Why AirBNB is NOT worth it anymore

Why AirBNB is NOT worth it anymore!

We’ve been using AirBNB for almost 5 years now. In these five years, we’ve had some good experiences and some bad. However, every good experience we’ve had has been because we are always very careful with where we choose to stay. We only look for hosts with good reviews, great pictures, and almost always stay in independent apartments. But our bad experiences have always been because of AirBNB’s absolutely terrible customer service. Our AirBNB experience can be summed up as: It’s great when everything goes well, if things go wrong, AirBNB will never help you out and you are on your own. This can be varying levels of scary depending on which country you are in and what your situation at the moment looks like.

That’s pretty sad for a company that is valued at over $25 billion. One would expect that they’d have halfway decent customer service by now.

So far, we’ve had three really bad experiences with AirBNB. The first one was in Mexico when we checked into a house that looked like it was haunted. We contacted AirBNB customer support about the unhygienic conditions and creepy vibes and they couldn’t do anything. Finally, we decided to check out and move to a hotel and after a few days AirBNB refunded our money.

AirBNB bathroom in Mexico City

AirBNB bathroom in Mexico City


The next bad experience was in Brazil. We booked an apartment for four people. When we arrived there, there was a double bed and a single bed. So we got in touch with the host saying where is the fourth person supposed to sleep? His reply was “There’s a couch in the living room”. Really? This “couch” was not even a sofa bed. When we asked the host for help, he said “Take it, or get out”. So we contacted AirBNB customer service. AirBNB customer service tried to look for alternate accommodation and as usual, didn’t find anything. So, they got back to us saying they would refund the service fees we had paid them and we could use that money to buy an inflatable mattress. We were desperate and had no choice, we ended up buying an inflatable mattress and our friend ended up sleeping on it for the duration of our stay. He slept on the floor on an inflatable mattress, and yes, there were cockroaches in the house. How would you react if a $200/night hotel treated you this way?

At this point, given our past bad experience we didn’t follow up further with AirBNB. Two years after this incident, I discussed these issues on a popular programmers forum called HackerNews. An AirBNB customer service rep promptly got in touch with me and was extremely apologetic. He refunded our entire payment for the Brazil incident and even offered us some vouchers as compensation. He said that they had greatly improved their customer service and that they would now be able to handle such issues with no problems. He assured me that we could now confidently continue using AirBNB without any fear. Well, James from Customer Service, I’m sorry to say this but you were wrong. Your customer service still sucks.

This time, we’ve arrived in Lisbon for 15 days. We booked an apartment and as usual we work at home and we also spend some time exploring the city, meeting friends, etc. The municipality is renovating the cobblestone streets in front of our apartment. Our host failed to mention that right in front of this apartment there is heavy construction going on. So once we arrived, jet lagged from Canada and went to bed, we were rudely woken up with the sounds of cranes and bulldozers. The entire house rattles when they are breaking the cobblestone in front. We cannot talk to each other, we cannot have visitors over, and we certainly cannot get any work done.

I contacted the host asking when the construction will be over. It’s been 5 days and he has not responded to me. I contacted AirBNB customer service with a video of the construction out front. It’s been 48 hours and they have not responded to me. In fact, when I got in touch with Daniel at customer service, he was quite snarky. He said a trip manager would get in touch with me and I asked him “when?”, to which he responded saying “soon”. I asked “is soon 2 hours, 24 hours, or 15 days?” To this, he responded with “I hope it will be less than 15 days”. He also mentioned how they were very busy since this is the peak season because it’s summer, etc. How reassuring! I did remind him, that they are a global platform and that it’s not summer everywhere.

We’ve decided to wait until Monday and then move out of here because we need some time to find a new place. I sent a “Change this reservation” request to our host, he hasn’t responded to that either.

The construction is scheduled to take place for 120 days and the host didn’t mention a thing to us. Every day, from 7am to 7pm this house shakes like there is an earthquake. The noise and dust is incredible as well! Apart from this, the house is indeed a very charming place.

The not so lovely view from our AirBNB apartment in Lisbon

The not so lovely view from our AirBNB apartment in Lisbon


With its enormous scale and reach, AirBNB has become the de-facto choice for renting apartments in most places around the world. But a $25 billion valuation doesn’t mean that they can act with complete disregard towards their customers. AirBNB is already in trouble because of violating local laws in many countries. In Barcelona, they were fined for violating local tourism laws while in Paris many AirBNB locations continue to be illegal. In New York City, AirBNB has been working with hosts illegally since it is not permitted to rent apartments for under 30 days in multi-apartment buildings.

Customers are not fully aware of the risks they take on when they book with AirBNB. The entire experience can be very hit or miss. Today, with increased volume, the prices of AirBNB rentals have now started rivaling those of hotels. What used to be a way for people to rent out their houses has now become a full fledged business for many.

Ironically, the people who make a business out of their AirBNB rentals are more serious about the customer service experience. Our experience has been that if you rent from “property managers” via AirBNB, the experience tends to be better. Possibly because property managers don’t see their AirBNB rentals as a side business and thus make up for AirBNB’s miserable customer service.


There are several issues that guests who go through AirBNB could face and the biggest ones are discussed below, what’s worrying is that most of these issues are trust and safety issues.


1. AirBNB customer service is terrible

This is by far the biggest problem. You pay AirBNB a service fee (around 12%) but they don’t see this as much more than platform fees. They do not offer any valuable customer service and if your experience takes a turn for the worse, do not expect anything from them. You are on your own. Compared to a hotel where you can escalate a situation to the management or even to the relevant government authorities in a city, AirBNBs are almost completely unregulated and you have no recourse in most cases. Since the people who run the platform (AirBNB) aren’t going to help you out, if you run into a host who doesn’t care, you are on your own.


2. AirBNB verified photos come later

If you don’t understand how wrong this is, let me explain. AirBNB offloads the risk of VERIFYING a property onto their users, that is, those that stay in a property for the first time. Since a few years, AirBNB has been paying photographers to go and take photos of properties. However, they allow hosts to list properties without verifying anything about the property. So a host can upload pictures of pretty much anything. You end up at their place which looks nothing like the photos. This is what happened to us in Mexico. What are you supposed to do? Contact AirBNB support? Good luck with that!

Would have appreciated some verification before we landed up here!

Would have appreciated some verification before we landed up here!


3. AirBNB offers insurance to hosts but guests get nothing

Hosts on AirBNB pay around a 3% fee on each booking. Guests on the other hand pay 12%. However, AirBNB offers fairly comprehensive insurance to hosts in case guests come and trash their place. But, as a guest, what do you get when things go wrong? Just an extremely stressful vacation in most cases.

AirBNB protects hosts but not guests

AirBNB protects hosts but not guests


4. AirBNB has dishonest reviews

AirBNB’s review system suffers from “Would you say this to someone’s face?” syndrome. I’m not sure if that’s a real syndrome but basically it’s easier for people to be more objective when they are criticizing or reviewing a nameless, faceless, big business. AirBNB host reviews tend to be more positive than normal and this is not because everyone’s having beautiful experiences. This is because when you stay at someone’s place, even if it’s a small house rental business, you meet the owner and make a connection. It’s very difficult to publicly criticize them later about the fact that there was mould on one wall or that the WiFi wasn’t that fast or the shower didn’t drain quickly.

4 months later, when we arrived at this property, the mold in the walls was still there!

4 months later, when we arrived at this property, the mold in the walls was still there!

You’ll most often leave the host a private note as part of AirBNB’s feedback system and be on your way hoping that they fix it. Guess what, hosts don’t always fix ‘it’. If you check reviews for hotels you will almost always see brutal honesty. It can also be hard to sift through all of that but at least it’s the whole story rather than “Oh my gosh Barbara is such a lovely person and received us at 1AM” without mentioning that the flush worked in reverse and would spill water all over the bathroom floor. Also, hotels will receive you at 1AM and you will never feel the need to be grateful for that.


5. Hosts get to review you

This has got to stop. In no other aspect of life does a business get to review their paying customers. This is great to establish trust and for a host to know who they are hosting, but after you’ve had 5 or 10 reviews, you don’t need to continue getting “reviews” from your hosts. Besides, reviews on AirBNB are much more valuable for hosts because they get additional business because of them.

Furthermore, this contributes towards the dishonest reviews you see on AirBNB. You know that your host is going to review you as well and you will thus only want to say nice things about them. Yes, the reviews are secret until both of you have reviewed each other, but it’s still a contributing factor. Plus, your host gets to respond publicly to the review you have left and there are many instances of hosts blaming their guests on AirBNB.

Cat-fight on AirBNB reviews! Who should we believe?!

Cat-fight on AirBNB reviews! Who should we believe?!


6. Increasing Prices that have resulted in costs at par with Hotels

Most touristic cities now have many hosts renting out via AirBNB. I remember a time in 2011 and 2012 when these listings were a nice way to find apartments that would include a kitchen but would be cheaper than a hotel. This is no longer true, this reasoning has turned around on its head to become “You get a kitchen and can save money on eating out, so you should pay more for your apartment”. This is reflected in rising AirBNB prices in all these cities. Unfortunately, although you end up paying as much as a hotel in many cases, you will not have the security or standards that a hotel almost always ensures.


7. Lack of consistent standards

Hotels have had, for as long as I can remember, a rating standard where I can know that a five star hotel is pretty good and a four or three star hotel would normally work alright for me. Of course, this varies based on country and region but within any given country or region, the meaning is pretty clear. Compare that to a 5 star AirBNB rating which just mostly means that the host is a nice guy. When you check into a Hyatt or even a Comfort Inn, you know what you can potentially expect. Hotels are often very specific about everything that they offer because almost all of this counts towards their star rating (telephone next to the toilet anyone?), but with AirBNB you can never know what to expect. You can sort of get an idea through the reviews that a property has but even those are not fully transparent.


8. Inflated fees

There seems to be a great variation in the fees you will see these days through AirBNB. The filters on the site do not take into account cleaning fees associated with listings. What hosts have started doing recently is listing their properties cheaper and then tacking on $200 as cleaning fees. This results in them ranking higher for price sensitive searches but then they end up earning the same amount because you pay an inflated cleaning fee. We’ve often arrived at apartments that were dirty even though we paid a $100 cleaning fee. In that moment, we had to clean the apartment ourselves. Most of the times, the host refunded the fees to us, but did you ever have to pay a cleaning fee at a hotel? Did you ever have to clean your own hotel room inspite of paying cleaning fees upfront?

How a night that is supposed to cost $125, easily turns into USD280 with AirBNB!

How a night that is supposed to cost $125, easily turns into USD280 with AirBNB!


9. You might be living in an illegal rental

AirBNB does not verify that its hosts are allowed to rent out their apartments as per local laws. This is why they have gotten into trouble with many local authorities in New York, Paris, Barcelona, and even Berlin. Since many cities have zoning and short term rental laws, you could get evicted in the middle of your rental period. Lots of apartments on AirBNB are sublets without the knowledge of the actual landlord. This has also led to ugly situations for several guests in the past. It’s pretty hard to place your confidence in a company that has repeatedly flouted regulations and laws all over the world and continues to do so. Their excuse? They make hosts “aware” that they should follow local laws.


The conclusion here is that if you want to have a good vacation, do not take a chance with AirBNB. If you do choose AirBNB, it’s good to be aware of the risks that I have outlined above. Not all of them are very obvious and remember, you are often paying extra (AirBNB service fees) to take on more risk as a customer.

In any case, it might always be better to book a place for 1 or 2 nights and then negotiate directly with the owner if you’d like to stay longer. There are zero advantages to booking a longer stay with AirBNB because they offer no guarantees. There have even been times that we have arrived at a place we’ve booked and the owner had to offer us a different place because they rented out our apartment to someone else. So even your ‘reservation’ is not of much value.

Although AirBNB’s fees increase with the duration of your stay, what they offer is nothing more than a platform to connect with hosts. So it’s really best to pay them for what they offer, that is, a platform fee for a one or two day rental, and then book a place for yourself once you arrive.


For us, thankfully this third AirBNB incident has happened to us in Lisbon and we’ll just move on Monday to stay with our family here. AirBNB still hasn’t replied to our concerns.


AirBNB’s Response

A few minutes after we tweeted this issue to AirBNB, a senior case manager got in touch with us. She was very polite and handled the situation really well. She gave the host another 24 hours to respond but they did not make contact. We’ve decided to move out of this place on Monday and AirBNB has refunded our expenses for this reservation. It’s not ideal that our reservation did not work out but I think AirBNB has done their best after they finally made contact with us.

One thing that is important to mention here is that AirBNB covers guests under a 24 hour guest refund policy. To take advantage of this, you must make them aware of any issue within 24 hours of check in. So, in future, if you use AirBNB and have absolutely any issue, get in touch with them right away. Of course, this does not work if your issue only comes up a few days after check in but they should try and accommodate your concern in any case.

It should not take a public tweet and 48 hours for AirBNB to get back to us on any issue. This is something that they need to fix at their end. Our host had many positive reviews and we’ve usually had good experiences with hosts who have positive reviews on the platform so this situation was quite unexpected. Should we use AirBNB again? Let’s see.

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  • Great post. I’ve only used Airbnb twice – one experience was a disaster, the second was much, much better but still not perfect. You feel helpless when a host goes unresponsive, and it’s scary to think that Airbnb’s customer service isn’t up to scratch.

  • Rahid Says

    I have only used AirBnB once and the experience was great.

  • Talon Says

    Wow! I would never pay that much of a cleaning fee. Absolute bollocks!

    I’ve have really good experiences with Airbnb customer service, but I am finding it harder to find places without issues. When we have a good experience lately, it seems to be the exception and not the rule.

  • We used AirBnb for the first time for our recent Japan trip – we were very happy with the first apartment in Japan, and we also enjoyed our apartment in Kyoto. For us as a family of five (2 adults, 3 children) the price was substantially cheaper than what we would have had to pay in a hotel, and we also had separate bedrooms from our children rather than all being in a single room together which is our preferred option to retain our sanity.

    I agree that you need to be very careful – as we were on limited time I deliberately chose places which had multiple good reviews rather than taking the risk of being the first customer to an unknown option.

    I would definitely use them again but as you have said, if you get a dud you do not have too many options to get help to resolve from the company.

  • We’ve stayed with Airbnb 4-5 times over the last couple of years and have tried to be super careful about the choices we make. I’d agree with you – it’s not always perfect and yet we opt for it because it is within budget at times. We’ve had a couple of slightly strange experiences too and what we’ve learnt is to not rely on listings without too many reviews and to consider Airbnb for shorter stays. Since we are not full time travelers we usually use Airbnb as a short stay or as a part of a longer trip for a couple of nights. On the contrary we’ve had good experiences with hostels and would highly recommend those. In Lisbon we recently stayed at Living Lounge and in Porto we stayed at Gallery hostel – both experiences were great! Let us know if you need any more info about those :)

  • That is horrible! I haven’t tried AirBnb though i’ve inquired to some hosts when I was in Thailand. Hope AirBnb top bosses gets to read this.

  • I used Airbnb twice in Brooklyn. The host was very nice; only thing was that the sofa was not a fold-out, so I spent three nights curled up on it. Oh well haha My host in Bolivia was great though!

  • Ugg, I had to book with AirBnB because they are more well known and Im visiting a smaller city but there is a company I like A LOT more. They are called NightSwapping, nights cost MAX $35/night and if you can host you can swap credits instead of cash. I stayed in Paris with nightswapping and had an entire modern flat with a balcony for four nights all for less than $100!

  • Emilie Says

    Personally I’ve never had any issues with AirBnB but I’m not surprised it happens quite often.
    This issue I see here is that you are quite lucky to be active online and on social media. AirBnb answers quickly when you have an issue because of this but I guess many people only desperately try to reach them by phone (when roaming charges are not too crazy) or by email with no concrete answer!

  • Just reaching out to give you a new travel resource. free platform and free exchange. let me know if you have any questions!

  • Grace Says

    Wow, that sounds pretty terrible. Luckily I’ve only had good experiences with Airbnb (knock on wood!). There are definitely some horror stories. I guess that is the risk you take with AirBnb vs staying at an accredited hotel for example.

  • Kenji Says

    I used AirBNB about ten times in the past nearly three years and my experience was uneven. While in the past I would cautiously consider them as an option, in addition to the issues raised in the article: fees to hosts went up sharply, and between that and the trend for a number of hosts to raise their prices, its not worth it anymore: in a number of tourist spots consider hotels, apartments and other regulated options and not rely on AirBNB or its big competitors. HomeAway raised their fees so quickly that not only are a big portion of your fee going to HomeAway, leaving alot less of your monies going towards your stay, and incidents of pricing ripoffs are much more common now based on experience. A niche would be a listing site with customer service and some middle ground on fees – love to know when such a site exists.
    A temptation is consider AirBNB is in places during times of really high demand or spots with not many other options, which gets back to AirBNB’s now high costs and weak screening, that is against the renter.
    Would travel insurance cover some of the issues with AirBNB, if you had to use them? I’ve wondered because of the issues around a possibly illegal rental and the customer service issues that exist today, whether travel insurance would help, and when it would not?

  • Yann Says

    I used to use for years of business travelling. A was a little fed-up with the hotel-style and wanted to spice a bit my stay with home-like accommodations. I always had great experiences in many countries I visited (canada, france, london, bangkok, delhi), soon ireland.
    I also found that prices are getting higher and someday, another airBnB competitor will rise with better services (couchsurfing, guesthouser, homeescape, vrbo…) but competition amoungst hosts is good because it tends to get prices down and the new comer will put low price first to get good reviews than will slightly raise its prices until he gets less, etc.
    In London, airBnB is much lower than hotels. In Bangkok and Beijing, hotels are cheaper or same price, so, you can choose.
    In fact, airBnB should do like : you can review with your name or not. If you want to complain, you can do it anonymously. That is something airBnB shall consider – but for such big player, only money count and they are playing short term profits.

    • AW Says

      I agree completely. Any review can be met with a spite review, and also a response directly to you beneath your review – a nice place to attack you directly in spite! The lack of anonymity and mutual dependence on inflated reviews makes them unreliable. I have gotten duped by gushing reviews by places that were pretty cheesy and dumpy. a cramped studio with a bad ant problem, non-working tv and appliances, in a really seedy community, was given reviews like “Amazing. Stunning. Fantastic.” I was not the only guest in my party and we all agreed the reviews had little relationship to reality. Then there was the fact that the host made false accusations of damages after we left that we had to fight…so not worth the aggravation. I have never had a single issue in the 80+ hotels I have stayed in – AirBnb is a big risk. Not worth the few dollars saved. In a hotel room, you are ACCOMMODATED. In AirBnB, you are often asked to ACCOMMODATE the quirks and temperament and sometimes unreasonable expectations of the host, who don’t really see that they are in fact running a rental business.

  • Worra Says

    Soo negative. Airbnb is great! Hope I never have u as my guest.

  • Ria Says

    I believe where we are talking about community it’s all the time we will find good and bad experiences. The same with couchsurfing and others. Some deal better with issues to solve, others not so good. But in any case – I think it can happen all the time if people won’t talk about it in public :) More people will speak, maybe quicker situation will change:) I had several Airbnb experiences and all were good :)

  • vera Says

    Good to know… thank you for sharing!

  • Jo Says

    That is a very depressing report. How sad that a company profiting like that cannot be responsive to client complaints and concerns. I have only used Airbnb once in Sydney and it was fine. However I am traveling to Portugal this year and have already booked 2 places on Airbnb so I am going back to check my bookings! Thanks for the heads up

  • Igor Says

    We used AB 10-15 times so far. We never had any issues, but fact is that we always explored multiple apartments, and we choose only those having a larger number of positive reviews. “Larger” means more than 20, and as well I would spend a couple of minutes to make sure reviews are honest, and guests are from around the world, not only “locals” that are most likely friends and it’s faked.

    Anyways, it’s a good post and a good reminder that you always have to take care about yourself, as no one else will.

  • Frank Says

    We’ve used Airbnb pretty much consistently over the last 2 years that we’ve been travelling full time and I have to say that we haven’t had many issues. That’s usually because: 1) we’ll go mid-range, avoiding borderline dodgy places, 2) since we’re usually renting a place 1-2 months, I’ll go over reviews in detail and will always write the host about anything I’m not sure about.
    So 95% of our experiences have been great. But there have been a couple of 1 or 2 night stays where maybe I didn’t look at them hard enough and where we had bad experiences. One was deceitful, saying they had internet but in fact didn’t.

    Which brings me to your next point about customer service. Yes, it does suck. Firstly, where is there a telephone number or email on the site? It drove me crazy the 1st time I tried looking for it.
    Secondly, I got in an argument about the no-internet host with their service department when they wrote me telling me that my review was inaccurate and that the host DID have it. I told them no, he didn’t. I had just left the day before. They told me that he must have gotten it since then. Bullshit. But what they did it remove my review which I wasn’t happy about because it was the least of the problems with that apartment (this was in Trieste, Italy). Yes, customer service sucks and they side with the hosts.

    The other thing that honestly rubs me the wrong way. They’ll give you a credit if you get friends to subscribe. But you, as the customer, get no compensation for being a frequent, volume customer. Last 2 years we’ve used Airbnb over 300 days a year and what have we had to show for it? nothing. So it doesn’t reward loyalty.

    I agree with some of your other points and disagree with a few others. this comment would end up being too long. As far as costs go I find Airbnb generally cheaper/better quality than hotels but that depends on the market and the competition. But as full-time travellers we want an apartment, not a hotel room. In the end I just wish there was more competition – in many markets hosts have become greedy.

    ON THAT NOTE: We’re flying into Lisbon July 30 and looking for an apartment for a month. I thought I had an aprtment but then the lady complained that it was high season and that she would have to ask more than the monthly rate showing on the site (that pissed me off). Zara, since we’re talking about competition to Airbnb, you have any tips?

    Frank (bbqboy)

  • I use AIRBNB for all our travels, we always stay for 1,2 months in the same apartment while enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle. I do agree with you that prices are rather on the high side, especially when comparing with local rentals, but it’s impossible to find a descent hotel for under 1200 euro/month if you want to stay in Brazil, Mexico, etc. I’m not talking about hostels or 1/2 star hotels. You can find nice apartments for that price though. Apartments also offer space, vs hotel rooms.

    Airbnb makes my life easy when searching for a place to stay: I go online, check the pictures and comments and book the place. I do not mind paying 200/300 euro/month more vs having to search for a place locally (adding the hotel cost for 1,2 nights when you arrive), etc.

  • Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl) Says

    I used Airbnb last summer in Europe -great start in Venice and London, mixed in Milan and I ended up in the emergency room in Malta due to a dirty and unsafe place (I fell on loose steps and fractured my foot). Airbnb was quite responsive in my incident telling me of the 24hr rule (I wasn’t aware). We left early for a hotel and the host trashed me so much it was libel that Airbnb has to get involved – I had pictures to refute her claims. Airbnb has gems and duds so you need to do research first in my opinion. More people can afford to travel with Airbnb but they are t always the best value after fees etc.
    As a business travel manager I’d never let my employees stay w/Airbnb for duty of care issues and ten other reasons I wrote about on my blog.

  • Don Moder Says

    “You might be living in an illegal rental” should be #1. The chances you are in an illegal rental in New York City was over 75% according to a study by the NY Attorney General. So please stop believing all the AirBnB hot air. You are aiding and abetting these illegal acts, you assisting in making the lives of the neighbors of these illegal renters worse. Plus, the risks you assume by renting on AirBnB are huge and there is nobody protecting you, most of all AirBnB. AirBnB is setting the trap. You are walking into it knowingly with the false idea you are saving a few bucks.

  • This is a great post. I’ve been using AirBnB for a few years now, both as a host and as a guest, and I agree that booking an apartment through AirBnB can be very hit and miss!

    I’ve had some wonderful experiences, like renting an airy cottage by the coast in Barbados for a few weeks, and I’ve had some awful ones, like when I stayed in a hostel-house in Fort Lauderdale which was grimy and musty, the Wifi didn’t work, and the host was an ass. And in that situation when I complained to AirBnB about the host – I got the same kind of customer service experience as you did. AirBnB don’t care if the guests are unhappy, all they care about is that they’re making money.

  • Glen Says

    Well, it happened…. after using Airbnb constantly we had our first incident. We booked a place in Lisbon, which was in the lovely area of Alfama, a fantastic apartmernt, nice host (even came to pick us up at airport) but on arrival we were told there was a huge week long street party which gradually gets busier and louder all week until the bank holiday weekend, and it was all right under our window, literally the singer and speakers systems (all 4 of them) right under it. First night was fine, we went down and joined in, second day we got back from a great day out and at 6pm its starts and gets louder and louder and the same song over and over… its too much, we couldnt relax, couldnt stay in living room because it was unbearable and the thought of being there all week fighting through the crowds, rubbish and not sleeping fills us with dread (first night was 4am, second 3am)…. So I tweeted Airbnb, within 10mins they Tweeted back, within 5 mins of that they had emailed me to say its been flagged, 5 mins after that they called me and 1 hour later they’d sorted it with the host he agreed to let us move out the next day, I found another place and we had a great holiday. Aitbnb were sensational, totally understood, helped on every step, called back (and emailed) next day to check it all went smoothly-I heard horror stories so was fretting but nope amazing and it is why we still feel its totally worth it.

  • Avi Says

    I agree with most of the comments above here, and about the non-concerned attitude of Airbnb.
    I am both a guest and host. As a host, I have been enjoying good guests, but my whole view reversed with the last guest and Airbnb attitude.
    A guest trashed the place, stole some stuff and broke some stuff at home while I was gone.
    Now, Airbnb would ask you to fill plenty of long forms, upload pictures, and then once you fill the official complaint, give you 48 hours of notice to upload the purchase invoices of all lost or broken items. Its a pity because, I do not know of anyone who keeps invoices of everything in their home. Ask me invites of the cups in the kitchen I got last year, or the books I got 2 years back or the dart board I have for throwing darts in my living room or the world map I have in the study…
    And if you don’t upload in 48 hours the receipts, well, you get an automated post from Airbnb claiming you are out of time and they will NOT do anything now or in future. They are happy to just charge their fee. No wonder hits are quitting and moving to other platforms. I should too…

  • Kathryn Says

    I’ve had some good experiences with Airbnb and some shockers. I use them a lot and have found their customer service helpful but, last year, I was travelling with my sister and we had big issues with a place. She’d booked in her name and had only one prior booking, I’m not sure if that changed the way she was treated or not but they were far less considerate.

    With that experience, the place had glowing reviews from past guests, who must have low cleanliness standards because the place reeked. We arrived in the middle of winter and had to open every door and window. It smelt of rancid fat and couldn’t have been a recent thing.

    We got our money back but had made an urgent hotel booking, to get out of the place (there was a lot wrong, not just the smell). We got no other compensation, not even an Airbnb credit for our troubles.

    One of the issues was that we hadn’t phoned their 24 hour emergency number. I’d thought that was only for actual emergencies, like you are being attacked or the plumbing backs up, so we emailed.

    Re: #4 reviews — if you just look at the emails you get, you see the slant they take. It’s all about letting your host know what you liked. Reviews shouldn’t be written for the host, there’s the whole private feedback section for that. They should be written for other potential guests. I always give my honest opinion when I review but I try to do it in a factual way – something that is a nightmare for me, might be a huge bonus for someone else.

    I stay a lot in Tokyo and Airbnb used to be awesome there. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a definite decline in standards and increase in fees.

  • Mickey Says

    I too am a serial AirBnB renter. What are the other options though? I’d be curious to learn. Thus far what I’ve found is AirBnB only brings to surface the local norms of the country you’re visiting. For example, in Spain they’re awfully relaxed about time/bathrooms/finery/internet while perhaps in Hong Kong they’re all about space efficiency.

    For the most part I disagree with nameless reviews all things being considered – last thing we want is spammed walls to have to wade through. Is this ideal? No. But in a peer-to-peer model having traceability is vital. I believe strongly in reviews when it comes to community services, so I want to leave mine for the next person to read. Is there a better way? Maybe, perhaps they only allow reviews from people that have stayed in the listings but they remain nameless – a period of 6 months to fill in your review? I don’t know.

    What I do know is while a bunch of new problems have surfaced from AirBnB I’d rather have these new issues then the problems I had a few years back which was often arriving somewhere completely blind with absolutely no idea of location/neighbourhood or even a person [for better or worse] to guide me. A few years back I barely could travel except for thinking about hotels, which become complicated for anything more than a couple/small family.

  • Anushka Says

    I absolutely agree with you when it comes to review, sometimes we can’t put bad review just we don’t want one to loose customer because of us, this happened to us in our recent trip to Georgia, the host house was 7-8 km away from center and the house was on hill, i asked him many times will it be easy for us to commute to the centre and he assured us yes, but when we landed up in his place even though his house was beautiful we were depressed we felt like house arrest as there was no way to go to center, no taxi nearby and our only way to commute to to ask the host to drop us, to which he was bit rude, and even then we posted a diplomatic review not to hurt his feeling.

  • I have used AirNnB twice with bad results both the time, despite checking reviews etc. The first time, after booking an apartment shown to be available, the owner changed his mind good 5/6 hours later and said it wasn’t. We were on the road, and left struggling to find another place to stay (this time we did NOT use AirBnB), precious time we could have spent on exploring the city pr any other productive work. The second time, what was listed as an apartment turned out to be a hotel. We were disappointed because we prefer staying at apartments or homes.

    The thing about the AirBnB and these app based aggregators is that they have all the business footfalls without any responsibility.

  • Josh Says

    I agree. Airbnb customer service is bad. And with hosts its been hit or miss. And if I had a problematic host. Airbnb has always sided with the host. My last host turned out to be bipolar. She declined to renew my stay the night before and without a heads up. I was able to book another spot but Airbnb canceled my new reservation the next morning then accused me of squatting even know I had no where else to go. Then they made me and my dad sit stranded all day while the host pressured us to leave. Finally they put me in a hotel for a week promising to assist me with lodging for the rest of the month. When it came time to make good on their word they terminated my account with them and refused to help me, because they said I no longer have an account with them.

  • Dear Ashray/Zara
    Me & my wife have stayed in about 28 Airbnbs till date in last 2.5 years. All our experiences have ranged from good to exceptional. While I absolutely understand your bad experiences, for me good amount of research for even a night stay helps on platforms like Airbnb. Cross Verifying listed location with Google Maps, reading each n every review etc are the things that has helped is during our stays.
    I hope Airbnb smoothens out rough edges and continues to be an exceptional asset to travellers like us !!!

    Currently in Brazil …going to Chile next ..will take your advice on that …thanks ..

  • Todd Says

    This comment is not exactly on point but can’t find any help for my Airbnb issue. I own a property and list it with Airbnb through a property manager who is considered the actual host. I have not received payment for one 6 day rental and the PM won’t pay me, telling me that it is Airbnb’s responsibility. I can’t deal with Airbnb directly because I have no relationship with them, only the PM. The PM says she’s trying to get them to reverse to her (she’s been paid) and repay to my account. It’s been more than a month now and still nothing. She says she doesn’t want to pay me because that will mean income to her for which she will have to pay taxes. Any advice?

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