Careful Booking Close to International Borders

I was trying to book a weekend getaway with my husband, sister and brother in law to celebrate our anniversaries. I was looking in Niagara, NY but somehow the site was showing me places in Canada too. I did not realize this.

I found a place that looked great for the price we could afford, and the address said Buffalo, NY. I booked it and as soon as I did it the confirmation said Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Since none of us had our passports current I cancelled it immediately (about two minutes had gone by since I booked and cancelled). Airbnb refunded me $350 of the cost and the host was supposed to refund me the remaining $200.

You have to put a request in for the money so I did and contacted the host. I messaged her explaining what had happened and she told me she had already made plans to go away for that weekend (apparently in the two minutes it took me to cancel) so she couldn’t possibly refund me my money. She said her strict policy on cancellations allowed her to do this. I had already read that policy and it said I had a 48-hour grace period to get my money back as long as it was at least 14 days before the booked date. It was in fact 30 days before the reservation date.

I messaged her several times explaining to her that if the money was not refunded we could no longer take our trip which we had been saving for, not to mention the hassel of getting the kids and animals looked after we were gone. She kept citing the policy, but ignored the part about the 48-hour grace period when I would remind her. Then she stopped returning my messages on the app.

I contacted Airbnb directly, explained the situation, and they refunded me. This is not a complaint about them except for the fact that they were showing me properties in Canada when I was looking in New York.

 

Beware of Moderate Cancellation Policy, Negative Reviews

My family of four plus two grandparents booked a whole house in Phuket, Thailand with a moderate cancellation policy, allowing for cancellation during the stay. In the master bedroom, the en-suite bathroom smelled of poor toilet drainage, and the house was generally filthy despite the advertised housekeeper. After a few nights we decided to cancel and book ourselves into a hotel. We would have acted sooner but were very jet lagged after a 24-hour flight, We gave the host a heads up and followed the moderate cancellation policy (allowing for a 50% refund for unused days).

The host was very angry and wrote a negative review saying we were the worst experience he ever had. We left the house in a cleaner state than when we had arrived with no breakages. We were highly courteous throughout the stay. After going back and forth with the case manager Airbnb decided that the review was within guidelines. I am writing to warn future guests to document everything through email and photos and if you make a complaint do it within 24 hours even if there is a moderate cancellation policy.

Can’t Get My Money Back After We Didn’t Stay

We booked a flat right on the outskirts of Barcelona for five nights in August 2017. The flat allegedly belonged to the host. Due to work happening on the underground system, we got there about an hour after he was expecting us. We didn’t have his phone number but we got into the apartment building with someone who was entering. There was no answer at his door. We sat on the floor outside his door for about an hour and then someone came out of the flat next door, so we showed them the address and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely here, but there’s [no one by that name] living here; it belongs to Pedro.”

We went to sit in a cafe while we thought what to do, and a local told us it wasn’t legal to rent flats to tourists due to all the scams. I phoned my partner who managed to find the host’s phone number and our Peruvian friend phoned. The host said that if we didn’t come, there would be a cancellation charge of 25 euros. This had all taken us five hours and we were exhausted so we went to stay in a hotel.

On our return home, we applied to Airbnb resolution centre to get our £296 back. The host kept sending messages saying he had been there all day and that we had never arrived. We were there for at least an hour, but we left because we were told he didn’t exist. Airbnb gave us the name of a resolution investigator who said on September 13th that she would investigate. We never heard anything at all from her. The Airbnb site now says that the claim was resolved three months ago (which would be the end of August 2017) but we have never heard anything at all from them, and I have still been billed for five days for a property I never used.

Valid Cancellations Don’t Mean Instant Refunds

Yesterday I booked a condo in South Padre Island and got a message from Airbnb to call a number. I called the number and it was the property management guy. He told me that Airbnb did not charge me for the cleaning fee and that I needed to pay him for that. Well then, I see that they charged me $100 per night and the host told me he would charge $90 a night. Then I realized Airbnb had overcharged me by about $150. The property management guy told me to cancel my reservation through Airbnb and then rebook through him. Well it was within thirty minutes that I cancelled my reservation and then had to contact Airbnb to get my full refund back. They authorized the refund but now it can take up to 15 days before I get it. This is such BS since the cancellation policy stated I had 24 hours and I cancelled within thirty minutes. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my refund ASAP?

Host’s Tardiness Keeps me from Getting a Refund

We did not see our Airbnb hosts with the key for hours; they were working. There was no A/C. There were no curtains in the living room or bedroom; those above you could look in. The patio door opened at night for air and noise. Daytime hall door open for air. Garbage left behind. Did not know where the garage was so was not able to use it. Bedroom to small for suite case to come into. I was standing outside the building waiting to get in, I had no wifi and I was from out of country with no phone service. In the end, I was very unsatisfied and went home.

I was finally able to reach Airbnb about a refund. I was told that because I did not contact them within 24 hours I was not entitled to one. I told them I was not able to find my host. As of today, I was not able to contact anyone in reference to my $100 credit, which means I was not able to use it. Airbnb is a very difficult service especially if there is an issue. They are not there for you. The rental property I wanted was priced $80 plus a service fee. Why are we paying for a service fee? Should that not be part of the host’s fee? Not again. This is not worth the hassle.

Airbnb is a Pig in a Poke: Don’t Trust Them

I was a great fan of Airbnb for about two or three years until I faced an ugly situation. I had a bad experience with an apartment in Tel Aviv in the high season, August. It was so bad that when I provided photos to Airbnb, they refunded me 50% of the total cost. Later I understood why there were so many good reviews (good scores) for awful apartments. It is just the policy of Airbnb. They do not want to spoil their reputation and image by admitting they allow bad hosts to keep using the site. That’s why they do their best to hide negative reviews. After my experience, I left an honest review of the apartment and they hid it. The explanation was that the host provided them with some evidence that I accepted a bribe from him for a good review. I have provided our SMS exchange and WhatsApp messages, but they took his side. It was especially strange and disgusting taking into consideration that the guy lied about the apartment description; there were awful conditions and his ad was a fraud. They themselves forced him to pay me back 50%. I will never recommend using Airbnb as you are buying a pig in a poke.

Airbnb is the Law, Enforces their own Policy Arbitrarily

I booked a house in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Airbnb last week. Shortly after booking, the host wanted to increase the price by nearly 50% and sent a request to alter the agreement. I refused and the host cancelled the booking unilaterally. As soon as the reservation had been confirmed, I informed my family about the extra space available so I had to take this back. It was embarrassing, a lot of time was lost, and I had to look for another place. Despite Airbnb policy to post an ‘automatic’ review that the host had cancelled and block the dates I had booked on the host’s calendar, nothing happened. I received a ‘full’ refund a few days later but I still had foreign transaction fees of 15 USD nobody will cover. My conclusion is that Airbnb policy is completely arbitrary and the whole process is set up to maximize the profit of Airbnb. They talk about the ‘Airbnb community’ , which is utter nonsense. It’s a (poorly regulated) business, and that’s all.

Charleston Fabulous Studio Comes with Sewage Smell

I travel a lot for work and often use Airbnb to break up the monotony of hotel rooms. This particular listing turned into a personal nightmare. Too often I have noticed that Airbnb owners treat their guests like a paycheck instead of as a ‘friendly host’ that the Airbnb community was designed around. These individuals are ruining what started as a fun alternative to large hotel chains.

I arrived at the host’s studio (attached to a house) apartment around 4:00. She was still cleaning up and we chatted for a bit. The heavy use of cleaning products motivated me to go for a run. I returned, showered, and went to dinner with a client. Having to be up early for an installation for work, I returned to the studio around 9:00 PM. This is where my nightmare began.

When I opened the door to her studio I was hit by a wall of sewer/urine. It was pretty unreal. I held my breath, and grabbed my things and got out as fast as I could. So here I am standing outside at 9:00 PM in front of a sewer. I sent her a text letting her know that I had to leave because of this smell, I had an early morning and would deal with everything after work. Instead of apologizing, sending someone to check, or checking herself, she immediately denied that anything could have happened; she told me it “must have been something I did.”

She finally got to the studio later the next morning where she acknowledged the sewer smell, told me I could stay in the main house (that didn’t smell as bad). She said, “You’re a guy with one bag – here is a bottle of wine for the inconvenience, stop being mean and unreasonable.”

I’m sorry, what? I have a full day on a job site and now have to deal with this lady insulting me, and basically telling me to deal with it because I’m a guy? What century is this? Anyone in my situation would have done the same thing. It was late, I was tired, and had to be up early. She responded around 11:00 PM offering lodging in the adjacent home.

I honestly would have accepted lodging in the adjoining house (that had only a “faint smell of sewage”) but by the end of work the next day her messages had become angry, abusive, and mean. There was no way I was going to stay on any property associated with this lady. I attached a link to the back and forth messages. Read them for yourself.

I escalated the situation to Airbnb, who, in their defense, played the “keep the client happy” card. They offered a partial refund but I don’t care about the money. The place she rented me smelled like a sewage plant. She acknowledged that it did, blamed me, got upset at me for leaving, declined a refund, and told me to “deal with it”. Pretty unreal. She is also about to become a Superhost. I hope for everyone’s sake this does not happen.

Charged over £1,000 for a 16-Minute Booking

We were the victims of a double booking at our first property. It actually wasn’t Airbnb’s fault, but the subsequent events had everything to do with an Airbnb host. This was not an individual, in fact, but a faceless and greedy property management company. After the double booking fiasco, seven of our group were stranded in the remote Tuscan countryside in rural Italy with, realistically, a couple of hours to sort it out and find somewhere to sleep. I was the eighth member of the group, travelling by train to meet the group. It was up to me to find an alternative at very short notice through Airbnb as I’d made the original booking and the money immediately reimbursed by Airbnb for the double booking mess up was allocated to my account. Network coverage on the train was very patchy.

Looking at alternative accommodation for suitability and availability on a mobile device was extremely difficult. It was hot. The train was packed. Going from Milan to Florence, you pass through an enormously long tunnel. Meanwhile, I was trying to converse with the group who were also wrestling with poor phone signals and trying to assess alternatives and report back to me.

Long story short: the circumstances were extremely difficult. Partway through this process I made another booking. It was a mistake caused by confusion and fat fingers. I take full responsibility for making an error but in the circumstances you can perhaps understand how it happened. I realised what I’d done and cancelled the booking within 16 minutes. Once we’d finally sorted out alternative accommodation, I contacted the host and asked for a refund. I figured he’d been put to no trouble; he could not have lost a booking in 16 minutes and could not have incurred any cleaning fees. He refused.

Of the £1953 we paid for the 16 minute booking, the host chose to refund only £842, citing his Strict Cancellation Policy. The 16 minutes cost us £1,111. This is the villa – beware if you’re booking it. The host was within his rights according to his and Airbnb’s policy. Is this fair? Reasonable? In the spirit of the Airbnb community? Someone you would like to trust with your holiday? Those are questions you might like to consider before making a booking with Airbnb.

Fleas in the Bed, Airbnb Host in the Wind

We needed a place to stay for three nights before moving on to St. Ives and found a cottage listed on Airbnb. On arrival we were fairly happy with the cottage, which was decorated and kept nicely, if a little dirty, but nothing too bad. Our baby daughter was using her walker, and we noticed that her feet were dirty after a few minutes on the floor; again, we decided that we could live with this for a few days. The host had informed us that the previous guests had broken the curtain rail in the second bedroom, but that he didn’t think it would bother us. It did, as my teenage son was in that room, and he had to pile pillows into the window frame to block out the light in the morning. Again, we were only there for a few days so we could put up with it before our holiday moved to St. Ives.

Trying to run a bath for our daughter, I noticed that one of the bath taps wouldn’t work, so I filled it using the shower. Again not ideal, but we could work around it. The hosts kindly left some coffee, but the only coffee pot we could find was full of mould. We stuck to tea; it was no problem as I like tea. Now for the tipping point. We got into bed and allowed our daughter to lay with us for a little while, when my wife saw a flea jump onto her then off again. I sat up and we pulled the covers back and saw a flea (possibly the same one) jump onto and off of the white sheets. By this time it was too late to do anything so we had no choice but to sleep in the bed. In the morning we saw two more fleas and my wife had been bitten.

I contacted the host and very politely told him that he had fleas and that we couldn’t stay. He said he would refund me asap, and thanked me for being so understanding. I told him that if course we wouldn’t leave any negative feedback, as these things happen. We spent the day trying to find alternative accommodation, eventually finding an apartment in Plymouth, Devon. This was a very stressful day, not knowing whether we would be able to find a place to stay and having a six-month old to look after. A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard from the host, so I looked on the website and saw that you could request money. I did this, requesting £250 of the roughly £300 we paid.

A couple of nights later I received an email telling me that the host had refused to refund us, and in addition he felt that we hadn’t left the house in a respectable state. We had only stayed one night, and as far as I can remember the only things we left were items of food packaging by or in the bin, and the pillows piled up in the window. My son initially tidied this but I told him to put it back so that the host knew that it was an issue. I have asked the host to explain what he meant but haven’t heard back. I have asked Airbnb to get involved but haven’t heard back. Most annoyingly, the host left it long enough so that I couldn’t leave feedback.