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.
We were burglarized the morning of our first day in an Airbnb apartment in New York City. The host refused to refund our rent for the apartment and so far Airbnb has refused to support us in any way. We lost over $5000 in property: every valuable thing we brought including luggage, jewelry, medication, clothing, along with passports and other personal and financial documents. The police confirmed it was likely a set up and the host has now removed the listing from Airbnb. We have since learned that renting apartment units in New York City is illegal. We are furious about the lack of support from Airbnb customer service, who is now telling us that it is our responsibility to ensure the safety and legality of property that we rent through their service. We will soon be employing an attorney to file charges if things are not corrected soon.
We booked a “charming studio” in Manhattan on 60th street, one block from Central Park. Initial confirmation came back confirming the listing as shown. BUT the week we were leaving we received a second confirmation with a different address. The new address was seven blocks away, under the Queensboro Bridge exit ramps, and adjacent to a strip club. I contacted the host about the discrepancy. I received about 20 automated messages confirming our “charming studio” but not responding to my question. I told her we wanted to keep our original reservation for the charming studio near Central Park and that her other listing showed it as two bedroom units, etc. She said there were also studios in the building. I told her we wanted to keep our original reservation near Central Park. Next, the host claimed it was a typo. WHAT?
I called Airbnb. The nightmare began. Then she claimed it was an administrative error. And finally two days before our departure she disclosed that the original address is for a building which doesn’t exist. Meanwhile Airbnb assured us that they would help me find alternate accommodations for us within our desired area. I explained that we were going to be in NYC for two and a half months and that my son would be receiving medical care and so we needed to be able to walk to his appointments and needed to be close to the original location we reserved. They kept trying to convince me to accept the other reservation. I explained that it would not work and that we would have to rely on cabs and that would add over $400/ week to the total. We were then assigned a case manager (Olivia) but every time I called I had to go through the whole explanation again and got more lip service. I was told our case manager would call us back. This never happened.
I was told our case was now labeled urgent. Still, there was no call back. Then I was told they would provide a list of available places but not necessarily within my desired location and price range. I was also told I would have to contact hosts myself. With a 24-hour turnaround response time and further “no availability” for the “available” listings they provided, I was told I was on my own to find alternative accommodation elsewhere. I was now within 24 hours of our departure, I still had no resolution and no place to stay for my son and I and they were still sitting on over $5,500 of our money. The stress they added to our lives cannot be measured. The experience was not just frustrating, it was unethical, fraudulent and illegal. Having a case manager is a joke if he/she does nothing to help you.
I finally got different case managers (Shawn and Buster) who told me they were going to refund our money. I have to see yet to see a refund. I contacted a friend in Manhattan and put me in touch with her realtor. When I told her what had transpired, she did not bat an eyelash. She said that many of her clients call her because they have rented through Airbnb and that many of the NYC Airbnb listings are illegal and so folks are booted out of their rental midway through their stay. Virtual commerce. Virtual crime. My “host”, Rachel, was actually in London. And the crazy thing is, as of my departure THE LISTING FOR THE NONEXISTENT “charming studio” with the map location on 60th street and one block from Central Park was STILL UP on the Airbnb website. I have not decided how I will proceed. Be careful out there.
We (a family of four) were travelling to New York for the first time. We tried to make bookings on the Airbnb site, but many hosts either did not reply or refused. The response time from hosts was a minimum of 48 to 72 hours. We then chanced upon a place on East 13th Street, Manhattan which was reasonably priced. We paid up in full two months (for our 5-night stay) before our proposed trip. We confirmed with the host the night before check in. We had an email also from Airbnb. Eight hours before check in, we get an email from Airbnb cancelling our reservation. The host informed us that the reservation was cancelled abruptly by Airbnb. We could not find a reasonably priced hotel. Airbnb was of no help. They just refunded the money after two months. We lost money on the exchange rate and conversion charges for no service provided. You are pushed in a loop on their website trying to contact them for a resolution.
A “host” in our New York City condo turned her apartment into a hotel, in direct violations of our condominium by-laws. Strangers with suitcases were in our lobby on a regular basis. When caught she put up a fight, she used her AirBnB website to blast away nasty, even racist comments at the condo board and me. Happy ending: It is difficult to complain to AirBnb without becoming a member, but I was able to do so by going through their safety concerns website. AirBnb wrote to me and thanked me for pointing out the violation of their usage guidelines.