Pointless Bookings with no Immediate Refunds

This was our first and last booking with Airbnb. Having booked an apartment in Spain for two weeks, the booking was accepted and we paid the total amount. I was then informed by the “host” that she was now talking to another party who was interested in the same dates plus additional days. She cancelled my booking and I was informed by Airbnb that would I be refunded within five working days. This is not good enough and totally lacks any aspect of professionalism. Once a host accepts a booking, it should a commitment, a contract. Otherwise they should be banned from any further dealings with Airbnb. Secondly, the refund into one’s account should be immediate. Not everyone can afford to wait for the refund whilst financing an alternative accommodation.

Guest Ripped off by Host’s False Promise to Refund

I booked accommodation advertised on AirBnb on October 19th, 2017 for our nieces and nephews attending our daughter’s wedding from February 18th to 21st, 2018. It wasn’t possible to see the exact location as Airbnb only provides a circle in which the property lie, no address.

The property was very nice and within a few minutes of our house. The full amount needed to be paid immediately and the host required a 50% non-refundable deposit. After the full payment had been taken off our credit card by Airbnb, we received the address, and realized that there were safety concerns. The property was on the other side of the railway line from us and our guests would need to use a subway to get to our house. We contacted the host immediately explaining our concerns and asking if she would consider waiving the 50% deposit. As it was immediate, she agreed in writing and we cancelled with Airbnb. Airbnb’s portion was refunded quite soon, but they said the host had to give permission for them to release her portion.

Sufficed to say, over 20 emails to the host and seven months later, we have not managed to get a penny from her. I am handing this matter over to a debt collecting firm, as I have it in writing that she agreed to pay. She has had a long term rental on the property, our dates falling in that period. Unfortunatey, this will be an expensive business, as one is only given a client custom email address by Airbnb. So there will be tracing fees involved. Feeling ripped off and sad. Make sure you have someone who is conversant with the pitfalls of Airbnb when you book.

Unprocessed Refund from Cancelling Airbnb Host

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Around February, I booked a house for March 14th. On the day, I was informed by the host that the house was not available due to the radiator breaking down, which would need a few days to fix. So, I asked for a full refund because the house was the only one at which I really wanted to stay and other listed houses that the owner recommended as substitutes were not really fancy or worth the price that I paid for. I was not aware that the host has to process the cancellation if a guest wants to get a refund, which he did not process at all. After several weeks, I messaged him to check if he sent me the money back and he said: “Has it not been processed? Can you send me your bank details?”

After roughly one month from receiving this reply, I asked him again and then he said “Can you double check again?”

This was the last reply that I received. Since then, Intentionally or unintentionally, he is not answering my messages or phone calls. Is there any way that I can get a full refund with the proof that I have?

Uninhabitable Accommodation Means Airbnb Refuses Refund

We booked a room through Airbnb and when we arrived we found the room to be completely uninhabitable. The most pressing issue was the temperature; the room was freezing, with no heating provided. It was 7 degrees Celsius outside, and the external walls were paper thin. There was condensation on the windows and walls. Furthermore, the toilet was broken; the cistern was permanently discharging, with the constant noise of running water and making it impossible to flush. There were other issues too, including excessive noise from above.

We notified the hosts, who agreed with our assessment that the room was uninhabitable, and we had no option other than to leave and seek alternative accommodation (at 10:00 PM). Airbnb does not have a contact number, leaving us with no one to call and having to fend for ourselves. Given that the host completely agreed with us, we thought that we’d at least be able to get a full refund for the room – how wrong we were.

Airbnb will not refund their service fees, their cleaning fees, or their processing fees, so in total are only prepared to refund about 75% of the price we paid, despite the room being completely uninhabitable, the host agreeing with us, and us not having spent a single night there. Airbnb does not have a contact number, so I have been left communicating via their online message system (taking a day for them to reply between messages) with someone who doesn’t have a good grasp of the English language and is making unreasonable requests (they want photo evidence that it was cold – how exactly do they expect me to do that, unless of course they expect their guests to carry a thermometer with them).

Given this, we immediately looked into cancelling our other Airbnb bookings for this trip. Given the experience we’ve just had we didn’t want to risk it. All the bookings were listed as free cancellation, and we are within the cancellation window. However, Airbnb’s policy is to never refund their service fee, even when a room is cancelled or there is a problem. They don’t care what you do, because they get paid anyway.

I have no worries about getting my money back – it was paid using Amex and their customer service is exceptional. They’ll provide the refund immediately and claim it back from Airbnb. I’m sure that our experience here is a one off, and the vast majority of stays go without issue. However, if something does go wrong, Airbnb will leave you on your own to deal with it, will make any attempt to get a resolution exceedingly difficult and will refuse to provide a full refund. You have been warned.

Airbnb Host Lies When Wifi Fails at Berlin Apartment

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Today is twelve days before our trip to Berlin, and our Airbnb host informed us that they are having problems with their wifi; there will be no wifi in the apartment when we arrive. As we are going on a business trip, this is not okay with us – it’s a very big deal. The host told me that they can offer 20% discount because of this, or a full refund if we are not okay with it.

Firstly, how can a host offer discounts? It’s not through Airbnb – just on his word alone, and that’s not good. In any case, we are not okay with it. The apartment is very expensive at 150€ per night. We are on business trip and don’t need to stay there if there is no wifi at all. I asked the host to cancel the reservation. She said she would not cancel it, and that I needed to cancel. I told her by Airbnb’s rules, if I cancel I can’t get a refund. Again, she told me to cancel and I would get a full refund. However, this is a lie.

I just read the rules again; Airbnb says you should never cancel a booking yourself because you will not get a full refund, so the host is lying to me. Why she is doing this? Is this normal for Airbnb? I’m honestly shocked. I rented the apartment for 790€ for five days, so it’s a lot of money for me. I should be treated well. We agreed with the owner at first, but she informed us that the apartment is still not ready. The wifi has not yet been fixed. If I knew there would be no wifi I would never have booked it. We are coming for overseas for work; it’s not two kids traveling, but professionals. I’m ready to contact my lawyer.

Charged for an Airbnb Property I Couldn’t Use

Have a laugh at our expense; look at our holiday album. This property is advertised on Airbnb as lovingly maintained with modern amenities. I am a retired front line emergency worker with experience in public health and safety. I believe this property is a fire and health/safety hazard. Airbnb continues to advertise this property, and to add insult to injury, they keep sending me a link to book it.

We arrived to find an unsafe, ill maintained, dirty property, as per the attached photo album; please view it here. Within an hour of our arrival I walked through the rooms with the host and pointed out the issues and my concerns. She couldn’t see what the problems were; nobody else had complained and in fact Airbnb had taken the photos and approved the property. At this point I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere because this was a blatant lie of how this advertising platform works.

Within three hours of arriving I notified Airbnb that were leaving to go to alternative accommodations the following morning, the earliest time we could leave. I took photos – some on my mobile, but the majority on my main camera retained on a SD card. I checked with Airbnb if requesting a refund was a time sensitive submission of material. We were told to get the majority of photos to them as soon as I could.

To cut a very long story short, we cancelled and moved out by 9:00 AM the next morning. Because I didn’t detail my conversation in full with the host on my email thread and couldn’t submit all my photos to Airbnb within 24 hours, I could only get a refund of 30% of the nights we didn’t use, not the full large refund that I believe with all good faith I am entitled to. This means I have been charged £450 to not stay in this pit.

Airbnb customer service is woeful. They do not answer messages, and have now closed the case with no independent arbitration or opportunity for dialogue with a middle manager. More importantly, people will still be paying hard earned cash to stay at this property and may not have the appetite for complaining or tackling a dishonest host.

Cautionary Tale: Reservation Alteration by Guests, for Hosts

Here is a little known Airbnb policy we got screwed by: hosts who cancel a previously booked reservation do face some sort of penalty or automatic bad review. For a complete host cancellation, there is a 10% credit from Airbnb for the guest to rebook with another host. However, hosts that only partially withdraw the reservation are not penalized, the guest does not get the 10% rebooking credit, and when the reservation alteration feature is initiated by the guest (due to the host’s circumstances) to receive a refund, the recalculation formula for reducing the number of days penalizes the guest, not the host. This process did allow me a refund, but several days later my credit card was fraudulently charged again for the amount of my refund.

Forget about getting any help from customer service; they just keep passing you off to another case manager for another go around. If you do get someone who knows how to correctly apply a refund, it takes up to 15 business days to get it. I finally went to my bank to submit a fraudulent charge report.

We learned a hard lesson. It was not possible to find another house with similar amenities in the same location with such short notice. My suggestion to others is before you book with any host, ask if the house is currently on the market, or undergoing renovation. Also, I suggest that you review carefully Airbnb’s “reservation alteration policy.” Unless the host cancels the entire reservation, the guest gets screwed. I was instructed by an Airbnb case manager to “alter” my confirmed reservation for the reduced number of days the host could accommodate us. Do not do this if the reason for alteration is due to the host’s circumstances, not the guest’s. Have the host cancel the reservation and start over, either with the same host or a new one.

Airbnb Lied And My Credit Card Company Reimbursed Me

In May 2017, a Swedish Airbnb host failed to provide essential amenities described in the listing, obliging me, the guest, to check into a hotel for the first of a week’s visit in costly Stockholm. The first Airbnb agent contacted by phone promised to rebook me and offer compensation for expenses but the next day another Airbnb agent wrote that no compensation would be offered and, instead of rebooking me, gave me a minimum reimbursement claiming I had cancelled the reservation (not far enough in advance for a full reimbursement as per the host’s strict cancellation policy).

I tried to resolve the matter pointing out that I had never cancelled the booking but it fell on deaf ears. The Airbnb agent never replied to my showing her the agent’s name and case number I was given who had promised to rebook and offer compensation. Instead, when I placed into dispute with my bank the sum paid out in advance to Airbnb, Airbnb countered with a copy of their cancellation policy. I informed Visa I never cancelled it and that it was the second Airbnb agent who did this unilaterally and tried to lie about it. I also wrote a letter to Airbnb’s CEO in San Francisco detailing the case with names, dates and reference numbers. No one from Airbnb replied to my letter.

In the end, Visa reimbursed me because Airbnb was unable to uphold their claim with any evidence; the bank believed me. I have been an Airbnb host and guest for well over ten years. None of this mattered. I will think twice before I use this intermediary agency to book any future stays. Instead I will look for alternate ways to book private homes. It is truly shameful that Airbnb treats its loyal clients in such a shoddy manner.

Beware: Airbnb Price Scam for Long-Term Stays

Beware: if you adjust your Airbnb reservation during your stay, Airbnb will apply the current (i.e. the most expensive) price retroactively to the beginning of your stay. For example, let’s say you make a reservation for $100/night for four weeks. After the second week, you need to leave early and you and the host agree to do this. But the pricing model (if it’s dynamic pricing – which is chosen by the host) shows the rate to now be $150/night. Airbnb will charge you $150/night for your entire stay. I recently had this experience and was overcharged $400 – and Airbnb does not give a damn about it. On top of this, Airbnb will charge you for an extra 30 days because of their long-term cancellation policy – which Airbnb will waive if you and the host insist on it. Airbnb also removed my negative review of the host, stating it violated their policy – even though I spoke honestly about the nightmare I experienced.

Charged for Airbnb with Cockroaches with no Overnight Stay

On February 20th, I booked a stay in Fuerteventura, Costa Calma, for February 21st-28th for €360.50. Immediately after booking it, I changed the dates to the 24th-28th (for €206.47) on Airbnb and informed the host via Whatsapp (on the number listed in the Airbnb profile). Apparently this person is the housekeeper and Airbnb manager for this apartment. She told me it was absolutely no problem to change the dates. She told me she accepted it, but I could not see it reflected on my Airbnb page.

She told me that was not a problem – that sometimes it would take longer for Airbnb to accept it, but she assured me she would speak to them if necessary as she had agreed to the change. Additionally, she messaged me via Airbnb (and it shows publically on their profile as well) that they charge a €150 deposit and €70 cleaning fee (by cash, outside of Airbnb). I agreed to this.

She came to my hotel to hand me the key on the 23rd so that I could have the freedom to arrive when I wanted. I gave her the deposit and cleaning fee, and she gave me the key. We had a good talk. I only entered the apartment on Monday the 26th. She was informed about my plans and I had no problem to have it “reserved” since Saturday, should I want to arrive earlier. It took me an hour to find the exact house because she forgot to inform me of the right apartment number.

When I entered, I ran to the toilet and noticed that the bed was not made at all, and there was some linen in a bag… strange. I went back to the living room and to my disgust, I found four dead cockroaches. I was travelling with my dog, so I was afraid she would eat them; to me that looked like an infestation. If there were four dead ones in plain sight, how many more were around?

I left the place and immediately contacted Airbnb. They told me to book another place and not to worry. They did tell me that they are not responsible for any money given outside of their platform (even though I have proof I gave it to them – it openly states it on their profile and they requested it to me via Airbnb messenger). They told me that they had to contact the host directly, because none of the things that were agreed upon are actually viewed by Airbnb as enough proof, since I dealt with the housekeeper and Airbnb manager, instead of the real owner. The only number on that profile did not connect me to the owner.

The housekeeper and Airbnb manager agreed to deposit the €220 back to my account and to pay for me to send back the key to her. She also agreed to a refund by the owner. However, when I requested if the transfer could be made together via Airbnb, she then told me how unfair it was all, due to my changes and how she brought me the key, etc. How she would only make the deposit after Airbnb had resolved the case.

Airbnb has now told me that I’m only entitled to a €90 refund. Note that the owner has not yet agreed to the changes of my booking (a refund of €154.03) and Airbnb says she has to accept it, otherwise they can’t do anything about it. They also say they also can’t do anything about the bank transfer that the housekeeper and Airbnb manager said she was going to take.

According to Airbnb’s logic, I only had 24 hours to report any issues with the apartment. So because I didn’t arrive on Saturday and on Monday instead and found 50 roaches there, I am not entitled to a refund. Also, according to their logic, even if they have proof of everything, they can’t ask the owner to refund me the money for the initial changes. Nor they can ask them to proceed with the transfer back for the deposit and cleaning fee.

Airbnb wanted me to pay €360 (a full week’s rent) + €220 (deposit and cleaning fees for roaches and an unmade bed – €90 (refund for two nights) = €490.50 total for a place infested with cockroaches where I never stayed. I have all the proof necessary with them agreeing to the changes and refunds. Now Airbnb does not want to cooperate into helping me get anything.

I would like Airbnb to tell the owner to accept the initial changes so that I could at least get my initial refund of €154.03 (I have plenty of voice messages and screenshots from the housekeeper and Airbnb manager, saying these changes were accepted by the owner and that the apartment was fully managed by her). I would like Airbnb to cooperate and ensure that the transfer of €220 is made to my account with the deposit and “cleaning fee”. There is also enough proof from the housekeeper and the owner stating this money will be returned to me. Please help me fix this. I don’t want to go to the police or my lawyer.