Airbnb Illegally Charges Taxes in Some Areas

I was notified by Airbnb that they would begin collecting GST (goods and services tax) on my behalf, charging my customers when they booked. They also stated the taxes I owed from their rentals would be paid quarterly. The trouble is, I live in an unincorporated, remote area, where I am not required to have a business licence, and according to the tax laws, for my particular rental, do not require me to pay taxes based on the rental property tax requirements.

I contacted Airbnb about this and they said they were basing their tax collections on a province-wide average, which includes several major cities, all that do have to pay the taxes they are saving, to pay on the hosts’ behalf. In essence, Airbnb was charging taxes to my customers, and pocketing it for themselves, in an account, probably worth millions, for three months, (earning interest, no doubt), and then using it to pay others’ taxes, that my customers would not have to pay if Airbnb had not started this procedure.

I did try to resolve this with Airbnb and was never allowed to speak to an actual person, just prefab replies. I cancelled my account with them. Beware. People cannot book your home without paying the taxes Airbnb charges, even if they are not owed.

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Host’s Refusal to Help Leaves us Homeless in Barcelona

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My husband and I went through a horrible experience via an Airbnb listing near Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Without any description in their listing, the host notified us in person that they actually lived 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) away from the listing upon our arrival and warned us it will be difficult for them to come on-site to resolve issues.

If we had been aware of this, I would have chosen a different option from the very beginning. Unfortunately, we accidentally locked ourselves outside without a key on the last day of our stay as we were still jet lagged and rushed to a tour site we booked in advance. To note, the door automatically locks when it’s closed so we had no chance to re-enter the property once the door was closed.

We contacted the host immediately once we found out about the situation at 4:46 PM. The host responded at the moment saying they weren’t sure if they would be able to come and help because it was too far of a drive for them to come on-site. We were asked to wait for them to find a solution so we went to a coffee shop near the listing to wait for an update.

However, we didn’t receive any responses for nearly four hours even we sent them messages requesting updates on the issue. Meanwhile, we offered them financial compensation for their time lost if they could help. After a long wait with no updates, we were not sure if the host would actually come and help. Since we had a reservation at a restaurant in the Gothic Quarter, we had to leave for dinner.

At 8:50 PM, the host finally got back to us and asked us where we were and he didn’t convey to us when he would be at the apartment. We just placed the order in the restaurant and couldn’t leave at the moment so we asked if he could meet us near the restaurant or let us know when he would be at the apartment to meet. We received no response from the host again.

We later on received a message from Airbnb support notifying us if we didn’t meet the host in 15 minutes, we would lose access to the listing for the night. It was impossible for us to make it back within the timeframe (we needed at least 30-40 minutes since we need to walk 10 minutes from the restaurant to find a taxi and it took about another 20-30 minutes to get back to the listing) so we asked the host if he could wait slightly longer.

Again, we received no message from the host but another message from Airbnb support stating the host had waited longer than 30 minutes and had to leave. We tried to explain the situation to Airbnb support personnel multiple times but she kept saying the host had warned us and tried their best to help so it was our responsibility not being able to get in. She stopped responding to us afterwards.

We didn’t receive any information directly from the host in the meantime besides a confirmation on the scheduled check out time at 8:00 the next morning. We ended up wandering in the street for two hours at midnight trying to find a hotel to stay for the night. Without passports and since most hotels were fully booked by then, we were almost left to be homeless for the night.

We are extremely frustrated at both the host and Airbnb support personnel. Airbnb’s terms and conditions state that “Before and during the Experience, Hosts should be available, or make a third-party available, in order to try, in good faith, to resolve any Guest issues.” Being unavailable for five hours and leaving the guest unaware of the situation cannot be considered as “good faith”.

As an accommodation service, what Airbnb does is to throw people onto the streets of a foreign country without passports in the middle of the night. Sorry to say but this is totally against the ideas they have been promoting over the years.

New Airbnb Policy: Believe Hosts’ Lies

I booked an Airbnb recently that claimed to have air conditioning. I showed up to the place, and inside it’s hot, steamy, and muggy. I called the host to ask how to turn the air conditioning on. His reply to me was that it was broken and to crack a window. I told him I was going to contact Airbnb for a refund.

The agent explained to me she had to verify with the host what I was claiming was true. She called the host and called me back letting me know that the host does not turn the air conditioning on until summertime… all the while it is 80 degrees. I asked if Airbnb condones posting amenities that are not available. Turns out, according to this agent, they do.

She completely sided with the host. By that logic, any host can post whatever amenity they want then claim the amenity isn’t available during whatever season you’re booking their place and let you know after you have paid and arrived.

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Complain to State Attorney General About Airbnb

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Back in December I tried to book a room via Airbnb. The host sent me the offer and asked for payment. Within minutes they retracted their offer and raised the listing price. It was a classic bait and switch.

I reported it to Airbnb and provided the screenshots of the offer and change. The rep went on about fluctuation, pending time, etc. The retraction and change was clear and concise. They did nothing.

I booked a room with a host in Las Vegas. I chose his establishment based on his Superhost status and reviews. The reviews all said the place was clean and so on. One thing to remember is that to some people who might be nasty, this place might have very well been clean. He listed his place as a sanctuary and a private retreat for writers.

I arrived and there was a photoshoot going on and I could hear the music and chatter from the street which was 100 feet away from the front door. Upon checking in, he stated that the photoshoot would be ending within the hour. I decided to take a shower to kill time and found the tub riddled with mildew, some around the sink drain, as well as hair all over the floor.

Long story short, the next day I asked for a partial refund in which he obliged and was apologetic about the situation. Then he later left a scathing and false review to which I rebutted. I gave Airbnb screenshots of our text correspondence and photos of the conditions. As per the usual, they did nothing but dance around the subject, stating that the review could not be taken down because it was his experience with me.

I reminded the rep that the photo evidence I showed proved he was lying about the people making noise being community residents and he, in writing, said they were from a photoshoot. It made no difference.

I was compelled to do further research and found that the host/establishment did not have a business license. The lady at the county clerk’s office advised me to report them to the business licensing department because they were in a zone where it was required. So, I did. I also filed with BBB.

I advise anyone who wants to see results or at the very least put the hosts on notice to research the address with the business license office in their jurisdiction to see if it is required and if so, report them if they do not have one. In Las Vegas a host was fined $72,000 for operating without one.

Also, if they offer food or snacks they must provide a permit for that as well. Airbnb takes no responsibility for anything because they are unregulated. If your room is dirty it’s just your opinion, and no one really cares about that. However, the government absolutely will have no problem launching an investigation against hosts with no business license because they are not paying taxes.

Airbnb should be forced to display that the host’s license has been verified and that they are indeed the owner of the property they host and if not, they should be forced to provide a notarized agreement between the owner and the renter stating they have permission to host on Airbnb.

Beware When Extending Airbnb Bookings

A while back I went home to Australia for a few months and booked an apartment for my stay. The place I wanted wasn’t available for the last week of my stay but I booked it anyway, thinking I could stay somewhere else for the last week.

During my stay, I went onto the listing and found out the next guests had cancelled and I could book that extra week. Great, except when I went to book, that extra week was going to cost me around $3000. The place was less than $100 a night so I thought it was a glitch and got in touch with Airbnb.

What happened was the host had raised the nightly price on the Airbnb site during my stay and Airbnb wanted to charge me the new price for my entire stay. I had to pay the higher price for the period I’d already stayed, not just the extra week.

Luckily, in my case I got in touch with the host who was horrified and happily put in special pricing on his end so I could book the extra week at the original price. However, that isn’t always going to happen and if it hadn’t been such a huge difference in the price, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed. I wanted to post this because it’s something people aren’t aware of and could really screw guests over.

Weekend in Kiev and Champions League Turns into Hell

I arrived for a pleasant, prolonged weekend in Kiev, Ukraine to watch the Champions League football final, having a couple of days off. I’d booked (and paid for) a nice apartment like 2-3 months in advance. After booking, I had had contact with the “verified” host a couple of times and everything seemed okay.

Only after landing in Kiev, I started to understand something was wrong. The host suddenly stopped replying to texts. After a while, I finally got the phone number from an “administrator”: “Oh, there must be some mistake…”

To make a long story short, they cancelled my booking and Airbnb offered a replacement apartment for five times what I’d paid already. Seriously?

At that very moment, I realized that Airbnb is just a middleman that takes a hefty fee but when things go wrong, they head for the forest. I had to spend four hours working the phone and email (like an ordinary day at work) to resolve the issue myself and at the end I had to stay at a place 14 kilometers away from the center and where I’d planned to stay.

The fact is that when you use Airbnb, you have zero protection against something like this happening. Airbnb does not add any value and if accommodation is crucial to your holiday, book a nice hotel instead.

Airbnb’s Fake Policies Include Not Paying Hosts

I’m currently dealing with a broken air conditioner that cost over $5000. Case closed, no reimbursement from Airbnb. I sent in over 15 minutes of video taken as soon as I walked into the home finding all the destruction.

After 11 days, they finally responded to me. They gave me time to send in the evidence – pictures – to find replacements, and send in the receipts. Fine, but I needed more time for the AC since the repairman came and got here by the deadline.

This is what I learned: if they had offered me anything, any amount of money for reimbursement – maybe two dollars? – I would take it and run. Airbnb does nothing to protect properties whatsoever. I also had six people cancel at the last minute who were not entitled to any refund under my strict cancellation policy. Every single one of them made up some story and received a 100% refund.

One girl didn’t receive a refund because I refuse to “authorize“ it. She didn’t deserve it and it would be filing my cancellation policy I protested. The next day Airbnb cancelled the guest whom I had been looking forward to meeting and had a $1001 payout. They cancelled her reservation and told her I canceled it. She got a new place to stay and I completely screwed.

I’m only posting this summer, have received rave reviews from every single guest that stayed here, and I’m currently out over $6000. I counted I bought new towels, sheets, a portable air conditioner, fans, counting on $7000 and payouts that were anticipated due to bookings when I started. I received less than $3000 payout and now, I’ll be lucky if I get $3500.

Airbnb restricted my account weeks ago, because a guest falsely claimed I had a security camera in order to get his refund equal to 100% of the original payment. Ridiculous.

I wish I never did business with Airbnb; they are crooks, and they lie. I’m moving to VRBO.

Hosts: Beware of Airbnb’s fake policies. They will not do what is your best interest even if it goes against their policies. Airbnb caters to the guests, which in my case cost me over $6000.

Airbnb Customer Service Doesn’t Care

I am sending this to share the unhelpful service that I received from Airbnb customer service in resolving my issue of getting credited to use the funds for another booking. I had to speak to multiple people over the course of the day attempting to solve my issue. Even though each person that I spoke to took notes on my case, I had to explain my case each time I called or got transferred.

After explaining my case to each new person, they asked me to give them an hour or another amount of time and my issue would be resolved. I would wait the requested time amount and not have my issue resolved. Therefore, I would have to call back and begin the process of explaining myself to someone new and start the process of being asked to wait again.

The issue was not waiting within itself, but after waiting each time being told that the person I would need to speak to is no longer available became very frustrating. Today alone, I have spent almost three hours attempting to get my issue resolved- which has yet to happen. Customer service tells me “I understand.” However, the response is always “I will put in the notes and someone will message you soon.”

Unfortunately, “soon” appears to never come because I know if I did not call back and ask to speak to someone I would have waited for days and not had a place to stay in the coming days. In all situations, I attempt to be understanding of both ends; however, the chain of command that Airbnb has established is not beneficial to their customers. My issue has yet to be resolved and my trip is three days away.