Airbnb Wouldn’t Send Messages from Guests to Hosts

We are new hosts and had a really bad experience with Airbnb. Airbnb didn’t send us SMS messages from guests, not even for one. As we are not on the Internet all the time (and we didn’t get those SMS messages from Airbnb), of course we didn’t respond to guests. The guests didn’t book, we lost at least 250€, but also lost other guests, who had to book another place, which was more expensive (we had the lowest price in the city: 13€/person/night) and of course with a bigger service fee for Airbnb only.

Maybe the reason was just that: for guests to pay a bigger service fee. That takes us to this conclusion: for just a few euros or dollars more, everyone loses, guests and hosts. You can just imagine what could happen if some guest (maybe you) booked instantly: Airbnb wouldn’t send you an SMS, the guest would face closed doors as the host might not be home that night, and the guest would be in the middle of the street in one of most dangerous cities in the world. Who would care?

Airbnb didn’t gave me any answer as to why they didn’t send an SMS from guests to me for one whole week. Because we didn’t respond to guests (as we didn’t know about their questions before booking) we also had a really bad response rate, which Airbnb didn’t correct as promises. Guests base their decisions on the response rate too. We lost a whole day due to talking with Airbnb staff, but nothing happened: he just talked and talked.

Be aware when you search for a place on Airbnb: the cheapest ones are never on first listing page. It is a shame for such a big and rich company to make so many ugly mistakes in year 2019.

Let’s Talk About How Airbnb Reviews Work

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My friend and I were going on a quick trip to Pittsburgh for a concert. We did not want to stay in a room adjoined to a house, so we ended up booking a unit described as a “tiny home.” The pictures were all close-ups, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Once I booked, the host demanded I change my accidental booking of one person to two (which was fine because the listing boasted an air mattress as well). Overall a $133 fee.

We got to the unit, in which the host just left the key in the door (super safe) to find a shack connected to a house. This is what one calls an efficiency, not a tiny home. Also, if this mysterious air mattress existed, it was nowhere to be found. Here I was, drinking a beer while being able to hear my friend, willing to overlook this because we had to leave.

In the morning, I awoke to my friend complaining of bites, and we looked in the bed; it was covered in ants. Still, I am trying to overlook things. While in the car ride back I received the attached message from the host. I tried to go about things as he wished, and didn’t leave a review just yet. I asked if the extra $30 for the second person could possibly be refunded as he listed it incorrectly, and, you know, bug bites. Nope, no such luck.

Lo and behold, Airbnb customer service was even worse. “The host just wants a good review.” The best part? I finally left a negative review after being patient and kind for 48 hours. Remember how I was supposed to get five stars? Yep, here’s what happened after my review. So there is my tale. Good luck to those who have issues with this service – you will need it.

My Bad Airbnb Review was Disappeared

I wrote a very clear, factual, but damning review of a room in Bolinas, California, and Airbnb did not post the review. When I called to see where that review went, they claimed they do not spike bad reviews, but that is pure BS. The room was almost $300 with add-on fees, and it consisted of a bed and a folding chair. That’s it: no table; no soap; no instructions on how to work the door lock; no parking (in spite of the fact the listing claimed there was parking for guests).

They’re an exploitative rental, and Airbnb is exploitative for protecting bad hosts. I could say more but just realize that Airbnb is not an honest mediator. Guests reviews, very factual but negative, are not shared with you, the consumer public. I’m done with them. You should try another platform and avoid places that they falsely list.

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Left Stranded in NYC with Only $500 Because of Airbnb

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I am writing Airbnb an official complaint regarding their handling of my three-week reservation that was cancelled on the day prior to checking in. I understand that this cancellation may have been out of their control but the following steps towards fixing this was just a blatant failure on their part.

I’d also just like to point out that their lack of severe penalties to disincentivise this behaviour is also a contributor so let’s just make sure they’re aware that this is what can happen when policies are designed extremely poorly. I’d like to chronologically recount to you my 8-hour ordeal (to which at the time of writing, being 2:00 AM, the issue has still not been resolved and I have no accommodation for the next 22 days in NYC).

On the first call to Airbnb’s helpline, a complaints representative told me the host who cancelled on me was obligated to help me find other suitable accommodation and I should sit tight and wait for a call within 10-15 minutes. When I pushed back she said “Sir, you need to trust the process…she will call you”. She did not.

For the second, third, and fourth calls I was constantly told to call back until I was finally redirected to a case manager. He could only provide me a 500 AUD coupon to supplement my next booking. All subsequent bookings in a similar area range cost at a minimum 1000 AUD more. This was not good enough and I asked him politely if he could escalate this to someone who could do better. He escalated this urgent request over email and then his shift ended – with no further correspondence or reasonable handover to another manager. This is not okay.

On my fifth call I had been informed by my new case manager that the other case manager cannot be reached and that he will endeavour to look for another suitable accommodation that would work with my budget and transit requirements. He proceeded to then send me a haphazard “Brooklyn” search and asked me if I had “looked” at the listings.

It took me ten minutes to convince him that what he had sent me was all in USD and that if you convert to AUD it would be much more expensive. He then proceeded to tell me he needed to restart his computer (due to computer issues) and that he promised he would call me back. I waited another 30 minutes before I decided to call back and repeat the process.

Call number six was with a “resolution specialist” who looked for other accommodation for me after reassuring me that she will be able to help. The listings she provided were also in USD and when converted, finances were unfavourable. On top of that, the listings she provided were so inadequate for my transit needs (to school in midtown) that I just gave up calling for help. I have since messaged Airbnb on Facebook messenger and they have also asked me to await another “case manager” to address my issue.

As you can see, a lot has happened and there is no resolution to show for it. On top of that I’d like to highlight some key failures on Airbnb’s part: poor escalation of issues as each “manager” or “specialist” I spoke to wasn’t really a manager or special enough or had enough authority to increase the limit or convert the coupon to a currency/amount that actually made a difference.

I’m surprised that the response approach was so varied. There are smaller banks in less developed countries that have better authority limits and remediation procedures than Airbnb does. The suggestions made by Airbnb’s specialists very clearly point out to me that they have no understanding around the context of my situation and the context of the area in which I’m trying to stay. If I knew that was the case I would not have called so many times as they were not helpful in the slightest and just wasted my time.

The amount Airbnb refunds and additional coupon offered does not match or reflect the additional accommodation costs I will incur due to my last minute booking circumstance.

Finally, I’d like to point out that this is my first time in New York and due to Airbnb’s inability to resolve issues promptly and adequately, they have made me miss my first Broadway show that I had booked, ruined my first New York experience and have broken my trust. They are a company that provides a service that I’ve constantly recommended to others and I was always a huge supporter and fan until this atrocious experience.

All I ask for at this point in time is some accountability and fair compensation for an extremely poorly handled interaction. I will take further action if necessary as the way this case has been handled is completely unacceptable.

An update from later the following day, four hours after I had to check out from my previous Airbnb accommodation. Please see attached photos of my conversation with yet another case manager. I would honestly just like to speak to someone that isn’t offshore and has some semblance of logic and reasoning.

Cockroaches and Long Term Cancellations

I had an internship in a foreign country (not tropical, and not at all known for big problems in the slightest). I needed a place to stay for two months and couldn’t access any of the local sites from the states. So I turned to Airbnb.

Now, we all know Airbnb’s absolutely shitty long-term cancellation policy of losing a month up front (if not more). Well, on day two of my trip, I woke up to a cockroach in the bedroom, and this dude was absolutely massive. I also woke up pretty late, around 8:30 AM, so it was broad daylight outside.

I immediately Airbnb messaged my host and Airbnb support, specifically saying I found a cockroach. I then ended up killing it (this thing was so massive I couldn’t get its dead body off my shoes and ended up tossing them). My host’s response was to go buy something at the store and put it in the apartment… so spending my own time and money to fix the problem in his place.

I came back from work later that same day and there was another massive cockroach by the TV. At this point I was absolutely disgusted: two cockroaches in one day, both in broad daylight. I told my host I wanted to leave and since I had only been there for two nights I wanted a refund. I found another place and everything and wanted to leave. He refused a refund and told me to essentially wait a week and deal with it.

The day after, I woke up again to a third cockroach in broad daylight. This one was way slower so I took a video of him before I killed him. At this point I have messaged my host multiple times, messaged Airbnb, and tweeted at Airbnb. There has been response from Airbnb and no successful response from my host (he had mentioned when I checked in that he was leaving for Paris that coming Friday for two months so probably more worried about his trip than his guest).

At this point it had been a solid 60 hours and three cockroaches. I vacated the property. It was that bad I had to leave in the first week of my long-term reservation (there were also dead cockroaches literally everywhere in the hallway – it was nasty). I sent videos and pictures to Airbnb and still, no response.

Finally I cancelled the reservation so that I could considerately let my host re-list his place and Airbnb finally responded. They said that because I cancelled before hearing back from them I was not entitled to anything. There’s almost $900 down the drain. They told me cockroaches were a “minor” issue, even though almost every doctor and sanitation worker (and even landlord) would disagree, and I had patiently lived with them for three days coming out in broad daylight: clear signs of an infestation, especially in a city that is not at all known to have any issues with cockroaches.

Problems at Paris Airbnb Make Guests Leave Early

Three years ago, I spent several weeks carefully reviewing Paris Airbnb apartments to rent for ten days. After some back and forth with a few hosts, I settled with one and booked it four months in advance. The host was a Superhost with more than 100 raving reviews. The cost was a little over $2,000 for a one-bedroom studio in the Marais.

I exchanged several conversations back and forth with the host inside the Airbnb platform to confirm things that were important to me, including a working kitchen with adequate cooking utensils. When we met the host outside the apartment, the first thing he told us was to not mention we were renting. If anyone asked we were to say we were relatives of… and he gave a name, which was not his.

Inside, we quickly realized there was no real kitchen to speak of, not even a knife to slice an apple. There was also no natural light; the windows were masked with film since they overlooked other apartments across a tiny, debris-strewn courtyard. There was one dirty-looking bed sheet, ancient pillows, and two small, worn towels in the tiny bathroom.

After two days there, we realized we couldn’t stay and made arrangements with someone we knew to rent another apartment. We complained to Airbnb but never got through to an actual person and never got our money back. To this day that host continues to receive raving reviews. That’s why I will never use Airbnb again. I don’t understand how a host like this could be a Superhost and receive rave reviews. The game is rigged as far as I’m concerned.

Worthless Response from Airbnb Customer Service

My experience with Airbnb has been less than pleasant. Let me first state that I do not have an account with Airbnb, not as a host or guest. However, charges were recently made on my card from the company. Calling the number or contacting them via email was essentially fruitless since they were requiring your Airbnb account info to log in.

My wife has an account (which my card and bank info is not associated with – we double checked) so she contacted them for me. She gave the info that was requested and was told not much could be done since the charge was still pending. An email was sent by Airbnb stating that our concern was being “escalated”.

After three days of waiting, the charge (roughly $950) cleared my bank and an additional transaction, a deposit (roughly $266) by Airbnb, had appeared on my statement. After searching for a phone number on the site, which I couldn’t easily find, I Googled ‘Airbnb number’. Calling the number gave the same automated login request for Airbnb clients – again, I am not.

No option was explicitly given to actually talk to someone. However, I did figure out that pressing 0 would direct you to someone. Once again, I was given the same scripted response of providing the same info, being told that my concern was “escalated”, and that I’d receive an email.

After the call ended I went to my bank to see if they could give me any info about what was going on. The bank associate didn’t have any additional info but offered to see if they could make any headway with Airbnb. After the bank associate made initial contact, the Airbnb representative requested to speak with me and once again started going through the same script. I explained I had already been through this.

At this point I became perceptibly irritated after three days of requesting info of fraudulent charges made on my bank account through Airbnb. I explicitly requested to speak with someone in the security department but was denied. In the end I had to dispute the charges with my bank and terminate my card so a new one could be issued.

Later I received an email stating the $950 had been refunded and that they suggest I “work with my bank to secure my card. If I’ve already filed a dispute with my bank they kindly ask that I cancel it.”

What? Airbnb was given three days to look into this and didn’t take any action, especially any “escalated” action, until I became irritated. For three days my account was possibly compromised and vulnerable. After Airbnb’s inaction I was forced to dispute the charges with my bank and they sent me an email stating they were refunding the money. However, if I disputed the charge with my bank, please cancel it?

How does a company operate like this? Lack of any clear contact info on the webpage. Little help from customer service when contact is made, only a scripted response. Why not just put that in a recording? That’s as helpful as my experience was. Why was it impossible for Airbnb to put me in contact with someone from their security department? It would seem that would be a priority when fraudulent charges are being made through any company. A huge failure on Airbnb’s part. Don’t expect much help if there is an issue, especially if you don’t have an account with them.

There are too many Airbnb Reviews, Period

Here’s my beef: the reviews. Every time a guest checks out, I review the guest, and I’m asked, “What could the guest do better?”

Now, the guest is my customer and a customer of Airbnb, so Airbnb asks that I criticize this person who has just come to stay the night and doesn’t want any trouble. Likewise, the guests review me and must be asked a similar question because every single review I get, there is an area for personal comments and the guest always leaves a little nastygram, telling me what I can do better.

Whereas an occasional host might take that question seriously, and the guest gets some feedback – Like what? “You shouldn’t leave your snot in the shower drain” – all guests take it seriously, and put themselves in the position of Reviewer of the Year.

There are many things I provide to be nice. These are things I don’t have to stock. I get complaints if the bar of soap is small. I was providing one Fiji water per guest (in their private little fridge) and they were complaining there was not enough free water.

I’ve received complaints about the snacks: about some of the plates arcing in the microwave, not having a hand towel, having to stir their coffee with a knife. Someone found a hair on one of the towels. Someone complained the ceiling was dirty. The window sill was dirty. There was a suggestion to wipe out the shower (make sure it’s dry for guests). The shower drips for a while after it is turned off.

A bug was found under the couch. A cricket came in under the door. There are tiny spiders in the corners of the ceilings. There’s a musty smell. I’m too noisy upstairs (it’s just me and I tiptoe). Buy a Keurig (there’s already a coffee maker, and free coffee and tea). Buy new nightstands. Buy a coffee table. Put in a TV. Make it lighter, use LED lights from now on. Keep the computer turned on or make it easier to turn on or take it out altogether.

Change the electrical wiring. Get new pillows. Get a luggage rack. Provide a place to hang clothes. Give more heat. Give more parking space. Love my emotional support pet. Did you slam the toilet seat or was that the heater?

Two naturally-oriented guests left the double doors open during a rain storm and put the couch in front of the open space to look out. When they were done, they didn’t close one side completely and for a while, worms were coming in to die, seeking the cool tile floor. Complaints from the next four guests because I couldn’t figure out why they started coming in so much.

I internalize and act on the comments. After being fully booked for a year, all those complaints I listed? They’re all fixed. I’ve made the place better and better. There are new floors, a new TV with all the channels you can get, a dehumidifier, a new heater (which two guests say is too loud and one even suggested buying a second new heater), new nightstands, the luggage rack, the LED light bulbs, plenty of plastic silverware, unoffensive everlasting snacks, lots of water (no longer Fiji), new paint on the walls and ceilings, and even a strictly regimented cleaning process, which I would happily attach if it would make dear reader happy.

My suggestion is, if they have a complaint, let them leave a complaint. But don’t encourage them. Hosts get worn out by constant suggestions and complaints. A guest might get one suggestion in a year. I have received more than one hundred. And that – on top of cleaning the place 120 times (they don’t all leave reviews) and having strangers in my basement.

I know it’s helpful. I should unpack and cherish every complaint like the little gift (of crap) it’s meant to be. But it hurts my heart. I am caring about these people and making the place super nice (it’s five stars, I’m a Superhost, and it’s a three-room suite in my very nice basement area for $45/night in a touristy area) and yet the complaints keep pouring in with every review. It’s not public (although some guests can’t help themselves) but it still undermines my joy in the experience, considerably.

Could Airbnb maybe only ask half of them to tell me what I could do better? Let the other half think for themselves whether they want to tell me what I can do better. I have many other tangents I can run down regarding Airbnb, Heaven or Hell, Depending on the day, but I will save that for another time. Until then, enjoy the host experience…

$40 Airbnb Email Credit Offer Not Received

I received an Airbnb email saying that I would receive a $40 credit the next time I traveled and stayed at an Airbnb for a trip that was $75 or more. Our family had travelled to CA to do college tours with our daughter. Since it was the week of Thanksgiving, there weren’t a lot of hotel options left in Southern California at reasonable rates. My husband wanted to book through Hotwire, which he uses frequently. I had only used Airbnb once when traveling overseas and everything had worked out fine for me, but he had never tried Airbnb.

I finally convinced my skeptical husband to let me find a place with Airbnb for two of the nights since we could take advantage of the $40 credit. Since we were already traveling when I made my reservations, I was using my new Android phone to find and book the house. When I clicked on the email link with the offer on my new phone, it asked me if I wanted to install the Airbnb app, which I did. After installing the app, I clicked on the $40 credit link and it offered me several different ways to log into the App, including Facebook, Google account, etc.

Since my Google account was already set up on my phone, I used that option. Instead of linking my Google account with my primary Airbnb email account with the $40 credit offer, I found out later that it created a new account using my Gmail address as the primary email on the account. Most software apps will link your Google, Facebook, or Microsoft account to your existing account login, but not the Airbnb app.

After booking my reservation for two nights (we did have a lovely stay… great house and view overlooking Pismo Bay), I realized Airbnb charged the full amount without ever applying a $40 credit. After spending at least an hour on the phone with Customer Support, (mainly them going around and around saying there is nothing they can do since the stay was booked under another email address instead of the email address that the offer was sent to, even though I accessed it through the link they provided in the promotional email), they finally only gave me $25 credit towards my next stay…if I book through them within the next year.

It was a very frustrating experience. They need to fix their login credential links so that other login options offered for Facebook, Google, etc., will actually recognize that you access their website or their app through the email link with the credit offer. When I let Customer Service know that I was going to post reviews of my experience on social media, they tried to withdraw the offer of the $25 credit. When asked about why I would “post bad reviews after giving me a $25 credit,” I let them know that I still had not been credited with the full $40 that was promised, instead the $25 credit will only be applied if I decide to book through them again in the next year, and I let them know that I was only going to post an honest review of the actual events that occurred.

In the end, I do have that $25 credit on my account, but I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to travel again within the next year. I still have not decided if I would try Airbnb again after this experience.