Airbnb Only Bothers to Protect Hosts and their Reviews

Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.

Incompetent Response to a Question on Transaction

I noticed from my credit card statement there was an unrecognized transaction about Airbnb. I reported to them, saying I first wished to dispute this transaction. They said I should first contact Airbnb. This was the start of a hour’s merry-go-round on the Airbnb website trying to locate their telephone number. If someone found it they deserve a prize. Finally I found this website who displayed their customer service number. I called them. They took down some information about myself to verify I am who I said I was. When I told them the item I was disputing they said I should take a screenshot of what the transaction was. The transaction was not in my itinerary (that’s why I queried it in the first place). Anyway, then she said she was not the appropriate “department” to investigate this matter. She said she would send me an email to gather more information so that the investigative team could look at. Wish me luck.

Why Can’t I Contact Airbnb Directly for Help?

I recently had a booking with a host. That was fine. Then I was forced to cancel. I did and the refund didn’t come right away. I had been told that it takes ten days to process. The ten days went by and I asked the poor host. He said I had to contact them directly. I finally got through to them and that’s when I was told that it was going to take longer. Now I’m trying to plan a different trip. I had to fill out this form on Airbnb; it required an ID of some kind: license, passport, etc. That’s isn’t a problem, because others require it.

However, that was something that should have been in my account when I first started to use it. You should not have to give that information when you decide to request your booking. I also had to use a cell phone. I don’t have one, so I used a land line. That’s something that also should have been part of one’s Airbnb account. I requested the booking from the host and then Airbnb took it from there. Basically, this is all fine. I just wish that they could make the process a lot smoother. They could be a great site, but they make it almost impossible to complete bookings. In trying to get assistance for the booking, there was only a list of possibilities to try.

Websites like Airbnb can be helpful, but if they can’t get it together then get out of the business and let some else who can do it.

Airbnb Wants to Know Everything About You

I have already purchased tickets for flights but have had so much trouble trying just to pay for my two-week accommodation. I’m new to Airbnb, and have felt nearly buried under the formulaic questions and instructions. I am not that computer savvy but wish to make all my payments on my desktop account. When it comes to numerous instructions for identity verification and security, Airbnb keeps referring me to download their app onto my Android phone. I have told them numerous times I don’t trust to have personal details on my phone – only on my desktop, which has better security. Instead I just keep going around in circles with them. I have also told them how intrusive and extensive their requests for personal information are. Airbnb doesn’t even supply a telephone contact number so as to speak with a human being. Now I’m concerned if I cancel my accommodation reservation I’ll lose money. All I wanted was to book and pay with PayPal, which doesn’t seem like an option anymore. They keep sending me emails, but when I go into those it’s the same old story: connect with Google on your mobile device. As I have had serious health issues I haven’t been able to have a vacation for years. Trying to do a business transaction with this company has caused me frustration. My last request to them was for someone to phone me, and not text. I’m still waiting.

Abandoned in Chicago: No Way to Reach Host

I attended a conference in Chicago in April. I decided to attend based upon the anticipated total travel expenses. To assure costs were low enough to justify attending the conference, I booked both flights and accommodations well in advance. The airline booking process was straightforward. I knew the services and transportation that I would have, as well as the protections in place and remedies should they fail to perform to their commitment and industry standards.

I decided to try Airbnb for the accommodation portion of this trip. I received confirmation for a one-bedroom “whole home” in Chicago for five nights through Airbnb. The host, Evie, sent a welcome note and suggested I send an email to arrange a meeting point to receive the keys prior to my arrival. Airbnb required and received $599 on February 7th, 2017 at the time of the booking, about seven weeks before my trip was scheduled.

The day before my departure I sent an email to Evie to set up the key exchange at Airbnb’s instruction. I was surprised to receive an automatic reply from Airbnb that her email address had “expired”. Note that Airbnb had made no apparent attempt to inform me the contact information was no longer valid. It is clear that they were aware of this change in Evie’s email status, and that I had a reservation with her. However, Airbnb made no attempt to inform me of that situation; in fact, the website was still recommending this means of contact. I had to leave early the following day on a non-refundable ticket.

In the interim I informed Airbnb of the problem. Have you ever tried getting in touch with Airbnb customer service? It’s not an easy task.

Once I arrived in Chicago I finally got an Airbnb response asking me to wait an hour while they tried to contact their host. The next communication was that I should look for other accommodations. They were going to refund me $499 ($100 less than I had paid). I learned this while on the train from the airport. As it was cold, raining and late in the evening and Airbnb was completely indifferent to my situation, I got a room on HotelTonight – which I highly recommend – for one night.

That evening Airbnb responded, stated they had failed, and offered a full refund plus $53 for booking an alternate location. I thought I’d give them another shot; I found another (more expensive) Airbnb and tried to book it. I was informed I would have to wait 24 hours before they could confirm. In the interim I saw the same accommodation listed again, but at an even higher rate. I then received notification that my accommodation had been declined because “we are sold out, unfortunately.” It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see what had happened with the booking.

Having no other viable options, I booked a room for the balance of my trip at another hotel. After arriving at the hotel I connected to the internet and ran an internet search for telephone numbers to reach Airbnb. I found a number, but not on Airbnb’s website. I was able to reach customer service. I explained the situation and they promised to have a supervisor call to discuss this situation. I received an email several days later. In subsequent phone calls I explained Airbnb’s failures to meet commitments and how these failures caused me financial and emotional harm. The accommodations in Chicago were $1003.78, or $404.78 more than the $599 I had already paid for the Evie accommodation. In addition, the stress of being adrift in Chicago certainly made my time there less than fully productive.

The facts are clear that Airbnb:

1. Was aware that the only email contact between myself and Evie was using the Airbnb system.

2. Was aware, or should have been aware, that Evie’s email had “expired” on the Airbnb system prior to March 31.

3. Was negligent by failing to inform me of the change in status of Evie’s email contact information.

4. Was aware that Evie had cancelled other accommodation commitments on or shortly before the commitment start date. Note that these occurred after I made the reservation and therefore I was not aware of these failures to meet commitments at any time prior to my arrival in Chicago.

5. Was negligent by failing to provide any indication that the Airbnb accommodation commitment was at risk due to Evie’s repeated failure to perform.

Caveat Emptor: Worst Customer Service Ever

My wife and I recently booked 30 days of travel through Iceland and Western Europe through Airbnb. I would caution anyone who considers using Airbnb to consider that after eight days of calling and hours of dealing with customer service there is no way for a traveler to reach a manager after a case worker. Once it reaches a manger at this level the case is basically frozen in time. If you have an issue there is no resolution. I am quite worried about leaving a trip like this in the hands of this company. I know that before leaving my front door that if I have a problem there is no chance to get help. I did open a Twitter account to try to communicate with Airbnb when I couldn’t get through via email or the phone center. I received this response from them: “We see that a final decision has been issued on this matter and will disengage from further discussion. Thank you.”

I can only warn people at this point to run the other direction from Airbnb. If it goes badly you will regret it.

Can’t Contact Airbnb About My Extenuating Circumstances

I had my first Airbnb trip planned for this week. I was very excited about the trip, but Sunday evening I had a head injury that required ten stitches. Thus, I couldn’t travel this week. I contacted my host and she has been wonderful, however, Airbnb will charge her a fee if I don’t report my “extenuating circumstances” directly to them. According to the policy on their website, I am eligible to cancel my trip and get a full refund. The problem is that they don’t tell me how to contact them with documentation. When I search “contact Airbnb” I’m routed to their list of help questions. Of course, the answers to these questions don’t help. I have responded to their help page feedback, but I’m not getting any answers.

I finally did a Google search and found the Airbnb phone number on Airbnb Hell – thank you for that. I called and talked to a representative who was very nice, but he had to put me on hold twice to get the answers to my questions (improper training). He told me to email my documentation, but I said the email isn’t on the site so I needed to know the email address… he actually had to put me on hold for this. He came back and said that he would have to email me and that I could answer the email and attach my documentation. He did send the email right away (from response@airbnb.com). If this does not resolve the problem, I’ll be back on this site to write a follow-up.

In Airbnb Hell with my Cat for the Past Five Days

My Airbnb hell started when I tried to book a room for two weeks in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area on April 19. I requested a booking for a room that showed availability for my dates:

Hello,

My kitty, Cookie, and I will be flying into Fort Lauderdale tomorrow at 3:30 PM, so we hope to get to your house about 4:30. I look forward to meeting you then! Kim.

P.S. Cookie is well housebroken and declawed.

I sent this last Wednesday at 5:14 PM only to receive the following response:

Hello Kim,

Sorry for the inconvenience but those days are not available. Thank you.

I then tried to book a different place in Miami that showed “pets allowed” only to receive the following email from the hostess, Andrea, the next day as I was landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport:

Hi Andrea,

Do you have room for me and my cat, Cookie, for one week, April 20-27? We are flying into Fort Lauderdale from Denver tomorrow, arriving 3:25 PM. Cookie is extremely polite; she goes only in her box or outdoors, and she does not scratch. We hope to meet you tomorrow. I am a 64-year-old nonsmoker and nondrinker with a live and let live attitude moving to Portugal. Please advise.

Thanks,

Kim

Last Wednesday at 7:53 PM:

Hello Kim,

Thank you for your inquiry. The room is not available on April 20th, only starting April 21-27. What kind of arrangements do you have for your cat? Where will she/he sleep, eat, poop etc? I already have cats living here.

Last Thursday at 12:33 AM my request expired because Andrea didn’t respond within 24 hours. Airbnb recommended finding a new listing. Now the cheapest hotel was a Red Carpet Inn for $48 through Priceline so I stayed there even though my budget was for $21 per night . It got worse. The following morning I went to book a new listing only to be locked out of the Airbnb website; when I tried to book a new listing, it asked me to verify my bank account by entering two small deposit amounts. So I entered $0.50 and $0.75, thinking I was supposed to tell them two amounts to deposit and then verify they were deposited in my bank account. The message said “FAILED – TRY AGAIN,” so I entered two different amounts, and again “FAILED TO VERIFY BANK ACCOUNT.”

Now I was locked out of Airbnb because it then said to upload my bank statement. When I tried to do so, it would not accept the upload. I went on the site to find a phone number for help; there was none. Nor does the “Help Center” offer any solution or help for my problem. It doesn’t even describe it. I Googled “phone number for Airbnb” and a site called gethuman.com gave me a number which I called. After a long wait on hold, I finally got a person, but was disconnected while explaining the problem. I called back, again was put on hold, got a person, and then was disconnected again. Third try: same results.

I tried to email the Airbnb Help Desk:

Dear Airbnb,

I have been trying to book a room for the past 24 hours. When you requested deposit amounts on my bank account, I thought you meant I should give you two small amounts to deposit in my US bank account. I did, twice, and it said it failed. Then I went to get a bank statement to send you and saw you had already deposited two amounts into my bank account; I was supposed to see and enter them. I didn’t understand that from your website and now my bank statement won’t upload to Airbnb. I cannot book a room. Please let me book something. I have no place to stay tonight. I can’t call you… it’s maddening. Please use better English to communicate on your website. It is very unclear what you want users to do. See the attached photo of my US bank account showing the deposits.

Here is the response:

Unfortunately, your email has not reached Airbnb. To find an answer to your question, please visit our Help Center.

Thanks, Airbnb Customer Service 

I must now stay at the Red Carpet Inn for $79 because it is not possible to book anything through Airbnb. The next day, yesterday, April 22nd, my Airbnb account was working again, so I booked the first room I could find within my budget in Fort Lauderdale, asking the host if he would accept my kitty. He said it was okay so I went to his house and was relieved to find he would also rent the room to me through my entire stay, until May 7th. Meanwhile another lady booked the room through Airbnb’s ” Instant Book” for April 24th for one week, after he had committed to renting the room to me for two weeks.

Now Airbnb says I must leave, though I have no place to go and there are no rooms for rent for my dates. I told Airbnb: I am a 64-year-old woman you are trying to put out on the street with her cat with no place to go; I had already rented the room from the host, and I am not leaving. According to their rules, when the host agrees to honor the commitment he had made to me, Airbnb tells him they will charge him a penalty of $100 and issue a bad review and not allow him to book on Airbnb as a SuperHost if he cancels the Instant Booking with the lady who is due to arrive tomorrow.

It’s unconscionable. Airbnb is a nightmare, treating its customers – both guests and hosts – horribly and the public should be made aware.