Friday, October 21, 2016

Airbnb is Not a True Community

Our recent vacation to Oahu almost went sideways by If you're not familiar with this site, they connect "Hosts" with "Guests" for a wide range of houses, apartments, condos and other housing and get a rather healthy fee. Their main competitor is, a site we have used many times with good success.

We found a condo near the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu, HI and signed up to stay there for 7 nights. The photos of the property looked fine and we knew we weren't going to get the Taj Mahal. It looked like a rather tired condo online and the price seemed appropriate based on the other condos and apartments on the North Shore listed there.

The minute we walked into the condo, there was an offensive smell that we both noticed immediately. Imagine mildew and multiply it by a factor of 10. But, we liked the condo otherwise, so we opened all the windows and turned on all the fans. One bad sign was that there were scented candles in every room, so obviously the owners of the condo were aware of the smell.

After about 3 hours in the condo, we decided that we could not stay there. So, we looked around and found another spot, after a lot of haggling and phone calls.

Once they determined that we were not going to stay at the property, they treated us like second-class citizens. They lied to us several times, did not do things they said they would and pretty much told us we were stuck with the entire fee. They told us they would cancel the reservation twice, but they did not.

The people at Airbnb were as phony as they could be. The first person we talked to said her name was "Jordan" but when we asked her name again at the conclusion of the call, she said Mary. She can't even keep her lies in order. So first off-she lied about her name.

When we asked Jordan, what if we contest this fee with our credit card company and her response was--"Oh no, if you do that you won't be welcome back into the Airbnb community?" What community? A community where you just take $$ without any oversight?

The second person we talked to was a guy named Wei. He trashed Jordan for her inattentive customer service, but then did the same thing.

I realized at that point that the people at Airbnb don't value the renters. They will protect the "hosts" because they need properties for people to offer to their customers. They could care less about us, the consumer and it became evident rather quickly.

So, we are contesting the amount for the rental with our credit card company (One note: If you ever buy something important, do it with an American Express card, because they will back you 100% on any sketchy purchase you will make). We used a VISA card and they are already hinting that they won't be helping us on this charge. I predict that they will do squat for us. Most credit cards are just loan sharks, but they don't beat you up when you don't pay. That is the only difference.

One of the worst things is that Airbnb will not let us write a review about this stinky condo. So, if anyone rents it in the near future, they will also be screwed. Airbnb will rent bad properties, because all they want is their percentage.

So, if you're looking at an Airbnb property, please be very wary. This company does not value you one iota, so be careful or stay clear of them altogether.

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