Poorly Managed Safety from Airbnb Corporate

My story is how poorly Airbnb as an organization is run and how dangerous it is for hosts and guests. I have been an Airbnb host for the past two plus years. I have about 15 listings of homes in Los Angeles.

I was very excited to join Airbnb up until last night. Yesterday I had a booking from a guest who threw a huge party with over 80 guests. The house is ransacked but the most troubling part was I almost got hurt by these individuals. The police were called several times last night.

There was a young girl carried out unconscious from my home in a hurry by these partygoers. I called Airbnb several times but only got a call back from a safety person who barely spoke English and made it a more frustrating experience.

I sent several emails. I called and asked for a supervisor but no one called back. I messaged an individual who said he was a supervisor from Airbnb at least 20 times if not more to get the person to call me. Another customer service person advised me that per Airbnb policy a senior management person never gets on a call or deals with an issue. This truly surprised me: that a company of this magnitude is not involved in such a serious incident.

From my experience I find that reply to be negligent and unacceptable. I just emailed their top management to see if they would care, waiting for a reply. While this happened at my property I had other guests, an older family that was staying in the same building who happened to be hosts in Vegas. They shared similar stories.

I feel our story, including possibly the footage my camera captured, might be an opportunity for other people looking to get into this business or thinking about renting an Airbnb. Or possibly getting more serious rules and responsibilities placed on these booking sites to make sure this does not happen to others.

Unhonored Airbnb Cards as Wedding Gifts

Recently married. On our registry we asked for Airbnb gift cards if people were inclined to gift us something; we love traveling and we’re in our 30s with most material items we could possibly need. A lot of people obliged and we received several gift cards in denominations ranging from $50-100/ card.

Today we went to load the cards to our account, and not one… not two… not even a few… but 13 of the gift cards aren’t able to be accepted. We called customer service and spent over an hour being told yes, we see seven gift cards accepted out of the 20+ new numbers you tried to enter (so they acknowledged the cards were only ever entered today, and that only a fraction were accepted). Then the rep proceeded to inform me she wasn’t trained or knowledgeable to assist us with this matter, and that we would ‘have to be escalated and transferred to payments center’.

I inquired as to whether I would be speaking with another person about this. The rep said “no, that’s not an option for customers” and that the only rep we would be able to physically speak with would be through the help center (which apparently was the number I had called to reach this rep). Okay… so then I requested to speak with a supervisor. I was informed there was none on site, or none with whom I would be able to speak period.

When in the history of business is there not a supervisor available to ever speak with? Then the rep informed us she never said she would transfer me, but meant that she would email the payment center. I asked when we could expect a response. She claimed within an hour (seemed really unrealistic especially since there was nobody but this person available to talk).

It’s been five hours, and I still have yet to hear from anyone. I have over $1300 in gift cards from family, friends, and coworkers that were given to us for Airbnb which this company has managed to swindle away somehow, and make unusable. There were zero real attempts to appropriately assist us. Highly unsatisfied here.

Airbnb Nightmare after International Trip

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We decided to book an Airbnb property  as part of my partner’s 40th birthday trip to New York. From booking all the way through to leaving the UK for the USA, the owner’s communication was just as you would expect from who we thought was a good host: at first, responsive, informative, and helpful. Unfortunately, we soon learned that this was as good as things would get; his manner soon turned into being patronising and condescending when issues arose once we arrived (this is evident in his responses to negative reviews), even at one point via Airbnb text message, referring to my partner and I as squatters.

We arrived at the property at approximately 15:30, and we were disturbed and extremely disappointed by what we were greeted with. The Airbnb photos were of the property, but they were very old. The outside of the property was unwelcoming and off-putting, with overgrown weeds and litter strewn on the driveway. Security was a concern, as the front door was only secured via a single deadbolt, due to the whole mechanism for the door handle being totally removed.

Entering the property, we were immediately struck by how tired, dark, and filthy the property was. It seemed like the property hadn’t been properly cleaned or repaired in years: lights that didn’t work or were missing; dirty grubby walls and doors; ceiling fans caked in dust and dirt; a bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned since the last occupant, complete with an unflushed toilet featuring a toilet seat caked in what looked like mould/urine; the heating was turned off and could only be controlled by the owner, who refused to turn this on despite calls and messages; the bedding was dirty and beyond worn, and was only good for throwing out; the ironing board was covered in stains. I could go on; the flat was just dirty and a dive.

We refused to stay there and booked a hotel for the night following 10 hours of waiting for a response from Airbnb for a resolution. Booking this flat resulted in us losing two days of our holiday (waiting for correspondence from both the host and Airbnb), being pushed beyond the breaking point trying to resolve the matter, and leaving me short of £497 (a combination of hotel fees, phone call costs, and transport). Airbnb did give me a full refund of my booking and payment for one night’s hotel stay.

Airbnb Caretaker Decides to Rent out Owner’s Property

I found what appeared to be a very chic two bedroom place in LA to stay in for my son’s graduation. The renter was responsive and pleasant until I paid. Then he disappeared. I kept emailing him with questions, but he didn’t respond until just before our trip. He wouldn’t set a time to meet; he told me to text him, which I did. He didn’t appear to be the type of person to own a place in this high-rent district. He claimed he was a busy lawyer and didn’t have too much time (he isn’t a lawyer – I checked later).

I kind of got the feeling he was supposed to be tending to the place for the owner, but was renting it out on the sly. The place turned out to have only one bedroom, even though I paid for two. There were no staples in the kitchen and the floors were filthy. I didn’t let this ruin the happy occasion, but I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to contact him before, during and after to rectify the issues. Airbnb was unconcerned and dismissive about my complaints. I felt cheated and unheard and won’t use Airbnb again.

Hosts Beware: The Host Guarantee is a Crock

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911 to all hosts: a must read. I had a $42,000 claim due to damages to my newly renovated $400,000 home. These Airbnb guests were the first people in the home since its purchase. They carved into furniture; two large dogs were brought into the home destroying furniture, carpets doors, paint, and more. Upon discovering this, I had the guests removed. I immediately filed a claim with Airbnb and their $1,000,000 guarantee. I was told that the insurance team would be in touch within three days.

After five days with no answer, I began calling and emailing, again with no response. When I called, they told me that they had everything they needed and they don’t know why there is a delay. Still, there is no substance to their promises or guarantees. This went on for three months. I had to pay out of pocket to repair and replace everything in the entire house that I had only finished remodeling and furnishing a month before.

After three months I received an email stating I had 72 hours to respond or the offer will be withdrawn. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was forced to accept a disrespectful amount to cover at least some of my losses. I have since watched Airbnb Nightmares on Netflix and have learned Airbnb has a history of not paying its hosts for damages by the guests. We are business partners and I have been a Superhost for over 2 1/2 years. Why would they not compensate me for these damages? Hosts beware.

 

*****Update 10/17/2018******

Boynton homeowner takes on Airbnb over damage

Completely Cut off from Emailing Long-Term Guest

Imagine my delight when I had a request for a full-month’s stay at my guest cottage in November. November isn’t exactly tourist season in inland New Jersey, so a month’s stay delivers Christmas presents. I replied to the inquiry; the woman wanted to come by to see the place before booking. She sent another inquiry, saying she was surprised that I hadn’t replied because my profile says I reply within an hour.

I replied. She sent another inquiry, puzzled that I hadn’t replied. I’m doing all of this on my cell phone while at the shore. Finally, I called customer service (thank you so much for posting the number – I couldn’t find it anywhere on the site). The woman I spoke with was very nice, could see that none of my responses had gone through, and had no explanation. She said that it appeared that she could send a message for me, so I asked her to let the prospective guest know that I couldn’t communicate with her through the system, so she could call me on my cell.

I provided my cell number and waited. Nothing. Bupkis. There were three more messages from the potential guest yesterday, and one this morning saying that they were really interested. I still can’t communicate with her. Now I’m going another round with customer service to see if they can make this happen. It’s over $3,000 to me that may be making its way south.

Airbnb Hosts from Hell and a Break in

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My boyfriend and I were travelling around Europe for a month over summer. We decided to finish our trip in Florence and booked an Airbnb for three nights. In the listing on Airbnb, the apartment appeared larger than it actually was and said it provided wifi, AC, and necessary toiletries, e.g. shampoo, conditioner, etc.

When we arrived we realised the apartment was much smaller than that shown in the pictures, the AC barely worked, the wifi constantly disconnected and was very slow, there was no hot water or bins, and the toilet didn’t flush properly. We contacted Airbnb and our host immediately. There was no reply from the host. Airbnb said they would forward my message along to the host.

We contacted Airbnb everyday about these complaints and were told they could do nothing about it unless they could get through to the host. On our third day the apartment was broken into and our money stolen. We called the police and filed a report, contacted Airbnb and called the hosts. The hosts did not respond, despite three of them being linked to our apartment on the app.

Airbnb said they would also contact the hosts and could not get through to them. We asked to be relocated as the apartment was not safe, due to the door not being able to lock anymore and a chunk of the wall being missing. Airbnb said they would pass it along to their trust and safety team and call us back. We were also told they could not relocate us and would only subsidise the fee of somewhere else by 50% if we found it ourselves.

We called a total of 13 times that day and were repeatedly told to wait for a call back. We were never called back. A member of the trust and safety team emailed us about the matter the following morning around 4:00 or 5:00 AM. However, this was too late as it was our last night and we ended up leaving at 6:00 AM to go home.

Whilst on our journey back home we were contacted by the hosts, after hearing nothing for our entire stay, and blamed us for the break in. They told us that they had the right to ask for compensation for the damages caused by the break in and that our complaints about the hot water was pretext. They stated that they needed to get a professional in to fix the wall and we should have to pay for it. They also refused our request for a refund.

We argued back and forth for a while and eventually they said they felt sorry for us and had decided it wasn’t our fault but that they shouldn’t have to blame whoever broke in? The lack of response or willing to accept any fault from the hosts and the horrible customer service from Airbnb made us feel completely abandoned. We are in the process of arguing for a full refund.

Blood on Sheets Made us Leave Airbnb Early

On March 21st this year my niece, her husband (visiting from the UK), and I stayed at an Airbnb property in Merimbula NSW. On arrival we were horrified to find blood on the bedding in the main bedroom. I rang the host who sounded genuinely horrified and asked if I could send photos, which I did. She called back and said she was unable to help as she was in the Blue Mountains but said she would give us a full refund.

We spent a very uncomfortable night at the property, as we had no other options. There was no clean bedding in the unit and thus we had to make do by sleeping on a spare doona cover. It was very unhygienic, unsettling and totally unacceptable. Despite both myself and my niece repeatedly trying to contact the host since March by telephone and email, she has not responded and no refund has been received for our stay, as she had promised. This was extremely poor on her part and I would urge anyone considering a stay here to find somewhere else. The host should not be permitted to continue to offer this property for use. Extremely disappointing.

I Swear Airbnb is Just Ignoring My Messages

Back in June, I booked an Airbnb for work for around $300 total for the weekend. Due to an abrupt illness, I had to cancel. I missed the refund cutoff by one day. I emailed the host my explanation and they did not give me a refund, so I escalated the issue to Airbnb where I had to provide documentation of the illness. I sent them all of my patient intake forms from the doctor with all of my information, the doctor’s information, and my diagnosis.

The response from Airbnb was that this was not enough information to prove I visited the doctor and that my case was being closed. What? I didn’t even get an explanation as to how that was not sufficient. I responded by asking what else I could provide then, and they stated that a signature from the doctor was needed but that they would still be closing my case because it can’t be opened for more than a few days; I should reply when I get the paperwork.

Fast forward a week letter, I obtain an itemized bill from my doctor showing my diagnosis codes, the day I was treated, and all of the doctor’s information. I emailed this back to the Airbnb thread email and was given an automated response that my email was received. Fast forward two weeks later, and there has been no response at all from Airbnb. On my account, the case shows that it is in progress so it will not let me contact Airbnb again to see what is happening. I swear they’re just ignoring me.

Airbnb Changed Prices, Won’t Make Up the Difference

As a host, I know my market very well and set my nightly rates manually. I do not allow Airbnb to make suggestions or rate changes for my property. Despite this, I received a reservation request from a guest who received a rate $300 less per night for a three-night stay so that I would receive about $1000 less than I should. Every single other night’s rate surrounding these specific rates are all the correct rates that I set. Magically, this one specific reservation request gets different rates, and I am confident I could have filled those nights at the correct rate so there was never any possibility that I would have ever allowed those rates to be published.

When I contacted Airbnb customer service, the first person with whom I spoke did not speak enough English to be even understand what I was trying to explain. She passed me to another agent, with marginally better verbal skills, who told me that Airbnb has the right to set whatever rate they believe is ‘fair’ to get the property booked. Knowing this is not accurate, I asked to speak to a manager who could clarify. The manager did indeed tell me this was not accurate however it still must have been I who changed the rates down (on a holiday weekend, no less) and that I could cancel the reservation myself.

I do not believe that this particular guest is at fault and should not have his reservation cancelled. I also do not believe I should accept responsibility for some “strange glitch” as the manager offered, and then having to live with the very public note that says the reservation was “cancelled by owner” which never goes away. I then spoke with one more manager who told me very seriously that she would make sure the right people were informed and that I would be contacted that Monday.

That was about six weeks ago, and every single one of my emails has gone unanswered. No one will now even speak to me on the phone about it since I had already opened a “case file.” I have been listed on VRBO for almost five years and have never had any issues. Every time I call my issue is resolved, and I am extremely pleased with the reservation requests and bookings I get on that site. I tell absolutely everyone to avoid Airbnb; the properties are just as good if not better on VRBO and from an owner’s perspective, a much better platform. Airbnb will never do the right thing.