Airbnb Admits Improvement Needed After Complaints About Customer Service

Airbnb admitted its customer service needs improvement after NBC4 Responds helped several guests resolve problems with the short-term rental marketplace.

“There was no way to actually get a hold of anybody,” said Elizabeth Yenca, of Takoma Park, Maryland.

“They send you in these little loops,” said Amber Roley, of Silver Spring.

NBC4 Responds received several complaints within a weeks of each other, all with a common thread.

“No response means that there’s a guarantee that your problem goes unresolved,” Yenca said. “You can't even get somebody to listen to you.”

“We're growing larger and larger every day and we are trying to make sure we scale the business in a way that doesn't forget why we're doing this,” said Nick Shapiro of Airbnb.

“Just trying to find a number to Airbnb was extremely difficult,” Roley said.

Guests said they had to turn to Google to find a telephone number.

“We're going to make that phone number more transparent with every transaction you have with Airbnb,” Shapiro said.

Airbnb boasts a triage response in cases of emergency, but Roley said it took 45 minutes to get a person on the phone after her host packed up her belongings and moved them to another house without her knowledge. She said she found the room cleaned, the sheets changed, and her things gone.

“Simply unacceptable,” Shapiro said. “We've gone back and looked into that and we're still trying to figure out why that happened.”

After NBC4 Responds pointed out a problem with how Airbnb posts its cancellation policy, Airbnb said that's being fixed, too.

“That was an interesting case, and it brought interesting knowledge to us because the guest put in a certain amount of days, was told the cancellation policy for that host, then changed the dates and it wound up changing the cancellation policy,” Shapiro said. “That's not fair.”

If you need to contact Airbnb, call 1-855-424-7262.

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