Has anyone used AirBnB to find lodging?

Jul 7th, 2010, 04:47 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4
I tend to disagree with those critical of airbnb. Granted, I can not say everyone is above board like I am, but my rental is EXACTLY as advertised. I have just begun to rent my second bedroom (1st rental June 5, 2010) and the people I have met have been great and EVERYONE who has stayed with me has felt the room was well worth the price charged. So far I have had 5 people stay with me and another 4 booked for the coming months.

I have not had any problems that would require me to call airbnb at 800-615-3017 but to make sure I was not talking out of turn I called to test the responsiveness of the company. My call was answered in under 2 minutes. I spoke briefly with the customer service rep explaining why I was calling and she said she was happy that as a host I was so hands on that I would check on an aspect of the service I (so far) have had no need for.

I have cut and pasted a few comments from people so I can comment directly on them:

bonsejour on Jun 7, 10 at 5:34pm
I tried contacting Airbnb because of changes a rentee made after we had begun emailing and agreed upon dates, times, fees. I emailed them, had no response, so I called both the 800 number and the 415 number. I left my name and number, as it appears they have no one there to answer the phones. They say that they will call you back right away. I have not been called back.

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL IF I TRY TO CHANGE A RESERVATION AFTER IT'S ACCEPTED IT HAS TO BE AGREED UPON. HERE'S MY POLICY... I CHARGE $75/NIGHT $450/7 NIGHTS AND $1600/28 NIGHTS. I ALSO COLLECT A CLEANING FEE DEPENDENT UPON THE LENGTH OF STAY, BUT NOT TO EXCEED $25. IN THE EVENT YOU DEAL WITH A HOST WHO TRIES TO CHANGE THINGS ON YOU, YOU SHOULD WALK AWAY FROM THE BOOKING. WHEN YOU CONTACT A HOST IT SEEMS TO ME IT WILL BE PRETTY EASY TO FIGURE OUT WHO IS ABOVE BOARD AND WHO IS SKETCHY.


woogawooga on Jun 12, 10 at 9:40pm
I went to NYC for a few days earlier this year on a budget of course. I used airbnb and had a decent experience staying at a place in Harlem that I found on there. I think the hardest part is coordinating with potential hosts and waiting for replies. It takes some patience and persistence; it's not as easy as just booking a normal hotel. I think it's a great concept and it let's you have more of a local experience. It requires you having a bit of faith though in the people hosting you. I'd say it's user beware. If the experience makes you too uncomfortable or nervous than you probably shouldn't use it.

PERSONALLY I HAVE A TEXT MESSAGE SENT TO MY PHONE WHEN SOMEONE SENDS A MESSAGE TO ME VIA AIRBNB. I GET BACK ALMOST IMMEDIATELY EVERY TIME. OFTEN, THOUGH, I AM MESSAGED BY EUROPEANS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. WHEN THIS HAPPENS THEY GET A RESPONSE WHEN I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING. IF YOU AREN'T CONTACTED IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME I WOULD THINK THAT SHOULD BE THE 1ST RED FLAG.

maya704 on Jun 16, 10 at 12:48pm
Beware of Airbnb! This site has taken off like wild fire but be aware of the risks. Behind the pretty facade there's little real structure or organisation. They do not offer any sort of protection and are not interested in helping resolve problem situations. And problem situations will come up believe me, in which case you are on your own. I have had a terrible experience with them. Following a failed reservation I was left out nearly $1000 and Airbnb just walked away. Be aware of what you're getting into. These people are just out to make money on your back. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I'M AT A LOSS AS TO HOW ANYONE CAN BE OUT MONEY ON A FAILED RESERVATION. PAYMENT IS MADE TO AIRBNB AND THEY DO NOT PAY THE HOST UNTIL THE RENTER HAS CHECKED IN. THE PAYMENT ISN'T RELEASED UNTIL THE DAY AFTER CHECK IN AND IT TAKES A FULL BUSINESS DAY TO MAKE IT INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT. SEEMS LIKE THE PEOPLE COMPLAINING ABOUT BEING OUT MONEY MAY BE AT FAULT FOR THIS. THE HOST HAS THE OPTION TO SET A VERY STRICT CANCELLATION POLICY AND MAYBE THAT WAS THE CASE.

protraveler on Jul 1, 10 at 9:31am
Airbnb is a over-hyped unresponsive company ! You find good deals on any vacation rental website you just have to know how to look for it !

YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIND A PLACE AS NICE AS MINE IN NYC FOR LESS THAN THE PRICE I'M CHARGING. END OF STORY.

All this being said I'd like you all to take a look at my place and if you'd like to book a vacation in NYC I'll be happy to make your NYC/airbnb experience a great one!

http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/29628

Oh, you will have access to my kitchen, but the food is not included. Grocery store right around the corner though! ;-)
ChristopherG is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 05:02 PM
  #22  
 
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Naturally people who are renting rooms through Air BnB think it's a great idea - they're getting what they want from it. But any matching service that doesn't inspect the lodgings in question cannot be responsible for their condition or even their existence. I'm sure there are quite a few renters that are hones - although this is illegal in NYC. But there have been enough complaints that it is obvious many are not as advertised.

So - it's caveat emptor. Those interested should do all the research they can on the specific property they will be renting - not the service (since they are NOT renting from the service but from the individual owner).
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 05:14 PM
  #23  
 
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NY traveler... you're wrong about it being illegal in NY. There is a bill (S6873) that has gone to the Governor for his signature, but if he vetoes it it will still be legal. Not to mention it will not be illegal for someone who lives on the premises to rent out a 2nd bedroom. There are many problems with the bill, #1 being that it is way too broad. As it's written it will be illegal for anyone to rent for under 30 days. Well, what if you're going away for the month of February and want to sublet your space? Can't because the bill is so poorly written it doesn't take into consideration the month of February which has less than 30 days.

Get some facts here: http://savenysublets.tumblr.com/
ChristopherG is offline  
Jul 7th, 2010, 05:19 PM
  #24  
 
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NY Traveler... Also, how can you make the statement "But there have been enough complaints that it is obvious many are not as advertised."? As I am using the service I would like to have all the info I can on the company I am utilizing. If there is a place to find out how many complaints have been lodged specifically about airbnb.com I'd love to have access to it.
ChristopherG is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 11:25 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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They have thousands of complaints that people will never hear!

They are constantly losing customers due to their jokers office policy and young kids answering calls about things they can not help you with because they have never been to that apartment or can not reach the host.

Here are a few examples :

If there is a problem they will have the airbnb court in San Francisco check out the problem in New York? They then flip a coin and see who gets the payment back. This leaves the traveler with no apartment and the host with no money?

As a traveler, you run the risk of being canceled by the host for a larger booking at any time. This could mean you would have to pay 3 times what you expected to pay in a hotel.

As a host at airbnb, is a second class booking because they never receive any deposit. Keep this in mind when someone easily cancels an airbnb booking to take a higher paying customer.

Host can lose money for no good reason

Perhaps the client sleeps there and then leaves the next day because his friend had a place where he can stay. He can then create a story and feed it to airbnb so they can refund him 100% of payment.

Hey for a thousand dollars or more people get creative these days ! It may also not be that complicated for the host to lose his payment.

Maybe the traveler imagined a doorman building like in the movies and arrives to a walk up building. Since travelers hold the airbnb terms of use to the word, they can simply say its not what they imagined and would like a full refund. The cancellation policy owners submit are not valid if the client is not happy.

Book your rentals with an agency that has seen these apartments and actually vouches they exist etc. Its not hard just search google maps in any city or vr websites.
protraveler is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 05:55 PM
  #26  
 
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I said it's caverat emptor. I'm sure that some (many? most?) of the renters are honest. but this system doesn't check them out so you don;t know which is which.

The law has ben passed in New York. The purpose is to prevent short-term sublets (since neither landlords, co-op owners nor condo owners want them). Owner/residents don;t want transient people in our homes and landlords don't want tenants trying to avoid the rent laws that let people live in apartments for far below the market rent. (You are allowed to live in these apartments only if this is your legal residence - if you really live elsewhere the landlord can evict you and rent the apartment at market rates.)

And owners of co-ops or condos can obviously have real guests - or can change their living circumstances (get married or have a live in SO) - what they can't do is rent out a spare room to a series of random strangers. This can void the lease of every co-op or condo I know - and these people can be summarily evicted by the board - since legally they re trespassing.

As for rentals, if the renter want to add people to the lease they need the permission of the landlord. And if they have a long string of strangers staying with them other tenant will soon notice and complain to the landlord - leading to unpleasant consequences.

Some people may want to rent out an extra room in their apartment short-term for their own reasons - but it is now illegal in New York. If someone owns a private house and chooses to rent out a spare room to a long list of strangers they re free to do so (it;s illegal since the C of O doens;t allow it - but they can probably get away with it - unless they rent to a LOT of people - when again, neighbors may complain.)

(Someone on the block my parents live on inherited a house and decided to rent to a group of young men - who brought in several others. Neighbors complained about the noise, large number of cars on the street and conditions around the house, the police investigted and the tenants were evicted - since in that area having more than 3 unrelated adults living n a house in against the zoning laws.)

Resident owners and landlords have the right to protect themselves and their property - and this law will close some of the loopholes and make it easier for them to do so.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 28th, 2010, 10:29 PM
  #27  
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All I can do is repeat what our experience has been in renting out our guest room. We have had no problems wheresoever from either Airbnb, or our guests. I suppose both renters and landlords could scam each other, but it certainly has not happened to us.

One big protection against scams is the caveat emptor, and Airbnb has some of that built in by the review sections. As people have rented our place, they have posted reviews directly to Airbnb to report whether they liked the place or not. We never see, or have the opportunity to edit, these before they appear on our listing. Can't change them after they do appear. Folks looking for a place to stay in our town would be foolish to read the reviews before before sending money to the agency.

On our side of the ledger, Airbnb sends us a request for a review of our guests soon after they leave us. We have the ability to look on the site to see if they have used the service before, and to read reviews posted by hosts they have stayed with previously. Some are first timers, but the couple in the room right now are from Idaho, and are on a month long vacation up the west coast. We were able to read what sort of guests they have been, and from the glowing comments, we may be tempted to adopt them.

I know things are different in New York, nytraveler, but renting out a room in your home is not illegal in most of the country, and folks wanting to make a few bucks by taking in guests for their spare room, and travelers looking for low cost lodging are able to solve each other's problems using this web site.

Works for us.
nukesafe is offline  
Jul 29th, 2010, 02:16 AM
  #28  
 
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If the locality allows this - then it's fine to go ahead. But renters must understand that they have to do all their own legwork. The company does not investigate or vouch for the lodgings - just lists them on it's site.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 8th, 2010, 09:05 PM
  #29  
 
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We are staying at an apartment in Paris on our upcoming trip thru airbnb so I will make a brief report when we return. I think it's like any VRBO type of site - we waded through a lot of listings and asked a lot of questions so we'll see. o
mztery is offline  
Aug 12th, 2010, 11:43 AM
  #30  
 
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i've booked an apartment in paris through airbnb and loved it.
my friend stayed in barcelona and in paris, both time in a shared room and also had good experience.
It's great when people write feedback. When they don't, it's higher risk, coz you just don't know..
but the place where we stayed in paris, just next to louvre, is in very expensive area in paris and it would have been impossible to get a hotel for the money that we got whole flat.and everything was exactly like advertised..
i think it's worth the risk, but of course everybody needs to be aware that there is always a risk. even if u book a hotel there is no guarantee that you will be treated correctly.or that its gonna be clean..

i've already booked a shared room in california for next year's trip. will let you know guys about my experience..
babymonster is offline  
Aug 14th, 2010, 06:10 AM
  #31  
smf
 
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My husband and I decided to rent a condominium in Chicago through AirBNB vs a hotel to get a feel for the surrounding neighborhoods. We selected a small studio condo on Wells Street in Old Town through JoAnne J. The picture displayed a clean, well-kept location. On the way down JoAnne called us to say we were staying at a different location on Sedgewick. We went to the location she directed us to find a terribly maintained condo with a bathroom with mold and ceiling tiles falling in, bugs on the floor and disgusting kitchen. We were meeting friends and had a full weekend planned with the air and water show, dinner, etc. We called JoAnne who communicated no other options and directed us to take it up with AirBNB. She also said she communicated the change in early emails which was not true. Once home we did more research and discovered that the Sedgewick property is owned by JoAnne and that her real estate brokers licensed number 475104466 had been disciplined for aiding and abetting unlicensed practice and for dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public. Our mistake was not doing this investigation in advance of booking. Won't happen again.
smf is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 07:32 PM
  #32  
 
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I'm a host with Airbnb and I wholeheartedly agree with the caveat emptor sentiment expressed in several posts. Here's why.

Airbnb will block attempts at host-to-host contact. On several occasions I've received text "previews" (as Air calls them) indicating I have a message. Previews from other hosts are quickly deleted before I have a chance to read the entire message.

Gotta chuckle at the irony. A social networking site that inhibits its (host) members from connecting.

On both sides of the fence---guest and host---caveat emptor, caveat emptor!
travellin_solo is offline  
Aug 16th, 2010, 09:37 PM
  #33  
 
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that is very interesting, that hosts can't connect to each other. do you have any idea why?
mztery is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 08:13 AM
  #34  
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I guess I don't understand your point, travellin. Airbnb is not a "social networking site", it is a commercial site that connects guests with hosts. Why would host wish to talk to host over through Airbnb?

However, if you want to chat with me ---

Actually, how has your experience been with Airbnb, as a host? Ours has been splendid. We have only been doing this for a bit less than a year, but we have had lots of inquiries, and a fair number of bookings as the Summer season came. Once we got a number of positive reviews on our listing, things picked right up. Each one of our guests has been pleasant, and considerate of the place. The new flat screen tv is still in its place each time I check.

As others have indicated, both guest and host need to take normal precautions, but it has worked for us.

BTW, we will be going to New York in October, and my wife has booked us an apartment in Hells Kitchen through Airbnb for four days. I will report back to let you know how things look from the guest's point of view.
nukesafe is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 08:24 AM
  #35  
 
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nukesafe sure sounds like a tout
Placename is offline  
Aug 18th, 2010, 09:33 AM
  #36  
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Placename, please read the whole thread before you call someone names. If you would have the courtesy to do so, you would see that I am the OP, and I asked about this site before we listed our room with them. I have only been responding to discussions of how the system works. Seems to work fine for some, and badly for others.

Has worked well for us as hosts. We will see how it works as guests.

FYI, we also have our room listed on Craigslist. We do get a few legitimate guests that way, but the number of scam inquiries has been growing. You know, those where you get a note saying, "My employer will pay the rental with a "Certified Check". Those are almost surely an old con game, where they send the check for a larger amount than required, then you are supposed to send the difference back. Since it takes a couple of weeks before the "Certified" check bounces, you are out of pocket, and without a lodger.
nukesafe is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 11:55 AM
  #37  
 
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My wife and I have been Airbnb hosts since about January. We've had nothing but wonderful experiences, but accept that it's a real world out there...most visits are by people who could be your distant cousin or a friend of a friend...Airbnb suggests that we provide OJ and bagels, but it's not required, and to be honest, we let people eat what they want...most just go out for breakfast or have a cup of coffee. Our place is spotless...in fact, having people here is an incentive to keep the house cleaner than normal.

It sounds like you've had some unfortunate experiences. It happens, but we love the opportunity to visit with others. Our last guests had just returned from Singapore and were from South Africa and Bulgaria...really neat couple...
dhpuck is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 03:07 AM
  #38  
 
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I have recently booked with Airbnb for a trip to Brooklyn New York next week. I can tell you it is completely fine. I have spoken to several of the Airbnb staff and they were recently in London on a European tour so I asked them some questions on video which if anyone is interested is on You Tube if you search 'airbnb interview'.

What you must do is check the hosts’s previous reviews because people can only leave a review if they have paid through the site (the host can’t just get a few friends to submit some positive reviews). The person I am staying with has some really positive reviews so I am not worried.

Make sure you note the phone number on the itinerary so you can contact them if there are any problems. You need to tell them within 24 hours as they will freeze the money so your host does not receive it.

I don’t think Airbnb will be for everyone and I hope I am just as positive after my trip! You don’t have to share with someone you don’t know, there are entire apartments on there. I have to say I it did save me a fortune and if I had plenty of money I would probably choose a hotel, simply because you know what your getting.

But in terms of Airbnb being legit, it really is (and no, I don't work for them!)

Happy travelling!
NewYorkFan is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 09:38 AM
  #39  
 
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Just a note that the last two posters - heavily touting airbnb - have only one post each - nothng about any other topic - question or comment.

I found the same thing on another travel site - several single posts touting airbnb.

I don;t know - but assume it is being done by the company.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 11:47 AM
  #40  
 
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I posted a lengthy Trip report about my experience in Paris a couple of weeks ago and I assuredly do NOT work for airbnb in any capacity. I just had an excellent experience and am using it again in London.
mztery is offline  

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