Steps to take if your Airbnb disappoints – Orange County Register

Airbnb complaints seem to be increasing. From complaints about cleaning fees to complaints about the impact on neighborhoods and property markets, it seems like everyone has an opinion about the vacation rental platform.

But this feeling contradicts the actual behavior – vacation rentals like Airbnb are more popular than ever. According to AirDNA, a vacation rental analytics platform, aggregate demand in the US increased 19.8% year-over-year in December 2022 and 31.7% compared to 2019. So while some Americans are fed up with vacation rentals, more are staying people than ever before in them.

Many frequent travelers have Airbnb “horror stories” — tales of dirty bathrooms, inaccurate photos, and unprintable oddities. But while it’s easy to complain about these disappointing vacation rentals, it’s harder to know what to do if you don’t like your Airbnb. Should you speak to the host? Contact customer service? Request refund?

It depends on.

Communicate with the host first

For most issues, like a leaky faucet or dirty sheets, the best first step is to simply report the issues to the host.

“Communication is key!” said Jenny Radick, Airbnb superhost in the Poconos, Pennsylvania area, and vacation rental consultant, via email. “For many hosts, it’s just one person running an Airbnb unit. They have most likely put a lot of thought and care into the home, so if there are small problems, good hosts are quick and eager to fix them.”

Most hosts want to provide their guests with a quality experience, as the success of their rental depends on positive guest reviews. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to agree with the host when in doubt, using constructive and friendly communication that assumes good intentions.

Ideally, hosts will take care of fixing small — or smelly — problems at check-in.

Document everything

Even if you’re dealing with an attentive host who’s keen to resolve any issues that arise, it’s a good idea to document those issues early and thoroughly. A time stamped picture of bugs or other insects will help prove it was not clean upon arrival or at any other time during your stay.

This is particularly important for issues that may raise health or safety concerns, such as: B. faulty locks or non-functioning fire alarms. If you clearly document the issue and send it to the host through the Airbnb app, a record will be left if customer service is contacted.

Of course some things are not so easy to capture with a camera. Unusual odors, for example, do not appear even with the most advanced phone cameras. So writing these concerns to the host (in the app if possible) is the best way to log them.

I was once asked to document a live bat that got into my Airbnb cabin. Turns out that’s really hard to do.

If necessary, contact Airbnb Customer Service

If you’ve agreed with the host when in doubt and clearly stated your concerns and the issue hasn’t been resolved, it’s time to bring it upstairs. You can search Help for resources that address your issue, or contact customer service directly through the app, website, or phone.

“Airbnb offers an insurance policy for hosts and guests, as well as an arbitration center to resolve issues,” Radick said. “Guests and hosts can request money for any reason, with the receiving party having the option to accept or decline that request.”

In the case of my cabin bat, the host offered me a 50% refund for the affected night. I felt this was fair and the refund was managed through the app.

Airbnb has a complex refund policy for bad experiences, so it’s hard to know if you’re owed a refund.

These two guidelines cover many issues that may arise:

  • Accommodations are not adequately clean and sanitized, including bedding and towels. Guests can rest assured that the accommodation is free from general health hazards such as mold, vermin or mice or other vermin.
  • A particular feature or feature described in the listing is missing or not working.

Again, having evidence and submitting appropriate documentation is crucial in order to receive an Airbnb complaint refund.

keep it simple

It’s easy to get upset about a vacation rental that doesn’t live up to its advertising or meet your expectations. But solving the problem doesn’t have to be an ordeal.

  1. Contact the host with your request.
  2. Document everything, if possible with pictures or in writing.
  3. Contact Airbnb Support if the host hasn’t satisfactorily resolved the issue.

Remember that unlike hotel companies, Airbnb hosts are (often) real individuals with real lives. They don’t offer the immediate service of a hotel receptionist, but slacking off and embracing the best—while documenting everything—can handle your disappointment when you don’t like the place.

More from NerdWallet

Sam Kemmis writes for NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @samsambutdif. Steps to take if your Airbnb disappoints – Orange County Register

Adam Bradshaw

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