Predatory pricing and false advertising on Airbnb: word to hosts, don’t

2014-11-23-airbnbI’m a huge fan of Airbnb. The service I first used about a year ago, even though friends had used it, I’d read about it in the media and more. As a result of using it, of course for the upcoming holiday, we decided to use the service again to find an amazing place to stay.

The listings are incredible, varied and have everything we could want. So far, so good. The house was on a river, beautiful and sounded like the ideal vacation. When we booked, Airbnb held onto the money for a deposit. “No worries,” I thought, “Sending them the money guarantees the booking and makes sure that we get approved. The rating from our last stay was top notch, we’re clean, have excellent credit and more.”

When the gentleman wrote back, he explained nicely that instead of honoring the publicly posted price, which did not include any mention whatsoever of a different rate for the holiday, he would instead like to price gouge. The offer he sent was more than $200 per night, when the listing price was $117 per night. A pretty unbelievable increase, if I do say so myself.

I’d love to take the offer I thought I paid for, instead of being told I need to pay extra (you know, being extorted).

The only way this all works is if we trust each other. Lying, stealing, being exceptionally greedy and violating advertising laws benefits nobody. Airbnb might miss out on my trust and or a transaction fee if l use VRBO or similar. The owner will lose out on renting the listing, because a Thanksgiving booking three days before arrival is unheard of in most places.

Happy Holidays, everybody.