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Gutted!

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Nov 29th, 2015, 01:32 AM
  #1
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Gutted!

At the beginning of October I found the perfect rental apartment in Kyoto on AirBnB. The location could not have been any better, the apartment looked excellent and rented out by a company with 40 other properties in Osaka, all with very strong reviews and ratings. Price was right. I booked.

Yesterday, I got an email from them saying they decided to withdraw the property after the recent airing of some television programme criticising the AirBnB model, which they felt had turned neighbours of that property against them. Oddly, they've not withdrawn their Osaka properties, so not quite sure why this would be the case just for one property.

They did organise a full refund (including the AirBnB fees as well) and there was an offer of either taking a full refund (which I took) or using the entire value + an additional £125 against renting another property. I had a quick look but everything else with the criteria I've set, is either too expensive, not available or not in the right location.

Gah.

AirBnB are 0/2 for me now.

I realise that's down to the vendors not the system itself, but it still puts me off.

And now I have to start again on finding somewhere for my 7 nights in Kyoto in high season.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
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Nov 29th, 2015, 01:55 AM
  #2
 
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Unlucky!

UsedAirBnB in Kathmandu in March last year, and had a priceless time staying with 3 generations of a Hindu family for a week.

Also used them in Sanur (Bali) last October. Not quite as good, but still good vfm.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:46 AM
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Oh what a pain, I really hope you find somewhere...
I used airBnB for a place in Spain last year which did work out, but the fact they can cancel is annoying...
Good luck Kavey.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:53 AM
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Oh, Kavey, what a bummer. Good luck with your new search.

jdc
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Nov 29th, 2015, 09:03 AM
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Well, that's certainly a drag, but someone with 40 properties is NOT following the original AirBnB model. There are a number of threads on the Europe and US boards about the downsides of AirBnB as it has developed. I have used AirBnB a few times, but I don't rent from people with multiple properties.

If I lived in an apartment/condo building I would be furious if a neighbor turned the place into a short-stay hotel. In Japan, with very small apartments and a strong emphasis on politeness, the reaction is probably stronger.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 09:13 AM
  #6
 
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So sorry you had this happen Kavey. Best of luck in finding a replacement!, thanks for the heads up on air bnb.

Aloha!
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Nov 29th, 2015, 10:41 AM
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I sympathize. Something similar happened to us last year with a rental in Oaxaca in Mexico. Signed on for an Airbnb apt t 3 months before our arrival. A week before we were to leave the country, host wrote me and said a new provision in lease she'd just received from her landlord prevented her from subletting. She was very apologetic and Airbnb offered similar response refund plus extra for other available properties. In fact I was impressed by Airbnb handling and got full refund. But like op other offered properties offered didn't appeal, so we had o scramble around and find something else last minute. On same trip we stayed in another Airbnb place in Mexico City that worked well. I continue to consider their rentals, but am "wiser" now. Determining whether host owns the property, if possible, is probably a good idea.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 03:20 PM
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You can blame mainland Chinese for this. Seriously.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 04:04 PM
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Care to expand on that, rkkwan? I tried doing a search, but didn't turn up anything relevant. However did find a New York Times article on AirBnB in Japan, and an article about the article (lol) that I found interesting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/ma...apan.html?_r=1

http://xpatnation.co/why-airbnb-is-d...an/#.Z96C79M0Y
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Nov 29th, 2015, 04:37 PM
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http://tinyurl.com/z5g493e

Above link is to an article in the English language JapanToday newsletter - about government starting discussions of rules for paid accommodations in private residences. The comments to the article mention Chinese companies renting apartments and letting them out to tourists....all hearsay of course....but maybe that's what rkkwan is referring to.

I agree with your earlier comment, thursdaysd, - I live in a coop building and would be livid if a neighbor was renting out to tourists - of course, against our rules....

I do feel bad for you, Kavey....I also was looking at airbnb for a Tokyo rental but I was put off by the requirement of paying so far in advance with little or no cancellation possibility as well as the requirements for registering on airbnb.....

Hope you find accommodation soon.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 05:03 PM
  #11
 
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Thanks Mara - that does sound like a nightmare!

Even if it is against the coop rules, enforcing them could be a real pain.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 06:39 PM
  #12
 
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Exactly what I was referring to.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:02 PM
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So sorry about this, Kavey. Have you found an alternative? You might try calling airbnb to see if they can get you a discount on one of the pricey places that met your criteria. They might be able to get you a deal.

rkk, There has been a lot written about the Chinese strategy for taking over airbnb:

http://recode.net/2015/08/19/airbnbs...outshine-uber/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccaf...round-hurdles/

In Kyoto -- and Oaxaca -- it is more likely that renters got in trouble with with their landlords (or feared getting in trouble) than that the properties were Chinese owned.

We like staying in apartments because we stay in hotels so much for work. Have used vrbo and local agencies for many years and when airbnb came on the scene, renting became more convenient. We have had good luck with airbnb, mostly in Europe. But you do have to know how to read between the lines. Yes, you should figure out if the host is the owner (an agency works as well) and also pay attention to recent reviews.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 12:15 AM
  #14
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You are right (Thursday) that a vendor with 40 or so properties is not following the AirBnB model, but they had very strong ratings from a high number of users, all of whom mentioned the ease of getting in contact, the high quality of furnishings etc, that the property photos were a very accurate representation, and so on.

Whereas many of the properties loaded have "cleverly taken" photos to make tiny spaces look larger.

There are also a lot of one-off owners with properties that honestly look like very cheaply furnished student digs! Cramped, cheap furniture, inflatable beds or what look like very thin futons...

When they cancelled, they did organise full refund PLUS an additional £125 to find an alternative property, or just the full refund if I didn't book something else. BUT I looked at EVERY property available in the area I want to be in, and there's very little else that would meet my standards. I think there was one that is clearly for a bigger party and more than double what this one cost.

Another thing to note is that the majority of Kyoto AirBnB hosts choose the strictest of AirBnB's cancellation terms, so you need to be very sure when you book that you won't need to cancel from your end or you will lose your money.

As Mara says, it can be very offputting.

Glover, aaak, a week before would have been pretty stressful!

I do have 4 months left, just frustrating as I'm travelling in peak season. But 1 week would give me a mini heart attack!

I have made a booking.com hotel booking as back up for now, but it's not really what I wanted, so will keep looking.

Thanks again, everyone!
Kavey

Also, if you have time to check my other thread, would welcome some input on the gaps:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...y-planning.cfm
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Dec 5th, 2015, 07:28 AM
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The fact that there was nothing else available that you liked doesn't seem to me to be a good reason for encouraging people to subvert the initial AirBnB model. (Not that AirBnB itself isn't encouraging that very thing.)

The accommodation situation in Japan is different from that in Europe.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 09:55 AM
  #16
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I didn't suggest it was a good reason, Thursday, but to be honest, that's not my concern so much as it should be AirBnBs concern. Perhaps it suits them though, since they get more properties loaded and thereby more commission? From my point of view, the reason I liked the vendor was that the reviews on their various properties gave me a higher level of confidence about the accuracy of their listing description/ photos and service than some of the other properties I considered.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 10:34 AM
  #17
 
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Right, AirBnB's only concern seems to be how much money they can rake in. So much for the sharing economy.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 02:22 PM
  #18
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Well indeed.
I have a good friend who uses it as intended and rents out a room in her place, offers breakfast and loan of her lovely dog for walks, and such. Works very well for her, as an additional small income.
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Dec 5th, 2015, 03:16 PM
  #19
 
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Like any giant business, airbnb is not perfect, but it certainly has been a game changer for those of us who rent houses and apartments when we travel. We have been doing this for 30+ years, mostly in Europe, but also in Latin America and the US.

Previously, when using VRBO and local agencies, we had to wire money and keep our fingers crossed. Now we have a greater selection, more transparency with public rankings, super-easy booking, an open dialogue with a local host, and a formidable advocate in case something goes wrong.

And airbnb doesn't hand over your money to the landlord until you are in the lodging, a policy that actually helped the OP in this instance. (Would Kavey have her refund if dealing with a shady individual? Maybe not.)

Kavey, I still recommend calling airbnb -- and maybe reaching out on social media. It is frustrating getting through to them on the phone, but they might come up with a suitable replacement.
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Dec 6th, 2015, 03:51 AM
  #20
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Thanks Crosscheck, yes it was that financial separation from the landlord that I liked. Had the cancellation been nearer to departure date, I would absolutely reach out to AirBnB for help but given that I have four months to go I don't imagine I'd get anything additional to the £125 they already offered (which amounted to around 10% of the total booking value). There is very little listed in the area I want, so I think for this particular week, AirBnB is out of the running.

Thanks for the comment though, it's good to know that the service has proved to be such a positive thing for others.
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