Not the Beautiful View’s Fault for our Airbnb Experience

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A week into our 30-day prepaid Airbnb stay, the host began to exhibit some odd behavior. Two nights before that, he began to argue with his girlfriend (they met three weeks ago), slamming doors throughout the house. He said that she was detoxing and could not drink alcohol. We said we understood.

The next day he came in and told us we were using too much water. We understood that there were water restrictions; in nine day, two showers had been taken. The last night he came in and accused us of giving his girlfriend alchohol. We explained we had been gone all day and we had not given her anything. She expressed to us that she wanted to leave and needed to get out of the house; she looked very scared.

The host came back out and told us to get out of his house now; this was at 11:00 PM. He had never said that drinking was a problem. We even asked what they like to drink. He dumped out a bottle of vodka we had and then threatened to dump out other alcoholic beverages. We packed up our things in the morning and let him know we wanted a refund for the days left. He informed us he contacted Airbnb and we would have to get a refund from them. After speaking with Airbnb we were told that he had not contacted them.

The host then said that there were damages. Actually, there were none. He was in the process of fixing up the house for it to be sold. He was draging wood up the stairs and even painted a balcony during our stay. He told us not to use it so we obliged. We were already looking for a new place because of the hostile environment and didn’t feel safe. There was constant arguing and slamming of doors throughout our last night.

We had an extra guest come and asked the host beforehand; he said it would not be a problem if we just gave him $30 cash per night for the additional guest. I gave him $100 cash and he said he would give me $10 back as they only stayed three days. My daughter was coming into town and once again I asked if an additional guest could stay and we would pay for it; he said it was no problem. Today the host is stating we never gave him money and that it was going to be $40 a night for my daughter. Later on he stated that it would not be $40 and that he never said that. Read his latest text to me. See the tray of cannabis he served us daily from bottles hidden in our room. Do not rent from him.

The Worst Response to “Airbnb is Just a Platform!”

This little nightmare starts back at the beginning of May 2017. It has just been resolved two months later and still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At 10:00 PM the night of my reservation, I had to cancel after the host was MIA with directions on how to get into the property. Airbnb apologized for its host and the situation. They encouraged us to get a hotel room and they’d reimburse us up to $150; we spent $129 at Hampton Inn.

You must be thinking “wow!” like we were, and “how nice is that?” They really take good care of their customers. All those good feelings about Airbnb quickly vacated as time went on. I was assured twice by two different employees that everything was in place for the reimbursement. After waiting almost two months and losing patience well past the expected payout date, I called back a third time and spoke with someone who got me over to a “Customer Service Specialist” after we discovered I needed to input a payout method (like a host would) to get the reimbursement. This was news to me.

It’s not that the two-month delay wasn’t bad enough, or the misinformation; this is when it really got hellish. The specialist barked like a dog. He seemed old, cranky, short tempered, and not at all apologetic – not what you’d expect from such a “hip” company like Airbnb. He spoke over me constantly as if he was fighting for his life and this was supposed to be top management. He made sure to remind me that Airbnb is a 37 billion dollar company that is “just a platform”. He blamed us and the Airbnb representative at the time of the incident repeating over and over, “I don’t know where everybody’s head was at the time!”

He made sure to blame the host when he wasn’t blaming his underlings and asserted they are ultimately responsible because, yep you guessed it, because “Airbnb is just a platform.” I took this to mean he felt as an Airbnb manager he had no responsibility for my unpleasant, inconvenient experience with a host they vetted or the employees they hired and trained. So keep this in mind: Airbnb takes no responsibility for their hosts or employees. You’re on your own.

Well, I had quite a bit to say to this guy who claimed to be a “specialist” in the area of customer service. After pointing out that two representatives hired and trained by Airbnb, gave me incorrect instructions and information that delayed my reimbursement, you’d think an apology was in order. Nope. He just got crasser and meaner. I had to pull out the big guns and calmly repeated my dissatisfaction. I hinted and suggested an additional travel credit could smooth this all out and make up for all the mistakes Airbnb made along the way to issuing me reimbursement. Finally, he begrudgingly mentioned, “I can give you a $25 credit if that would shut you up.”

I continued to educate “the specialist” in customer service, mentioning how important it is to go above and beyond in this situation. All my suggestions were coming from my own experience as a business owner with unhappy customers. All he could bring himself to do was issue the lousy $25 credit (the maximum, according to him). A good habit to get into when dealing with these giant call centers is “resolution before disconnection.” There could at least be a confirmation number or the agent’s ID. At the most, it would be completely resolved. Try to get an email confirmation as documentation. Things get “lost” all the time in these behemoth call centers and repeating yourself is no fun.

Well, this specialist wasn’t going to have any of it: no ID, no last name, no email, no confirmation, nothing except a hearty, “just trust me, it’s taken care of.” He did take care of it finally, but the way all of it was handled should make Airbnb hide in shame for such a blatant disregard for its responsibilities as a “platform” and the ultimate satisfaction of its guests.

Why Does Airbnb Continually Break its Promises to Help?

As Airbnb guests, we encountered what seemed to have been a fairly straightforward question about a refund. The landlady agreed to give us a refund on our room. The only problem, she said, was that she didn’t know how to formally give permission to Airbnb to activate the refund, so she sent us a mail to show to Airbnb, as evidence to get the refund. That was several months ago. I must have called and talked with Airbnb advisors a dozen times now. It’s the same pattern every time – the advisor listens to the story, agrees that we ought to get a refund, and promises to pass the problem to a higher level – and that they will get back to us in a few days. They never do. Every time, they fail to do what have promised. How can the company behave so irresponsibly? They are not even together enough, or honest enough, to give us a straight ‘no’. Instead they just leave us hanging, every time. This has really put me off using Airbnb. If they can treat me like this over a fairly minor issue, what happens if a really serious problem comes up? Will they just run away like they did here? I am thinking of making a YouTube documentary of this saga, together with recordings of the phone calls and broken promises.

Family Scammed by a Host in Seattle

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My daughter and fiancé moved to the Seattle area. Upon arrival they discovered their apartment wasn’t ready due to mold issues. They had to retile the place and wouldn’t be able to allow guests to move in for another week. My family was stuck. They also had a sweet older cat with them. They had to book a hotel for the first night. I, being the helpful mom to my 22-year-old kid and her fiancee and kitty, wanted to look into an Airbnb rental so they could be comfortable.

I found this listing. If you scroll down on pricing it says: “Extra people: $48/night after the first guest.” It could be my mistake that I did not see this. I was going back and forth with her from Friday evening into Saturday late morning about the listing. Moving forward, I went to book and the price went from $80 per/night to $128 per/night. I attached the screen shots of our messages and my confusion on the part of the second guest. If you read this, you can see she is even confused and looks like she is saying that I was probably trying to book for three guests (myself, daughter and her fiancé) and she said I need to book for a total of two people.

I made the mistake of thinking when I put one guest I thought myself plus one guest. It was a dumb mistake on my part since I have booked with Airbnb before. However, in all the comparable listings in that area – I clicked through about twenty – the prices were always for two people; I didn’t think twice and booked it. The other thing, the host clearly saw me saying “them” when referring to guests and listing their names. I even told her their story in the beginning: how it was my daughter, her fiancé, and their cat (I did not include this screenshot, but I can if needed).

Here’s where it gets interesting. My kid had her number and proceeded to text the host that they were on their way. She texted my kid and said “your mom only paid for one person.” My kid asked how much it would be for two people and she stated it would be an additional $180. I told my kid that it was too much, thinking there are other places for that price that were private.

Did I mention that this host’s place was not private? She said it was like “one big master bedroom, but the kitchen and bathroom is shared.” She has it listed as an entire home/apartment but the room and living room was separated from the kitchen by a blackout curtain; her and her husband’s room is private in the back. $128 per night in that area? Why didn’t I just book a whole cottage for $100 per night?

You can see in my messaging that I was considering having them just stay the one night and not the rest of the week. However, I ended up canceling the whole thing and they stayed in a hotel. I also wanted to attach the text messaging thread. You can’t get each other’s number until you book for safety purposes. She and I were texting back and forth with this misunderstanding and I apologized profusely. I asked then if I would get refunded. She assured me I would. I told her okay, I would cancel and thanked her for the refund. I knew she had a strict cancellation policy but I figured she has been super nice and understood the situation was my mistake.

The next day I contacted the Airbnb resolution center on the site. All I wanted was to make sure she refunded me. They told me to request money from the host, so I did. There was space to put the reason and I typed “misunderstanding at check in, host agreed to refund full amount.”

What does she respond with? “Not truthful guest.” She then declined to refund me. If she would have said “no, sorry I can’t give you a refund” then I at least I could have paid the extra $180 and not be out $400. She basically has no one staying in her place for five days and Airbnb and the host got $450 (fees included) out of me. Even Expedia doesn’t do that. Once I accidentally booked the wrong dates and was out of the cancellation policy. They still refunded me and told me: “It’s ok. Sometimes stuff happens.”

I ended up calling my bank to have them dispute the charges. I had to tell them the whole story and send them the screenshots of the messages. When a case manager from Airbnb called me, he seemed nice at first, taking in my story. I even sent them the screenshots of the text messages where she stated more than once she would refund me. He said they are the final say in this matter. I received a call back from the case manager the next day. He stated the host said I lied and tried to “pull one over” on her, that I tried to book for one guest and was really bringing two. Like she didn’t know and capitalized on my mistake. Then she said I called her and harassed her. I did no such thing. If I were able to upload all the screenshots of the text messages then you could see I was nothing but apologetic and kind.

Now this host was so rude. He was talking over me, yelling at me, and bullying me. I was made out to be the villain. This host just joined this month and had no reviews. That in itself should have been a red flag. The Airbnb case manager made me feel foolish and said that this host has a strict cancellation policy; when I booked, he stated that it was a legal and binding contract and he cannot force the host to refund the money. He said she wasn’t going to refund the money at all and I am basically screwed.

First off he talked over me, then when I did the same he yelled at me. When I raised my voice he said over and over this was a legal and binding contract and in the end he essentially said: “Well, you have booked with us before. You should know how to book. This is your fault and you will not be refunded.”

He didn’t even offer a partial refund or a voucher. Nothing. I hung up and cried because I was just bullied on the phone over nothing, just an Airbnb listing. Why does this case agent even care? He should have tried to be a better mediator in this situation and look at my history of being a guest: I have never complained or done anything shady.

I’ve blasted Airbnb on Twitter. You may have seen them if you follow @airbnbhell because I copied them on Twitter too. The case manager emailed me and said “it was a pleasure talking to you this morning… blah blah blah” I responded with a lengthy email, told him he bullied me and yelled at me, and I was in tears afterwards. I mean I hate be the victim but this host acted like one and got $400+ out of it. Why can’t I tell the truth and tell them how I felt? I felt like a used pair of underwear.

When I emailed them back I also copied Belinda Johnson, who is Airbnb’s Chief Legal Council, and Donna Boyer, who is Airbnb’s Director of Product. Working in tech in the Bay Area (where Airbnb is headquartered) you can find out who these people are. Just about an hour ago I received an apology from Anthony with a $200 voucher. Really? Seriously? If I do not plan to use Airbnb anymore, what good is it going to do me? Just send me my money! At least send a voucher that is equal if not more than what I went out of pocket. I ended up rebooking another listing for my daughter through Airbnb and luckily that went fine. It would have been nice if this voucher was there before that since I just plan to use VBRO or VaCasa or something else in the future. Thanks for listening to me ramble.

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Fake Information on Airbnb Leads to Fake Osaka Apartment

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I will not recommend Airbnb to my friends, as it won’t protect its users’ rights. My family was planning to travel to Osaka, Japan, and we tried to look for a suitable room for us. Before I made the reservation, I double checked with the house owner about the room I needed; we had five people and we needed two rooms. She answered me by confirming there were two rooms in the apartment which could easily accomodate five people. However, when I arrived that night, I found there was only a tiny room for two people.

I called the house owner. He admitted that it was his fault but the only thing he could do would be to provide a refund. Of course, we also needed to find another place to stay. In such a rush and looking during the busy season, we found no affordable hotel or hostel for our whole family. Therefore we had no choice but to cancel our travel plans and go back to our country. The real room we arrived to find was completely different than that pictured in the photo that the house owner showed on Airbnb, which means the information on the website is fake. Even he refunded us but they did nothing to make up my loss. I also can’t make comments on the website as the reservation has been cancelled. I want to reveal what’s really going on to everyone who wants to find a room to stay on Airbnb. You’d better to have a backup plan otherwise your rights will not be protected at all.

Host Refused Refund for Poorly Maintained Property

We booked a trip for ten nights in Barbados for my family of four. Upon arrival at the property, we heard hysterical dogs barking. The neighbor had a dog pen less than 30 yards from the house we were renting. The pen had about five dogs which spent every waking moment inside. When the host came about twenty minutes later to greet us, we expressed concern as we had a one-year-old who doesn’t do very well sleeping in new places, especially if dogs were barking aside. He told us that they would calm down. I wasn’t looking forward to our son and the rest of us being woken up at 1:00 AM to those dogs carrying on next door.

When we got settled into our tropical vacation cottage, we came to realize the place was filthy. Every piece of furniture was stained, and the floor hadn’t had a good mopping in weeks. I have pictures of our black feet. The kitchen was disgusting. One of the policies of Airbnb is that the properties must be clean, a policy they don’t care much about. There are even other reviews of the property (which we came across after the fact) pointing out how unclean this property is. The next day we asked to leave. We told the host about our issues. He said he had a little apartment in town that we could use, but the neighbors are less than desirable and it’s very tight quarters. He told us to think about it and contact him later.

We decided that we weren’t going to spend our 11-day vacation in some little dumpy apartment. We needed to be refunded and move on to another property through someone else. He told us via email that he wasn’t going to refund us anything. Airbnb asks that you place complaints within 24 hours; ours was placed 27 hours after check in. Keep in mind we’re in a foreign country trying to find a place to stay on very slow internet with two children. By 2:00 PM on the second day we found and paid for another property using Homeaway.com and then left. After returning home, we contacted Airbnb again for a refund, supplying a detailed account of our experience and about a dozen photos of the filth. After going through the process, which took three weeks, we were told that because we didn’t contact them within the 24-hour period there was nothing they could do, but they would refund us one night’s stay. We paid for ten.

We tried numerous times to contact Airbnb after this despicable explanation and were completely ignored. We never heard from them again. We were out $1200. Then we decided that since neither the host nor Airbnb were going to do anything for us after a three-week runaround, that it was time to leave a review. But no, you only have two weeks to do that. That’s right: if you don’t leave a review within two weeks of your check out date, your window closes. We got completely screwed out of $1200 and couldn’t even leave a review. This was the last time we’ll ever use this horrible, disgusting company again. What a horrible disappointment. Beware folks!

Airbnb Long-Term Cancellation Policy: Buyer Beware

My husband and I booked a two-bedroom, two-bath condo for our 25th wedding anniversary. However, my knee gave out and I was unexpectedly forced to have total knee replacement surgery. We booked the condo through Airbnb and the owner had a 30-day cancellation policy. That was fine. We canceled three months and one week in advance because my surgeon did not want me to travel on a 5.5-hour flight over the ocean with no chance of stopping after undergoing the surgery, due to concerns about edema and blood clots. We were penalized 50% of our total amount because the hosts “have a super strict policy.”

First of all, we did not know about such a policy until after we booked; I was contacted by Airbnb when we attempted to cancel. The only policy we were given at the time of booking was the owner’s policy of a 30-day cancellation. Sure enough, on the Airbnb website, after much searching, I found the 50% penalty policy. Interestingly, it says in order to be afforded this tremendous opportunity, one must be “invited.” We weren’t invited; we never even knew about it. However, Airbnb says it is a policy for this particular listing. The owner of the condo says it is an Airbnb policy.

Whichever organization or company made the policy, Airbnb indicates that they have an appeal process, which we followed; my doctor wrote a letter explaining that I could not fly such a long distance until the very end of the year due to the possibility of complications (which I experienced with my first knee replacement). I even sent them my MRI results and an explanation of the surgery. They denied our appeal, again saying they “have a super strict policy.” To cancel over three months in advance and be penalized well over $1,300 is beyond absurd. So, when I can fly at the end of the year, we will never stay at this particular listing again (although we have stayed there many times), and we will never use Airbnb again (it was our first experience with this company). What a scam.

Refunded Double to Guest and Won’t Accept Responsibility

I issued a refund to the guest according to instructions on the Airbnb website. It was more than the amount Airnb originally charged. Airbnb gave the guest the amount they calculated as the refund I owed as well as the amount that I refunded. Trying to resolve this is a nightmare. I have called and been disconnected or hung up on twice. Even though I gave my phone number for the second call, they never called back. I did finally get an email several days later saying that I had made a mistake, not them. When responding to that, my email was kicked back saying the ticket was closed. I have never worked with a company so intent on avoiding customer service.

Host is a Scammer, Leaves my Parents outside in Barcelona

I’m searching how can I get a live and not automatic reply to the problem my parents encountered during their last visit to Barcelona. My parents’ English is not good enough for written communication so I’m writing on their behalf. My parents booked an apartment via Airbnb from my mom’s profile. They wanted a Russian-speaking host in order to overcome any language barrier. The host’s name was Olga. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of leaving a review on her page, for a reason… It is very important to me that this post gets the notice of Airbnb so that they may remove the host from Airbnb and other people won’t experience the same problems we did.

This host is a thief. When my parents arrived in Barcelona, they contacted Olga and she told them she was a realtor and not the owner of the flat. The flat owner, Ivan, should provide them the key. She told them she was not in Barcelona now and could not meet them. My parents tried to contact Ivan with no success for a few hours. My parents are in their mid 60’s – not a young couple – and this was very stressful for them. To find themselves in the middle of Barcelona with no place to stay, in addition to the fact they do not know Spanish and their English is very poor. After understanding that they were deceived on Airbnb (the website that we use a lot while traveling and usually are very satisfied with it) they had no other option but to just book a room in the hotel just next to the host’s apartment since they didn’t feel well and were very tired.

From the next day they found a cheaper hotel and booked there for the rest of their stay. We find it unacceptable to not have an opportunity to get in touch with someone at Airbnb and all the system provides is automatic replies. I asked Airbnb to contact us and to refund the difference between the booking and the hotel price (both hotels were the most simple ones). I have all the needed receipts and some Whatsapp conversations with the host and the owner of the flat. There were also lots of calls that were of course not recorded, unfortunately. I’m waiting for someone at Airbnb to please contact me asap.

Massachusetts Airbnb Host Tries to Jack up Price

I booked a four-night stay in August for a listing in Provincetown, MA back in February. At first, Airbnb charged my credit card twice for the large amount (almost 2000 USD) and then told me I had to wait five days for a refund. After speaking with about 234 representatives and supervisors, I got my refund and a whopping $50 credit (…thanks). Fast forward to a few weeks ago, the host (Ned) decided to attempt to increase the rate by $400. When we spoke with Airbnb, they said they would negotiate with him. They said he would change it to $200 increase and Airbnb would cover half. It was still a scam, but I didn’t think it was worth the fight. Then he cancelled the reservation entirely. I have been waiting for my refund for 2.5 weeks now and Airbnb is trying to say that I already received payment since they refunded the second charge. I now have a formal investigation through my credit card company to get my refund. It’s been a headache. Never book with Airbnb – it’s a joke. And the supervisors and case managers are flat-out liars. Once I get the refund, my account will be cancelled.