Bulent’s Take on Airbnb.com

This summer my husband used Airbnb.com to arrange for his lodging while he was participating in a program at the London School of Economics.  Unfortunately he was extremely disappointed and felt exploited by the business. He asked me to post this because, as our friends and family know, he does not use social media, including Facebook or Twitter.

I recommend everyone to not use Airbnb.com. They exploit you like it is their business.

· Bulent rented an apartment in London for 6 weeks to attend a program at LSE.

· He completed the program at the end of the 3rd week, and asked the landlord to leave 3 weeks earlier than planned.

· She said “no problem”. Bulent notified Airbnb about the change, and came back to Turkey.

· After he came back, he realized that Airbnb charged his credit card as if he stayed the whole time.

· Because a chunk of the overcharge went to the landlord’s bank account, he asked the landlord to remind the Airbnb that his stay was only 3 weeks, and to ask for a refund of over a thousand dollars.

· Landlord said that she would “accept Bulent’s offer only if he agrees to pay her nearly twice the daily rate that they had originally agreed.”

· Bulent told her that this offer nearly a month after the whole thing was over was outrageous as she did not mention to him that she would want a higher rate when she accepted his offer to leave the place early.

· Landlord insisted on her condition.

· Bulent entered the case to Airbnb’s “dispute resolution” for Airbnb to resolve it.

· Dispute Resolution required him to accept their condition that “their decision will be final”

· Can’t possibly knowing what is behind that condition, and having no other choice; Bulent accepted it.

· Dispute Resolution reviewed the case, and “ruled” that they would refund $30 to him! (The amount Bulent was overcharged was little over a thousand dollars!!!)

· When Bulent asked how in the world they came up with that figure, they said that “stays shorter than 28 days are subject to weekly rates (his original agreement with the landlord was a monthly rate) and the weekly rate that applied to his case was such that they would only refund $30!”

· Bulent asked for a copy of the contract that shows this “policy”, and how they determine weekly rates.

· They sent him a webpage in their site that only talks about landlords’ options when they receive a request for early leaves (which are either to have Airbnb charge the guest for only the duration of his stay, or for the entire term). The site includes no information about this supposed policy to bump monthly rates down to weekly rates when stays are fewer than 28 days. Nor did it include any formula as to how they determine this weekly rate.

· Bulent pointed out these nonsense, and renewed his request for the 1,000+ Dollar refund.

· Airbnb answered by saying “as you accepted when you submitted the case to our Dispute Resolution Department, our decision is final!

· Next week, Bulent will sue the company for violation of consumer rights to be protected against arbitrary and exploitative practices. He will also file a complaint to the Better Business Bureau in California where this company is registered. But as importantly, he asked me to disseminate this message to all my friends and family so they do not use Airbnb.com.

Birthday Week

Last week was my birthday.  I was very lucky to have many friends who want to celebrate it with me!  Bülent took me out for a lovely romantic dinner.  His gift to me is a romantic trip to Antalya, planned in April when it will be a bit warmer.  Another friend had me over on my actual birthday for a delicious dinner.  We also went over to Bülent’s parents and had a family diner with his parents and aunt an uncle.  His mom knows I love fish and made a special dinner for me. 

The day before my birthday I went out with my friend Terry from Adventures in Ankara, and had an adventure!  We went to Cer Modern, a modern art museum, for lunch.  Lunch was great, the museum very nice, and time with Terry—always fun!  What made our outing an adventure was that we got a traffic ticket!  I was driving and she was navigating from the GPS on her phone.  It told us to take a right, so we did, but turns out it was an illegal right on Ataturk Bulvari.  So we were sitting at the intersection and I was trying to figure out how we were going to make it across the traffic with no light when a police man waved me across.  I was very thankful to make it across in one piece, but then he asked for my license and registration.  We explained we didn’t know the area and were following the GPS.  He nodded knowingly and said, Ah yes, GPS…”   and then gave me a ticket.  It is kind of a novelty.  I don’t know anyone else who has gotten a traffic violation ticket from a real life police man.  It just doesn’t happen here.  Most people get tickets from cameras, even though I have talked myself out of one of those before too.  This office was very polite and apologetic but would not budge.   So ticket it was! 

For my birthday present to myself I made cupcakes.  Two kinds.  The first a carrot cake with labne frosting (tips coming soon on how to substitute Labne for cream cheese) and the second, devil’s food cake with peanut butter frosting.  I have to say, carrot cake is my favorite, but the peanut butter frosting was decadent on the moist chocolate cupcakes. 


It was an amazing week, so filled with friends and family we had to rest all weekend to recover.  It made me feel so appreciated that so many people wanted to celebrate my birthday with me, I definitely have a community here.   It was fun and uncomplicated, my last birthday before marching into my 30’s, which seems a little bit daunting!