Scammer Stayed 24 Nights but only Paid for One

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A guest booked a 30-day stay and claimed to Airbnb that he moved out after one night but actually ended up staying 24 nights. Airbnb mishandled the situation and now refuse to correct their mistake.

We are in one of the ten largest cities in the US. The place is very economic ($400/month, average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom-apartment here is $1350). It’s a shared room (3-4 people per bedroom, 10 people in the apartment) and he complained about cleanliness issues within 24 hours.

I do month-to-month rentals and usually have 100 guests at the same time across several location. Over 1000 guests in the last five years. 80% of our ratings are five stars, 90% are four or five stars. Nobody else in the apartment complained about the cleanliness issue. The guest didn’t have a single review.

Airbnb didn’t reach out to me until 14 days after move-in. I pointed out to Airbnb that the guest still lives there. 20 days after move-in they made the decision to refund him all the money besides the first night, because he told them that he moved out, even though he didn’t move out.

I have been chasing them ever since, telling them that he still lives there but they didn’t do anything about it. Everyone saw him and other Airbnb guests also confirmed to Airbnb that he lives there. They slow-walked the case and never asked me for any photo or video evidence that he still lives there.

After he moved out (after 24 days when an Airbnb rep called him and urged him to move out) they suddenly asked me to provide photo evidence that he actually lived there. Now they won’t issue his payout because they say that without video or photo evidence they cannot issue it.

Airbnb made a wrong decision regarding the cleanliness issue given that there were 20 other Airbnb guests living at this location (spread across multiple units) on the same day as the guest but none of them had any complaints. Furthermore, when they first reached out I told them that the guest still lives there and it took them almost a week to come to a decision. When they made their decision, they forgot that he actually still lives there. Now they don’t acknowledge that mistake.

I have attached the four pictures that were presented as evidence by the guest that there was a cleanliness issue. Those are the only pictures that Airbnb showed him. I would like to take them to arbitration and I am seeking an experienced attorney to represent me. Here is a detailed complaint that I sent to Airbnb.

I am challenging the decision that there was a cleanliness issue. This decision by Airbnb was wrong and is the reason there is a dispute in the first place. There was no cleanliness issue. Here is a list of all the Airbnb guests that stayed at this location on March 9 (the day of move-in); none of these people reported an issue. That’s 20 happy Airbnb guests vs. this guy, who doesn’t have a single Airbnb review.

I included the booking code so you can look up the address. The pictures you sent don’t show any cleanliness issues:

1st picture: burned stove counter. There are ten people living in the apartment and most are cooking. Sometimes they will burn a stove top burner and sometimes they don’t clean up right away. Once a week our cleaners come to make sure everything is spotless. It cannot be 100% clean in a shared room environment. You can expect that at a entire place at move-in but not in a shared space.

2nd picture: dirty toilet seat. There are three bathrooms in each apartment. Ten people use those bathrooms and so they get dirty. Once a week they are cleaned spotless but during the week one toilet can be a bit more dirty. There are two other ones where it’s not like that. Again, this is normal in a place where ten people live together and cleaners come once a week.

3rd picture: a kitchen table that’s not 100% clean when ten people live in an apartment to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there. This is normal,

4th picture: a vegetable outside the fridge. There are ten people living there and they are cooking. When you cook sometimes a vegetable falls on the floor. That’s how every kitchen everywhere looks. I am sure that vegetable was picked up minutes after the picture was taken.

We have been around for over five years and have a great system to make sure people that share a space can live in a clean and healthy environment. We encourage all our guests to clean after themselves and have professional cleaners coming once a week to do the heavy lifting. There is absolutely no cleanliness issue and it was a wrong decision by Airbnb.

Whatever case manager made this decision didn’t look at the satisfaction of other guests staying there nor the fact that this is a shared environment. We are proud of the cleanliness we provide and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Neither Airbnb, nor Brian Chesky, nor the guest would be able to provide a cleaner environment in an affordable shared room setting like this one.

The guest moved in on March 9 and it wasn’t until March 22 that I received a message from Airbnb. That’s 14 days after move-in. I wrote back immediately that I didn’t agree to a refund and that as of March 19 he was living in the unit. Airbnb did not ask for video evidence then.

On March 24, Airbnb sent photos (16 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence. On March 25, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (17 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence). On March 26, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (18 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence). On March 27, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (19 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence).

On March 28, Airbnb made the decision to refund the guest and there was no word about the fact that he still lives there. No question about video evidence or camera. Airbnb also said that they would not get back to me for three days. It seems that Airbnb just gave the refund at the last minute before the work week was over without double checking if the guest still lives there or not. This is negligence on Airbnb’s part and the reason there is a dispute now.

On March 30 (22 days since he moved-in), I pointed out that the guest still lives there. On April 3, there were no questions asked about video or photo evidence. Someone from the safety team contacted me and then called the guest. Only then did he move out. At no point was video or photo evidence requested.

Last-Minute Cancellations are Schemes by Hosts

I made my first Airbnb request for my bosses staying in Orlando for a conference. The host confirmed the reservation and sent me a written confirmation. I paid the full amount for the reservation.

At the last minute, he called me to say the unit was suddenly not available, even though I have a written confirmation in hand and I paid the full amount. There’s a conference in town and he obviously got more money from someone else and cancelled on me. To get my money back, I had to “cancel” the reservation, but didn’t get all my money refunded.

When I contacted the host, he said I cancelled, not him. So now it’s a matter of he said/she said. Since Airbnb holds the money and doesn’t send it to the host until you check in, this is a great scheme for the host. Who has the money that wasn’t refunded to me?

Airbnb Nightmare: Another Guest Scammed

I made a reservation and paid for an apartment to a host (not sure if he gave his real name though because of what is happening now), and he said I should pay into a third-party account which was supposedly for Airbnb as they were the ones who would receive the money on his behalf. I paid a deposit and two months’ payment as he said the minimum stay was two months.

I was sent a link which generated an invoice. I have a copy of the invoice with the details of the account I was supposed to transfer the money into. After payment, we were supposed to receive an email with a contract attached; this never materialized until today.

We were supposed to be checking in today but instead the host with whom we have been talking to has just decided to block us on his phone after receiving our money and never provided us with the service. The link is no longer working. Is Airbnb a scam or has it been hijacked by scammers? I do have the other evidence that we indeed paid for a service that never materialized.

How Can an Airbnb Host Control Mother Nature?

Being relatively new to hosting, I am very proud of my five-star rating. Then on my last guest for the year, everything went wrong. The guest texted me that the internet was down. With this being the day before Thanksgiving, a repairman was not happening. Neither the guest nor Airbnb could understand. I was told it was my responsibility that all amenities should work on check-in; therefore, I was breaking a policy.

I pleaded, “How can I control Mother Nature?”

I went to the newspapers and found proof of the storm. 3700 peoples’ electricity was still down smack in the middle of where my house was. In the meantime, the security system which also controls the furnace and door adjacent kept sending me messages that the thermostat was at 80 degrees, and multiple doors were open. I again asked Airbnb for support and there was nothing.

After I could get into the home for inspection, I found tremendous damage. The router had been unplugged and affected the security system so the outside security cameras were off. I found locked areas broken into and rummaged through: two broken door handles, a door that was sealed shut, broken open. I had cabinets zip-tied that were off limits. They removed all the ties and used all the dishes. My fresh painted walls were scuffed so much, I have to repaint. Canned goods gotten into that were locked up.

I call this vandalism. I cannot get Airbnb to help me with making the guest responsible for their actions. I came to find out the router was unplugged. These people were looking for a free ride. Perks were already handed out like one free night as a gift at a lowered rate.

Close your bank account to stop con artist guests

I hosted an Airbnb guest that booked my beach condo for over two months. On the first day, the guest said that the center support of one of the beds had broken off; I then had a handyman come by and fix it. The bed also has three wood support beams going across it at the bottom. Those were all intact and the bed could still be slept in. It was fine and didn’t need the center leg. The guest tried to say they couldn’t sleep in the bed.

Then they threw dirt around my condo, took pictures of it, and told Airbnb that my condo was not clean. I had previous reviews that said my condo was very clean and was cleaned spotlessly before they arrived. The guest then got Airbnb to give them a 50-percent discount for the 20 days they were in my condo and also let them cancel their reservations without my consent.

This guest got a beach condo for $45 per night on the California Coast of San Clemente in which Motel 6 charges at least $150-200 a night. The people were con artists. After they left, my sink and the bathtub were filthy. They ruined my expensive toaster with grease. Airbnb took their side and wouldn’t even listen to a word I had to say. I got paid for 30 days and will not reimburse Airbnb for the money they refunded.

I put a stop payment on my bank account so they cannot take money out of it. I am going to close my account now. I am done with this sham of a company; they should be shut down.

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Italian Airbnb Serial Bait and Switch Cancellations

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A group of six UK pensioners, including one seriously ill from multiple sclerosis, had their six-months-in-advanced booked double 70th birthday celebration dream holiday to Florence, Italy cancelled the morning of check-in by a bait and switch scammer.

This “Superhost” was allowed to rack up 39 separate cancellations in a year. Rather than react to complaints and repeated scams, Airbnb simply did nothing, allowing him to ruin ten other families’ holidays over the next two months as new victims flew in from as far as the US, Algeria, and China. On the day of check-in, they found their “booked” apartment cancelled, forcing them to either take his alternative or be stranded in Florence, thousands of miles from home.

The “Romantic Flat in Historical Centre” with its high beautifully decorated ceilings, luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms and large dining area, looking out onto Il dumo, the famous domed cathedral in the centre of Florence, was used as bait to trap unsuspecting families into booking with the host. However, after flying thousands of miles to start their holiday months later, the flaky host shockingly informed them upon arrival in Italy that their booking was in fact cancelled, using excuses ranging from “the family needs it back up as an emergency” to “there has been a burst water main”.

He then offered a replacement, a run-of-the-mill bog-standard apartment, miles outside the centre of Florence and a far cry from the luxury of the booked one. This was done “as a favour” to the duped holiday makers, either at the same price or at a premium, as it was the middle of high season; “unfortunate, but that’s how it is.”

The group of pensioners were old friends who had booked the apartment in December to celebrate a double 70th birthday. One of the group, a 78-year old, had unfortunately been diagnosed with a serious case of multiple sclerosis two years before and his health and mobility had worsened drastically. This debilitating disease meant that this would be his final trip abroad. He loved Florence and Italy and was determined to enjoy it.

The pain caused by even basic movement such as walking meant that he had special requirements such as as a bath – he was unable to stand in a shower safely – and also an entrance with a lift, as stairs were also hugely problematic. They had booked this apartment so far in advance to ensure that his special needs were catered for, with two baths a lift, no steps and four bedrooms with a large dining area provided. They were also in the centre of Florence, minimising difficulty travelling.

However, when they were informed that instead of the luxury four-bedroom apartment that they had booked six months ago and had looked forward to, they were instead offered an insufficient three-bedroom flat, miles outside Florence, or otherwise find an alternative in the middle of summer season on the same day that they had flown in. They were forced to look for any last minute alternative and as you can imagine, none even remotely comparable, or suitable, were available.

They were forced to book two separate locations, via Booking.com, one thirty minutes outside paying a lot more, for a lot less, due to the last minute arrangements and total lack of availability. There were no baths, and there were no lifts resulting in a host of unwelcome mobility issues simply washing and entering and exiting the properties. The size and standard of the décor was woefully inferior to our original booking, being stuck with small, dark rooms with a lack of closet space.

One of the main and important features that we had most sought after was the large dining area, enabling us to eat together in our own comfortable and relaxed environment, without the hassle and stress – and expense – of having to eat out all the time. Neither of our replacement properties had a dining area even remotely sufficient to house all six of us, meaning we had to eat every single meal out, burdening everyone with significant additional unwanted expenses.

Instead of buying breakfast materials at a supermarket, every breakfast cost about €80 and each lunch and dinner at least in excess of €120. Suddenly, an additional £2,525.76 had to be immediately found and paid by six pensioners, most of whom had scrimped and saved to get the original sum paid, forcing them into debt and incredibly difficult, stressful situations as they attempted to source their share in just a few hours. This also impacted greatly on spending money available on the holiday.

The main intention of the holiday, namely living together, was now gone. Instead of a joint holiday and a joint birthday, they were now two separate parties, and a full fifteen minutes apart from each other by car. This meant that rather than being in the same property and location, they now had the difficulty, as well as the additional expense, of having to use taxis to transport one party to the other numerous times daily.

This resulted in significant previously unnecessary monies having to be spent over the duration of the holiday, not to mention the organisational and operational stress and effort and the extra time that this all took, getting everyone too and from the two separate locations, miles apart and away from the centre of Florence. Indeed, one of the elderly couples did not even have smartphones, which caused several difficult situations. These issues ruined everyone’s enjoyment of the holiday and sucked away time earmarked to enjoy the city and each other’s company, as originally planned and intended.

When the group got back after this spoiled expensive and ruined holiday, they investigated the host in greater detail and was shocked to discover that he had perpetuated the same cancellation trick on 29 other families during the preceding nine months, almost every single week. The group immediately complained to Airbnb but they tried to pass it off as an “isolated incident” and refused to take action. They then refused to compensate the group for the loss of enjoyment suffered and the fact that they had fallen victim to a scam artist, closing the matter.

The group persisted with their complaints and tried to highlight the scam. Eventually, three months later, they relented and offered to refund the difference between the booked holiday and the replacement one. This still did not address the loss of enjoyment or the issues raised and the group was concerned that the scammer was still free to continue with the trick.

Airbnb’s case resolution specialist had now gotten involved, promising a fair and unbiased investigation. He eventually came to the conclusion that the “matter was wholly unacceptable, and Airbnb does not tolerate this kind of behaviour. When the reservation was cancelled the host was penalised in violation of our hosting standard. This would greatly impact his hosting here at Airbnb.”

When pressed what the penalty was, or how exactly it “would greatly impact his hosting at Airbnb”, he repeatedly refused to say. He also refused the claim for compensation, only offering €181 (the difference spent) to resolve the matter without addressing damages and loss of enjoyment suffered. He also failed to say why the host hadn’t been stopped from operating.

The elderly group were shocked to discover that since their complaint, the host had continued to repeat the scam, accepting bookings for the apartment in central Florence and then cancelling on the day of check in, once the families had arrived in Italy. Since the complaint was made by the elderly group, he had cancelled bookings a further ten times in two months with seven of those cancellations done on the day of check in when families had already landed in Italy from countries such as Brazil, USA, China, Algeria and UK. Each one had left comments on their dreadful experience on the host’s page:

“[The host] cancelled the booking three hours before the check-in when I was already in Firenze. Even before the cancellation, he did not reply to my inquiry. Out of blue, without responding to none of my inquiry, he cancelled. The only explanation I got was that he had an issue to accommodate me and my company. This has never happened to me during my use of service provided by the Airbnb. I am strongly against his status as super host given his irresponsible and unthoughtful dealing of the situations.”

“The host cancelled on us the morning of our reservation (without explanation) which totally messed up all our plans. Looking at his history this happens often. Beware when booking. This guy is flaky!”

“Bait and switch scam artist! Do not book with this person. They show one apt and when you show up, they try to give you a dump not even comparable while you feel like a fish over a barrel. Leaving you and your family 1000’s of miles from home with little choice. Find another rental. This guy is a fake and a scammer!”

“Avoid! Well where to start. Unfortunately we never got to stay at this host’s Airbnb. We had been confirmed for many weeks. On the run up to our holiday I messaged [the host] numerous times regarding checking in process but he didn’t respond. On the day of arrival [the host] sent a computerised cancellation with no explanation or apology leaving us stranded in Florence with no where to stay! Airbnb were good in assisting with our situation but this should not have been necessary and to date we still have had no apology or explanation from [the host]. Avoid at all costs, it’s just not worth it best book somewhere where you can actually stay.”

The damning evidence was sent to Airbnb, demanding why they had not acted since their complaint and stopped the host from repeating the scam. However, Airbnb refused to respond. Our party is in the process of taking Airbnb to court for loss of enjoyment and damages and essentially causing their problem by allowing this person to perpetuate thirty cancellations before they had even booked with him.

Airbnb is responsible for their and indeed all of the 39 victims cases. If Airbnb had cared about its customers’ suffering at the hands of this con-artist, then they would have immediately shut him down. However, they were getting commission out of it, regardless of how that commission was earned, and allowed – and continue to allow – scammers to operate in this disgraceful and damaging way within its business.

Incredibly, the group discovered that subsequently all of the negative reviews (above) have now been removed, allowing more unsuspecting victims to suffer. Now, unbelievably, only 15 reviews (instead of the 498, including the 39 cancellations) are viewable, with him receiving 4.93 out of 5 stars. This disgraceful fact shows exactly how Airbnb operates and the sad fact is that this host continues to operate in this shady way today.

This sad and murky episode is completely unacceptable. People should start voting with their feet and spreading the word that Airbnb is not deserving of their business. There is a clear and real danger that if you book with them then the booking is fake and will be cancelled when you arrive.

Do not trust Airbnb. Do not use Airbnb. They will leave you stranded. It’s all about the money for them. They do not care about your welfare.

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Guest Managed to Scam me through Airbnb

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I appear to have been scammed by a scammer through seemingly legitimate Airbnb channels. The guest – with zero reviews but six forms of verification booked and paid for three nights. On the day they were meant to leave she asked if she could extend for seven nights. I agreed and altered the booking.

The next day I found out the alteration had been rejected. I wasn’t told why. The guest is now on “free” night one. I immediately contacted the guest – I’m told they didn’t know why it was rejected but insisted they would reach out to Airbnb and make the payment.

The same day I received confirmation (email and message) from a legitimate Airbnb source saying a payment of £1400 was on its way and a description “extra service – extend stay until 28/09/2019″. So I was thinking, “Great… Airbnb have acknowledged it and I’ll get paid.”

The next day I got a message from Airbnb saying “payment is delayed.” The Guest was on “free” night number two. Two days later, after chasing Airbnb, I got a message saying payment could not be collected. The guest was on “free” night four… well, almost five since Airbnb support was based in the US so it was late in the UK.

On the fifth day, after all the failed attempts to get money from Airbnb, the guest told me they would transfer the money via bank transfer. I know it wasn’t what Airbnb wanted but I was running out of time to get anything from this guest before they left. She sent me a screenshot of the bank transfer and confirmation number. The money never actually went through and the guest left on day six.

Airbnb has been totally useless. The case has been passed to numerous people who ask the same questions over and over again. They’re simply staying the initial stay was three nights, which was paid and subsequent nights were done outside of Airbnb, which I don’t get.

As for the £1400 that they failed to collect for me for the extended stay, they accept they processed it and told me it was on the way but since they couldn’t collect the money, they’re wiping their hands clean. They were quick to point out that I’d attempted to do a transaction outside of Airbnb, in no way sympathetic to the fact I didn’t really have any other option.

The guest continued to communicate with me after she’d left. She argued that because she left early she should only pay £1200, not £1400. It was a bit strange because if it were a scam from the offset why even communicate after you’ve left? Anyway, that’s kind of irrelevant. There are a#$holes out there, I get it. What I don’t get and am annoyed about is how they were able to trick me via the official Airbnb channels.

Airbnb Host Relists His Property for More

I made a reservation to stay one week. The host took payment, then would not answer a few days before regarding check in. I had to get customer service involved and he finally answered them. I was in a car on my way to the Airbnb and I got a message that he wanted to cancel most of my days, giving the excuse that he has family issues. Well, now I’m out with nowhere to stay in NYC. I searched and the only available places are around $300 a night. Plus while searching I came across the place that changed my dates due to “family issues”; it’s available for those dates for more money. Airbnb is a scam. They don’t screen who is offering places.

Classic Bait and Switch in Districts of Algiers

First time Airbnb user back in August 2019. l booked three bedrooms apartment in chic location of Algiers called Hydra. We were four people: myself, my husband and my two kids.

We were surprised as the first thing we did was to call the number listed with the apartment when we booked it; the phone number was not working. We went to find the address provided to us; the address doesn’t exist. We parked and tried to ask people there.

We were told that this address doesn’t exist and they had heard that there is a guy who meets people here as renting them the apartment but it turns out that he takes them somewhere else. Effectively that’s what happened to us, after a stressful afternoon trying to find the location and that phone number of the host was not working.

My husband checked his email and suddenly he found a message from the host providing a different number to call him. The host gave us a public location to meet us. We went there and met him. We were surprised right away that the host changed the apartment in Hydra, claiming that there was a water issue so he would take us to a different apartment that was nearby.

We were forced to accept this and follow him because our money was gone. We followed the host to the west side of Algiers which has new divisions far from downtown. We parked and went with him to see the apartment. We were surprised that the apartment was a very small one bedroom while I paid for three bedrooms. We told him to change it, that this was too small for us and we paid for a larger apartment.

The host then told us to stay that night in this apartment and he would try to find us another apartment next day. Just a note: while he was there I checked the dishwasher and found dirty dishes inside that had been there for days; just when I opened the door of the washer there was a fishy smell.

Anyway, in the morning we called him to check if he had something else. He told us to meet him in this apartment located in a popular neighborhood close to the airport (Bab Ezzouar). We went and met him there. The house was large and again supposed to be clean as he charged us $71 just for cleaning, $10 extra than what they charge in Algeria for cleaning.

Again checking the house I found the toilets had been used and never been cleaned. The apartment looked dusty. It had been closed for a long time and the fridge was messy with spills from other people who had used it before us. In addition, as we were forced to take this apartment I had to clean it myself and all the linen that was poorly taken care of.

That night we also found out that the wifi didn’t work. We called the host. He said he would come and check it. He came very late at night after we begged him and he said that it was not working but he would buy us a temporary modem. Guess what? We never heard from the host again and even we were tired of calling him every time.

The host called the evening of our check out to confirm that we were leaving. The day of check out we had until 12:00 PM to vacate the apartment. Suddenly around 8:00 AM I woke up to the door bell and found the housekeeper who came to “clean”. We told her that it was too early and that we have until noon. She was rude and started talking under her breath.

It’s not our fault that the host didn’t tell her or communicate with her. We called the host and informed him. He said to leave the apartment key with the housekeeper. I didn’t trust her; it looked like she was not a housekeeper in first place.

This was our bad experience with Airbnb. After I came back to the US, I called Airbnb to make a complaint. They said there was nothing they could do. We also wrote a long review but they never published it. They just included one sentence from a whole paragraph. I’m very disappointed and will never use Airbnb again. Guests are not protected and those listings are not verified. You never know what you will find.

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Not Airbnb Hosts, but Still on Mailing Lists

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I pity the poor investors who will eventually be parting ways with their money when (and if) Airbnb gets their act together to file for an IPO. Today I received the Airbnb Magazine in the mail. I am not a host or guest. The name on the “To:” portion of the address label was to a Mr. Richard Fabian. Mr. Fabian was the supposed “host” of our home when he set up a fake account portraying my family as Airbnb hosts.

The outcome of that story is buried somewhere in the Airbnb Hell server but basically we had people dropping by the house unannounced looking for their key. The fact that we never heard back from anyone at Airbnb regarding this fraud does not surprise me now that I’m receiving their magazine. Throwing away money by mailing on what looks like an expensive rag to a fraudster is par for the course of this organization.

Airbnb, you grew too big too fast. Stop for a moment and count the bedbugs.