You may recall I shared about my horrible Airbnb experience in Israel. Based upon the reader comments, I wasn’t confident Airbnb would be willing to assist, but still engaged their assistance.
In fact, my host asked Airbnb to intervene before I did, an interesting move considering the squalid condition of the apartment and my photographic evidence to back it up. I assume that occurred because he wanted to frame the narrative around me leaving without giving him a chance to remedy the mold.
Airbnb Asks For My Side
Airbnb send me a direct message, asking for my side of the story:
This is Gretchen from Airbnb. I hope you are well upon receiving this message. I am reaching out to you in behalf of your host, who contacted us in regard to your Resolution Center claim. Your host mentioned that he is not aware that there was an issue about cleanliness during your reservation.
Usually when guest experience such cases during their stay, they would immediately contact their host to give the host a chance to remedy the situation which is also in line with our Guest refund Policy: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/544/what-is-airbnbs-guest-refund-policy-for-homes
We would like to hear you out as it is very important for us to listen to your side of story. Please do respond directly to this message in the next 24 hours.
I didn’t like the tone of the second paragraph, but I was ready to argue that correction wasn’t possible, at least for the mold issue.
I Share My Side
I wrote Gretchen back promptly with my side of the story:
Thanks for reaching out. Did you have a chance to review my correspondence with the host, especially the note I sent to him yesterday? And also the pictures? I arrived in the afternoon and went to sleep. We noticed the pervasiveness of the mold the next morning and notified the host quickly that we were leaving. I also complained about cleanliness (dirty pillows, dirty towels) and the freezing temperature (heating did not work).
If it was just “cleanliness” like dust and dirt and the cold, I would have been happy to work with the host to find a solution. But mold is a different thing. The mold over the shower, toilet, and in the bedroom was gross and unacceptable. As you know, mold can be very dangerous; that’s objective, not subjective.
This was nothing that the host could have quickly remedied, hence my notification to him that I had vacated well under 24 hours after my arrival. What could he have done to fix this? Redo the plaster or drywall and repaint? I simply cannot put the risk of my wife and my three-year-old who touches everything in such jeopardy.
I suggest you audit his apartment and please do not let it be rented to others before the mold problem is addressed. Please let me know if you need anything further from my end or additional support documentation like photos.
The next morning, Airbnb wrote me back:
I do apologize for the delay of response. We are currently investigating this case, and we really do appreciate you voicing this out to us. I do apologize for the inconvenience this reservation has caused you rest assured that we are here and we will hep you in any way we can.
I had originally requested a refund for only three nights and the cleaning fee, not only four nights. I did this to try to be more than fair on my side so that this could resolved amicably with the host and without the intervention of Airbnb. But with the host refusing to budge, I sent the following:
Please note I now request a full refund for the stay. Please review the pictures – the apartment was simply unacceptable. This person should not be allowed on your platform. I am available to answer any further questions.
Minutes later, I received this response:
Rest assured that I will do my best to help you in any way I can.
Resolution In My Favor
Four days later, I received the following from Airbnb:
Please kindly send all the photos you have on your end.
But as I was preparing to submit them, I received the following note:
We have already made a decision based on the documents that we have which are at par with our guidelines and workflow. After careful deliberation, we are in agreement to issue a refund amounting to 307.49USD. This amount will appear on your Apple Pay not later than 24 hours.
Please know this issue is rare, but in the event that you come across the same problem, please contact us or the host (through the Airbnb messaging system) immediately from the time you have difficulty with the listing. Here’s our support number: 1-415-800-5959.
Remember that I am always here to help you in any possible way I can because you’re important to us so don’t hesitate to reply if you need further assistance.
The refund did hit my card a couple days later.
All things considered, I cannot complain about the way Airbnb dealt with my case. While I think the photographic evidence made any other outcome impossible, I appreciated the responsiveness of Gretchen and that I did not have to go through too many hurdles to receive a refund.
Has your dispute resolution with Airbnb been equally smooth?