Add to the List of Reasons Why Airbnb Sucks

Tripping

This isn’t a very exciting story, but add it to the list of complaints about this rotten company. Here is a letter that I wrote to Airbnb this morning:

I made a reservation this morning for a trip with Airbnb. I have been an Airbnb customer for a long time, and a host for almost as long. I was looking for properties that were not Instant Book, and thought I had submitted a request to just such a place. My request was approved before I expected though, just as I was in the process of booking a different place and cancelling the first request. I cannot cancel this new reservation myself without incurring fees.

I called customer service and of course due to your famously abysmal customer service, the rep couldn’t help me, and couldn’t even tell me when a representative might be able to help me. This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately; it just can’t wait a day or two for a rep to get back in touch with me. Now I am in effect stuck with a reservation that I don’t want, and this host is stuck with a bunch of guests who are very unhappy to be heading to his place. This is a horrible situation for everyone.

My point is that as with anything related to travel, like airline tickets or hotel rooms, there must be a penalty-free grace period after a booking in which to cancel. Even if it is just a few hours, like it is with most airlines. I would suggest that you add this to your service. I must say though that even if you do add this grace period, it will be too late for me.

I have been increasingly unhappy with Airbnb for a couple of years now, it’s very clear that you prioritize your profit over the experience or safety of your hosts and guests, and while I appreciate the fine human exchanges that sometimes come with hosting and guesting with Airbnb, what I now appreciate are the nice people hosting and guesting despite the rotten treatment we all get from your company. I am at an end with you. But first I have to go stay in this house that I paid for and do not want.

Tripping

Bounced Between Customer Service and Trust and Safety

Tripping

I’m in the U.S. and have a local co-host who manages the bookings for my house in Belize. Things have always gone smoothly with other booking sites. Then I signed up with Airbnb. They deactivated my co-host’s account. I’m not sure why. I think it may be because they sent her a verification code to my number in the U.S. and she didn’t receive it.

We have tried endlessly to get her re-activated. They told us she needs to call the U.S. office directly. She has racked up a hefty bill being put on hold. Calls from Belize are expensive. Then they told us they would send her an email with a link to a site to activate her account. That didn’t work. Since her account is deactivated there is a hold on my account too so I can’t respond to requests for bookings; they just expire.

Each time I call (after a lengthy stretch on hold) I get a different story, or I get cut off. I have spent hours on the phone. Customer service doesn’t have access to records of calls, and can’t do much. They bounce everything up to a department called Trust and Safety. They can’t be reached directly and only share limited information with customer service. The last person I talked to said I should just remove my co-host then I could do the bookings myself. This is not what I want.

In addition to lost bookings, there is a safety issue. There was just an emergency email from an arriving guest which my co-host couldn’t access. Fortunately I received it and was able to get the guest’s direct email from Airbnb so I could get her in contact with my co-host. The next suggestion from customer service was that I “snooze” my listing at times when I am not able to manage it. Why can’t they just work on re-activating my co-host? Why can’t I communicate with Trust and Safety?

Tripping

Answering Simple Question Leads to Terrible Customer Service

Over the past eleven days I have been trying to resolve – with absolutely appalling assistance from customer service representatives – a rather minor issue with my Airbnb account. To briefly summarize: I did in fact qualify for Superhost status across all metrics for the last quarterly review. However, there seemed to be an issue with the ‘Review Rate’ metric – which was showing me as having received six reviews across thirteen bookings (for a review rate beneath the 50% threshold).

I had completed a booking from December 24th-30th (which was included as part of the thirteen bookings), and the guest had left me a review on January 1st (which I was told is the ‘cutoff date’). When you factor in that review (which should be included), you can see that I actually had seven reviews across thirteen bookings, which would have bumped my review rate up to 54%, thus qualifying me for Superhost status.

Since I first brought up this issue with Airbnb, I have spent in excess of three hours on the phone speaking with various representatives, on top of the time I spent engaging in email exchanges with case managers/supervisors. Again, I understand these things might take time to resolve, and I have been extremely reasonable about that. What I find utterly unacceptable is being told to expect a callback by the end of the day or the next day and then never hearing anything. This has happened to me five times over the past eleven days.

I have to keep wasting more of my time calling Airbnb and retelling my story just to get an update, only to be be told that the representative I am speaking with has no power to do anything, and that the supervisors are always (conveniently) ‘in a meeting’. Yesterday I went through the exact same process two more times (being told to expect a call back the next day), and as of 3:00 PM EST, I still have not received a phone call or any email notifying me of anything. Absolutely nothing.

I like Airbnb, and I was fully intending to use the platform as a host and a traveler repeatedly over the years. Whenever friends and family brought up the topic of Airbnb, I always spoke highly of it. I am a relatively new host, but the guests we have hosted overwhelmingly praise our hospitality. I was looking forward to continue delivering that experience well into the future.

Unfortunately, dealing with Airbnb customer service over the past eleven days has made me wonder: “If this is how they handle relatively basic issues, how would they handle a serious issue like a guest who causes damage to our home?”

When I spoke with the customer service representative yesterday, I told him that if I did not receive a call back today I would pull both of my listings and stop hosting. I would also stop using Airbnb as a traveler, and would refrain from praising the brand to friends, family, and anyone else I encountered. That would be a real shame, but I need to draw the line at a certain point. If Airbnb doesn’t respect their hosts enough to even have the decency to communicate with them then why the hell would I willingly keep doing business with this company?

Too Far? How I Taught Airbnb and Scammers a Lesson

My very negative experience with Airbnb has turned into an amusing evening. I rent out my two-bedroom apartment in the center of Barcelona for just 35 Euro per day (yeah, that’s correct, in January the off-season price is that low). I had guests from Turkey who were supposed to stay for three days. On the last day of their stay, they found out that the bathroom curtain was damp. That’s correct – it turned out that the bathroom curtain was humid after three days of their stay.

Airbnb sent me an email that the guests were “experiencing some serious issues with their stay and they need my urgent assistance”. They gave me a 30-minute deadline to reply to them. I noticed that email in 40 minutes and at that point the reservation was already cancelled on my behalf with a full refund. The Airbnb case manager wrote me that everything was okay, and the guests were willing to continue their stay (obviously for free). I asked them to explain the background of their decision, but as usual they just ignored my messages (they always do so when they rip off the host; no one answers your messages and calls and nobody cares anymore).

Then I got really mad and I sent a message to the guests asking if they had already checked out. What did they reply after staying for almost three days (it was a late evening already) in my flat? They told me that they were going to stay a little longer and they would let me know once they wanted to check out. I headed to the flat hoping to face these impudent motherf*&%ers.

When I entered the flat, there was no one inside. All their stuff was still inside, so they really decided to continue staying in my flat for free and enjoy their vacation. I grabbed all their stuff and gave it out to the homeless people on the street. By the way, they were very thankful to me. One of those homeless women was also kind enough to tell me that there was a passport in the jacket I gave to her. I checked the passport and noticed that he had no visa to stay in Europe and in fact the guest was here illegally. What a gift of fate. I passed his passport through a shredder as it was not valid.

Furthermore, I also changed the locks in my flat as they had the keys with them, so they were afterwards unable to enter the flat. When I returned home, I noticed tons of messages from Airbnb support. Finally, for some reason, they decided to reply to me. The support agent begged me to open the door for the guests and let them take their stuff.

Which guests did they mean? According to my payout statistics, I had no guests at that point. I had to reply to Airbnb that since I had no current reservations, I was unable to help them and of course I would not let some strangers into my apartment.

They first promised to pay me for one night, then they promised to pay me for the entire reservation. Of course, that was very kind of them, but I could not accept the money for the reservation I never had. Airbnb threatened that they would involve the police and of course I supported this idea. The guests went to the police station, and obviously the police officer called me to ask for my permission to open the door to these guests, which of course I didn’t give. The photo shows you what a passport of a bad tourist looks like.

Airbnb’s Unfairness Leaves me without Answers

I booked and paid twice with Airbnb, then both of my bookings were cancelled by the hosts without an explanation from them or Airbnb. I got my money back those times but my third host was a scammer. I know I should be more careful, but after two cancellations I was desperate to find a property in London for my family at the busy time of year.

My host approved my booking and was recommended as a good host by Airbnb. He claimed he had flats in London and Florence, but he was totally a scammer. Before I sent all the documents verifying this to Airbnb, they closed my case and my questions were not answered:

1. What procedures do you take to determine if hosts are good?
2. Do you have proof of the existence of your hosts’ properties, the identity of those hosts, and their contact information?
3. Did you really think my host was a good host to recommend to me?
4. Can you contact my host on my behalf?

I wrote here because I asked these questions but Airbnb closed my case with auto-reply emails. I tried to write the Airbnb trust and safety team back, but my emails were blocked by them and my negative comments on Facebook were blocked. That’s why so little negativity is shown on their Facebook page.

One way communication makes me feel bad. It is so unfair. Airbnb approved my host and now said he was a scammer, mentioning they are not responsible for any money loss or fraudulent information being circulated around Airbnb as well as outside the platform. Airbnb helped these criminals when they were recommended on a public site, and are still doing it. Can you really say Airbnb is not responsible?

Police suspect these scammers get inside help because; Airbnb didn’t even deny this when I asked. As upset as we were, the day of check-in, December 28th, 2017 in London, we waited for a return phone call from a supervisor at Airbnb’s customer help desk to help us to find an alternative property in London. They promised me twice over the phone and we waited three hours in a café in central London while checking other sites. We didn’t get any calls from them and all we got was an auto-reply email three days later.

We had to book an alternative place to stay through Booking.com and spend extra to buy a same day check-in. Airbnb promising something it couldn’t deliver was more upsetting. We also saw another young couple were waiting to get in to the property. How many more people will get scammed because of false recommendations by Airbnb? I hope they reconsider their system errors, and give some support and proper answers to me and my family after all this irresponsible service.

Airbnb Unfairly Listens to Guests Over Superhosts

I rent out a room and have never had a bad review until these guests arrived. We had a typhoon hitting the island the day before, causing some damage to the roof. It was December 24th, 2017. The guests arrived angry because the airline lost their bags. They were well informed about the small hole in the cogoon roof (grass roof) because of the typhoon. We didnt notice a problem and the next day we had someone fixing it.

Consider: it was December 25th. We were lucky enough to find someone. In the evening of the second day, I found a message on Airbnb, stating that they cancelled the reservation on the guests’ behalf because of an outstanding situation. I called Airbnb and asked to speak to someone. I just wanted to understand what happened as I had no idea. The guests were gone too.

Basically Airbnb made the decision to cancel without even consulting the host and see what we could have done, and I had no idea what was the outstanding situation was. I lost all the money from their stay, and was not even consulted. I am also a Superhost.

I called Airbnb five times and wrote emails but no one took care of my case. After a few requests, someone forwarded me the guests’ photos. There were towels on the floor to collect water, mouse shit, and dirty corners… clearly orchestrated by the guests. The worst part is that Airbnb never consulted with me or asked me anything.

No Help with Refund One Hour After Reservation

Earlier this evening I made a reservation on the Spanish Airbnb site for myself and five other friends to go to La Coruña in March. Having made the reservation, we were given the address (I cannot understand why this is not available before payment is made) and now according to my friends the apartment is not where it appeared to be from the photos uploaded. Therefore, it is too far away from where they wish to be. I have been asked to cancel.

When I try to cancel I am told that the amount I have paid (50%) will not be refunded as the payment policy is strict. I am stuck I have tried to cancel one hour after making the reservation and cannot possibly understand how I can be charged 50% now when the reservation is for mid-March and only one hour has gone by. The host says she is new to Airbnb and cannot as intervene “because she will be penalised.” As you can imagine I am not happy at all about this and have emailed Brian Chesky requesting him to please intervene and authorise a full refund as I cannot speak to anyone – every time I try the Help Centre telephone number it cuts out. As you can see I am not a happy bunny

First-Time Airbnber Realizes Customer Support Doesn’t Care

Last week we decided to use Airbnb due to the size of our group and the need to have our dogs go with us. After I tried contacting potential hosts who never bothered to reply, We finally found a great host in Miami, accommodating and flexible.

On to sign up and verification. I went through the process as required, submitted everything via their app, even more than once for the ID after I received a message saying that it was a blurry pic. I paid, got back a confirmation and I said to my family, “That was easy!”

…not so fast. After about thirty minutes I got a refund to my card. I called, and they could not tell me why, but said they would look into it. The agent said I couldn’t reserve anything until the verification process was complete. Why did the system allow me to? I waited for verification with the clock ticking, and… nothing.

I called Airbnb and a representative answered after a +25 minute wait. I explained multiple times what I was trying to accomplish, that the reservation had been made and I was waiting for verification. The phone connection was bad and not easy to understand. Once he understood what was going on, he said “I will put you on hold and reach out to the verification group.” He asked for a contact number and promised to call me back if we got disconnected.

As feared, I got disconnected. I waited almost an hour for a call back. After a long wait, nothing. The clock was ticking and I feared the potential loss of my reservation. I called again: long wait, same terrible connection. I explained to Airbnb the exact same things I had already said plus the connection issue and the additional hour – now taking over 2.5 hours to wait for verification. The answer to this was that I needed to wait for the first representative to call me back because the resolution is in their hands.

So I did. I hung up and waited for another 45 minutes. This went on for the next three hours after calling back, getting disconnected multiple times, and so on. Everyone had the same answer: nobody wanted or could escalate the matter; I simply had to wait for that first representative. No one could tell me what the issue was or how long their resolution time was supposed to be. What if his shift ended? Or went on break? Or worse, just did not care?

Over 3 hours late, and I still had not heard back. In the meantime I received a message from tech support that “someone will be calling me in about 10~15 minutes”… I was not about to hold my breath for that one. I had already lost confidence.

During this time I had communicated several times with the host explaining the nightmare. He kindly said to not worry, he would wait. I continued waiting for that call back, so I called back. Another wait, another explanation, and again – I have to wait until the original representative resolves it, from whom I still have not heard. Wait, call again… another wait, another voice.

Then I was told that the picture I had submitted was blurry and they could not tell who I am, which is really not true; it was perfect clear. I was told to resubmit. This was fine with me, except there was no way to do it. When I tried to resubmit, on the app or the website, the system said “OK you are all set” because I had already done this step. I explained this to the agent who did not have an answer or solution. No escalation, no other person to talk to… simply wait for that first guy. What kind of policy is this?

After I called back in the fifth hour, the representative was a bit more helpful, suggesting to try to make the reservation again because sometimes it works. I tried, but was not so lucky. I was told that I could not reserve anything because I was missing a step. I’m so tired and pissed at this point, ready to give up.

After almost six hours of this, I was finally verified using the last picture. I was able to finally pay again and got another confirmation. I waited before calling victory just in case. Finally the host contacted me a said he got the reservation also. I only hung in there because the host was accommodating and the place was what we needed. Over six hours of an Airbnb nightmare to verify and reserve. That’s it. There may be some bits of missing details, but that’s the core of the issue.

Airbnb Almost Homeless in San Juan

My initial correspondence with an Airbnb host was early in November when I made a reservation for 12/22-12/23. Her last remark to me was that I would hear from her closer to the check in date with the information I would need.

Fast forward to 12/20. I had still not heard from her. I sent two emails through the Airbnb website. No response. On the evening of 12/21, I called her, having a feeling of panic that I would not have a place to stay upon my arrival the next day. I was able to get in touch with her and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about. She also said I needed to install the app so that she could send me all the information I needed. I immediately followed her advice. There was still no message from her.

While sitting in the airport on 12/22 on my way to San Juan, my expected arrival date, I sent her two messages through Whatsapp. No response to either one. I called her through Whatsapp. No response. My plane was now getting ready to take off and as far as I was concerned when I landed, I would have no place to stay. I tried calling her multiple times and no response. Finally at 7:37 PM on 12/22 she responded: “Tomorrow I’ll be in the property waiting for you. Check in time is 3:00 PM.”

It was nice to finally have a response, but I was supposed to check in that night. When I arrived in San Juan at 2:00 AM, I tried calling four times until she finally picked up. It was at this time that she gave me an attitude that she was sleeping and there was no way she would be able to meet me at the unit. My reservation was for this evening and I previously explained to her that I would get in very late at night, so I am not sure why I received an attitude. I then requested that she cancel my reservation so that I would have my money refunded. She told me that she was sleeping and couldn’t do that; I needed to cancel the reservation. This worried me because of the cancellation policy of 24 hours.

I went on my vacation for ten nights and came back to an email from Airbnb that my money was in fact refunded. I do not recommend you choose to stay at a place where the host clearly has no regard for her tenants. This is unfortunate as it was my first time trying Airbnb. I will be very hesitant to use this service in the future.