Used to love the Airbnb experience as a host until recently when I was enlightened with the real picture of the horrible customer service offered by this company.
Fully agreed with some of the comments given on this site – appalling customer service. One day out of the blue my account was disabled for no reason. I tried to call them to (1) understand what happened and (2) reinstate the listing as everyday of it not being active costs me reservations and $. Customer service line was always busy, and I ended up waiting on the phone for 30min for what must have been 10 calls to a US number within the course of 2 days (I am based in the UK). The reason why I had to call them 10 times is because half the time the person I was on the phone with was clueless about what was going on (more than one of them was adamant to me that my account was still up and running – and only after taking a closer look realised that actually yes it was disabled!). In addition, the whole process was hugely opaque – all they could do was to pass on your “case” to “a specialist department” to investigate. I never heard anything meaningful from this “specialist department” – they sent me back an email saying the account had been reinstated (without an explanation as to why it had happened in the first place) but when I checked it turned out it was still disabled. Appalled, I called back (and waited on the line for 30min again) to only find myself back in the original helpless explaining – waiting process. Nothing has been resolved or updated since.
Worst is the attitude of some of these call-centre people: When I expressed my concern that, because I can’t even access my account and because the whole incident has been such a bad experience, I may consider delisting the place to avoid getting into the same trouble in the future, the lady on the line cheekily said “you don’t have to stay with us – but if you cancel your future reservations we will charge you penalties”. Helpful, isn’t it? Considering I can’t even *manage* my future reservations not being able to log into my profile. How am I to welcome my next guest in a few days when my account is disabled? Is it fair that they took down my business AND fine me for not being able to accommodate my guests?
But seriously, having thought about all the risks, the trouble of going through all of this again, and the appalling attitude of this company, the $200 cancellation penalty fee seems utterly small. I have decided that it’s not worth it – so bye bye Airbnb, never again.
N.B. I am reading online reviews that many people have experienced abrupt and frequent cancellations from the hosts recently. I suppose those hosts may be going through the same thinking process as I am. Sorry guys but it’s Airbnb who’s screwing us all.
Scarlet C, if you receive this, please send a private message to
The Sunday Times Magazine
0207 434 3453
She is a reporter working on an article featuring airbnb users in the UK
I too was hosting a vacation rental on Airbnb. A great guest caused some unintentional damage and without question agreed to pay for the restoration all which was covered by the deposit. Airbnb was to hold the deposit until repairs were made. The next day they froze my account and would not restore it until I had scanned my passport and sent it for storage on their servers. bear in mind I was verified with my email, phone and bank account and already a dozen guests who had stayed, i/e. I was a real person. They assured me that the info would be secure. I’m sure that’s what Target and Ebay told their millions of customers before they were hacked. Only a fool would let a corporation store their government documentation. They refused all further contact and reimbursement. Their policies are arbitrary and capricious, they refuse to divulge any reasons for their behavior and will refer you to a TOS that is so cumbersome and legaistic it essentially will always put you at a disadvantage no matter how right you are. I went to VRBO and I couldnt be happier. I have no problem showing my ID to a guest and require to see theirs once they arrive. This isn’t about trust about me ,frankly this trust about them. They are liars and won’t help you when your identity is stolen.