recently is because it’s a perfect couch for sleepovers, which happen literally every week in my apartment. A good friend of mine sleeps on it every week, and believe me, he’s someone who is tall with a poor back and not afraid to tell me when my couch is not comfy. I know it’s not about my couch not being comfortable; it’s just petty people who have a working knowledge of Airbnb regulations (they’ll receive full restitution for the hotel they stayed at instead).

I just can’t believe anyone would go to these measures, all just because there is one wrong qualification in my ad. It’s not like they couldn’t sleep in my house (or had to sleep with their legs pulled up or whatever). The guest who had booked with me didn’t even consult me about my misqualification, but went straight for the official institutions – Airbnb and Trip Advisor – as if I were some scammer. I feel severely mistreated, both by these guests as well as by Airbnb and am seriously considering withdrawing from Airbnb altogether.

Airbnb Scam to Withhold Money from Hosts

We had a guest book for one night. Then they extended it for another three. Then we got an email from Airbnb saying the payment had failed and they wouldn’t be liable for the money. I called Airbnb and asked what to do: should I kick the guest out of the property? They said they were trying to sort it out and not to worry; I wouldn’t be out of pocket. This was verbal; I should have realised it was part of a scam.

It’s now six weeks later, I’ve had ten calls adding up to an hour and around ten emails. Everytime Airbnb just says someone will look into it. They have at least one night’s money and have never responded with any information other than saying they are looking into it. There’s no end in sight. I guess they’re just waiting for me to give up as they have already pocketed the cash. Airbnb are the scammers here as I could have kicked the tenant out or taken cash directly.

Service Dog Rejected from Airbnb Reservation

My host was lovely at first. She simply reached out to me to confirm that I was traveling alone, a non-smoker and had no pets. I confirmed that I did not smoke, but let her know that I did have a well-trained, quiet and calm service dog. Then things started to go south.

First, she indicated that she would have to confirm with the “owner” whether my service dog would be admitted. I’m a lawyer, and when I calmly pointed out that it was technically a violation of federal law and clearly a violation of Airbnb policy not to admit Huck (my dog), she started to argue. She told me that no private owner could be required to admit pets. I responded that Huck was not, in fact, a “pet.”

Next, she told me I’d likely be charged a cleaning fee – another blatant violation of Airbnb policy. Then, she switched channels on me and claimed that “some owners” have severe allergies. I said of course I would understand if the owner had a bad allergy, but I was confused since the listing was for a building entirely separate from the main house, with granite floors. I encouraged her to review Airbnb’s newly-minted non-discrimination policies, although her responses repeatedly demonstrated complete ignorance of her responsibilities as a host.

Finally, I posted the full text of the policies in a message – to up her odds of bothering to read them – at which point she interrogated me about my disability. She was rude, inconsiderate and ignorant. Ultimately, she allowed my request to expire, even though our conversation took place over the course of four hours. I reported her to Airbnb and the Virginia Fair Housing Office, although I’m not hopeful that any mitigating action will be taken.

Poor Huck and I were just looking for a quiet spot for a couple weeks – on a horse farm in Virginia, no less. No such luck. If you have respect for the rights of the disabled, stay away from this host.

Hurricane Irma Evacuees Find No Escape With Airbnb

My wife, our two children, and I decided to evacuate our southwest Florida home in Lee County based on our governor’s mandatory evacuation. Our son had a good experience using Airbnb and had a pleasant stay at one of their listings. My wife and I decided to give them a try at the last minute instead of being housed in a hotel room with all of our important possessions (i.e. family photos, documents, jewelry, etc).

Based on Hurricane Irma’s path, we decided Louisiana would be the safest destination out of the storm’s way. We found one of a few places that were left available and based on the description of the listing, it sounded pleasant for the needs of our family and two vehicles.

Upon arrival we observed this home was in a bad neighborhood. We had to park on the city street (whereas the listing stated “parking on premises”). My wife an I proceeded to the locked gates (first sign of a bad neighborhood). With our two kids each in one vehicle parked on two different streets, we met with a much older gentlemen who was not the host; he stated he was 87 and had a brain tumor. This man had a foul smell to him and proceeded to show us the apartment.

Once we were inside we observed the same foul smell throughout the apartment. There were water stains on the ceiling and it was dirty inside. The old man proceeded to tell us that the health department had been trying to shut him down since Hurricane Katrina had flooded the building and the city had not been through his part of town to give them the proper permits to renovate the apartments. With our youngest son having had asthma, we knew we couldn’t stay there.

After the older gentleman showed us the place he went on to add that the place was used as a prison during Katrina and was a drug house prior to him owning the building. After having traveled 14 hours to get here, my wife and I got back in our cars and got out of there and out of that area of the city as fast as we could. Unfortunately we could not find another room that night since millions had evacuated florida; we ended up sleeping at a rest area on I-10. To be honest, that was a lot better than even thinking about staying at the Airbnb in New Orleans.

Beware and avoid places like this on Airbnb: false representation to be family friendly, parking on premises, all the way down to the host (who we never met). We don’t believe the reviews of this place prior to our reservation are credible. We have been in contact with Airbnb and they said a case manager will be in touch with us. We will also be contacting our Attorney General here in florida who stated that they will go after people who have taken advantage of its citizens during its state of emergency. The owner of the Airbnb was well aware of our family’s situation and was not honest with his accommodation in the listing. In fact my wife and I believe that the host does not exist. We just want a refund for services not rendered, nothing else. Let’s see if Airbnb stands up for its guests and refunds our money.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Burglary in Richmond, Virginia

A couple of days ago during Hurricane Irma my boyfriend, his mom, and I rented a two bedroom apartment in the center of Richmond, Virginia to escape the storm. The listing looked extremely decent and the host had over 100 positive reviews. The flat was located on the first floor of a two-story building in the historic center of Richmond.

After arriving at the place around 10-11 PM we went to sleep and left the apartment early the next day to explore the city. We arrived back to the flat for the first time at 11:00 PM and that’s when we noticed we had been burgled. The host had two entrance doors at his apartment: one was a code door and the other door was a back door that could be opened only from the inside.

My boyfriend’s mom and I entered the house using the front door, while my boyfriend went to park the car and was waiting for us to open the back door for him. Upon reaching the back door, I discovered that it was unlocked. I asked my boyfriend if he left the door opened but he assured me that when we were leaving he checked that everything had been locked.

We started searching the rooms and noticed that my backpack with all my valuables was missing, that my boyfriend’s mom’s stuff was upside down and all of my boyfriend’s bags had been opened. Then we saw that the window of one of the rooms in the apartment was open, meaning that the burglars had entered the flat through the window and left using the back door.

We immediately called the police and wrote a report about it. It was interesting that the host had three TVs in the apartment as well as other electronics, but none of his things were missing, only my own valuables. Upon reaching out to the host, he of course said that he was not responsible for the robbery, even when he was negligent and did not provide any security for his apartment. Living on the ground floor, the host did not have any protection on his windows and not a single camera.

When speaking to me, the host said that the neighborhood where we were staying was very safe and nothing had ever happened to guests before. However, after the incident, he decided to put cameras about his house. I wish he would have done this before renting us his place. Airbnb has not taken any responsibility for what has happened to us and has completely ignored our requests. They did not even refund us the night that we had to spend in a hotel after the robbery because we were scared to stay at that apartment one more night. To sum it up, this stay with Airbnb cost us over a $3,000 in valuables and no one wanted to find a resolution to this incident.

Bedbug Nightmare Endures Long After Airbnb Stay

I checked into an Airbnb sponsored accommodation in the Daytona Beach area. The next morning after I showered, I noticed several sizable red spots on each of my front shoulders. I took my hand mirror and noticed that more of the same were on my back upper arms, and a trail of red discs led up my neck into my hairline.

My plan for the day was to meet with my friend for an early lunch and to do a bit of shopping. When I picked her up, I showed her my arms and also the picture I had taken of my back while still in the cottage. She said she hoped they were only flea bites but I should check for bedbugs. She explained how that should be done. I cut our shopping trip short, because it seemed as if more bites were appearing. I went back to the cottage and asked the host’s mother, the person who showed me around and got me settled into the cottage the night before, if she could tell me what she thought the bite marks were. She said she had lived in Florida for only two years and didn’t have a clue.

I went to Urgent Care, and the doctor, without examining my body, said they were bug bites, not specifying which bugs. I returned to the cottage and wanted to satisfy my mind to stay another night, but decided to check the mattress and box springs as my friend had suggested. At the outer corner of the head of the bed, I pulled the piping/cording around the box springs and a full-grown bedbug and a cluster of eggs and nymphs fell onto the top of my shoe. I went back around to the front and summoned the host’s mother to show her she had an infestation. Since I had disturbed them earlier, she didn’t see any. I didn’t stay around for her to check other areas of the bed. I was almost running to get out of there. She said she would refund my money, her portion. I needed to contact Airbnb about their share.

I contacted Airbnb and the first Customer Care agent said he needed proof, so I spent the next four hours trying to send the picture back to the email address he had used. It kept bouncing back. I finally found a place to send the picture after going to Airbnb’s Help Center. He did refund the total $175 I had paid for a three-night stay.

Before I returned home, I went to the dollar store, bought bedbug spray, and let off bombs in my car. I did not bring my soft side bags with my clothes and medicines in immediately, but I did wear the shoes in that I had on when I examined the box springs at Heidi’s. Since I had never experienced anything like this, I thought after the bombing, my belongings could be brought back into my house. I immediately started washing my clothes, but it was soon very evident I had some hitch hikers.

I then went to the hardware store, bought the most powerful kit they had, and started using it. I also turned the furnace on and a small electric heater, hoping to eradicate them with heat. After doing this from August 9-13 with still bites each morning, I called a professional company. I wanted them to come the next day, but it took extensive preparation, and since I had to do it all myself, I did not have them come until a few days later. By the time they arrived, I had thrown out nearly all my clothes, bedding, beds, and any soft items that could easily provide a nesting place for the bugs or their eggs. The professional returned three times to do both the car and the house.

Each morning I still woke up with pinpricks somewhere on my body. After the first time, I returned from the car with bites on both sides of my back just below my arms. My sister sent me over $200 of a spray, which I used over all the surfaces. I washed all my linens every day, sometimes twice a day in the laundry solution. There were still pinpricks. I have followed all the suggestions I could find. I went and bought a steamer and shop vac and steamed each inch of my bedroom floor up to the baseboards. I finally bought ten pounds of diatomaceous powder and spread it throughout the house. It looks like it’s a bombed-out shelter in a war zone.

To keep this from impacting my health further by inhaling fumes and dust, I asked my sister to come get me. She called me when she was about 30 minutes away from my house. At that time I took a shower, stood in the middle of the living room and waited for her to come to the door to hand me a change of clothes. She gave me the clothes, and I handed her a plastic bag with my medicine in it. I told her to wait for me in the car. I quickly put on the clothes and left with another bag containing the rest of the spray which I used on myself before and after I got into her car.

I anticipate being many miles away from my home for at least four months because I read that a bedbug cannot live longer without a blood meal. Since I was their host, I hope they will starve. As for Airbnb, they are full of hot air. They want the public to think they are concerned and responsive to a guest’s problem, but they’re not. They had the gall to send me pictures of someone’s lovely vacation to comment on. I did. I told them about my not so lovely one. The thread had over a hundred responses. Several were from Airbnb personnel who monitor the information. Each one continued to publicly post that they wanted me to contact a Case Manager. Each time I did, it was the same smoke-blowing.

Their final compensation offer was to wash the clothes I had in their Airbnb. At that point I said, “What clothes?” Airbnb wants to wash my clothes. I have thrown away most of my possessions. I can’t use my car or stay in my home, interact with my friends, participate in my social activities, or have a normal life and they offer that as a solution. Folks beware. Yes, this could have happened at a hotel, but at least there are inspectors and regulatory agents for them. With Airbnb, you’re on your own.

Airbnb Cancelled Month-Long Stay A Week Before My Flight

On April 9th of this year, my wife and I reserved an apartment in Colorado Springs with Airbnb for the entire month of September. We received a confirmation from our host the same day. Plans were underway and we were anxiously anticipating our autumn trip to Colorado. We made round trip airline reservations from Raleigh-Durham to Denver and made other ancillary plans and reservations for a rental car, etc.

On the evening of August 23rd, I checked my email and was shocked to learn that my Airbnb reservation had been canceled by the host. She explained that she had to sell the property but didn’t tell me until seven days before my flight to Colorado. A subsequent cancellation email arrived from Airbnb. My wife and I worked frantically to find another property, but due to the popularity of Colorado (especially during autumn), we were unable to do so. I contacted Airbnb and a customer service representative offered to help us find another property. He sent a list of five or six properties for us to evaluate. After an exhausting evening of research and property evaluation, we determined that only one met our long-term stay criteria of a kitchen, laundry facilities, and in a safe neighborhood. That property was almost $1,000 more.

However, to salvage our trip, we had no other choice but to shell out $1,000 more to book the only available property in Colorado Springs that met our criteria. When we tried to reserve the property, we were informed that it had already been booked just minutes before we submitted our reservation request. At that point, we were frustrated and exhausted. Greatly disappointed with the last-minute cancellation and with Airbnb’s inability to provide comparable lodging, we reluctantly cancelled our trip.

We had no place to stay. After several email’s to Airbnb Help Center and several phone calls, the Airbnb manager said that I didn’t give Airbnb a chance to resolve the problem and that “I was being too picky.”

Really? Who cancelled the reservation seven days before my trip? Never again will I book with Airbnb. It’s simply too risky and Airbnb isn’t willing to resolve the issue. I lost a considerable amount of money in non-refundable fees, but Airbnb only offered a refund for my lodging and less than 40% of the nonrefundable airfare/hotel costs. Other expenses linked to lodging were absorbed completely by me. The biggest disappointment was our loss of a much anticipated vacation in Colorado during the fall. Airbnb’s “Long-Term Policy” is supposed to be neutral, protecting the host and guest equally. In this case, the policy protected the host with the last-minute cancellation and shifted the burden to me. I’m very disappointed.

Paying for a Host’s Remodel, Damage Present Before

Last month we rented a large family home for our family of four adults and two infants. The host left us a code to the door, and we welcomed ourselves into their beautiful home. The basement had a family room, which we enjoyed every day. The floor was laminate, and right away we noticed a small area (two boards) that looked to have had some minor water damage. We didn’t think much about it since it was like that upon our arrival.

One week later and 15 minutes after our 11:00 AM departure we received a note from the host stating that we had caused water damage to his basement. My husband’s response was that nothing had occurred in the home and that the small area was blistered when we arrived. The host made two attempts to have us pay for the damage; we explained in simple terms the floor was like that when we arrived and that we weren’t taking responsibility.

The following day the host informed us that he was filling an insurance claim with Airbnb. Two days later we received an email from the resolution center stating that the host wanted $6,000 to replace the entire 750 sq ft floor. Should we not respond in 72 hours our credit card would be charged. Our family didn’t do anything wrong, and this host (a Superhost) is trying to extort us for an entire remodel. We’re not sure what to do. We are crafting an email in response to the resolution center, but should we seek legal advice first? It’s not a few hundred dollars to replace a floor board; it’s an entire basement. We didn’t take pictures because we didn’t even know it was a problem. I do understand that hosts need to be protected, but I see nothing on the Airbnb website about guest protection. The hosts we rented from have been doing this as a business for years and have hundreds of excellent reviews. I do feel that our family is being taken advantage of.