Upon arrival, this host asked us to pay an extra $90 for a security deposit that she hadn’t posted on Airbnb. It was strange because she didn’t care when she got it; she just wanted it to keep it. We told her that she hadn’t posted it on her Airbnb and we didn’t have enough money with us. In response, she threatened to kick us out right then and there. She then told us we had to go with her to the tourist agency and we told her we were already registered. She then told us we weren’t and told us that we can’t leave the country without a “white cardboard”. We had been in Montenegro using Airbnb for some time and no one else had ever asked us to register. All her messages seemed very threatening towards us. The apartment was unsafe because none of the doors locked. The wifi did not connect. We were very disappointed in this host and believe she should not have been able to host. She was very misleading and seemed like a scammer. Now we are out $154 because she told us if we didn’t give her more money we would have to leave. It does not seem fair to us that we could either leave or be kicked out and still be out of the money. We are young traveling college students who had really loved using Airbnb. I hope to still use it. I’m not sure if any money could be refunded; if it could, that would be wonderful. If not, she should not be hosting in the future. She tried to scam us and threatened us. Overall, we love Airbnb but please take this into consideration.
I was recently scammed out of $2,800 for paying what I thought was a security deposit and the first month’s rent for an apartment on Airbnb in Australia. I found the initial listing on Domain; it looked like a private rental with the listing asking any interested parties to email email@example.com. I had a response back from the owner ‘Harald Grabner’ (firstname.lastname@example.org) who explained the apartment to me, attached scanned copies of his passport and license (see above), and explained that as he lived in Germany the rental (inspection and handover of keys) would be handled by Airbnb.
He explained the process and said that in order for Airbnb to put me in their system there would be an upfront payment (the $2,800 mentioned above) which would be held by ‘Airbnb’ and released to him if I decide to take the apartment. If I didn’t like the apartment, it would be immediately refunded. He told me that Airbnb would be in contact soon.
I received an email from ‘Airbnb’ with deposit information, which looked exactly like the other real emails I had received from Airbnb in the past. I transferred the money and in a few days time got confirmation from ‘Airbnb’ saying the money had been received and that an agent would be in contact to make arrangement to view the property but wouldn’t be for a couple of days, as he needed to come from Perth. I was never contacted and the real Airbnb has no record of my payment or emails. Beware: the emails looked exactly like the real Airbnb emails. The real Airbnb will never ask you to transfer money off their site. Lesson learnt.
I had a business trip coming up in the Chelsea area of New York City in June 2017 and found a decent looking apartment on Airbnb a couple of blocks from the venue when I was going to be spending most of my week in NY. I contacted the host Paul on his property listing and explained that I knew my arrival date would be Sunday, June 10th, but was unsure whether I would be checking out the following Friday the 16th, or Saturday the 17th. I offered to make the booking there and then as long as he understood that the departure date might be either Friday or Saturday depending on how my schedule shaped up.
He responded by saying that it wasn’t a problem if I wanted to just take my time and figure out my schedule; he would hold the apartment for me until the end of that month. Here is what that conversation looked like:
Me: Cool. Is the ‘hold’ solid and if so when do you need to hear back from me by? Cheers!
Response from Paul: I’ll hold the dates through June 1st and then check back in with you.
Seems pretty straightforward, right?
On May 30th, after I figured out my schedule, I sent this message to the host:
Hi Paul, I just wanted to confirm my upcoming travel plans with you. I am arriving in New York on Sunday, June 11th. My flight gets in at 3:08 PM. I will be leaving Friday, June 16th. What kind of arrangements would you like to make for me to get a key?
This is where it gets funny (not really…). The next response I received from the host on Friday, June 2nd was:
Hey Colin, I have another apartment in Soho that I am renting out which is available during the same days. I could give you the same price I booked this room out because I didn’t hear from you a bit. Thanks, Paul.
Well, I booked the apartment for another guest as they wanted the whole month.
There was no apology from the host for renting the apartment to someone else. On top of that, he had the gall to try and blame it on me, saying that he hadn’t heard from me, when he promised he would get back to me and hold the apartment until the end of the month. Even with that, I responded before the end of the month to confirm the booking. This host is a scammer. He went on to offer to rent me another apartment a considerable distance from where my work was taking me on this visit, and when I asked him for a discount for the inconvenience of having to travel a considerable distance, he offered me the same price advertised to the public for that listing.
I am not a host or a guest. A week ago Friday we had a lady show up at our home saying she booked our property and wanted to get into our home. After a lengthy discussion with this lady, we looked at the Airbnb listing and it was indeed my address. However, nothing matched my home’s description. There were lots of misspelled words, and the “host” spoke about Satan. The whole post was a sham. We both contacted Airbnb several times to take down the post. We explained to them how it’s a safety issue and eventually someone will come knocking that paid for the house and wants in and won’t be as nice as this lady was. Airbnb has not given this guest her money back, nor have they taken down the fake listing. I’ve made several phone calls within a week to this place, as well as emailing and calling them out on Facebook. Nothing is being done. This is so ridiculous that I have to check online everyday to see if my home has been booked and if an unwanted person will be arriving. Why can’t they just take it down?
Is Airbnb just a fake company? Based on my experience, it clearly seems to be the case. I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I had plans to be in Philadelphia for a week to celebrate my ten-year MBA reunion, and had booked my Airbnb more than two months in advance. So, I flew nine hours from Sao Paulo to JFK, rented a car and then arrived in Philly after traveling for more than 15 hours. Once I arrived at the address of the Airbnb, I realized that I could locate the two adjacent properties but not the address on the reservation. So, I called the host and found out that the number had been disconnected. That’s when I realized that I had been pranked, except that there was nothing funny about it.
I immediately contacted Airbnb, and they tried to contact the host, as if that would help. After an hour or so, they said that I was right and asked me to check other locations on Airbnb. This was a fun exercise, given that I had just been through a long, international trip with plenty of luggage to lug around. Finally, I decided enough was enough and downloaded and got a hotel through the app HotelTonight (secretly, I am sure HotelTonight must be delighted that the incompetence of Airbnb sends customers their way). Once I checked in, I talked to Airbnb again and they offered me a subsidy on the hotel for the night. The next day, I went through the same routine and tried to book another Airbnb, but nobody responded on the site.
There were plenty of fake listings. In one case, two professional realtors had put up the same apartment on the site with vastly different prices and exactly the same photographs. I tried to learn more, but was rebuffed as soon as I pointed out this discrepancy. To summarize, I had to pay for a hotel for the entire trip. So, the cost of me staying in Philly on Airbnb would have been USD900; instead, it ended up being USD2250, blowing through my budget. To top it all, an Amazon package I had mailed to the fake address was not recovered either. It has been more than a week after my trip and the “case manager” has stalled and not resolved the problem despite repeated followups on their website and Twitter. Their strategy seems to be sticking their heads in the sand and hoping the issue goes away. Airbnb may be a fake company, but my experience was real. Stories like these are not going away.
I’m afraid I will have to be adding to the list of guest horror stories of scams involving Airbnb. It’s great to know (and let others know) that if things go wrong with this company their stance is an complete and utter refusal to accept that they have operated with any neglect to customer protection when in fact the opposite is true. I was recently looking for an apartment to rent in Dublin as I’m having a party there in October. I found a great apartment listed normally along with lots of others on Airbnb. This listing turned out to be completely fake but led me to transfer – in good faith – £834 to a criminal’s bank account whilst parading under a false Airbnb official-looking email address. I had never used the site before and was unfamiliar with the payment process. The following day, having reported the fake listing, I contacted my bank’s fraud department; a friend of mine was still able to find the fake listing and communicate with the fake host. It’s so infuriating that Airbnb did not even attempt to take the fake listing down immediately to protect others. I have had an official email ending my dispute from Airbnb exonerating themselves completely from any blame. My bank has asked Barclays for the funds back from the criminal’s account (highly unlikely) and informed me not to get my hopes up as MACs transfers are virtually irreversible. I feel totally disgusted by Airbnb’s response to my problem, their lack of urgency in taking the fake listing down, and the hundreds of other stories that I have since read with the same problem. Airbnb should not get away with this.
Well I’m neither a host or a guest yet I am writing here. I have had eight different people, all Airbnb guests, knock at my home stating they have a booking. Obviously some con artist has listed my address on the Airbnb website and is taking the payments the guests are paying to stay at my address for himself. I have tried to contact Airbnb by phone several times only to listen to annoying music until I decide to hang up… the longest I’ve waited is two hours (thanks to unlimited calls by my service provider). The other way to contact Airbnb is by email but you have to register. I refuse to do this – why should I? Airbnb is obviously not taking fraud seriously because the guests that have arrived at my home for a fake booking have complained to Airbnb. Yet the listing must still be up as people still turn up.
I used Airbnb to book a villa for eight people… I thought I did anyway. Prior to that I had contacted several hosts and got exactly the same reply every time. I liked a villa whose host was named Sandy. Villa Vouglemeni looked great. I received a confirmation email and was then told the payment needed to be made via bank transfer as it had been confirmed but not yet booked. We turned up at the place after paying £2355. The villa was real, but the booking was a fraud. Eight people were forced to book hotels at a peak travel time (Easter). The real owner had spoken to Airbnb ten days ago saying the listing was a fraud but Airbnb did nothing to prevent further fraud from occurring. They left the link up, so we booked and got conned. Then we had to pay again for alternative accommodations. They ruined our holiday. We lost all our money and they refused to listen or help; they just kept sending the same form letter. Help me share this story and get my money back and everyone else’s.
I was planning a trip to Atlanta from Australia in October last year for one month. I found a place to stay (the listing has since been removed). The host, Valerio, advised he would be able to accommodate the one month’s stay and I paid the 2800 AUD fee. A few weeks later, Valerio contacted me and advised that I would no longer be able to stay and would have to cancel. I checked the cancellation terms (make sure you do this before any cancellation). It was a strict cancellation policy, which meant the host would get to keep the full $2800. I advised the host of this who said that he had called Airbnb and they had “told him” I’d be fully refunded.
I didn’t trust him and after a while searching online I was able to locate a contact number. Airbnb Customer Service advised me that I would not get refunded if I were to cancel and I needed to tell the host to cancel the reservation to get my money back. I repeated this to the host, who denied everything and said that this was incorrect. I still refused to cancel and contacted customer service again. This time they went into my account and pulled the chat history between us. They also messaged the user that I would lose all my money. He attempted one more time to get me to cancel, saying it would affect his rating and he would wire transfer the money back… I don’t think so…
Eventually he relented and cancelled the reservation from his end. How do I know this is a scam? A week later the apartment was listed as “available” again and my friend went ahead and tried booking it as we still hadn’t found other accommodations yet. The host waited a week and tried to pull the same thing, saying: “Oh, you need to cancel from your end.” He knows at this point (I’m sure he knew before) that if a guest is to cancel she will lose all her money. Again he said “I contacted customer support and they said you would be fully refunded.” Try again buddy.
She convinced him to cancel from his end. The listing disappeared and a few days later it was back up for the exact dates we needed. If you are to cancel yourself you cannot leave a review to tell people what the user is doing as an automatic “This booking was cancelled by the guest” appears under the listing so you have no way of letting anyone know. Be wary when cancelling and check the cancellation policy beforehand.
I stayed in a very nice Airbnb in Majorca a few weeks ago. Everything went perfectly and our hosts were very helpful. However, after giving them a good review, we had problems arise. The host claimed that we bleached some towels and pillowcases, and was requesting $361 CAD as compensation. After dealing with Airbnb instead of the host, they are still requesting that I send $156 CAD for a few linens. However, we did not wash any of the linens, nor did we bleach them. Furthermore, that is a ridiculous amount of money for a few linens. There is no proof that we bleached the linens (because we didn’t), and they are still accusing us of this, Make sure that if you are staying at an Airbnb, you document everything, because you never know what they will accuse you of.