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.

Total Frustration Uploading Photo IDs on Airbnb

Talk about total frustration. I tried the night before at least 15 times to upload a passport photo using Airbnb’s interface and taking a snapshot of the photo using my computer. The photo image uploaded came out nearly perfect. However I got a message stating the picture was not clear. I tried taking a picture of my passport photo using a cell phone and then uploading that picture to my desktop and from there uploading it to their system. It uploaded correctly each time however I kept getting a message stating that it was not clear. We tried repeatedly and then we got a completed transaction notice from PayPal.

We thought all was good until I woke up the next day and there was a message stating the photo was not clear. Really… what does a photo have to do with making a transaction or trying to get some rental property? The airlines don’t do that much checking; they would be broke if they did. I made a call to Airbnb, talked to a representative and then a supervisor. The last guy said my picture was verified and good. He gave me some coupons and I asked him if he expected me to do this all over again. I tried again and again and this time PayPay charged me twice. This time I got a receipt from the Airbnb system showing the charges. I was thinking I was good to go, but one hour later, I received another email saying the picture was not clear. Why in the world are they so hooked on pictures? If you want lots of pain then you should use Airbnb.

Airbnb Will Leave You Stranded With Incompetent Customer Service

I started my Airbnb account with problems. Their “jimeo” scanner for verification has so many bugs it’s useless. I provided my credit card number and information. In the middle of my stay I decided to extend and was asked to send them a copy of my bill. I had already made the reservation and paid for it ten days prior to this request.

Who brings a paper copy of their credit card statement to the beach on vacation? Who would trust these incompetent idiots with such personal information, only to have them send a “mystery” temporary authorization hold to my account which took 2-3 days to post. I don’t do online banking for security purposes.

I tried to contact Airbnb – no response – and had to look up their phone number on a different company’s website (filled prompts on the Airbnb app make you run in circles with no help). I spent 15- 30 minutes on both the San Francisco number and general customer service line multiple times. No one picked up. There is no customer service in my opinion, only PR lies to deceive people.

Then they claimed I cancelled my stay the day before with no refund. I stayed there; the host was great. It was if they didn’t even read the email and just lied. I had to spend $50 for an uber home instead of another night’s stay. Luckily I was close to home. I would never use Airbnb again. This was just local for a weekend in California. I feel sorry for the poor souls who would trust this garbage lying incompetent company with a trip in Europe with expensive airfare. I hope another company comes along and puts them out of business. In a word, these people are asinine.

Airbnb Does Not Care if Criminals Want to Rent your House

Airbnb is a giant scam. Beware. Their customer service sucks (both as a host and as a guest). But that is only the tip of their iceberg. Hosts (especially) should use VRBO or other vacation rental resources, and travelers and guests are advised to do likewise. Airbnb claims to verify their renting guests, and puts many hurdles in the way of hosts trying to require potential guests to fully identify themselves. Only owners or hosts who own fleabag properties would allow any Joe Schmoe to take possession of their property without providing full ID – SSN, Drivers License, DOB, full name, mailing address, etc. – and permission to run a credit check. Maybe that is why so many Airbnb properties are fleabags.

We have properties worth over $1 Million with valuable furnishings and artwork and there’s no way are we going to give the keys to someone Airbnb will not let us verify. I am a realtor and attorney, and I can tell you horror stories when owners do not fully vet guests themselves.

We recently tried to check on one “verified” guest, only to find that their cell phone was really someone else’s (same first name, but different last name and no idea who the “guest” was). No other information Airbnb gave us access to checked out either. We tried several ways of contacting the booking guest but only got one reply – through Airbnb’s anonymous contact email, which was clearly written by a non-native English speaker (even though their name was listed as “John Smith”; I am using a pseudonym here, do not want to implicate anyone directly).

I am guessing they were Eastern Bloc scammers who had cased our Airbnb listing through the pictures, booked for a weekend, and planned to simply rob the entire place during their stay. When I called Airbnb to report my reasons for thinking this was a scam and cancelling the reservation, they penalized me and said I was being unreasonable in the information I was requesting from the guest even though my listing clearly stated what I require prior to a stay.

VRBO has no problem with me getting full verification and ID from guests. Airbnb claims they have a $1 million dollar insurance policy on each rental. When the bandits steal all my valuables, I then get to argue with a third party insurer who has no relationship or loyalty to me (only to Airbnb, their real client), prove my losses to their satisfaction, and hope that I am ultimately made whole (of course, after paying out of pocket for six to twelve months to refurnish the property, not to mention trying to replace irreplaceable artworks, which I enjoy sharing with my otherwise respectable, and fully vetted, guests).

Any legitimate business model would give paramount importance to securing the person and property of the owners and hosts. Any hotel around the world will make you show authorized IDs (passport, credit card, etc.) for every guest before renting you a room. Only Airbnb thinks it can bully owners (increasingly sleazy slumlords and fly-by-night “re-renters” who have no real connection to the properties or neighborhoods they have on offer) into rolling the dice on any jackass who can present a credit card with a limit equal to a few nights’ rent. They then might steal or cause damages worth 5, 10 or 100 times that amount.

Repetitive, Obnoxious, Superfluous and Totally Unnecessary Verifications

In the last week of April 2017, I was prevented from making a reservation through Airbnb because it claimed that the credit card I added was new and it was necessary to verify that I was indeed the card holder. There is nothing new about my credit card. I have using the same card for more more than three years and Airbnb is among those which have debited my card, many times, twice in April 2017 alone. I had to send Airbnb a bank statement to prove this. As pointed out by another furious ex-user of Airbnb, not everyone possesses the necessary tools to scan a bank statement and send it to Airbnb. Moreover, few people in the world carry bank statements on them. Such documents are at home. If you are lucky, it may be possible to download them from the Internet, scan them, and send them to Airbnb. If you are at home, this is usually no problem, just a waste of time and energy. If you are abroad, especially in a country without easy access to a computer and scanning equipment, then forget it.

After going through this process, I was finally able to make my reservation. In the second week of the following May, I was again prevented from making a reservation for exactly the same reason. Airbnb had to verify if I was indeed the holder of my “new” credit card. However, unlike my first bad experience, this second one was far worse. I was told no fewer than four times that the problem had been solved and that I could proceed with the reservation. Four more times I tried to make the reservation, four more times I was asked for proof of ownership of my credit card, and four more times I had to get hold of a bank statement and send it to Airbnb as proof. I am still unable to make the reservation.

Airbnb has acknowledged that there is a problem with its site and I must wait a few days before I can make my reservation. I have already wasted three days trying to make this reservation. Time is money and loss of time is loss of money. Airbnb used to be user friendly. Its success has turned it into a site that leads you to waste a huge amount of time. Try finding a telephone number on its site; I tried and failed. I had to do a Google search to get hold of a telephone number to Airbnb’s customer’s service. The time wasted to respond to its unnecessary and obnoxious verification certainly does not justify the fact that it is cheaper than hotel accommodations.

Will I use Airbnb again? If and only if it is my very last option. There are far better sites with far better services and means of communication. Promises that customer service will get back to you before the end of the day or that the problem has been solved or will be solved within 24 hours, are simply not respected and no attempt is made to explain why or to say when the problem can be solved. I still cannot make my reservation.

Airbnb can Block your Account Whenever it Chooses

On April 24th, 2017, I was sharing a message with a host to book a reservation for Japan. The host had my reservation from April 25-29. However, Airbnb did not allow me to make my reservation for some reason, then blocked my ID so that I could not log in. I was embarrassed to call customer service directly, and I did not receive the answer to a question that I posted on Twitter and through several emails over two days (see picture). There is no obligation to respond to the deletion of my Airbnb account or even the prevention of deletion under the terms and conditions. The company still has my passport image, my name, phone number, and my credit card number. I am extremely unhappy and afraid of revealing personal information. I am still not going to use the company and I will not be able to hear their answer. It is irresponsible to say that there is no obligation to notify someone without informing him of the reason for deleting his account. It looks like Airbnb has no legal responsibility.