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This house is listed at $210/night. When my sister went to book the house, the price suddenly jumped to $300/night. Why?

airbnb fraud


IMG-2163.jpg

This is the listing:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/20618733

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Airbnb has a "bug" that fails to add up per night prices and only displays the lowest base price × # nights.

When you are the establishment/host and trying to set up an offer on Airbnb, there is only one field where you can enter the price for the night which will be displayed on the website, so it happens that Airbnb in some cases shows in preview the initial/minimum price per night (to avoid further "confusion" while browsing which then takes you by surprise when you check out) because it assumes that hosts have this price set as static (as they should and as they have in most cases). Prices are given by host and they are not necessary to be static as you can notice in this scenario where the price for the night depends on other aspects of total pricing like:

Service fee which is dependent on a day of the week you trying to stay over. For example, if you trying to book a night from:

  • Monday to Tuesday the fee is 48$
  • Tuesday - Wednesday = 48$
  • Wednesday - Thursday = 48$
  • Thursday - Friday = 54$
  • Friday - Saturday = 61$
  • Saturday - Sunday = 61$
  • Sunday - Monday = 61$

Based on this trend, you can notice what's going on... There's a fee for the frequency. Casual, uninteresting days are for 48$ while weekends/holidays (individual holidays may have their own "holiday" fee) when is expected the higher interest for a stay-over, prices are highest (61$) - which kind of makes sense from "small business perspective" (only bigger hotel companies can afford to drop these kinds of dynamic fees and by "dropping" you should understand - setting a maximum price for all days(nights) to not look so fishy)

Service fee statement: This helps us run our platform and offer services like 24/7 support on your trip. It includes VAT

Then you have Occupancy taxes and fees which is the same deal because the tax part is calculated based on day of the week and fee part is calculated as last, based of everything else mentioned above.

Occupancy taxes and fees statement: Accommodations Tax (New Hampshire)

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  • OK but that doesn't make sense because the service fee is listed separately from the base rate ($210 vs $300) in both instances. Even so, the dates are known so the service fee should be the same. Why does the base rate jump $90/night when the dates are known in both cases?
    – Chloe
    Mar 1 '19 at 20:40
  • its mentioned in the 1st sentence why...
    – user0
    Mar 1 '19 at 20:43
  • It's kind of hard to understand that run-on sentence. If that is the answer, why did you bother to mention service fees? That seems like a red-herring. OK so if the base rate is dynamic, why does it show a total base cost of $840 vs. $1200 when it knows the dates in both cases?
    – Chloe
    Mar 1 '19 at 20:48
  • I bothered to mention service and other fees just to provide a closer look at the whole system and how one thing is related to another. I do understand your standpoint. from your perspective it looks like Airbnb is scamming customers by showing the lower price in the preview, but when it comes to paying then the price is raised to reflect the true state. And you are kind of right but this is only the half-truth. Airbnb doesn't account (which is their fault), that providers have dynamic prices (including per night price - which is the actual scam, because per night price should be fixed/static)
    – user0
    Mar 2 '19 at 6:21
  • when the provider is entering his prices on the Airbnb website, he is able to add the full scale of price states (including dynamic states), but on the profile (preview) page he can type in only 1 price per night, because there is only one field allocated to this when it comes to per night price (when it comes to fees then he can add multi-states - that's the reason why upon day selection in preview page, fees are changing dynamically and per night price stays static)
    – user0
    Mar 2 '19 at 6:22
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Prior to sometime in 2020, Airbnb used to mildly scam users by only showing them the price without fees in the search, but then doing a bait-and-switch when you got to the listing page where all of a sudden they show you the full price. However they've since fixed this and you can now see the full price directly in the search results, with all fees included:

enter image description here

They still try to nudge you towards paying more by not letting you sort by price but at least you can now see the full price in the search results.

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