AirBNB / terrible customer service
This occurred on 6/3/2018
I booked an Airbnb months in advance in Florida. I am a student who was interning, and I needed a place to stay without breaking the bank and I found the perfect place.
A few days before I was set to start my internship, my host cancelled on me. Unfortunately, because I was abroad (as I am also an international student), I was not able to see the email that was sent out because I had no internet access at the time that the cancellation email was sent.
Now, I understood that this part was not Airbnb's fault. However, I was still very stressed as I found out the day that I was supposed to arrive at the Airbnb in a city that was a couple of hours away from where my flight landed. I did look on the Airbnb website for more alternatives, but I figured I should call because they may be able to see things that I cannot.
I called in, calmly, and told them my situation. They directed me to a case manager named Annie. This started my hellish experience with their customer service.
First of all, Annie was extremely rude right off the bat when I asked for some assistance in brainstorming other ideas and seeing if, on their end, they could help me find other places to stay for 3 months - even if I had to move around a little through different Airbnbs. I kept reiterating to her, politely, that I was just calling because Airbnb is a big corporation and I was positive something could be done, especially with their assistance, in a painless and easy way. I even told her, multiple times, that I was not trying to be rude to her, so if I sounded stressed, it was stress purely directed at my situation and not at Airbnb or her. Still, Annie still gave me very terse and exasperated tones and phrases.
Secondly, she did not seem as if she was listening or if she understood me at all. I told her why I was unable to access the email and in a very skeptical and condescending tone, she said, "Well, where even were you? Why were you out of the country?" I found that to be extremely inappropriate of her to ask because I felt that she was insinuating that I was lying, but also the wording of her question seemed irrelevant to me. She asked those questions of me 2 or 3 times from what I can remember. All I was asking for were solutions, and she kept point out what I did wrong. Multiple times she said, "You should have checked your email every day for this email, " even when I explicitly told her multiple times as well that it was impossible because for the last week or so while I was abroad I was out of internet, and by the time I was able to check my email, I was flying and brainstorming other ideas.
When it finally seemed as if she understood my plight, she said she would look into it. I told her that I needed the Airbnb to be located near where I work as I do not have a car here in the States. I gave her the listings I had seen but asked if there were others that potentially were on her end that I could not access, just to cover all my bases.
Instead, she all the listings SHE gave me, where about 1-2 hours away from where I had originally asked for - by car. She asked me why "these options are not good enough for you?" even though I had already told her my criteria - EVEN THOUGH I gave her 2 other listings that were in the area that would work. I was really pushing also because she promised me a certain refund and compensation, so I was trying to make the most of that, which is why I asked her to do it on her end because she has all that information in her hands.
Then, we hung up the phone and she assured me that it would be handled and she would call me within the hour. I was satisfied for now and I continued to search for other options in case I needed them.
About 1 hour later, I was waiting and got no response. I messaged within the little staff chat box she had opened up. I waited another half hour before I called just to check in. I got a representative, and I told them my situation. They could not reach her at the time, so they sent her a message. Then when they did receive a message, they said that she told them she tried calling me, but I guess because I was on the phone with the rep, they were unable to call me. They told me to hang up, and Annie would call me right back. So I obliged and hung up, and waited for Annie's call. I received a message that she was calling me, but my phone was not ringing at all. I had my girlfriend call me to make sure my phone was receiving calls. I even restarted my phone. I did not receive any calls for 45 minutes, until I got upset and called back. Again, they told me the same thing - that she could not reach me. I even tried to give an alternative number, but nothing.
This went on for a total of 4 hours. I waited and called and waited and called about 12 times. By this time, I was furious. Annie must have been lying to them about trying to call me, because nothing was showing on my phone and I triple checked that I was receiving phones. I asked for a different case manager 3 times but they always said Annie was taking care of it. Then they told me Annie was working with A DIFFERENT client... So was she really trying to call me? You tell me. Honestly, I wish she had just updated me so that I knew whether I had to make other arrangements, but she kept assuring me to stay by my phone and wait. Occasionally she would message me with leads that were FAR out of the scope that I asked her about. Even when I found one, I told her on our messaging that I honestly just wanted to talk about navigating costs and what not, and she did not come through with even a response to that - just alternatives that would not work at all.
On the last call, call 13 or 14 to Airbnb, I demanded another case manager. I told them my situation for the umpteenth time, and in advanced, I apologized if I sounded rude to them, but I was just so frustrated. I did not get off the phone until they could find someone for me to talk to because it was ridiculous that I had to call that many times and wait that many times, when I was promised a quick solution by Annie.
I felt bad for that last representative because she seemed a little frazzled by me and also it was clear that English was not her first language and I was pressuring her, but I really needed this done and I was out of patience. I tried to reassure her that I was in no way putting any blame on her, and I told her she was very nice, but I was so irritated with Airbnb. Then Annie told me she was clocking out at 5:30PM... our call was over 4 hours ago... That really infuriated me as well, because she did not even give any indication that she actually cared about her job. She did not help, she only caused stress and she was extremely rude, and now she was just leaving.
Eventually, I was able to speak to a different case manager. By the point, I demanded more monetary compensation because I felt like Annie was so rude and wasted so much of my time that I deserved some compensation for that incompetent worker. At first they said they could ONLY do $200 more on top of a full refund... I kept insisting that I needed more because what Annie and the previous staff did was unacceptable. Then they said they could do $300, to which I replied, "So did you lie to me that $200 was the most you could do? You said ONLY $200..." The poor woman was more frazzled, but I was already on a roll.
Why did the case managers have to call me back? Why could I just not be transferred? I've worked in a call center before so either their system is wonky, or these call center workers are outsourced, which at that point is fine, but if all their case managers were like Annie, then no wonder Airbnb has such low customer service reviews.
Eventually, I was able to talk to a higher up manager who offered me a way better deal at $700. I wanted to push more, but the manager was so much better and nicer that I backed down. After I solidified that deal, I told that particular manager that, honestly, if Annie hadn't been so rude to me and made me wait 6 hours for her to tell me she was clocking out without having helped me with ANYTHING, I would've taken the first deal and their center wouldn't be out $700 extra on top of a full refund/paying the different...
Overall, this was the absolute WORST customer service I have ever experienced in my life. I have talked to dozens and dozens of other customer service representatives from so many companies, and I have gotten a few bad ones, but Annie and most of the Airbnb people I talked to were absolutely horrendous. I hope I never have to deal with her ever again, and I hope they do some extra training on her, because I pray that nobody ever has to experience that.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $1500.
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