First and Last Time: Don’t Host for Airbnb

Tripping

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.

Tripping

Airbnb Charging in Wrong Currency with Excess Fees

Tripping

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.

Tripping

I Paid Outside Airbnb for a Condo, Not a Filthy Trailer

I contacted the host for this Airbnb and was asked to pay her directly, circumventing Airbnb payment system to get a reduced rate. When I arrived at the rental I was shown to a filthy trailer seething with decades-old cigarette smoke. The pictures were of another trailer nearby occupied by the host’s mother and depicting a charming residence being advertised as a condo at the time. She has removed that claim from the posting as of now.

As we stood in the trailer my throat began to swell from reactions to the toxic smoke coating the interior of the trailer. I explained to her I could not stay there and asked for a refund, to which she agreed right away. She and her mother were as charming as could be and I left confident they would give me the refund they promised. I asked several times, and finally she relayed that I would get the refund “the next week”.

Next week came and went with her continuing to ignore further inquiries about my refund. Finally she texted me asking why I really needed the refund since I was so wealthy (not true at all). I then contacted Airbnb, who responded telling me they couldn’t help since I paid her outside the system (at her request of course) and as of this posting they continue to advertise for this fraudulent listing. Beware of renting from this listing – it’s a fraud.

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.

Gold Coast Booking Leads to Being Double Charged

Please read this letter I sent to Airbnb less that three hours after I had made a booking:

Hi Airbnb,

I hope you are having a fabulous day. I am not and I am writing here to let you and others know why. In a few weeks one of my best friends is getting married on the Gold Coast (we never thought it would happen – he is not that pretty). I am the only member of his friends and family who is in the southern hemisphere so I am absolutely delighted to be going.

Today I decided to book my accommodation through Airbnb. You have such a good following and cheaper rates so I thought, why not? That is definitely the kind of service I need as I am on a budget and the rates seemed fabulous. I made my booking with a lovely woman who immediately contacted me. We could not wait for our trip.

Where is the issue, you may wonder? After booking this, my partner and I thought that doing a small run to the food shop would be a good idea. I checked my bank account just to see how much we could splurge after booking our trip. I was expecting to see between $400-600. It wasn’t a great surprise to me when there was a measly $28 in the account. Obviously this was a great shock. When I investigated this further it was clear that Airbnb had double charged me and also refunded me on their system.

This would be all well and good and if I were a millionaire I would find it slightly irritating; however, I am not a millionaire. I was a bit upset but because I am a reasonable person I figured I would contact you and just ask what was going on.

Firstly, I struggled to find contact details on your website – I just kept getting redirected in a loop to your FAQ pages (on a side note: this is extremely irritating). The next step was Facebook, where I found a telephone number. This was an 02 number so I assumed I was calling someone in NSW. The first two agents that I spoke to (in Southeast Asia Pacific – this is where they told me they were) hung up on me when I said I needed to find a solution to procuring the money that had been refunded. The third agent told me I did not know what I was talking about.

At this point I am willing to admit that I lost my temper a little and demanded to speak to someone more helpful. Again, somebody hung up on me. During this time my partner contacted the bank and told them about our little conundrum and they said there was a really very simple solution to resolve this: Airbnb had to email or fax the bank on an email address and/or fax number that they provided with some details.

After receiving this information, the good people at the bank said the money would be released within two hours. At this point, all of the details required on this fax or email were about myself. The only thing Airbnb had to provide was a headed fax or signed email. After some cereal, a bit of a cry, and being a little bit stressed, I called back.

This time I spoke to someone who was a little more helpful. She went and found a supervisor. This person got on the phone and relayed back the same ridiculous diatribe that the first couple of people did and only when I mentioned the word fraudulent and legal advice was anyone on the phone remotely helpful. When I pointed out that I was expecting to call NSW and actually ended up on the phone to Southeast Asia, saying “would I be getting charged a fortune for that on top of having no money in my bank account?” the supervisor hung up and called me back.

After 45 minutes of being on this call I was told the call was very irritating. I was also told that the managers and payment teams that had the capacity to deal with my unfortunate situation were in another country and there was nothing you could do. I am a human being and understand mistakes happen. However, in our modern age of technology and communication I am struggling to comprehend the fact that nobody in a global company can send an email or fax to resolve this situation. It would take less than five minutes.

I won’t keep going on but what I will say is this. You took a charge out of my bank account twice and actually tried to take it a third time. Because of this (and you not being able to send an email or fax) I have $28 in my bank account. Because I only have this much money in my account, either my partner or I are going to have to sacrifice going to work as we will not be able to both afford fuel and/or public transport to our employment. I apologize that we are not more well off and able to cope but even though both of us work 60+ hours a week we are still struggling to make ends meet. If either of us lose our employment I will be seeking legal advice.

I still have no email, fax or refund.

Airbnb Quick to Collect Payment, Slow to Respond

I am a Filipino citizen and would like to share this story hoping that would reach the head of Airbnb or the right person to act swiftly and accordingly. During my search for places to stay, for which I needed to attach my visa application for Norway, a friend of mine suggested Airbnb. It was my first time using Airbnb. Their apps and website seemed amazing because they were so quick to find what I needed in Oslo, Norway: a property for a month’s stay from October 13 to November 12, 2017.

The first property that I successfully booked from a host charged my credit card after a week. It was then cancelled by the host and I received an email from the Airbnb Team:

“A refund of ₱62627.91 has been issued to your credit card for your reservation at the ‘modern studio apartment with view’ (you originally paid ₱62627.91). While this refund is immediate on our part, it can take up to 15 business days for the funds to reach your account. Thanks, The Airbnb Team.”

Below my email message to them:

“Good day Airbnb Team! This is my third time to message you to follow up but it seems you are ignoring my messages. I know perfectly well that you are receiving this because in the message itself from Airbnb between the host and guest you immediately deleted you can see an attempt to exchange contact numbers and email addresses. It has already been a month and five days and yet the refunds have not yet reached my account. Give me some updates and actions regarding my refund. I am impatiently awaiting your prompt reply or otherwise you will have a bad image on social media and the international news.”

I don’t know if someone had the same nightmare that I am experiencing, but the Airbnb’s greed in collecting payment quickly but slow to respond or act swiftly to refund payment to the guest is obvious. Though I booked another property with Airbnb which successfully charged my credit card again, I hope this time the host will not cancel it and I hope not to receive or find future surprises from Airbnb. I am still awaiting Airbnb’s refund. I wish that you guys all out there shout out your negative experiences with Airbnb to the international press to expose their greedy scheme. They ignore their responsibility to act immediately in terms of refunding payment to guests like me. I will keep sharing and shout out my story until they listen and act accordingly.

Airbnb’s Policy of Holding Payment is Driving away Hosts

I have been a new host with Airbnb since January. My first booking for late July-early August was confirmed in March. After the first guest checked out on August 5th, I waited a week for my payout. When it didn’t show up in my bank account, despite my successfully establishing a payout method, I attempted to contact airbnb and discovered how nearly impossible that it is. Somehow, way back in August, two months ago, a link appeared on their website asking if I wanted a call back, which I did. As soon as I entered my phone number, the phone rang almost instantly.

The first explanation I got was that there was a problem with my payout method but that quickly changed to my payout would be released on September 11th. I protested that there was no reason to hold my payment and that the date was completely arbitrary. It also happened to be the check-out date of my second Airbnb rental. Both rentals went very well and my condo received glowing reviews from both sets of tenants.

It is now October and my payout of $2,795 is still sitting with Airbnb and showing up as “pending” on my transaction page. I can no longer find that link for a callback or any means of contacting these bastards. I will not rent any more with them until they pay me, which I have begun to believe they never will. Is it possible that Airbnb is a giant scam, holding onto selected hosts’ money over time and assuming that by the time of discovery, they will have gotten away with it? I cannot figure out what is going on but this is a dishonest business and I have no recourse but to take some legal action, possibly through small claims court. Airbnb stinks.

Airbnb Scam to Withhold Money from Hosts

We had a guest book for one night. Then they extended it for another three. Then we got an email from Airbnb saying the payment had failed and they wouldn’t be liable for the money. I called Airbnb and asked what to do: should I kick the guest out of the property? They said they were trying to sort it out and not to worry; I wouldn’t be out of pocket. This was verbal; I should have realised it was part of a scam.

It’s now six weeks later, I’ve had ten calls adding up to an hour and around ten emails. Everytime Airbnb just says someone will look into it. They have at least one night’s money and have never responded with any information other than saying they are looking into it. There’s no end in sight. I guess they’re just waiting for me to give up as they have already pocketed the cash. Airbnb are the scammers here as I could have kicked the tenant out or taken cash directly.

Airbnb is a Useless Service that Holds Money Indefinitely

We booked three weeks’ accommodation in December 2016 for December 2017. At the time of booking there was a large variety of options to book from at varying prices. We needed to book in a particular resort because we were going to be holidaying with friends (they booked with a different agent).

Last week, nine months after booking, we received an email from Airbnb saying our host had cancelled our booking. For nine months, Airbnb held our money interest free. They appeared to think I should be grateful that they returned our money. At this point there is only one house available in this resort for five times the price. Everything else has been booked long ago. Airbnb just couldn’t care. I emailed them and spoke to them but they were not prepared to listen or help. They claim the host can cancel whenever they want with no compensation offered. Had we decided to cancel as guests we would have had to forfeit 50% of our money. I will never ever use Airbnb again.