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.

Never Again: Airbnb Holds Payment for Thirty Days?

Airbnb is a joke. They got their money. My guests came and stayed at my house. I chose PayPal as to how I wanted to receive my money; the system told me I would have to wait 3 to 5 business days, which was cool with me. I called today to check on the money and talked to a non-native English speaker. I couldn’t understand everything he was saying but he told me that they were sending my money to my Paypal account today. Then he put me on hold for about 40 minutes and never returned. I hung up, called back, and talked to an American English speaker. She informed me that since this was my first time using Airbnb without a certain number of guests, hosts have to wait 30 days to get their payout. Are you serious? What’s the reason I have to wait if all my credentials check out? I’ll never use Airbnb again. I will be taking down my profile and anything I have on this website. There’s no reason for me to wait 30 days for a payout; it’s ridiculous.

Nightmare Customer Service, Cancelled without Explanation

I am honestly shocked at how terrible my experience with Airbnb was. It really seems like they just don’t care. I signed up for an account on a Friday afternoon and booked a $3900 one-month stay. Two hours later, Airbnb cancelled my booking with absolutely no explanation. Saturday I called customer service, and they couldn’t explain why they cancelled the reservation. They said the $3900 refund would take 10-15 business days to clear my credit card. The problem is, their “hold” on my funds created a situation where I couldn’t rebook the reservation, because it would have put my credit card over the limit. After a nightmare of five phone calls on Saturday, they finally agreed to ask the host to block out the dates, until my credit card refund hit the account and I could rebook. They also promised to waive the $200 service fee as an apology for the mistake. Luckily the host was very nice, and agreed to hold the property until I was able to rebook.

On Sunday the refund on my credit card cleared the account, so I tried to rebook the house on Airbnb. However, Airbnb was blocking my credit card payment for some reason. My credit card company said that it was fine on their end; this was an Airbnb problem. I literally spent all day Sunday calling Airbnb to resolve the situation. They never responded as promised, and would never let me speak to a supervisor. The customer service was totally horrendous. Then Airbnb asked me to “confirm” my credit card by uploading a copy of my most recent card statement.

Why am I having to do this? They already charged my card and refunded it; why the extra hassle now? I had already given them my name, address, phone, email, photo of my face, copies of my driver’s license, and all my credit card details. I need more crap to deal with now? I uploaded the card statement.

By late Sunday night they finally emailed and said “you can rebook now, and your credit card is approved.” Of course when I tried to rebook, Airbnb still had a hold on my credit card. Here we are four days later and I still can’t book the reservation. They are now asking me to upload a photo of my credit card itself, as well as other documentation that my credit card is associated to my email address. At this point I just gave up. Seriously Airbnb, you make it this hard to do business with you? The service was awful, the people were rude, and it is absolutely impossible to speak to a manager that can make anything happen. Stay away from Airbnb. This company obviously doesn’t care about service at all.

Airbnb Can Hold Hosts’ Money Hostage

I am going to make this short. My wife and I bought a short term rental property in central Florida. We joined Airbnb in May 2017. We got a lead from Airbnb for a guest to stay at the end of June through July 2017. We asked how we would get paid so we set up our bank account back in May to be linked with Airbnb. Airbnb collects the money from the guest and then holds your money. They do not pay you according to your terms and conditions – only on Airbnb’s terms, whatever those terms happen to be. They hold your money, for your rental, in an unknown account.

Our guest stayed in our property. The guest had a good time and enjoyed their vacation, checking out on July 2nd, 2017. We paid the bills/mortgage/management and all other fees for this property. Airbnb collected the money over a month ago. We have tried via email and numerous phone calls to try and find out why we do not have our money for the booking. We were told on the phone that the ticket is updated. That is the only response: the ticket has been updated. Our emails have been ignored. We still have not been paid and are in the dark as to why. We have other guests inquiring to book the house through Airbnb but we can not move forward with a company that does business in this way.

No Payment Following 12-Day Airbnb Stay in Italy

Having hosted someone from Italy for 12 days in our Australian apartment in January we are still waiting for payment. We received an automated email saying we would be paid on January 23rd. We have been on Airbnb’s books for four years now and have Superhost status. Despite numerous calls to their call centre – the staff of which point blank refuse to pass you on to the management level and if you persist with the request, cut you off – nothing has happened. All they do is pass a so-called ticket to their non-responsive team. Despite many emails to this group no one comes back and now my emails are bouncing back saying they are not deliverable. I wonder what filter they are using to do this? Is it fraud? The work of the FBI or maybe Brian Chesky? On top of this, someone within their organisation has switched my daughter’s bank account details back to those of one that was closed in 2014. So despite receiving money being deposited in 2015 and 2016 now it has been changed back. Hence my use of the word fraud. I can’t help but notice articles in Forbes Magazine where this is now a worldwide issue regarding non-payments and the behaviour of their call centre. It also mentions that the company is worth $25 billion, which clearly adds up to a lot of non-payments. I also noticed that they had a TV ad shown during the Super Bowl. What’s the cost of one of those, three million dollars?