First-Time Airbnber Realizes Customer Support Doesn’t Care

Last week we decided to use Airbnb due to the size of our group and the need to have our dogs go with us. After I tried contacting potential hosts who never bothered to reply, We finally found a great host in Miami, accommodating and flexible.

On to sign up and verification. I went through the process as required, submitted everything via their app, even more than once for the ID after I received a message saying that it was a blurry pic. I paid, got back a confirmation and I said to my family, “That was easy!”

…not so fast. After about thirty minutes I got a refund to my card. I called, and they could not tell me why, but said they would look into it. The agent said I couldn’t reserve anything until the verification process was complete. Why did the system allow me to? I waited for verification with the clock ticking, and… nothing.

I called Airbnb and a representative answered after a +25 minute wait. I explained multiple times what I was trying to accomplish, that the reservation had been made and I was waiting for verification. The phone connection was bad and not easy to understand. Once he understood what was going on, he said “I will put you on hold and reach out to the verification group.” He asked for a contact number and promised to call me back if we got disconnected.

As feared, I got disconnected. I waited almost an hour for a call back. After a long wait, nothing. The clock was ticking and I feared the potential loss of my reservation. I called again: long wait, same terrible connection. I explained to Airbnb the exact same things I had already said plus the connection issue and the additional hour – now taking over 2.5 hours to wait for verification. The answer to this was that I needed to wait for the first representative to call me back because the resolution is in their hands.

So I did. I hung up and waited for another 45 minutes. This went on for the next three hours after calling back, getting disconnected multiple times, and so on. Everyone had the same answer: nobody wanted or could escalate the matter; I simply had to wait for that first representative. No one could tell me what the issue was or how long their resolution time was supposed to be. What if his shift ended? Or went on break? Or worse, just did not care?

Over 3 hours late, and I still had not heard back. In the meantime I received a message from tech support that “someone will be calling me in about 10~15 minutes”… I was not about to hold my breath for that one. I had already lost confidence.

During this time I had communicated several times with the host explaining the nightmare. He kindly said to not worry, he would wait. I continued waiting for that call back, so I called back. Another wait, another explanation, and again – I have to wait until the original representative resolves it, from whom I still have not heard. Wait, call again… another wait, another voice.

Then I was told that the picture I had submitted was blurry and they could not tell who I am, which is really not true; it was perfect clear. I was told to resubmit. This was fine with me, except there was no way to do it. When I tried to resubmit, on the app or the website, the system said “OK you are all set” because I had already done this step. I explained this to the agent who did not have an answer or solution. No escalation, no other person to talk to… simply wait for that first guy. What kind of policy is this?

After I called back in the fifth hour, the representative was a bit more helpful, suggesting to try to make the reservation again because sometimes it works. I tried, but was not so lucky. I was told that I could not reserve anything because I was missing a step. I’m so tired and pissed at this point, ready to give up.

After almost six hours of this, I was finally verified using the last picture. I was able to finally pay again and got another confirmation. I waited before calling victory just in case. Finally the host contacted me a said he got the reservation also. I only hung in there because the host was accommodating and the place was what we needed. Over six hours of an Airbnb nightmare to verify and reserve. That’s it. There may be some bits of missing details, but that’s the core of the issue.

Airbnb Account Confirmation: An Exercise in Frustration

Using Airbnb has been an exercise in frustration from the very beginning. Just signing up with them involved multiple headaches: confirm this, give us this ID, confirm that, wait for two deposits to arrive in the bank (I don’t remember if the deposits ever arrived). Finally my account was set up with them, so now I could book, right?

Today I tried to book my third Airbnb trip, and what do you know: “We have to confirm your account, so we’ll deposit two small amounts in your account. They should arrive immediately, but it may take two or three days.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this website supposed to provide service to travelers? If I need to book a room and have to wait 2-3 days (or longer, or forever) to confirm my account (which has already been confirmed) before I can book a room, what’s the point? By the time my confirmed account is again confirmed, what if the room is no longer available? Seriously, the concept of people renting out rooms in the homes is great, but Airbnb’s execution is awful.

For a company valued at over $30 billion, can they really not find an efficient and effective way to let their customers book when they need to without running into roadblocks (server error, confirmation messages, etc)? Maybe have customers enter their password – wow, what a concept – to confirm who they are, or the last four digits of their credit card number. Do you really need to confirm an account that’s already been confirmed, or see my bank statement (the other option, which is even more intrusive)?

When I tried to contact the company about this, I got sent into an endless loop. After hitting the “Contact Us” button, it took me to my last booking, as though that must be my problem. Is there really not a customer service team member that I can contact? You’d think for the 15% commission Airbnb takes from the hosts and customers (which is robbery, by the way), they would be able to hire a customer service team that could be available to personally address customer issues. I don’t know who is making the big bucks at the top, but I’m fed up with the “server errors,” confirmation messages, and very poor customer “service” this company provides. If you’re going to charge such high commissions to both hosts and users, could you at least provide a system that is effective, efficient, and consistently functional, and a little customer “service” when it isn’t?

Airbnb Wants to Collect All Your Private Information

I will never use Airbnb again. They try to collect all your personal and private information, and there is no guarantee that you will get the booked apartment. Yes, hotels and apartments from sites like Booking.com are not as cheap as those on Airbnb but you are not treated like a criminal.

Yesterday, my husband and I found cheap flights to Malaga and decided to spend some days in the South of Spain. So, we bought plane tickets and booked an apartment on Airbnb in Malaga. We paid the total amount in advance. Today we received an SMS from the host telling us that the reservation had been cancelled because he forgot to update his Airbnb account. On November 1st, his apartment was not available.

We chose another apartment. When we started to reserve it, a message appeared asking to upload a copy of an ID. My husband uploaded a photo of his driver’s licence but it was not enough. The next message asked him to take a selfie. Airbnb insisted he take selfie with their mobile App but we ignored this recommendation because we didn’t want to have any spyware or malware in our mobile phones. My husband took a selfie using the webcam on his desktop.

In less than an hour we received a new message from Airbnb asking to upload one more selfie because the uploaded selfie was not clear enough. The uploaded selfie was more than clear. What games are they playing? Why do they want to collect all your private data? We agree that for security reasons Airbnb may ask for some information but… it’s too much. First of all, we also live in Spain. We paid with a Spanish credit card. We have Spanish mobile phones. We don’t use Proxy, TOR, or VPN when making reservations. Why are we so suspicious? Can’t they find us on Facebook?

Sorry, Airbnb, but we are not stupid and don’t want to expose our private lives, friends, and photos to the whole world. We don’t want to install their app. They already have enough information. They have our names and surnames. They have our credit card number, that is saved on their servers. They have our mobile phone number (in Spain there are no anonymous mobile phone numbers). Even all prepaid SIM card users must identify themselves when buying one. They have our email address. They have our IP address. Is this not enough? A copy of our driver’s licence… okay… is this still not enough? A selfie? Okay. Still not enough…? Another selfie? Now we are waiting for new messages from Airbnb. What will they ask for next? A nude photo? Childhood photos? All family member photos? Bank account information?

Airbnb is Soulless Organization During Hurricanes

During Hurricane Irma, I wanted a nearby safe house to go to if needed. I found one within three miles and was willing to pay for three nights whether I used it or not. The owner wanted to rent it to me. Airbnb has a credit card verification process that was not working. They charged two different cards six minimal charges, under $2, to verify the card worked. All six charges hit my cards but Airbnb said they could not verify them for 24 hours. They then asked for a copy of my credit card Statement. After uploading the first one, they asked me to upload a second statement. This took over seven hours. After this I told them what they could do with their verification process. This was all for a $174 charge. I talked to three people at Airbnb in California and they were worthless. Please let this company die with their greedy hearts in place.

First Impressions and Last Attempts at Airbnb

Airbnb may be a good alternative to higher-priced traditional motels and hotels, but for me the first attempts to “sign-up and in” were an unresolved nightmare. The website is set up and caters to only mobile device users. Trying to do business with them from a Mac desktop? Good luck!

My reservation was originally cancelled by a New York City “host” who blamed it on the city “cracking down” on unlicensed short-term rentals. I’m still awaiting my deposit refund. I returned to the Airbnb site to search and rebook elsewhere. I found two nice rentals that fit my needs and budget. After multiple attempts to “upgrade” my “security” profile (they wanted more IDs uploaded than the TSA requires at airports) I was still unable to get through their cumbersome process. I reluctantly cancelled the reservation requests and located and booked a traditional motel, using Expedia. It took only five minutes. Good bye and good luck to Airbnb.

Airbnb Reduced me to Tears Trying to Get Verified

I have used Airbnb a few times now and have been happy with my hosts; it’s Airbnb that is the problem. When booking a place in Krakow, I came up against this ID verification system. I tried to do as it told me but it just would not accept scans of my passport. I was worried the hosts in Krakow would think I was not paying quickly enough and I tried to explain the problem. They didn’t really understand but were understanding. I needed this sorted so I spent ages on the phone trying to get help.

After some hours I got help and the guy talked me through a way of verifying me. I was then told it had accepted my ID and I could now go ahead with my booking. Everything was resolved at last. I have booked other places since then and had no problems. Yesterday when I tried to book a room I was confronted with the ID request again. I have spent about eight hours trying to talk to Airbnb. I spoke to a girl on a very dodgy line and could barely understand her. She was confused about my problem and didn’t know what to suggest. She was asking me to do various maneuvers, none of which worked. I finally had to hang up as I was busy. She emailed me and said she was going to sort it out and get back to me.

The next day I hadn’t heard anything, so resorted to phoning again. I got through to three people somewhere in the world and the phone lines were so bad it sounded like they were underwater. On the fourth call, I got someone in Ireland. I explained the situation yet again and he was totally mystified as to what to suggest. He said he would get the girl to call me since she had dealt with me yesterday. I started getting phone calls which when answered had no one on the line. The phone kept ringing and there was always silence on the line. I knew it was Airbnb.

She finally got on the line but sounded like she was underwater. I was not very polite. She managed to say I was not verified after all and needed to do it again. When the host in Krakow was told I was verified this was not true. I hung up and said the telephone line was not satisfactory. I sent her a good few emails about how appalling Airbnb was and even when I was told to click on the Help Centre links it just took me to the history of places I have booked before. I could go on but I do have a life other than Airbnb. I have spent hours on the phone at my own expense speaking to people underwater. Enough. I have now booked a hotel. It’s sad because I was enjoying my trips with them. In theory the idea is really wonderful but sadly Airbnb is useless.