15 Reasons Airbnb’s Customer Service Sucks! + How to Contact Them

Updated on January 25, 2018 by Asher Fergusson

Airbnb’s customer service is, in a word, terrible.

The recent string of big Airbnb news stories regarding injuries, murders, sexual assault, discrimination, and other woeful goings-on seems to indicate a company scrambling to keep up with its own growth, and one of the many results of that is a poor support system for its customers.

Our recent Airbnb guest horror story research study showed that 82% of the guests who had a problem with Airbnb said customer service was a major cause of the problem.

The best toll-free phone number for calling Airbnb Customer Service is +1-855-424-7262.

Click here to expand all international Airbnb phone numbers

Country

Phone Number

United States +1-415-800-5959
United States (toll-free) +1-855-424-7262
Argentina +54 11 53 52 78 88
Australia +61 2 8520 3333
Austria +43 72 08 83 800
Brazil +55 21 3958-5800
Chile +56229380777
China +86 400-120-9157
China (shared-cost) 400-716-0164
Cuba (toll-free) +1-855-424-7262
Denmark +45 89 88 20 00
France +33-184884000
Germany +49 30 30 80 83 80
Greece +30 211 1989888
Hong Kong +852 5808 8888
India (toll-free) 000 800 4405 103
Ireland +353 1 697 1831
Israel +972 3 939 9977
Italy +39-06-99366533
Japan +81 3 4580 0999
Japan (toll-free) +81 800 100 1008
Kenya (toll-free) +1-855-424-7262
Malaysia +603 7724 0164
Malaysia (toll-free) 1800 889 814
Mexico +52 55 41 70 43 33
Netherlands +31 20 52 22 333
New Zealand +64 4 4880 888
Norway +47 21 61 16 88
Peru +51 1 7089777
Poland +48 22 30 72 000
Portugal +351 30 880 3888
Puerto Rico +1 787 945-0222
Russia +74954658090
Russia (toll-free) 88003017104
Singapore +65 6622 7306
Singapore (toll-free) 1800 723 1238
South Africa (toll-free) +1-855-424-7262
South Korea +82 2 6022 2499
South Korea (toll-free) +82 808 220 230
Spain +34 91 123 45 67
Sweden +46 844 68 12 34
Switzerland +41 43 50 84 900
Taiwan +886 2 7743 2436
Taiwan (toll-free) 0800 868 313
United Kingdom +44 203 318 1111

 
If you have any problem at all with your stay, contact Airbnb as soon as possible and take photos for evidence.

Here’s 15 reasons why their service is so bad:

1) You may not get the help you need, even if it’s an emergency. Personal experience with this has shown me that they may not come through for you in your time of need. My family and I had a terrible experience with this, and we were basically left to fend for ourselves after an incident in Paris.

2) Their representatives can make you feel like they’d rather not be talking to you. When you call a support or service team, you expect them to make you feel valued and listened to, right? Unfortunately, that’s often not the way that guests report feeling after their interactions with Airbnb’s Customer Experience team.

3) They dish out canned responses left and right, but they may not actually listen or engage. Engagement with the customer is key when problem-solving, and Airbnb does a LOT of problem-solving. If a customer feels that their story is falling on deaf ears, they’ll do one of two things: escalate the issue to someone who WILL listen, or disengage entirely. In the business world, that means losing a customer.

4) They often lose track of your service tickets or close them prematurely. As most people who’ve dealt with a call center know, a service ticket is your lifeline to a solution, and it should remain open and in the right hands until it’s resolved and you have your solution. Many Airbnb customers mention the exact opposite happening.

5) When you send them photos or information, it can easily get lost in the “void”. Because of the seemingly disorganized nature of the Airbnb customer service system, it can be easy for your important, case-relevant information to become lost or misdirected. This means that the evidence you send of an incident may never reach its intended audience, or it may be delayed in its progress, leaving you waiting longer for help.

6) They don’t seem to communicate well with each other, much less their customers.
In dealing with the customer service team regarding our Paris issue, we experienced so much confusion and chaos in communications that it was hard to keep track of who was working on our problem, whom to contact, and how soon we could expect a resolution. The chaos caused us a lot of trouble, and online reviews left by guests have told us that we’re not the only ones who have experienced this problem.

7) They tend to blame the customer for problems and don’t always accept appropriate responsibility as a company. No, the customer is NOT always right, but they’re also not the one to blame for problems outside of their control – especially those caused by the company’s platform, policies, or technology. And even if the customer does share the responsibility for the issue, they’re contacting customer service for help, so HELP THEM.

8) Many representatives don’t even know how the website and mobile app work on a basic level. If you provide support for a service or product, it would seem like a basic job requirement for you to understand the ins and outs of that product and/or platform. I’m not asking for programmers and tech-wizards, here. I’m asking for the people I am directed to call regarding questions about the use of their site to be able to answer those questions.

9) There’s a chance you’ll be hung up on, and it might be on purpose. Many users of the Airbnb site complain that they’ve been hung up on. Even one deliberate hang-up-on incident is too many, but users complain about this issue too frequently.

10) You’re likely to be dealing with a person who’s so burnt out that their attitude is permanently bad. Any high-volume customer service team is going to experience burnout – that’s just how it goes in call centers. The first trick is to ensure that your staff is empowered to make decisions and take breaks so that they don’t get so burnt out that they can’t control their tone and reactions. The second trick is to have an effective support system for customer service team members so that they feel like someone has their back. Airbnb may lack this, based on guest’s comments regarding their call center team experiences. Burnout is a mood-killer, but it’s not okay for even the most exhausted, in-demand customer service agent to lash out at a customer.

11) They regularly make promises that they don’t keep. Complaints of this nature range from guests saying they were promised a full refund and got $0, to guests saying they were promised that Airbnb would find a suitable alternative accommodation and then left guests to fend for themselves either with or without their money back in time to find a new place to stay. When you’re dealing with huge sums of money (bookings can cost thousands of dollars) that have to be paid up-front, it’d be best to have a system in place whereby refunds can be issued right away when necessary. In the customer service world, it’s also pretty crucial to keep promises made to customers…

If you want to know what happened to us with Airbnb in September 2017, watch this video. I show how we never received a full refund for our place that was completely moldy and we only there for 30 mins.

12) Even if you comply with their terms of service and evidence requirements,
you may never get a refund.
It’s hard to say how often this happens, but some people never end up receiving a refund they are entitled to. Even if a guest’s situation and evidence are squarely within Airbnb’s published policies, a refund may not be granted, and the guest may never be given an explanation as to why.

13) There doesn’t seem to be an escalation process. This goes hand-in-hand with a well-supported customer service team. In order for representatives to be able to effectively make decisions and assist customers, any service team MUST have a black-and-white escalation procedure that allows for rare exceptions. There have to be standards in place which are followed the same way every time (within realistic expectations), and there have to be superiors available to make decisions when an urgent matter arises – especially since “urgent matter” in Airbnb world may mean a dangerous situation!

14) Even if you are told you’re getting a refund, you may have to fight tooth-and-nail to get it, and it can take weeks or even months to get. I think we’ve established pretty clearly that the refund system isn’t a very reliable one, don’t you? We still haven’t gotten our full refund after months of communications with Airbnb.

15) Their policies seem to be set up to make them money, and it may be unfairly at your expense. Of course companies strive to make money – how else could they function? The problem arises when policies are only followed when it’s convenient for the company, or when those policies are written to unfairly favor the company. Many of Airbnb’s policies clearly give the company leeway to keep funds when they probably shouldn’t, and charge conversion and other fees when it may not be practical or necessary.

The bottom line is this: in customer service, the golden rule is that “customers will always remember the way you make them feel,” and that should be the guiding principle on which service standards are based. If so many interactions with Airbnb’s Customer Experience Specialists fail to meet objectives, leave the customer in a worse position than they were in before, or leave the customer feeling demoralized, then the company as a whole will be viewed that way.

Please note: while these points are drawn from our own experiences and those of many reviewers who post their stories on online forums, these may not be the experiences of every customer. Customer service is one of the top complaints when guests describe their opinion of Airbnb, but not all guests have these or any problems. Our advice: use the platform at your own discretion.

Share your customer service experience below!

28 Comments on “15 Reasons Airbnb’s Customer Service Sucks! + How to Contact Them

  1. I just call their shitty customer service number to find out how close a place was before I booked it and got nothing but a dam run around and they will not let you speak to a manager …..They are all are a scam and rip off and are not there to help at all. If you do not get your money back call your credit card and file a small claims and they have to show up or else!

    • I just contacted customer service too, after unsuccessfully searching in their online Help forum for a resolution to a website issue. I felt that the agent could either not understand what I was saying or was not listening at all. I asked to talk to someone else and was ignored. He just kept asking questions totally unrelated to my issue. I said I was trying to plan a trip and my dates kept disappearing from the search. Who is the host?”, he asked. I don’t have a host, I’m trying to plan a trip. I want to save the dates as I search.” He replies, “If the dates disappear it’s because the house is not available.” “No.” I say. “I’m still Searching, and your website won’t save my preferred dates as I search. I want to save my trip dates and filters. I want to create a new trip with new dates. How can I do that?” “Who is the host?” he asks.” OMG. “Can I talk to someone else?” I say. . . and so on until I hang up. I’m so disappointed because I feel like I can’t use AirBnb anymore because I won’t deal with an organization that does not provide customer service. I quit using VRBO for the same reason. I’ve used AirBnb often in the past, but I guess I’m done. And I can’t even tell them. There is no contact. The link that says “Contact Us” is a loop that keeps taking me back to my last host, like I need to contact him for some reason.

  2. Pam, you need to contact the host, not customer service for inquiries about a property’s location. If you book, will you call customer service if you don’t have enough towels too?

    It seems some people don’t even understand how Airbnb works. It’s NOT a hotel.

  3. I booked an AirBNB “experience” which was a guided tour several weeks in advance but the following day I decided to cancel it. AirBNB did not refund me, I believe because the trip was within 30 days. I reached out to the host directly and he said he’d be happy to refund me but that unlike homes that are listed, he cannot refund directly to the customer. He advised that I reach out to AirBNB. Fast forward I have been calling and messaging them daily with no response. They have literally stopped responding to my messages at this point. I was hung up on by two separate representatives while on hold to be transferred to the “right department.” I am spending hours at a time trying to get this resolved and I’m losing hope I’ll ever get my money back. I threw a fit and spoke with a supervisor who promised someone would contact me by the end of the day. I will never use AirBNB again.

    • Hi Winnie

      I’m sorry to hear you’re also having such a horrible customer service experience.

      You can always try contacting you credit card company to do a chargeback in order to get your refund.

      All the best,

      Asher.

  4. Been using them since 2011 until this year without problems. Suddenly this year one problem started occurring after the other. We were charged extra at arrival otherwise no access to the place. Airbnb told us we should have not paid again but what are the options if the host does not let you in otherwise. We never saw this money again. Not very nice to pay twice the amount that was planned for Airbnb accommodation. Customer service was a completely useless. Then in France Cannes we had the worth experience ever. The place was a complete scam and we were promised a refund. Its exactly as you described. Lots of promises from Airbnb but no action. We are still waiting for refund. The host was a complete bullshit lying on his listing and in the end lying on the review, making up a story, saying we were steeling from the apartment etc. Airbnb does not care and says they don’t delete such review. It seems that they have no internist to deal with customer issues. All they want is your money and more money. They need to improve customer service big time! Looks like their service system has not been designed for their use case.

    • So sorry to hear it, Eric!

      Yes, it’s so unfortunate when a great idea like Airbnb gets ruined by their blind pursuit of profits. But I wonder how they see themselves succeeding long term if they treat loyal customer like us so bad!? I was a regular user since 2012 but now will never use them again after what happened to us with their sh!tty customer service…

      Like I’ve mentioned, it seems the best way to deal with them is to get the credit card company involved so that you can get a chargeback without wasting your time with a rude customer service rep.

      All the best,

      Asher.

  5. Poor customer service. Called to make a complaint against a host. Was hung up on. Difficulty understanding the representative. Poor communication line as airbnb must be going the cheap route for telecommunications services using VOIP or the Internet for phone calls. Lots of noise on line. Ineffective representative unable to solve my issue in a timely manner.

  6. Future hosts beware they have Horrible customer service and will not work with you to take care of issues that arise!
    Currently been on hold with them as I write this.

  7. What about the damn language barrier? I am a host. My guest….American. I am American. We have a disagreement. The AirBNB mediator is always a foreigner with a language barrier, no understanding of the culture, and only able to recite canned responses. AirBNB is growing too fast and they are losing all kinds of control over the process. They need customer service call centers in each country so that locals can deal with locals, etc.

    • Wow – that’s a good point!

      Luckily as I guest I’ve never been transferred to a foreign call center. That sounds like a nightmare that’s been added to a nightmare. Sorry to hear it!

      I cannot see the logic of them outsourcing customer service period. And agreed, US guests and hosts should only speak to US reps.

    • every time, and they refuse to transfer you to an american call center. i am dealing with that right at the moment. this after a 13 hr day volunteering in los Angeles which is on fire!

  8. I’ve been using airbnb since 2013, and since then I wasn’t in need to the customer service, but this time when I made a reservation in NJ, I found out that the pictures the host posted was not reflecting the reality, and he used photo shop application to enhance it.

    I called the customer services more than 10 times, and I discover that EVERY SINGLE WORD ASHER WROTE IN THIS POST WAS RIGHT.

    P.S. I talked to several agents in airbnb and they are all the same.

  9. Having read this site and all the replies I am now truly despondent. We are currently on a dream holiday to Sydney with three young daughters. We had booked an apartment which looked lovely in the photos only to find a really run down flighty apartment. We did not stay and contacted he just. St first he seemed amenable but by the morning changed his attitude and even blamed us for some of the issues! My experience of customer service so far completely fits with all of yours. The injustice is staggering. Not holding out any hope. Kind regards Phil

  10. Been a host for a couple years now. No problems. Today, mid-day EST, I have a guest trying to check-in. The website is down, the app is down, no way to communicate with the guest. Called customer service and it said more than 30 minute wait time. I selected the call-back option. 15 minutes later a computer called telling me a rep would be with me in a few minutes. Then it connected me to a recording of someone who said “we are currently undergoing systems maintenance and cannot serve your request. Please call back in 2-3 hours” and it hung up.

    Done. After this guest, I’m cancelling my account and never looking back.

  11. What do we tell the credit card company in order to get the charge back? I’m having similar issues where they promised me a refund for a week now and I haven’t received anything after 5 calls to them.

    • If you have had a legitimate problem caused by Airbnb that isn’t being resolved then call your credit card company and tell them the situation. If you mention that you believe it’s fraud then they will most likely issue a charge back and get your money returned to you within a day.

  12. It is not like they do not want to help you, but the fact is that they cannot.
    They are following a procedure. They cannot do whatever they want with the users.
    And btw.. they cannot know how the app works since they are not allowed to use phones.

    • Yeah, and it’s unbelievable how many bugs are in their app!! When I was speaking to an Airbnb customer service rep while on the streets of Paris they said I need to be using a desktop computer to make changes to my booking and it doesn’t work properly in the app. How the f*** am I supposed to use a desktop computer on the streets of Paris?!!

      How does a billion dollar business not have a fully functional app that is required to use the service when traveling?

  13. I’m disabled and have a service dog. According to Airbnb’s website a host is not allowed to refuse renting to me because of my service dog. I contacted the host informing her that I have a service dog. The host told me that no dogs are allowed. I wrote back that he is a service dog and they can’t refuse to rent to me under the Americans with Disabilities Act which is federal law. Refusing to rent to me is considered discrimination. I tried to explain this to the host in a respectful manner. The host then told me that if I kept contacting me she would report me for harassment! I have contacted Airbnb support but have not received a response.

  14. One thing to add to the list. Threy outsource the reps to the Phillipines. Most agents are almost impossible to understand and their VOIP or whatever system they use is very bad and choppy. It truncates words and makes it even more frustrating and difficult to understand.

  15. I am a host and I had recently a guest who sneaked in another guest without paying. When discovered, I approached him three times to update his reservation to two people and make the payment for the additional guest. The guests did not pay and used tons of different excuses why they couldn’t. I contacted AirBnB support to deal with it and demanded to make the guests pay or ask them to leave. This is what their advise was:

    1) Wait another day so they might pay after all. – absolutely I did not want to wait another day as they had already stayed for more than 48 hours and were very dishonest to us.
    2) When I insisted on taking immediate actions, airbnb support labelled me aggressive and commented that airbnb might not be for me after all. They completely ignored the fact how long I had been hosting and my positive reviews.
    3) The support person said they had called the guest and based on a short conversation could tell he was genuine and lovely!

    I was appalled at how this was handled… and how the situation was turned out to blame the host to avoid dealing with this situation.

    The guest was dishonest to us and in possession of drugs. He was using them on our property.
    When it was his time to leave, we had to pay for his taxi to the train station as otherwise he was not going to leave. It was 7pm when we finally managed to make him leave our property.

    But hey! AirBnb support called him and established he was genuine and lovely :). So beware… if you get that bad guest… fend for yourself.

  16. The worst customer service I ever experienced on the Internet at large is with Airbnb!! As a super host, all my listings got deactivated, removed from airbnb with no warning and by mistake. I tried to contact customer service but got the copy/paste useless message and then the ticket was closed before it was even resolved.

    They also once sent me a link to a google form so I could edit the registered business address. They changes were never reflected and processed, and later they deactivated my listings due to a mismatch between the legal document and the address provided. While only one listing had a mismatch, the other 2 were fine, but all got deactivated nonetheless.

    It seems like they employ people who barely look into any issue case by case and just do they job very approximately. This is absolutely terrible and irresponsible. If I could sue Airbnb now or do a class action I would. This is costing me a lot of business and also my google ranking will tank as a result of the delisting, even if they resolve this issue!

    What this makes me realise, is that no on should be naive enough to believe it’s the sharing economy, it’s a community, and it’s all super cool!! It’s juts a Silicon Valley money making machine that is focused on scaling their application to billions of users. They may put lots of money into hiring engineers, but none it seems in customer service and localised service.

    These platforms are great until you get deplatformed for no apparent reason. My advice to people, build your own website and integrate your own payment system and do some content marketing and social media marketing.. Build a brand may take a little bit of time in the long run it’s worth doing or you’ll be dependent on a terrible and untrustworthy company like airbnb, with all your good reviews and reputations gone in an instant.

  17. Airbnb’s customer ‘service’ is horrendous. Like nails on a chalk board dealing with them. I miss the days when they actually helped hosts and used people who actually understand the language they’re dealing – not just speak the language.

  18. I’m in the same situation right now. I booked 3 nights on Airbnb and canceled it the next day within 48 hours. They still charged me half price of 3 nights. And charged me 3 times. Get hang up on now. Still didn’t get my refund back. Should I call my bank? How can I suppose to do?

  19. I am trying to receive an individual credit to my Airbnb account after our host canceled our reservation an hour before we landed in Chicago. We were a group of 6 in our party and 3 of us including myself have been contacting Airbnb complaining about our experience. The second place we found was not close and smaller than we wanted and we still had to pay an additional $46.52 per person. After 2 hours of trying to check in we had to move units since there weren’t any keys for us and the lockbox number was incorrect. The gave a $200 credit to one of the guest after she complained and now the offered $200 to the main guest who arranged it. They are telling me I am not owed anything and are willing to give me $50 and that is the best they can do. The $200 they give one of the guests was incorrect by the case manager. I continue getting the run around from customer service and they tried banning me on Twitter. I am beyond frustrated and annoyed but I refuse to settle for $50. This was a horrible experience and 2 case managers I had are useless and rude.

  20. I’m a host and I use Airbnb when I travel

    I have until recently had good reviews Then I had the guest from hell who wrote me a bad review and asked for money back AFTER he left And then he harassed my by phone The whole way it was handled was totally unfair I am sorry I didn’t save the text messages on my phone

    Now I am in another situation with a guest who just informed me that another man not verified with my coming and I getting a really bad feeling Of course if I cancel this guest I will be penalized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top