Airbnb Needs to Work on its Occupancy Taxes

Well, After talking to five customer service people, going downtown to Airbnb’s Portland office, and getting turned away, I have just about had it. I had a reservation to start a guest rental from July 1st to July 31st. Airbnb charged her an occupancy tax of $223. The city law here is anything “fewer than 30 days” is classified as a temporary rentals, not 30 days or less. That’s one error.

To figure a new solution, we tried to add a day so we were in the 31-night category. That added over a thousand dollars for the extra night. We could not get any help from customer service. In fact, we got five or five different suggestions, which began with canceling and starting over; this would have penalties.

It seems to me Airbnb is great at wanting the business but poor at actually wanting to fix the problems. Finally a lady got back to me from the Portland office and we figured out why we could not add a day. I had listed two days before and after reservations for cleaning. If a guest needs to stay longer Airbnb’s software should have pushed the cleaning days out. I am going to look for new alternatives to Airbnb. They can afford luxury offices but can’t help fix something with what should have been done with a single phone call.

Accurate Listing of Property, Inaccurate Description of Host

My wife and I went to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Portland, OR and wanted to spend a month there with our small dog. First, I want to say that the house listing and description were spot-on accurate. The house was exactly as described, the host allowed pets, and the wireless and cable TV were provided as per her listing. The neighborhood was perfect, so what could go wrong, right?

We arrived after a two-day drive from Phoenix and Jeannie was there to greet us. We had rented the entire house, which Jeannie assured us in numerous texts and emails would be ours. She even provided gluten-free muffins for me, knowing I had an allergy. Unfortunately, the bottom floor was occupied by a friend of hers with an extremely aggressive dog that tried to attack my dog, and was not particularly friendly to my wife or me. Since the laundry was downstairs, this could prove to be a problem.

The basement apartment was accessible by a different entrance, but there was no lock on the door between that stairway and the kitchen. Our host told us we could install one if we wanted. Jeannie was also living in her garage at the time. My definition of “entire house” does not include sharing with two other people. I raised the issue with her, and she claimed she never promised us complete privacy. I showed her the emails, and she says I misread them. There was also some renovation scheduled so she could “legalize” the basement apartment. She did tell me an electrician was coming, but an electrician and renovation are two different stories.

My son met us at the house with his wife and spoke with our host as well. She basically propositioned him in front of his wife, explaining she was a teacher who lead a boring life. My wife was very uncomfortable, which Jeannie picked up on. She texted me and I suggested we meet face to face rather than text. When I went to meet with her, she was wearing a wide mesh top with nothing underneath. I am not comfortable speaking with a woman who is not my wife who is also basically topless. That was the end for me. I called Airbnb, who listened, and were merely sympathetic until I got to the topless conversation. That was over the line for them. They told me to pack and leave immediately, which we did.

They tried to find other listings and offered me three other options, which were all three times what I was paying now (so not affordable). We finished the week in a Residence Inn and drove home. I eventually got half my money refunded (a very expensive single-night stay) and the reservation was listed as cancelled so I couldn’t leave a review. I am amazed that Airbnb lets this listing remain up. You will see another complaint very similar to mine which remains on the site. At the time, my son was the executive chef at a popular restaurant in the Alberta Arts district. His sous chef, who is a 6’2″ tall transsexual with head to toe tattoos remarked to our son that even by Portland standards “that woman is bats$*t crazy!” Guess it wasn’t just us.