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?

First Impressions and Last Attempts at Airbnb

Airbnb may be a good alternative to higher-priced traditional motels and hotels, but for me the first attempts to “sign-up and in” were an unresolved nightmare. The website is set up and caters to only mobile device users. Trying to do business with them from a Mac desktop? Good luck!

My reservation was originally cancelled by a New York City “host” who blamed it on the city “cracking down” on unlicensed short-term rentals. I’m still awaiting my deposit refund. I returned to the Airbnb site to search and rebook elsewhere. I found two nice rentals that fit my needs and budget. After multiple attempts to “upgrade” my “security” profile (they wanted more IDs uploaded than the TSA requires at airports) I was still unable to get through their cumbersome process. I reluctantly cancelled the reservation requests and located and booked a traditional motel, using Expedia. It took only five minutes. Good bye and good luck to Airbnb.

Host Messes up Check-in, Acts Like it is my Fault

Here is my story. While it not be as bad as others on here, I definitely feel wronged. I paid for a night at a host’s apartment who had raving reviews and was Airbnb verified, so I assumed everything was kosher. The night before I left there was an issue with security and the previous guest leaving the keys with security instead of in the lock box that was secure so I would have to coordinate my check in time with the host directly. It wasn’t a big deal but when 3:00 PM rolled around, I called and left messages for the host until she finally answered a half hour later explaining she didn’t coordinate getting the keys to me yet and that she would be available at 5:00 PM (it was already completely ridiculous when the check in was at 3:00).

I offered to meet her at the location where the keys were, a few neighborhoods away from the listing. We traveled there and sat around for 45 minutes with no keys. The person who was supposed to meet us didn’t pick up his phone. At that point it was 5:00 PM and I was completely frustrated. I decided it was not worth the hassle and try to cancel. She also mentioned that once we got to the building we would have to duck security and make sure not to talk to the building staff, only causing me more concern. She then proceeded to tell me how it was my fault and even though she was the one who inconvenienced me, this was my problem. I left the location and her husband called me to tell me he had arrived. I explained the situation to him and he started being equally as rude and just plain ridiculous. They were in the wrong and I paid for it. Now I am trying to get a refund and of course she declined to reimburse me.

After Bed Bugs, Airbnb Cancelled Reservation

This has been the worst Airbnb experience of my life. We just checked out of a Lisbon Airbnb where bed bugs ate us alive. Please see the attached photos of the painful welts all over my body, face and neck. After complaining to Airbnb, the resolution manager proceeded to cancel the rest of our trip. We are now standing in the airport about to board a flight to Seville with no accommodations to go to when we land at midnight. Two girls alone in a foreign city. Three different resolution managers we initially spoke to told us that we would receive a refund and that we would also be rebooked in a hotel for this evening at Airbnb’s own cost (the least they could do). We did receive the refund and were trying to retrieve the hotel information when a new manager informed us that they would not be creating a reservation for us because they already went ahead and processed the refund. She claimed it was one or the other – which is not what three prior managers told us. We are now standing stranded in the airport with nowhere to go when we land. This was the most disgusting, unsafe experience I have ever encountered and I will be spreading this story publicly as far as I can so that other young women traveling don’t get put it the same unsafe and frightening situation.

Abandoned: Non-Existent Airbnb in New York City

Upon arriving in New York, we caught a cab and gave the driver the address of the Airbnb we booked. He pulled up to a parking lot and said, “this is it”. We got out and went up and down the street trying to find the address. It was non-existent; there was no such address. It was rush hour, 85+ degrees and we had gotten up at 4:00 AM. Needless to say, we were frantic.

I called Airbnb and could not get through. After dialing continuously for over 30 minutes and being put on hold for over 15 minutes, I finally got someone on the line. She was very nice and promptly gave us a credit on this booking. Then we had to find a hotel, which, obviously, was a lot more expensive. This is the chance you take when you use Airbnb, so just beware. Will I book with them again? Probably, but I will really read the reviews. This particular apartment had a lot of reviews – believe it or not – so here again, beware. Airbnb is a crap shoot for everything to work out. We had booked in Barcelona and nothing went wrong.

Airbnb Host Not Informed of our Reservation

My husband and I along with two other couples reserved a house in Camden, Maine for a week this past July. Airbnb charged the entire week to our credit card, half when we made the reservation and the other half a few days before our week started. We got numerous emails from Airbnb about our upcoming trip and how they hoped we had a great time.

When we got to the house, the owner had no idea we were coming and said he hadn’t dealt with Airbnb for over a year. Customer service was worse than useless. We were told that we could get a credit on a different place but there were none available and no help in obtaining alternate housing was offered.

After a couple of hours on the phone, we were able to get them to say they would credit our card but the amount they agreed to was over $200 less than the amount we were charged: probably a service fee. We waited a week and the amount wasn’t credited so I turned the matter over to Mastercard and of course was credited for the entire amount immediately while they investigated. It defies the imagination how a booking can be confirmed and credit card charged without the owner knowing we were coming. Never again Airbnb.

Blocked Toilet and Freezing Shower Make a Bad Stay

I have been trying to get in contact with Airbnb for days to resolve an issue. The only time I got to talk to them was the day I decided to cancel my booking. The only person at customer service was a lady who was really hard to understand; it seemed like she had a muffin in her mouth, or was talking under a pillow. Her instructions were not clear; they left me even more confused and disappointed.

I made a booking for six days in one place. The toilet was blocked and every time I flushed it, it overflowed. It was the first day and first time entering in that toilet; it was supposed to be my private bathroom but it was dirty. I really needed to use it and felt uncomfortable telling the hosts the toilet was dirty. When I flushed everything just came back out. It was very uncomfortable because my host accused me of blocking in up when I had just arrived.

It was late and I took a shower before bed. The hot water was off and the shower was freezing cold. Coming out of the bathroom, I had to go through the baby’s room. He started to cry, and then the host said I was not allowed to use the shower or toilet at night because the baby would wake up very easily. I started to feel really annoyed.

The next day, due to jet lag, I slept all day. However, I woke up to eat something in the middle of the night since I was also very thirsty. The host’s mother came to the kitchen to say I was making noise, when in fact I was as quiet as a mouse. Again, I could not take a shower so I decided to cancel the booking the next day. In the morning, while getting dressed, their baby bumped my door open when I was practically naked. I notified the host and Airbnb about the cancellation and left the place.

Airbnb told me when the booking was completed they were going to refund me for the days left. I have been trying to reach them without any success, only to have them direct me to the host. I asked the host for a refund but she decided to insult me, saying that my change to the booking didn’t work. When I cancelled the booking, Airbnb didn’t get back to me at all. They paid the host the full amount.

What is going on? Where is the guarantee and protection for the guest? This is not fair.

My Trip Motto: Expect to be Disappointed with Airbnb

We went south of the U.S. for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The host had good reviews but I had a different experience. It was so hot and humid, there were strange odors of mildew and urine, and the phone, wifi, and TV didn’t work. The fridge was moldy. I was afraid to touch anything. The worst part was when the owner came down and apologized if I saw him looking in my window: “I wanted to see if you were there.”

At the time I thought it was an honest mistake, though he could have knocked on the door. I was a little freaked out but figured he wouldn’t have said anything if he meant to be sneaky. Then I turned around and saw his friend, with a drink in one hand and a beer in the other and he was clearly drunk. There I was in a foreign country standing between a drunk guy and a peeping tom. I was told there’d be wifi but it never worked for me.

This was all happening on my birthday. I couldn’t call, text, or email anybody. It was the worst, loneliest birthday in all my 51 years of life. I left early. Kudos to Airbnb for cancelling my reservation for the rest of the week but now the hosts are upset that they were only paid for two nights instead of seven. It sucks for the hosts, too. I’m sure they don’t understand my consternation. I’m sure they’ll give me a bad review but I don’t care because Airbnb and I are never ever getting back together.

Noisy Airbnb Nightmare in Jerusalem, Israel

On May 23rd, 2017 we booked a week at an Airbnb in Jerusalem. Our first impressions was that it appeared to be a nice clean apartment, and its owners appeared equally welcoming. We settled to sleep for the night, and then the noise started. It went on for some six hours or more. We heard talking all night, all from one man. As a result, I could not sleep.

I complained to Airbnb and they did not believe me. To date I have stayed in many Airbnb properties without an incident. The lack of attention Airbnb shows to their clients is appalling. They asked for photographs and communications. Even though I had a recording on WhatsApp of a dialogue that I had with the owners they did not believe me. The Airbnb contract is between the local owners and the guest, not with the company.

The hosts said: “I’m really sorry to hear about this incident. It’s the first time it has happened. We had a guest staying for a whole month and he never told me anything about it. I guess it’s a one time thing. The neighbor got drunk and made a lot of noise. Things happen… I really understand your frustration, especially since it happened on your first night with us. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it. I truly believe and hope it won’t happen again. My suggestion to you is to give it another night. Usually this apartment and neighborhood are very quiet! That having been said, I’ll understand if you want to cancel your reservation with us and move to another place. If you do so, we will refund you 50% of the reservation cost. By the way, did you try taking a broomstick and knocking on the ceiling, so he will understand he’s being loud? Maybe he didn’t realize. Try that or knocking on his door asking him to lower his voice. Like normal people do in this situation.”

A tenant in the next apartment revealed the truth of what was going on: “In this apartment complex, the Israeli Government lets apartments to Amidar, a social housing organization. According to the neighbor, who lives next door, next to him is a man who has a psychiatric disorder and in the garden there are two men who smoke joints. On the roof terrace are more drug addicts and this place is known to the Israeli police. [The host] knows this situation well and so it is no wonder that all night long there is noise. [The host]’s mother owns the apartment, and knows the situation here very well.”

I complained continuously to Airbnb and said I would send them the police report. At that point, they gave us a total refund. On our return to the UK they were still pestering me for the police report and I deleted my Airbnb account. I noticed that the apartment that we stayed in is still being rented out. You can view it here https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/17724596

Airbnb Fisherman’s Hangout Unbearable without AC

We booked a fishing trip via Airbnb at a very quaint cottage on a canal just off the lake we were going to fish. To start off the nightmare, on Monday before the Friday we were scheduled to arrive, the weather report was forecasting a tropical storm “Cindy”, making a direct b-line to the location on the very day we were to arrive. We contacted the host and he acted as if he would work with us if the forecast was correct. Luckily it hit the night before our arrival a little east of its expected path.

We continued with our plans and got to the location on Friday and the weather was not as bad as it could have been. The cabin was very well kept and we were very excited to be there. We unloaded or stuff and while going in and out of the cabin I noticed the three AC units but only two were on. I promptly went to each of the two that were on and turned them down because it was not at a comfortable stage yet in the cabin. I also turned on the one in the bedroom. I also noticed a box fan in the living area pointing into the bedroom which raised my suspicions that something might not be right.

After we got settled down and got our boat docked, we were going to cook steaks, but after looking at the grill it was full of water from the rain. I decided to cook them on the stove. After going into the kitchen I noticed there was no vent hood and with the temperature being already at an uncomfortable level, I told my wife we better eat sandwiches instead, to give the AC time to cool the place down. I went into the bedroom to find it rather warm and after feeling the air coming out of the AC unit in the bedroom I could tell it was not working. Since it was rather late by that point I did not want to bother the host. I was hoping the other two ACs would catch up and with the help of the fan, they might have been able to.

I now knew the purpose for the box fan was there to help blow AC into the bedroom to help cool it down. We spent a very miserable and restless night sweating and experiencing back pain from the very small, very hard, full size bed. It was so bad I went into the living room at 4:30 AM in front of the AC and tried to get some rest on the couch, to no avail. I waited until 9:00 AM to call the host and told him of our issue. When I did I was greeted with the claim that I was complaining without a legitimate reason; the last guests had no problems and the AC was not having issues then, nor did he think there was a issue now. My question to him was then why was there a fan in the living room pointing into the bedroom. He said it was just for circulation.

He would never admit the AC issue and I even offered to help him install another window AC if he would go buy one. His reply was: “I can tell you are fishing for a refund.” I then told him we had planned this trip for a long time. Coming even in the shadow of a tropical storm should have shown him we wanted to stay at all costs. He never offered to fix the problem. Afterwards, I offered to go buy an AC unit and put it in another window; he did accept that offer, of course.

We then left to see if we could get some fishing in. The more I thought about it, the more I decided we should just go back, pack up, and go home. His lack of concern ruined the trip we had so looked forward to, and if he had at least tried to fix the problem or come over to the cabin to verify that the unit was in fact not working, I would have done whatever I could to help him get it resolved. He did not come by because he already knew that it was not working.

The bottom line is he did refund $198 of the $270 for the three nights, less our cleaning fee and the $39 Airbnb fee. I opened a case over three weeks ago and Airbnb keeps telling me they are going to help. So far I have not received any resolution. All I am asking for is the $72 left off my three nights, excluding my $50 cleaning fee and $39 Airbnb fee. All this and if the stupid host would have just shown a ounce of concern and fixed the AC. He would not have had to refund anything.

I am not at all impressed wit my overall experience at Airbnb, but I do think I will give it another chance.