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Old 02.12.2020, 16:41
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AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

I find a place publicly advertised on Airbnb for specific dates. Final total, all inclusive quoted price 1145chf (room 171chf per night, cleaning 120chf).


Log immediately into AirBnb to book, same exact dates, price goes up to 181 per night, cleaning increases to 132chf).


Push the book now button, price goes up to 202 per night


Immediately contact the host about the discrepancy, new 203chf service charge added additionally on top


(Although, the exact wording shown on the listing says "No service fee, Anna covers the service fee for their guests.")


Change my search to a different search price range, same place/dates price goes up to 211 per night


Jump to another browser, publicly advertised (pre-login) price is still 1145chf (171 night, 120 cleaning).


All scenarios are the exact same dates searched within minutes of each other.

Last edited by makeabigwish; 02.12.2020 at 16:50. Reason: clarified service fee wording
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:44
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

Congratulations, you've just discovered marketing.
You also see the same concept with many companies if you order via different country websites.
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:50
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

There's quite some confusion with AirBNB at the moment, as they've just switched their commission charges from being part-paid by the guest and part by the host, meaning that the headline price will always be lower than the actual booking price, which may also have cleaning or linen charges added on top (we don't do this, but many do); from January it's all going to be paid by the host, so the headline prices will increase to reflect this, bringing it more into line with other booking providers.
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:52
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Congratulations, you've just discovered marketing.
You also see the same concept with many companies if you order via different country websites.

When does false advertising become illegal ?
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Old 02.12.2020, 16:59
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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There's quite some confusion with AirBNB at the moment, as they've just switched their commission charges from being part-paid by the guest and part by the host, meaning that the headline price will always be lower than the actual booking price, which may also have cleaning or linen charges added on top (we don't do this, but many do); from January it's all going to be paid by the host, so the headline prices will increase to reflect this, bringing it more into line with other booking providers.



I'm not explaining the "headline" quote. I'm explaining the discrepancies in the final, drill down final booking price before clicking the book button.
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:01
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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When does false advertising become illegal ?
Try here for resources on this topic:

www.faire-werbung.ch
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Old 02.12.2020, 17:02
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

i've been caught out by this with airbnb. i saw the price and booked clicking through and didn't notice the higher cost until too late.
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Old 02.12.2020, 18:45
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

Some sites in Switzerland will increase the charge after you've entered all your credit card details and click 'book'. i.e. you click 'book for CHF xxx' and you get a receipt 'thanks for your payment of 'yyy'.
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Old 02.12.2020, 18:46
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i've been caught out by this with airbnb. i saw the price and booked clicking through and didn't notice the higher cost until too late.
The trouble is that it's not the owner/host who's doing it - all too often they won't even realise that the guest is paying more than the ticket price. I know I wasn't aware of this for quite some time.

The new system means that I've put up my base prices on AirBNB to be in line with what I'm asking on booking.com etc. Much better like that. Transparency on both sides is always the best approach IMO. I'd hate to have lost repeat bookings because a guest feels like they've been ripped off with an inflated price when I wasn't even aware of it.

My own direct booking site allows me to offer a significantly reduced price and manage other channels with a corresponding markup to cover the commission they're charging me, so I'm hopeful that the future will bring more bookings that way, better for everyone.

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Some sites in Switzerland will increase the charge after you've entered all your credit card details and click 'book'. i.e. you click 'book for CHF xxx' and you get a receipt 'thanks for your payment of 'yyy'.
Examples? I've never come across extra charges being added after the final 'pay now' button. All else apart you usually need to confirm the actual transaction with the card issuer before it's completed, so you'd see the real price there.
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:30
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

Short sighted way of Airbnb making just a few extra in the immediate future.

Frequent travelers will quickly start going around them or avoiding them if they can't trust them or feel they conduct business in a sleazy way.
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Old 02.12.2020, 19:55
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Examples? I've never come across extra charges being added after the final 'pay now' button. All else apart you usually need to confirm the actual transaction with the card issuer before it's completed, so you'd see the real price there.

In my example above, they unexpectedly change the price for no reason right at the final pay now. It's hard to describe here in text, however, visually it would have been very easy to miss because the same form all along said a lower price and there would be no reason to expect that same form to all of a sudden change.

Very uncool .... especially when added on top of all the other changes listed above.
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Old 02.12.2020, 20:05
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

It sounds like it adjusts the pricing based on clicks, like cheap airfares ... the more people click on it, the higher the price goes.

I recall booking a group of 30 people on the same flight once (school class trip) and the cheap airfare site only allowed a maximum of ten in a group - first group was x per person, second group was x+5% per person, third group was x+12% per person.

Still cheaper than booking the flights any other way, I checked several different approaches (the group booking system through the airline was x+60% per person - rather stupid to me, as the flight was only about 75% full on the day we flew).
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Old 02.12.2020, 20:10
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Examples? I've never come across extra charges being added after the final 'pay now' button. All else apart you usually need to confirm the actual transaction with the card issuer before it's completed, so you'd see the real price there.

Concierge247. There was no bank confirmation. However, they also attempted to charge my credit card for a damage deposit without warning and without it being in the t&c's but the bank rejected it automatically. I ended up speaking to them and it became a "take it or leave it" situation despite everything not agreeing with their t&c's which I previously had to tick a box to say I had read and understood. Seems they don't read nor understand them themselves.
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Old 03.12.2020, 00:46
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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It sounds like it adjusts the pricing based on clicks, like cheap airfares ... the more people click on it, the higher the price goes.
Nope, I can categorically state that AirBnB pricing does not do anything of the sort. It's possible for a host to put rules in place to offer lower prices if bookings are low, but not the inverse.

Flights, yes maybe, prices are set using very complicated algorithms. Major travel agents may sometimes apply similar logic to mass hotel room bookings, based on pre-booked rooms with guaranteed occupancy, but that sort of thing does not extend down to the likes of AirBnB or similar booking engines, unless the operator has their own systems in place to modify prices and filter those down to the booking engines, and that can't realistically be done in real time, rather as a longer-term price setting strategy.
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Old 03.12.2020, 12:17
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Nope, I can categorically state that AirBnB pricing does not do anything of the sort. It's possible for a host to put rules in place to offer lower prices if bookings are low, but not the inverse.

True about the host, but not true that airbnb itself does not do partake in these shenanigans, since they make more in their percentage.


Another thing that Airbnb does that adds to that "ripped off" feeling is they do not provide sorting by price, like most others provide.

This means in most regions you would have to comb through hundreds to figure out what really feels like a good price quality ratio.

Users know it would be very easy for Airbnb to provide price sorting since most online purchasing does but they make more money if you just grab what you can rather than look for what really feels like the right price-quality fit for you, since they make less in commissions if customers more often find a great fit for themselves for a lower price.

Because people don't have time for this, almost every transaction consists of people grabbing what they can but walking away with this "slightly ripped off" feeling that there was probably something that was a better fit for them but Airbnb is trying to gouge a little more by not easily providing / allowing customers to see things organized in order of their selected range.

Again, pretty uncool that this is a majority of people's experience in a majority of transactions.

In the end, I think they make far less money from me personally because I don't like the consistent "slightly ripped off again" feeling.

It's a shame because they could be my automatic complete go-to for all my travel needs that fits in their offering.

In the end VRBO and booking.com gets more business that could go to Airbnb.
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Old 03.12.2020, 12:35
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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True about the host, but not true that airbnb itself does not do partake in these shenanigans, since they make more in their percentage.
They absolutely do not mess about with prices based on web clicks etc. as you claim.

And as I already stated, they're changing the commission model, actually from Dec 7th, so the price displayed will be the price set by the owner, and the price payable on booking will not be increased to include the commission as it has been up until now. There may be additional charges added at that stage, like cleaning or any extras requested, but these are totally in the control of the owner.
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Old 03.12.2020, 13:10
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

Don't worry OP, if you're so unhappy with their services one day you might find out they're illegal in some cities across Europe. It's only the beginning....

https://www.france24.com/en/20200922...ulating-airbnb

I would say I was pretty happy with their services. We couldn't have enjoyed that level of comfort during holidays if we had to pay regular hotel fees. But...this might come to an end one day.
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Old 03.12.2020, 14:03
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Don't worry OP, if you're so unhappy with their services one day you might find out they're illegal in some cities across Europe. It's only the beginning....

https://www.france24.com/en/20200922...ulating-airbnb

I would say I was pretty happy with their services. We couldn't have enjoyed that level of comfort during holidays if we had to pay regular hotel fees. But...this might come to an end one day.
I do feel guilty sometimes using AirBnB in cities and I am well aware that the properties could provide much-needed local housing.

The problem I have is that most hotels just do not work for families.

Kids, who have been out and about all day sometimes just don't want to go out again in the evening to eat so having a kitchen, space to eat and play board games is something that an AirBnB property can provide but most modern cramped hotel rooms cannot.
A 'family' hotel room is often a standard hotel room with extra beds giving zero floor space.

AirBnB provides a service that rarely exists.

If anything were to change, perhaps some of these large hotels could be sold-off and converted into flats or student accommodation.
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Old 03.12.2020, 14:36
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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I do feel guilty sometimes using AirBnB in cities and I am well aware that the properties could provide much-needed local housing.

The problem I have is that most hotels just do not work for families.

Kids, who have been out and about all day sometimes just don't want to go out again in the evening to eat so having a kitchen, space to eat and play board games is something that an AirBnB property can provide but most modern cramped hotel rooms cannot.
A 'family' hotel room is often a standard hotel room with extra beds giving zero floor space.

AirBnB provides a service that rarely exists.

If anything were to change, perhaps some of these large hotels could be sold-off and converted into flats or student accommodation.
Agree with all you have said. Some cities have furnished flats, chains like Fraser's Place which are pretty good too.
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Old 03.12.2020, 15:23
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Re: AirBnb Dishonest Bait and Switch Ripoff

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Agree with all you have said. Some cities have furnished flats, chains like Fraser's Place which are pretty good too.
Aparthotels are also good and we've used those too.
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