Airbnb Website Misleading Regarding VAT Charges

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I made a booking for a week at a hotel in London via Airbnb. All seemed fine, until arriving at the property I was asked to pay an extra charge for VAT — a government tax. I’m really happy to pay my bills, but not happy when I thought the tariff I paid directly to Airbnb included taxes.

I thought this for two reasons. Firstly, their booking website said that the quoted amount was “including additional fees and taxes” and secondly, the Airbnb invoice said “VAT is charged at the time of payment.” Of course, I paid them, thinking my payment was all inclusive.

I’ve had at least four exchanges with the help centre. No one answered my question why their website and tax invoice were inaccurate, and basically fobbing me off. After the fourth exchange my customer manager “closed the case.” Not good enough.

Any suggestions how I can take this higher up? At best, if they fix their website so that other people don’t get caught, it’s a start. The hotel also said that this happens all the time with Airbnb clients.

Fraudulent Charges without Record of Receipt

Recently I was charged $2,800 by Airbnb: $1,800 for a booking and then two “mysterious” charges of $499 each which were not linked with a booking on their platform and for which I did not receive a record of receipt or any record of the charges on their platform whatsoever. Airbnb has thus far refused to provide a record or receipt of these charges. I received a refund for the charges, but was not provided any information on their basis or cause of the charges, and the charges were somehow linked with a mysterious login from California into my account. It would have been impossible to make these charges through an external login and so it must be assumed that these charges, two charges of $499 each, were made internally without cause through their payment processor.

Airbnb also erases records of logins from the consumer-facing portal once it is discovered that the login is fraudulent, thus erasing your ability to log the history of such. So I have no ability to show that the charges were associated with a separate login to my account, but I could honestly just provide this other information as well as the arbitrary nature of the booking (a booking for December made in May, seven months out). I’m considering suing Airbnb for breach of fiduciary duty.

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Host and Airbnb Failed to Resolve a Nightmare

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My family and I were traveling to New York for my graduation from NYU. We arrived to the Airbnb around midnight and found the room unlocked and dirty. The sheets on the beds looked slept in. They were stained with white and there was a white powder on the table as well (my six-year-old nephew was joining me the next morning and god knows what would’ve happened if he tried to taste it) The floor was unswept. There were hair balls everywhere and counters were not clean. The bathroom had been used with used towels hanging. It was entirely unacceptable.

We were tired from flying coast to coast and did not expect to arrive to a mess. I tried to contact the doorman then they told me to speak to the host. I asked the host for a solution. She offered new (not washed) sheets that we would put on the beds ourselves. I asked for a refund and she essentially said we had no choice but to stay there because places nearby were booked. I reached out to Airbnb who had me take photos and explain what had happened.

After investigating, the Airbnb support representative told me that the host told him that I had other guests that left the room in that condition when I had literally just arrived. I was appalled. My family and I immediately tried to find places to no avail. I spoke with the Airbnb representative a few times and was ready to leave but my family and I had nowhere to go and we slept on the fitted sheets of the bed. That night I was promised a refund of the nights I would not be spending there and compensation on a hotel I ended up booking.

The next day came and the Airbnb representative told me I could only get a refund for the rest of the nights and no compensation for the hotel I ended up booking, which cost me over two times more than for what I booked the Airbnb. They also tried to force my hand in authorizing a solution by saying I had 30 minutes to an hour to accept a partial refund. I tried to escalate the issue to a supervisor for which they told me I would have to wait a business day.

Airbnb hasn’t tried to assist and compensate for an experience that was unforeseen and unplanned. I came to celebrate an achievement with my family and did not expect to have to worry for my family and my safety. This entire experience cost my family sleep and plans I had with them. Two days later I am still waiting for a resolution.

AirCover: Pretty Webpage, No Substance or Truth

Airbnb’s “AirCover: Top-to-bottom protection” is a load of lies. Most of what is on the website is completely untrue. “Host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay” — that’s the protection promised by Airbnb. The host damage protection Airbnb says it has is 90% of the reason I felt comfortable enough to list on Airbnb. But as I’m seeing from all the comments, it’s all completely untrue and just a scam from Airbnb to get us hosts to list with them.

I had a guest damage the washing machine making it completely inoperable. After submitting every single thing required as listed under the reimbursement process on the host damage protection page, I was told that wasn’t enough and they needed a “damage report from a reputable company.” They then told me that the first one submitted wasn’t good enough because it didn’t say with “certainty” how the guest broke it.

It took me almost a month of going through every repair company in the city to find one that was willing to guess with “certainty” how the guest might have broken it. Most companies either told me that wasn’t their job, or they didn’t want to guess in writing due to liability issues with the third parties involved. After getting a sufficient damage report submitted, I was told “we will proceed with the payout.”

“Oh great,” I thought.

Five days later I’m told because the washing machine was ten years old that it has no value and they will pay $0 for its repair or replacement. Why did they jerk me around for a month to get a damage report if they had no intention of paying in the first place? Then said they contacted their supervisor and will pay 20% of the repair.

Basically the fine print under host damage protection means for my listing that, with the exception of the new fridge and hotplate, the guest could destroy every other appliance and piece of furniture in my unit and Aircover would pay me $0 to repair or replace the damaged items because of the “proper deduction for obsolescence and physical depreciation.” This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if they were just honest up front about it, instead of telling hosts lies like “host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay.”

In Canada I could not find a home insurance company that would cover anything to do with Airbnb. I had an almost impossible time trying to find insurance that would cover just me because of the Airbnb rental under the same roof. I finally did, but they won’t cover anything related to the rental. I foolishly thought that would be fine because Airbnb offers and brags about their “$1M damage protection,” which doesn’t actually exist for hosts.

Lesson learned. I will keep looking to find insurance to cover my listing. In the meantime I’ve taken down my listing and am trying to decide if I even keep using a company like this that lies up front to their hosts. I will probably end up switching to another company that is at least honest up front about what they cover and don’t cover.

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Airbnb Cancelled My Nonrefundable $1,600 Booking

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My family and I booked an apartment in Bangkok for two weeks. I paid with my boyfriend’s credit card and checked in around midnight after I got the key from the owner. I checked everything in the apartment and found that the air conditioning in my bedroom was not working.

I reported this to the host who said he would fix it for me tomorrow. The next day my family and I left the apartment around 9:00 AM and came back again at 7:00 PM. The air conditioning in my bedroom was still not working. I contacted the host again and he told me he couldn’t fix it in one day because he had to change some motor or something.

Then I called Airbnb support. They recommended I find another place or hotel. The host agreed to refund me fully and Airbnb said I would get a refund in a few days. Ten minutes after Airbnb cancelled my booking I received an email saying I was no longer allowed to use the platform anymore due to fraud. I really didn’t understand what happened but thought I could just use Agoda or Booking.com.

It’s been a week and I still have not received any refund from Airbnb. I contacted support and they said my booking was still active and Airbnb would not refund any money. They said they had already paid the host and I had to contact him.

After contacting the host, he said he had received the payout but Airbnb told they would take the money from his next booking. He forwarded that email to me. If he gave me cash, I would still be missing roughly $200. Now I have no idea what should I do.

Guest Turns up Drunk Having Nervous Breakdown

I was hosting my third guest. I live alone on 38 acres and have internet but no phone. The lady sounded fine on paper; I gave her very clear directions and my mobile number and she acknowledged she had received them.

I came back two hours later and the lady was extremely drunk in her car. She drank an entire box of wine cooler and appeared to be going through some kind of mental breakdown. Rather than going to her cabin down the hill, she had got a ladder and climbed my fence and ripped off my doorknob, trying to crack open my door, breaking the plywood. She swore at me and told me she had paid to stay in my house.

I told her she had to leave the property as I could not risk her damaging my property further. I assured her I would refund her. It’s a kind of yoga retreat and there is a “no drugs or alcohol” policy. There is a gas stove in the cabin and we are surrounded by world heritage forest — it’s too dangerous to have a drunk or unstable person around.

She became irate and said she was too drunk to drive away and that her dog was lost (we ask people to keep their dogs on leash at all times). I could see she was in crisis so I offered her a cup of tea and to drive her down the road to a free campground with a sleeping bag I would donate… more abuse followed.

I saw that this woman had a knife in her car. I no longer felt safe. The woman refused my help and refused to leave. I was left with no option but to call the police, which I have never done in my life. I went to my neighbour’s and called the police who took 40 minutes to arrive. They were very understanding and did not escalate the situation.

The woman suddenly became very agreeable, although it was clear she was still very drunk. They escorted her to town to sleep it off in her car and they took her keys for the night. I did not press charges as clearly her life was falling apart from her bad decisions.

Now I feel unsafe in my own home, have to change my gate code and buy a new front door. The help Airbnb has offered? A bot with whom I can register my complaint and a threat to my record if I cancel bookings.

Airbnb Shut off Bookings over Local Registration Error

When my city registration expired, my account was unregistered for one month while I worked on getting my registration renewed. Now I have the new registration, but Airbnb blocked the account from accepting new bookings, and won’t allow me to update the registration because the “local government has denied your registration.”

I contacted Airbnb four times to get this resolved. They always say, “regular support cannot handle this, it needs to be handled by a special team. I will forward this to them.” Then they close the support ticket. Here’s the furthest I got:

“My department conducts all of its correspondence via email, since we deal with sensitive issues and written documentation of our communication is required. We closed this message thread, and we will answer your request by email. I hope you can understand the need for this caution.”

It’s been two weeks with no reply. I’m a host of three years with 450 reviews and bookings of $60,000 last year, so Airbnb probably makes $15,000 per year with their cut while I do all the work. This is the service and support I get. Screw you Airbnb.

Airbnb Booking Leads to Trailer Park Nightmare

I booked an Airbnb in Canada for myself, my girlfriend, and her three kids for a trip around Alberta for a couple of weeks during the summer 2021. It was in a mobile home park, but Airbnb did not tell us it’s a mobile home park on the website. It was one of the very few Airbnbs in the area. I believe there were only two or three that could accommodate five people.

When I was on Airbnb’s website, there were about nine or ten pictures of the unit and I’m believe about five of those pictures were of the kitchen: pretty much five of the exact same pictures. It looked okay in the pictures; there was nothing to see or identify that there was anything wrong with the house, which in the end was not a house. It was a rundown 60-year-old looking piece of crap trailer in a trailer park on the outskirts. There was a lock box that had the key for the trailer in it that was attached to an old wooden fence. Anyone could have come along, broken the fence, and taken the key.

As you enter the trailer you have to climb up these rickety stairs on to this wooden deck that looked like you would almost fall through. The door to the trailer was an old wooden door where the lock on the door barely locked. There was an approximately two-inch gap on the bottom of the door; mice or anything could have come in with no problem. Everything in the trailer was like a step back in time.

They listed it as a two bedroom: there was one full bedroom in the back of the trailer and the other bedroom was part of the kitchen where there was a curtain and a old rickety wooden bookcase that had been laid on its side to kind of make it look like it was a separate bedroom from the kitchen when it really wasn’t. There were no towels in the bathroom. Barely any hot water. The floor was disgusting; there are parts of it that I swear to god I thought I was going to fall through a number of times. Everything in the kitchen was plastic like it was made for a 50-year-old daycare.

The trailer park was full of noisy neighbors partying and yelling for half the night. It was a very disgusting experience I would never ever stay in the area again. When I called Airbnb after it was over to tell him about it then complain I got zero customer service from them: no returning my phone calls, no answering my emails, nothing. I love using Airbnb. I have used it a number of times and this was the first time I had ever experienced a problem residence. I just wish that Airbnb had much better customer service than they do.

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Brought Bed Bugs Home from Airbnb Stay

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We had a wonderful four days in North Wales this summer. I wouldn’t want to complain only if we had been smart enough to spot what was happening during our stay and not after.

I noticed some weird itchy bites on my body after the first night of our stay. Having no experience from the past with bed bugs, I had no idea it could be that. I was sure they were the little flies that you see near mountains. I noticed a couple more bites as days passed but still had no idea. It took us about a couple weeks after our return to realise we have brought home bed bugs. The itchy bites continued to appear and once we realised what an actual nightmare it had been, we found signs on our sheets and even one tiny bed bug on our sofa bed.

Unfortunately, we were unlucky and stupid enough to not spot this during our stay, and we had no evidence or proof that the Airbnb home was infested. We have coped with this fact, but I knew I must warn the host and make sure they take immediate action, so no other guests experience this.

I messaged the host nicely (and privately), without mentioning a refund or blaming them for having us in her nasty infested house. No, I was nice and kind. I explained what happened and suggested that she inspects her house and stop letting people in until it had been professionally cleaned.

The host’s reaction was a complete shock to me. She denied that what I was saying was even possible, accused me of lying, and ultimately threatened to have me removed from the platform. She said that she had inspected the house by herself and an independent third party company and it had been confirmed that her house was bug free. Then she said she would keep an eye on her furniture and if the infestation appeared it would have been me who brought the bugs into her house.

I would never have imagined I’d find myself in such a nasty situation. We have thrown away a few months old sofa, duvets, blankets, pillows, etc, and we can’t be sure our home is bug free as apparently they are a nightmare to get rid of. After all that, the host didn’t even think to show some respect and assure us that the action would be taken. We didn’t even try to get some money back, as we had no proof, but I needed to make sure she would take action. She didn’t; she insulted us instead.

Airbnb is involved but it is day four now without any single response from them. I guess it’s a lovely tool to use when you love travel, but only if you don’t need their support. My advice to Airbnb users: please be cautious. Because you are not aware of certain things doesn’t mean you are safe from their effects. Check sofas, beds and mattresses for any signs of bed bugs before you even take your shoes off at a hotel or Airbnb home.