Blanca Valbuena

A Guide on How to Handle Airbnb Problems as a Guest

I've been traveling on Airbnb for about 8 years, maybe longer. Airbnb Problems with my hosts haven't been so much of an issue. This is partly because I've gotten really good on comment choisir une location Airbnb, but also because I take certain precautions so that if Airbnb Problems do arise, I am covered. Aujourd'hui, I'll walk you through everything I do to prevent Airbnb Problems, and what you need to do in case something comes up. Before we discuss what to do if you have a Airbnb problems you need to know there are two cardinal rules you must always follow:

  • Always communicate via the Airbnb platform
  • NEVER (EVER EVER EVER) exchange money outside the platform

What to Do If you Have Airbnb Problems

Preventing Airbnb Problems Before Arrival

A set of questions to ask your host before arriving at your airbnb vacation rental

Ask your host questions before arriving so you know what to expect

Assuming you followed my guide on choosing an Airbnb rental, you're already miles ahead. The best way to not have to worry is to prevent issues, so we'll discuss that first. As soon as your booking is confirmed you'll need to contact the host. Not all hosts are created equal, so if he/she does not contact you immediately, you need to reach out to them and begin the process. These are the things you need to discuss with your Airbnb host:

  • How will check-in be handled. Will you meet the host or one of his/her agents
  • Are there any specific things you need to know (don't talk to neighbors, the doorknob to the kitchen falls down, etc)
  • What is the best way to reach them in case of emergency
  • What is the wifi code
  • On directions, are there landmarks that will help you locate the house? What does the facade look like?
  • How do you throw out the garbage/recycling

Once you get the answers, take a screenshot on your phone and add these to a favorites folder. This way, if something happens to your internet connection, you always have an easy way to access this information. This should prevent a good number of Airbnb Problems, but let's go through a few things that could happen that could be issues before your arrival:

1. Your Host Messages You Asking You to Cancel

You're so excited about your trip. All of the sudden, you get a note your host messages you asking you to handle. They give you a sob story about how they will get a fee from Airbnb if they cancel. FirstDO NOT CANCEL THE RESERVATION.  If you cancel, you could lose some or all of the money you've already paid depending on which Airbnb cancellation policy the host chose.  If they are pushing you to cancel but won't do it themselves, get Airbnb involved immediately. As I mentioned, you could lose all your money, so under no circumstances are you to cancel yourself. 

2. Your Host Wants You to Change Dates

Same as above, if the host messages you asking to change dates and you're ok with it. Ask them to put in a request for date modification. If the date changes are not something you want, then you need to contact Airbnb and get them involved again. You booked the dates, they belong to you. 

3. You Need to Change Your Dates

This one is easy, go to "Your Trips" then click "change or cancel" under the reservation that needs to be changed. There may be fees attached to this, so make sure to check these out before you go through with the reservation modification.

Sometimes Airbnb hosts tend to be aloof.

How to deal with a host that does not respond to your Airbnb questions

4. Your Host Has Not Responded

We get these unresponsive hosts from time to time. Usually, if they have a 4.5-5 star rating, it won't be an issue (you should not rent from a host with 4 stars or less - ever). Cependant, if it is getting closer to your trip and you have yet to hear from the host, you need to take action. Send one more message to your host letting them know that you're getting closer to your stay and you want to coordinate everything. Puis, contact Airbnb to let them know that you've not been able to reach your host and that you're getting concerned. It is so important to have Airbnb in the loop for anything like this. Ask Airbnb for advice on how you should proceed. They will then tell you exactly what you need to do and will most likely offer to contact your host and make sure your reservation is still on.

Airbnb Problems That Can Happen Upon Arrival

Take a Video of the Apartment:

The first thing you are going to do is grab your smart phone and make a video of the apartment you are renting. You want to have proof of the condition it was received in. Anything that looks odd, you need to document on film. As soon as you're done with the video, upload it to YouTube (comme non cotées). This will guarantee that you have a time stamp in case Airbnb Problems arise at check out.

If you see anything weird upon arrival (say a scratch on an expensive looking marble table) note the host so that you have documentation that this was not caused by your stay. 

If the Airbnb is not What You Expected

If you arrive and the apartment is not as advertised, you have 24 hours to tell Airbnb and ask for a refund and get help with finding a new flat. What is "not as advertised"? Say for example that you booked an entire place, but you get there and you get only a bedroom. Ou, that you booked a two bedroom, but you get a one bedroom instead. Or maybe you are there and it promised air conditioning, but there is none. These are all not as advertised. Garder en tete, that since it is last minute, you may not get a place as large as the original or as cheap. Airbnb will usually cover the same amount you paid, but if you can't find anything at that cost, you may have to put money out of pocket. In this case you need to

  1. take pictures & video to document the issue
  2. check the refund policy
  3. email your host to give them a chance to take care of things
  4. immediately message Airbnb so that they're in the loop & can help

Airbnb Problems During Your Stay (24 hours after your arrival)

Something breaks or stops working

Airbnb's are not hotels (the good ones rarely look like hotels or Ikea specials). Because Airbnb rentals aren't hotels, but people's homes, sometimes issues will arise. These can be as tiny as the electricity going out for a few minutes, or the washing machine breaking, to something as catastrophic as a flood (rarely happens, but happened to me once). If anything weird happens during your stay, the first thing you need to do is contact your host via the Airbnb platform. You don't want to call them, you don't want to email them, you don't want to whatsapp them. If you do this, you will complicate your life. Keep all your communications on the Airbnb platform so that if a situation gets complicated, your Airbnb case worker will be able to follow the entire conversation all the way through. Puis, contact Airbnb help so that they are in the loop. 

You have a problem with someone

If you are having problems with the host or another guest (in the case of a shared listing), most of the time you're out of luck. The best recourse here is to calmly communicate with the person in question. Cependant, if you feel threatened or at danger, the best thing to do is get local police involved, but always communicate with Airbnb so they have documentation of any issue going on. Communication is key here.

You think your Airbnb may be illegal

This is a very grey area. Many cities like NYC, Paris, and San Francisco have strict rules or have outlawed Airbnb. Sometimes the laws are murky. The good news is that Airbnb won't penalize you if you're at your Airbnb rental and you get kicked out by the city or building because your host was bending/breaking the rules. The bad news is that you may have to shell out a large amount of money to find a last minute replacement (either via Airbnb or Hotel). If you don't want to go through this at all, check Google before you pick an Airbnb in the city. If you still decide to book, feel free to be open and honest with your host. Ask them if there are any precautions you should take, for example not talk to neighbors, say you're a cousin/friend if someone asks. If something should happen, contact Airbnb immediately. Let them know the situation and ask them for help. They are very concerned about their reputation, so if worse comes to worse, they will help you to find a place to stay (and maybe even put in for the difference). It would not hurt to have money slated just in case. 

Always be calm, keep profanities out of the conversation, and keep extras to a minimum (stick to the facts). You will make your case worker's life a lot easier and things will run smoothly. 

You Lose Your Key

This one is a bit sneaky, but I ask my hosts for two pairs of keys (one for me and one for Antonio). If I do not get two sets, I usually make a copy, that way one of us always has a spare. Just make sure to give it to your host when you leave. So far, all hosts have been thankful for the spare set. 

How to Contact Airbnb About Airbnb Problems

How to request money back from an Airbnb host

You can use the resolution center to request money from an Airbnb host whose listing was not accurate, dates were changed, etc.

The Airbnb resolution center: this is your place to go if something has happened and it is after 24 hours of your check in. This is where you would request money from your host. When would you use this? Say your host is out of the country and the bathroom breaks. You pay for it out of pocket and need to be reimbursed by your host. This would be an appropriate situation for this usage. 

 

Twitter is a great way to get in touch with Airbnb when you have an emergency

One of the fastest ways to get support on Airbn is to go to Twitter

Twitter: If for some reason, Airbnb does not get back to you in a speedy manner, Twitter is your next best bet. You need to reach out to @Airbnbhelp, not the regular @airbnb account. They've always gotten back to me within 30 minutes max. 

 

Airbnb Support Phone Numbers

(Dernière mise à jour 2/1/17)

When you call Airbnb, you need to have the phone number that is associated with your account ready. 

AirBnB 24/7 US Phones

US toll free: +1-855-424-7262
US local: +1-415-800-5959

International Airbnb Support Phones

Argentine +54 11 53 52 78 88
Australia +61 2 8520 3333
Austria +43 (0) 72 08 83 800
Brazil +55 21 3958-5800
Chile +56229380777 
China +86 10 5904 5310 / 400 889 7054 
Denmark +45 89 88 20 00
France +33 (0)1 84 88 40 00
Germany +49 030 30 80 83 80
Greece +30 211 1989888
Hong Kong +852 5808 8888
Inde +000 800 440 5103
Irlande +353 16 97 1831
Israel +972 3 939 9977
Italy +39-06-99366533
Japon +81 800 100 1008
Malaysia +603 7724 0164 / + 1800 889 814
Mexico +52 55 41 70 43 33
Netherlands +31 (0) 20 52 22 333
New Zealand +64 4 4880 888
Norvège +47 21 61 16 88
Peru +5117075777
Poland +48 22 30 72 000
Portugal +351 30 880 3888
Puerto Rico: + 17879190880
Russia +7 495 4658090
Singapore +65 6622 7306 / + 1800 723 1238
South Korea +82 808 220 230
Spain +34 91 123 45 67
Sweden +46 844 68 12 34
Switzerland +41 (0) 43 50 84 900
UK +44 203 318 1111

I hope you find this list on what to do if you have Airbnb Problems helpful. If you have questions about Airbnb, leave a comment. If you haven't yet used airbnb, feel free to use my Airbnb discount code. I'm looking forward to meeting you. Happy Travels. 

Les deux onglets suivants changent de contenu ci-dessous.

Blanca Valbuena

Je suis le co-fondateur de FriendsEat et Socialdraft. J'ai une obsession malsaine avec Chardonnay bourguignon, ASOIAF, et Voyage.

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14 COMMENTAIRES SUR CE POST Pour “A Guide on How to Handle Airbnb Problems as a Guest”

  • Kat

    Mars 19, 2017 à 6:13 am

    This is very useful! I never thought of making a video when I arrive. I’ll definitely be doing that next time I use AirBnB!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Mars 19, 2017 à 12:28 pm

      Glad you liked the tip. It comes in quite handy to have proof of condition at arrival and at departure.

  • Heather Johnson

    Août 5, 2017 à 1:40 am

    You offer some great tips. I have yet to use Air BNB. I was going to this summer but our plans changed.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 5, 2017 à 5:00 am

      Airbnb is a wonderful service, it makes such a difference being in a place where you can wash clothes or make a meal while you are away, this is what makes Airbnb so good. I’d advise all newbies on Airbnb to make sure they read the house rules and ask questions. This prevents Airbnb issues from happening in the first place. Happy travels.

  • buddy

    Août 5, 2017 à 5:38 am

    Airbnb is a great service,one schoul aware how to use this service efficently this guide will add a great help.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 10, 2017 à 12:47 am

      Absolutely. Just like anything else you need to learn the ins and outs of Airbnb to have a perfect experience. It took me some time to figure out how to pick the perfect Airbnb rental and how to deal with issues when they came up.

  • jay

    Août 5, 2017 à 6:59 pm

    What a great resources you have here for all things AIRBNB. I love you tip about videoing the entire places this can come in very handy!!!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 6, 2017 à 7:55 am

      The videos really are a life saver. An Airbnb rep can’t argue with a video taken as you leave a flat. It protects you as a guest. I do this every single time.

  • Kristen from The Road to Domestication

    Août 7, 2017 à 4:53 am

    This is fantastic info! I haven’t tried Air Bnb yet, but I plan to in the near future!

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 7, 2017 à 2:20 pm

      It’s such a great way to travel. I just booked one for a visit to Sintra. If you ever have questions on a particular listing, don’t hesitate to reach out.

  • Claire Santiago

    Août 10, 2017 à 4:14 am

    I never tried AirBNB yet, but would love to. This is helpful especially to those who will use the service for the first time as troubles may come along the way. At least, I have an idea on what to do, when it happens to me.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 10, 2017 à 9:30 pm

      It’s a really wonderful way to travel. When you are ready to pick one, feel free to drop by. If you leave the link for the listing I will be more than happy to give you my opinion 😉

  • Rebecca Swenor

    Août 15, 2017 à 12:03 pm

    This is awesome information for those using Airbnb when traveling. I have not heard of Airbnb but I would rather use this service when traveling. My sister and her family travel a lot so I will have to share this with her. Thanks for sharing all the great information.

    • Blanca Valbuena

      Août 15, 2017 à 2:26 pm

      It can really be a wonderful way to travel, the Airbnb team is very helpful too (especially their Twitter help team). When you or your sister are ready to try it out, let me know or check out this link http://www.airbnb.com/c/cvalbuena it gets you a nice travel credit towards your first trip.

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