How To Deal When You're Stuck In A Bad Airbnb

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb.
As much as we love Airbnb and its panoply of one-of-a-kind accommodations, there are times when our experiences come up a bit short of our expectations.
Sometimes, these are minor hiccups that you can just shrug off — like a surface that hasn't been dusted for a while or a weak WiFi signal. But, for dealing with more serious issues like last-minute cancellations or an inappropriate host, you should know your rights as a consumer.
We're not saying that these scenarios will happen, but when they do, they can potentially throw a wrench into your travel plans — or worse. We've put together a guide on effectively steps to deal with potential problems on the booking platform. Bookmark this for a rainy day.
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When The Airbnb Is Not As Described
Did you book a place under the impression that it's a private residence, but ended up in a house share with the owner? For any misrepresentation with the listing — be it the location, number of bedrooms, or the promised amenities — Airbnb’s Guest Refund Policy may be helpful way to resolve the issue. But whenever possible, you should always try to go through the host first, since direct communication with them will probably get the problem resolved the quickest, with the least amount of hassle.
If the host is unresponsive and it's been less than 24 hours after check in, you can start the process of requesting a refund. Message your host to notify him or her of your decision, and take some photos showing where the problem is. You'll need them to go through the step-by-step process of the contact page. If it has been more than 24 hours, you'll need to go through the Resolution Center to request a refund.
When The Place Isn't Clean
A big chunk of listings on Airbnb are managed by seasoned hosts that have developed an automated cleaning schedule between bookings. However, there are cases where cleaning sessions are missed due to an oversight. The best way to go about this is to contact the host right away, according to Dany Papineau, founder and host at AirbnbSecrets.
"Most hosts will charge a cleaning fee, so you can try asking if they can waive the cleaning fee or give a discount if the cleanliness is not as described," says Papineau. "It's the same thing as walking into a dirty hotel room: You'd let reception know immediately. It's more fair to give the hosts a chance to react than to keep mum and leave a bad review later."
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When You Get Canceled Last Minute
If your booking is canceled more than four weeks from your travel date, a refund is automatically issued. For cancellations occurring closer to the trip, you'll have the option of transferring your payment to a new Airbnb reservation or receive a full refund.
Some hosts list their properties on multiple rental platforms. Overbooking occurs when the calendars between the different sites are not synched in time. In this case, it's not uncommon for the host to offer the traveler an alternative listing from their available ones.
When A Host Gives You The Creeps
"Most hosts established a code of conduct in their description, stating the level of interaction that's expected to establish boundaries," says Papineau. If the host makes you uneasy or if you feel like you're endangered in any way, you should contact local police immediately. Airbnb's Trust and Safety team is also here to help with safety concerns.
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