Airbnb Charged Me $700 for My Wifi Not Working

I had a last minute request for booking from a guest in my villa in Jamaica. The guest had suffered a last-minute cancellation from another host and booked via automatic booking. The guest was treated to my message and warned that there was a public phone line outage in the locality of the villa. The guest understood and asked if purchasing a wifi portable dongle would work and which carrier I would recommend.

The guest and seven other people arrived at the property, did the check in, and was greeted by the villa staff. I double checked on the guest and she told me all was well. We kept calling the utility company in question for updates on repairs and we also paid a local contractor to speed up the repairs outside the grounds of our villa on the main road. We advised the guest that the issue was resolved and apologised for the inconvenience politely, even if she knew it was outside our control and all other properties in the village were disconnected.

I did a review for this guest, polite and positive. The property in question is a large villa with four bedrooms, five terraces, a 2,400-square meter garden, garage, infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea, its own beach, gazebos, and an outdoor dining and living room. The property was already heavily discounted due to COVID-19 and all the staff trained for these circumstances with face masks.

Almost a month later, I received a message from an Airbnb agent saying that I had 24 hours to explain why my property was not providing all the facilities in the description. This guest had complained and was heavily inconvenienced by the lack of wifi. Obviously I reply showing all the guest messages that there was a public outage and it was totally outside my control. The guest was promptly advised of this issue and she purchased a wifi dongle as alternative.

I am a Superhost and have never received any negative feedback. The Airbnb agent replied that they had reviewed this case and they had awarded 50% of the rental as a refund to be fair to the guest. The guest stayed three nights, booked at the last minute, and used four bedrooms with air conditioning and the pool.

I naively spent additional money to speed up the repair and ended up with this cost. I have tried to escalate this issue without success so far. I am now considering cancelling my membership both as host and guest and cancel all future reservations but I do not want to punish people that have already purchased their flights.

I believe the guest in question did this on purpose and knew very well how to rig the system and probably had done this to other hosts. Beware: do not have automatic booking on. Beware of trouble makers that book at the last minute.

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Want to Cancel and get Refund for Reservation

First of all, I did not get any passcode or wifi information upon arrival at my Airbnb. When I did get the wifi info, I could not log in. Even after mentioning the problem to the host a full day ago, the matter has not been resolved.

When I pushed for the availability of the internet, the host tried to do several different things which did not need to be done. I asked him if he had contacted his provider and he said no. He claimed that he is not tech savvy, but still did not contact support from his provider and rather tried to work on the same booster again and again.

The TV sometimes connected to the network but even that network was so slow that Netflix kept on buffering and continued showing it was loading. My laptop and cell phone did not connect to the internet at all and I have been using my Verizon cell phone data for these two days/nights.

By my understanding of how the internet works are, he has internet but he does not have enough bandwidth to accommodate all his guests. The host even accused me of doing something wrong, as apparently, he saw my browser open. It was funny because a guy living in the 21st century did not understand the concept of using mobile hotspot technology.

I wanted to leave the Airbnb and get a full refund for all the nights I was not staying. I called Airbnb customer service and was kept on hold for more than a half hour, after which a support staff member picked up the phone. She heard about the issues I was facing with my reservation and she forwarded my call to a senior member of her team and asked me to stay on hold for the call.

The senior member talked with my host and to my utter amazement the Airbnb agent decided to go with the story of the host. The host said that he had internet and just that it was a bit slow. Slow or not, I did not get any which I could possibly use and thus I should be given a refund so that I can choose to stay at another place.

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Aggressive Airbnb Host Falsely Advertising Lakeside House

We made a reservation for four nights at a lakeside house in Langstini, which the host advertised as having free wifi (and I have the screenshot to prove it); this was essential for us. When we arrived and asked about the wifi he said he decided to disconnect it because he thought people should appreciate nature and not be addicted to the internet. He was talking in a very aggressive way so I didn’t want to argue with him and tell him he couldn’t change the terms after he promised something. It’s also not his job to educate us, so I just told him that it’s crucial for me to have the wifi for my work, for our trip planning and most of all because I have a son at home who has some problems at the moment – I needed to be in touch with him.

He said that tomorrow he would give us the wifi, but only for WhatsApp, not for media. That evening the wifi stopped working and when we told him he just said “I told you it’s just for WhatsApp. Now if you want more you’ll have to pay for it and charge it at the gas station.” I found this very unacceptable: not because of the the money but because he actually lied about the wifi and I don’t have to waste time during  my vacation looking for the specific gas station where I can charge his wifi.

That wasn’t all: the place was filthy, with hair and dust everywhere (he said the cleaning lady couldn’t come). The beds weren’t ready and I had to put on all the linen; not all of them were the right size. There wasn’t enough hot water for the shower and on the third night when my daughter was in the middle of a shower the electricity and the water stopped and we were left in darkness. We wrote to him (he wasn’t there) and he didn’t respond at all. The water and electricity returned after about an hour but he never contacted us.

Worse than anything was his attitude: he was always inpatient, arrogant and vulgar, like he’d really prefer we weren’t there at all. Even when he explained about some places we wanted to visit and I asked something he started to shout: “Are you gonna listen or not?!” My son got really scared from his shouting.

He also entered our room whenever he wanted without knocking on the door. We really felt uncomfortable there and after the incident with the water and electricity my kids didn’t want to stay there anymore. I also didn’t feel that we had to feel so bad during our vacation that we waited, planned, and saved for so long, so we decided to leave after the third night.

I’m not asking for refund for the nights we stayed, although he clearly didn’t fulfill what he promised and didn’t provide what he was supposed to. His attitude was terrible, and I think we definitely deserve a refund for the night we didn’t stay because we just couldn’t suffer anymore.

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Airbnb Host Lies When Wifi Fails at Berlin Apartment

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Today is twelve days before our trip to Berlin, and our Airbnb host informed us that they are having problems with their wifi; there will be no wifi in the apartment when we arrive. As we are going on a business trip, this is not okay with us – it’s a very big deal. The host told me that they can offer 20% discount because of this, or a full refund if we are not okay with it.

Firstly, how can a host offer discounts? It’s not through Airbnb – just on his word alone, and that’s not good. In any case, we are not okay with it. The apartment is very expensive at 150€ per night. We are on business trip and don’t need to stay there if there is no wifi at all. I asked the host to cancel the reservation. She said she would not cancel it, and that I needed to cancel. I told her by Airbnb’s rules, if I cancel I can’t get a refund. Again, she told me to cancel and I would get a full refund. However, this is a lie.

I just read the rules again; Airbnb says you should never cancel a booking yourself because you will not get a full refund, so the host is lying to me. Why she is doing this? Is this normal for Airbnb? I’m honestly shocked. I rented the apartment for 790€ for five days, so it’s a lot of money for me. I should be treated well. We agreed with the owner at first, but she informed us that the apartment is still not ready. The wifi has not yet been fixed. If I knew there would be no wifi I would never have booked it. We are coming for overseas for work; it’s not two kids traveling, but professionals. I’m ready to contact my lawyer.

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Left Airbnb After Host Lied About Internet Access

I was a regular Airbnb customer, and this is my story. I went to Brazil for a business trip, from Ireland. I booked a room in Sao Paulo. I was arriving on a Sunday, and I work remotely for an Irish company. Therefore an internet connection is a must for me every place I go. I arrived to this place, and there was no person to welcome me; the host left one key with the concierge of the building, who works for the building and not for the host, so he gave me the key and that was it.

I entered the place, and there was no internet. I worked with it, spending two hours trying to fix it, but everything seemed normal – the reason there was no internet was actually that there was no service, so you could connect to the network, but there was no connection. I went to a bar with free wifi and contacted the host. She told me she lived 800 km from there, and that she would contact the internet company. Then she confirmed there was something wrong and that the company would fix it on Monday.

As I had to work, I moved into a hotel beside the property, where I was able to connect to the wifi. I spent ten nights in that hotel and the internet problem was never resolved. The host said to Airbnb that there were no internet problems, and that the issue was probably my device, being that I had four devices, and I worked in IT. Therefore I requested a refund from Airbnb. After the first night, Airbnb told me they would not refund me if I cancelled from their website. In fact I did not cancel the booking from the website, and they told me: “Okay, but you left the place” I said: “Yes, I left, but I still have the key.”

Then they asked me to provide pictures. I provided pictures of the modem with all the lights on, the devices not connecting, etc. The host got her money for no one being there, Airbnb has had my case open now for four months, and no one has yet contacted me. When I call Airbnb they say: “Your case is with the legal department…” I believe Airbnb could have stopped the payment from going to the host until the case had been resolved.

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Cold Showers, Rude Host, and Ultimately a Terrible Experience

My husband and I recently travelled to Portugal. We had been visiting different cities in Portugal and staying in multiple Airbnb homes. We came across a listing for an entire house to rent for one month in Alentejo, Portugal. I talked to the host who was listed as a woman and had over 100+ four-star reviews for multiple properties and rooms across Portugal. The place we were interested in was a new listing with no reviews. Looking back, this should have been an obvious red flag.

I spent two days talking to the host on the Airbnb messenger and confirming that the entire place had hot water, a washing machine and a router that had wifi. I informed the host numerous times that I work from home; therefore, I would be relying on wifi. They informed me on the Airbnb messenger that they had all these amenities. The host also stated that the city had a taxi rank and close amenities but no local transport. The host volunteered to pick us up from our current Airbnb listing for a small fee and take us to their home by car.

In the morning a man arrived and claimed that he was working on behalf of the host and would be handling all our needs. He admitted that he had been pretending to be the host I was talking to, and that he was close friends with the host and used her account to list his house. This was odd but at this point, I had already made payment for one month through Airbnb and I thought as long as the place was as advertised it would be fine.

It turned out that there was no wifi in the house; there was not even a router. It was a 3G mobile hotspot that would jump between one or two bars and sometimes not work at all. There was no hot water whatsoever. The man had no clue how to operate the washing machine after he claimed that the house was his. He brought out a manual for the washing machine in Portuguese which we translated and used to operate the washing machine. It was clear that he did not own the house.

As it was within the 24 hours of us checking in to the listing, I contacted Airbnb and informed them of what was going on. Luckily, Airbnb refunded me 20% of the listing and gave me back 50% of my first night. I was also given the option to get a full refund and 20% discount on a new listing if I wanted to leave that night. Unfortunately, the small village we were in did not have a taxi rank that was in use; there was no means of us leaving the village. As it was during the popular summer season, a lot of the listings available on Airbnb were either too far away or unavailable.

We spent one month with no hot water and limited internet. Airbnb insisted that the host should try to rectify the issue and tried to reach out to the woman that owned the host Airbnb account. Her boyfriend called me and said that he was away at sea and could not drive down to fix the internet issues or the lack of hot water. He proceeded to try to speak broken English with me and tell me that there was hot water and that he had driven from Porto to Alentejo four days before our booking to ensure that everything was fine. As his English was bad, I spoke Portuguese to him so he could clearly understand everything I was saying. However, he insisted on speaking English and would not listen at all to anything we were saying, insisting that everything was fine.

Eventually, it was futile talking to him so I hung up and informed Airbnb of what he had told us. When the man that pretended to be the original host returned on the day we checked out, he stated that there was hot water. He proceeded to change the gas tank quietly while we were in the bedroom tidying up and thought that I was not watching him. He then declared that there was hot water and that we were not using the boiler properly. I informed him that I saw him changing the gas tank. He had absolutely nothing to say. Why lie? Why not just admit that the gas tank had run out before our booking?

I asked him why he lied about having a router and wifi, and he said that it was a small village and worked well for him. That was not what I asked him on the Airbnb messenger or in person. During our stay, we had to boil water with pots to take “showers” because he and the original host could not be bothered to ensure that there was a filled gas tank.

I left a negative review on the listing and Airbnb deleted it; the listing is still up. I wonder if this is why the place has no reviews – because Airbnb is deleting them. The moral of this experience is if you want to try and get some sort of refund or assistance from Airbnb, communicate in detail with prospective and current hosts on the messaging app. Airbnb can see everything that is said. Avoid phone calls if possible that discuss important issues. Avoid emails too. Communicate via the app so that all cards are on the table; I cannot stress this enough.

We are now staying in our last listing with another host who lied about having wifi with an ethernet port. Airbnb has offered me a partial refund if the mobile hotspot continues to give us issues. Why? Because I communicated everything through the app.

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Problems at Rental: Private Communication Possible?

Our experiences with Airbnb have been excellent overall. However, the time and effort to get help with problems is a real concern. I believe guests used to get a post-visit email from Airbnb allowing the sharing of problems privately. This no longer appears to be the case. Here is a note I wrote which I could find no way to deliver. Moreover, I waited 25 minutes on the phone waiting to speak with someone.

Dear Airbnb Staff,

A question I have is how to contact you if a problem arises and neither a computer nor cell phone is at hand? We had need of this on our last trip to Pasadena, California. We arrived at 12:00 PM (3:00 AM New York time), in the heavy rain. Fortunately, our taxi driver was able to spot the entrance to the building and call box in the damp and poorly lit area. Our directions had told us to type in the owner’s name and call them to be buzzed in. The directions at the top of the call box sent a fleeting and almost unreadable message regarding entry. It said to type in a number and name. There were no symbols nor letters on the buttons in the call box, making it impossible to do this. I tried many times. Eventually I pushed something on the box and by translating the letters from our TracFone buttons was able to type in the names. The box said access denied.

To continue the saga, by accident I found a way to scroll for names and did manage to call the owner who said she would buzz us in. We lugged all our bags and suitcases through the gate only to find we were trapped between the outer and inner gate! No one had told us to go and open the second gate quickly. This could have meant we had to go in and out again, but my husband rang the door bell of a very helpful neighbor who came to let us in and show us where the elevator was. On getting to the correct floor in the dark – the lights apparently go off at a certain hour – it took another long time and required us to turn a large bench over in order to access the lock box. When we eventually got into the apartment all the clothes in one suitcase were soaked through.

In the apartment, there were no directions regarding the wifi or television use. My husband was able to get the wifi information from a call to the owner, as well as an explanation as to why the bathroom sink was sprinkled with mud… or worse. The owner informed us that sometimes the plumbing backed up. The apartment had no dining room, nor did it have a table or shelf high enough to use for writing or placing a computer. We did not plan to do cooking except for breakfast. Neither the electric oven nor the oven broiler worked. It was not made clear how to lock the doors on departure. Apparently you have to lift up the handle while turning the key, another item that should be in a manual.

I had intended to write this in a private communication to Airbnb. In the past there has been an option to write to Airbnb with suggestions for improvement that you do not want to communicate directly to the owner. No such email came from you. I have mentioned several problems above but want to reiterate: there was no instruction manual, let alone welcome manual in the house. There were no clear directions about getting into the house. There was no mention of the possibility of plumbing problems. There was neither a working electric oven nor a stove broiler oven. It was not clear how to lock the doors correctly on departure. This is the only time in many years of enjoying Airbnb homes that we have experienced any difficulty. Overall our stay was alright, with a comfortable bed and quiet space. However, I cannot say strongly enough that these problems should be addressed before the apartment is rented again. Thank you for taking the time to read this.