October 22, 2018 10:15 pm
Updated: October 22, 2018 10:25 pm

Airbnb guest was charged $200 — it was reversed, then he was charged 4 times more

A Vancouver man turned to Consumer Matters for help after a dispute over damages from an Airbnb rental turned his getaway into a nightmare. Anne Drewa reports.

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An Airbnb guest said he was charged hundreds of dollars in damages that the home-sharing network initially dismissed because the host didn’t have enough documentation.

“I was in disbelief to be quite frank,” said Ryan Kubeska.

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Back in June, the Vancouver resident booked a townhouse in Toronto through Airbnb with four of his friends.

After spending six nights at the townhouse, Kubeska returned home to find that the host was seeking $200 in damages.

The host listed a number of complaints including: “got neighbour and downstairs [complaints] a few times. Furniture got moved to different places with [scratches] on the wall and floor. Damaged towels. Didn’t empty the water bucket for the air conditioning. ”

READ MORE: City of Vancouver says short-term rental listings cut by nearly half since April

“There were several accusations that were not true,” Kubeska said.

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Ultimately, he paid a cleaning fee — and said he had to buy Windex and other cleaning products at Shoppers Drug Mart because the “basic necessities weren’t there.”

Initially, Airbnb appeared to agree with him.

“I wanted to inform you that you do not have pay the damage property amount. Your host Raymond does not have enough documentation for us to charge you for property damage,” an Airbnb case manager wrote to Kubeska in an email.

But weeks later, Kubeska said he was shocked to discover he had been charged $800 for damages on his credit card.

That money represented a security deposit the host included as part of his house rules.

“I have no idea what they are charging me the $800 for and why it went from $200 to $800, especially after Airbnb apologized and confirmed that the $200 charge had been dropped,” Kubeska said.

Airbnb sent Kubeska a second email, stating: “this decision was made after careful review of all documentation and communication from both parties, and is in alignment with our policies and procedures.”

READ MORE: Airbnb demand doubles, but hotels are still more full in Toronto and Vancouver

The company went on to say, “we’ve issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly. As further communication will not change the outcome of this case, we must respectfully disengage from further discussion.”

Kubeska reached out to Consumer Matters for help. Global BC contacted Airbnb about Kubeska’s case and received the following response:

“Our original handling of this incident fell below the high standards we set for ourselves and we are working with the guest to make things right. Airbnb’s resolution process is in place to try and resolve disputes between guests and hosts and unfortunately it did not work as it was supposed to in this incident – we are reviewing why and how that happened,” said Lindsey Scully, Airbnb’s public affairs lead for Canada.

“There have been more than 400 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are extremely rare.”

Kubeska was refunded $800.

“Under no circumstances will I ever use Airbnb again,” he said.

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