Hey everyone, here is my story. We’ve been using Airbnb for two years and rented about 15 places around the world. The big issue came on our last reservation in Hawaii that we booked seven months in advance. We made a booking on July 30, 2019 for our stay for January 17-24, 2020.
On August 1st, the state of Hawaii had a bill passed that prevents short-term rentals to rent with no license for less than 30 days. It’s becoming a common practice around the US and the world. However, our host waited until the last minute to cancel on us and advised that their listing on Airbnb was flagged by local authorities, who advised them if they kept renting illegally they would get fined a lot of money.
While I appreciate the host’s honesty, I don’t appreciate that host was well informed about the upcoming laws and technically was running their own business illegally while Airbnb was paid – also illegally. The host cancelled four weeks before our check in. I reached out to Airbnb and they advised us that they don’t have any responsibility at all regarding local regulations; it’s up to the host to decide if they want to do business legally or illegally.
We decided to re-book a similar place but it was more costly since we only have four weeks left before check in. According to the bill, any short-term rental agent must provide their license or advise the customer if the property is listed legally. When I asked this question to my new host, the host ignored me and kept silent. I followed up on the next day asking the same question. The host then reached out, saying that they wouldn’t rent this place to us and wished me good luck. With a strict cancellation policy allowing no refund and refusing to cancel the reservation, this host told us we had to cancel. Well, this sounded like a scam to us.
We reached out to Airbnb with this situation and they also refused to do anything on their part. After multiple hours of calling them and asking for a manger they rudely advised us that they were denying my request to talk to a manager and we on our own. My first thought was, “Wow, we just got scammed by Airbnb in real life.”
Within twenty minutes of this disaster, the manager called me. I explained the situation to him, then he told me that he would reach out the host for clarification. Ten minutes later, the reservation was cancelled with a full refund that we still have not received. We were quite shocked about what actually happened and we probably would never use Airbnb anymore. We actually did some research and ended up booking a better option with a hotel.
It also looks like that price-wise, Airbnb and hotels are not that far apart, but if something goes wrong with Airbnb, you will regret any business with them. It’s actually a disaster dealing with Airbnb customer service.