Does Airbnb Condone Prostitution in Paris?

Here is an experience that shows how Airbnb truly operates with the practice of totalitarian and dishonest methods in order to maximize its gains. The resolution center is there to give anyone that files a complaint serious headaches, to make it as lengthy and complicated as possible to put off potential claims and, in the end, to make a decision without the possibility of appeal or protest. In short, disgusting downright incompetence and amateurism combined. Be warned.

An American female traveler stayed in my studio, located in Paris, France. After three days the complaints from neighbors multiplied and one called the police in the early morning. They discovered my guest and a gentleman who admits to having “paid [for] sexual services” having a heated argument. The traveler denies <em>en bloc</em> and demands a refund “because of some renovation that disrupted her stay.” In fact, it concerned a facelift of a nearby building.

Despite sending the police record and an affidavit from a neighbor this is the Airbnb resolution:

“Hi Paul, This is Keith with Airbnb. I hope this email finds you well. After reviewing all the documentation provided for this resolution case a fair mediation has been reached. Juliana was requesting $1320.00 for the issues had during her stay. I’ve processed a refund to Julian in the amount of $321.00 USD for the issues she experienced. Since your payout was already released for this reservation, a $320.00 adjustment has been added to your account. This means that the amount will be automatically deducted from your future payouts until it has been reconciled. You can check the status of your payouts at any time in your Transaction History, which can be found at Account > Transaction History. The Completed Transactions tab displays your payout when it is released by Airbnb, and when it’s processed by the banking system. This concludes this Resolution case. You are now able to submit your own Resolution case for consideration. All the best, Keith S.”

In other words: Airbnb condones prostitution. Airbnb doesn’t care about hosts. According to my calculations, I’ve made the equivalent of $20,000 in the past five years for this Mickey Mouse company. The style and spelling of their replies clearly demonstrate that Airbnb representatives have zero legal expertise, and are mere puppets of the corporate philosophy of maximizing revenues at any cost.

What Amsterdam Taught me about Airbnb

Up until my visit to Amsterdam I had only good experiences with Airbnb. Some better, some worse, but all were above average, until I got to this horrific apartment. The pictures seemed okay, but nothing prepared me for this stoner’s place. The shower was filthy and I suspect that they used the same towel they gave me. Airbnb did give me back the money for one night after I sent them a video of the shower, but it wasn’t without a lot of fuss. I didn’t leave earlier because I landed at 22:00 and didn’t have anywhere else to go. On one night the hosts forgot to take their key to the house and woke me up in the middle of the night to let them in. To make a long story short, I’ve learned my lesson: use Airbnb only for whole apartments and never for a room.

Naturally, none of this information got to Airbnb since they have a policy of publishing a review only when you are reviewed by the host, and since I knew I’d get a bad review, I never reviewed this apartment.

Airbnb was no Help with Nasty Host

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Our host greeted us at the door with an old dog with matted fur; there was no mention of him in the profile. She provided us with one key and said we could make our own copies. Some rooms didn’t have any light bulbs and the host said we could buy some. The bathroom and floors were brown with dirt and dog hair. The smell from the dog was so bad we could not stay in the apartment the first night. We weren’t able to use the intercom because it’s connected to the house phone that the host took with her. We had to go downstairs every time to let my husband in. The host didn’t have a wifi password for us upon arrival. There was no gym. The furniture was broken. The “free parking on premises” was street parking. I contacted the host twice about getting a partial refund and she had no reply to my request. I asked to have one night’s stay and the cleaning fee back. She wouldn’t reply. Airbnb closed my resolution request with no explanation after two months. I’m unable to include a link to her listing because the stink spot is “no longer available.”

Strict Cancellation Policy, Dangerous Neighborhoods

I was looking for a property that we could reserve for four nights to take a long awaited family vacation. We are two adults and two younger children, ages 2 and 8. I thought I had found the perfect place; from the pictures it seemed very nice. However, after I booked the reservation and the host confirmed it, she sent me an email and said that she “pre-approved” my request to book and then asked me to review the house rules and let her know if there was anything I was uncomfortable with. So I did. A couple house rules suggested that I should have something to worry about: close the shades at night and don’t bring a gun? That’s fine. I didn’t have a problem doing that… but why was this necessary? So I decided to further research the neighborhood now that I was able to view the address. I was shocked. There were several shootings just around the block within the last couple of weeks, as well as arrests for drugs, car theft, larceny, and so on. Just within a couple of blocks!

To me, this did not seem like a “relaxing” destination for our family of four. I had hoped to push the stroller around town and check out the sights. There was no way I was going to put my family in danger, so I cancelled the reservation within two hours of booking it. Wouldn’t you know… I only received half of my money back, even though the dates were 90 days out and I cancelled less than 12 hours after submitting the request! This host wasn’t losing any money. She has ample time to book those dates. The host uses a strict cancellation policy. I’m okay with this and I understand the reasoning behind it. However, 90 days out and cancelled within 12 hours? That’s just not fair. So the host writes to me and says she will give me a full refund if someone books the dates in the mean time. I told her that is fine with me.

What does she do? She makes those dates unavailable so they cannot be booked. She has a four night minimum and marks one of those days on her calendar as being unavailable, effectively making them all unavailable, and then she reduces the nightly costs by 50%. I have a suspicion that she knows this is a dangerous neighborhood and that this happens all the time. I don’t think I’m the first (nor will I be the last) person who has booked with her, cancelled when we found out where this place is and then lost half of our money. This host is getting paid for doing nothing. She does have several reviews, some mentioning the neighborhood on a negative light, though I wonder how many cancelled and cannot leave feedback. I’d love to see those numbers, because all I keep hearing from Airbnb is that “she has good feedback on the property.”

Yes, I read that feedback and none of the reviewers mention having children. It would be one thing if just my husband and I were staying there. I don’t mind the risk if we are solely responsible for ourselves, but I have two children to be responsible for and I will not put them in harm’s way for the sake of a family vacation. No thanks! Not to mention that dodging bullets and crackheads is not my idea of a “relaxing family vacation”!

At this point I’m beyond frustrated. I’ve reached out to Airbnb customer service several times over the past couple of weeks, spent hours on hold, spoken to several representatives who keep saying that my case is being “escalated.” I talked to someone in the “experience department,” who said he’d call me back after they speak to the host. The host doesn’t have my money. I know it’s in an escrow with Airbnb and they could return it to me at any time. I asked them what sort of liability they would have if someone were murdered at a property they advertise and she expressed concern, then said, “Some people may be comfortable walking around Compton while others would not be.”

I realize this. I totally get it. I grew up outside of Atlanta in an unsavory neighborhood as a child, but I did not have a choice at that time. However, as an adult, I have a choice to not bring my kids to a dangerous neighborhood on vacation. Does anyone choose to vacation in Compton? I doubt it! The next step is filing a claim with my credit card company because I just want to move on with my life! By the way, this is not the first property I’ve booked on Airbnb with a strict cancellation policy. In fact, we just got married at a property less than six months ago and it went flawlessly. However, this individual is hosting a shady rip off while Airbnb idly stands by.

Airbnb Nightmare: Marooned in Montreal

My family had come to Canada from various other international destinations for a highly anticipated and active family vacation. However, while we were in transit to our Airbnb lodging in Montreal from Toronto, we received a somewhat cryptic text message from our hosts stating that they were cancelling our Montreal reservation (for that day) due to some “unavoidable issues” with our lodging. My husband had to lookup our original reservation as there was no contact information for our Montreal hosts to ask for clarification. After we were “eventually” able to make contact with our hosts they continued to be exceptionally vague as to what happened that caused our reservation to be cancelled. When we asked what happens now that our reservation was null and void – thus, making my ENTIRE INTERNATIONAL FAMILY NOW HOMELESS – our hosts simply advised that we would have to “consult” the Airbnb contracts to determine if we were entitled to a refund if we “chose not to find and use another Airbnb lodging.”

We attempted to ask additional questions and for assistance in locating alternative housing, but our hosts stopped responding to our requests and Airbnb has no direct lines of communication to their corporate headquarters or any legitimate form of customer service or quality control services. We were forced to find what we honestly believe happened to be the last two very over-priced hotel rooms in Montreal that ALL of our extended and immediate family had to share as it also happened to be Canada Day. The situation certainly brought our family together, but in a most uncomfortable and precarious fashion. So, if you are thinking of utilizing Airbnb as lodging for your travels, make sure you have investigated all other options FIRST. I would advise that you especially avoid Host Kick in Montreal on Airbnb as they can cancel on you at the last minute.

Airbnb Nightmare: Transient Hippie Flophouse

This was my first experience with Airbnb and I will never recommend it to anyone. My lesson: Always use a legitimate hotel. I booked a long-term rental in a place that looked deceptively nice in the photo and description. I thought I would be staying with a woman and her children: a safe, family-oriented home, or so I thought. When I asked if the bathroom was shared, I was told it was but that Carissa, the “host” (a loosely used term because flophouse operator is more accurate), could work around my schedule. Unfortunately, Carissa didn’t tell me the bathroom would also be shared with any transient she could shove into any space she had. She tried to make it out to be some hippie idea of communal living, but her real colours showed when it came time for money. She is very much in this to try to squeeze as much out of unsuspecting renters as she can. I’m not exaggerating when I say she rents out every place she can: all the bedrooms, the basement, the shed in the backyard (for real), and a grungy algae-covered camping trailer in the driveway. And all these people use the same bathroom.

The biggest problem was that despite the numerous unknown characters lingering about, she left the doors unlocked to the house at all times and didn’t have a door that locked on the room I rented for me to secure my things while I was out. I stayed one night, only because I had nowhere else to go, then left. That started the second part of the horrible Airbnb experience. I tried to get a refund, but Carissa said it was “non-refundable.” I had booked for five weeks! She was going to keep all that money for one night. Finally, she said she’d look at how many times she rented the room during the time and give me a refund based on this at the end of the originally booked stay. I tracked that she rented that same room out for 13 days. But, when I contacted Carissa, there was no reply within the 72 hours she had to respond.

So I started the resolution process through Airbnb. After a number of emails, Airbnb told me I’d get a partial refund (so my one night stay in a hellhole would only cost me about $700 after the supposed refund). I was told the refund would reach me within five business days. It’s been seven business days and still nothing. When I tried to email Airbnb about it, the automated response told me the issue was “closed” so they wouldn’t be responding! I’ll reiterate: Stick with hotels. Don’t be fooled by seemingly normal rentals.

Airbnb Does NOT Respect Strict Cancellation Policy

My family decided to vacate the house they live in throughout the year during the summer to rent it out and help pay the bills. The property is located in southern Europe in a region that’s highly sought after during the high season. After accepting reservations booked by guests months in advance we had to turn many away, including requests from other guest on alternative booking sites. We had many added expenses getting the place ready, including cleaning as well as check in and check out fees.

Two consecutive guests decided to cancel their booking at the last minute for medical reasons. (for two separate reservations); the second guest cancelled his booking days AFTER he was supposed to check in. In spite of us having a “strict” cancellation policy, Airbnb agreed to reimburse them for the full cost of their booking leaving us with an empty house at the last minute in the midst of the high season. To justify their decisions, Airbnb only sent us the link to their extenuating circumstances policy, which lists a very wide variety of circumstances left broad and vague on purposes. In this instance, given that both guests had emailed saying their cancellation was due to medical issues, we asked Airbnb which objective criteria had been applied and the list of documents provided by guests to justify the fact they had to cancel at the last minute. In spite of our repeated queries, Airbnb refused to provide any objective criteria used to determine the circumstances of the cancellations. Of course they make these arbitrary decisions without losing any money themselves. Hosts end up losing money without having any say in the decision. These cancellations should be handled with a strict process similar to those applied by travel insurance policies. Hosts are NOT protected by Airbnb and this certainly doesn’t feel like a community.

Airbnb Refunds are Sketchy at Best

I’m a first time user of Airbnb. There were problems. Airbnb takes your money before completing any transaction and then declines to provide service. The credit card deduction is NOT the last stage of the process. This is a bad business practice. Airbnb takes your money immediately (within 30 minutes) but any refund takes five days. This is also a bad business practice. At this point in time, I have been promised two refunds but have not received anything (within the five-day refund wait time) so I can’t verify that Airbnb actually does give refunds. There is no indication of the problems causing a booking to fail. There is just a late email saying that it has ‘failed to verify’ and ‘accommodation is cancelled’ and that my money will be refunded in five days.

Customer service is patchy as email requests for solutions are ignored or given belated responses. Presently,there has been no response to my emails for more than ten hours. Using Airbnb is too much effort for a holiday pastime. I will stay away from Airbnb in the future. My first experience was on July 22, 2016. I booked a night under Airbnb. I gave my credit card details and the money was deducted from my credit card; then Airbnb requested details from my ID… and then the booking was rejected, with a promise to refund the money in five days. The problem took 24 hours to sort out and find alternative accommodations. The accommodation was fine and I was very happy with the host. Due to the problems encountered, Airbnb customer service promised a refund but this has not yet occurred (because of a five-day delay?)

My second experience was on July 24, 2016. I booked two nights under Airbnb. I gave my credit card details and the money was deducted from my credit card; then Airbnb requested details from my ID… and then the booking was rejected, with a promise to refund the money in five days. The problem has still not been sorted out after 23 hours, and there has been no response to my emails for 11 hours.

Airbnb Warning About Getting Refunds

Yet another cancellation story but also a warning to do things in the right order. I booked a three-bedroom apartment in Soho, New York City run by a lady called ‘Clodagh’. A month after the booking was accepted I received a message from her saying she had to cancel the booking. But Airbnb still showed the listing as valid. Only after I sent her a message telling her to handle the cancellation properly from her end did I receive an email from Airbnb. It offered me a refund or to use the money I’d paid, plus a 10% credit, on another property. I’d already booked another apartment, with great difficulty as it was getting close to the dates, so I chose the refund. I believe she sent me the cancellation message expecting that I would then request a refund and the cancellation would then have been instigated by me and I’d have probably lost my money under the VERY STRICT cancellation policy imposed on guests ONLY. If you receive a cancellation message directly from a host, wait until you receive a message from Airbnb before you do anything. I’m not going to use Airbnb again until they offer some kind of security for booking or sufficient compensation to cover hotels for the cancelled period.

AIRBNB IS NOT A RELIABLE WAY OF TRAVELING AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL!

Airbnb’s Refund Policy is Absurd

I made a booking using the quick book option a day before I was set to arrive in Nassau, Bahamas (a listing with a lightening bolt). My host emailed me a few hours later telling me the property was not available. I told her to cancel the booking on the Airbnb site so I could receive a refund. That was ten days ago and the host has given me nothing but excuses as to why she can not cancel. High fees, Out of town, money already sent to her PayPal account, etc. Clearly the host is a liar and a fraud but I have contacted Airbnb’s customer service via email and they told me to go to the resolution center, fill out a form, wait three days, escalate it, and then someone will make a decision regarding my refund. I’m certain I will get it but Airbnb tells me they will not refund the fees. How can this be? I did not cancel; the host did. Also, how can this be avoided in the future? If hosts do not actually cancel reservations from their end it leaves guests having to scratch, claw, and fight to get their money back. If hosts take the money and use it, Airbnb is the one who would have to pay me back out of their own pocket. Seems like this type of thing can happen frequently… Anyone have any info?