Last-Minute Cancellation before Christmas Holidays in Hawaii

My booking through Airbnb six months ago for a monthly rental during the Christmas holidays in Hilo, Hawaii was cancelled at the last minute by the hosts and their agent. There has been no remedy or compensation for the last minute disruption or the costs incurred by us. This caused significant stress, anxiety and costs for us. Airbnb will not remedy the matter, the rental company has not responded to us – see my detailed issue filed with them – and there has been no remediation after many emails and phone calls. I would avoid doing business with these guys. The next step is to pursue legal action to bring the matter public and make buyers beware.

We are an elderly couple from Chicago. We planned to celebrate our Christmas holidays and spend our winter months with my wife’s aging mother in Hilo. This was a special occasion for us celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. It was also a final anticipated return visit to the island after 30 years for my wife’s mother. We spent a lot of time researching the house because my wife’s elderly mother needed a single level house with no steps to climb and a walk-in shower set up.

The house we booked met our needs. After the cancellation by the host, we scrambled to find an alternative through the agent as well as through Airbnb. Due to the last-minute nature of host’s cancellation, the local agent was unable to find any place suitable in Hilo for Christmas or in any of the neighboring islands. We requested help from Airbnb and they too were not able to locate a suitable accommodation that met our needs. This caused significant stress to our family, incurred additional costs, and disruption to our long-anticipated vacation.

We had airline bookings that we could not cancel. My daughter and her husband were planning to be with us for Christmas and had booked all their flights and made plans to be in Hilo. We ended up finding a small two-bedroom townhouse in Oahu on our own after two weeks of searching in Hawaii and ended up paying a much higher cost and a premium to get the property during the Christmas holidays. We also paid a penalty to change the flights to Oahu instead of Hilo.

The townhouse does not meet our needs and we are not happy. My daughter and her husband could not change flights due to the Christmas rush and were not able to celebrate Christmas with us. They had spent money out of pocket to find accommodation and transportation in Hilo and it caused significant hardship to them. Given the unexpected nature of this cancellation by the host for rental during the holiday period, our options were very limited. We hold the owner, their agent and Airbnb responsible for this cancellation.

Airbnb Booking was Reserved on Another Website

I couldn’t believe that the cottage I booked on Airbnb had been booked six days earlier after I paid via PayPal on January 6th. The host messaged me after my itinerary was confirmed to tell me. She said that I could not stay in her accommodation even though I had paid and my booking was confirmed. She told me that January 8th had been booked out via booking.com on New Year’s Eve. This must be a new year’s resolution joke. You can’t place your accommodation on different websites like this. You are managing your booking details yourself. You should’ve had sufficient time to indicate “the property is unavailable ” on your Airbnb bookings. There were six days between New Year’s Eve and January 6th. You messed up your bookings and you should take responsibility. You can’t walk away after having taken money. That is called ripping people off. I have also attached my booking files to support my true personal experience with this Airbnb host and the website. I am sure that both the host and Airbnb are to blame. Both of the parties have faults. Now I am stuck.

Creepy Experience at Airbnb in Chicago on New Year’s Eve

My boyfriend and our other friends decided to go to Chicago for four days. We rented a single room near the north side. Our first hosts were this lovely male gay couple. That is until one specific night when my boyfriend and I decided to take a regular shower. All of a sudden we heard aggressive knocking coming from the door. One of the hosts began belligerently accusing us of causing “thousands of dollars in damage” he then proceeded to uninvitingly investigate the bathroom while my boyfriend (still naked) hid frantically behind the door. At this point we were both scared and confused because he had no rules over showering times. He went back down to the basement part of the home (where he and his boyfriend were staying) and said “whatever it was stopped” and reverted back to a fake smile whilst saying some dismissing thing like “Happy New Year’s. Enjoy your night.” After the whole ordeal was over we were all scared to shower and didn’t do so until the last day, out of necessity.

Disappointing Experience with Vindictive Host

We recently stayed (Boxing Day 2017) at this Airbnb and found the experience to be less than that what we have come expect and what we are accustomed to with Airbnb. We had two friends with us (this was their Christmas present from us, and their first experience with Airbnb) and sadly they have stated that they would never use Airbnb if this was an example of what to expect.

The host was not home when we arrived, which wasn’t an issue. When she arrived home, she was very communicative. We had no issue with the host at this point. However, the facilities were not as we expected. The pool was green, and although it was to cool to swim on that particular day, anyone arriving later in the week would not have had the option, though it is clearly listed as an attraction on the Airbnb page. The host stated she had told us that the pool was not usable but we do not recall her saying this at any point.

There was very limited communication by the host, and the normal message from Airbnb to “pack your bags”, etc. was not sent to my email. We had to contact the host on Christmas Day to ensure that the booking was confirmed, and received a terse message to say that the booking had been confirmed months ago.

There was street parking only (not an issue as the area is quite safe). The listing stated ‘private facilities’ for our use; however, this was not the case. The bathroom was full of cosmetics, and items used by the family, and whilst there, the child of the house was using these facilities. There was no soap to wash our hands in either the upstairs or downstairs bathroom/toilet (which makes one wonder about the hygiene of the family members).

The house itself was definitely not clean, contrary to what the host replied in her review. A ‘continental breakfast’ was offered – we declined as we are on a special diet – but we told the host that the other couple with us would like the breakfast. On the morning of our departure the host said she normally sets up the breakfast for guests but had to rush off to drop her son off to a camp. She waved towards the cupboard and said ‘help yourself, there is bread in there and in the freezer’. We found a loaf of white bread, not the continental breakfast items as clearly stated on the listing.

We left the place tidy, and pondered for several days about what to state in the review. We decided to give an honest review, and then on the evening of January 2nd received a very nasty phone call from the host, followed by an equally nasty strange message that we were sent to her house to “deliberately sabotage [the experience] and that they were set up and will make the connection. Nobody is that cheap. The public domain will speak for itself. You are so unsophisticated.”

In the phone call she mentioned a couple of names of the people that had ‘set us up’. We are very perplexed by this as this was a completely cold contact found on Airbnb and we booked in August 2017. The phone call and message left us both very shaken, feeling threatened, and will make us more wary of using Airbnb in the future and giving honest reviews. My husband is currently recovering from cancer, which we chatted about with the host very openly, her final words on the nasty phone call were ‘no wonder you have cancer’ and then hung up, which left us both very distressed and having a sleepless night. This was followed up by the strange text message.

Customer Service over Cancellations is Lacking

We had a reservation in South Lake Tahoe over Christmas paid in full, that was abruptly cancelled today, nine days prior to arrival. There was no explanation why, just a gratuity voucher if we could find a replacement for $195. This is the first time some of our family have used Airbnb, and I have to say we are all totally dissatisfied with all that has transpired. Our daughter has received no response to her email from Airbnb or from the host. We reserved in August, well in advance of the holiday. Two of the families are flying up here from southern California. This cancellation has not only made a mess of our well planned trip but also left us scrambling to find a replacement which is not proving to be easy at this late date near the holiday. I haven’t even mentioned the stress of the entire issue. I would think there would be some restrictions to the owners in regards to cancelling, as there is to the renter. $195 for our trouble doesn’t even begin to make things right. They can be sure we will be sharing this with all we know especially to those who use the service.

Double Airbnb Booking in Hawaii on Fourth of July Week

I booked a vacation to travel to Hawaii with family and friends for the week of July 4th. We excitedly booked a beautiful home in early February, and counted the weeks down until we would land for our respite in paradise. I’ve used Airbnb many times, recommended it highly to friends, and have had nothing buy incredible experiences, until 11:00 PM on June 30th.

We arrived at the airport, rented a car, and headed toward the property. It dawned on me that I had not received the email I had grown to expect from each host with a greeting and instructions. I had received numerous emails from Airbnb, and recalled seeing one with the house rules, so I decided that I must have just overlooked the details on how to enter the home. We were weary travelers, and had wandered our way to this property down a narrow road with no street lights.

As we arrived, we exited the rental car and went to the front door, assuming there would be a lock box, or instructions, or an indicator of sorts how to enter the home. Nothing. I promptly pulled out my cell phone and dialed the property manager. No answer. I pulled out my laptop and looked up the email from Airbnb to see if I had overlooked instructions. Under the ‘House Rules,’ there was no information about entering the home. I dialed the property manager again. No answer. I sent a text message. I looked up the number for Airbnb and called them. An automated system placed me on hold. There was no messaging explaining how long I would be waiting, and given the fact that it was late at night on a Friday, I had no idea if a person would even come on the phone.

I waited and waited and waited (for twelve minutes), and finally I received a call from the woman who was listed as the property owner (who was actually the property manager) on Airbnb. She explained that she had been fired by the owners, and they had retained a new property manager. She told me I needed to call the new manager. I promptly hung up and dialed the number she provided. The woman explained that someone else was in the home, and I wouldn’t be able to check in until they checked out the next day. I asked her what she would have me do in the interim. She told me she’d have the former property manager phone me back. I tried to call Airbnb again and waited and waited and waited yet again (in excess of ten minutes).

We decided to drive to a restaurant so that we could have light and hopefully wifi. About twenty minutes passed when both women called me back on a conference call. One explained that they had a miscommunication and the property had been double booked, and that I can only stay there for 2 of the 8 nights I had rented. I asked them what they would have me do. Both women sat in complete silence on the phone. I explained that it was now midnight on an island that was closed down for the evening, on one of the busy travel weekends of the year to Hawaii, and we had no housing accommodations. I again asked them if they had suggestions about what we should do. Again, dead silence. I explained, calmly, mind you, that I was traveling with four additional people, and that we have no familiarity with hotel or rental accommodations on the island, and asked what they can suggest. My questions were met with silence.

The fired property manager explained that she would have Airbnb refund my money. I asked if they had any suggestions about a hotel I could call to get last minute reservations. Silence. Literally. I finally explained that they were not being helpful, and that I needed to hang up so that I could find accommodations for five travelers at midnight. With no wifi (the little diner didn’t have it) and bad cell reception, all five of us got on our cell phones to research options, which turned out to be a painfully slow process. Every hotel was labeled “sold out” except two.

I called the first one, and they explained they no longer had rooms. I called the second one, and explained our circumstances. The front desk staff at the resort explained that they had one room prepared and one room that was dirty. She said she would find a way to get the room cleaned, and advised us to come over. Traveling to the resort required us to traverse the entire island.

En route, during the 1.5-hour drive, a representative from Airbnb called me, and explained that the property manager called to advise that they were canceling my reservation and had requested my money be refunded. He was very nice, and kept repeating that this situation was horrible and unacceptable. He repeatedly apologized. He advised that he was going to do something to make this right, and he would send me an email with the details so that I could focus on driving. Including tax we paid $600 for each of the two hotel rooms, a total of $1,200 (the only two hotel rooms we could find on the island).

Our entire week at the house rental was going to be $2,300. I was panicked because we could not afford a $9,000 hotel bill for our vacation. I woke up the next day and phoned Airbnb to see if we could find another property. The agent told me they would have my particular customer service agent call me back. Fearful of being unable to check out of the hotel, and with the clock ticking, I got online to see if I could find another property myself. I lucked out. I found a beautiful house and the property owners were lovely, and incredibly kind. I was able to do an “Instant Booking” which allowed me to get contact information for the homeowner. I called them immediately, and explained our circumstances. The couple was great, and prepared the house for us.

Eventually, the agent from Airbnb called me back. By this point I had received an email from Airbnb explaining that they were going to refund my money, and give me an additional $100 refund to held defray my expenses of having to stay some place else, and additionally they would give me $100 credit towards a future rental. When the agent phoned me, I explained that I had already booked a new property, and no longer required his assistance to do so as time was of the essence. I inquired about whether Airbnb would considering reimbursing my additional out of pocket expenses due to this mishap. He explained that he would have been able to do more for me had I called Airbnb the night prior when the crisis was occurring.

I explained that I had attempted to reach Airbnb multiple times with no success. He explained that due to the holiday week, they were exceptionally busy and their hold times were very long. I shared that there was not even an indicator in any of their recordings that someone was actually working that late at night. I told him I just started to assume that it was so late, I actually might be holding until someone reported for the next workday. I explained I was very surprised when someone actually did call me back, and considering that he had worked the late shift, I was further surprised that he himself was calling me back again the next morning to help me find a new place. I jokingly asked him was he working a 24-hour shift. Ultimately, I asked Airbnb if they would refund me any additional money, as I was out $1,000 in hotel expenses. They refused.

Lessons learned: check, double, and triple check with the host prior to departure. Assure they are ready for your arrival. When a host is not personally responding timely to your email messages or seems to have disappeared, that’s a huge red flag. Based on my past experiences, I assumed all was well. I had found Airbnb hosts to be remarkable people with incredible attention to detail. My mistake.

Lesson number two: don’t count on Airbnb to rescue you or reimburse your expenses. Had I not found another location, I could have netted an additional $6,000 in hotel expenses, and Airbnb would have not suffered any loss. Additionally, the moment Airbnb cancelled the reservation at the original property that night, they disconnected my ability to leave a review or comment about my experience with the property owners/agents. The Airbnb agent assured me that they were taking ‘disciplinary’ action against the property owners, noting that they had ‘other complaints’ from other travelers about them as well. By the agent’s comment, Airbnb knew there was an issue was this property, but I had not been warned. I was out $1,000 in addition to the night from hell we spent on the first night of our vacation finding new accommodations and driving. Buyer beware. I wouldn’t have believed it myself had it not happened to me.

Airbnb Christmas Present from Father Goes Awry

I booked an Airbnb for my son as his Christmas present. I immediately messaged the host informing him it was for my son and his two friends. Over a week went by with no response except for him to confirm the reservation. He finally contacted me an hour after check in time the day of the reservation to inform me he was editing the booking. I explained I was not going to be there. I asked if that was okay. He said it was, and edited the reservation. He called me back to get me to confirm the change. I did, and was charged an extra $67. I then got a call twenty minutes later from Airbnb telling me I violated their terms of service and the host complained; they cancelled the reservation and were not going to refund my money. No one from Airbnb spoke to me before they cancelled it. I would have driven down that night to stay with my son to keep the reservation. No one held the host accountable for his actions and his verbal agreement. I was out $310 total as well as leaving my son stranded the day of travel with nowhere to stay.

No Vacation in Sydney: Last Minute Cancellation

Do not book on Airbnb if you want to be certain you have an apartment waiting for you when you arrive. We are a family of five from Europe – Finland – and we are traveling to Sydney at the end of December. We started to plan our trip a year ahead and already made all of our bookings by January. We booked our flights, then eight nights through Airbnb at a two-bedroom apartment right on Bondi Beach, then seven nights in Cairns in a hotel, and then back to Finland. Everything was booked and paid for. Two and a half months before our trip would take place, our Airbnb host informed us that our reservation for the apartment had been canceled. We were shocked.

Guess how easy it is to find an apartment with two bedrooms for five people for eight nights just before and during New Years in Sydney? I can tell you it is not easy and the prices were totally different when compared with what they would have been if we had chosen a reliable apartment or hotel in the first place. I really cannot recommend Airbnb. We were offered a small discount if we booked other accommodations through Airbnb. However, what if that host would also have cancelled the new booking? We will never find out because the risk was to0 great; therefore, we booked accommodations through booking.com. I wonder how many people have been fooled since the feedback system at Airbnb is not good for the customers. Our host was given a small notification which will be removed in a couple of months and we lost our dream apartment probably because the host wanted to get a little more money from someone else…