Last December I booked an airbnb in Santa Barbara listed as a “Sweet Serene Getaway.” I needed a place to stay while in town for UCSB graduation weekend June 12-14. Knowing how quickly places book up and how much hotels jack up their rates to gouge the graduates’ families, I felt lucky to find the 2 bedroom house not far from campus at a very reasonable rate.The reservation was accepted, My credit card was charged, and I felt I was all set. Wrong. Yesterday, a week and a day before my scheduled artival, the host informed me the property would not be available, citing an unspecified “emergency.” To say that I was livid would be an understatement. I was faced with the daunting task of finding a reasonably priced place to stay in an expensive city on short notice on a weekend that has been fully booked for months. After two frustrating hours of making phone calls and hearing nothing but “sorry,” I finally found two hotel rooms a half hour away at an exorbitant rate. I grabbed them in desperation just as another airbnb host accepted what was by then a last ditch effort at making a reservation. The new reservation came with a $616.00 price tag, $134.00 more than the first reservation. Meantime, the original host had not yet officially cancelled the reservation thtough airbnb, so I had to send her a message requesting that she do so. Finally, hours later, she did and I received an e-mail from airbnb telling me they would keep the $482.00 I spent on that failed reservation and apply it to a future booking. I had to call airbnb this morning and argue with a customer service rep about getting my refund. We went around and around for a few minutes before he finally saw the light and agreed to issue the refund in fullI. I have my fingers crossed that the new reservation works out, but I still also have my back up hotel rooms on hold. Airbnb indicated that they would do nothing more for me except issue a $70.00 credit for a future booking, which doesn’t help me at all with the current situation. I have no intention of ever booking with this company again, so they can stick their credit where the sun don’t shine. They also have no way for me to write a negative review on their site. So, I am writing here to warn people, as others have done, that airbnb guarantees nothing. Their hosts can be complete flakes and cancel up to the last minute without suffering any consequences. Meanwhile, the guests, who’ve booked well in advance and paid in full, can be left in the lurch. It’s fraud and I don’t intend to let this go. This seems to be a frequent occurrence and is simply unacceptable.
Nearly two months ago, my fiancee and I booked a beautiful apartment for a two-week stay in San Francisco. We spent a lot of time looking through listings, and found one that we thought was perfect. The host was well-reviewed, and there were many positive comments. We paid the full amount and thought we were on our way.
Fast forward to the night before we were to arrive. After several days of attempting to contact the host, she abruptly canceled our reservation with no warning and no explanation. We had only a few hours to find somewhere to stay.
Airbnb told us we’d be eligible for a mere $100 credit. We were able to find another apartment at the last minute, but it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one we booked originally.
I have had nothing but great experiences with AirBnB in the past. In fact, we are in a beautiful rented house for our second week here in the Bay Area, but have had to now pay the cost of moving to a second property (a second AirBnB fee and a second cleaning fee).
We also learned that you can’t leave negative feedback on AirBnB unless you stay at a property, so there is no other way for us to warn people about this on their site.
I believe that AirBnB is providing a great service, but this is an issue they need to address. They are very strict about renter cancelations, but to my knowledge, no penalty befell our host for canceling less than 24 hours in advance, besides a warning.