AirBnB: What to Do When Things Go Wrong

The Mature, Level Headed & Productive Approach to Dealing with Clueless AirBnB Hosts

“Son of a b..ch!”

Such would be the sum total of my warm and fuzzy feelings five minutes after our arrival into Trujillo, Peru’s new and immaculate looking bus terminal. After a longish fifteen hours spent in transit from Paracas, we’d arrive at 7 am ready for a cab ride to our beachfront room and a morning siesta. Instead we’d be greeted with an email from our AirBnB host demanding an additional, post confirmation payment for our pending two week stay.

Making matters even more frustrating, the only reason we were even dealing with this host was because the previous Huanchaco host we had a confirmed booking with had come back to us with an attempt to essentially TRIPLE our confirmed booking price.

After the past eight months of utilizing AirBnB close to 15 times, this was a strange place to find ourselves. ‘Twilight Zone’ strange since, in that time, we felt like we’d become very well versed in AirBnB protocol. A cornerstone being the fact that a confirmed booking was just that and not something to be trifled with. EVERYONE EVERYWHERE should’ve received the memo and understood this. Everyone, it seemed, except the hosts along this stretch of Peruvian coast.

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Settle Petal. AirBnB's got your back.

And the ironic icing on the cake? In attempting to make these two bookings, we were finally trying to use a generous AirBnB voucher. One we’d received two months earlier in Bolivia for, of all things, a very suspect, poorly executed, last minute host cancellation.

Suddenly, it seemed we were cursed. But that said, as we can attest, all was not lost.

The reason being, because AirBnB knows as well as any purveyor of trust based, peer to peer commerce, getting your situation sorted professionally and efficiently is in their best interest as well as yours.

And so, after more experience than we’d prefer to have accumulated, here are our tips for what to do when things go wrong with AirBnB.

Relax and Breathe. No matter how incredulous you find yourself, no matter how long your overnight bus trip, or how badly you could use a hot shower or however hungry you might be, focus on the task at hand. Prioritize and rest assure, when all and said and done, AirBnB won’t leave you high and dry.

Don’t automatically cancel your reservation no matter how out of line you feel your host is

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The Huanchaco waterfront. Worth the effort to get there.

being. As I’d learn from dealing with our first, confirmed booking debacle, pulling the pin in disgust only leaves you with the added headache of having to chase down extraneous cleaning/service fee reimbursements after the fact. There’s an easier way.

Engage your host and try to resolve the matter without involving AirBnB since, it stands to reason people generally are more willing to help those that have already tried to help themselves. That said, in doing so, don’t give in to the Dark Side. Resist the urge to resort to “Dipshit”, “Numb Nuts”, “Shit4Brains” or any of a million and one other terms of endearment when trying to explain to your host why they’re wrong in altering the price of a confirmed booking.

Yes, trying to charge more after a booking is already confirmed is a major ‘No No’, yes it’s frustrating and yes, you and your family have been majorly inconvenienced but the fact remains, keeping it professional and not turning your dispute into a mud-slinging, slugfest will prove a feather in your cap…even if it doesn’t bring your host around to your perspective.

Because as great as being right feels, being right and polite--as documented in you and your host’s back and forth online exchange--is even better. Because, it’ll make the next steps in the resolution process that much more seamless.

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Light at the end of the tunnel awaits.

Dial 1 415 800 5959 and ask for help. This is your equivalent of Gotham City’s direct line to

the Bat Cave. As we’ve learned, you’ll get Batman’s equivalent of Alfred the Butler, in the form of an AirBnB intermediary who will ask some preliminary questions before patiently letting you blow off a little steam and, eventually, assigning you a resolution specialist.

Explain everything in a polite and truthful manner. If our experience with AirBnB resolution specialists are anything to go on, I’d have to say these people take jovial and upbeat to levels that first timers might find curious and even, at times, unnerving. I’m no psychologists but it quickly becomes apparent that these AirBnB employees have been trained to put you quickly at ease by assuring you they both understand your frustration and, more importantly, they’re there to help. This they do by both hearing you out and having access to the various correspondence between you and the host you’re having issues with. Keep in mind, if you’ve bent the truth at any point up to this stage, it’s here your ship will sink.

Finally, work with your resolution specialist to find a solution and, then, let them do their job. A wise man once told me a long time ago, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” And while this doesn’t imply you should make outrageous and unrealistic demands of AirBnB, it does suggest you’re well within your right to express some basic expectation criteria you feel a solution should meet. For us, that meant wherever AirBnB was going to put us up for the night, it needed to be within walking distance to the beach. We felt that wasn’t too much to ask and AirBnB didn’t flinch in complying.

And I’m happy to report they didn’t flinch in providing an extensive list of other possible area hosts to contact. Or following through with taking care of all the cancellation legwork and assuring our track record would remain unblemished. Or reimbursing our voucher and, most impressive, checking back with us more than once to make sure we’d not only successfully found someplace to

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Home sweet home...for the night.

stay but that we were happy with how everything had been handled.

The answer to that question would be a resounding “Very much so” with no one more happy with

the end result than Kaia. There, with her mother in what proved to be a virtual private pool at her disposal, it seemed AirBnB had solved one problem but left both mom and dad with another.

This being the problem of trying to make our daughter understand that our 24 hours of relative posh living was an exception to the rule.

Much like the situation that had landed us there in first place.

 

 

 

 

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