My daughter and I booked an apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City several months in advance of our September 1st visit. I was in touch with the host via text several days in advance, who told me to tell her when I was landing, and she would give me directions on how to get to her apartment. Upon my arrival at the airport from Nashville and on the way to the apartment, I called her, at which time I was told that she was changing the location to her son’s apartment on the Upper East Side. I was also told not to tell the doorman that I was an Airbnb guest, but “a friend of her son’s girlfriend Zoe.” I was very upset and told her to cancel the reservation and I requested a refund of by $1,345. So far, in spite of repeated attempts to reach her and Airbnb, I have not received a refund. Help!
What a nightmare I had with this company. I had guests flying in from Atlanta and we planned on spending the weekend in NYC. I live in central New Jersey. The original house we rented was in Bayshore and totally misrepresented on the Airbnb site. There were holes in the walls, trash on the floor, large dead insects, exposed electrical wires, and dirty overflowing laundry baskets. The pool we were told we could swim in looked more like a black lagoon. Hence, we never even bought our luggage inside. As we were entering the house, there was a young man with a barking dog exiting. Did he have a key? Was he coming back? Was he coming back with friends? more dogs? Was he staying in the house at the same time we were? We had no idea who he was nor did we feel the need to ask.
We were a party of four girls and extremely concerned about our safety. After calling Airbnb right away to cancel, the four of us went out to dinner and tried to find new accommodations with the help of Airbnb. This was the true beginning of my hell ride with this company. From this point, I spent the next three days speaking with representatives. They called and emailed all hours of the day and night. Although I paid in full, there was a problem getting me verified. This verification process took no less than five representatives and had me at a near mental breakdown. Several times I could not continue the phone conversations which I now viewed as a barrage of harassment from the representatives.
The constant calls and emails ruined my vacation. I did not spend a lot of time with my guests because Airbnb took most of my time. Twice I had to get my guests to get on the phone with them because I could not allow them to continue to consume my time. Each day I logged almost 8 to 10 hours dealing with multiple representatives. I was getting emails at 3:00 AM and phone calls before 6:00 AM. On the fourth day, my friends left for home and I never got to spend any quality time with them. I was able to find another location, which was fantastic. The constant communication via email and phone, being placed on hold, taking photos, sending photos for which they “never received”, getting verified, getting a refund from the first location, finding and making a second reservation in NYC at midnight, and taking almost two days to get verified ruined my entire vacation with my friends. My three girlfriends are also doing their part in spreading the word on the incompetence of this Airbnb’s representatives.
So, I had this wonderful, romantic trip planned for my girlfriend and me: tickets to a Broadway show and a “fantastic” room right in Times Square that I booked through Airbnb. However, less than two weeks before our scheduled trip, I received an email from Airbnb that simply said: “Unfortunately, your reservation has been cancelled.”
That’s it! No explanation, nothing except the option to credit my account or receive a refund. There is no option to contact the owner from whom I was renting. This is my first experience with Airbnb and will very likely be my last. How can one make plans under these circumstances? My son has several upcoming Airbnb reservations. I will advise him to cancel and book hotels. I would certainly never recommend Airbnb and have no intention of giving them a second chance. Oh well, back to Hotels.com.
I would suggest a new category of victim for this website: Airbnb neighbor. My home and four other apartments in a small 6-unit building were all unwilling dragged into the pitfalls of the sharing economy. We had involuntary, front-row seats to the joy of when one individual volunteers access to your doorstep to the world without your consent and lies to everyone involved for her personal financial gain. Stephanie Browne is a serial Airbnb “host” who at one point listed up to three separate full apartment rentals in Bushwick, Brooklyn; this is illegal to do in NY for less than 30 days. Having reaped much financial gain as a full-blown gentrifier with two separate rental apartments in one building, she proceeded to expand her hotel room business by signing a lease in another small 6-unit apartment building. Our new “neighbor” proceeded to rent the apartment out as early as two weeks from when she moved in to the unit.
Why, we wondered, are families of five who obviously don’t know anything about the neighborhood carrying bottled water and coolers into a one bedroom apartment when our “neighbor” was nowhere to be seen? Sure enough, the apartment was listed on Airbnb for rent, with Stephanie Browne claiming to be the owner. This started a full year of random vacationing strangers parading through the building at all hours, with one guest at one point threatening the host by calling the police when she was locked out, and causing the entire building’s locks to be changed. She gave out building keys like party favors to the whole world. Meanwhile, she was not even residing in the country and had moved full-time to Europe.
Stephanie Browne is the diametric opposite of the “good actor” Airbnb claims makes up their hosts who only need to rent periodically to afford their rent. Browne, by holding three leases for apartments she neither owned or resided in purely for the use of temporary guests, is the exact cause of why everyone’s rent in NYC is going up. After much complaining and lackluster enforcement of the law by NYC Department of Buildings, she gave up the rental unit one year early. As a parting shot, she tried selling the books and furniture from her hotel room to her “neighbors” in the building and wrote this pitiful, inaccurate justification of her noxious lifestyle.
Meanwhile, she still continues to list two illegal rentals while living in Europe. Airbnb’s community complaint line is joke: they enabled her lies to the guests, the building owner, and the occupants of the building she put at constant inconvenience and risk. The moral of the story for other afflicted neighbors who become unwilling concierges to hotel rooms in their own building: know your rights, contact your management company, elected officials, local enforcement agencies, and get these hosts that are your neighbors where it hurts, their wallets.
I booked a verified listing that was an amazing apartment near Central Park in New York City. The host contacted me with information on how to receive the keys, and asked about my stay and how he could help with suggestions. After arriving at the “place” only to find that the building had been torn down (the police said three years ago…), I was effectively stranded with nowhere to go; we had to book the only hotel we could find available for $500. When we called Airbnb, we were put on hold for over 20 minutes to finally be told they would refund the amount that we paid. When I insisted they pay for the hotel bill that night, they refused saying they would book us in another Airbnb. When I asked them how they would verify that that building was not demolished either, they had no response…
This is a complete joke of a verification process. At least drive by the building to see if it is still there before allowing scammers to post fake listings. One of the customer service agents agreed to pay a portion of the hotel bill, which I have yet to receive…
I hosted for four years and had over a hundred reviews, all of them positive. In the last year I expanded from one to two rooms in my New York City apartment. One day last week, one guest called me in the middle of the day and said someone had been calling her nonstop and leaving scary voice messages about how she wasn’t safe and needed to leave immediately. My other guest reported the same. I was extremely confused and called multiple times that day. The help department was unable to give me the tiniest detail, from the lowest levels to management. After all this mayhem, I got a legalese form email essentially saying, “We’re canceling your account and not telling you why. Goodbye.”
It was totally insane. The next day I called again and demanded to speak with someone until someone could explain why this had happened and what I had done. The person talked to her manager, then got back on the line and said something along the lines of, “We’re now deleting your whole account. Goodbye.” Then she hung up. When I called again this week, I waited on hold for a half hour, and as soon as they answered, they hung up immediately. What is amazing is they just wrote me today, as they often do, to ask me to write all my local representatives to help support their causes in the legislature. I took the opportunity to write all my representatives about what a truly terrible company they are. For all their talk about helping the little guy make ends meet, they seem to not give a second thought to completely ruining my livelihood. They campaign ruthlessly for their own expansions and pit their customers and massive war chests against local governments. Local governments need to make a strong stand and repel this tyrannical intruder. These are by far the worst practices and standards of conduct I’ve ever seen from any company in my life. I will now do my part to make sure everyone knows about this.
After years of being an Airbnb guest and months of being a host in NYC I’ve concluded something that I long suspected but couldn’t zero in on because I’d never hosted. Airbnb is 100% for people who are using it as a business. This story of them building a community is false. First, from the guest side: ever try to find a whole apartment or house that didn’t look like it was just some real estate guy trying to make tons of cash? I have. Ever finally arrive and never even meet the host? Just put the code in the key safe, right? Ever look through the kitchen and realize that no one has ever used this kitchen because if they did they’d realize that everything necessary to cook was either missing or broken? I have. Not once. Not twice. Every single time.
Now from hosting side. Hosts are treated like a commodity, like they are out to make as much money as possible and will do anything to get the next guest. I wonder why? Because good little hosts accept every single reservation regardless of whether the guest asks, “Can I arrive at 1 AM?” or asks you something like, “I’d love to stay at your place. Where is Brooklyn, anyways?” Or you receive a request at 2 AM for someone who wants the place for your maximum stay length four months in the future. You think I’m exaggerating. I’m not.
This is my home. I live here. I’m not a real estate professional. Generally the tools to connect with the right guests work. You can set the minimum and maximum length. Turnover times. Open and close calendar dates. Seems pretty friendly. If you’re still reading, I’m finally to my point. The kicker: If you aren’t making Airbnb lots of money by renting your home like it’s a freaking hotel they will make your life hell.
Here’s how: 1. They randomly shut down your account for “not accepting.” 2. They modify how your listing shows in results. This is a really big deal because they have all the power and there is no transparency. But the results of this are clear. When you’re making money all the reservation requests are from people with lots of great feedback. When you start getting more selective the people they send your way signed up the night before… with no feedback. No travel experience. No community – you are a hotel to them. And that’s how Airbnb lets you know what a good little host is supposed to be.
Airbnb will never properly vet hosts, or require themselves to be forthcoming about a legal situation where a host is located. There are critical legal issues the company is having with some major cities, such as New York, Barcelona, and the company’s own hometown of San Francisco. Airbnb’s goal is to make money, period, and thus the company will not be heavily concerned about any complaints. As long as folks keep trying to get a short term rental in places that are trying to curtail this behavior, or in places WHERE IT IS ILLEGAL, the company will keep making money, and to hell with hosts and guests who run into problems. In short, Airbnb has no incentive to discontinue their terrible behavior. Just the opposite. I would not in a million years <a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/technology/airbnb-sues-san-francisco-over-a-law-it-had-helped-pass.html”>rent a short term whole apartment or home Airbnb in New York City</a>.For the seemingly endless array of folks reserving short term rentals in NYC, getting into serious problems with the cancellations, and screaming “Never Again!”: GET A CLUE and GET A HOTEL.
We began planning our trip from Athens to New York in late June, three months in advance. After having browsed through what was available on Airbnb we booked a nice apartment that made complete sense for two couples with two small children, when compared with a Manhattan hotel. A week before the trip, the hosts cancels – just like that – claiming building safety reasons. At Airbnb’s prompting, though I was panicking, I searched for a replacement apartment and I found something nice at around the same price. I make and keep contact with the host, by phone and mail, throughout the week to reassure myself that this time it’s not going to fall through.
Well, I bet you know what comes next: the minute I turn on my cellphone at arrivals at JFK there is a cancellation message from Airbnb. This is followed up by a phone call by an assistant that says she is sorry and invites me to find something else or, alternatively, to have a full refund (as if there was ever a question about that!) Anyone can imagine my panic, with nowhere to go, at 7:00pm Friday evening, with two children dead tired after an 11-hour flight. We couldn’t find a single replacement listing in Manhattan. Airbnb simply didn’t care what was to happen to us. I asked that they put us up in a hotel; they said we were entitled to nothing, so I had to find a hotel on the Internet with available rooms, at exorbitant last-minute prices. We ended up paying double what we had budgeted, plus about one thousand Euros in roaming costs for telephones and data! Never again!
My family stayed at a beautiful Airbnb in the central village of New York City, owned by a man named Nick. After our stay, he specifically asked us for a good review, which we found odd at the time. Once we had done so, he waited a few hours to accuse us of the most absurd damage claims. He claimed we completely destroyed his apartment, including a washing machine, a chair and a bunch of towels that we had literally never laid eyes on in our lives. He asked for 1000+ Canadian dollars, thinking we wouldn’t fight it, and just pay to make it go away. Not only did we spend hours finding holes in his story, which clearly proved that we were being scammed, but Airbnb didn’t even help us, taking Nick’s side almost immediately. We clearly proved he was lying on all points, but they took the lazy way out and charged us about half the amount, to make it, in their words, “fair.” There’s no telling how many people he’s first asked for a good review, then charged when it’s far too late to make an edit or delete the review, just for the sake of improving his apartment. I’ve attached the link here, so i warn you, AVOID THIS AIRBNB AT ALL COSTS.