1099 Tax Fraud

My ex-wife added me to her Airbnb account and somehow got the tax authorities to believe that I have received all the rental income from her properties and owe back taxes on it, which they are now trying to collect from me. This is a total fabrication and amounts to some kind of identity theft and fraud on her part. When I reported this to Airbnb, I asked for help in straightening this out, including things like reviewing and correcting the 1099 form they presumably send out each year to report income, and taking my name off my ex-wife’s account. Airbnb has been of absolutely no help in this. The customer service rep offers only sympathy, says they are sending the issue to the fraud department and that I should be patient. This has gone on for a month with no progress and no communication from them. My partner and I call almost daily. We get promises from the customer rep that it’s being taken care of and that this is an “urgent” issue, but there is absolutely no communication from their fraud department. The issue should take an hour to resolve. Look up the account of my ex-wife, review the payout method, revise the 1099 form accordingly and tell the federal tax authorities that they made an error. Then take me off the account. This has not been done and no one will tell me why. It’s rather stressful to have the tax authorities after you for money rightfully owed by someone else, and when you can’t get the help you need to fix the problem, it’s even more so. Airbnb appears to be rather unprepared to handle issues like this, surprisingly, so I’m posting this simply as a warning to others. Thanks.

Airbnb does not have your back when things go sideways

In July 2015 I found a large Victorian in a small foothill town for an upcoming girls weekend in October. It looked great, and I contacted the host. She wrote me back and said she’d love to have us if we were ready to book. I told her it was 5 women and a small dog–under 50 lbs and asked if that was okay? She wrote back and said she had a “pet approval policy.” I wrote back asking for details of her pet policy and waited for her reply which never came. Foolishly, I went ahead and requested to book. Later that evening we were approved and I got a text from the host saying she would need a $1200 pet deposit — in cash or check — upon arrival. This sent up a huge red flag for me and my friends. We then discovered the hostess has a “Strict” cancellation policy, which meant that if we wanted to cancel we would lose 50% of our money– $616. We had no intention of handing over $1200 for any length of time to someone we didn’t know and who was acting out of the normal protocol of Airbnb. I called an Airbnb agent and reached someone by the name of Jacob who promised me that he would have a trip specialist contact me and that the company would cancel our reservation if we wanted that, and no fees would apply. I waited 24 hours, then called again. I got another very nice agent who said she would expedite our call and have someone call us back regarding the refund. Long story short, I had to call EVERY DAY for 6 days, and every time I called a very nice customer service agent would tell me “I’m sorry for the delay” and “your case has been elevated to ‘urgent’ status.” My friend had put the a $616 deposit down on this booking and I wanted her to get her money back. But it appeared that no one from Airbnb considered our case urgent enough. Apparently “urgent” with Airbnb means you may hear from a specialist within 2-3 weeks. We were finally contacted via email by someone named Charlotte who apologized and said “It was all a misunderstanding and Elizabeth would love to host you that weekend.” Again, our request for a cancellation was ignored!! I then wrote her back and explained that at this point, we no longer felt comfortable staying with this hostess and wanted to cancel this booking and receive a FULL refund as was promised by Jacob. She finally wrote back, 3 days later (now a total of 2 weeks later from our original request) and said she would credit us in full — that we would get $249 back from the host and $341 back from Airbnb, who was covering the remaining balance since the host would be getting paid in full. She told us to allow 10 days. 15 days later, only half the refund is here. We emailed Charlotte this morning and got an email back saying she had processed the refund but there was an error and it would be another 10 days before it posts. We are now at 6 weeks past our original complaint date! We have contacted the credit card company to cancel the charges. Thanks for having our back, Airbnb! You are re-writing the book on ‘customer service’.

Rude host and slow response from AirBnB customer “service”

Tried to rent a pricey villa in Mallorca, then the host tells me to bugger off after I ask him for a better pice. So I ask AirBnB to intervene to no avail. I then try to show my good faith to book the place and am still not getting a response. Since my trip is coming up soon I notify the “host” that I’ve booked elsewhere. Then within minutes he tries to charge my credit card (luckily no room on my card). I’ve called and emailed AirBnB to intervene but am getting absolutely nowhere with them. A week has gone by now and there is still the threat of them trying to charge me for the place.