Underhanded methods by AirBNB and their hosts.

Underhanded methods by AirBNB and their hosts.

It seems AirBNB is training their customer service representatives to give customers the run-around and ignoring them until they grow tired and quit instead of helping resolve any real issues. 

I recently booked a trip on AirBNB for a listing that was listed as "pet-friendly", but was immediately reached out to by some corporate host saying I couldn't go forward with the stay unless I signed a contract saying I agree not to bring any pets on the premise or I would be subjected to a huge fine. I told them that their listing was inaccurate and they insisted it was my fault for not reading the listing. I showed them a screenshot of their own listing proving they were wrong. They then changed their tune and said to just sign the contract anyway but they give me permission (over text) to have a pet during my stay. This made me very uncomfortable and was, to be frank, sketched out that they insisted I sign the contract anyway. I decided I didn't feel comfortable, for obvious reasons, but was told I would have to pay the 30-day non-refundable fee regardless.

Obviously this is a terrible mistake and poor communication on the part of the host "serviced housing", but what's even more appalling is how AirBNB chooses to handle such incidents. I've called and messaged half-a-dozen times at this point, each time a new case is opened, I have to re-explain everything that happened, and then they tell me they will "investigate" and get back to me. I always insist that I'm willing to wait on hold, but they refuse and disconnect my call. I ask if they will call me back and they always say yes, but every single time I get a message on their chat from the person helping me saying their "shift is ending" and they are unable to help even if they did investigate and that I just have to pay the fee if I want to cancel. No one calls, no one explains anything, just a message saying they are off work and can't/won't help. If you ask to speak with a supervisor or someone capable of helping, they will refuse and say they can't until their "investigation" is over (an investigation that will never take place).

After going through this run-around tactic several times, I finally got a call from the host themself and they even admitted that it was a mistake on their part: they sent the wrong contract, and they made a mistake on the listing. I expressed my frustration, and insisted that because this was a mistake on the part of the host that I shouldn't be required to pay a cancellation fee. Instead, they offered to let me stay without verifying my identity, or signing any stay agreement at all, just further adding to the sketchy way they run their business. 

Imagine the gall of admitting that you made a mistake which resulted in the taking of money from someone in exchange for a good/service you will not be providing, and then telling them you refuse to reimburse them. 

The fact that AirBNB is not willing/able to help remedy these situations is shocking and concerning. It causes me to question the integrity of the entire corporation as well as it's management.  I feel unsafe with the host and with the stay but this is of no consequence to AirBNB.

2 Replies 2
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Alex11857 If the host is willing to now stand by their original offering there is no real issue here. Yes they have been a bit stupid but overall you are now back in the position you were in when you booked originally.

Level 3
Melbourne, Australia

Don't know if host and guest support is the same or not, but there should be an option to use the message rather than call. I craft my message carefully putting down everything that i want to say and then pretty much within 24 hours i get a respond. 
So maybe try messages.