Can’t Use Airbnb Credit Without ID Verification

I’ve booked several holidays both in the U.K. and abroad using Airbnb and, until now, have only ever had good experiences. Last year I booked accommodation through Airbnb for a week in Tobago in April, which I subsequently cancelled due to our flights being cancelled due to Coronavirus. Airbnb offered a credit or a refund. I chose the credit (£255.24), because I felt this would be better to support the industry and I could use it for any further booking.

On Aug. 12 I booked a holiday cottage in the U.K. for Sept. 14-18 using my credit. The booking went through at 8:41 PM. At 10:30 PM I noticed an email (sent at 9:15 PM) requesting proof of ID within 12 hours of booking, or the booking would be cancelled. There was no way I could organize this overnight – they required a copy of my passport or driving license, together with a selfie. In any case, I was not willing to hand over this personal information to Airbnb.

At 2:15 AM they sent another email stating that, should I not provide this by 8:41 AM, the booking would be cancelled. At 8:42 AM I received an email stating that the booking had been cancelled. They also stated that I would not be able to use my credit for a further booking unless I provided government ID. There was nothing on the listing, nor on any other Airbnb listing to state that this was a requirement.

I have also received further messages from Airbnb requesting that I verify my ID before making further bookings. This meant I still had the credit, but was unable to use it. I therefore asked for a cash refund of the credit, which Airbnb have refused to give. Their argument is that since I opted for a credit, conditions have changed making it impossible for me to use, without handing over my passport or driving license for them to keep on file.

Had this been a requirement with the original booking, I would not have gone ahead. If this had been made clear when I was offered a credit or refund, I’d have taken the refund. After escalating the issue, I have now been told by Airbnb that it was the host who demanded this ID. But I messaged her when the booking was cancelled and she said this was not the case. She has never made ID a requirement when booking.

When I put this to Airbnb, this was their reply:

“In this case, the host selected it, and it is clear enough, but perhaps she didn’t pay attention. Situations like this can occur.”

I put this to the host and she was shocked. She kindly sent me a screenshot proving that she had not set this requirement. When I put this to Airbnb, their reply was:

“In this case, she probably edited the settings of the property.”

The owner’s response was: “What? That’s ridiculous. I don’t think I have ever amended those settings. Surely they could show you evidence of when I amended those settings.”

Back to Airbnb to express how shocked I was at their attitude towards one of their hosts – accusing her of incompetence and/or dishonesty. From my dealings with her, I feel that she is being open and honest and I believe her.

Their reply:

“Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. After gathering and carefully reviewing all related documentation, we decided not to issue cash refund instead of travel credit because it would be against our policies. You were informed about the option you have, it was your decision to select the travel credit. We consider this decision final.”

I feel that I am owed a cash refund, because Airbnb’s ID requirement has been made since my original booking and since I opted for credit. I am not prepared to hand over my passport or driver’s license details as they keep them on file. Therefore, I cannot use this credit, which I would otherwise have been happy to do.

I do not consider their decision to be final as the rule of law outweighs their policy – it was they who cancelled the booking I tried to use my credit for. They did seem to change their mind about their policy and suggest the onus was on the host, but previous correspondence seems to suggest that this is a requirement for all bookings.

I have managed to book privately with the host, who does not require me to bring my passport, or show her my driving license (which I would have been willing to do – I just don’t want details kept on file). But it means that I have not been able to use my credit. If I could book through Airbnb without handing over my passport or driving license, I would happily do so and use my credit – but this does not seem possible.

I have copies of correspondence. I think, judging by the time zone, that their correspondence is coming from the U.S., or somewhere outside the U.K.

Suddenly Unable to Book After Three Years

I am a three-year guest of Airbnb and have never had a problem until last week. I went to book a room. After getting to the confirmation page, I clicked on it and a page popped up saying I needed to verify my ID card. The cards do not scan. I have spent hours and hours on the phone and online. I received three different emails from Airbnb saying all three cards are confirmed. My government ID has a green check and verified next to it on my personal info page, and I still can’t not sign in. I was told an ambassador would contact me, along with a few other who never did contact me. Now the latest online support told me my account is going through through verification process, but they have no idea how long that will take. I’m not sure I even believe them anymore. I have been led around and lied to. The phones lines are not available now, and even the support team is not getting back to me. I have spent over $3,000 with Airbnb, and now I cannot book a room. There is no problem on my end; I even went to my banks and checked all my cards were clear. None of them have ever had a problem.

Need Support after Getting Robbed of over $2000 by Airbnb

blank

I have been a host in Kobe, Japan for several years with Airbnb and as a Superhost, I had many satisfied guests and enjoyed very decent reviews. Around mid-January this year, Airbnb sent me a notice to do a verification of my account, threatening to block payouts if I did not complete it before February 4th.

I immediately sought out help from Airbnb support staff who walked me through the entire process and helped me fill in the form until the support staff himself was 100% satisfied that everything was in perfect order. He also confirmed clearly that any payout would not be blocked as the verification process was successful.

Below is proof of that chat where he congratulated me and confirmed that the payouts would not be blocked at all. I received a booking for 220,000 Japanese yen for check-in on February 11 and check-out on February 27th (a 17-day booking) with a specified payout date to me for February 13th. Today is February 17th and the nightmare I am facing is already four days into the process of dealing with the most incompetent so-called case managers and support staff.

The experience I am having in trying to collect my money is abusive, and nothing short of real torture as they are all behaving like thugs sitting on my money illegally and giving me the royal run around while whistling Sweet Dixie. No host should ever have to be subjected to this kind of torture I am facing just to try and collect what is rightfully due to me.

This kind of behavior from Airbnb usually comes as a prelude to bankruptcy. I am alerting all hosts to please be cautious because the tactics Airbnb are using here to rob me of my money are nothing short of gangster ones. I have no idea when I will see my money, I have no idea when my nightmare for chasing for my payout will stop, and I have no idea of what options I have.

I am reaching out to all the hosts reading this to please share your experiences with me if it can help me get what is due to me from these thugs. The guest from this payout is still staying in my property and Airbnb is threatening that if I use the option I suggest, i.e. ask the guest to cancel her reservation with Airbnb and demand a refund as I will waive all cancellation fees, to pay me directly, then they will penalize me for trying to deal directly with the guest and bypassing them.

The guest is still staying in the property until February 27th. I do have time to seek some sort of agreement with her but I don’t want to do anything to pay a hefty price later. Any advice on this matter would be highly appreciated. I just want to warn all hosts now and in the future to be totally aware of these gangster tactics by Airbnb to sit on your money whenever they feel like it, as if they have a right to take your funds. This is tantamount to stealing. Please be careful not to get trapped as I have been.

Right now I don’t know what more torture I have to endure from these thugs and their team of the most incompetent staff on the planet. I keep banging my head against the wall trying to recover my money from them. Any advice or helpful comments would be highly appreciated.

Identification Trouble from Airbnb Hell

I’m not a frequent Airbnb user, but it has always been a good experience for some years now. Recently, Airbnb requested some real identification and asked for a copy of my passport. No problem, I can understand about that kind of request. It may even be some improvement to avoid scams or other abuse.

However, Airbnb then asked for verification with a live image of mine. I tried. I tried ten times with the app. I could take a selfie with the app, but then I just dropped back to the home page of the app. There was no kind of confirmation whether this image was received, and obviously it never was.

In parallel I tried to contact Airbnb support. They always wanted to walk me through the confirmation process. I did three times and it never worked. I asked to escalate this problem to someone who could find another solution. They walked me through the process again.

They asked me to install Airbnb on another phone. I did. Now the app asked for a confirmation code, which I received on my own phone. Again, that’s a reasonable request, but the second app did not give me any option where to enter this four-digit code which I had received.

I’m still in identification hell. I tried to book two different accommodations several times. After 12 hours this reservation will be deleted automatically since I still lack proper identification. You might guess that there should be any kind of bypass for the support team to accept any other kind of identification, but there is nothing else they claim they can do.

Broken app which has never been properly tested? Broken support, who can not help you at all? Unfortunately, there’s not much alternative to Airbnb nowadays (in Germany), other than ordinary hotels and booking.com.

Somebody in Airbnb Development should be Fired

I am three days into a four-month trip to Peru. This is with three reservations via Airbnb of one, one, and two months. For whatever reason (I entered a wrong password, am trying to sign-in from Peru, am using my new laptop) the Airbnb site is asking in a pop-up to send me a verification code.

It offers just two options: in a text message to my phone or in a call to my phone. My phone does not work in Peru so I have no way to receive the verification code. I have called the toll-free number a couple times now. The wait time has been short and the person on the other end appears to be trying to be helpful but today I was told it was given to a case worker and there were none available. BS?

I suggested there was a bug in the website in that it was only showing those two unworkable options. She said there was no bug. BS? I suggested that if that was by design that a traveler was required to carry a US-working phone with them when traveling (and there was no way for the help center to intervene) then that was a very bad design and that designer should be fired.

Everybody I’ve talked to in the help center seems to agree this is stupid but nobody can do anything about it. Airbnb needs to get some better developers.

Airbnb Hosts Cannot Request Government Issued Photo ID?

I have been a Superhost for more than three years. I recently started to require all guests to provide a digital copy (picture via Airbnb message thread or text message) of their government-issued photo ID before check-in details are sent to them. This is for our security as hosts in case anything happens, and we need to file a small claim or lawsuit to recover for damages, fees, etc.

The requirement is disclosed in the house rules. We, as hosts, know Airbnb does not honor their one million dollar host guarantee. I called Airbnb to assist with reaching out to a particular guest who was having issues with sending their ID. The first Airbnb rep claimed that it is against their terms and conditions for guests to provide this information to the host. I told the Airbnb rep she was incorrect because I’ve done this for months and a prior Airbnb rep assisted me with this same situation for another reservation.

Long story short, I called a total of six times and four Airbnb reps says it was against their terms and conditions. Meanwhile, two said the request was alright if it was disclosed in the house rules. I requested to speak with an Airbnb case manager, and the four Airbnb reps who made the false claims about the terms and conditions would not transfer me to a case manager.

If it is true Airbnb does not allow hosts to obtain a government-issued photo ID from the guests, even when it is disclosed in the house rules, hosts have no security if anything serious arises. I would love to hear thoughts from other hosts and guests.

Feeling Like A Freak, Felt Discriminated

I’ve never been able to use Airbnb. The first time I installed the app I was asked for a picture, driver’s license and credit card. I submitted everything, but I never received an approval nor an email, nothing. Since this was some months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico (2017) and we were surviving with the Google Loons, I thought that it was the lack of a good internet connection and forgot about it.

A year ago, November 2018, I wanted a place for a surfing trip. To my surprise all my information was in the Airbnb account: my ID checked, my profile with a picture, my Amex approved as payment method, all cool. When I tried to reserve something, I wasn’t able to do because my credit card needed to be checked (again) and since I wanted a place for the next day (swells don’t wait) I forgot about Airbnb.

In the last couple of weeks (October 2019) I started looking for places to stay during a surfing competition. All my information was there on my profile, and when I tried to reserve a place I wasn’t able to. The message from Airbnb was that my card needed to be verified. I agreed for some debits to be made to my credit card to confirm.

I had been a front desk and reservations agent for Hilton and Hyatt. This was kind of a strange procedure, but I decided to wait for the approval. I started receiving emails, text messages, and messages in the account inbox on the Airbnb app, all messages pressuring me to reserve, the property owner greeted me, but guess what?

I wasn’t able to reserve anything. Now they were asking for a picture of my credit card statement. “No way,” I said to myself. I kept receiving messages from them the whole night.

The next morning I had notices to reserve because I had a pre-approval from the owner while they verified my Amex. I tried to book, and once again I wasn’t able because they needed a picture of a recent credit card statement. Nervously to the maximum extreme, I took the picture and sent it.

A couple of hours later I received an email message through the app and a text message to hurry and book because I had been approved and verified and the property was being held for me for a couple hours more. But as you can imagine already, I wasn’t able to book. Now the nightmare begins.

I decide to review all the messages before contacting the help center and all the messages on the app were gone. My credit card information, gone. I wrote the help center and when they answered hours later it seemed that they thought I was hallucinating or something. They told me they were transferring the situation to customer service (the chat with him was customer service).

I explained the situation over and over to different customer service representatives who contacted me. My main concern was what happened to the information I was providing them. Had I been scammed? Was this procedure normal each time that you tried to book? They wrote me back each time: “Enter your credit card information on your account and wait for it to be verified.”

I couldn’t believe it. Were they morons? I breathed and breathed each time I answered back to be polite and well mannered and to restrain myself from saying what I just said. I even asked if I was talking to a computer. I wrote that I wanted to communicate with a supervisor. I was feeling very angry because I thought he was making fun of me for being a middle-aged Hispanic woman.

I was completely ignored now. I told them I would report them to Consumer Affairs. I was feeling like a freak. I couldn’t believed what happened. Was I overreacting? I took screenshots of this last conversation before they disappeared again.

Looking for their corporate information and willing to even write a classic certified letter, I found this blog. Now I know I’m not a freak. Airbnb customer service is the most inefficient, disrespectful and inconsiderate that I’ve ever seen.

Initial Signup Nightmare, Mistaken Identity

In September 2019 I completed all of the required signup processes (including a copy of my driver’s license). I booked my first stay in an Airbnb property an was promptly contacted to setup linen service and cleaning service. All good… yeah, right.

Three to four days later, I received an email stating my reservation had been cancelled. I promptly attempted to log into the site to get any details of why the reservation was cancelled only to find my account had been suspended. I emailed the customer support team and the only information they would provide was that my claim was under review.

At this point, I was done with Airbnb. I made my reservations through the exact same rental company that was involved in my Airbnb effort and moved on. I enjoyed my four-day weekend at a different property.

Fast forward to October 23rd (over a month since my customer support claim/ticket was submitted). I received an email that I could dispute the finding of their consumer report. What?

I logged into the site they provided. It seems that I was linked to a guy in Arkansas with a laundry list of misdemeanor and felony convictions (same first and last name, same birthday, but different state and race). Remember I provided my driver’s license during signup? Anyway, I’m not using their service. I sent an email to Brian Chesky, but doubt I will get a response. We have better options.

Airbnb Cancelled all Upcoming Reservations and Didn’t Tell Me

All my reservations were cancelled by Airbnb this morning. A guest who is a bride who booked for her groomsmen contacted me first. She was not happy or calm, but kind. My account is locked and under review, and a phone call revealed “it has already been escalated as Urgent to the Trust Team.” Does urgent mean I should expect a call or email in 24 to 48 hours?

What happened? They won’t tell me what they are investigating but before I was locked out completely here were the error messages I received: we notice you are logging in from a new device (not true, but I updated my cell carrier data settings in preparation for travel to prevent roaming charges).

They also asked me to verify my personal information; my birthdate was listed as 2007. Likely their software prevents 12-year-olds from hosting. I changed and corrected it, but am certain it was never listed that way. With Airbnb’s secret number in hand I called, but am in the urgent purgatory for 24-48 hours. I did get a case number, but that’s it.