Why is Chiaka Aribeana banned from Airbnb? And is there any way to get her unbanned?
Q: I’ve been banned from Airbnb and I don’t know why. I’ve been using Airbnb for more than five years with no problems. I always get stellar reviews from my hosts. But recently, when I logged in, I received a cryptic message about being banned with no explanation. I have not been able to get help from anybody that I’ve contacted.
I’m a graduate student in medical school, and I will need to travel extensively for my interviews for residency. I rely on Airbnb for things like this because with more than 20 residency interviews in various cities all over the country, I need reliable places to stay. Please help me get my account back online. I highly doubt I’ve done anything wrong, and I am so frustrated with not being able to contact a real person for more information on why this happened. — Chiaka Aribeana, Redwood City, California
A: Airbnb shouldn’t have banned you without good reason. I reviewed the correspondence between you and Airbnb, and I am now as frustrated as you are. The only thing the company will say is, “We regret to inform you that we’ll be unable to support your account moving forward, and have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s).”
That doesn’t help at all.
Airbnb offers more vague information about its banning process on its site. It also links to that page from your notification. But the most specific information it offers is that you can get yourself banned by violating its terms of service.
So how did you get blacklisted? Your guess is as good as mine. Companies ban customers for all kinds of reasons, ranging from fraud to simple misunderstandings. I recently had a case that Airbnb blamed on a system error.
But what really bugs me is that every email you sent to Airbnb was answered with a boilerplate response, saying that it “regretted” the decision but has decided to uphold your banning. It would not say what you had done — or offer any steps to correct it.
Now, I understand that Airbnb is a big company and can’t reply to every email from customers. But if you’re going to ban people, I think they’re entitled to a reasonable explanation.
You could have appealed your case to a manager. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Airbnb executives on my consumer-advocacy site.
I contacted Airbnb on your behalf. It reactivated your account — without any explanation, of course.