Airbnb lost my booking then banned me

DEAR TRAVEL CAREER: I had the most heartbreaking experience with Airbnb. I recently had reservations at an apartment hotel in London. When I arrived, my host told me that I didn’t have a reservation (despite having paid months before and received a reservation confirmation from Airbnb). I had no place to stay.

Christopher Elliott, the travel convenience store

I contacted Airbnb and they issued a coupon to stay in another apartment. But the photos were a complete misrepresentation of the apartment. The host even admitted that some of the images were fake and apologized. As it was getting late, I spent one night in the apartment and left the next day.

I ended up booking a hotel with my own funds, spending $1,875. I spoke with a Senior Airbnb Ambassador, who agreed to only refund $500 from the hotel and issue the rest as an Airbnb coupon.
There were pretentious excuses with no real solution for the duration of my remaining trip. I was short of money to spend the rest of my vacation due to this new hotel which I had booked with my own money.

Forced to use the discount code for my next stay despite the horrible experience we had, I tried logging into my account to use the coupon, only to find that they had blocked my account. Can you help me?

— Mehar Satsangi, Bombay, India

REPLY: Wow, talk about a bad stay. Just about anything that could go wrong with an Airbnb experience has gone wrong.

First, Airbnb should have forwarded your booking to your host in London. We don’t know what went wrong. Did the host make the reservation and turn you away when you arrive? Or was it a problem with Airbnb’s reservation system? Either way, Airbnb should have taken full responsibility.

Airbnb’s Rebooking Guarantee (available at promises to help you find “comparable or better” housing. But that didn’t happen. Instead, you ended up in another apartment whose photos were not representative of the property. Two strikes, Airbnb.

But Airbnb isn’t done with you. After promising you credit for future use, the company deactivated your account. That’s three strikes.

So you’re out of luck? Maybe not. I reviewed your correspondence with Airbnb and you were clearly upset. Maybe that’s why Airbnb banned you, although I can’t be sure. Your conversations and phone interactions with the company may have crossed a line.

What would have worked? First, you want to invoke Airbnb’s rebooking guarantee in your correspondence. Airbnb is committed to taking care of you when a host cancels your reservation. You could also have contacted one of Airbnb’s customer service managers. I publish the names, numbers, and email addresses of Airbnb executives on my consumer advocacy site at I also have a free guide on how to book your next vacation rental ( so that it never happens to you again.

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