Reasons to Stop Using Airbnb in the Future


I booked a trip to Montreal for February of next year to get out of my city and celebrate my graduation. The Airbnb I selected did have a strict cancellation policy which wasn’t an issue at the time because I had no intentions of cancelling. However, very shortly after booking the COVID situation in Montreal became dire with the whole city declaring a state of emergency. This week, Quebec reported nearly 10,000 cases. Montreal is on a complete shut down and will likely have similar strict measures in place come February. I decided it was best to cancel my trip early instead of waiting and having to do so last minute.

I contacted the host, whose profile says “response time one hour”. He did not reply to any of my messages. I contacted Airbnb customer service, which was of no help. They took a patronizing, condescending tone with me and constantly reiterated the “policies” by which their hands were tied. Airbnb does not protect customers in the case of COVID-related travel bans, closures, etc. Thus, even if I wanted for an official travel ban to be enacted, I still would not get my money back. My best option was to request a refund from the host. I did this and the host declined, citing this ‘policy’. Airbnb will not issue any credit to my account either. I have effectively lost my deposit.

Firstly, I do not think it is ethical or socially responsible for Airbnb to allow such policies in a pandemic. Obviously we’re all tired of this and want to get out and travel. However, there should be measures in place to protect customers in the event of unforeseen circumstances. I am aware the host has a strict cancellation policy, but this is an exceptional circumstance and I was at least providing him enough notice to find another guest.

I have accepted that I have two options: I can go through with my trip (or try to) or cancel now. I did not anticipate things would get so bad so fast and I do not want to risk traveling in February when COVID is likely to still be ravaging Montreal. I have decided to wait until the very last day to cancel my reservation, in hopes that it lessens the chance the host can find a new guest. I am also deleting my Airbnb account immediately after and will be boycotting the service going forward. When I think about it, I’m not saving that much money compared to a hotel. Maybe hotels will cost more, but I also won’t have to pay a cleaning fee and be responsible for cleaning the place lest I get tacked with additional fees and a bad review.

People like this host make the world a worse place to live in. Airbnb’s treatment of their customers is beyond poor. I refuse to give any more of my money to this platform. I always knew it was unethical, but I compartmentalized what I knew because part of me did like what Airbnb had to offer. The reality is, Airbnb is contributing to rising rental prices and housing scarcity.

If you’re on the fence about Airbnb or questioning whether you should boycott it, let this be a sign. At the end of the day, once they have your money, they couldn’t care less about you as a person. Customer service is not a priority once you’ve already paid them because absolutely nothing is forcing them to deliver. Put it this way: if a hotel has your money and for some reason you can’t travel due to unforeseen circumstances, they aren’t going to waive some draconian policy in your face and talk to you like you’re stupid. They will refund you or compensate you in some other way. A hotel isn’t going to charge you more money for not cleaning your room or subject you to a rating system that serves to encourage guests to ignore obvious problems with the unit and accept subpar service.


Airbnb Hosts cancelled because their house sold!

I organized a trip for 6 people to attend a bird festival in Northern Ohio in May. I booked a nearby house in January, then a month later in February, the hosts cancelled my reservation because their rental house had sold.  As this is a very popular destination in May, there were no houses left nearby, even in February, so I was unable to take advantage of Airbnb’s offer to give me ~$50 toward another reservation in the area. I had to go to VRBO to find a house that was not only farther away, but cost about $100 more for the overall stay. I think that all of these sites should require the host to either post that their rental property is for sale or require them to honor the reservation in this kind of situation and penalize them if they don’t follow those rules. And Airbnb needs to offer something better than a ~$50 voucher if the host cancels. At the very least, the consolation “prize” should be applicable to other locations and dates, not just the original ones.


My husband and I are going to be in Brazil for Christmas and New Years 2016. We found a great apartment minutes from the beach for $200/night, so I booked 2 nights for New Years eve and the day after. It took a while to get through the booking process as I had to take a photograph of both sides of my driver’s license to prove my identity, but I finally made it through the process. The reservation was accepted and my credit card was charged.

5 days later, the host sent me the following email: “Hi Chris, thank you for your reservation and your preference. I am so sorry about the price i haven’t seen the price, it is wrong. In the new years eve it will be $250 daily for 15 nights minimum or i can make for you $400 daily for this 2 nights that you want . what do you think?” So the host claims that she made a mistake in pricing, tries to double the price, or asks me to extend my day from 2 days to 15 days for a price per day 25% higher. Right, that sounds like a good deal. AirBnB’s online documentation for what to do if the host asks for more money ( says: “If a host asks you for more money than what you paid on the site and the extra charge wasn’t stated in the listing or in the message thread, contact us and we’ll contact your host directly.” So I responded politely to the host’s email: “Hi Paula, I received your message. According to AirBnB’s documentation,, in this circumstance they recommend that I contact them directly about such a request. I have just sent AirBnB customer service an email describing your request. I expect you will be hearing from them shortly.”

I expected that AirBnB would require the host to honor the contract made for this location. I was shocked when AirBnB replied: “Hi Chris This is Luka from Airbnb again. I spoke to your host and she decided to cancel your reservation. I am really sorry about that. You can either request your full refund or having the amount you paid transferred to another host. Please check the email you received from us with the subject line: “Reservation Canceled at Luxury 2 bd steps…” I hope you will find a nice listing for the dates you need. Please contact us if you need any help. Warmest regards, Luka” Ok, the host cancelled, and I got an apology and “warmest regards”. How politely disappointing. If I rebooked at a different location, they would give me a small credit. Or I could get a full refund. Better than zero, but what happened to the greedy host that cancelled?

According to AirBnB’s documentation (, if a host cancels without extenuating circumstances, they suffer penalties. In particular: “Your calendar will stay blocked and you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the canceled reservation” Furthermore, “An automated review will be posted to your listing’s profile indicating that you canceled one of your reservations. These reviews can’t be removed, but you can always write a public response to clarify why you needed to cancel.” As to “extenuating circumstances”, when you click on the link, it doesn’t offer any more information. In fact, the link takes you back to the “how-do-host-cancellation-penalties-work”. Reading more of the fine print on the page, AirBnB gives hosts that allow for instant booking three (3) get-out-of-penalty chances “if they have concerns about a guest’s behavior.” This listing allowed instant booking. However it goes on to say “Calendar inaccuracy, confusion about pricing or availability, and extenuating circumstances are not covered by this policy”. If the host was confused about pricing, as her email clearly indicates, then the host should not be immune to the cancellation penalty.

However, I went on the AirBnB website for that listing and saw that the property ( was available for the dates that I had booked, been accepted and been summarily cancelled 5 days later, not for $400/night, but for $250/night. The minimum stay is still 2 days, not 15 days. Furthermore, there was no review stating that a reservation had been cancelled. Clearly the host was trying to scam me by doubling the price, or requiring me to stay for more than 2 weeks. And yet apparently there’s no penalty to the host. But the worst is that AirBnB demonstrably does not live up to their published terms of service.

What are the consequences to AirBnB for a breach of their stated terms of service?


I have been a Real Estate investor/landlord/agent for 40 yrs. I was contacted by Airbnb who found me on Craigslist 6 yrs. ago when they were just a few guys in S.F. renting out their couches, asking if they could list my rentals on their new website. I agreed. I was a loyal airbnb host for 6 yrs. I took total strangers from all over the world into my private Los Angeles estate guest houses, our Las Vegas vacation rental, and my famous W. Hlwd. Jim Morrison bldg. I accepted 1st time guests from all over the world who had no host reviews. I took their pets. I did this because Airbnb offered me a false sense of security, by holding guests security deposits and offering a host guarantee insurance policy which is currently $1,000,000.00. Yes, a million dollars! Lets talk about the “Bad” guests. They ranged from irresponsible nuisances to shrewd con artists. There were the ones who broke or stole a few minor items, the ones who violated our common sense/common courtesy rules, or the ones who required “special services” but didn’t want to pay for them after. The worst guests included necessary police intervention or major theft caught on CCTV cameras. There was the group of “squatters.” They were wolves in sheep’s clothing who came to me as short term vacation rental guests. Visualize “The Beverly Hillbillies” in a pickup truck with their dogs. They came off sweet as pie (landlord 101: beware of overly nice prospective tenants. No one is that nice! They are usually desperate people with bad credit, no job, who can’t get anyone else to rent to them!) He even took on the job as handyman around the apt. bldg. They were able to drag out their stay, doling out breadcrumbs by paying a few days at a time. When it came time for them to check out, these predators who apparently support themselves by “working the system” refused to vacate the premises screaming “permanent tenant rights” in the grand scheme of things to con me out of $13,500 in re-location fees and to be able to extend their stay for one more year under the cities rent control laws!!! As if this wasn’t bad enough, I also got sued by the city who extorted me for nearly $16,000 in perceived TOT fees, which ended up costing me nearly $5000 in attys fees (who took my money and resigned from the case after doing nothing) before I ended up having to pay the city nearly $10,000 in fines. THIS IS WHAT BEING AN AIRBNB HOST COST ME. And what support did I get from airbnb? Now lets talk about airbnb. They come off syrupy sweet, calling you an “awesome Superhost.” They act like airbnb is all about “sharing space” and “making friends.” If I were looking for friendship, I’d join a social club. Lets get one thing straight. It’s renting out space. Real estate. Real estate is a business. Bottom line, you are in business to make money. AIrbnb is in business to make money. They take it from both ends- their hosts and their guests. They block out parts of hosts and guests email correspondence if they suspect it includes sharing contact information. Don’t let them kid you. They expect hosts and guests to trust them with total stranger connections, lodging, and finances, but they do not trust their own hosts or guests to be able to communicate with one another in fear they will get cut out of the deal. As airbnb & their # of hosts grew during the past few years (as did their negative reviews which began popping up all over on various websites) due to their mass marketing campaign, they appeared to care less and less about their hosts and guests. The 1st big scandal I read about was the host in California whose home was totally trashed by airbnb guests. That’s when airbnb came up with their “$50,000.00 host guarantee policy” to provide panicked hosts a false sense of security. Most recently was the home in Canada that was totally trashed by airbnb guests. Airbnb upped the ante to $1,000,000.00. To be eligible for that type of host coverage, I suspect the entire family would need to be brutally murdered. I am a professional, honest, trustworthy, “to the book” type host. I never once went behind Airbnb’s back to try to cut them out of their original booking commission because I believe in karma and I believe everyone is entitled to their fair share of what they contributed. Also, never once did one of my guests ever make a theft claim while staying in our rental units. That speaks volumes for my honesty and integrity. Many guests don’t realize that when they book through airbnb, all payment is handled directly by airbnb. They never allow the host to be in possession of the security deposit. So when a guest commits damage, theft, violations of rules or requires special services, I exercised my host rights and filed a claim with airbnb under the guest’s security deposit. To avoid having to process claims, airbnb will attempt to discourage hosts by running you through the hoops. Think boot camp! 1st you have to go through the “Resolution request” (asking your guest to pay you.) This link is nearly impossible to find on their site. Once you have found it, filled out the form, and sent it to your guest, the guest will usually deny the damage/theft, etc., get angry that you “accused them,” refuse to pay, then leave you a false negative retaliatory review. If you don’t hear back from the guest or they deny the claim, you have to mark your calendar to remember to contact airbnb to “get involved.” (if you forget, you are out of luck on the claim as the deadline has expired.) In order to involve airbnb, they will require photos, witnesses, original receipts, and/or comps. As a real estate investor with multiple fully furnished properties in 3 locations in 3 states, I would have hire someone to pull dead files out of storage and spend days going through thousands of receipts through the years to find one for a towel, mug, pillow or whatever for the damaged or missing item(s) in question! Once you have completed the form & provided the “evidence” (they do not trust their hosts word, despite the fact the host trusted them to have these strangers in their home who broke/stole their personal property items!) you wait to hear back from airbnb. None of my claims were what I would consider “substantial” amounts of money. Some claims were processed, but as time went on they were either denied, reduced, or ignored. When a guest flooded my unit, I filed a claim for $2,500.00 for my out of pocket costs. This was my and only claim that came under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee policy. After I went through airbnb’s claim “boot camp” process, they said they were only willing to pay $500 firm (20% of my claim,) Final decision, no appeal. Shortly thereafter, with no warning they deleted all of my listings and cancelled all of my bookings for the rest of the year. They told my future guests that it was I who had cancelled their bookings, so I had angry guests contacting me not realizing the truth, that airbnb had lied to them and that I was as much an airbnb victim as they were! I still have approx. 1/2 dozen minimal claims airbnb ignored and never paid over the past year, along with the one and only claim I filed in 6 yrs. under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee claim for $2,500.00 that I was never compensated for. If you are an airbnb host who incurred damage, theft, or unpaid claims and you would like to be paid, please contact me. Email: Responsible guests are always welcome! See my websites below.

Sorry, we have no rooms available but we’ll take your money anyway

I tried to make a reservation on Airbnb and the host’s reply was “sorry, not available those dates”. But when I look at my bank account I see an “authorisation” for the amount of the reservation, which was 140€ as the reservation was for 7 days. Supposedly I will eventually get the money back but right now my available bank balance is down 140€ for the reply “sorry, not available”. What happens if I don’t have more money in my account to pay another place to stay? What if that was all the money I had to pay for my stay? Why are they doing taking my money if the reply is no? This really pisses me off and it will make me avoid airbnb in the future because, although I think the hosts are good people, the company is obviously run by greedy, unscrupulous crooks. What hotel charges your card if they have no rooms available, leaving you without enough to go to find another place and then tells you “don’t worry, you’ll get it back within 7-31 days depending on your bank etc etc”.



I’ve hosted many rooms on AirBNB for almost 2 years and always had a 100% perfect rating, but then I caught two of my guests sneaking in their friend and having him stay with them without telling me. I was annoyed but I very reasonably said that he could just pay $10 per night for the 3 nights he stayed, and we would call it even. They agreed to my face, but secretly they made up a story about mice and bugs being in the condo and filed not one but two complaints directly with airbnb! I thought, wow that’s annoying, so I promptly responded to the claims with lengthy explanations about what REALLY happened, expecting that airbnb would naturally see through the lies of these two young kids. Instead, Airbnb gave the kids HALF of their money back for the three week long reservation even though they had already stayed 18 of the 21 days before making a complaint! Even better than that, the kids damaged both of their rooms, stole money, wine glasses, and other kitchen items, yet when I filed security deposit claims against both of them including photos and witnesses, airbnb literally ignored the claims without so much as a response and refunded the kids 100% of their security deposits!

Long story short, I’ve had enough of terrible service by large companies that just don’t feel like they need to give a crap about their customers, even a long-term host with a perfect rating.