It took me months to get Airbnb to figure out how to deduct money from their damage deposit. They first said I had to call the police and get a police report, which I refused to do -- call the police on these nice tenants who already explained it was their mistake and were 100% willing to pay! Ridiculous.
Every few times we'd exchange support emails it seemed like some new person would take over and never read the past emails so I had to repeat the same stuff multiple time. Ultimately I ended up emailing the CEO after I found some blog post where he said he wanted to personally hear from everyone and anyone. He never replied but the problem magically got fixed soon thereafter.
I fear the day I end up with really terrible hosts like you did because I have no faith AirBnb will actually be there for me.
Looking forward to trying housetrip, there really need to be a solid alternative to AirBnb.
Google for example has almost no way to reach customer service, even for their paid products. When it works it works great, when it doesn't God Help You.
Ditto Uber/Lyft/other cab companies, where there seems to be no end of people who were put in seriously unsafe situations and were unable to get any attention to their issues until they blogged about it. Who knows how many cases we haven't heard of because they weren't able to get their concerns to the top of Reddit/HN/wherever.
This sort of thing happens in any low-margin business. Not only is there not enough money to hire good customer service, but what little customer service exists is not empowered to make things right for the customer, because thin margins and $$$.
It turns out that keeping spare rooms on standby, generous rescheduling/rebooking policies, and all the niceties we associate with hotels are powered by the fatter margins they enjoy. The big innovation we've made in the last few years is making low-margin low-rent business models seem boutique and high-end.
And this goes not only for small startups, it is applicable across huge blue chip companies as well, the latest being VW (and now it appears other auto manufacturers).
I'm just getting tired of people advocating free market principles and proclaiming that industries will police themselves, and then turning around and lying and cheating, with next to no consequences. I'm saying this as a pretty extreme economic right wing person - today's conservatives bear little resemblance to traditional ones.
Why? I'm well aware of the risks of using AirBnB (or being a contractor instead of an employee or whatever) and choose to take them on because I believe I come out ahead overall. Not everyone wants the nanny state watching out for them at every opportunity.
ps. Upholding claims of private property with a state-monopoly on violent means of coercion is "government regulation". So you just build upwards from there.
Or their morals differ from your own. They may lack your morality, but that does not mean they lack morals.
It's nice to say that for me and my family, Uber and Lyft has been so professional. We moved from Latin America to Miami a year and 2 months ago and the whole time we've been using Uber / Lyft for our needs. We faced about 4 or 5 crazy moment where Uber / Lyft has solve our problems putting themselves in our side rather than in the driver's side. One instance a driver accepted our ride, reached our apartment and then start driving away. We did not understood at first until he called us and say "I'm going to be delayed to get you guys, so please hang tight". I told him it could be fine if he didn't started the ride already like we were already with him on his car. He said "it is the standard procedure". Bullshit. We cancelled the ride and contacted Uber support. They removed the driver from the service (allegedly, it has happened before) and they refunded us close to 12 USD. Similar situation happened with Lyft.
Can you share some examples of the "no end of people" you refer to?
That's not entirely true, I think it depends on the product.
I've had to contact them about two different Nexus devices and got someone on the phone in minutes. The support was unbelievable and the matters resolved in record time.
Google Apps also has 24/7 phone support for paying customers.
This is more damning than the parent article.
So what do you do?
AirBnB without listings is like eBay without listings. (Though I've generally heard that eBay tends to come down on the pro-buyer side)
And, yes, my understanding is that eBay evolved to simply default to the buyer being right.
I think E-bay has tended to handle things very well, I haven't heard many horror stories about them (if ever), and they've been around for quite some time (as software companies go) and quite successful. Uber and AirBnB on the other hand I've heard plenty of horror stories from. It may (or may not be) the reason I've not used Uber in months and months and have only ever booked a room once on AirBnB (which I cancelled last minute and still paid for).
I'm just passing though this thread and have almost zero experience with airbnb, but I have used VRBO several times per year since 2005 and it's been wonderful.
I've used it in several countries, in many states of the US, for studio apartments up to 5BR houses. It's great.
It's like the craigslist of this category - sort of ugly and old fashioned looking, but it works.
You did not leave a rating or review of your unfit rental on airbnb?
According to you.
Paying in to something with zero or negative ratings on a reputation-based market always carries risk; it should be priced accordingly.
So companies acting like this on global scale is not good. I would not book a place to stay for a large sum and bear a risk from possibly sketchy situation like this.
Not really. Part of getting big is not sweating small details like this when you have a constant stream of customers coming in the door and using you (to make up for the unhappy ones who never come back).
You don't say? I don't know what do airbnb users expect, honestly.
Over time they can weed out bad actors, but there is very little chance that they are going to eliminate them upfront.
I don't know. It seems like it would be a nightmare to sort through a he-said she-said after the fact when the offended party didn't even book a stay (instead the room was booked by some other person that is insisting "no, it's cool, I know them"), and furthermore didn't even report the apartment not being available when the issue occurred.
It's nice that they were "all cool" with the host and decided to play musical buildings instead of contacting Airbnb right there, but when they did that, they went off the books and severely limited Airbnb's ability to quickly and effectively sort through the issue. A customer that didn't even book a room though the service had an issue and went with a "handshake" from the host to resolve it instead.
Let's walk through the alternate scenario.
Customer desiring a room actually books a room through AirBnB.
Customer arrives and hosts tells them the apartment is no longer available. Customer contacts AirBnB and the issue is dealt with right then and there, and the host is sanctioned properly.
No driving around in a strange city to a place you've never set eyes on, and if you want to book another apartment with the host, you do it on the books.
You really need to put yourself in the tourist's shoes. If I booked a tour and the host drove me to a different place to stay, that's all I can do. You rely on their ability to communicate, and if they're being kind and doing their best to make your stay comfortable, then that's fantastic.
What you're suggesting is that you're going to start making international calls with some website's support staff while you have luggage on the street, no place to stay, in a foreign city and completely on your own. You're also going to blow off the only person (the host) who cares at all about your situation. Are you kidding me?
If I book a place for a certain period, then I'm staying for that whole period. If the host suddenly changes their mind and tells me I have to move, no way. I'm contacting the booking agency and having them tell the host to get lost. If the booking agency doesn't help then I'm initiating a chargeback and finding a hotel. At no point is it reasonable to just pack up, hop into a complete stranger's car at their insistence, and be driven off to some place where they won't even tell you where you're going.
Traveling used to be pretty interesting when things went wrong. I got stranded in the Beijing airport once with only a rudimentary command of Mandarin because the airline canceled my flight and never told me, and I had to hunt down an airline employee, borrow a phone so I could contact people, etc. But now? Bring a smartphone and you're a few taps away from communicating with anybody you need. Host is being obstinate? Call AirBnB. Still doesn't work? Book a new place. You make a mistake taking a car with a stranger and he takes you to a place where you don't even know where it is? Open up a maps app and find out where you are. Can't talk to people? Google Translate to the rescue.
You better believe that if the host refuses to honor our agreement and starts trying to jerk me around, I'm going to blow them off and sit with my luggage in the street while I resolve the problem myself. Relying on strangers to fix your problems, when said strangers have already demonstrated that they don't really care about you, is setting yourself up to be a victim.
AirBnB wasn't reachable when I needed them the most. Sitting on the curb with my wife and 4yo at 10PM without a place to go. Trying desperately to find any hotel with a vacancy at the height of tourist season in a small tourist town.
That incident has soured my wife on me ever booking a sharing economy rental again.
There is literally no way I would trust some random schmo on a site that enables idiots to try to run hotels with the wellbeing of a child, much less a 4 year old. Book a real hotel, honestly. Even if it went well, the bad judgment on display here is slightly disturbing.
No doubt you can get stuck in a crappy situation here. But you certainly have choices that don't involve doing nothing while your host carts you off to some undisclosed location.
I don't know which part of Barcelona have you been but that's just limited (just to do not say untrue). My brother-in-law lives there, and even he (who is native spanish speaker and also speaks English and Catalan) recognize that most locals don't speak English.
> "or indeed almost anywhere"
I know so many places where that is untrue, I would be more cautious if I were you.
> "Open up a maps app and find out where you are. Can't talk to people? Google Translate to the rescue."
You are assuming too many things. Like you have a roaming data plan or even that your carrier have a way to provide you roaming in the place.
> Can't talk to people? Google Translate to the rescue.
Then you are trusting in the interlocutor. You won't be able to tell if they are lying or not.
I'm not assuming you have a data plan so much as I am saying that you should have one, so that you can handle eventualities such as this. Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say. Never assume all of your arrangements will work out exactly as they're supposed to. Always have a backup plan, even if it's nothing more specific than "use my smartphone to figure it out."
If you show up in a foreign country with no way to communicate with anybody and no way to make contingency plans then you're making it likely you'll have a bad experience. Don't do that.
Yep. I've dealt with all sorts in random countries where I didn't speak the language. A common tactic of someone trying to rip you off is to say they don't know English and then try to scam more money in the confusion.
> What you're suggesting is that you're going to start making international calls with some website's support staff while you have luggage on the street, no place to stay, in a foreign city and completely on your own.
Um, yeah. Either get a WIFI signal and email AirBnB or call them. At this point I would assume the host is shit and move on letting them know a horrible review is incoming and I will ask for my money back from AirBnB.
Does the situation suck? Absolutely, but don't let it completely derail you. Plans break down all the time, deal with it and move on.
For the record, I have used AirBnb/VRBOs throughout much of Europe without any issue. In places like Hungary and Croatia my trip was enhanced because the hosts were so awesome.
Unless you're staying in some remote place, absolutely not! You can and should find some other place to stay unless the whole situation is very well explained. In any major city in the world, there are hotels and motels which speak English and other languages. There are also local guides if you need help making yourself understood.
Just being helpless and allowing the host to take you wherever they want is not safe!
Are we reading the same article? The host in this situation advertised a room for let, waited until his guests were on site in the city and contacting him to get the key, then yanked the listing. You're accusing the customer of blowing off the host in this hypothetical?
Any given hotel on any given street cares more than that host.
>What you're suggesting is that you're going to start making international calls with some website's support staff while you have luggage on the street, no place to stay, in a foreign city and completely on your own.
Sorry. Imo you're completely dramatizing how hard it is to inform Airbnb of an issue. If you've got either a cell signal or a data connection, the computer in your pocket can take care of this in the time it takes for the host to get to you. You can actually do this with your luggage beside you, and I'd argue that it's a better use of time than driving to an off-the-books apartment that you've never laid eyes on in a completely foreign city. Also, Aribnb provides a local 24/7 phone number in the original confirmation email so you don't have to just rely on the web form.
>Have you ever travelled to a foreign country where you don't speak the language?
Yes I have.
It's AirBnB's job to do this, sort out these kinds of situations. It's not that hard to come up with a 'nuclear option' to exercise in these situations, where the customer can get a resolution and the host gets a sharp enough slap on the wrist to where it's unprofitable to build a business out of bilking people on AirBnB's platform.
Seems to me that there might be a bit of a leadership vacuum at the company, running AirBnB in as many countries as they're running it in, I imagine not all of the outfits are going to be fully competent. If not even Twitter escalation is solving the problem though, maybe its the executives sleeping at the wheel.
In a p2p system like this, it's the bad ratings that need to make this kind of dealings unprofitable.
They not only don't need "very clear proof", they don't need any proof at all.
Having very limited accommodation is also damaging to AirBNB's brand.
At the same time, in the grand scheme of bad customer service from big Internet companies, Airbnb doesn't look like a huge offender here. Photos from balconies notwithstanding, there is apparently a lot of he-said, she-said to sort through here and it's really hard for an Airbnb (or an eBay etc.) to sort through that. What usually evolves over time (to the dissatisfaction of one side of transactions or another) is policies that strongly default to favor the buyer or the seller.
And customer has nowhere to sleep. During a big conference. In a foreign country.
According to the article this didn't work. They had to resort to Twitter. Frankly, if their resolution center doesn't provide a phone number that can be used 24/7, than any demand to contact AirBnB with issues is bullshit.
I had similar issues with Uber and their inadequate customer service. If I can't reach someone directly for services like this, they clearly have issues with pleasing their customers.
They're available by phone 24/7, and they provide a local contact number for you in your reservation confirmation email.
No, I do not have plans to use Airbnb. It sounded like a really bad idea from the start.
I find it depressing how this will probably go away, and people like me who can't afford to pay for a stay at an hotel will just lose the option of taking the risk. Hurray for the infantilization of society! /s
When I am traveling - for business or pleasure - the last thing I want to do is scramble to figure out where I will sleep that night. I value my time too much, especially for a pleasure trip, to go through that kind of ordeal.
Also, you can save money if you pay in advance for your hotel. You won't have time to even comparison shop if you're rushing at the very very last minute.
So, I wouldn't say the risk is overrated, but instead that people can stomach different amount of risk.
I like to be well prepared and have firm plans on my trips, but I know other friends will just book the first things they find and figure out what they're doing when they get there.
I'd say both are true. In this very thread, a user was saying that one is essentially at the mercy of the host, when that's not true, or at least not usually. Sure, it's still more risky than an hotel reservation, but I'd still say the risk is overrated - it's not that riskier.
That's assuming that you can find a hotel with vacancy easily (not always the case, especially when special events are occurring), then find transportation to get there. That's not always going to be easy if you don't speak the language, arrived to the location late at night, are traveling with kids, etc.
In places that aren't the middle of nowhere, there aren't a lot of savings, if any. Its a lot of people hoping the hotels get booked for some meeting or trade event and now tourists get fucked and have to use their shitty service, at the same price but no housekeeping, security, etc. In Chicago this happens every so often due to all the events we host here.
Granted, Manhattan, where I tried to book an apartment, is a bit of a special location, but the pricing was not that much lower from the hotels.
There are definitely still bargains to be found.
In this situation, what do you do?
She's travelling alone and in her 50s and as you can imagine, she's pretty upset. I decided to get her a hotel and called her an Uber. I then called Airbnb and they said they will attempt to contact the host and they will get back to us.
She wouldn't know what to do without me and if I weren't available, she'd probably end up wandering the streets at night looking for a hotel because she'd be too upset to return to the Airbnb place.
I think for now, I will stop recommending Airbnb.
AirBnB is getting an abysmal reputation in Vienna because what seems to be happening is that lots of people who are not even from Vienna put their rentals on AirBnB. We had someone in our house who did exactly that with all the nice side effects you get from that (strangers in your corridors etc.).
I'm pretty sure AirBnB will have to do something actively there because regulation of that space could instantly kill AirBnB in Austria.
I managed to find the host's Facebook and I would say he is around 24 years' old and studying at a university in Vienna. Had I known this, I probably would have told my mother to look elsewhere.
I recently used airbnb for the first time and I specifically looked for reviews that said the place matched the pictures, google street view, did a google search on the condo name, vrbo, emailed the host and even got direct phone numbers in return
After booking did you contact the host through AirBnB ahead of time and ask them to verify the address and give you the quickest directions to the apt?
It would be nice if all of this would be automatic, but you are dealing with individuals that may or may not understand how to be a host yet.
1. Don't make saving money a prerequisite.
Nobody is renting out their place in order to save you money. You get what you pay for.
2. Book early.
The good hosts in prime cities book up months out. You don't want to be in a situation where you have limited choices and have to lower your standards.
3. Only book with hosts who have many positive reviews.
See above, and never break this rule.
4. Try to stay at least a week.
It's business. When you represent a grand or more to your hosts, they treat you accordingly. But when the hassle inherent to renting to you is barely worth the $200 or so you're paying, service will suffer.
Any time I've broken any of these tenets I've wished I'd just booked a hotel.
> 2. Book early.
> 3. Only book with hosts who have many positive reviews.
> 4. Try to stay at least a week.
I have had two separate hosts cancel > $2,000, month-long reservations. We booked months in advance and only with hosts that had several positive reviews. We were not choosing places primarily by price as we gave up our expensive SF apartment to live full-time on the road.
I agree that these suggestions are good guidelines, but even following them I have had a miserable experience with AirBnB. These days, I prefer to just stay in hotels - especially for work-related travel.
The bad places are trying to compete with low end hotels. The owner - if they even actually own the place - has put the in bare minimum. Second hand furniture, none comfortable. Lightbulbs are out, wear and tear all over the place. There's hardly any plates, glasses, or cutlery. What is provided is mismatched and worn down.
It can be very difficult to tell the difference because of how places are staged for photos. Asking a lot of detailed questions before booking is very helpful, but even then it's impossible to win every time.
What has frustrated me most is the lack of repercussions to hosts who behave badly. For instance, as a guest, if I were to cancel my $2k trip 48 hours before arrival, I would still have to pay for it. I had a host do exactly that - cancel a $2k trip that had been booked for months, 48 hours before I got off the plane with a backpack and no place to go. The host saw minimal fallout - basically they were not allowed to rent those dates out to someone else.
We were literally unable to find another place in this small-ish town to stay so we had to change flights to a different city last minute. Not cheap. If hosts had similar financial commitments to guests, I suspect that would eliminate a whole swath of terrible hosts, mostly in your second (cheap hotel) category.
You say "serviced apartment"--is that a European thing? I've never heard of it. If I was traveling I would look to AirBnB or VRBO to find places that are not hotels.
This is part of a response from Airbnb customer service, which has no apologies for the situation and sounds like they're leaning towards defending the host.
"We got the news from [host] that the place is clean and ready to welcome you.
In order to claim a refund we will need to receive documentation regarding the cleanliness issues. At this point there is no confirmed hosting standards violation therefore we will not be able to penalise our host and refund you."
Edit: well, that was unpopular. Am I wrong, or just saying it inartfully?
10 years ago, when travelling internationally, my first step when arriving in a city was to park myself at a payphone in the train station and start calling places.
AirBnB is not a hotel, and anyone who treats it that way is going to have a bad time. A hotel is an institution with enough resources and redundancy that multiple members of it staff could literally die and customers wouldn't even notice.
AirBnB != the host AirBnB has introduced you to. The host is just some guy. AirBnB support is not in any way, shape, or form the same concept as taking up your problem with the manager at a hotel.
And yet, so many people expect AirBnB to resolve problems just like that.
If you want a guaranteed excellent hassle-free experience, pay $300 a night to stay at a nice hotel. AirBnB is not for you.
No recourse (customer service blew me off: "sorry, renter didn't like the bed."), no way to rent it for a week on that short of notice, I lose $1000. Really shitty experience - I prioritize Holiday Lettings now.
My point is that there is a very wide variance in properties. While some walkaways will be for trivial or non-existent reasons in the minds of an average person, others will be for much more substantial reasons. Property ratings aside, it's really hard for the broker (Airbnb) to distinguish those except in the most extreme cases. As a result, you probably need a sensible default but that default is going to inherently favor either those renting or those renting out the property in the case of a dispute.
Secondly, they should look at the microsite for the listing and see that there was an exact picture of the bed.
But then, as now, you see both kinds of story. Ones like this one, where the seller / renter was anywhere from an outright fraud to unscrupulous, but also the other way - stories of buyers who "returned" goods and got refunds, only for the returned item turning out to be fake / faulty / nonexistent. I'm sure AirBnB have equally large problems with people who have an uneventful stay, leave and immediately lodge a complaint against the host.
It sounds like AirBnB could probably be nicer about this, but equally the author of this post did violate their terms of service (which aren't unreasonable - letting people book for other people opens the door to agents and unscrupulous 3rd parties who charge a fee without adding value).
It would be interesting to see the perspective of AirBnB support. I wonder how many possibly fraudulent refund claims they deal with on a daily basis?
Personally, though, I've stayed in almost 40 different European Airbnb rentals over the past year and didn't have any problems. It's not risk-free, but it's certainly better than trawling through the local equivalent of Craigslist. (Granted, I mostly stayed with people renting out a spare room, so there was probably less of a chance of them being terrible or crazy.)
As with all booking services, I always engaged my sketchiness radar before booking. Does the host sound conversational in their listing? Do the photos have the Airbnb official photographer seal? (Or do they have lots of grainy photos interspersed with unrelated photos of attractions in the city?) Do they have a fleshed out profile with photos? Reviews? References? What do they sound like when I message them? Even on a supposedly safe booking service like Airbnb, it's important to assume that each listing is sketchy until proven otherwise. You can usually tell if a host has good intentions by taking these things into consideration.
We booked early to get a better deal, and I'm pretty sure a lot of Airbnb hosts didn't know the conference was coming up (or was that big).
As we got closer to the conference time, pretty much all of us had our stays canceled on us by the hosts. We were then forced to rebook at significantly higher rates. In some instances, even THESE got canceled by the hosts.
We're 99% sure that the hosts were given better offers and made the deals privately.
Having used Airbnb a few times now, I'm definitely seeing the benefits of hotels for peace of mind.
I've learned with Airbnb to be disciplined about ignoring any unreviewed listings and really only looking at listings that have at least 15 reviews over at least a year. It is clear that there are outright scammers using the site, as well as perhaps the well meaning but incompetent or those who play a little fast and loose, to be generous.
I almost booked a place in London for a Christmas stay 4 months out before I discovered through my own sleuthing that 100% of the listing photos were from a real estate listing for the flat and it was for sale.
That's like saying, "I've had only good experiences with ABC Insurance; their premiums are low, the coverage is great and their friendly staff answered all my questions." (Wonderful; but did you ever try to collect on a claim?)
Only reports of experiences of invoking the critical use-case are meaningful and relevant. A black spot in that area obliterates a thousand glowing reports about anything else.
You need to realize that when you get the last apartment in a city at conference-time (almost certainly not a superhost with good reviews), you're obviously taking a big gamble that it doesn't work out in order to save a few bucks.
> so we had to shell out 9 nights of walk-in rate hotel fees
So in this worst-case scenario you wound up in the same place as you would have if Airbnb didn't exist? Cry me a river.
I just did airbnb for the first time - it's been great so far, but hotels were always plan B. I just wanted something different.
I liked that I got to see reviews and logs of options for whole condos.
Six people in a 3Bd/3ba condo in Cancun and I'm paying less than for a vanilla hilton hotel room with a queen bed.
Worst case scenario for this story is that the driver takes them out of town, shoots them, and dumps their bodies into a river.
For uber, it's the way they treat their drivers. The churn is incredible. But as long as they continue to offer cheap rides and can lure new drivers in with empty promises, they'll continue to exist.
Though the first drivers in Chicago were Hipster Musicans, which were fun.. similar culture to yuppie coders. But over time, it has moved to more and more recent immigrants who do not speak English as a first language.
1. Room size (width x length in ft)
2. What lighting do you have?. Or you have only one table lamp?
3. Is there a table?
4. Do you provide a towel?
5. Send me a picture of bed size and also the measurements.
(width x length in ft)
Please don't just say queen or king. I need the width and length. I have seen hosts mention the sizes incorrectly.
6. Do your personal belongins stay in the room?. Any don't touch belongings?
7. Does the room have a knob(inside) for privacy?
8. Is there a fan?
9. Total house built up area in square footage? (excluding garage)
1. How many airbnb guests stay there?
2. How many guests I share the rest room with?
3. Is there space in the fridge for me?. How much (approx)?
4. What is the typical temperature maintained in the house?. Are there
guests with a requirement to keep the room warm despite me sweating?
1. What is the cleaning schedule for house?.
1. What is the cleaning schedule for rest rooms?.
2. Who do we call if the shared rest room is soiled?.
1. Are there any loud sounds/noises from surroundings/roads at night?
1) - Go to google, type in "AirBnB Spain", then look at the auto complete.
They turned me from being an advocate for their service to never wanting to use their service again. I travel frequently with kids, we use alternatives now.
I ended up spending most of my day communicating with airbnb, hotels and motels. Around 8pm I managed to score the last two hotel rooms in the city, and could finally join the rest of the family.
Airbnb did pay the difference between the hotel and our original reservation, but I still lost an entire day with my family.
Nowadays I only make airbnb reservations in big cities where coming up with on-the-spot backup is easy.
I think the blog post is spot on, in that the customer and most vulnerable person in many of these instances should be thought of as the renter. Of course property damage to the host is a concern, but it can be seriously scary to be stuck somewhere strange feeling unsafe and with nowhere to go.
Compare to Uber. With Uber, if a driver gets many negative ratings, they are booted. Yet there are still many many drivers available here in NYC. I've talked with drivers, and they expressed a lot of concern about their ratings and how they are perceived.
Air BNB is failing to create a culture of accountability, and failing to step in quickly to make things better for people who use their marketplace. If at all possible, I think they should at least do more to address the edge cases. Unhappy, scared, customers are not going to use the service.
I love Air BNB, they are not dead to me, but if they don't address this well I am afraid competition or regulation might.
I tend to think of the people that have to live next to this modern day flophouse. They didn't buy a space in a hotel, they didn't expect random people to come in at all times of the day.
I think I'm right in thinking that both parties must review one another before it is published. Therefore why would he ever review your negative experience.
Also, what was the reputation and reviews on the host used?
Especially for business travel, I do like a degree of predictability but that doesn't mean I feel a desire to restrict my travel to where I can stay in business hotels.
This seems trivial to solve -- Airbnb should make check-ins a mandatory part of all stays, and any issues with the accommodations would obviously be included in this initial check-in. There would be no chance for a host to move you across Barcelona before realizing you've been totally screwed or before Airbnb starts denying any and all responsibility for the problem.
They told me that I should have left more chance to the host to fix the issue (I left the place after 20 hours and tried to get ahold of the host multiple times). They never fully refunded me even after countless mails and calls where I quoted their own terms and conditions to prove that they needed to refund me. In the end, the customer service told me that "refund" does not mean "a total refund" but whatever they're willing to give.
The customer service lady was very nice but it seemed like her hands were tied and she was not allowed to just fully refund me. I'll never use them in the future.
From their perspective, you are creating a new channel to lodge a complaint for every single transaction. Often, those complaints would be resolved privately between the renter and owner (or wouldn't be raised at all).
My wife and I have stayed in a bunch of airbnb's (Aptos CA, Oregon House CA, Portland OR, Palo Alto, CA, San Diego CA, Princeville & Kapa'a HI, Seville & Barcelona (Las Ramblas) Spain, Venice & Florence & Rome Italy, and maybe another one or two that I'm forgetting) and the experience has been well above average every single time and every one of them were cheaper than the hotel alternatives.
No idea what we're doing differently, but we meticulously look through reviews and make sure we exchange a few messages with each host before we book.
We rented a place via AirBnB that seemed to have good reviews. Upon checking in, as soon as the lights were turned off, cockroaches came out and were crawling over us! So at 3AM I called AirBnB and wanted to get out. They helped me find another place, but I could not leave a review of the previous place! No wonder they had such good reviews! It defeats the purpose of a review if you can't leave really bad ones.
Eventually the loses mount and the company crumbles from bad press.
Amazon fixes this with 10/10 customer service. The only known solution.
Even Amazon screws up royally, too. I bought a Nook and never looked back, and haven't bought a book from Amazon since.
It really depends on the host. And I think that 90% are fantastic.
I had a similar experience this week with Dashlane (a password mgnt app) where i installed it and it corrupted >70 passwords locking me out of vital accounts. This is why my HN UN is green for instance. Customer support was totally shit for a while but I tweeted them and they responded and actually read my responses. I ended up losing all the data but they eventually provided some time to look into the issue deeper as well as a free 12 month account. Should they have helped me better up front, when the data may still have been recoverable? I think NO, but want to say yes. I had a free account and didnt had non-traditional settings. So while i would gladly trade the free account for my credentials back I bear some responsibility. I AM NOT INDICATING YOU(or the writer) ARE RESPONSIBLE. My point is that some situations are really shitty and are not indicative of the experience/views of an organization. If this occurs only very rarely, conpanies can still have a great business and unfortunately some people will be casualties to circumstance
xavier, if you are reading this. Thanks for the account credit and making things right, Cheers!
I wonder if you would have any luck escalating this to Chesky, Gebbia, et al. The Airbnb founding team really seems to take pg's advice on start-ups seriously. I'm sure that they're huge proponents of delighting their users, which your experience obviously isn't an example of.
I've had a bit too many bad experiences with the offerings of hosts and service of airbnb.
I hope this unicorn will die, and will be replaced by something proper
Let AirBnB explain their idiotic policies to Amex/Visa/MC
Has HN become a back channel customer service platform for YC companies?
Unfortunately since it seems to work so well. I expect we will see more of this.
I only see articles in my comment history from over a year ago. Search here isn't great, e.g. I can't find the article where PG himself commented on something I said.
Here's a few where I participated
In this one I reacted to someone else with the same impression
I asked for clarification on the policy, instead I got a downvote.
Since that time, I'm keeping quiet.
I appreciate that you don't want to "tick anyone off here", and you haven't, but you have said some things that aren't true. I think I've answered most of them at , but there's at least one other. It isn't true that we single anti-Airbnb stories out. We don't treat them any other way than comparable stories about something else.
I think there's a general phenomenon affecting this. Once startups become hyper-successful, there's a noticeable HN backlash against them. Perhaps this is because they're no longer the underdog. Airbnb and Uber (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9933165) are clearly in this category, and we've noticed others.
The trouble with such backlashes is that the discussions they lead to are super repetitive. Even more than the indignation, it's the repetitiveness that makes them unsuitable for HN.
Currently, the story above it has 57 points, 1 comment, and was posted 4 hours ago. This one has 125 points, 45 comments, and was posted 1 hour ago.
The way we treat threads like this has been consistent for years. Here's how it works.
We penalize indignation threads unless there is something unusually interesting about them. Indignation does not gratify intellectual curiosity, which is the mandate of this site. It does, though, attract large numbers of upvotes—strikingly consistently. That's a weakness of the voting system and a countervailing mechanism is needed. If we didn't have one, indignation would dominate HN, and that would be fatal.
Second, we don't censor posts for being anti-YC. That's literally the #1 rule of HN moderation—it's the first thing pg explained to me. We get accused of doing so anyway, of course, but it's important to be able to answer in good conscience. So when an indignation thread is YC-related, we may still penalize it, but always less than we otherwise would.
(Why do we penalize them less instead of just staying completely hands-off? Because that wouldn't be good for HN. There are a bunch of concerns we have to balance, and giving anti-YC threads carte blanche would neglect those other concerns, e.g. the quality of the front page. It would also be a truck-sized loophole that people would soon exploit.)
Third, there is software to detect flamewars and downweight such threads. Since indignation breeds indignation, that often kicks in on such posts.
Finally, anything beyond the above is the effect of user flags. This sort of thread always gets a lot of flags as well as upvotes. If you see a post whose score is growing and yet whose rank is falling, that's usually because it's attracting flags as well.
This is not about Airbnb as a business strategy or work place or UX etc.
Speaking of UX, I do find that Airbnb does a pretty good job at managing expectations and making sure people find their fit (I don't have any figure though).