Ridiculous Airbnb Service Fee Never Refunded

I wanted to reserve a room in Bar Harbor so I did a search and some places came up that said Winter Harbor, which I assumed – yes, I know – was a neighborhood around Bar Harbor. After booking, I went to a map to see where the place was. It was close to Bar Harbor, but only if you had a boat. Within a few minutes I called the owner and he immediately agreed to allow me to cancel. He tried to cancel, but emailed me saying that I had to. After figuring out how to do that, Airbnb stated that I wouldn’t get any money back because the owner had a strict cancellation policy. I wrote him back and he did agree to refund my money, thank goodness. However, Airbnb still wanted to charge me their service fee, which is significant. All this trouble for a mistake or error caused by them because they listed a home more than an hour away from where I was requesting and I realized what had happened within two minutes of them taking my booking. I have used Airbnb quite a bit before and this kind of thing has never happened before. I guess I’ll have to be extra careful with them before I book another place or use them again.

No Protection Against Deceptive Guests Breaking Rules

I had a group of five people book the minimum stay in my house for three nights and they ended up staying only one night, getting a refund for the others. I received a snotty email the next morning with a list of unbelievable reasons why they left. This was planned. They must have had another booking somewhere and needed just one night as a filler. My house is immaculate. I work very hard to make sure it is always so, but they managed to get a refund from Airbnb, because Airbnb does not care. My “case manager” never got back to me or answered any emails. They just let me get cheated by some rotten people who even were so low as to give me a one-star review, when everything was provided and spotless. I did everything I could: sent maps, was there to greet them… I told them if they needed me to just let me know. Never did they look me in the eye. They were fishy, because something was up. Had they communicated any problem whatsoever – there were no problems – I would have been able to act and would have done so immediately. Airbnb will not ever provide any means to contact them, so basically it’s a one-sided system. I am very upset about the fact that there is no protection against assholes.

Cancellation Policy Defrauds Guests of 50% Payment

I put a question to a host about her apartment directly on the beach in Tavernes de la Valldigna, Valencia, Spain including booking dates. She came back with the answer stating the dates were a little difficult and provided dates that would be better. My dates were still showing as available on her calendar. I was just replying to say those were our only dates when I received two more emails offering a discount if I booked by a certain time that day. The website was showing my dates for the booking and nothing about the dates not being available or “difficult”. I naturally thought she had solved her problem and paid for the dates which were only three weeks away. I then received an email from her saying I had not replied to her email and she was shocked at receiving my booking payment as she had offered alternate dates. When I checked the cancellation policy it said if cancelled more than seven days before booking I would receive 50% of my payment; that’s a good way to fraudulently get money for no work and hassling tenants. If I did not use the refunded money for another booking I would charged a 20% administrative charge for Airbnb to refund it. That is 50% of the total then another 20% of the remaining half… 60% of my money with no booking. Is this fraud, or what?

Is Hurricane Harvey a Sufficient Reason to Cancel?

I’m supposed to go to Austin tomorrow for a work event but unfortunately my flight and several others have been canceled. I informed my host of this and she (after speaking with her husband) said that they won’t be refunding me my $600+ because they already paid for cleaning and lawn services and that I really need to ” understand where we are coming from.”

I’m sitting here trying to contact Airbnb which is a nightmare as many of you know. I talked to a woman who was obviously from a call center overseas and she was next to useless. I’m super pissed. I feel like this is a friggin’ fraud. I made every attempt to keep my reservation, but there is a literal hurricane barreling down on Texas and this woman has the nerve to say to me “I spoke with Airbnb and they said that since the severe weather isn’t in Austin itself then our original cancellation policy is still in effect, so unfortunately I can’t offer you a refund. ”

Hmmm… okay… here is a quote from the latest news article I read on this storm…

“In all, the storm could dump at least 15 trillion gallons of water on Texas, WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue said. In addition to the Corpus Christi area, near where the storm should make landfall, Harvey ‘has the potential to cause very serious flooding in such highly populated, flood-prone regions as the Austin-San Antonio corridor and the Houston metro area,’ Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters said. Harvey may be the strongest landfall in this area known as the Texas Coastal Bend since infamous Category 3 Hurricane Celia hammered the Corpus Christi area in August 1970 with wind gusts up to 161 mph, the Weather Channel said.”

Convenient and Very Disgusting Lovely Manhattan Airbnb

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Last weekend I visited NYC and decided to stay in an Airbnb. Obviously the pictures looked very nice and all, so I went for it. I arrived late on a Friday, tired from the bus, and just wanted to get in the shower and sleep before the touristy and busy day I was going to have. I arrived at the house and I had to guess where and how to open a lockbox that was placed in a nail salon next to the building to get my keys, feeling like a total thief. However, that wasn’t the biggest issue. The neighborhood wasn’t safe, and the building couldn’t have been worse: very old, full of trash, smelly. I thought to myself “never mind”, but then saw my room. At first impression it seemed alright, but when I looked closely I started to notice that it was very dirty: I mean dust everywhere, a little trash on the sheets (which led me to believe that the bed sheets had not been changed, because if they had removed the sheets to change them, the trash would have fallen off). The only place to leave my things was on a little table that was filthy and the worst part was the bathroom.

I needed a shower after the long journey and I realized that the shower was really gross, and had hair in it; you could see the dirt, there were leftover things from previous guests, and as soon as I opened the shower I realized that the water didn’t drain. I had to remove a pile of strangers’ hair myself, and ended feeling dirtier from the shower than from the bus. The toilet had pee marks on it and pubic hair. Underneath it were many other marks and things; you could notice right away that it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks.

The air conditioner didn’t work properly so my first night in NYC was a nightmare. I put a towel on the bed and I covered the pillow with my sweater because I didn’t want my body touching the sheets or the cover (which had some unknown spots on it that could have easily been something sketchy). Really the worst part is that I got charged a 30 USD fee for a cleaning service. Obviously I asked for a refund from the host and he denied that the room was dirty. If he is the host he should know when the room is clean. I went through Airbnb to get a refund I still don’t have a resolution. Since the host decided to deny paying me back for the cleaning fee and not apologize about the state of the room, I decided to share my story publicly.

Terrible Host Leaves us Stranded in Montreal

We arrived at the designated apartment building in Montreal on a Friday evening around 6:45. The person at the front desk knew nothing about Airbnb and called the building manager. He searched and advised us that there were no keys left for us. I texted, then called the host at the number she provided – only to hear an answering machine message in French. I proceeded to call various numbers for Airbnb including the one listed under “In case of Emergency” to no avail. I called Corporate Stays to learn that this reservation was not made through them so they couldn’t help. After much frustration and exhaustion I proceed to look for available hotel rooms, which I finally had success with at 10:50. We booked a hotel room for three nights for twice the price we already paid for Airbnb. I texted Airbnb asking for a refund since I couldn’t use the apartment and their response was that the host’s cancellation policy was “strict”; my refund would be zero. After this experience I will never use Airbnb again. Their customer service sucks so they must attract a lot of scammers. All the numbers provided had automated messages that never led to a human being. The building manager at the apartment house stated that the host is “very sloppy” and he would never do business with her. I will give her a negative review, and also get American Express involved in the dispute if I get no satisfaction on a full refund. I also expect to be reimbursed for my hotel stay. A woman from Australia was stuck in the same situation as we were and she’s an employee of Airbnb. She tried to help us but to no avail. However, she assured us that refunds and a free hotel stay would be ours.

Nightmare Customer Service, Cancelled without Explanation

I am honestly shocked at how terrible my experience with Airbnb was. It really seems like they just don’t care. I signed up for an account on a Friday afternoon and booked a $3900 one-month stay. Two hours later, Airbnb cancelled my booking with absolutely no explanation. Saturday I called customer service, and they couldn’t explain why they cancelled the reservation. They said the $3900 refund would take 10-15 business days to clear my credit card. The problem is, their “hold” on my funds created a situation where I couldn’t rebook the reservation, because it would have put my credit card over the limit. After a nightmare of five phone calls on Saturday, they finally agreed to ask the host to block out the dates, until my credit card refund hit the account and I could rebook. They also promised to waive the $200 service fee as an apology for the mistake. Luckily the host was very nice, and agreed to hold the property until I was able to rebook.

On Sunday the refund on my credit card cleared the account, so I tried to rebook the house on Airbnb. However, Airbnb was blocking my credit card payment for some reason. My credit card company said that it was fine on their end; this was an Airbnb problem. I literally spent all day Sunday calling Airbnb to resolve the situation. They never responded as promised, and would never let me speak to a supervisor. The customer service was totally horrendous. Then Airbnb asked me to “confirm” my credit card by uploading a copy of my most recent card statement.

Why am I having to do this? They already charged my card and refunded it; why the extra hassle now? I had already given them my name, address, phone, email, photo of my face, copies of my driver’s license, and all my credit card details. I need more crap to deal with now? I uploaded the card statement.

By late Sunday night they finally emailed and said “you can rebook now, and your credit card is approved.” Of course when I tried to rebook, Airbnb still had a hold on my credit card. Here we are four days later and I still can’t book the reservation. They are now asking me to upload a photo of my credit card itself, as well as other documentation that my credit card is associated to my email address. At this point I just gave up. Seriously Airbnb, you make it this hard to do business with you? The service was awful, the people were rude, and it is absolutely impossible to speak to a manager that can make anything happen. Stay away from Airbnb. This company obviously doesn’t care about service at all.

Cozy Studio a Hot Mess for Nightmare Stay in Queens

Our Airbnb Hell story begins on May 28, 2017 when we decided to use the service to go to New York with our son who just graduated from high school. We requested that the room accommodate three adults. The listing for a “Cozy Studio by Forest Park Steps To Subway” came up in our search and we thought this would be perfect.

Our first contact with the host was to ask if this would be an appropriate place for three adults. She assured us it was and said she looked forward to having us stay in her studio. Prior to requesting this, we had read her reviews and were satisfied that this would work for us. Only one review was negative at that point; that was from someone complaining about the noisy upstairs neighbors, but she said the problem was “acoustic issues” that would be fixed.

We arrived on July 19th and immediately knew something was wrong. We were told to enter the unit from the back door. We walked inside and wondered if we were in the right place. There was a couch and a bed in the main part of the unit, along with a small refrigerator, and a microwave near the kitchen sink. We backtracked down the hallway to the back door and the first door was a toilet. There was a shower curtain with a shower behind it and then a small area with a shelf with towels. There was a queen bed, presumably for the three of us.

We immediately contacted the host and asked where the other bed was, hoping that the couch wasn’t to be used for that purpose. Our son was mortified by the lack of privacy. Clearly, the room with the toilet was hardly big enough to turn around in, let alone change one’s clothes. Her response seemed to be one of surprise that there were three of us. She assured us that a bed would be coming. This was around 6:30 and we were hungry from flying all day from Portland, Oregon.

We were a few blocks from a street in Queens that had restaurants, though no real suggestions on where to eat. We relied on Yelp since the host had merely stated there were “plenty of places” to eat nearby. We were eating dinner when she contacted us about the bed. She said her husband would be bringing it by and wondered if we were at the unit. I said we would be back within an hour. It was a little after 7:00. We left a few minutes later and went back to the unit and waited.

It was about 85 degrees and the place felt like a sauna. The windows would not open and there was only a large fan to circulate the already-humid air. Finally, around 10:00, her husband showed up. I told him the unit was not what we were expecting. We had told her that there were three of us and this place was clearly smaller and less private than we what we viewed in the photos. There were several photos showing the place with the same bed shot at different angles and with different bedding. The couch was in some of the photos and not in others. In retrospect, we should have noticed the pictures, which were the same, but we felt the perspective was skewed.

Her husband said, “Please do not say this was misrepresented.” These were his words – not ours. Obviously someone had used that phrase before because his defense of the unit was somewhat proactive. We went to bed shortly after he left and tried to fall asleep in an overly hot room with no ventilation.

About midnight, we heard the neighbors upstairs come home. I have no idea what their situation involved, but from the moment they entered their apartment, the noise level was elevated to shouting, crying, fighting, and stomping. It went on until 1:30 in the morning. There was noise that sounded like children screaming and crying and then running around above us.

At first we considered that the noise might end quickly and everyone would go to sleep, but it dragged on for 90 minutes. We were wide awake and wondering what options we had. We thought about vacating the unit, but at 1:30 in the morning, we had nowhere else to go. We were not at a place where we could call anyone to pick us up and go somewhere. When the noise finally died down, we went to sleep.

The next morning, we called Airbnb about our concerns. We explained our situation and our desire to move. Of course they called the host and told her what had happened. She said she did not “misrepresent the space” and if we had a problem with the neighbors, we should have called her to let her know. It was 1:30 in the morning. We had no idea if we were in danger of some sort – we were told not to contact them because they were the residents of the apartment above (which at one point was attached to our dwelling with a door and stairs to the basement).

I suppose we could have called the police to complain, but that seemed a bit extreme. In addition, we had committed to staying there at least until the next day. Our imaginations, at this point, were running a bit wild.

We called Airbnb the next day and told them what had happened. They said if we wanted to leave, we should cancel the reservation, which was followed up by a request from the host. She thought she could open it back up for someone since it was such a desirable place and it was Thursday before a summer weekend. She also offered us a refund for two nights of our reservation. Considering that we had spent over $900, we felt that this wasn’t really enough. We cancelled the reservation and moved into a hotel in Brooklyn. We felt we would deal with the fallout later.

Airbnb claimed they called me several times in New York, which is an outright lie because I had my phone with me the entire time and there were no phone calls from Airbnb. We received an email from Airbnb on our last full day in New York (July 25th) asking if our issue had been resolved and they would consider the case closed if so.

The next day, as we were waiting for our flight out, I wrote an email to them explaining how I felt the situation was not resolved. I felt that adding a toilet and shower to an unlivable space and advertising it as a cozy studio was not acceptable and that yes, the place was misrepresented. We were not happy with the situation and were not happy with Airbnb.

After we returned to our home in the Portland, Oregon area, and the case was not settled satisfactorily, and after hearing from yet another “case manager” at Airbnb, I requested our case be reopened. I got a response from another case manager, who offered us $200. I had requested $794 (which was the amount on the dispute area on the Airbnb website). I was told that the host had three days to give us a response, which not surprisingly, she refused. She also said she hoped we wouldn’t use Airbnb in the future.

At this point we had forfeited our right to give an honest review because it was past the 14 days allowed. During that entire 14-day period, we were still disputing the charges and hoping we could come to some reasonable resolution. By the way, the host’s offer of two night’s reimbursement also dried up. I made screenshots of all the correspondence because I was somewhat certain Airbnb would take them down.

This host, in my opinion, is a scam artist and crook. Her place was clearly misrepresented and all this could have been avoided had she just said, “I don’t think this place would work for you,” at the outset. The other issue I have with Airbnb is that our complaints have always come back to the host and her story is the one accepted by Airbnb. I feel like we, as paying customers, are discounted in favor of their “host” who really has the final say. I mean, after all, we wouldn’t want to give up the cash cow that helps drive Airbnb’s business?

Airbnb Expected us to Use our Psychic Powers

My husband and I recently sold our home and needed a temporary place of residence for three weeks before we could move into our new home. We figured an Airbnb would be the most comfortable route as we have a dog and a young son. Upon our arrival to our Airbnb everything seemed fine and the host had been very kind in his messages. Upon further inspection, the toilet was not clean, the shower looked like it had not been cleaned in awhile, the shower curtain liner was brown at the bottom, and the host had left his used bar of soap that had body hair on it in the shower. The fridge was full of his food which left no room for the groceries we would need for three weeks and the freezer had dried food stuck to it. In addition the bed was only a full bed for three people (myself, my spouse, and our son).

We stayed there less than 12 hours and the next morning I immediately messaged the owner and kindly told him it would not work. He asked if there was anything he could do and I stated that we just wanted a refund and it was okay. I later called Airbnb asking for a full refund and they stated they would back the owner’s refund policy of only 50% if we did not cancel prior to staying there. My question is this: how on earth could it be possible that we would know before seeing the apartment that it would not meet our needs? We paid $2156 to stay there for 22 nights and only actually occupied it for eight hours. How is it fair that we only received $856 as a refund?

The cancellation policy was stated, but the apartment we expected was not what we got. The owner is also at fault. It is not expensive to hire someone to clean a residence before you know you will be having guests stay there. Basically we are out $1300 because Airbnb somehow expected us to use our psychic powers to know that the apartment would not meet our needs prior to staying there. Not only is that the most ludicrous and ridiculous policy I’ve ever heard, but it’s also theft to let someone take so much money from us and then not provide us with a refund. I will never, ever, use Airbnb again and I will let everyone know how they do not advocate for their guests. I will also be filing a complaint with the BBB. My husband even offered to refund the host for the time we did occupy the residence and still a refund was denied. In the past I have used VRBO to book vacation homes and have never been disappointed with my experience. This has taught me that I should have stuck with a company who cares about its guests and to never, ever, use Airbnb again.

Host Cancellation Policy Not Worth Paper it is Written On

Just a warning for you hosts out there. Airbnb can refund 100% of the rate you have agreed upon with guests, and will not even inform you about it. The first you will know is when you receive a statement saying they have taken the money from your bank account, or deducted it from a future booking (which is what happened to us). It does not matter if you have a strict cancellation policy; Airbnb’s terms and conditions allow them to override this and “steal” (there really is no other word for it) your money and give it back to the guests, and not even inform you about it.

We had a booking in August – our peak period, and so we spent time, money and effort preparing our property for these guests, including purchasing food for their stay, paying for staff (our villas are serviced), and arranging cleaning, only for the guests not to turn up at all. As people fly to Bali, such a late cancellation left us no chance of finding other guests to take their place. When we contacted the guests, we found out that their grandmother had unfortunately died, and so they had decided not to travel.

While we had sympathy for the guests, we assumed that they had travel insurance (as we recommend for all guests) and so would claim on that, and so we offered to provide whatever paperwork they needed to do so. This is our business and our only source of income, and so we have a strict cancellation policy, as losing an entire week of income would be a big blow to us. We thought because of our cancellation policy that we were protected by Airbnb.

If guests contact us we normally work something out, and have in the past. For example, we have let guests stay later in the year for free. However, instead of claiming this on their insurance, the guests just went directly to Airbnb, and the next thing we knew, 100% of the amount paid had been taken from us. No warning or discussion from Airbnb. No discussion or message from the guests. We had had no argument or difficulties with the guests, just minimal conversation as we assumed they were busy with the funeral arrangements.

We are left here with all the costs of setting up the villa for the guests and yet zero income, and no ability to get other guests to stay or to recoup the income we had expected. We complained to Airbnb and they told us that when using Airbnb, we have to follow a policy called Extenuating Circumstances. In Airbnb’s view, their policy is evenhanded as it allows hosts to cancel at the last minute, as can guests for reasons outside of their control. However, if a host cancels due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is repaid to the guests, and if the guests cancel due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is also repaid to the guests. The host loses out in both cases.

Guests can also insure against unforeseen emergencies, but there is no such insurance to cover hosts for last minute cancellations leading to a significant drop in forecast income. With no discussion, notice, message or anything we were given zero opportunity to challenge or question this. Airbnb did not even check if the guests had travel insurance, and could have claimed that; they just quietly took the money without telling us. Not only is this policy grossly unfair to hosts, it is totally unethical to implement it without any discussion at all, and tells you that trusting Airbnb as a company is a very dangerous thing to do. A massive warning to Airbnb hosts: you are not who Airbnb cares about.