Thanks to Airbnb I Gained $500 and Lost $15000

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As with many Airbnb hosts, I decided to rent my flat in Dubai for some extra money while I was going away on winter holidays; it seems like a great deal through Airbnb. Little did I know back then that I was going to lose almost half my wardrobe and three of my expensive handbags, altogether worth about $15000.

The group of guests was from France, and there were four of them: the one I was in touch with, her mom and two siblings. The guest didn’t have her full name on her Airbnb profile; she is from France – Provence area, most probably Nice. I had all of my clothes, shoes, and handbags locked with a bike locker in my closet. I left five days before the group was going to check in, had the keys left at the reception and my cleaning lady coming the day before and after their check in to prepare the flat.

As the group checked in just after midnight, they only collected the key from reception; no one was there to wait for them. When I returned to Dubai after three weeks, I didn’t even notice that first day that something was missing. The lock was in place. Only on the second day when I start unpacking did I realize that my Chanel ($6000) and Fendi ($3000) handbags were missing. That’s when the nightmare started. I realized they opened the lock, went inside my closet, and locked it back up after stealing my stuff.

I first went to the security in my building to report what had happened and ask them to check the CCTV cameras from in front my flat’s door. It took me about two days to watch all three weeks of recordings and saw no one else except the Airbnb guests and my maid entering the flat. It wasn’t the maid – she came and left carrying her own small bag. Meanwhile I started noticing more and more stuff missing: Louis Vuitton bag ($2100), Louboutin shoes, Balmain Dress ($1600), Fendi scarf ($1000), two D&G T-shirts ($800), Liujo Coat ($300) and many other clothes (the whole list is attached).

All this time I must have called the Airbnb customer service line at least seven times. Each time I spoke to a different person who said that perhaps Airbnb might reimburse me some of the money and that I had to file a complaint. I filled the complaint and involved Airbnb under the “Host Guarantee Program” – which is totally useless by the way. They took three days to reply, they never investigated anything from my side, they only wrote me a short email (screenshot attached below), and they never wanted to tell me the guest’s full name, even though they had her ID.

She created her Airbnb profile just before she booked my place – that should have already been a question mark for Airbnb that they must be professional thieves. However, Airbnb didn’t care and acted arrogant, eventually not replying to my emails. After trying and calling Airbnb again, I got the same answer as before: “We can not do anything because it is not our department taking care of it.”

What a lame excuse. Basically you can never reach the department you want through the phone on Airbnb. I involved the police as well. The investigation is still ongoing but there’s little they can do if the thieves are already out of the country. Now I am left without my expensive goods. Airbnb was totally useless and careless; they never even bothered to give me a phone call to ask about what happened and if they could be of any help. Basically Airbnb is covering for thieves, but they don’t care as long they are getting money out of it. Airbnb’s staff have no power or knowledge of what is happening around them.

I will never use Airbnb again, and you should think twice before giving your house to strangers. I should mention that I did rent my flat before on Airbnb twice but both times everything was in place. I thought Airbnb was really a decent site and not everyone can just make an account and get away with illegal situations. In addition, I thought no one would dare to steal in Dubai.

List of missing stuff: Chanel bag – $6000 · Fendi bag – $3000 · Louis Vuitton bag – $2100 · Balmain dress – $1600 · 2 D&G tshirts – $800 · Fendi scarf – $1000 · Liu Jo coat – $300 · Hermes scarf – $200 · Louboutin shoes · Kenzo dress – $300 · Michael Kors dress – $200 · Old iPhone 5 · Victoria’s Secrets bath rope · Speaker · Pair of trainers · Hair lotion, perfumes, body cream, face scrub – basically everything expensive they could found.

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Bad Day using Airbnb in Baden-Baden Germany

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We stayed at Michael’s home in Baden-Baden using Airbnb for one night on July 1st, 2017. When we awoke the following morning, we found ourselves alone. Michael and his family had left for a destination unknown and left no note. After carefully checking that we had packed everything, we left the house key on the table and shut the front door. Only then did we realize that we had left our iPad, which was hidden behind a pot plant, in our room. Is it normal for a host to abandon a guest before they have checked out?

Our communication with the host:

Guest: Michael, where are you? I left my iPad in the bedroom. Can you please let me know when you are at home and I will pick up. Please call me ASAP.

Host: Hello Malcolm, we are back home now. Unfortunately the number you sent is not available. Please call us or send a mail when you want to pick up your iPad.

Guest: Too late Michael! We are now in Metz. We were surprised when we found the house empty this morning and no note. Do you have a valid phone number?

Host: Good morning Malcolm. We were surprised that you forgot the IPad. In 8 years of using Airbnb no guest has ever forgotten anything. I just tried to catch you on the phone again. There is no contact on the phone – even when I call back the message on our answering machine. Today you can reach us until 8:00 or then after 14:30

Guest: Sorry I missed your call but we had a bad day yesterday. First we inadvertently left our iPad (there is a first time for everything) and could not contact you either by phone or mail. We waited in Baden-Baden until 6:00 PM and went back to your home but were unable to get iPad. In the many years we have used Airbnb we have never had a host leave without prior warning and then be unable to contact them. Second, we had our car towed because we had unknowingly parked in a restricted zone! To retrieve the auto cost €300. This caused us much distress and anxiety as you can imagine. I believe we both must accept some responsibility for the first problem. I suggest a compromise that the cost of postage be shared 50%. We will be in Nantes until Friday. If it is possible to deliver before then please post the iPad to us.

Host: Hello Malcolm, the telephone number you gave us is not valid in Germany. So we were not able to contact you. In fact you missed something from your things in the room and realized it later. We are Airbnb hosts . This is not a hotel. We have time with our family on Sunday. When you forget something you are free to pick it up at our place, but we cannot send it somewhere else. You can tell somebody else to pick this up or come to us to get your things back, but we will not post it for our own safety. Sorry for your bad day, but the reason for the inconvenience came from your side. Hope to hear from you about your decision to solve this issue soon.

Guest: Sorry Michael but the phone number is valid in all of Europe. I don’t know anyone in Baden-Baden and I am not able to return as we have a travel schedule to follow. I appeal to you as a decent human being to do the right thing and post the iPad. I accept full responsibility if the device is lost or damaged.

 

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Valuables Stolen at Barcelona Airbnb, No Resolution

My daughter and her friend checked into their Airbnb in Barcelona on May 13th, 2017. They went out for the night and came back to find all their valuables gone: two Macbooks, two GoPros, one gold bracelet, and my daughter’s baby blanket that always travels with her. They called the police who came to the apartment. They called Airbnb who told them to go to a hotel, but it was the grand prix that weekend and they had trouble finding one at 2:00 AM. The girls filed a police report and stayed in a hotel for the next four nights because they were afraid to stay in an Airbnb at that point. Airbnb was very supportive at first and offered to help. The apartment host changed his name and picture the next morning for the same place but my daughter could not review on it because they did not stay there. Airbnb has done nothing about that. We have been trying to contact Airbnb for the past nine days. I have called five different times and spoke to five different people all with a promise to call me back about our claims. To this date, nobody has returned my calls. I waited on the phone today for over an hour to talk to a manager and was then finally cut off with no call back (they took my number). When I called again, they would not transfer me to a manager and I had to start all over. I am unable to contact them through the website. I only have a few standard questions but there is nobody to contact. This is pretty frustrating and for such a big company, you would think they would have amazing customer service. Shame on them!