Belgrade reservation nightmare – Airbnb Q and A

Dear Airbnb, I decided to write this open complaint directly to you after the awful experience I had with your website and several hosts that use it to rent their homes.

THE FACTS In few words, I used your site to rent a small apartment for 2 people in Belgrade (SRB) from the 30th December 2015 to the 4th January 2016. After a deep research and several trials, I received a lot of negative answers from different hosts that declared, according to your website, they had available apartment during the requested period. Despite a frustrating experience provided by your unreliable website, on the 28th of December 2015 I found an apartment that apparently fit my need. The apartment is called Rustic Fantastic [] provided by the host Alex and Vlada []. I asked the host some specific question about the apartment characteristic in term of precise location, price, car and neighbors noise, including particular features such as shades and blackout curtains availability to sleep in the dark. I hate eyemasks, earplugs and other fussy tools to help light sleepers but, unfortunately, I know that my requests are not very popular or sound strange throughout the common world people. So what ? The host, after some impolite answers said he had all the characteristic I was looking for. Meanwhile I asked for a hard discount because I know that in Belgrade prices are very low and I reasonably estimated that a doubled price according to the normal rate was enough. After some discussion we agreed to a price of 50EUR/day, 80EUR+12EUR by Airbnb website and 170EUR once arrived on site. While we were discussing I asked for more pictures of the home because I didn’t realize its arrangement.
The morning after (29th December 2015) I woke up with an intrusive thought about the sleeping room I didn’t see from his pictures. I saw just a small cubicle with a single bed. I wrote immediately to the host asking about the bed and he told me that the one in the picture was the only bedroom in his apartment. I pointed out I rented the apartment for 2 people, me and my wife. He said that it was not a problem. He just put a mattress (written “madraces” I couldn’t understand) on the floor. I remained astonished !! I started complaining that the price was excessively overrated considering he rented his home with 1 bedroom and 1 normal bed for 2 people as he declared officially on Airbnb description. I complained he had declared false information on the apartment features therefore I asked at least a reduction of the price to 40UER/day as immediate compensation for the problem. He refused. He said to cancel the reservation and he avoided to write me and to answer to my phone call which cost me at least 4EUR after he refused to connect with me by Skype or Viber. I felt ripped off and I decided not to drive more than 800km by car to meet this unpleasant and dishonest host with such communication problem.
It was 9.00 PM, car and luggage ready to go. After searching the Airbinb website (it was about 10.40PM), I didn’t find any section to open a dispute with this host. Only 2 option were clearly available: modify the reservation or cancel it. All the rest wasn’t clear even in the various FAQ !!! Any way to contact anybody!
I chose the second option (to cancel). At first an email advised me that cancellation didn’t give me the possibility to receive the money back. After a while I received another email telling me I was eligible of a reimbursement of 80EUR. I got angry: what about Airbnb commission ? I tried to find an email address to write to about his issue. AGAIN: I didn’t find anything.!!!! I found just a community support forum but the answers I got were too general and not useful. I signaled the host. I remained without commission reimbursed. I remained with blown up plans for New Year Eve just 10hrs before leaving my house in Italy! I got mad, angry and I tried to find immediately another location. Obviously everything was fully booked or overrated even if several accommodations seemed still available on your website. Completely unreliable! This happened not only in Belgrade, where I received other impolite answers, but all over Italy where I tried to book. That’s unbelievable. Finally I stayed home!!!!!! T

HE REQUESTS Now, after cooling down, it comes the EXPLANATION and COMPENSATION TIME!!! I decided to write directly to you considering the Customer Service structure you set up is, according to my experience, completely useless and deliberately distracting. Therefore I am here asking you to declared officially your purpose just before this complete story goes on your official best fan site [] Here my questions and observations follow:
1) Why is home location approximate and I cannot receive more detailed information about the house location to realize if it is noisy or not? Privacy is not an explanation considering these people intentionally decided to put their apartments/room etc up for rent? Shouldn’t transparency be your first target? – Hosts prefer not to share their exact address unless the guest has already booked for safety reasons, but you can inquire with each host about privacy and noise issues to talk with them about their home.
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, I read carefully your answer but according to my personal experience, is terribly weak. Should I trust the host and his opinion about noise. Are you sure the host tell you the truth instead of having a different noise perception and letting you discover that his location is not the one you like once booked (therefore paid him and your commission ) ? As I wrote above I don’t believe that location privacy should be an issue for somebody who deliberately decided to rent his house. Like an hotel or a bnb: would you like to know in advance where is located or do you prefer to discover on site?
2) Why can’t I contact the host directly before renting the apartment ? Are you afraid to lose commission ? – You can contact the host directly but only via e-mail. Dear Airbnb and Sloan, Your reply isn’t correct. I can contact only via e-mail only inside Airbnb website; that’s the obstacle I am complaining about. Hence your answer is neither complete nor detailed as requested above.
3) Why should I trust on guest review, as suggested by your personnel, considering, as we all know, they are partially fake like on Tripadvisor ?  Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer!
4) Why don’t you allow host and guest to exchange more pictures of the place if requested ? – A host may upload more pictures to their listing if they choose. That way you can view the photos before booking.
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, As you read the host didn’t do that because he said he had no more picture (1st lie) and he had not more pictures taken by a professional photographer as per your license (2nd lie). Instead your internal email platform doesn’t allow to exchange pictures !!
5) How is it possible a fraudulent host is still present and freely operating on your website even after my warning []?
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer!
6) What does it happen to signaled hosts? Nothing as I believe? [;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;] Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer!
7) Why did you allow to open a claim easily and immediately [;]?
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer !
8) What should I do if I find discrepancies from what declared on your website and what the host really provide ? Do you think should I discover on site ? Maybe on the 31st December ? – Feel free to reach out to us to resolve an issue as soon as you discover it, so we can help.
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, Are you serious ? Are you kidding me ? Can you imagine me in Belgrade on th 31st December, without roaming and without internet connection ? How and where should I contact you ?? Should I sleep in the car at 10°C below zero ? Would you find an hotel for me ? Do you think you gave me a smart answer ?
9) Why did you charge your commission once I started complaining and signalling the host not finding an easy way to open a claim procedure ?
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer !
10) What does it happen to impolite and rusty hosts [] ? – If guests are not happy with a host’s listing, they will usually leave a review that reflects that. Also, you can “report” any statements in the message thread, next to the message you are concerned about, and they will be reviewed.
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, I can’t leave any review before being a guest ! If something goes wrong on the reservation phase I can’t signal on the site. Differently tell me how to advise all the people listed above. I am pretty sure nothing happens to unpleasant hosts if they didn’t do something really bad that requires police intervention. Here your answer is totally unreliable !
11) How is it possible that people without available rooms or apartment are still present on your website maps of available accommodation once I inserted the requested staying period ? These host, the great part, should be kicked off from your website immediately ! – You must put in the dates you want to book first, before searching for listings. Hosts do not always have availability so you must only search for those who show availability during the time you are looking to travel.
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, one of us is misunderstanding the main point!!I IF I HAVE ALREADY PUT THE DATES I WANT TO BOOK and I obtain a host list (visible on the map too): the problem pointed out derives from that hosts that, once contacted, declare they are fully booked ! This is not acceptable according to your statement BUT it is the rule !!! Hence you answer is inconsistent AGAIN !
12) How is it possible that house agencies are allowed to present their home on your website [] ?
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer !
13) Why don’t you provide a customer service accessible email address where you can talk directly with your team managers in order to solve claims in adequate why ?
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, missed answer !
I consider that, despite what declared from your personnel (Edera T. ??=poison ivy] on the phone, that a coupon of 25USD (do you really think USD is my currency ???) doesn’t represent an acceptable compensation of having lost the possibility to spent my only holidays possibility during 2015 New Years Eve in Belgrade. I lost happiness, a lot of time, health and sleep and I got really angry, frustrated and sad. I hope you can compensate all that and punish adequately people signaled.
I want clear and detailed answers provided by a person directly to my email address i can reply to ! I hope you will work to improve your site eliminating all those people that declare wrong or diverting information on your website. Right now finding a good solution is like trying to play to Russian roulette !!
“Thank you again for sharing your feedback with us. I am so glad we could answer these questions for you. Please let us know if there is anything else you’d like to know. We are always here to assist!”
Dear Airbnb and Sloan, Do you think you gave the required answer ? I have the strong feeling you are trying to timewaste with me ! Don’t like at all !

Final story: commission money back, 150 voucher free given, review not allowed, host NOT punished. Ba careful GUYS!!!