Thought I was the only one going through Airbnb Hell

I had booked an entire large house on Airbnb for a family reunion and a wedding in Orlando for one week. We have five kids, six grandkids and a few newfound siblings (through Ancestry.com) that were all going to stay under one roof. At my age I do not know how many more times I will get to be together with all of them, so I cherish each one immensely.

The day before the trip, I went to contact the host for the information to get into the house and that is when I saw a big red cancellation notice on my reservation. My heart dropped. My son and his family were in the air on the way. They were going to be the first to check in, and now that he was in the air on his way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, Airbnb had cancelled our reservation.

This was my first message to Airbnb after I saw they cancelled our reservation:

Help! Our entire family and a group of friends are flying from Alaska to Florida for our daughter’s wedding. I went to our reservation to see the check-in procedure and saw that Airbnb has cancelled our entire reservation, without contacting us via email or phone or other.

We have had this reservation for a month and are leaving today to meet up with the others. We had no idea they cancelled us.

As it turns out, our credit card was compromised last month so they sent us a new one. We had no idea this was happening until we received a new card. Airbnb must have tried to run the old number and when it did not go though they just cancelled us without any contact with me letting me know.

This is terrible. What can we do now? Why would they not contact us? Help!

All of our contacts with Airbnb and the host were cordial, but in no way helpful. At least if you have an issue with a hotel, they help secure new rooms. We ended up having to find hotels so none of us got to stay together.

Here is the full story as I told it to Airbnb and still they will not refund my deposit, even though I never cancelled it.

As we grow older we realize there are only so many times left in our life that we get to be surrounded by our whole family: our kids, their spouses, our grandkids. Every single one of them. People grow up and move away.

For our family, Florida was to be that time. And to have a wedding in the midst of this. I could hardly believe I was fortunate enough, dare I say blessed enough, for this family reunion and wedding to be upon us.

The last time we visited Florida, Hurricane Irma chased us away, but now we were back. Imagine my shock when on the night before we were to leave Alaska to begin our amazing family reunion, to see that our reservation had been cancelled. I was in disbelief. Denial. Shock.

How would I tell my kids who were already in the air and were to be the first to arrive with their new baby, my grandson? In my heart I felt somehow someone would be able to work this out, to make it right. It was not to be. I am writing this from my hotel on the other side of town from where our eldest son’s family is staying.

Our daughter who is getting married is at another hotel, and our daughter’s family from Atlanta is arriving tonight to be in yet another hotel. It turned out this was a holiday (Valentine’s Day, which is also the 37th anniversary of my proposal to my lovely bride) so getting hotels together did not work out.

I am telling you this so you will know that you are renting these amazing properties to real people, with real stories, not just numbers on paper. People who work hard so that when it’s time, they can also play hard and love even harder. Real families who cherish their time together.

As we now learned, unknown to us, our credit card was compromised. Between the time I paid my deposit and the time you were to charge the remainder. As someone who has done many hotel reservations, but never an Airbnb reservation, I always assumed if there was an issue I would be contacted. I was not.

My Airbnb profile has my phone, email, address and even a photo of my driver’s license: many ways to contact me. My hope in writing this is to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Ever. What should have been a glorious trip, has been so difficult for me (I was in charge of securing our place to all stay together).

The kids have been great though and are making the best of our situation. The wedding tomorrow will still be amazing, I am still blessed to see see the kids and grands. Florida is about 100 degrees warmer than Alaska. Life is good. But please remember that your guests are real families counting on you to help make their dream vacation destination a reality.

Your job is so important, as most families do not get enough time to play together. To just hang out together. In our situation, a phone called would have resolved this immediately. Immediately.

Because I was not contacted to remedy this situation, which I knew nothing about, I am expecting a full refund of my first deposit. I only hope if this ever happens again, you will contact the guest for a quick solution.

Tomorrow I am contacting the credit card company to demand they cancel this charge as we never received a notice of cancellation. They also hold some responsibility for cancelling my card.

It was really the perfect storm; they cancelled it right at the same time Airbnb tried charging the remainder. My problem is Airbnb never contacted me, even though they said they emailed. They also had my phone number and could have easily called or texted.

This was a really important week for us, and it has caused so much stress. What should have been an amazing week turned into another episode of Airbnb Hell.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

6 Comments

  1. I will never travel through airbnb–they are a bunch of crooks. We have had nothing but trouble with them and they don’t care–they will even hang up on you in order to make you go away. Terrible customer service.

  2. I often wonder why companies take contact information and then fail to contact you. But on the other hand, Airbnb does say the reservation will be cancelled if they cannot get the rest of the money when it is due. I even get a 3 day heads up email before they take off the balance of the amount.
    So at that point knowing there was an issue with the card, you should have taken action.
    Sorry about your experience, that surely would have been heart breaking but I am glad you all made the best of it in the end.

  3. Sorry you went thru this. In addition to a valid credit card on file you need a valid e mail. Not sure how this is Airbnb’s problem. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to have a current account on file.

    As for refund of deposit, you may have lost it due to nature of cancellation that would have affected the host.

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