As a business my partner and I dealt with AirBnB for the first and the last time recently. To say the least our experience was shocking in its stupidity. The amazing thing is that the customer service rep I was dealing with was simply reciting corporate policy which begins to explain why business no longer works in this country. To fully explain what our experience was requires a little back story.
Our main business K and G LED books 250+ hotel rooms a year. Our expenses associated with this are roughly 20 to 25 thousand dollars per year. Now I am not claiming that we have a huge travel budget but for a small business this is quite a bit of money.
AirBnB on CNBC
A couple of weeks ago I saw an interview with senior management of AirBnB on CNBC. In the interview this gentleman expressed his desire to expand their market by trying to develop the corporate travel side of their business. To me that sounded like a great idea as it is steady and reliable business.
The question was asked, how do you protect people from the dishonest renter’s who show pictures of one thing but deliver something entirely different?
The answer was that they stand behind their product and protect their customers by insuring that if the stated product is not delivered then they will refund your money. That is the “Big Print” and as we all know what the “Big Print” giveth the fine print taketh away!
Meanwhile I was spending 8 days in New York City and rather than go through the expense of a hotel and dining out every day I decided I would try booking a short stay with AirBnB. I was looking forward to cooking in my apartment and eating steak every night…lol. Not so much!
And Now For The Rest Of The Story
So we roll up to the address given to us and to say the least we are underwhelmed at best. To be blunt the building we were directed to was a building owned by the “New York City Housing Authority”. Not only was it owned by the New York City Housing Authority but it is widely known as a high rise crack house.
Immediately we called AirBnB and their response was the usual corporate BS. They apparently are only responsible for the pictures being accurate. They take no responsibility as to whether the Lessor lied. They check nothing! They warranty nothing! Then when you ask for your money back they start making excuses and start telling you about their guidelines.
The fact that the person who listed with their site lied does not even come into discussion. They do not care. They literally made me beg for my money back and still would only refund less than 50 percent.
Finally I had to call the person advertising the place for rent and told him that it is illegal to rent for sublet section 8 housing and if he did not refund our money we would call the housing authority and report him.
Mind you we also stated this fact to AirBnB and their response was it was not their problem.
The bottom line is I could have done the same thing on Craigs List and gotten the same results for free and not paid AirBnB’s fee for booking.
In my opinion there is no reason for this company to exist. They back nothing up and just collect money. Most people would just walk away and that is why they get away with this behavior. I do not but the time I wasted can not be replaced which is why I will sue them and I will win. Hopefully it becomes a class action where all of the people screwed by this company come together. For me it is not even about the money. It is about the misrepresentation.
This addresses a bigger problem with US business, actually not just US business but business in general. Nobody seems to want to be accountable for anything. Yes they want to collect the money but as far as being responsible for the promises they make…well that just does not happen.
The real kicker though is that they were willing to sacrifice a substantial account for a thousand bucks. Really? You make me beg for a refund on a property that is being illegally rented and then do not even give me half my money back and then to get the rest I have to deal with the same person that lied in the first place?
Personally I just do not get it. I know this is the way things are.but it just does not work. Does the whole thing have to crash down before the “College Edumicated” figure it out? When are the idiots from business school going to realize that the way they do business doesn’t work long term? Yes in the minute it works fine but when people figure out that you are screwing them they stop buying your product.
Please start thinking longer than 2 minutes in front of you. A responsible person and society does not just think of themselves but also considers what there actions will do to effect the future.
Is this too much to ask? Haven’t we destroyed enough to wake up? Does what you say have any bearing on how you feel about yourself? Does what you deliver tell more about who you are than what you say?
If you wonder why you have to take pills every day to get out of bed you might want to start asking these questions.