Basic questions: Email submission guidelines? AirBnB card disputes?

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May 30, 2018
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#1
Hey everyone,

I do have a consumer issue. Before I do, I have some generic questions so I could understand the process better. I'm a pretty worried about how things will work out in the end and being taken seriously so bear with me. I also want to be prudent in my actions since it's unknown territory.

My primary means of contacting AirBnB was through the customer support hotline. I didn't think that AirBnB customer support believed or gave me a chance to explain/show my circumstances before making a determination on behalf of the host so I've been very reductive in explaining the circumstances in fear of ancillary notes being considered not relevant or my situation not serious enough to advocate for. I want some sort of understanding and assurance (if possible).
  1. I notice on the Elliott FAQ there's a suggested(?) order to do things. I googled around the net to see some folks say a place like AirBnB will majorly penalize the consumer if they do a card dispute. Is this true?
  2. If I want to write an email to Elliott (don't feel comfortable to explain the situation in the forums), how thorough should I be about the situation and is it common to be asked for more supplementary documents from the staff?
    1. How to submit images/are they necessary to provide in order to get help?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
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113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
What exactly is your issue? Airbnb has a process you need to follow if there is a problem when you arrive at a rental. You must contact them while you are there if you can’t get the landlord to fix your problem.

If you don’t follow their instructions and wait until you get home to report a problem- they won’t get involved generally.

If you book a nonrefundable home- they usually will not get involved since you entered into an agreement when you click into book agreeing to the landlords terms.

We give you tools here to advocate for yourself- if all of the tools we give you don’t work, if our writers think you have a case, they may look at the problem.

Without knowing what happened, it’s hard for us to help.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#3
If I want to write an email to Elliott (don't feel comfortable to explain the situation in the forums)
You should be aware that anything you submit to Elliott.org is subject to being published on the site or on Chris Elliott's column.

By submitting this form, I authorize representatives of this site and its affiliates to disclose information I have provided in this form to a third party. I also authorize the disclosure of any information I may have provided in the past or in the future related to my request for assistance, including but not limited to the contents of emails, social media posts or telephone calls. The information I provide, including my name and other information that specifically identifies me, such as my city and daytime occupation, is considered "on the record" and I authorize its use in any media, including but not limited to a syndicated news article, a published story on this website, or a post on our social media channels. I release and hold harmless this site and its affiliates from any liability and/or claims in connection with the disclosure of the information.
http://www.elliott.org/help/
 
Likes: jsn55
May 30, 2018
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#4
What exactly is your issue? Airbnb has a process you need to follow if there is a problem when you arrive at a rental. You must contact them while you are there if you can’t get the landlord to fix your problem.

If you don’t follow their instructions and wait until you get home to report a problem- they won’t get involved generally.

If you book a nonrefundable home- they usually will not get involved since you entered into an agreement when you click into book agreeing to the landlords terms.

We give you tools here to advocate for yourself- if all of the tools we give you don’t work, if our writers think you have a case, they may look at the problem.

Without knowing what happened, it’s hard for us to help.
Hi Neil and Just A Guy,

I'll try to keep shorter on the forums. I figure that with email I could explain the situation more thoroughly, though I don't want to dissuade the staff if the email is long.

I booked a private room for 5 days in Ohio for a conference. The apartment was not clean. The most obvious cases of uncleanliness were the sheets, pillow cases, and comforter being stained, covered in hair, and unwashed. The common areas itself was also unclean, especially the kitchen which is advertised as available for guests. There were dirty plates all over the counter and food stacked on the stove, so there was no way to use the space at all. The hosts were very loud in the middle of the night, which I did not expect and was not informed in advance.

These things would have been tolerable except as I settled into the accommodation, the host only mentioned several of their rules incrementally post arrival, past the time I had entered the front door. Their description as to what the rules were changed every time. If the rules were clearer before booking, I would have been able to ask questions and make a more informed decision. I constantly faced confrontation from the host’s wife who continued to monitor my habits. I apologized to the host's wife and then contacted the host via AirBnB messenger to better understand the house rules, but then upon reflection I realized I did not feel safe. This is the biggest issue as to why I contacted customer support.

I contacted customer support within 24 hours of checking in through their hotline, I did not cancel my listing, though I had stepped out of the listing to attend a conference which is where I made the call. Customer service had contacted the host before I got a chance to submit documentation and made a determination from there and then cancelled my listing. I only got a small fraction of what I had paid for the listing credited back to my account. I stayed at the listing for less than 24 hours. I'd rather have gotten all of the funds credited back.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
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www.promalvacations.com
#5
Ok- I think you need to go further up the executive chain at Airbnb because you did just what you were supposed to do. It sounds disgusting.

Here are our contacts:

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/airbnb/

Read the cover page on our Company Contacts Page on the steps to take escalating it up the executive chain. If you get all the way to the CEO and get no further- let’s us know.

I suggest you don’t attach pictures when you write as that often gets letters going into spam. Tell them you have pictures you can share.

I hope you also leave appropriate feedback for the landlord after this is done to warn others.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
 
Likes: jsn55
May 30, 2018
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#6
Ok- I think you need to go further up the executive chain at Airbnb because you did just what you were supposed to do. It sounds disgusting.

Here are our contacts:

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/airbnb/

Read the cover page on our Company Contacts Page on the steps to take escalating it up the executive chain. If you get all the way to the CEO and get no further- let’s us know.

I suggest you don’t attach pictures when you write as that often gets letters going into spam. Tell them you have pictures you can share.

I hope you also leave appropriate feedback for the landlord after this is done to warn others.

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
Hi Neil,

Thank you. I actually left a n honest and non-hostile/accusatory review for the host and they left a review back in anticipatory retaliation (blaming me for the same things I had brought up as issues with the listing) based on what I seems like customer service had provided them with regarding my take on events.
  1. I've read the FAQ bullet points as to basic things to consider when writing up the executive chain, though is there a good template/example to consider that gets the point across well in a polite manner?
    1. Should I simply email them the same things I have posted on this forum and focus mainly on the cleanliness, altercation, and customer service determination?
  2. Also, would it be in bad practice to file a card dispute in the interim? In my case the deadline is approaching to do so. I've been reading from some places that it could get you into financial issues with AirBnB and may not yield desired results.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I suggest you use what you told us but maybe be more specific especially about the rules that changed. Bullet form is the best. If you want to post it here before you send, we'd be happy to review it before you send it.

Were there any other negative reviews on this place?

I just want to make sure I understand this - the host canceled the rest of your stay once you filed the complaint and wouldn't refund the rest of your stay? Or did Airbnb cancel it?

A credit card dispute would be a last resort, however, you have to show that you have tried to work this out with the landlord and Airbnb first. I would say you should file a dispute if Airbnb has done nothing to get your funds back. Make sure you have screen shots of the listing and what was stated as far as booking and the rules. If you have time to go to the Execs at Airbnb, I would wait as long as possible to file the dispute but make sure you don't allow that time frame to go by.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
Neil is giving you excellent guidance, mblake. As I read your post, I came to the conclusion that the place was dirty, the hosts odd about rules, they made excessive noise, and the wife "didn't like you". Stated this baldly, it doesn't sound like much of a problem. So you need to explain exactly what happened to a "disinterested third party" by emailing the AirBB execs as we advise. Keep in mind that AirBB is not a hotel and there is a great deal of flexibility in properties.

If AirBB or the host cancelled your stay, you probably can win a CC dispute, but you should make a concerted effort to solve the problem first. Just check with your CC to be sure you don't miss their dispute deadline. If you want to post a draft of your letter, we'll be glad to have a look at it. Everything on this forum is confidential, the public does not know who you are.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
May 30, 2018
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#9
Hi Neil,

There were no negative reviews of the place and the photos look sparkling clean. I'm the first to write a negative review.
I believe AirBnB cancelled my stay, it could be the host. It was not clear who did. I did not manually cancel my stay.

I only have a few days to file a dispute because I booked that listing in advance for the conference. Once I get something drafted I'll post it here.

In the mean time I'll write about the rules and what circulated around the rules of concern in a bullet point form.

  • I didn’t feel safe due to the constant confrontation. As a lone traveler. I was worried that it would escalate as I was already uncomfortable once it had happened.
  • By the time I had left I understood that: no outdoor shoes in the home, also indoor shoes are restricted to the bathroom and the kitchen. Carpeted areas should be barefooted. Don't contaminate any of their kitchenware with wine or pork. The latter is still not advertised and was not fully documented in their written private message, it was verbal some time after I had entered the listing.
    • They did not tell me anything about outdoor shoes, though I had inferred that was the case and took them off.
    • I saw how nasty the floors were so I thought indoor slippers were okay to use.
    • First time I got yelled at was for my "outdoor" slippers which I had told them were indoors and asked if they're still not allowed. Wife argued and then husband (host) told me that they are allowed.
    • Next morning I was alone with the host’s wife who was watched me all the time. She jumped up and ran over to me and confronted me by asking whether indoor slippers being used between the bathroom and the carpeted areas. I did not know that was a faux pas and told her yes. When she told me that they don’t allow that I had apologized to her, she screamed at me and told me that I needed to take off my shoes NOW. It was clear that I was not trusted to do the right thing. I also suggested that it might be useful to express this in their rules so it would not happen to another guest again.
  • I reached out to the host and also apologized to him and asked him to clarify everything I need to consider so I could respect their home. The host apologizes for the misunderstanding and now has mentioned the rules as per what his wife had confronted me with regarding footwear. The kitchen rule was partially mentioned. The host writes in their review that I was demanding everything to be in writing before being willing to adhere to them.
  • During my stay there, I felt like the host saw me as having owed them for my stay based on how I was treated, and how the listing was maintained, the exchange was not treated as if I were paying for a service. There was no space carved out for guests in certain areas, like the kitchen (which is a provided amenity). I did not feel welcomed due to the overall nature of the situation. They treated me as if I were dirty and uncultured from the time that I had entered the space.
Edit: Hi jsn, thank you. I'll post a cleaner version soon.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
I'd love to see this listing so we could compare these to what they state on the listing as it sounds like you have a good case for a refund. This is absolutely ridiculous. It sounds like you are better off they canceled you as long as you could find another rental.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
There was one review that said cleanliness was Issue. However, you are right about the extra rules- the only thing they mention is taking off shoes, nothing else that you said she told you after you arrived so include that in your letter, cut and paste their description and what the extra rules were.
 
May 30, 2018
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#13
There was one review that said cleanliness was Issue. However, you are right about the extra rules- the only thing they mention is taking off shoes, nothing else that you said she told you after you arrived so include that in your letter, cut and paste their description and what the extra rules were.
They recently put that up once I had left the listing regarding shoes. Before there was nothing. I have screenshots of the original. I also recently wrote a review about the cleanliness (if that's what you saw).
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,385
6,443
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San Francisco
#15
Sounds to me that the two hosts were not quite on the same page with having someone share their home. You got caught in the middle. The shoe thing is ridiculous. A rule that complicated needs to be clearly stated before you book. I know all kinds of people who don't wear their shoes indoors, but making a differentiation between carpet and hard surface floors? Nutso. I think this is an unwinnable situation, nothing you could ever have done would have been acceptable. Find out who cancelled the booking, ask AirBB for your money back and file a CC dispute if you don't get it. Ask your CC for an extension of time due to the circumstances; if they can't do that, file within the deadline. If someone compiles a book of AirBB goofy stories some day, yours can be front and center.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
May 30, 2018
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#16
How about this?
Dear _____,


I’ve been using AirBnB since 2014. I had wonderful experiences in the past and have been encouraging many people to consider being a part of the AirBnB community. I’m emailing you in regarding getting a remainder refund credited back to my credit card of $____. I only got credited back $60.22 to my card.

Customer service had contacted the host before I got a chance to submit documentation and made a determination from there before cancelling my stay. This happened within less than 24 hours of checking in.

The check in date was ____, and reservation code ____. Here’s an outline as to why I’m seeking a full refund.

Obvious cases of uncleanliness:
  • Linen: the sheets, pillow cases, and comforter being stained, covered in hair, and unwashed.
  • Common areas especially the kitchen:
    • There were dirty plates all over the counter and food stacked on the stove, so there was no way to use the space at all.
    • Overflowing garbage in the kitchen and floors soiled with food scraps.
    • Advertised as available for guests, yet there was no room for guest use.
    • I have pictures that I can share, if necessary.
Noise:
  • Hosts were very loud in the middle of the night.
  • I did not expect and was not informed in advance.
Hostility:
  • Host’s wife continued to monitor my habits and confront me for infractions.
    • First time I got yelled at was for indoor slippers.
    • Wife argued and then husband (host) told me that they are allowed.
  • Next morning host’s wife jumped up and ran over to me and confronted/screamed at me for wearing indoor slippers between the bathroom and the carpeted areas.
  • At that time I was alone in the listing with her.
    • I did not know that was a faux pas and had apologized.
    • Wife demanded removal of slippers NOW; I was not trusted to do the right thing.
    • Apologized to host over AirBnB messenger and asked for clarification in order to rectify things.
      • Provided an incomplete and inaccurate subset of the rules I heard earlier.
    • As a lone traveler in an unfamiliar state, I did not feel safe in this listing therefore contacted AirBnB.
Rules:
  • Post arrival, the host only mentioned several of their rules incrementally.
    • Rules were never articulated prior to arrival. All articulated verbally, post arrival.
    • Constantly changed the rules throughout the stay.
  • By the time I had left I understood that:
    • No outdoor shoes in the home.
    • Indoor shoes are restricted to the bathroom and the kitchen.
    • Carpeted areas should be barefooted.
    • Don't contaminate any of their kitchenware with wine or pork.
  • If the rules were clearer before booking, I would have been able to ask questions and make a more informed decision.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,966
12,215
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Way too long and it isn’t clear from your letter that the stay was canceled by either Airbnb or the host after you followed Airbnb’s instructions to email problems.

Try this:

I’m emailing you in regarding getting a remainder refund credited back to my credit card of $____. I only got credited back $60.22 to my card.

The check in date was ____, and reservation code ____.

These are the restrictions in the listing: “ As the whole apartment area (except kitchen and bathroom) is carpeted, we request guests to remove their footwear by the door.
You must also acknowledge
Potential for noise - As it's overlooking the downtown and a busy street facing, there is always some street noise at night. “

Upon arrival, this is what I found:
Linen: the sheets, pillow cases, and comforter being stained, covered in hair, and unwashed.
Common areas especially the kitchen:
There were dirty plates all over the counter and food stacked on the stove, so there was no way to use the space at all.
Overflowing garbage in the kitchen and floors soiled with food scraps.
Advertised as available for guests, yet there was no room for guest use.
I have pictures that I can share, if necessary.
Hosts were very loud in the middle of the night.
Host’s wife continued to monitor my habits and confront me for infractions.
First time I got yelled at was for indoor slippers.
Wife argued and then husband (host) told me that they are allowed.
Next morning host’s wife jumped up and ran over to me and confronted/screamed at me for wearing indoor slippers between the bathroom and the carpeted areas.
By this time, host was gone and I was alone with his wife.
Wife demanded removal of slippers husband told me were ok to wear.
These are the additional rules that were told after I arrived:
Indoor shoes are restricted to the bathroom and the kitchen. Carpeted areas should be barefooted.
Don't contaminate any of their kitchenware with wine or pork.
With the host gone and the additional rules that were not disclosed, I contacted Airbnb as instructed in your terms to intervene with the host when I left the home for the day for a work. I felt threatened by the wife and the house was dirty.
Once I contacted you, the balance of my stay was canceled- I don’t who canceled it, Airbnb or the host but I was not refunded for the balance of the stay. Since I did not cancel the stay, I am due a refund for the remainder of the stay.
I am requesting a refund for the balance of my stay. I followed your directions to try and work the issues out and it resulted in someone else canceling my stay.
 
May 30, 2018
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#18
Thank you Neil, I changed the formatting of what you've just sent over:

I’m emailing you regarding getting a remainder refund credited back to my credit card of $____. I only got credited back $60.22 to my card.
The check in date was ____, and reservation code ____.

These are the restrictions in the listing:
  • “As the whole apartment area (except kitchen and bathroom) is carpeted, we request guests to remove their footwear by the door.”
  • “You must also acknowledge: Potential for noise - As it's overlooking the downtown and a busy street facing, there is always some street noise at night.“
  • These restrictions were not included in the listing until now.

Upon arrival, this is what I found:
  • Linen: the sheets, pillow cases, and comforter being stained, covered in hair, and unwashed.
  • Common areas especially the kitchen:
  • Dirty plates all over the counter and food stacked on the stove. There was no way to use the space.
  • Overflowing garbage in the kitchen and floors soiled with food scraps.
  • Advertised as available for guests, yet there was no room for guest use.
  • I have pictures that I can share, if necessary.
  • Hosts were very loud in the middle of the night.
  • Host’s wife continued to monitor my habits and confront me for infractions.
  • First time I got yelled at was for indoor slippers.
  • Wife argued and then husband (host) told me that they are allowed.
  • Next morning host’s wife jumped up and ran over to me and confronted/screamed at me for wearing indoor slippers between the bathroom and the carpeted areas.
  • By this time, host was gone and I was alone with his wife.
  • Wife demanded removal of slippers husband told me were ok to wear.

These are the additional rules that were told after I arrived:
  • Indoor shoes are restricted to the bathroom and the kitchen; Carpeted areas should be barefooted.
  • Don't contaminate any of their kitchenware with wine or pork.

With the host gone and the additional rules that were not disclosed, I contacted Airbnb as instructed in your terms to intervene with the host when I left the home for the day for a work conference. I felt threatened by the wife and the house was dirty.

Once I contacted you, the balance of my stay was canceled–I don’t know who canceled it, Airbnb or the host but I was not refunded for the balance of the stay. Since I did not cancel the stay, I am due a refund for the remainder of the stay.

I am requesting a refund for the balance of my stay. I followed your directions to try and work the issues out and it resulted in someone else canceling my stay.
 
Likes: isslandboy
Feb 24, 2018
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#19
I am currently in my second AirBnb stay. It's not as bad as yours, but I didn't think I could do anything about it, because I am here for work and can't afford to book a hotel at this late date. I am following to see how yours turns out. I decided prior to my first stay that I would only book entire places, because the idea of staying with a host was not appealing to me. I'm sorry this happened and I hope it resolves in your favor.

ETA: I just looked at the listing and there are two lies in the description about ratings. I would hope that AirBnb would monitor that, but it looks like they don't.
 
May 30, 2018
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#20
I am currently in my second AirBnb stay. It's not as bad as yours, but I didn't think I could do anything about it, because I am here for work and can't afford to book a hotel at this late date. I am following to see how yours turns out. I decided prior to my first stay that I would only book entire places, because the idea of staying with a host was not appealing to me. I'm sorry this happened and I hope it resolves in your favor.

ETA: I just looked at the listing and there are two lies in the description about ratings. I would hope that AirBnb would monitor that, but it looks like they don't.
I used the email format that Neil provided above, did not hear back from the primary contact so in the mean time I'm writing my credit card dispute.

In my case I thought that AirBnB would offer more support than to leave you naked, at least informing what the options are before making that decision for me.
 
Likes: GeorgeNYC