Airbnb put profit ahead of customers. They say that their goal is to create a community where anyone can belong everywhere, but that goal obstructs with their ability to profit. Airbnb are about to undertake an IPO. They turned over more than USD 1B in the last quarter, but customer service is the last of their concerns. Here are the reasons why they should be nominated for a Shonky:
- They advertise 24/7 service to help with “travel issues”. They outsource their customer service to the Phillipines where responses in my experience take over 24 hours, in over 90% of the times recorded.
- Airbnb does not follow its advertised Terms. For example in my experience Airbnb thought that the presence of blood and soiled sanitary pads in the bathroom do not constitute a “Travel Issue” when their Terms clearly state minimum sanitary standards for hosts to comply with. Getting a refund in accordance with their Terms or in accordance with Australian Consumer Law is not easy if at all possible without taking them to a tribunal.
- They misrepresent guest reviews to fluff low standard accommodation. This allows them to make more money from fees. Have you noticed that Airbnb do not list reviews in chronological order? They do this to hide or remove bad reviews. This distorts the ratings also because hosts have to maintain a minimum rating. Airbnb help them to maintain this rating by removing valuable customer ratings. When I contacted Airbnb to discuss this, they refused to provide me with a response.
- Airbnb fabricate host response rates. I booked accommodation where the host had a 99% response rate within the hour. On not one of my many correspondences did the host respond within an hour. Some of the responses took longer than weeks. It got so bad that Airbnb had to intervene. The 99% response rate did not change.
- Airbnb do not do anything about breaches to Minimum Standards. Airbnb state in the terms that hosts must provide minimum standards including access to clean sheets and essentials. They knowingly list properties that breach those standards. I have contacted Airbnb about this. They have not yet provided a response.
Airbnb do not comply with their own terms or with Australian Consumer Law. They are only interested in making money and do not take guest safety seriously. Airbnb should be in the running for a shonky.