Terrible Host with no way to Contact Airbnb

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Airbnb hosts accused us bringing extra people and that is not true. We booked for 12 and there were 11 of us. Proof is attached. I’m writing on behalf of members of KC Nippon and myself. I was a world karate champion. We travel a lot and use Airbnb very often. We never had a bad experience like the one in NYC.

I came to NYC for a competition with ten kids. The apartment was not ready when we arrived: the house was dirty and some workers were putting on a bathroom door that was completely missing. The other door was broken and some of the furniture as well.

After two nights, the toilet broke and all the sewage was coming back up. We contacted the super and she promised to fix it. That was very risky for the kids’ health and we had to close that bathroom. We couldn’t use it for the rest of our stay. That caused a lot of delays in our program and a lot of complaints from kids’ parents.

When we complained about it, the host sent threatening SMS messages (see attached photo). She also came the day that we were leaving to check everything, and when we complained she start to be very rude and was yelling at the kids. She is listed as a real estate agent and I’m not even sure can she legally rent apartments on Airbnb in New York State.

When we came back we saw a very impolite message: the agency wanted us to pay them extra money. We booked and pay in advance for 12 persons, but there were only 11 of us. We will not pay anything extra.

At this moment we would like to request a refund for our expenses. The kids’ health was in danger (considering coronavirus and all the unsanitary conditions). My personal opinion is that Airbnb should protect their users from hosts like this.

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Birthday at New York Airbnb Gone Wrong

I got about five friends together for my birthday at a park in upstate New York, then it started raining. I found an Airbnb that seemed large enough for my friends and since none of us were from the town we just wanted a place to chill and wait out the rain for an hour or two. For $125 it was fine.

We arrived and brought up our coolers. Not even five minutes after we arrived, we got a knock on the door and this tall man counted us out. There were six of us and I said six on the reservation. He left and was very rude.

Then about ten minutes after that I got a call from Airbnb saying I was breaking the rules with having too many people and having alcohol in the apartment. We were all obviously over 21 and there was no rule against having alcohol.

At this point I was very annoyed. Luckily I had “I Love Lucy” on DVD and brought that into the room. We were all on the couch watching it. We didn’t even finish an episode when we got another knock on the door with a different woman bursting into the room, and saying that we unplugged their camera in the living room.

Now we knew we were being filmed in the apartment and decided to leave within 45 minutes. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose to take my money and get us out asap.

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Airbnb Experience Completely Ruined our NYC Stay

After confirming my stay with the Airbnb host, she messaged me asking if it was okay to stay in the occupancy during our visit. She sold it by saying that her place was two units that were joined and that her side was remote and isolated, that we would only be sharing the living and kitchen area, and that she was barely home anyway.

When we arrived, physically looked at the space, and spoke to her, the exact opposite was true. The pull out couch was right outside her bedroom door, next to her desk which she said she’d be using. The bathroom she assigned us was literally in the kitchen. The room she assigned us was smaller than a broom closet, while hers was huge with a private bath. There was absolutely zero possibility for privacy. She misled us in order to stay while making money off her unit.

Unfortunately, being a nice guy, I agreed based on her description. Airbnb said there was nothing I could do, since I didn’t record our encounter. I’m not a PI; I’m on vacation and don”t even know the legality of recording her or her private space. I told her the situation she just put me in was undoable. With no other option I had to leave and rent a hotel room. This experience completely ruined our NYC stay.

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Cancelled after Four Minutes with Moderate Refund Policy

I booked an apartment in New York. I made sure there was a moderate refund policy. I immediately realized I had mixed up the dates and within the space of about four minutes, I cancelled the reservation (sending an apology and explanation to the host).

Now, this was a bit of a last-minute thing and the booking was for two days in the future (I actually had meant to book the day after, hence the mix up). I only received the cleaning fee back. No other refund was given. My request for a refund via the site was ignored. I called their customer service, who extremely patronizingly ‘explained’ to me that I hadn’t read the rules properly and I should be more careful in future to read the rules.

The rule listed is: “Free cancellation for 48 hours. After that, cancel up to 5 days before check-in and get a full refund minus the service fee.” I’m aware that I booked leaving only two days before checking in, but I’m pretty sure that the words “after that” signify that there are no strings attached so long as it is within 48 hours. Surely the “5 days” part of the rules only apply after 48 hours?

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Host Rented the Apartment During our Stay

We are three girls and one boy from San Francisco, traveling to NYC this past weekend. The Airbnb nightmare in NYC resulted in two intrusions in the middle of the night that ended up with the police escorting the host out. Airbnb support “apologized for the inconvenience” and this guy is still renting on the platform.

The first red flag was that the host never gave us the address to the apartment after asking numerous times until right before our plane was going to take off. We had to call Airbnb support and we were not sure if we would have a place to stay that night. He called us after Airbnb support was involved and the first thing he said was “I am EXTREMELY BUSY”. Finally we got the address. He acknowledged his tone in the text.

The second red flag was after we saw how dirty, and not true to the description the apartment was (expectation vs reality here), the host cancelled the posting. We had to find the original images using a website cache. We called Airbnb support and they gave us a refund and a 60-dollar coupon to rebook a room. Since it was 5:00 PM on the last night we were staying in NYC, we confirmed with them if we could stay another night. They said yes, and that they would take care of the payout to the host.

On our last night, shit started going down. At around 11:30 PM a girl walked in with suitcases and keys. We were all shocked. She said she got the keys from a mutual friend and thought she could stay here. We were dumbfounded and said we are here for another night. She left after that. After that we were scared of another guest intrusion, so we propped a chair against the door.

At 12:09 AM we were awoken with loud banging and kicking on the door. An angry man’s voice shouted: “Get out of my fucking apartment! Open the fucking door!” on repeat. We cracked open the door. It waas our host and his girlfriend. He threatened us that he would get into the apartment “either nicely or not nicely.”

One of my friends (a licensed lawyer in NY), asked if we could have a civil discussion. He said yes, and we let him inside. He ordered us to sit down. He had a large duffel bag with him that made a huge thud when he let it down. I called 911 at the start of the break-in but I didn’t have pants on so I stayed in the room, only coming out after the 911 call ended and I found a pair of pants from one of my friend’s on the floor.

During the confrontation, he was very agitated and smoking the entire time. Apparently the large hole in the kitchen only happened Saturday morning (we arrived Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM) and he just didn’t have time to take care of it. That’s some fast acting mold. He was very upset that he was “not getting a dime from us staying here,” plus he got fined on top of our stay.

He demanded to be paid either from Airbnb or us, right there right now. He called Airbnb support there, and demanded to talk to “the highest level staffed personnel there.” I don’t think they listened to him. He later hung up. He calmed down a bit after seeing the messages we showed him saying we are staying according to instructions and Airbnb will pay.

He threatened to call the cops. I told them not to worry; I already did. His girlfriend was trying to de-escalate the situation after this. It seemed like it was not the first time she had seen this happened. He works from 9:00 to 5:00 so that’s why he missed all the calls. However, he did not miss the phone call at midnight from the new tenant telling him we were in there.

We interrupted his $200 dinner with his girlfriend (I thought he worked from 9:00 to 5:00? Who is eating a fancy dinner at midnight?) He avoided questions on why the apartment was so dirty. The cleaning fee was $100 – what was that spent on?

The police then rang the doorbell. Thank you NYPD; you guys are the best. They arrived so fast. The host and his girlfriend left and never came back. The policeman came up and told us he would make sure he didn’t come back and the policeman would walk them out. He told us to barricade the door again in case they came back.

Two of my girlfriends suggested we book and move to another room and I said I would not let him win. We all slept there that night although not very well. This whole time, the host never bothered to respond to Airbnb support, or our messages, or reached out to us to let us know about the new tenant, or the fact that he was coming to kick down the door with a heavy duffel bag. He left it at our apartment and we did not look inside.

What was really surprising was Airbnb’s response. They just apologized for “the inconvenience” and told us to leave feedback on their website. This guy is still out there renting to people. What baffled me was this apartment had 100+ great reviews and the host said he has been renting for six years.

Airbnb asked us what else we wanted after the refund. We don’t care about the money. We don’t want any more people falling for his fake pictures and this crazy guy breaking into your apartment at night. Our full booking was only around $360 a night, so we care more about taking this guy off the platform than the actual refund.

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Cancelled our booking within 24 hours of check in

We booked an Airbnb months ago in NYC, very close to where my husband was to be a groomsman in a wedding. With less than 24 hours to check-in, we received a cancellation notice without any explanation from the host. After a frantic, stressful search, we found another property on HomeAway (a competitor). When we called Airbnb, they basically shrugged their shoulders, gave us a refund, offered us a $60 credit if we booked within the next month… and deleted all of our communication with the host.

What is that about? We wanted to write a negative review of the host to keep people away from them, but Airbnb would not allow us to. It makes me wonder if this is common practice by Airbnb in order to limit the number of negative reviews to keep people using the site. We won’t use them again.

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Airbnb Host Relists His Property for More

I made a reservation to stay one week. The host took payment, then would not answer a few days before regarding check in. I had to get customer service involved and he finally answered them. I was in a car on my way to the Airbnb and I got a message that he wanted to cancel most of my days, giving the excuse that he has family issues. Well, now I’m out with nowhere to stay in NYC. I searched and the only available places are around $300 a night. Plus while searching I came across the place that changed my dates due to “family issues”; it’s available for those dates for more money. Airbnb is a scam. They don’t screen who is offering places.

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Left Stranded in NYC with Only $500 Because of Airbnb

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I am writing Airbnb an official complaint regarding their handling of my three-week reservation that was cancelled on the day prior to checking in. I understand that this cancellation may have been out of their control but the following steps towards fixing this was just a blatant failure on their part.

I’d also just like to point out that their lack of severe penalties to disincentivise this behaviour is also a contributor so let’s just make sure they’re aware that this is what can happen when policies are designed extremely poorly. I’d like to chronologically recount to you my 8-hour ordeal (to which at the time of writing, being 2:00 AM, the issue has still not been resolved and I have no accommodation for the next 22 days in NYC).

On the first call to Airbnb’s helpline, a complaints representative told me the host who cancelled on me was obligated to help me find other suitable accommodation and I should sit tight and wait for a call within 10-15 minutes. When I pushed back she said “Sir, you need to trust the process…she will call you”. She did not.

For the second, third, and fourth calls I was constantly told to call back until I was finally redirected to a case manager. He could only provide me a 500 AUD coupon to supplement my next booking. All subsequent bookings in a similar area range cost at a minimum 1000 AUD more. This was not good enough and I asked him politely if he could escalate this to someone who could do better. He escalated this urgent request over email and then his shift ended – with no further correspondence or reasonable handover to another manager. This is not okay.

On my fifth call I had been informed by my new case manager that the other case manager cannot be reached and that he will endeavour to look for another suitable accommodation that would work with my budget and transit requirements. He proceeded to then send me a haphazard “Brooklyn” search and asked me if I had “looked” at the listings.

It took me ten minutes to convince him that what he had sent me was all in USD and that if you convert to AUD it would be much more expensive. He then proceeded to tell me he needed to restart his computer (due to computer issues) and that he promised he would call me back. I waited another 30 minutes before I decided to call back and repeat the process.

Call number six was with a “resolution specialist” who looked for other accommodation for me after reassuring me that she will be able to help. The listings she provided were also in USD and when converted, finances were unfavourable. On top of that, the listings she provided were so inadequate for my transit needs (to school in midtown) that I just gave up calling for help. I have since messaged Airbnb on Facebook messenger and they have also asked me to await another “case manager” to address my issue.

As you can see, a lot has happened and there is no resolution to show for it. On top of that I’d like to highlight some key failures on Airbnb’s part: poor escalation of issues as each “manager” or “specialist” I spoke to wasn’t really a manager or special enough or had enough authority to increase the limit or convert the coupon to a currency/amount that actually made a difference.

I’m surprised that the response approach was so varied. There are smaller banks in less developed countries that have better authority limits and remediation procedures than Airbnb does. The suggestions made by Airbnb’s specialists very clearly point out to me that they have no understanding around the context of my situation and the context of the area in which I’m trying to stay. If I knew that was the case I would not have called so many times as they were not helpful in the slightest and just wasted my time.

The amount Airbnb refunds and additional coupon offered does not match or reflect the additional accommodation costs I will incur due to my last minute booking circumstance.

Finally, I’d like to point out that this is my first time in New York and due to Airbnb’s inability to resolve issues promptly and adequately, they have made me miss my first Broadway show that I had booked, ruined my first New York experience and have broken my trust. They are a company that provides a service that I’ve constantly recommended to others and I was always a huge supporter and fan until this atrocious experience.

All I ask for at this point in time is some accountability and fair compensation for an extremely poorly handled interaction. I will take further action if necessary as the way this case has been handled is completely unacceptable.

An update from later the following day, four hours after I had to check out from my previous Airbnb accommodation. Please see attached photos of my conversation with yet another case manager. I would honestly just like to speak to someone that isn’t offshore and has some semblance of logic and reasoning.

Word of Warning: Do Not Book Airbnb for Popular Cities

If you are like me, Airbnb has become my #1 priority when booking accommodation for a trip abroad. However, Airbnb cancelled my booking in New York with only weeks to spare, even though the booking was made eight months prior. Their customer service has no responsibility to find you alternative accommodation.

For Airbnb this is good business, because now the betrayed and baffled traveler has two expensive options: to book again with Airbnb and either pay more for a similar listing, or select a poorer quality listing. Alternatively, a person can book a hotel which is also more expensive as there is such a short time left prior to the trip.

What was shocking is that Airbnb originally blamed the host for cancelling. Moments after this, I received a message from the Superhost stating that he had no idea why it was cancelled. He had 50+ five star reviews. Airbnb removed all traces of the booking including our conversation chain and the host’s profile.

Airbnb might be good for small cities but for big ones, I would avoid booking as there is a high risk your booking will be cancelled and you have no way to expect the sudden additional expenses.