My recent experience with Airbnb has been nothing short of a nightmare. It all started when I was booking accommodations in San Diego, California through Airbnb from London, where I live. I was about to make a payment when I accidentally clicked on the Paypal button and immediately received conformation of my booking. As I hadn’t used Paypal for over a year and had since changed my payment details, I straight away contacted Airbnb and explained the mixup to the customer service officer.
I needed to give her my new card details so she could take a payment. She assured me she would sort it out and confirmed that although the reservation had been confirmed, no money had been taken from the Paypal account; the full amount would be taken from the card I had just given her. I then emailed the host in San Diego and again explained what had happened and that everything should be okay as Airbnb had my new payment details.
I heard nothing from Airbnb until the morning of September 25th while I was in Colorado and was due to fly from there to San Diego. I received a text from Airbnb to say that my account had been blocked and the reservation cancelled. I then spent hours on my mobile phone trying to contact someone at Airbnb to resolve the issue. When I did get through, I got someone who was unable to assist me. However, I was told that someone would call me back. As we were on a late flight and arriving in San Diego around midnight, I was keen to resolve the problem before boarding our flight. I didn’t want to be lost and without accommodation in a foreign country in the early hours of the morning.
I never heard back from Airbnb and had persisted trying to contact them by phone and email throughout the day without any luck. Just as we were due to board our flight, I then received a message from our host to say that we would not be able to stay as the reservation had been cancelled. Luckily my son was able sort everything out through his Airbnb account and secured the accommodation for us. At some point during the same day I had received a couple of messages from Airbnb saying I needed to update my account but it was impossible to do so as Airbnb had blocked my account. I was unable to proceed beyond the first page, which of course meant I couldn’t update my account.
Some days later I received a message from a friend in London who said that it appeared Airbnb had taken money from her son’s account for the same amount that we had paid for our accommodation. Remember that the accommodation had now been paid for by my son. The only connection with her son’s account was last year when he had book accommodation for myself and the above friend. Airbnb had no authorisation to take the money and it was later refunded through Paypal.
When I returned home to the UK I tried to contact Airbnb to make a complaint. I spent nearly an hour talking to someone who refused to put me through to a manager because the payment details on their system was different to the details they had; it was unbelievably frustrating. I would still like to make a complaint regarding the treatment received from Airbnb but it seems that Airbnb does not have a listed complaints procedure. Had it not been for my son coming to the rescue at the final hour, I do believe that me and my friend, both females, would have arrived in San Diego very late at night with nowhere to stay. Never again will I book accommodation through Airbnb.