How Airbnb ruined our Christmas

Airbnb, as you know if you have been following our story recently or seen my vlog, is a platform I use regularly to book places to stay. We were homeless for six months of this year and during that time moved between Air bnb’s every 1-3 days. We have also used them a lot to book accommodation on our trips away.

I wasn’t going to write such a negative post just after Christmas but I feel my Christmas has been ruined by both the stress and financial burden that Airbnb have caused me for the last few weeks and I would hate for any of my readers to experience the same.

I booked a last minute break to Cyprus for the Christmas week and used Air bnb to book our accommodation. An error message appeared as I tried to book saying that the booking hadn’t worked and to please try again. I tried again and the booking went through fine. Unfortunately Airbnb took payment for the booking twice.

I will be a lot more wary of using Air bnb in the future as they have currently wrongly taken £539 from me and, although I have been asking for weeks for them to refund it, I have been fobbed off with many messages telling me firstly that they didn’t take it and then that someone is looking into it. I even had a message from air bnb saying they were refunding me. They gave me a transaction code which didn’t exist and then closed the case. I still don’t have my money and having looked into it online, I am not the first person this has happened to.

We fortunately managed to go out for a pre-booked dinner on Christmas day whilst on holiday and went for some walks on the beach, etc but some of the money Air bnb took was to be our holiday spends so, whilst we tried not to let it ruin the holiday too much, we literally ate beans on toast for the rest of the week. Some of the money they took was my children’s Christmas presents from relatives who transferred it to me to give the kids on Christmas day. I still owe this to the kids now. I was either on the phone or messaging Air bnb every day of my holiday and who wants to be trying to persuade Air bnb to give their money back at 2am on Christmas morning?

I have taken screenshots of conversations with Air bnb and am going to let the pictures tell the story. I apologise for my frustration at times during these conversations but hopefully you can understand why. I have also had numerous phone conversations with various Air bnb agents with similar results.

The following messages were with the Airbnb Twitter page after I posted about my experience:

The last message was the following Friday, after hearing nothing for a week. They still haven’t replied.

I originally paid with Paypal. I have spoken to my bank who told me to speak to Paypal. I have also spoken to Paypal, who are, at this time, doing all they can to help me. As this was taken as a “duplicate payment” rather than a “fraudulent transaction”, it can’t be immediately refunded. Their logistics team contacted the Air bnb paypal manager about the duplicate payment who told them I would need to get in touch with the Airbnb customer service team. However Paypal are aware that I have already gone round in circles with the customer service team and are still doing all they can to help me. Currently this involves opening a case with Air bnb which needs responding to within 10 working days. If Air bnb don’t respond then Paypal can hopefully claw my money back. I now need to wait until the 15th January. In the meantime my bills have gone out for this month and we are again living on beans on toast.

Please be very careful if using Air bnb. If you try to book accommodation and get a message telling you their system is down and the booking didn’t go through so please try again – DONT TRY AGAIN! Wait to see if you pay for the failed booking first. If they tell you it is “just a hold on your card” and it wont go out of your bank, don’t believe them. Getting money refunded that they have taken in error is like trying to get water from a stone. As I write this post, I STILL DON’T HAVE MY MONEY!

I recommend that my readers only use Air bnb if they absolutely have to and even then with extreme caution. We won’t be using them again to book accommodation even though I feel this is a great shame on the owners of the accommodation who are not to blame at all.


Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you would like to read more then feel free to follow my blog or like my Facebook page which I keep up to date with new posts as they are written. You can also find me on Twitter @KidsOnTour1 and now on Youtube – subscribe to my channel for upcoming videos!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the heads-up, I will be more wary of using airbnb in the future. I’m sorry for the stress you have to go through. If you are based in the UK, you might be able to file a claim on Money Claim Online (fee applies). You can tell airbnb that you will file a claim, hopefully, that will expedite the refund. In any case, I hope you’ll get your money back very soon!

  2. autistsix says:

    Hi, in most countries you have a right to a refund and reasonable expenses, for example interest on your overdraft, or deposits that were lost because you did not have cash for the rest of the service. If it got to court I’d expect additional damages for ruining your holiday and possibly even distress. Old fashioned customer service would demand some sort of additional compensation. As a parent of autistic kids I know that there is a limit to your energy, so sometimes you can’t get justice, but try and hang in, you have been shamefully abused by Air bnb.

Leave a Reply