Lost Over $7,000 Due to Airbnb Check In Policies

My experience with Airbnb has been unfavorable to say the least. For starters, I had helped some work associates book a property as they had to be in Los Angeles to work on a construction project. Since these are close personal associates, I offered to book through my account since the guys had never used Airbnb before. These men are also aware that I am a licensed realtor, so they trusted that I was more than capable to set us up with something that was safe and secure. Since I hadn’t been there at the time the guys showed up, and the owner decided to drop in, the situation turned ugly. Frank Grande, who is by far the biggest scammer I’ve come across, kicked everyone out, and reported the incident to Airbnb. Considering that I was going to be joining the men during the duration of their trip, it should have been noted and considered when it came to Airbnb’s terms and conditions, which clearly indicate that you must be present at the booking. However since I wasn’t there at the very same moment, I was penalized and lost over $7,000 due to Airbnb’s “judgement” on the situation.

The entire situation was ridiculous. I lost thousands to the owner who kept all of the money, and Airbnb who pocketed their share. Considering this, how can Airbnb be considered a neutral party to pass judgement on the situation? Isn’t it fair to say that since they stand to profit off my loss it would have been an easy decision for them in spite of my reasoning? Wouldn’t it be fair so say that a licensed realtor would never want to compromise their license over a booking for strangers? Considering the fact that I explained the entire situation to them and received no remorse and no compromise, I’d say their scales are highly tipped toward everyone’s pockets being filled versus moral ethics and compromise considered by a neutral party that doesn’t profit.

I have recently come to discover that someone had recently placed a listing on my account, allowing people to request and book through my account. I received no verification, emails, or any kind of authorization for the creation of this listing, the acceptance of bookings, and any notice until after the fact. How is this even possible? When I called Airbnb, I had to wait 25 minutes to speak to someone who merely apologized and told me they would have someone contact me. Here was their response: Change your password (in a nutshell) and then close the report. What kind of service is this? I will forever discourage people from using the site and being very careful about any bookings they place and payment sent considering this was easily done and Airbnb has done nothing about it… what a pitiful company.

Less Safety and Trustworthy Guarantee on Airbnb?

We booked a house with this host from December 30th, 2016 until January 1st, 2017. He had two properties: one for a maximum of ten people, and another for a maximum of fourteen people. I told him that I needed the 14-person house and then we paid. We had nine people, all with big suitcases. We knew some hosts do not reveal the real capacity of their properties for comfort level, so we thought we would take a precautionary step. We arrived, and we were still placed in the smaller room. The nightmare started right away. After we paid, we couldn’t reach the host. Neither phone calls (at least ten times) or messages on Airbnb would receive any response. Some of us needed to stay in living room (his beds were only enough for six adults). Every corner was filled with dust like no one had been cleaning. There was a smelly toilet, and no extra blankets for the winter weather.

After 24 hours and many requests to change or cancel the booking, the host finally responded: “I thought you had a sufficient number of Japanese style beds.” That’s all he answered. Therefore, any host who wants to make quick money in this irresponsible manner should use Airbnb. They know Airbnb does not have much of a hold on their behavior, so as long as they make money, why should they care about anything else? Airbnb can say that there are many more good experiences, but how about all these irresponsible hosts? Who can take action against them? The host’s profile showed others’ reviews. Are these reviews just plain words? Can they be respected? Or is this just a trick from Airbnb to dilute the guest’s anger and complaints, e.g. “I heard you but sorry, I cannot do anything.” Both Airbnb and the host are still making money. The host can choose to not answer our calls and messages during our stay. What if an accident or safety issue happened and no one responded? I have to put my money and life at risk, just because I booked on Airbnb?

Airbnb is Fine until you Have a Real Problem

We checked into our rental in San Diego just after 9:00 PM. On our way there, we observed tents lining the sidewalks with homeless people everywhere, so we weren’t off to a good start. Upon our arrival, we discovered that one window in the front of the house (on the ground level facing the street) did not lock at all, and another window had a lock, but would not properly fasten. We tried contacting the host (at approximately 9:30 PM) but got no response. We didn’t feel safe staying there. This would have been the case no matter what neighborhood it was in, but it was especially concerning considering there were literally hundreds of homeless people only a few blocks away. We left and I cancelled the reservation that night.

The next day we finally got a response from the host, asking if we would reconsider. He offered no apologies for the broken windows, and didn’t offer to fix the window either. We did not go back and never stayed one night there. I reported the incident to Airbnb as well. We have since requested a refund, which has been denied by both the host and Airbnb. I was told by Airbnb that it was my responsibility to research the neighborhood prior to booking, and so they refused to give me a full refund, only offering $66 back. I reiterated that our main concern wasn’t the neighborhood, but the fact that the house wasn’t secure. The host mischaracterized many facts related to the incident, telling Airbnb that we called her after 11:00 PM, which was false; she offered to fix the windows, which was also false. Airbnb sided with the host and made a decision contrary to their own guest policy, which states that the host must provide a safe environment. Our issue was about safety, but Airbnb doesn’t care. I will never use Airbnb again. They will not protect you.

Threatened by Host, Airbnb “Trust and Safety” Can’t Help

Your, your family’s, and your friends’ safety is at risk with Airbnb. They do not care about you and will not help you when a real threat occurs with a host. Our host did not show up at the apartment we rented and we had to pay for a taxi to her brother’s home to get the key. She expected us to ride a dilapidated old scooter with suitcases to the actual apartment; we paid for a taxi instead. The apartment was not the building on the listing: the room, size, layout, amenities, and everything else was different. Total scam. Initially Airbnb helped us get a full refund. However, the host threatened to call the police and somehow learnt where Airbnb relocated us. This is terrible customer safety. Our case was elevated to Trust and Safety but they never replied. Never. Not after being threatened, and not after nine phone calls, twelve emails and five weeks since the event. Not one single contact. This is the Trust and Safety team. This was a urgent priority matter and it is only by pure luck and our own initiative we were able to rescue our holiday. I have used Airbnb before, but never again.

Guest Made My Family Unsafe

A guest who was barely around and had 0 communication skills never locked our door. When asked repeatedly, and signs were put on the door requesting it be locked, the guest still left it unlocked. Oftentimes the guest would leave it unlocked overnight (he came back at 12pm-1am nightly), and I would have to go down to lock it after him. Let’s not even talk about the security system he refused to use. I contacted AirBnB and they were of no help. I had gotten myself into a situation where an irresponsible person had control of the safety of my family, and had a key to my home. So it was a balance…I didn’t want to have the guy get hostile to us either. It was our first (and last) experience hosting. Never again. It is just a bad situation, and AirBnB won’t bail you out. This is the kind of thing where the existence of a website makes you feel safe making decisions you would ordinarily never make (i.e. letting a stranger into your home).