Can’t Get My Money Back After We Didn’t Stay

We booked a flat right on the outskirts of Barcelona for five nights in August 2017. The flat allegedly belonged to the host. Due to work happening on the underground system, we got there about an hour after he was expecting us. We didn’t have his phone number but we got into the apartment building with someone who was entering. There was no answer at his door. We sat on the floor outside his door for about an hour and then someone came out of the flat next door, so we showed them the address and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely here, but there’s [no one by that name] living here; it belongs to Pedro.”

We went to sit in a cafe while we thought what to do, and a local told us it wasn’t legal to rent flats to tourists due to all the scams. I phoned my partner who managed to find the host’s phone number and our Peruvian friend phoned. The host said that if we didn’t come, there would be a cancellation charge of 25 euros. This had all taken us five hours and we were exhausted so we went to stay in a hotel.

On our return home, we applied to Airbnb resolution centre to get our £296 back. The host kept sending messages saying he had been there all day and that we had never arrived. We were there for at least an hour, but we left because we were told he didn’t exist. Airbnb gave us the name of a resolution investigator who said on September 13th that she would investigate. We never heard anything at all from her. The Airbnb site now says that the claim was resolved three months ago (which would be the end of August 2017) but we have never heard anything at all from them, and I have still been billed for five days for a property I never used.

Scammed by the Host and the Resolution Centre

My partner and I decided to go for a quiet week away in the south of France. While at an Airbnb there, the apartment was okay, but there were a few issues such as a horrible smell coming from the downstairs bathroom whenever you used the upstairs shower room, the garden not being looked after, and no glasses to drink out of. Whilst on our stay we were approached by two men trying to push us into buying drugs. Our real problems started when we arrived home. Our host demanded €250 (more that what we’d paid for our stay) for a long list of things we’d supposedly broken. We were accused of burning tiles in the bathroom (not sure how we could possibly do this) and burning holes in the sofa with cigarette butts (neither of us smoke). The pictures the host provided literally showed no damage to anything she was claiming for. We took the issue to the resolution centre where they decided to get rid of all her other accusations apart from one for a broken sofa leg. They wanted £65. Not only did we not break this, when I asked for evidence of it being broken and for a receipt to prove the cost, they told me they couldn’t due to “privacy reasons”. Airbnb expected me to trust them yet now I am being charged for something that I not only didn’t break but for which they can’t even provide evidence. They have now taken this money out of my account without due cause and I will be taking this matter further.

My Airbnb Mistake and Personal Hell in Oaxaca, Mexico

This was not only the worst experience I have ever had with Airbnb, it was the worst experience I have had in Mexico. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

I booked a night with Airbnb on October 1st. The host offered me a discounted rate if I paid him in cash. This was my biggest mistake. On top of the the payment I made online, I paid 7,000 Mexican pesos (373.00 USD) in cash to stay in the center of Oaxaca between October 2nd and October 22nd. The main problem was the place was and is infested with bugs.

Beginning from the first night there were multiple fire ants, mosquitos, cockroaches (or cockroach-looking bugs) and small, black flea-like bugs. I was bitten by bugs each night I spent at the place. The second and third day I bought various bug sprays, bug traps, and tape to seal off the windows in an attempt to prevent the bugs from entering the bathroom and bedroom. I also bought anti-itch creams and lotions for the various red marks and bites I had on my body. I could not sleep because of the constant bug bites. The last night of my stay I killed up to 100 ants with Raid spray in the bathroom.

After eight days of trying to fix the problem, I informed the host that I wanted to leave, and that I wanted a refund for the days left that I had already paid for. I really should have asked for a full refund, but I just wanted to get the money back for the days I was going not going to stay there and leave. He got upset, demanded I send him the photos, and was disagreeable. I filed a report with Airbnb. He sent his cousin to check the room and she agreed there was a bug problem. I sent him various text messages and he did not respond.

After 24 hours, his cousin came again and said that I would receive my refund at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 10th. The host was two and half hours late. He arrived at 1:30 PM. He demanded I give him my passport. I let him take a photo of it. He asked to see the bite marks. I told him I sent them to him and he didn’t even check my messages to realize that I sent them to him. He tried to make the excuse or false reasoning that fire ants cannot leave bite marks, despite the fact that I sent him an article about it. Regardless of that point, a place infested with ants and cockroaches is not a suitable place for a person to stay, whether or not those insects bite people and leave marks.

He refused to refund the 3,000 pesos he owed me and offered me 500 pesos (the equivalent of one night, as the room is listed on Airbnb). He tried to rationalize it by stating that he lost money by cancelling other room requests, a statement that cannot be verified, is inexcusable, and does not address the fact that he was operating a place infested with a variety of bugs. I explained to him several times what was written above and he refused to refund me the money. He went on and on about how he loaned me a microwave and insulted the character of tourists from the United States.

In this situation, what is a person to do? I refused the 500 pesos because it was truly an insult, handed him the keys, and I left to get a taxi. I left the room and bathroom as they were, with no damage or alterations. I regret not paying through Airbnb for all of the nights, but I write this a warning to any visitor to Oaxaca to not stay at any place associated with this host. I have sent the administrators of this website several videos of the fire ants in the rooms. This recently happened and I am waiting on a response from Airbnb’s resolution center. I hope they take the proper actions against this injustice. At the moment, my review does not even appear on the same page of the listing.

I am including four video clips ( ordered in importance) of the bugs found in the AIr BNB I paid for in Oaxaca, Mexico.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu7NgK9fDEo
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DypDuPTqgkw
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jMa_e2rR6s
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpePm_jHkq0

Horrible Experience and Resolution for Hong Kong Airbnb

I tried to open a resolution case on the Airbnb website. It was really challenging so I’m just writing this long email to Airbnb. I think the part of my user experience differed from that four years ago. I started using Airbnb back when you could reach a live person about your problems; nowadays, it trys to automate everything.

My latest stay was in Beijing from April 13-16, 2017 in what was advertised as a modern, quiet, and relaxing apartment near the CBD. The resolution center kept asking me to “request money” from this stay which I didn’t have a problem with.

However, I am writing about my stay in Hong Kong, during which time I was overseas so it was difficult to call Airbnb. I was contacted by a local Airbnb resolution center specialist but it was handled really poorly. The room itself was horrible. It looked nothing like the pictures. In fact, I have pictures to prove what the actual living conditions were (will reply to any email with the pictures).

I landed in Hong Kong on April 6th. I was pretty jet lagged so just booked a place and fell asleep. The second day while I was in the city touring around, the owner moved my luggage into a different room. It was slightly bigger; however, there was a sewage problem with the bathroom (not to mention the fact she moved my stuff and suitcase and entered my room without permission). I was pretty upset, but still jetlagged. I decided to just go to bed.

In the middle of the night, I woke up from the unbearable odor from the bathroom. It was so strong and the room was tiny, with no window for ventilation. I was very upset and called Airbnb for help. Someone picked up the call and promised he would “call me back soon.” He asked me to “find a cafeteria or some place, wait for his call, and try to book a hotel: Airbnb would reimburse me.”

It was 2:00 AM at the time, and I had to leave and try to find another hotel. Nothing online allowed same-night bookings (in fact, I accidentally booked something for April 9th and was charged on booking.com even though I was supposed to fly out of Hong Kong the afternoon of the 9th). Finally it was 3:30 AM. I took an Uber and found a hotel to sleep in. The whole experience was horrible.

The next morning, someone from the local Hong Kong team finally contacted me, I couldn’t talk to her for long because I needed to check out of that hotel and try to catch my flight. I told her I would “reach out and resolve this once I can settle down.” She went ahead and cancelled my resolution case. Right now, I am asking for a formal resolution process to start. Due to the unresponsiveness of Airbnb as well as false advertisement of this “hostel” trying to be a house, I lost my valuable travel time in Hong Kong, spent money on Uber both ways, booked a hotel at 3:30 AM, and had to spend 30 minutes on international calling. Overall, my experience of Airbnb in Asia was just a much lower standard when compared to that in the US.

Airbnb Not as Advertised for Elderly Parents

We arranged for my elderly parents to stay in what was advertised as a full house/apartment in Greenville, SC. When my parents arrived, we met them at the Airbnb they had reserved and discovered it to be a room with a king size bed, one chair, and no dining room table. There wasn’t even a full kitchen (a sink, coffee pot, microwave, and fridge). This is not an apartment or a full house. Neither a person nor a couple could live there for two weeks. They could sleep and shower there, but that is all there is room for.

When we told the host we would have to move, my parents and I said we would like a refund for the booking on the first night. She told us we must just not like it and that she had had only good reviews so far. If we had a complaint, we needed to take it to Airbnb. We took it to Airbnb. Their customer service people have been trained to be empathetic and understanding, so one thinks their case will be heard and that they will help. However, after several hours total on the phone and online chat, my parents only received a 50% refund. The 50% refund was because “they had not received a response from their email.” Not only had they received a response, they had received more than one response.

All told, we have contacted Airbnb six times. The last time they sent us back to the owner, who has not yet responded. The third line in the cancellation policy says if you leave early you will be refunded the remaining balance. This did not happen. Airbnb also said, on the fifth call, that we had not provided photo evidence of our complaint. This is true. However, we were never asked to provide photo evidence. We cannot even give a bad review as they make sure there is no place to do it.

We cannot request money for the trip because the trip has already passed. We cannot make a report to the BBB because my father or mother have to do it. My father had a major stroke a month ago and is unable to do it, and my mother, who is his power of attorney, wrote a letter to the BBB asking them to allow me to complain on her behalf because of her poor health.

Host and Guest Come to Agreement, Customer Service Disagrees

I am a longtime Airbnb host. A guest failed to notify us of a leaking radiator for over a month. By the time we were aware of the problem, it had ruined the kitchen floor and required a $3100 repair. We were eventually able to work out a fair and amicable resolution with the guest, who agreed to pay us $500 towards the $1000 insurance deductible that we had to pay. After we reached this agreement, an Airbnb case manager blocked the payment and closed the case on the grounds that we had involved our insurance company. This is completely absurd; should we have taken the full loss or tried to get the guest to pay the full amount? Since this happened a few days ago, I have reached out to Airbnb repeatedly without being able to speak with anyone with the authority to remedy the situation. This is a horrible experience that is showing an inept and unfeeling Airbnb.

Apartment Trashed, Airbnb Closes Case After 24 Hours

My guests came, held a party, and trashed my place, causing thousands of pounds of damage to the furniture and fittings. I was made redundant last year, and I rented out my apartment as I could not sustain the cost. The previous tenant moved out on February 24th, 2017, and the new tenant took up residence on March 16th, 2017. Given that I had three weeks when the apartment was vacant, I decided to use Airbnb to ease my strained financial situation. This was my very first time using Airbnb, the auto accept function was on, and I was too naive and should have checked the guests had reviews before accepting.

The guest held a party, trashed my apartment, and caused damage to furniture, the wooden floors, and fittings. It was a traumatic shock when I came in: there were stains from alcohol everywhere; the wooden floors were badly damaged as they moved furniture; the furniture and fittings were also damaged. I immediately called Airbnb on the day. I was supposed to get a call back, but didn’t get one. I again chased them down, and  was eventually directed to the resolution centre. I sent in the pictures of the damage, but unfortunately I had not been able to get the receipt for my furniture from the manufacturer. I also could not get the contractor to come around in time to assess the damage to the wooden floor and fittings, and this is the only contractor we are allowed to use under the building lease to maintain standards.

I explained the situation to Airbnb, that I was chasing the contractor, but they kept decreasing the time I had to submit the documents, from 72  to 24 hours (and they sent their emails at 2:00 AM). They closed my case, explaining that it was in line with their terms and conditions, and that the final decision rests with them. The problem is exacerbated for me as my current tenant is saying that the damage to the floor and furniture was not there when he agreed to the contract, and wants the floor fixed and the chair replaced, otherwise he will vacate. This is going to cost me £5,000, which is very difficult at this stage given I don’t even have a job. I know Airbnb has the final say, and they have gone by the terms and conditions laid out. I implored to their sense of compassion, as the ramifications are more far reaching than just the damage; if I don’t fix the damage, I may lose the tenant, which would be a disaster given my already strained financial situation. However, my case has remained closed.

Airbnb Took $2,000 from my Debit Card without my Authorization

Airbnb has some of the most clever travel scammers online that have ever existed. I decided to surf the vacations options for the summer using Airbnb (my first big mistake). I forgot that about a year ago in order to set up my account, I provided a payment method, which was my debit card (the biggest mistake). So, while trying to make a reservation, I desperately tried to check where my payment information was stored, and I couldn’t find it: not in my profile settings, and not anywhere else. Being an IT professional, I clicked each and every available option. Then, when clicking the “reserve” button for the reservation, I was expecting to see what every consumer is supposed to see: a message confirming that a certain credit or debit card will be charged for such an amount for the vacation…right?

I was never informed that Airbnb would be charging me the entire vacation price up front. The next thing I realized they took over $2000 from my debit card causing me to lose lots of money in the form of bank fees. I don’t even want to start on how many resolution tickets I had to open with Airbnb and how much of a genius one has to be to actually find a way to contact Airbnb. You can find plenty of those stories here already.

I was lucky enough to speak with Airbnb on the phone twice where customer service is no more helpful than the sun in the middle of February. They just politely act like messengers who will “make sure to escalate your matter ASAP” with promises of a big guy with the awesome authority to get back to you within two days and resolve all of your issues. This never happens. Escalation through online resolution tickets is even more fun. You’d have to be Einstein to find a way to open one, then when you do you will be blessed to get their response via email in a week or so. The best part is the email rep is prompting you to reply back directly if you have further questions or need help. So, when you naively do it you will immediately get a message that your email is undeliverable.

Here is my question to Airbnb Hell readers: how many stories do you need to be posted here before bringing Airbnb to court? I think there are plenty already. It’s time to act.

Incomplete Airbnb Stays: No Reviews Allowed

My friends and I lost hope of getting a proper resolution of our case through the Airbnb resolution center. We did not get a refund and our review was not published on the website. The situation with feedback is totally awful as our review was supported by multiple photos. We have contacted Airbnb multiple times but got only formal responses. I would very much appreciate if you could advise what we should do in this situation. I would want a chance to at least make our review available to others on Airbnb; the apartment is still listed on the site so there will be other people who may suffer from it.

We had used Airbnb to book an apartment in Barcelona from January 5-11, 2017 for our family. We arrived at the apartment at 8:30 AM but at that time the previous guests were there. The host told us that we may check in only after 12:00 PM. At that time we did not have a chance to look through the apartment and discuss its conditions with the host. We left our luggage and used the rest of the day for sightseeing in Barcelona. We came back at 7:00 PM and realized that the apartment was not in a good conditions. The linen was dirty, the bed was not suitable for two people, and there was no linen at all for the third guest. We can provide the full review with photos if anyone is interested. The host was not available so we could not discuss these issues with her. We were not comfortable staying in the apartment, so we had to leave it and find another location.

The same day, we informed the Airbnb resolution center about these issues and asked for assistance. The next day I discussed these issues with the host and she told me that our requests about cleaning and the bed could not be satisfied. She did not feel comfortable providing the apartment after our feedback about these conditions so we agreed to sort it out with Airbnb. A few days later, an Airbnb specialist cancelled our booking without our consent, and informed us that the case was closed. When we came back home from the vacation we provided a detailed review but it was not published by Airbnb. We had contacted the Airbnb resolution center and got a response that the review could not be released as we did not stay in the apartment and the booking was cancelled. We had called the resolution center and explained that the review was based on our personal experience – that we had to leave the apartment because of its poor conditions and that our booking was cancelled by Airbnb – but the response from the resolution center did not change.

Airbnb Guest Invites Strangers, Trashes House

A guest booked 12 people for two nights. I asked them to read our house description and rules and pay attention to our quiet time (10:30 PM) being announced there. The first night they were up and loud till 3:00 AM. I texted them and my messages were ignored. The second night they were up and screaming until 2:00 AM. After my messages were ignored, I went to their door to see what was their problem. First they didn’t open the door, then finally they let me in and I saw there were 16 people drunk and loud. I asked for the person who booked the property and he was not there. I called Airbnb, reporting there were four extra unpaid guests on our property, the person who booked is not among them, and they are so loud past our quiet time that he agreed to through the Airbnb reservation system; the trace of the message is there.

Airbnb did absolutely nothing. The guests were screaming after that until 4:30 AM and this lengthy phone call with Airbnb was just a waste of time. The guests left us furniture damage that Airbnb didn’t resolve through the resolution centre, as the guests lied and denied everything. Instead Airbnb closed my account, cancelled my upcoming reservations, and said my review of the guests qualified as racism. In reality the review had nothing to do with the guest’s ethnicity or nationality at all. My case was so unfair and poorly handled. The Airbnb founder, Bryan Chesky, who talks about trust and safety doesn’t realize that he himself abused the trust of his landlord at some time to sublet it to others as a short term and has no idea what trust is. It’s no wonder in my own case I don’t see any trace of trust or safety at all. Airbnb is his true child – like father like son.