Disgusting Service and Treatment for Airbnb Hosts

I am a Airbnb host and have just been in a spat with Airbnb customer service all day. For the last 12 months I have kept my Superhost status and was given a $100 voucher to use on other Airbnbs. I booked a few days away with my kids this weekend but because Auckland has gone into lockdown we had to cancel.

The host’s cancellation policy was relaxed and I was to receive a full refund. The only thing is I paid half with my coupon and half cash (on credit card). I was advised my credit card would be refunded but I was not given any information about my coupon. So I got in touch with Airbnb and they advised me that because I cancelled my booking, I would lose the coupon.

Honestly I’m in disbelief. I complained and tried to have my complaint escalated. I mean, after 12 months of earning money for them and paying thousands in fees for a measly $100 coupon, they bloody don’t refund it. Cancelling was out of my control – the host’s policy was relaxed. It is Airbnb who has kept my coupon. They absolutely refuse to issue me another coupon. It’s disgusting how they treat hosts. For this situation I never thought for a second they wouldn’t reinstate my coupon. Just very bad form and disgusting treatment.

Five-Hour Journey Results in No Place to Stay

I booked a condo in Tagaytay, Philippines with residences renting on a monthly basis. Here they had a policy of people over age 65 not allowed out due to COVID, but not many stay home. Maybe the condo staff who do check ins let me stay due to my age?

I contacted the host to explain and she said “No problem, we will sort it out.” It was a bit of an odd reply, so I inquired further. They told me the rules changed on Jan. 1. I booked my dates on Airbnb from the 28th for a month — a great price for 40% off monthly, and 20% off for the first booking before April.

The host replied that she could book me for the 26th and 27th to clean the condo. They explained I would not be paying for those two days. I said it was okay, so she booked me on Airbnb for the two days. I thought it was a bit odd, but okay. I had the host’s mobile number so I called. She was out of range or her phone was turned off.

I sent a text explaining I was coming to Tagaytay to find a place to live permanently, using her joint for a month to look around, moving out of where I live now. New people are moving in when I leave and my furniture is going to my wife’s sisters, so this condo in Tagaytay has to be a sure thing. I got a text back saying “hello” and that was all. I tried calling: no answer, not even ringing.

I returned to Airbnb, explaining I had had no contact via mobile. I was a bit worried now. Her reply was “My husband is out of range, but will call tonight.” I got a message later via Airbnb saying I could call him anytime. I called twice. The second time I got an answer. Speaking English, the guy didn’t understand me, so I put my wife on the phone, telling her we wanted information on the tower number, condo number, and caretaker’s number.

I contacted Airbnb saying I had concerns, explaining the extra days for cleaning, and how there were no replies to texts or calls. I was doing a lot of thinking about moving out of there. I looked when the host would be paid by airbnb and it said the 27th; I don’t arrive until the 28th. I contacted Airbnb. As far as they were concerned, I was booked from the 26th. Eventually the payment was frozen.

On the 27th at 10:30 PM I got a message through Airbnb from the hosts. I rang their mobile — the one they never answered — and they said no money has come from Airbnb. I lost the plot, explained why no money would be paid until the 29th, and gave them 30 minutes to supply all the information I needed to Airbnb. The wife came on the phone saying they had only just bought the condo and didn’t really understand how this works. She said she was going to Tagaytay in the morning with her husband and the phone would be on.

I tried to call them five or six times on route, a five-hour journey, and it never rang. I arrived at 2:00 PM and no one was there. I waited two hours and called… nothing. Condo security said they had a condo there. I contacted Airbnb on the messenger site several times telling them the situation. I paid a night for a condo.

The next day I phoned Airbnb and explained everything. They were helpful. All the information was on his screen: messages from me saying I thought this was going to go bad, and it did. I got my money back, but I can’t understand it. These scammers knew they were not going to get paid since I was moving out of my place, but they still let me travel five hours. Beware if it sounds too good a price to be true. At least I got a refund. I hope Airbnb punishes these scammers somehow.

Hosting is Always a Nightmare with Airbnb

As a property manager I use many OTA (online travel agent) platforms. The most difficult to deal with is Airbnb. Their lack of customer service makes it impossible to resolve issues in a timely fashion, if at all. The last issue I had was a staff member accidentally putting a refund request through to the wrong guest. Ten seconds after this was done, we contacted Airbnb and explained we had two guests with the same name and they had granted a refund to the wrong guest.

The outcome was the guest who stayed did not choose to give back the refund so Airbnb closed the issue. The complaint that we had was that Airbnb took weeks to refund the guest. During peak COVID time when we were busy refunding guests they took so long to refund people who desperately needed their money that we had to consistently follow up with them and force them to refund them.

We have had to give many apologies to guests waiting long periods to be refunded, yet they refused to intercept the request to cancel with their accounts department. Instead they refunded a guest who did stay, who did have a good time and who was happy with our service. I think that in this age of choice, whether we be a host or a guest, there are so many more ethical businesses out there to deal with. This company is a disgrace to the original concept of Airbnb. This company should be investigated for its disturbing way of dealing with both hosts’ and guests’ needs.

Airbnb Guests Might be Waiting a Month on Refunds

During the early days of the pandemic I understood that people were unsure about hosting strangers, especially someone traveling from another country in their house. In March, I had a few hosts either just not respond to my booking or else politely tell me that they’d suddenly had a family member turn up and therefore the room wasn’t available. They cancelled the booking and I got my money back… eventually.

Sometimes it can happen several times in a row and that can hurt you because I’m a world traveller, not a tourist, and I book for a month at a time to save money. Long after the pandemic fear was an issue, I sometimes had lazy hosts who may not have even been renting their house, just failed to respond to a booking. Sometimes it took a ridiculously long time to get my money back.

I arrived in Mexico after one fraudulent booking and I only had enough money left to take a cheap place for a week until I could afford to book again, which of course cost me more. Then I booked a really nice house in the mountains. The guy had only one review and it was terrible but I could also see that the person complaining was being completely unreasonable. I can see through those sort of reviews — some people are just whiny and expect champagne on a beer budget.

One thing that bothered me was that the guy had a long response time listed, so I tried to message him first. I didn’t get a reply for half a day. My current place was about to expire and I didn’t want to book again for a single day at a higher price, so I took a chance. I mean… people can be busy, right? So I booked for a month.

I waited. After 24 hours he hadn’t responded and Airbnb said I would get my money back. Sometimes this takes a few days. Sometimes it takes a week. Airbnb will always say that it’s PayPal’s fault or your bank’s fault, but I have a very efficient bank (Citibank) that accept intra-bank deposits instantly, and updates my account statement instantly. I don’t have that problem. When there are delays, it’s never my bank.

This time… the money just didn’t come back. I had to borrow money in order to make a new booking, which was really awkward. I’m stuck overseas. It’s hard to find work when I slap down a month’s rent and the renter doesn’t even answer. Airbnb has taken my money that really leaves me in a pickle.

I contacted Airbnb and of course it took a day to get some outsourced, incompetent idiot, to whom I complained at length, who ignored what I said, and gave me canned responses. When I complained further they escalated and then still gave me a canned response saying it could take “2-5 days” to get my pending transfer released. I pointed out that at this point it had been two weeks and then they changed their tune and said, “Well, actually it can take up to 30 days depending on your bank.”

I was just like, “No, man. Make up your mind. Is it 2-5 days or is it 30 days? It’s never been that long before.”

I’m currently at three weeks and my bank says the money hasn’t been released. PayPal say it has. Airbnb just says, “It’s not our problem.” But the thing is, I’ve had this crap happen several times this year and Airbnb just doesn’t care. I’ve been outright defrauded by hosts who’ve demanded huge (one month) deposits in cash and Airbnb hasn’t delisted them after complaining.

I’ve tried to book at places whose hosts have immediately cancelled the listing and messaged me saying, “That’s really just an advertisement. We don’t really accept bookings through Airbnb. You have to pay us directly.” Airbnb hasn’t removed those listings either.

Airbnb doesn’t care. They don’t remove fraudsters and they don’t remove people who just don’t bother answering their messages or accept bookings. It doesn’t matter how much you complain. They’d rather have millions of listings than actually weed out the BS ones and make sure that they have some sort of quality control, and their system of taking your money before the host accepts your booking is absolutely unconscionable.

If you’re a young backpacker, or a student, or you’re just living from week to week on a tight budget… if you slap down a month’s rent on a place and then it takes 21 or 30 days to get it back when the host doesn’t even bother accepting your booking, you’re up the creek without a paddle. Regardless of whether it’s your bank or PayPal’s fault, Airbnb should not do things this way. They shouldn’t take your money until the booking is confirmed and it’s absolutely ludicrous that they will take your money for up to a month on a speculative “this booking might be accepted.”

I’m so sick of having my money taken by Airbnb and having to fight with them to get it back, or have them tell me I just have to wait a month. I’m not some rich jetsetter. I’m just a schoolteacher who is trying to make a life moving from country to country. I don’t have the sort of money to have month’s worth of rent tied up in failed bookings. This system clearly has no regard for the customer’s rights and is designed with mistrust as the primary motivation. There is no situation in which it makes sense for anyone to take a customer’s money and hold onto it for a month before a booking is accepted. That’s not protecting anyone.

We’re all verified users with our passports on file. We’re not going to make fraudulent bookings. We can’t. No one’s going to book a place if they don’t have the money. If they did that even once, they could be reprimanded or banned. Instead the attitude is, “We don’t trust you. But we do trust the hosts. So we’re taking your money now just for expressing interest and even if the host completely ignores you… you’re not getting that money back for a long time so I hope you have spare cash to book something else because you might be waiting up to 30 days to get the money back. Sorry not sorry.”

It’s just not good enough. You shouldn’t pay for goods or services before it’s confirmed that they are available.

Airbnb Returns Payment 17 Days After Stay

Airbnb support wrote to me:

Good morning and thank you so much for patiently waiting regarding on this matter for that payout adjustment. I regret to inform you that it was certainly a reservation that is illegitimate and did not pass the verification process and for security purposes the guest was not able to contact you about it. Please understand that this was all about your safety too regarding on your property and because of that adjustment has been made and that payment was returned to that guest. We apologize for the inconvenience, I know that it makes you feel unfair on your part since it was a past reservation but there were also information on that case that were too sensitive and cannot be disclosed as well but in general it was about your security and safety too. I hope you would understand and thank you so much for that.

My response:

Nonsense, Airbnb permitted that guest to make that reservation; that means he was properly vetted by you. Neither the guest nor Airbnb contacted us whatsoever with so much as a cancellation or otherwise (refund of the guest’s money 17 days after the last day of rental) and for no specific reason Airbnb refunded his money, unannounced nor approved by us. Nor did Airbnb properly notify us. For these reasons both parties failed and refused to abide by our cancellation policy, failed and neglected to follow the terms and conditions and are failing and refusing to provide adequate reasoning behind the return of the guest’s money.

This is wrong and Airbnb should pay this guest’s stay for mistakenly returning the guest’s money long after the stay ended. After all, we could have re-rented our property, but, as a result of Airbnb and the guest’s actions we were not notified and nor did Airbnb clear the calendar for the days the guest did not show up. I am not satisfied with the resolution to this matter. Please contact me. Furthermore, Airbnb stole $189.15 that did not belong to them. That was the cancelled guest’s money and Airbnb took it without authorization.

Airbnb Support:

Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective and again we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. After gathering and carefully reviewing all related documentation, we decided to close out this case, and we are not able to provide that payout back to you since it was just refunded back to the guest, and we did not keep that. Since we have provided all related information and explanation about this case, we will be closing out this ticket for the time being. We consider this decision final. Thank you very much.

Cancellation for Employee Working on COVID-19 Response

Airbnb claims to be compassionate and supportive of people impacted by COVID-19 but my situation is quite the opposite. One of my staff was scheduled to attend the CSTE conference at the end of June in Seattle. However, she was pulled into the public health response to COVID-19 in our county.

We have been fighting with Airbnb for months about this and it’s still not resolved. All over $400+ dollars. Not only have there been numerous communications with Airbnb where they have refused to refund the money but my organization has also spent considerable time trying to resolve the situation. It’s spread like wildfire in our organization and we will no longer be using Airbnb for work and for personal travel.

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Host and Airbnb Contradicting Each Other

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I booked a five-month reservation with a Superhost through Airbnb. After 24 days, I cancelled the reservation for multiple reasons: the dirty TP in the bathroom; my food being eaten; and when the host said one of his employees had been exposed to someone with the virus.

The host said there was a 30-day cancellation penalty, which would be about $1100. Airbnb says that the amount of the remainder of four months’ time cut in half is how their system calculated the cancellation, for roughly a $3200 cancelation penalty.

I messaged the host who said, and I quote, “Again: you are not responsible for any cancellation fee. If they try to pay it, we will refuse it.”

After two months of trying to get Airbnb to respond to my calls the host is now saying they are charging a cancellation fee. This comes down to the host directly lying to me and to Airbnb. Airbnb refuses to even read what the host says or respond to me.

Thankfully I have had legal advice that said to save all messages and if Airbnb tries to do anything, I am completely covered. Airbnb says the original case manager is no longer with the company, and a new one is assigned but still not responding.

I have reached out over a dozen times over the past two months and still am being ignored. A representative the other day said that when a case is opened it could not be closed without a resolution. The helpbot closed my case the other day, after two months of being open and no resolution.

Not a good place to stay and Airbnb is hiding reviews on them so they can remain a Superhost.

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Unable to Get a Full Refund Due to Airbnb Policy

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Airbnb customer service was unable to approve or give out a 100% refund due to me cancelling the reservation before their policy updates on April 1, 2020. I made the cancellation at the beginning of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now my country Malaysia has to prolong the country lockdown until June 9. Airbnb said my criteria met their policy, but because I cancelled the reservation and got a 50% refund before April 1, I’m not eligible for the 100% refund.

It’s not right; it’s not logical. This policy should be amended, and not be biased.

Airbnb Denies Comic Con Cancellation Refund

We reserved a property with Airbnb last November for Comic Con 20 in July. On April 17, Comic Con was cancelled due to the World Health Organization gathering guidelines dated March 11 and California Governor Newsom stating that group gatherings in California before August could not happen.

When I tried to rebook the property for Comic Con 21 next year, I discovered the property had been marked up $10,000 for our five-day stay. Instead of costing $6472 like it did this year, it was marked up to $16,879 for a stay of the same duration and for the same reason, a 180% markup.

I cancelled my reservation and requested a full refund of the $3264 I had made on the first of two installments. On April 9, Airbnb had said their COVID-19 full refund only applied through May 31 and despite having an extenuating circumstance policy for epidemic disease, it did not apply to COVID-19 cases.

Since my COVID-19 case was after May 31, then neither the COVID-19 or epidemic disease policy would cover my cancellation refund. This is also when I found out that the Airbnb 50% refund policy is not a 50% refund of what you pay, but 50% of the total bill, so instead of about $1500 back from my initial payment, I got $62.

I appealed to the property owner. Their response was to talk to Airbnb. I appealed to Airbnb, and they told me to talk to the property owner. So when I paid last November, my money was effectively gone after 48 hours. I had at least three different conversations with Airbnb and the host, but they insisted that the COVID-19 policy to May 31 was the end all and be all policy and did not apply to the Comic Con COVID-19 cancellation in July.

The COVID-19 and epidemic disease policies for Airbnb deny the reality of the pandemic after May 31. Ironically, this same property is listed on VrBO with a full refund policy through May 22, 2020. I am moving on to arbitration via the American Arbitration Association.

No Refund, First and Last Time with Airbnb

Unfortunately, this is my first and last time booking with Airbnb, due to terrible customer service and criminal practices against consumers. The fact that there is a website created to voice complaints says a lot about a company. I just wish I had seen this website prior to booking.

I booked my reservation on February 9, which met their March 14, 2020 “booked on or before” requirement. I paid my down payment. My check-in was April 10, checking out April 13.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and our trip was canceled. I canceled my reservation on March 12 on their website with my host. I was told then my host was covered and I would receive a partial refund. I clicked on the link to get my refund because something is better than nothing.

I never received my refund and when I followed up, I was told they decided my reservation does not meet the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances. When I called Airbnb they could not tell me the exact reason. The reasons kept changing, and they put me on hold most of the conversation.

The initial reason they gave was that I did not cancel with Airbnb. I told him I canceled on their website and when I pressed for him to show me where it is posted on their website that I need to contact someone other than the host and trip reservation on the Airbnb website he put me on hold for ten minutes, never giving me the location, just the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances.

Next I was told the host was paid out and declined my refund. I am reading the hosts are not getting paid and have a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, so I’m not sure I believe that. Finally I was told I waited too long to reach out to the Resolution Center about a refund, which was only two and a half weeks.

In summary, initially I was told due to my host’s cancellation policy I would get a refund. Then when I got back on the website after not receiving the refund, and tried to request the refund again. After no payment was sent again, I reached out to the Resolution Center. Since then several of my communications with my host were deleted and I was not allowed to request a refund any longer. Now I am given the run around with several fluff excuses that you cannot validate when asked for specifics. When I told Airbnb most companies during this unprecedented time are giving a monetary refund or equal voucher for another stay, they said nothing.

I realize the impact this has on businesses and Airbnb is doing everything they can to keep money in their pockets, but they are taking advantage of both guests and hosts. However, in the end, a business that takes a customer’s money for a service they don’t provide or offer anything in return is criminal. At this time, I will be happy to join a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb.