Uninhabitable Accommodation Means Airbnb Refuses Refund

We booked a room through Airbnb and when we arrived we found the room to be completely uninhabitable. The most pressing issue was the temperature; the room was freezing, with no heating provided. It was 7 degrees Celsius outside, and the external walls were paper thin. There was condensation on the windows and walls. Furthermore, the toilet was broken; the cistern was permanently discharging, with the constant noise of running water and making it impossible to flush. There were other issues too, including excessive noise from above.

We notified the hosts, who agreed with our assessment that the room was uninhabitable, and we had no option other than to leave and seek alternative accommodation (at 10:00 PM). Airbnb does not have a contact number, leaving us with no one to call and having to fend for ourselves. Given that the host completely agreed with us, we thought that we’d at least be able to get a full refund for the room – how wrong we were.

Airbnb will not refund their service fees, their cleaning fees, or their processing fees, so in total are only prepared to refund about 75% of the price we paid, despite the room being completely uninhabitable, the host agreeing with us, and us not having spent a single night there. Airbnb does not have a contact number, so I have been left communicating via their online message system (taking a day for them to reply between messages) with someone who doesn’t have a good grasp of the English language and is making unreasonable requests (they want photo evidence that it was cold – how exactly do they expect me to do that, unless of course they expect their guests to carry a thermometer with them).

Given this, we immediately looked into cancelling our other Airbnb bookings for this trip. Given the experience we’ve just had we didn’t want to risk it. All the bookings were listed as free cancellation, and we are within the cancellation window. However, Airbnb’s policy is to never refund their service fee, even when a room is cancelled or there is a problem. They don’t care what you do, because they get paid anyway.

I have no worries about getting my money back – it was paid using Amex and their customer service is exceptional. They’ll provide the refund immediately and claim it back from Airbnb. I’m sure that our experience here is a one off, and the vast majority of stays go without issue. However, if something does go wrong, Airbnb will leave you on your own to deal with it, will make any attempt to get a resolution exceedingly difficult and will refuse to provide a full refund. You have been warned.

Charged for an Airbnb Property I Couldn’t Use

Have a laugh at our expense; look at our holiday album. This property is advertised on Airbnb as lovingly maintained with modern amenities. I am a retired front line emergency worker with experience in public health and safety. I believe this property is a fire and health/safety hazard. Airbnb continues to advertise this property, and to add insult to injury, they keep sending me a link to book it.

We arrived to find an unsafe, ill maintained, dirty property, as per the attached photo album; please view it here. Within an hour of our arrival I walked through the rooms with the host and pointed out the issues and my concerns. She couldn’t see what the problems were; nobody else had complained and in fact Airbnb had taken the photos and approved the property. At this point I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere because this was a blatant lie of how this advertising platform works.

Within three hours of arriving I notified Airbnb that were leaving to go to alternative accommodations the following morning, the earliest time we could leave. I took photos – some on my mobile, but the majority on my main camera retained on a SD card. I checked with Airbnb if requesting a refund was a time sensitive submission of material. We were told to get the majority of photos to them as soon as I could.

To cut a very long story short, we cancelled and moved out by 9:00 AM the next morning. Because I didn’t detail my conversation in full with the host on my email thread and couldn’t submit all my photos to Airbnb within 24 hours, I could only get a refund of 30% of the nights we didn’t use, not the full large refund that I believe with all good faith I am entitled to. This means I have been charged £450 to not stay in this pit.

Airbnb customer service is woeful. They do not answer messages, and have now closed the case with no independent arbitration or opportunity for dialogue with a middle manager. More importantly, people will still be paying hard earned cash to stay at this property and may not have the appetite for complaining or tackling a dishonest host.

Airbnb Lied And My Credit Card Company Reimbursed Me

In May 2017, a Swedish Airbnb host failed to provide essential amenities described in the listing, obliging me, the guest, to check into a hotel for the first of a week’s visit in costly Stockholm. The first Airbnb agent contacted by phone promised to rebook me and offer compensation for expenses but the next day another Airbnb agent wrote that no compensation would be offered and, instead of rebooking me, gave me a minimum reimbursement claiming I had cancelled the reservation (not far enough in advance for a full reimbursement as per the host’s strict cancellation policy).

I tried to resolve the matter pointing out that I had never cancelled the booking but it fell on deaf ears. The Airbnb agent never replied to my showing her the agent’s name and case number I was given who had promised to rebook and offer compensation. Instead, when I placed into dispute with my bank the sum paid out in advance to Airbnb, Airbnb countered with a copy of their cancellation policy. I informed Visa I never cancelled it and that it was the second Airbnb agent who did this unilaterally and tried to lie about it. I also wrote a letter to Airbnb’s CEO in San Francisco detailing the case with names, dates and reference numbers. No one from Airbnb replied to my letter.

In the end, Visa reimbursed me because Airbnb was unable to uphold their claim with any evidence; the bank believed me. I have been an Airbnb host and guest for well over ten years. None of this mattered. I will think twice before I use this intermediary agency to book any future stays. Instead I will look for alternate ways to book private homes. It is truly shameful that Airbnb treats its loyal clients in such a shoddy manner.

Moving to France, Booking on Airbnb, Facing this Situation

Let me start by saying that I am a frequent Airbnb user. Until this happened. I moved to France (Rennes to be more specific) 11 days ago and I booked two nights in a private room in order to rest and start looking for an apartment full time (moving to a foreign country, carrying a lot of luggage, and finding a proper place to stay even for a couple of days is necessary). The host answered my messages before arrival, but when I checked in, I encountered a problem which made me feel suspicious of the surroundings.

As a foreign young girl who had to stay for two nights in an apartment with two other men, whom I had not been informed about beforehand, and was preparing to consume alcohol that night, I had to think twice about spending the night. I would like to add that even if it was a private room, I didn’t have the key to it. I was accompanied by a friend of mine who shared the same feeling about the situation, saying that he wouldn’t let me stay in there.

The host told me I should cancel the booking and he would give me my money back. In other words, no fees would be charged for my cancellation, with the exception of the website tax. When people make you feel threatened or unsure of your safety, taking pictures is not highly recommended, which is why I do not have pictures of the place/situation. I have noticed that the money was taken from my account; I had reminded him about the money and our understanding and requested a refund once more. I have contacted him four times so far with no hope for a resolution.

I was forced under these circumstances to pay for a service that was not delivered. I would like to include the link of my meant-to-be-safe host’s profile. I know that it might be in vain, but I tried my luck in sending Airbnb an email concerning my issue. I would like for others to be aware of some people and to pay attention to what they are “buying”. Thanks.

Cancellation Confusion Nightmare Over Long-Term Stay

I booked an Airbnb and it stated there was a moderate cancellation policy: cancel five days prior to staying and get a full refund (minus service fees). I would never have booked it if it was strict as I was not sure if I could afford it or go as I may not have had a job lined up yet in this town. Anyway, the job and money did not work out so I cancelled the booking 11 days prior to arrival. The host said she had a strict cancellation policy and would not give me the money back. I took a screenshot of the moderate cancellation policy as it was stated on her page and she did not answer me. I called Airbnb and was on hold for an hour. It has now been four hours. I am on the phone and am trying to resolve this. The host is stating because I was staying for one month there is a strict cancellation policy; however, I did not know about this. I did not see it on the website nor did she tell me about it when we were talking through email. I was just looking at her Airbnb page and she sent me a message saying she had long-term stays but there was nothing about a strict cancellation policy. I am now talking with the bank to see if they can stop this charge from going through. I feel like I am in a nightmare.

“Pseudo Hosts” using Airbnb as a Money Machine

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We are a couple in our 70s who travel the world and have used Airbnb since its inception. Through the years we have experienced many disappointments but as good soldiers we accepted minor imperfections as part of the experience in a foreign country. My husband did book a horrendous accommodation in Iceland this past year but let it slide. Our experience here in Costa Rica, however, cannot be overlooked.

We booked an Airbnb in Costa Rica for nine nights. Upon our arrival at Liberia Airport we rented a car and drove the hour and a half to Playa Potrero where this unit is located. We tried to find our way with the directions the host provided. It took us to the general vicinity. We were advised to pick up the key from a local laundry place in Potrero between 3:00-5:00 PM as arranged by the host. When we arrived shortly after 4:00 PM no one was there. We waited a bit and no one arrived.

We asked a local business to please call the laundromat’s telephone number which was listed on the window. She was advised that the key was with the guard at the entrance to the condos. We were never given the correct name of the complex. After spending too much time trying to find right complex it was already late and we were travel weary. Finally we found the guard who had the key and he pointed out where to park and walk to the unit.

We entered a unit that was pathetic. The Airbnb ad promised a queen size bed, a dining room, and kitchen utensils, which was important as we eat in most of the time. There were two twins beds with very thin mattresses and cigarette burns in the sheets. The closet was in disrepair. The bathroom was funky and foul smelling. There was no dining room as advertised. The only table and chairs were out on the patio and inaccessible as the sliding door was inoperable. The kitchen area was barely usable, with very few utensils, no coffee maker, and a stove that needed cleaning.

By the time we got to the unit it was very late for us to find somewhere else to stay so we spent the first night, kept our luggage packed and left the very next morning. We advised the host that we were leaving and he offered another place with the stipulation that we commit until February 28. We attempted to inspect the offered unit but were denied access. Anyway, we could not commit to that lengthy a stay.

We submitted a request to Airbnb for a refund for the nine nights we did not stay but the host denied our request. He also posted a very nasty personal attack on my Airbnb profile. We requested Airbnb mediation and due to the difficulty in communications between here in Costa Rica and the US we waited days for a response, having had no fewer than three Airbnb case managers respond – no personal touch at all.

This entire ordeal regarding my request for a refund for totally unsatisfactory accommodations has become frustrating and really diminished my confidence in Airbnb. I did submit a request to Airbnb to become involved in my request due to the the host refusing to make the refund. What happened to the statement “Our Guest Refund Policy protects you and your money”?

I am stranded in Costa Rica waiting to recoup my payment in order to continue my trip. It is urgent that I receive the refund as soon as possible. I feel that this host is nothing more than a con man who uses the Airbnb forum as a means to dupe unsuspecting travelers. We received a response from Airbnb as follows:

“We have reviewed this case once again, and as previously said, unfortunately, as the guest refund policy wasn’t followed, we can’t adjust the host if the host doesn’t agree with the refund. I’m really sorry to hear about this situation, but unfortunately, there’s not much I can do. However, I would be willing to offer you a $100 coupon, and even though it’s not near to what you requested, is what I would able to give.”

An absolute insult. We paid over $1,000 for one night in a sleazy accommodation that we would never have committed to if we had seen inside first. Airbnb has neglected its responsibility to protect the renter. This man should have been investigated further by Airbnb since it is obvious he is using the platform to his advantage in representing unsatisfactory accommodations which he does not own but merely acts as a rental agent for various properties.

As a company, Airbnb seems to only be interested in their fees from acting as the forum for hosts and guests. They assume no responsibility for allowing unsavory con men from using their forum and falsely describe their accommodations knowing that they will be paid upfront and have the upper hand.

I Paid Outside Airbnb for a Condo, Not a Filthy Trailer

I contacted the host for this Airbnb and was asked to pay her directly, circumventing Airbnb payment system to get a reduced rate. When I arrived at the rental I was shown to a filthy trailer seething with decades-old cigarette smoke. The pictures were of another trailer nearby occupied by the host’s mother and depicting a charming residence being advertised as a condo at the time. She has removed that claim from the posting as of now.

As we stood in the trailer my throat began to swell from reactions to the toxic smoke coating the interior of the trailer. I explained to her I could not stay there and asked for a refund, to which she agreed right away. She and her mother were as charming as could be and I left confident they would give me the refund they promised. I asked several times, and finally she relayed that I would get the refund “the next week”.

Next week came and went with her continuing to ignore further inquiries about my refund. Finally she texted me asking why I really needed the refund since I was so wealthy (not true at all). I then contacted Airbnb, who responded telling me they couldn’t help since I paid her outside the system (at her request of course) and as of this posting they continue to advertise for this fraudulent listing. Beware of renting from this listing – it’s a fraud.

Can’t Get My Money Back After We Didn’t Stay

We booked a flat right on the outskirts of Barcelona for five nights in August 2017. The flat allegedly belonged to the host. Due to work happening on the underground system, we got there about an hour after he was expecting us. We didn’t have his phone number but we got into the apartment building with someone who was entering. There was no answer at his door. We sat on the floor outside his door for about an hour and then someone came out of the flat next door, so we showed them the address and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely here, but there’s [no one by that name] living here; it belongs to Pedro.”

We went to sit in a cafe while we thought what to do, and a local told us it wasn’t legal to rent flats to tourists due to all the scams. I phoned my partner who managed to find the host’s phone number and our Peruvian friend phoned. The host said that if we didn’t come, there would be a cancellation charge of 25 euros. This had all taken us five hours and we were exhausted so we went to stay in a hotel.

On our return home, we applied to Airbnb resolution centre to get our £296 back. The host kept sending messages saying he had been there all day and that we had never arrived. We were there for at least an hour, but we left because we were told he didn’t exist. Airbnb gave us the name of a resolution investigator who said on September 13th that she would investigate. We never heard anything at all from her. The Airbnb site now says that the claim was resolved three months ago (which would be the end of August 2017) but we have never heard anything at all from them, and I have still been billed for five days for a property I never used.

Valid Cancellations Don’t Mean Instant Refunds

Yesterday I booked a condo in South Padre Island and got a message from Airbnb to call a number. I called the number and it was the property management guy. He told me that Airbnb did not charge me for the cleaning fee and that I needed to pay him for that. Well then, I see that they charged me $100 per night and the host told me he would charge $90 a night. Then I realized Airbnb had overcharged me by about $150. The property management guy told me to cancel my reservation through Airbnb and then rebook through him. Well it was within thirty minutes that I cancelled my reservation and then had to contact Airbnb to get my full refund back. They authorized the refund but now it can take up to 15 days before I get it. This is such BS since the cancellation policy stated I had 24 hours and I cancelled within thirty minutes. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my refund ASAP?

Booking Hotel Rooms Through Airbnb Not The Best Choice

I book at Palms Place in Las Vegas through Airbnb regularly because it is a great hotel and there is no casino there. My initial room was not clean. The carpet had not been vacuumed and there were brown spots all over the white walls. There was also nonstop noise coming from under my door. I had to deal with this mess for one night until I could reach management the next day. Finally I reached someone and was moved to another room, and it was presented as if it was a courtesy only, when the issues of my room were not my fault. I had to wait in the lobby two hours and thirty minutes going back and forth between managers being told by one my room was ready, and by the other my room was not.

I was in Vegas for work and was supposed to be working at this time but got pulled away to handle this situation. The new room had a broken TV that would not work. I wanted a refund to move hotels or to even be switched to a new hotel. Now I’m getting no response because I want a refund for my troubles. Airbnb blames the hotel, the hotel blames Airbnb, and then they both said it was the owners fault. All should get together and issue me a refund. Do not use Airbnb. book directly through a hotel so you do not have to pay for the additional amenities that should be included: like towels that I had to pay an additional $5 per set; or housekeeping, that I did not receive the entire four days I was there.