First and Last Time: Don’t Host for Airbnb

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I’m a first and last time host for Airbnb. Long story short: I never received any funds for the guest staying at my home. Each and every time it came time to pay, there was an “error” and “a support specialist will be in touch in regards to your payment” which never happened. It wasn’t until I notified one of my current guests who is staying inside my apartment what was going on and to ask for a refund for his money – I still allowed him to stay; wasn’t going to put someone out due to the scam Airbnb was running – did I receive a call back.

They ended up deleting my host account before I could confirm the man would get his refund. I recorded the conversation as I usually do when conducting business with strangers. Airbnb has been allowing guests to book at my properties since January. Here we are in February and I haven’t seen one red cent yet. Mind you the account for direct deposit I’ve provided is the same account my employer pays me in but somehow Airbnb can never confirm any checking information given. I’ve reported them to the Better Business Bureau and advise anyone else who has endured this type of ordeal to do the same so we can get them out of the market. They’re scamming people left and right.

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Airbnb Guests Who Keep Demanding More Test My Patience

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What a disappointment to ever engage with Airbnb. We thought it be a good idea to try them as a hosting platform on advice from friends. Having already had a good response and very pleasant guests from another travel accommodation site, this was our first time experience with guests from Airbnb.

It started with all sorts of demands and requests prior to the confirmed booking of three guests that turned out to be five adults, four children, and a dog. I guess I should have been suspicious when this guy started sending me at least one Whatsapp a day (not using the Airbnb app) asking obvious questions about the house and its facilities. It got to the point where I thought he would ask if we provided toilet paper. One less ridiculous question was whether he could bring his dog – we do not accept pets, so I categorically declined.

After having the whole house booked out three times during the holiday season for between fourteen and fifteen people with hardly a minute of trouble or concern, I was surprised how many questions a single small family could come up with… including changing the booking from two nights to four and finally to six. The last question was a request of an earlier check-in, which was difficult as we had a full house just the night before, but we obliged nevertheless knowing that they only needed the rooms upstairs.

Upstairs is the original house with more than enough beds. There are two queen size bedrooms, one of which is an ensuite with a bath and shower and one room for their kids with four beds plus an additional bathroom with a shower. In addition, the full amenities of the house were available as advertised: full kitchen (stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and eight place settings), an inside dining area and outside barbecue area that is protected with sliding doors for all weather conditions and has another large table.

Downstairs there is a washing machine in a stand-alone laundry area, and a lovely secure garden complete with a splash pool and deck. Double automatic garage, security system, the works. I think it is fair therefore that my house is advertised with a base rate for four people and additional guests need to pay extra for us to open the downstairs rooms and bathrooms.

Imagine my surprise when this guy arrives (with his additional guests) and not only expects us to accommodate the additional people free of charge, but demands that we open the rooms downstairs for them (despite there being more than enough room for them upstairs). I have to say though, his wife deserves an Oscar, maybe an Emmy award, for the performance she put on. The whole nine yards: she first started insulting me as I tried to negotiate with her husband to find a compromise and then when that didn’t work, she cried, yelled, and screamed at her husband to leave, “these people are greedy and selfish…”

By this time I was thinking, “Yes! Please leave!” I don’t know why I rented the place for three people. After having a full house literally the whole season, I thought, “Shame, they are a small family and trying to save money, so it went”. I’m a sucker; they clearly had a hidden agenda from the beginning. No sooner had they moved in after we had agreed (after a rather heated discussion and his insisting that his right was to have all the rooms – 15 beds – available to him for a three person booking), that they needed to pay for the extra adults, the second vehicle already arrived.

I took deep breaths as I walked back down to my house thinking we had an understanding, and maybe now they could just enjoy the house and leave us in peace… what was I thinking?

At 9:30 PM, one of the vehicles drove past our house hooting, one of the men shouting obscenities out the window at us (my family) sitting on our patio also trying to enjoy our holiday. At 10:08, the two women rang our doorbell in a clearly inebriated state and request salt, only to disappear by the time my wife took the salt to the door. Besides leaving me with nappies in the splash pool and window frames and furniture that were used as ashtrays, there was furniture moved from upstairs into the garage, just to name a few broken house rules aside from the dog that they brought anyway.

It all comes with a price. However, there has not been a cent from Airbnb up to now, 14 days after their arrival and after our fruitless attempts to get payment sorted via customer service and the helpline. I only charged them the minimum rate. I could have let the place out many times over for a great number of people and with secure payments, if I had never let Airbnb make this booking three months ago.

Airbnb does not respond to any of my SMS’s on their helpline anymore. The last message I got stated payment had been made, which is a lie. I want to remove my property from this terrible “service” provider but I guess if I do so, I will have absolutely no chance of receiving my payment. If you use Airbnb, be prepared to use the counting method to maintain your temper and sanity… at the very least it’s a good lesson on self control.

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Airbnb Charging in Wrong Currency with Excess Fees

I was trying to pay my host, but the Airbnb system kept rejecting payment saying ‘server error, please retry’. I kept retrying and eventually selected PayPal as the payment mechanism.

I am booking an Italian property, with charges in EURs, and have a EUR credit card (despite living in the UK). My PayPal account has default currency of EUR and the EUR card was linked to it. However, when submitting payment via PayPal Airbnb kept changing the payment currency back to GBP. Airbnb then charged my credit card several times for this rental despite not finalising payment via PayPal, with automated email confirmations they have refunded it.

I opened the support message, which closed with no action. I phoned and was called back by people who have not bothered to read my support chat, saying I needed to ‘verify’ my identity. I did not need to do as I had already completed my account setup. Airbnb support are simply responding to the common issues people phone with, but absolutely not my issue. I was promised they would investigate and call me back. They didn’t.

It’s simple. I had a booking in EUR and I wanted to pay for it using EUR. I sent a message saying if I paid in GBP then they would need to refund me the 6% charge (3% Airbnb charge from EUR to GBP, and then 3% my bank charge converting GBP back to EUR). There was no response.

As the deadline for making the payment approached (on the special offer price) I needed to confirm everything, so I contacted my bank and transferred EUR into my GBP account, and then changed my payment method to use this account. However, now the system actually charges me in EUR from my GBP account. So, I now face bank charges from my bank converting EUR into GBP. This does not need to be this difficult. I simply wanted to be able to select a payment mechanism and select the currency.

I contacted Airbnb to refund this transaction and allow the correct payment to complete, but no response. I am sure as a UK consumer I am allowed to request a refund when the vendor misleads the consumer. All of this is documented on Airbnb message centre with screenshots, but I see this morning the case has just been closed with no comment. All of this is simply because Airbnb is trying to force payment in certain currencies so they can charge exchange rate fees. Their systems simply did not work as they should, and customer services are not empowered to resolve. I simply want these fees I have been charges refunded due to their system issues.

Impossible to Withdraw Payment for Completed Stays

We have had this space posted on Airbnb for over a year. Bookings have ticked over nicely, and money came in regularly, via PayPal. Then suddenly, from July of this year, there was an hiatus of more than four months in which, according to PayPal (on our bank’s Forex site) the balance was undeclared, and it was impossible to make a withdrawal. After multiple visits to the bank, as well as calls to PayPal, it was revealed that the balance was a minuscule R17000.

After quite a lot more to-ing and fro-ing for two or three weeks, that balance was finally available for withdrawal but, despite the fact that November had been friskily busy and December had been booked for all but four days, not another cent, not another dime has appeared in the balance. Of course, as we all know, contacting Airbnb to get information is an unspeakable hellion of a monster. Yes, it might be an issue with PayPal, not with Airbnb, but in the absence of open communication, how are we to know? How can we ever get to the bottom of this? I no longer trust that Airbnb is paying us as they aught to. Very angry and disgruntled – we would certainly have done better, at this rate, simply to have a tenant.

Airbnb’s Policy on Holding Payment is Dangerous

I applied to stay at an Airbnb property in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The host completely ignored my request, and did not respond in any way. Fair enough… although this behaviour is very disrespectful and rude in my opinion. Anyway, that’s not really my issue with Airbnb. I did not realise that even though the host ignores your request and you don’t actually fully book, the funds are restricted and frozen for whatever the amount is. In other words, even with no contact from the host after requesting to book their space, your money is being frozen until it is deemed suitable for release. This affects my ability to live whilst alone abroad… even though the money appears to be in my account. In other words, if a host decides to be inhospitable, or covertly racist they could ignore your request merely based on what you look like. What other reason could there be if the space is showing availability and your reviews are totally positive? It’s not rocket science. Be very careful not to request any booking unless you have more than sufficient funds in your account. This aspect needs to be revised ASAP.

Airbnb Considers a Loud Air Conditioner an Extenuating Circumstance

About six months ago I had a six-month reservation that was cancelled because we didn’t reply to Airbnb within one hour. Our listing was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. However, our guest was sensitive to the noise of the air conditioner in our apartment and there was a cockroach (we live in New York). Airbnb determined this to be extenuating circumstance and canceled on our behalf.

Since then we’ve been having issues because apparently, we owe Airbnb the one month’s rent that was paid out after the first night. We actually ended up losing over $20,000 with this reservation, considering we had to cancel our lease, forfeit our security deposit, and hire last minute help to vacate our apartment in just three days before leaving for our six-month trip around Asia which we planned during the rental.

Airbnb has been our main source of accommodations. In fact, just three days ago we were not allowed into Taiwan because our visa got declined and even in these circumstances, when we contacted Airbnb they said we needed to give the host 24 hours to reply and explained that it’s up to the host whether to give us a refund. This was indeed an extenuating circumstance listed on Airbnb’s policy (as we literally were not allowed into the country), but Airbnb still stood by the host’s cancellation policy.

Every time we had issues over the course of our travels, Airbnb gave the hosts 24 hours to fix them and placed us in a hotel for the night while the problems were resolved. In our case, Airbnb canceled our six-month strict cancelation policy reservation because we didn’t answer them within one hour while the guest did confirm we were in contact with her, trying to fix the issue – which seems extremely wrong.

All problems aside, last month we booked a place in the Philippines for three weeks and the apartment had multiple electricity issues for many of the days we were there: meaning we couldn’t cook, there was no internet, no lights, no hot water, etc. We contacted Airbnb and they placed us in a hotel for three days which they said would be refunded. However, now they are saying we owe them the first month’s rent that was paid out for the 6-month reservation in June (which they cancelled without our consent) and that they won’t refund us for the hotel stays. We think this is completely wrong and we wanted to hear anyone’s thoughts.

According to Airbnb’s policy, it’s up to the host to set their cancellation policy; we had set ours to Strict, which meant that the guest does not get a refund unless we decide to give them one. There’s also another policy that applies for 28 nights or more, the long-term cancellation policy. If a guest changes or cancels a long-term reservation their first payment is non-refundable. If they cancel after the trip has started, the remaining nights in their reservation are non-refundable. If they have more than 30 nights left in their reservation, only the next 30 nights are non-refundable.

Looking into the extenuating circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, ability to travel, natural disaster, urgent travel restrictions, endemic diseases, severe proper damage and government-mandated obligations are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was canceled does not fall into this scenario at all. A loud air conditioner and a cockroach does not sound life threatening to me.

Keep in mind, this guest actually came to the apartment prior to booking it on two separate occasions to determine if it was suitable for their stay and heard and saw the air conditioner. We gave them a full tour and walk through and even rearranged some decorations after their request, which says a lot about our commitment and quality provided to our guests. We have hosted many people before and maintain a 4.8 rating, whereas this person was a completely new user with no reviews. Not only that, none of our past guests (some of which stayed just a week prior to this guest) mentioned any of the problems which she claimed made our apartment uninhabitable.

That being said, the cancellation of this reservation violates Airbnb’s policy as none of her reasons fell into the extenuating circumstances clause and we were not given the standard 24 hours to seek a resolution for the issues. After consulting with our legal team, it seems we have very strong grounds to sue Airbnb up for these losses. We did in fact let it go at the time but considering it is being raised again as an issue of us owning money to Airbnb I think it is worth pointing out that this cancellation was not done by the book in any means.

Regardless, it’s completely unprofessional to have an agent email us confirming they would refund three nights in a hotel and then be told after the stay that the refund would not be granted because of a balance owed for a reservation six months ago, which we were never informed of. I’m sure this is against their policies as well. At the very least, it’s an extremely disorganized an unprofessional way to treat loyal Airbnb users as hosts and guests.

How would you handle this? What would you do in our shoes?

Customer Service Nightmare Could Have Ruined My Trip

I am currently in the middle of a sabbatical trip that I have been planning for over a year. I am a musician and small business owner from Knoxville, Tennessee, and I have been severely burnt out in recent years from the rigors of running a small business. Six months ago I started planning a four-month trip to the Dominican Republic. This past May I booked an apartment with Airbnb in Punta Cana and made an initial payment of $1,711 using my debit card. Shortly before leaving for my trip I had to replace my debit card. I called Airbnb the day before I left to give them the new card number for the future months’ rent. Unfortunately they made a mistake and cancelled the original payment (which had been made six months earlier) and charged my new card for the same amount. I did not authorize them to do this.

As soon as I saw that money had been taken out of my account I called them back and asked what was going on. They said there was nothing they could do to cancel the new charge but said the original payment would be refunded and the two amounts would even out. However it has now been over two weeks and the refund has not been credited to my account. I have communicated with Airbnb customer support at least five times over the past two weeks to resolve the situation, and they have been unresponsive and unhelpful.

Airbnb has left me alone in a foreign country with nearly $2,000 less in my bank account than I am supposed to have for over two weeks. I am fortunate that I still have enough money in my account to get by for the time being, but the consequences of this situation could have been disastrous if I had been on a tighter budget. Since Airbnb has been totally unresponsive, I have found other accommodations and am initiating the dispute process with my bank for the fraudulent charge. I am completely shocked that a reputable company would do this to a (repeat) customer and leave me in potentially perilous circumstances. I will never do business with Airbnb again, and I suggest than anyone reading this think long and hard before booking lodging through this awful company.

Airbnb Experience from Hell in Costa Rica

First of all I would like to say I have always been a big fan Airbnb and absolutely love the concept. I have always have great experiences with hosts and the booking process has always been quick and seamless. However, with that having been said, the past weekend I had the most horrific experience, which actually led to my vacation being ruined, inflicting loads of anxiety that has severely affected me.

It started when I booked two nights in Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. My husband and three-month-old baby left early in the morning on Saturday, July 15th to embark on the bumpy five-hour ride. We were so excited to arrive when I received an email from the host saying the place was not available. I was very disappointed, as this had never happened before and almost put me into a panic. I called Airbnb and explained what happened. Within the hour we were able to book another place, a little more expensive but the case manager said Airbnb would send a credit to compensate for the other balance. I was very happy and grateful for that. However, he did not follow through with his promise and said I needed to pay.

Now in a frenzy waiting in the hot sun, I was willing to do anything to just get settled into a place. Airbnb reached out to our new hosts, who accepted our reservation right away and met us at the supermarket to follow them back to the place. We checked into a beautiful house and thought we could finally relax. This is when the drama began.

I received a call from Airbnb demanding I pay for the new reservation, $517, when I had already paid $467 for the original place and the funds were already taken from my account. Now I felt like he was disrespectful. He transferred the case to another case manager. I kept getting emails saying I needed to pay but was told in the first place the funds I already paid would be transferred to the new reservation.

The next day I was approached by the host saying they canceled our reservation because I didn’t pay. Airbnb called him and said we didn’t pay, but I sent several emails of my bank statement showing that the payment had gone through and was posted. The next twelve hours I was on the phone on and off dealing with numerous customer service agents, being put on hold for thirty minutes at a time, when no one could figure out how to solve the issue. I spoke with many other case managers and supervisors and kept getting promised things would be resolved. I was even on speakerphone for over 1.5 hours with the host beside me and a customer service person. Nothing was solved.

I was then told that this was not Airbnb’s responsibility, but the host and I had to figure it out. At this point I felt extremely uncomfortable being in the house with the host thinking I had not paid. I was calling the entire time on my international phone and my cell phone bill had $300 worth of charges. On Sunday night, nothing had been resolved. Every time I called no one knew anything and kept blaming me. I am still dealing with anxiety.

I have never had such a bad experience with any customer service. I have spent thousands of dollars, referred superhosts, and recommended Airbnb to friends and social media followers. I was a loyal customer but this experience has not only left a bad taste in my mouth, it has left emotional damage.

They offered me $25 worth of travel credit. That’s almost an insult. I would never ask for any sort of compensation but in this case I think it’s necessary. I spent so much money to not have enjoyed a single moment on my vacation. I wish I could be sending an email expressing how much I love the service (which are the only emails I usually send) but unfortunately this is one that’s not so positive. I’ve sent numerous emails to customer service explaining this and have been ignored. I spent over 325 minutes on hold while talking to Airbnb, over 620 minutes in phone calls, spoke with over 15 representatives, and been hung up on six times.

Airbnb Booking and Reservation Issues: Can They Make Mistakes?

It’s not my first time using Airbnb. So far our first experiences have been great so we decided to use it and tried looking for a place in San Francisco. Upon checking I tried to ask some questions from 2-3 different hosts, e.g. how far their places are from downtown since it was my first time visiting. Anyway, I tried to check the dates and I’m sure that I just wanted to hold them for our reservation. I was just surprised that after a couple of days both bookings had been made and our debit card was charged. The first one was fine and I got a full refund less the Airbnb fees, but for the second one, which was more expensive, the host refunded only 50% of our payment. I tried to ask for some consideration since Airbnb’s policy states the host has the discretion of refunding the full amount since it had only been one or not even one day after they confirmed the reservation without my knowledge. Now I am trying to contact Airbnb but I have had to wait 72 hours for their replies. I have a valid reason for getting a full refund. Someone in the family just died and I hope and appreciate that someone can help me on this matter. For some people it might be a small amount of money but for me and our family and as a single parent almost $400 dollars is a huge amount for us to lose. I would appreciate if someone could at least help me resolve this issue as soon as possible. Below are some of the conversations. I have a lot of photos showing that I didn’t book the properties; I got a pre-approval (e.g. 1:39 but on the same date they charged my card as well). Thank you very much.

Airbnb Takes Payment in the Wrong Currency

We booked a house in Norfolk, UK for a week, and received confirmation from Airbnb. Everything seemed okay so far. The cost was obviously in pounds. We used our AMEX account, which is in the UK. We clearly paid in pounds from a UK bank account, but because our address is currently in Australia Airbnb charged us in US dollars and 8% for the currency conversion. So Amex paid out in dollars and converted it back into pounds for us to pay off the credit card in pounds. The house originally cost £681 and it has cost us £727. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there. The host cancelled, so I telephoned her to find out why; she said she hadn’t heard of us. The dates had been booked out for ages. She was so fed up with Airbnb she was withdrawing her property. So beware folks: check which currency you are paying in. My complaint was dealt with by an email quoting some obscure terms and conditions. I had the last laugh though because I was lucky and received a refund into my Amex account in US dollars, which Amex converted back into pounds. Due to a more favorable exchange rate, I actually made a very small profit. I will never use Airbnb. I think we got off easy.