Never a Full Refund for this Cologne Apartment

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We arrived to this apartment on Monday afternoon, from the airport. We got video instructions from the host where we could find the keys and we could go in without any problems. I am presenting the situation with the uploaded photos.

The place looked like had not been inhabited for a long time. There was possibly puke on the wall, and dirt everywhere, not to mention the air inside. Unfortunately it around the time of IDS and we could not find another place, so we limited our stay to only sleeping.

We could not meet in person with the host until Wednesday morning, when we could finally found him at his workplace. We discussed that we did not intending to stay until Friday, instead we were leaving Thursday morning. Since the apartment was posted with a flexible cancellation policy, and we also we made clear that we were leaving the next morning, I modified the departure time on Airbnb, to avoid the fee for the last day (cancellation option was available, but with a 42 USD difference).

The host didn’t react to the modification request since that day. I have contacted Airbnb regarding the issue after we got home, and after a week the response was: “I noticed in relation to this, that you contacted Airbnb after the check out time for your reservation had passed, the Guest Refund Policy therefore would not apply to the reservation. I will need to negotiate with your host, in order to secure any partial refund. I will make you aware, that as the host already received the payout for this booking, any refund issued would be at the host’s discretion. However, I will do my very best to help!”

My conclusions regarding Airbnb: I had a choice to cancel the reservation on Wednesday with a refund of 200 USD, but I went for the date modification which offered 247 USD (apartment price + Airbnb fee + tax) when the host agreed. I know that this choice was my fault, but since I made it clear that we were leaving the apartment (and the request time is visible on the website), I feel it is very shady that the hosts’s behavior was not to react to the request. Furthermore, if the host already received the payment, there is only the option to ‘negotiate’ for whatever happens during our stay? If that is the case, everyone should avoid this filthy service.

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“Superhosts” from Hell in Los Angeles

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The arrangement at our Airbnb was of the kind where you let yourself in. This means that there is no one on the premises to talk to, and if something is wrong, there is no one who can set it right. Although we paid for two people, the apartment was set up for only one. There was a solitary towel in the bathroom and one on the floor, and bedding for only one bed. The owner did not answer the phone and communicates only by texting, so there was no way of remedying any problem in real time.

Although this was supposed to have been a non-smoking apartment, the air was stale and it was reeking of cigarette smoke. The apartment was superficially cleaned. The floor was not quite washed (there were unwashed spots), there was dust on some furniture, and there was junk behind appliances in the kitchen. There were fruit flies in the kitchen and the living room.

Although it was advertised as an air-conditioned apartment, I was not able to find any air conditioning (only a floor fan). This was a problem because the house faces a major traffic artery and it is impossible to keep the window open because the soundproofing is poor, so there is continuous traffic noise and noise from the neighbors, especially from upstairs. The area under the sink was all rotten, with mildew on the floor and the pipes, and as a result, the garbage can was left outside the cabinet, open, and without a lid.

In general (unrelated to this particular apartment), I think that properties where guests let themselves in without meeting the owner should be advertised as such. I would not have taken an apartment if I knew that there was no one on the premises to talk to. If there had been, I would immediately have declined this place, if only because of the fact that it had been smoked in and the area under the sink is rotten and mildewed, which is a health hazard for people with allergies.

I was charged $45.16 for the second person. After a lengthy correspondence with Airbnb, I found that the cost of an additional guest for two nights should be $22. I requested a refund, since the place was set for one. The “superhosts” refused. I think these people are beyond belief: dishonest and greedy, they both overcharged and did not deliver the service.

Finally, Airbnb (hopefully) issued a refund of $30 (why this particular amount?). I haven’t seen the money yet, as it takes them up to 15 business days. A normal service provider should take responsibility, issue a refund, and then solve the problems with the hosts. Airbnb… never again!

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Airbnb Refunds 100% of Hosting Charges but not Service Fee

I have used Airbnb a couple of times but recently discovered a few things while booking accommodation for our North America trip. Normally we would set a price range to search and compare accommodations. You are ready to pay what is shown while comparing but this is not the case with Airbnb. With Airbnb, you have to pay a charge for accommodations + cleaning fees + Airbnb service charges + city tax. It adds up very quickly; make sure you have compared prices properly.

What is a fair service charge for a broker/middleman or platform provider? I booked accommodation in Beverly Hills. The accommodation charges were less than $2000 but Airbnb’s service charges were around $200, which is a shockingly large fee to facilitate a deal. What was the $200 service charge even for? There was no reception, no room service, no linen changes when staying for multiple nights. On top of that, we also had to pay cleaning fees.

What pissed me was after booking I had the option to cancel and get a 100% refund for all the charges from the poor host but Airbnb didn’t want to refund the service charges after just 48 hours. That is a total rip off.

Now comes my worst experience of getting in touch with their customer support. Even though I run an IT company, I had to struggle to reach to a screen where I could write a complaint in my words and the robot didn’t try to take over my session. I literally had to go on their Facebook page to get some attention.

Finally, Airbnb gave me a refund but with the caveat that they could refund me only once or twice in a year; this was not acceptable to me. I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager in charge of policy to present a case for everyone, but no joy. There are a lot of such stories which I came across only because of the situation. My intention here is to highlight and inform everyone to be aware of Airbnb’s service charges, refund policies, and customer service. I am better off paying a little more for a hotel and get proper service provided by a human.

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Host didn’t answer the door when I arrived at midnight

I booked a ferry set to arrive at an island at about 8:00 PM. I noted this when booking my reservation. Two days before I was supposed to arrive, the host asked me to confirm my arrival time. I thought that my message went through, but apparently the wifi didn’t load and the message didn’t send. Regardless, the host didn’t ask for a follow up and I assumed that he knew and all was well (the listing noted that the check-in time was flexible).

My ferry ended up running three hours late. I let my host know as soon as I could… and then I realized that my initial message didn’t go through. There was no response from the host during the three-hour ferry ride. I got to the apartment at midnight, but no one was there. I had to show up at a random hostel to find a place to stay. It was not a great situation to be in as a young solo female traveler. My host said that he assumed I was no longer coming because I didn’t respond to the message. I asked the host if he could refund my stay. He hasn’t responded. Is there anything I can do about this or do I just have to cut my losses?

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Third-Party Booking Violation Causes Payment Problems

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I am here to share my experience I had with Airbnb today. Firstly, my reservation was cancelled and I found out that it was cancelled on the day I landed in Japan. The day before my departure, I had checked the Airbnb app and the status was still confirmed. I didn’t expect that it had been cancelled nor did the host tell me upon my arrival; it showed it was cancelled after checking with the host.

Here is where the problem starts to get worse. I did not know that there is a policy that forbids a third party to book on behalf of someone (my reservation was booked by my brother). Please note that for my Japan trip I had also booked two different places and the other hosts had no issues with my brother booking on my behalf. My brother had called, checked with the Airbnb support team, and was told that the reservation was cancelled by them because of the typhoon.

Their only means of informing to us was just an email that indicated that the amount was refunded. Everyone might be wondering why no one checked the email. The reason is simple: everything was done on the Airbnb app. In the app the reservation was still confirmed and the host had not messaged or informed us in regards to the cancellation.

Because of this predicament, we were desperate to find another place to stay as it was already late at night. My brother and I did not know about the third party booking and proceeded to find another place to stay on the day itself. This is where my brother’s RM 5,200 (approximate 1,200 USD) was flushed down the drain as the booking was made without knowing that the host rejected it and insisted that we had violated the Airbnb rules.

The host asked us to cancel the booking on our own (my brother was very suspicious of the host’s unwilling-to-help behaviour) and read the cancellation policy. Needless to say, once my brother clicked “cancel”, it would be another reason for the host to use it against us, because the guest cancelled the booking. We did asked the host to refund us back the amount since we had not even stayed and explained our predicament to the host. However, the host chose not to refund us at all, knowing our predicament and the fact I have never even set foot at his home. We checked with Airbnb support and all they can do is to try to convince the host to refund the money to us; still, the host does not want to.

The violation here is because my brother is the one who booked on my behalf, and the information given to the host is accurate (passport picture, passport number, name, age, occupation, home address), if they want to they should only suspend or terminate my brother’s account. They refused and the host refused to refund my brother the full amount for a place that we did not stay. The host also confirmed the reservation before my brother was able to communicate about our predicament to allow me to find a place to stay; then he only told us that it was a violation, refused to refund anything, and stopped communicating with us.

Please do not hate me for posting this. My intention is to let you know what I faced using Airbnb and how the policy could be a loophole that could cause you to waste your money. Once you are booked, the payment will be immediately sent to the host, which I really find ridiculous – the host should check everything about the guests who are staying then proceed to confirm the reservation.

The refund policy was not even protected, especially in my case where there should be a policy or a means to get my refund. All in all, there is definitely a way to at least get my brother to stay in the place, maybe by getting me to create an account and book it again, but the host and Airbnb support did not even bothered to assist, but would rather see my brother’s money go down the drain. I will not use Airbnb anymore and I would strongly suggest using another platform.

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Nightmare in Quebec Followed by Inept Airbnb

I reserved a non-smoking room through Airbnb for 30 days at the last minute due to a change of plans. Upon arrival, the entire building smelled like an ashtray and the room was even worse. As a non-smoker, I was literally gagging and knew this wouldn’t work.

Upon further inspection, I discovered stains on the cover that looked liked dried blood. I pulled back the cover and saw dirt, a paw print, and hair (presumably from an animal but at this point, it didn’t matter). I notified the hosts who sent around an air freshener and finally some clean sheets.

The hosts refused to issue a refund and wanted to keep the entire fee (over 1,200 CAD) for a few hours’ stay. I was out of there as soon as another place could be found. I went through two case managers, who decided the best solution was to allow these creepy scamming hosts to keep half of the fees.

I pointed out to the case managers that it’s illegal to obtain funds through misrepresentation of goods or services but they evidently weren’t bright enough to grasp basic legal concepts. They gave me their final final decision tonight and basically told me to get over it. That’s not going to happen; I don’t like scammers. At least I will be going down swinging.

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Please Avoid Airbnb’s Customer Service

I really want to tell someone about my horrible experience with Airbnb. I will never use their services anymore. It is so much better to stay in a hotel and avoid all your frustration rather than dealing with Airbnb. I reserved a luxury two bedroom townhouse in Short North area of Columbus, Ohio. After we checked in, we found the house was old with lead paint everywhere in the house, dirty (my kids’s feet immediately turned black), rusty (the kitchen pot, the bath tub were all rusty), and filled with cheap supplies (kitchen utensils, bedroom sheets, etc).

We requested to move out. I was offered for an alternative and I was told that I had to wait for 4-5 days to know whether it would be available. I stayed for four nights and was then showed an apartment by the host which was nice. However, I was told that the apartment would not be available for eight days. That meant I had to stay in that dirty place for eight more days. I reached an agreement with the host to discontinue the rent and moved out. The host refunded me the money I asked for.

However, some genius at Airbnb decided that I should not be refunded for the whole trip. Their calculation was like this: my entire trip cost $3100 (36 nights); I paid $2700 upfront. I requested $2300 refund based on my payment ($2700 minus the cost for the four nights I stayed). The host immediately refunded me the money. However, Airbnb decided that my cost was $3100 and I only paid $2700, so I owed them $400. They refunded me $1900 ($2300-$400). What a math genius. How did I owe them money for things never even happened?

One month later, they sent me a bill to remind me to check out the apartment and to pay them the remaining $400 balance ($3100-$2700). They had no records to show that I checked out one month earlier. I’ve called them three times so far. Every time I get the same answer. The customer service representative (he or she) would explain to me why they held the $400 from me the same way every time and they had no intention to listen and accept my explanation.

They would say that they had to talk to a case manager who would be available to talk to them but not to me directly. They would then tell me that I had to wait for a case manager to contact me. I would then receive an email from Airbnb to say “case closed”. I’ve spent more than five hours of my precious time to call them so far and there has been no resolution yet. This is really a great way for Airbnb to make money. I have no idea when I can get my money back. When you book on Airbnb, you will have no idea what you get yourself into. For me it has been a nightmare and horrible experience. The worst part of Airbnb is the customer service.

Do Not Stay in Airbnb Houses When the Amenities Differ

My niece booked our Airbnb house in Potsdam, New York. We had six adults and an infant, so we were looking for somewhere with two bathrooms. A couple of days before we arrived, the host texted my niece to say that they were remodeling the second bathroom, so there would only be one bathroom available. As it turns out, even if both bathrooms were available it wouldn’t have helped much as the water pressure was so low that only one shower could be used at a time and if a toilet was flushed during a shower… well, just imagine.

The dishwasher had a note posted on it not to use it. After being there we assumed that was also because of the low water pressure. The water tasted quite bad and we bought bottled water. There was no mention of this in the description. The instructions asked that only cold water be used for laundry, so that’s what we used. Unfortunately, there was also no mention that the water would stain whites and two of my shirts were ruined.

The working shower control had to be turned “just so” to obtain a comfortable temperature and maintain enough pressure to shower. A fraction of an inch to the left of that magic spot and the water was scalding. A fraction of an inch to the right and water pressure was not sufficient. The water pressure continued to decrease and on the last night and day we were unable to shower at all. The toilet wouldn’t flush on the last day either.

The property is posted as being able to sleep seven people. There is a two-person size bed in one bedroom and a twin bed in each of the other bedrooms. The couch in the living room folds out, so I’m assuming two people could sleep on that. That adds up to six people. I’m not sure where number seven would fit.

I should mention that the host did refund $150.00 for having only one bathroom at the last minute. My niece has emailed him since, explaining the problems as he may want to remedy them before he rents it out again, but he has not responded. I will mention that it was clean and the air conditioning worked fine. Personally, I would like to have a large bit of what we paid to stay there refunded as it certainly was neither convenient nor pleasant and my shirts were ruined.

This experience makes me very reluctant to use or recommend Airbnb in the future. In fact, I have already told the story to quite a few people, some of whom were specifically inquiring about Airbnbs.

Airbnb Screwed up and Charged me Twice

I had been scheduled to go on vacation and had booked my flight. I went on the Airbnb app to book a four-night accommodation one day before my vacation. As I was making the booking and making payment, the app screwed up and rejected my booking. I then received an email from Airbnb stating that my booking had been cancelled and they were processing my refund. It stated that refund may take up to 14 days.

They had charged my credit card twice and cancelled the booking. Now I have to wait for up to 14 days for twice the amount for my refund. Now I’m short on money to use for my trip the next day as they had charged twice my planned four-night accommodation amount and processed a refund.

I called Airbnb. The call was almost an hour long and most of the time I was put on hold. I was calling from Malaysia and thus paying for the call. A manager was supposed to return my call within two hours but no call came.

It was a grave mistake on my part to book my accommodation through Airbnb. It has now screwed up my vacation as my money has been charged twice and its in the process of a refund that will take almost two weeks. Airbnb screwed up my vacation and they have no balls to take responsibility for their screw up. I believe there are many others who have the same experience that I have just gone through. Screw Airbnb.

Airbnb Farmhouse with Unexpected Extras in Store

We were looking for an Airbnb in Portugal from July 22nd until July 30th for four persons and a dog. After a big search we found a farmhouse in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines. The pictures were looking good: nice bedrooms, a swimming pool, two bathrooms, wifi, a terrace with a mountain view, a clean house, and very comfortable.

We made the reservation, paid the amount of a little more than €1200 and prepared for our holiday there. We bought a bigger car (the dog had to come too), made a list of things we had to take from home, planned the route to drive, booked hotels to stay at night, etc. In the meanwhile our dog become sick so it was better for him to stay at home in a dog hotel.

The hotels to stay overnight while driving to the Algarve were already booked and plane tickets are highly priced in the season; we decided to drive the full 2400 km to the Algarve. When we arrived in Portugal after a three-day drive, we couldn’t find the house, even not with a description of the route by the host. We had to call her several times to explain to us how to drive there. Finally she picked us up at a local gas station.

We drove to the “farmhouse”. First of all, regarding the access road: with a big 4×4 you would easily manage this road, but with a fully loaded station wagon it was a real struggle. The road was so narrow that turning the car was a real test in survival. On one side there was a ditch and on the other side, after two meters a deep ravine. The first signs already made it seem like we were staring in an episode of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The farmhouse had a kitchen with an oven, full with rust. Frogs were in the bathroom. Salamanders were everywhere in and near the house. Big spiders were everywhere. The swimming pool (a little bigger than a bathtub) was full of green algae. The nice wooden garden chairs we saw in the pictures were replaced by old dirty white plastic chairs and sun beds. The TV as seen on the pictures had suddenly disappeared. The wifi was bad, really bad. Mobile phones didn’t work (no contact from any transmission mast). There were spiderwebs and dirt everywhere.

We arrived there Sunday July 22nd. On Monday morning, July 23rd we were going to the beach and contacted Airbnb to complain and to ask our refund. After several contact moments with some “specialist” they approved refunding us the money we paid and agreed we would leave the farmhouse the same day. Of course we had already booked a hotel in Albufeira to continue our holiday.

Airbnb said they would pay the refund first within 2-3 working days, then it would be within 5-7 working days. This was taking too long. I wrote to Airbnb directly that Mastercard guarantees refunds within one, or a maximum of two working days. After two working days, we had the refund in our account.

That’s not all: we wrote a bad review with pictures that proved the bad shape and bad conditions of the farmhouse. Airbnb decided to not publish this bad review on their page. Questions from our side: why they didn’t do it? It would give the host a bad name. It would not be in anyone’s advantage. Unbelievable. Well, this was the first time for us with Airbnb and for sure the last time.