The post is not just about Airbnb but more about a booking I did and how the host treated me even before checking in. But I say Airbnb because I think only they can do anything about it. So that in the future no one has a similar experience. I don’t know if I am the first or this experience happens to others. Anyway here is what happened.
We were planning for a trip to LA and Vegas for holidays end of 2022. We had friends visiting us from Europe and we were a group of 10. I did not want to take last minutes chances. So there were two things I had to secure. Stay and Travel.
I booked a house in Palmdale for 3 nights on AirBnB and also booked a 15 seater from Expedia. I did this in November just to be safe. I paid the full price on the stay on a deal that I will lose it all if I cancel. I did not find a reason why I should have to cancel it. Everything was ready.
One week to 10 days after the booking, I get a message from the host demanding $600 more. The reason was that it is new year time and the price was less. Well they knew that it was New Year when they put up the listing. I declined the request over the Airbnb App. Why should I pay more when I had secured the price and booking by paying full amount.
Then I get a message on my phone and the host says how about $400. I again message No. I find it a bit creepy that I get messaged on my phone. The host also threatens that they will cancel my reservation if I don’t pay more. I still have a month so I say go ahead and do it.
I immediately message the Airbnb Support and tell the the same and send them the screen shots of the messages the host sent me and my conversation with them.
After a while the host messages me and tells me that I should cancel it from my end and they will pay me in cash. Now I start having other thoughts about the booking.
One I feel unsafe because this ask from the host is wrong and tells me the host is not trustworthy. They are just there to make money off the guest. The second thing is a fear that the host might cancel my booking last moment to just trouble me. I message Airbnb and raise my concern.
The first rep I spoke to told me that let us give the host 24 hours and see if the host cancels and if not they will try to cancel from their end and the Rep will help me find a similar stay. I agree.
A day later no cancellation happens and I decide to give it a few days. Then again I get message from host asking do I want the room. The room I booked paying complete amount. I ask what does that mean and they again say they have to cancel.
I contact Airbnb Support again and speak to a Rep who then contacts the host and after a good time on phone I get a message from Airbnb support that the host has confirmed that they will honor the agreed rate. Honor the rates I already paid in full? What ever, I did not want to go through the hassle of booking again. So I agree.
A few days later I get another message asking for $350. I again go on my Airbnb support call and again get a reply after a while that the host will honor the rates. By now I have lost enough time to get a good deal and was kind of stuck here.
Also our group increased from 10 to 12. So I I had gone ahead and booked a hotel room in the nearby Hilton. The house was for 10 people. The house was in Palmdale though we were planning to visit Universal Studios. So I had to book a room in Hilton. Again non refundable rates. So now I am also stuck with Palmdale.
I now have three days to go. I am suppose to Check in on 29th December and I reach out to the Host on 28th asking them on how to check in and they reply back saying they will send me the Unlock code. I thank them. Half an hour later I get a call from Airbnb support that the host has cancelled my reservation from their end and I will get a refund.
So now I have 12 people ready to travel and I have my 15 seater ready. I don’t have a stay for 10 people. What do I do?
An Airbnb Rep calls me and tells me that they will help me find a similar place and even try to cover the difference.
Now I have lost my trust in the service. What if this again happens. What if I stay in a place and then they charge me additional giving some excuses. Do I have time for all these. These are all fears for a person who usually stay in hotel and not Airbnb. Not for any reason, I just did not use it. I had just created an account for this oen occasion.
I had two choices. Try Airbnb once more or book rooms in a hotel. Now I was stuck with Palmdale as I already have a room. I went ahead and booked 4 more rooms in Hilton to accommodate the 10 people and it costed me a lot more as you can imagine. I told Airbnb this and they said they understand and was sorry about the experience. They also told me that they will give a $130 voucher. I did not collect it because I wanted to tell my story and if I had taken the $130 I would not able to say it as it is. The cost is much more than $130 and the stress is also more.
I might not book through Airbnb again, unless anything changes. And this is not because it does not work. Just because my experience speaks to me differently. It might be unfortunate that I ended up with a totally bad host. I know of so many people who use Airbnb and love it. Even my daughter books via Airbnb and was surprised by what happened.
I am also sure the majority of the hosts are great. Sadly one host has caused me to write this whole post. This was my first and will be the last booking via AirBnB unless things change and I don’t know how it can. Though I would love it to change.
I was also thinking how Airbnb could have done things better. If during the first contact itself when they figured the host was shady asking a guest to cancel and pay money outside the system, they should taken steps to cancel the reservation and refunded me. Then either we book via Airbnb or I find something new. That did not happen and so much time was lost in unwanted stress.
May be Airbnb policy is to make things work and not cancel. But when a host repeatedly does this to a guest, isn’t that a sign. I don’t know.
Now you might be wondering who the host is and what the address is and so on. I don’t wish to reveal that because I have nothing against the place I was supposed to stay and don’t want it to have a bad name. May be tomorrow someone else would buy it and everything will be all right. May be the person dealing with Airbnb was an agent and not the real owner.
Though I am hurt and feel bad I don’t keep an ill feeling, just that I wish my experience was better. I thank all Airbnb support staff who supported me, because they seemed to genuinely care about my situation.
Well the stay costed us a bit more, but we had the peace of mind we needed.
Just want to share with you want happened with Enterprise Rent a Car. I get a call from them on 27th December saying that I booked through Expedia and the location I was supposed to pick the vehicle from does not carry a 15 seater. Another bummer. But they told me that let them check nearby Enterprise and get back to me.
I get a call from them after an hour and they tell me that they have secured a 15 seater for me and I can go and pick it. Thank You Enterprise for doing that. You guys made my day