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.

Customer Service Nightmare Could Have Ruined My Trip

I am currently in the middle of a sabbatical trip that I have been planning for over a year. I am a musician and small business owner from Knoxville, Tennessee, and I have been severely burnt out in recent years from the rigors of running a small business. Six months ago I started planning a four-month trip to the Dominican Republic. This past May I booked an apartment with Airbnb in Punta Cana and made an initial payment of $1,711 using my debit card. Shortly before leaving for my trip I had to replace my debit card. I called Airbnb the day before I left to give them the new card number for the future months’ rent. Unfortunately they made a mistake and cancelled the original payment (which had been made six months earlier) and charged my new card for the same amount. I did not authorize them to do this.

As soon as I saw that money had been taken out of my account I called them back and asked what was going on. They said there was nothing they could do to cancel the new charge but said the original payment would be refunded and the two amounts would even out. However it has now been over two weeks and the refund has not been credited to my account. I have communicated with Airbnb customer support at least five times over the past two weeks to resolve the situation, and they have been unresponsive and unhelpful.

Airbnb has left me alone in a foreign country with nearly $2,000 less in my bank account than I am supposed to have for over two weeks. I am fortunate that I still have enough money in my account to get by for the time being, but the consequences of this situation could have been disastrous if I had been on a tighter budget. Since Airbnb has been totally unresponsive, I have found other accommodations and am initiating the dispute process with my bank for the fraudulent charge. I am completely shocked that a reputable company would do this to a (repeat) customer and leave me in potentially perilous circumstances. I will never do business with Airbnb again, and I suggest than anyone reading this think long and hard before booking lodging through this awful company.

Gold Coast Booking Leads to Being Double Charged

Please read this letter I sent to Airbnb less that three hours after I had made a booking:

Hi Airbnb,

I hope you are having a fabulous day. I am not and I am writing here to let you and others know why. In a few weeks one of my best friends is getting married on the Gold Coast (we never thought it would happen – he is not that pretty). I am the only member of his friends and family who is in the southern hemisphere so I am absolutely delighted to be going.

Today I decided to book my accommodation through Airbnb. You have such a good following and cheaper rates so I thought, why not? That is definitely the kind of service I need as I am on a budget and the rates seemed fabulous. I made my booking with a lovely woman who immediately contacted me. We could not wait for our trip.

Where is the issue, you may wonder? After booking this, my partner and I thought that doing a small run to the food shop would be a good idea. I checked my bank account just to see how much we could splurge after booking our trip. I was expecting to see between $400-600. It wasn’t a great surprise to me when there was a measly $28 in the account. Obviously this was a great shock. When I investigated this further it was clear that Airbnb had double charged me and also refunded me on their system.

This would be all well and good and if I were a millionaire I would find it slightly irritating; however, I am not a millionaire. I was a bit upset but because I am a reasonable person I figured I would contact you and just ask what was going on.

Firstly, I struggled to find contact details on your website – I just kept getting redirected in a loop to your FAQ pages (on a side note: this is extremely irritating). The next step was Facebook, where I found a telephone number. This was an 02 number so I assumed I was calling someone in NSW. The first two agents that I spoke to (in Southeast Asia Pacific – this is where they told me they were) hung up on me when I said I needed to find a solution to procuring the money that had been refunded. The third agent told me I did not know what I was talking about.

At this point I am willing to admit that I lost my temper a little and demanded to speak to someone more helpful. Again, somebody hung up on me. During this time my partner contacted the bank and told them about our little conundrum and they said there was a really very simple solution to resolve this: Airbnb had to email or fax the bank on an email address and/or fax number that they provided with some details.

After receiving this information, the good people at the bank said the money would be released within two hours. At this point, all of the details required on this fax or email were about myself. The only thing Airbnb had to provide was a headed fax or signed email. After some cereal, a bit of a cry, and being a little bit stressed, I called back.

This time I spoke to someone who was a little more helpful. She went and found a supervisor. This person got on the phone and relayed back the same ridiculous diatribe that the first couple of people did and only when I mentioned the word fraudulent and legal advice was anyone on the phone remotely helpful. When I pointed out that I was expecting to call NSW and actually ended up on the phone to Southeast Asia, saying “would I be getting charged a fortune for that on top of having no money in my bank account?” the supervisor hung up and called me back.

After 45 minutes of being on this call I was told the call was very irritating. I was also told that the managers and payment teams that had the capacity to deal with my unfortunate situation were in another country and there was nothing you could do. I am a human being and understand mistakes happen. However, in our modern age of technology and communication I am struggling to comprehend the fact that nobody in a global company can send an email or fax to resolve this situation. It would take less than five minutes.

I won’t keep going on but what I will say is this. You took a charge out of my bank account twice and actually tried to take it a third time. Because of this (and you not being able to send an email or fax) I have $28 in my bank account. Because I only have this much money in my account, either my partner or I are going to have to sacrifice going to work as we will not be able to both afford fuel and/or public transport to our employment. I apologize that we are not more well off and able to cope but even though both of us work 60+ hours a week we are still struggling to make ends meet. If either of us lose our employment I will be seeking legal advice.

I still have no email, fax or refund.

Host tried to rip us off. Two months later, no refund.

A friend and I booked a property for two nights in Salamanca, Spain. The price was 30 Euros a night. After we had stayed one night, the host told us that she had made a mistake on the listing and the price was per person per night. There was nothing wrong with the property; it was in a good location and clean. However, having spent two months traveling in Europe this summer, it was most certainly not a 60-euro room. We told the host that this was outside our budget and she told us we had to pay her 60 euros or leave. We checked out and found another property straight away. When I applied for a refund, the host rejected it, saying we had not left the property until 3:00 PM. I have messages through Airbnb to our new host at noon asking if we could come early, as we were on the street with our bags. Airbnb has never followed up. Two months late, and we still have no refund.

Airbnb Hell Cottage in Durham Gives me Allergic Reaction

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So I booked a three-night Airbnb stay in a “cabin” in someone’s backyard in Durham, North Carolina. When I arrived I found that the place had seen better days (probably when the pictures were taken). It was a tiny cabin with some sort of heavy scratchy material attached to something that had a sofa-like appearance and something that was supposed to be a bed. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on it, even if it had had sheets. For pillows, there were some filthy throw pillows that looked like they were from a sofa. I was planning on using my sleeping bag at that point.

The outdoor shower was exposed to the outdoors and any neighbors. I started getting stung by mosquitoes immediately (this was mid-October). I went to my car to see if I had bug spray and a yellow jacket sprung out of it and stung me. I’m allergic to all stinging venemous insects, so this was scary. I took Benadryl right away and watched to see if I needed an Epi Pen. I sent a note to the host but got no response.

I decided to find a drugstore and grocery store so I went back to the car only to find it was surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets. It seems there was a yellow jacket nest right next to where I had to park, which was also the path to the back yard to reach the cabin. I ran off and called the host; there was no response so I left a message asking for help. Again, there was no response. I waited for a while and when it looked like the car wasn’t surrounded any longer I hopped in and backed it out towards the street. I very carefully got back to the “cottage” and grabbed my stuff and left.

I called Airbnb from a parking lot down the road and asked them for help. Airbnb and the host were totally useless. The host never responded to any of my calls. He sent me a note telling me I should go to a pharmacy at a WalMart. Airbnb said they wouldn’t return my money unless I could send them “proof” of the insects. How am I supposed to document a yellow jacket nest when I can’t go near them? I tried to send a pic of the sting but my camera doesn’t do close-ups well. I sent a picture of my Epi Pen too.

Airbnb has refused to refund the stay I couldn’t use; I had only recently arrived when this all happened. The host has not responded or been there. This place is a horror show and shouldn’t be rented on Airbnb. I had to go to a motel and stay there and am paying for three nights at the cabin I can’t stay at as well. I tried to call Airbnb again but they never connected me, no matter how long I sat on hold. I guess they know I’m calling about that listing as i clicked through it to call them.