TRAVEL

Airbnb lost my reservation and then banned me

Dear Travel Troubleshooter: I had the most miserable experience with Airbnb. I recently booked an aparthotel in London. When I arrived, the host told me that I had no reservation (despite paying months in advance and receiving a confirmation from Airbnb). I had no place.

Christopher Elliott, Travel Troubleshooter

I contacted Airbnb and they gave me a coupon to stay in another apartment. However, the photos were a complete misrepresentation of the apartment.The host acknowledged that some of the images were incorrect and apologized.

In the end, I booked a hotel with my own funds and spent $1,875. I spoke with his Airbnb senior ambassador. He agreed to refund only his $500 for the hotel and issue the rest as his Airbnb coupon.
For the rest of my trip there were pretentious apologies with no real solution. I was short on funds to spend for the rest of my vacation for this new hotel that I had booked with my own money.

Despite the horrible experience we had, we were forced to use the coupon code for our next stay, so we tried to log into our account to redeem the coupon, only to find out that our account was blocked. Okay. Can you help me?

— Mehar Satsangi, Mumbai, India

answer: Wow talk about a bad stay. Almost everything that could go wrong with the Airbnb experience went wrong.

First, Airbnb needs to communicate your reservation to your London host. It’s not clear what the problem was. Did the host make a reservation and turn it down when they arrived, or is there something wrong with Airbnb’s reservation system? Either way, Airbnb should have taken full responsibility.

Airbnb’s Rebooking Guarantee (found at www.airbnb.com/help/article/2868/rebooking-and-refund-policy) promises to help you find “equal or better” accommodation. But it didn’t. Instead, you ended up in another apartment. The photo was not representative of the property. Two strikes, Airbnb.

But Airbnb isn’t done with you. The company deactivated your account after promising credit for future use. This strikes out.

So are you out of luck? maybe not. I reviewed my correspondence with Airbnb and was clearly upset. Maybe that’s why Airbnb banned you, but I’m not sure.

What went well? First, he communicates that he wants to use Airbnb’s rebooking guarantee. Airbnb promises to take care of you if your host cancels your reservation, and you can also contact her one of Airbnb’s customer service managers. I have published the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of Airbnb executives on my consumer advocacy site www.elliott.org/company-contacts/airbnb-customer-service-contacts/. We also have a free guide on how to book your next vacation rental (www.elliott.org/answers/how-to-rent-vacation-home-ultimate-guide/) so this never happens again. Please don’t let that happen.

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