Airbnb seems like a friendly, modern company. It is fun to browse through listings, look at pictures, read reviews. It gives you a feeling that you can have a home all around the world, at any time, at the click of button.
Of course, most Airbnb stays go well. However, what happens if something bad happens? Will the company move mountains to help you?
Before you book an Airbnb, you should look through the bad experiences that you might encounter. For example, here is a short list of the problems you may encounter.
Host cancel stays last minute or does not allow you inside; host demands extra cash; host falsifies damages; listing arbitrage scam; unsafe house; extreme bug infestations; hostile or threatening host; hidden cameras in bedroom; listing not as described; fake listings; blackmailing; racial or other discrimination. For detailed examples, take a look at this website.
If something goes wrong, Airbnb will do nothing and you will be prevented from suing them through their choice of law clause, forum selection clause and mandatory arbitration clause.
If a host makes a false claim that you damaged their room, what can you do if Airbnb sides with the host? You cannot do anything because you agreed that you cannot sue them.
There are countless examples on this website of people being robbed of thousands of dollars by Airbnb and not being able to sue them in court. The fact that you cannot sue Airbnb should tell you that they feel empowered to do whatever they want, and they do.
Particularly in Japan, there is absolutely no reason to use Airbnb, especially now that most listings have been deleted since the change in the Minpaku law, effective June 15, 2018. Japan has a large number of options for housing at every price range.
If you are staying short term, Japan has cheap business hotels and high-end capsule hotels. There are also many websites that offer stays at someone’s house or guest houses. Local alternatives to Airbnb are "Stay Japan", as well as Rakuten's "Vacation Stay" (currently only in Japanese) and Tomarina. JR East also has packages with special experiences. International or general alternatives to Airbnb can be found here.
If you are staying long term, you can easily get a short-term monthly apartment. For example, this is one of many such websites.
Avoid Airbnb, because if anything goes wrong, you will have no legal recourse. If you do any research about them, you will see what they have shown time and time over a total disregard for their users. Airbnb knows that they cannot be sued, which is why they are allowed to do anything they want, and it does not involve them compensating you for anything.
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