From a Loyal Airbnb Customer to a Duped One

This is my sad Airbnb story. A group of friends and I planned a trip to Amsterdam and Ibiza. We found the house we wanted on Airbnb; the host was a registered user with good reviews from the apartment, so apparently everything was normal. We contacted the host through the site, who responded to our request via email where we exchanged information to confirm the reservation. We went back to the property page, to proceed with the booking, and once again everything seemed normal… or the site was a perfect copy of that on Airbnb. Maybe even an original, because everything was the same: logos, fonts, layout, etc.

I proceeded with the reservation and confirmed the same details, then I got an email from (again, the same as that sent by Airbnb) to pay for the booking to a bank in the UK, HSBC BANK PLC. Unfortunately, once the payment was made, we received a new email confirming that the host had been transferred the money, and the reservation was ready and secured. The host confirmed by email that Airbnb was informed that he had been paid the booking, and told us that on the day of our arrival we should contact him to arrange delivery of the house keys.

With our start date approaching with no response from the host, we began to get suspicious that we were victims of fraud. We contacted Airbnb, who just informed us that there was no reservation for that number, and asked for our payment information and other documents; we sent everything to them. More than 48 hours have now passed and there has been no response from Airbnb, which forced me to make a complaint on their Facebook page. By a sheer miracle, this made them send me an email immediately, saying I had been defrauded. They apologized but said they can not do anything. It is amazing how a company the size of Airbnb does not help victims of these crimes, nor take responsibility for a scam that happened on their website with a registered user, using their platform to catch victims!

The first instance of fraud is accomplished on the real Airbnb website; they should take responsibility for it. I did not ask Airbnb to give me back the money I lost, but at least to improve their customer service and provide information on the host, including how he was able to defraud me. I believe it is an inside job from someone who works at Airbnb along with another person outside the company, because the initial contact is always done on the Airbnb site, where they “fish” their victims.

LA Urban Bungalow is Anything But Clean

Upon checking into an Airbnb in LA for almost a two-week period, I had to do massive cleaning as there were dried chicken bones left in the refrigerator along with old food and mold! The bedding and towels along with dishes all had to be cleaned and washed, and the trash was full to the top and had to be taken out. This stay was horrendous and all this cleaning took place after I was forced to wait four extra hours from the scheduled check-in time. The host (Phyllis) agreed to reimburse me for a half day’s rental cost. I was told the delay at check-in was due to maid service: apparently she was busy “cleaning” the Airbnb property. This of course was not the case. All dishes were either dirty and sitting in sink or littered with dust and dirty water marks, left to sit on wire shelving. I was forced to go to the store to purchase cleaning supplies, candles, air fresheners, incense, etc. This host never reimbursed me for the half day delay at check-in – which was agreed upon – and then had the audacity to write a slanted negative review, claiming he smelled “smoke” in his freshly de-sterilized “bungalow.” I’m off to get a tetanus shot after this horrible stay.

Threatened by Host in Asheville

On a recent stay at what appeared to be a great space with overwhelmingly positive reviews, we had the bad luck of encountering a plumbing issue (the handle for the toilet straight up fell off), leaving us without a functioning toilet for almost a whole day (this was the only bathroom in the unit). The host never replied to our message regarding the maintenance issue, so we decided to cut our losses and leave (Hotel Indigo is very nice, by the way). While we were packing up, the host came over totally unannounced, pounded on the door, and threatened us for leaving early. We finished packing up, completely terrified, and got out as quickly as possible, trying not to escalate the situation. Once we made it to safety, I called Airbnb to report the incident.

The customer service rep, “Josh,” said that because there was no evidence of what happened, we were basically out of luck (side note: I did have my unanswered messages to the host about the problem and a witness to the harassment – the other guest – which judge Josh apparently didn’t think counted as evidence). I was eventually refunded for one night, but was told that because the host has a strict cancellation policy, and the incident occurred more than 24 hours after check-in, no additional money would be refunded. This seems like a less-than-sound refund policy to say the least. I mean, what if the place burned to the ground more than 24 hours after check-in? Does the host still get to keep the money if he wants? The most troubling part of this whole incident is Airbnb’s nonchalant attitude when it comes to women being threatened by their male hosts.

Moral of the story: an unstable, violent host can intimidate you into leaving (read: escaping) early and then keep your money because you “canceled” the reservation early.

Airbnb is a Joke – Worst Experience Ever in DC

I’m still trying to get a refund after an apartment host lied about his listing (in Washington, D.C.) I showed up to this piece of garbage apartment after a coast-to-coast flight (arrived at 9pm). The apartment was filthy, gross, and dirty: garbage overflowing in the kitchen and bathroom, bed sheets dirty and thrown on the floor, dirty socks and tennis shoes on the floor next to the bed, a wet dirty towel hanging sideways off the bathroom towel rack, etc. It was actually frightening.

I was shocked and not sure what to do. So I reached out to the so-called “host”… and never heard back. It took him 30+ minutes to finally contact me and proceeded to call me a “liar”, and that his cleaning lady had just cleaned the place. I sent him photos, and said I was leaving. He said he would like to “work it out” and offered me a $50 refund. I told him it was unacceptable and I needed a place to sleep that night. So I left (returned the keys to the doorman of the building). The “host” then texted me and threatened to sue me (he said he was an attorney) if I posted a negative rating on the Airbnb website. Ha! That’s a good one.

An official complaint (with photos and documentation) was filed May 19th, 2016. AMEX did a conference call with myself and Airbnb as well… to no avail. Anyway, there it is straight up. If you like this kind of treatment, then go for it. If you are a professional and expect good customer service from intelligent human beings, then run. Airbnb does not offer this. They hand you ill-trained customer service reps who lie, coddle you with a lot of false language like “Oh, I am so sorry that happened to you!”, and then NEVER DO ANYTHING to resolve the situation.

False Advertising Keeps Guests out of Beach House

The ad claimed that it was a private room with its own bathroom close to shops and the beach. Upon arrival it was evident that the host had just rented out one of his bedrooms and everything else was shared. Furthermore, he had other tenants staying in the same house. The bedroom was so tiny my wife and I could not even move. The ad claimed the beach was a 3-minute drive; the beach was so far from the place that I presume you need a 10-minute car drive to get there. It was definitely not walking distance. After about 30 minutes my wife and I decided we couldn’t stay there so we left and when I contacted the host and explained why we left (false advertising) he refused to refund me any of my money.

In summary:

  • The smallest room I have ever seen.
  • This was not a private bedroom; everything was shared
  • The host was completely unreasonable in terms of the cancellation policy. I now realize why he has a strict cancellation policy. I am sure most people would leave after seeing the place… total disaster.

Airbnb host lies about accommodations, guests denied refund

Here is my complaint to BBB Business Review and my story: I used Airbnb to book an apartment for a four night stay for a family vacation. The rental was advertised as accommodation for 8 people with 3 bedrooms, it tuned out to have 3 single beds in 3 bedrooms to accommodate 3 people maximum. One of the beds was small child’s bed, smaller and shorter than regular twin bed. We never checked in as when we saw the apartment, it was clear we will never fit in, never got the keys or brought the luggage. The person that showed the apartment to us agreed that we can not stay there unless we sleep on the floor. The Owner has apologized, called around to see if he can get some extra mattresses and after he didn’t succeed, he offered the full refund if we cancel. We had to book the hotel for just 1 night while sending requests for other apartments through Airbnb. We cancelled the original reservation through the website, but refund was declined. We spent 3 days talking to Airbnb representatives that refuse to give refund saying that the number of beds is correct we have no right to refund based on number of sleeping accommodations. All hotels are fully booked in Barcelona in August, Airbnb didn’t refund $1000 and we needed a place to stay, we had no choice, but to try settle for this apartment even we would sleep on the floor. But the owner has already re-booked it. So we paid for it with NO refund and NO accommodation available that we were charged for. We never checked in or got the key. So we ended up with no money or apartment while the Airbnb and the owner got paid twice as they rebooked our dates. I would like a full refund. The apartment was newly listed and had only 1 review, so I couldn’t see if other visitors had found the accommodation capacity to be as misstated as I did. I contacted the host using the phone number on my reservation to ask about the refund or possible stay if there is no refund, but received no reply to my calls or texts for 2 days. Eventually he wrote to me that the matter of refund is out of his hands and up to Airbnb and the he re-rented the apartment to another guests for the days we booked it originally. So the “host” got paid twice and my family and I were left without the money $1000 and without the place to stay. I began the complaint process with Airbnb immediately on the fist day and I was told to cancel the reservation formally through the website. Ultimately Airbnb didn’t issue a refund, but instead offered a coupon for future stay in an amount less than one fourth of what I paid Airbnb for the rental. They denial of refund was based on the fact that the number of beds matter, not the number of guests advertised. Also, it was noted that I should have taken pictures of the issues I raised in my complaint. I was in the apartment only 15 minutes, never been given the key, the owner agreed to refund and I didn’t think to stop and snap some pictures. Is my testimony and the testimony of my family not enough? Why would I lie about this? Would pictures of three tiny beds really add anything to the complaint? And now because I was advised by the Airbnb customer service associate to cancel the reservation, I am unable to post an honest review of the space and warn future potential guests to stay away from this rental. To me this is the most egregious trespass ** all since the whole foundation of the Airbnb model and the so-called “sharing economy” is the customer review system.

Chicago 4th of July Nightmare

The host for my stay at a luxury condo in Chicago over 4th of July weekend told me that if I didn’t accept an unsolicited offer for a ride from the airport, I couldn’t stay at his place. I know what you’re thinking, I have “negative energy” for not accepting such a gracious offer from the host even though they asked for my credit card information, well that’s what the host said. It was a nightmare as I was on the way from the airport in a cab to the place when he refused to host me so I had to reserve a two nights in the only hotel in town that had availability: the four seasons. That’s right it cost me a fortune but it ended up being great at the hotel. I will never use Airbnb again!