I booked a stay at what was described as a beautiful retreat in the Yosemite area. My friends flew in from across the country to join me on a hiking trip in Yosemite and we were excited to be going. Dan, the owner, was very happy to rent to me, and it was all set up. We arrived to find the place to be uninhabitable. No running water, no promise of repair, and the oven looked as if it was vintage 1970s and had never been cleaned. There was a huge crack in the microwave rendering it unusable. We had to use water from the hot tub to flush the toilets. There was nothing about the place that was as described and I let him know it. He would not offer a refund and told me that if I wrote a bad review he would sue me. I called Airbnb repeatedly for help. We had to search for another place to stay. They promised callbacks that never came, and when I did reach someone, it sounded like I was talking to someone overseas. Whether or not that was the case, they asked me to write a letter – which I did – and to email pictures, because I definitely had plenty of them. They were not willing to try to help me in any way. Ultimately I disputed the charge with Visa and won. Today, I went to the site for the first time since that nightmare, and there was a negative review of me as a guest written by the host of the uninhabitable filthy place that Airbnb had listed for rent on their site. When I tried to reach out to Airbnb to discuss removing the review as it was unfair and they had proof of it, I could not get anywhere with customer service and couldn’t even find an email address. Airbnb is a terrible site and I will never use it again.
When you’re traveling alone for business, you would think it might be nice to save a few dollars and spend it elsewhere by getting an Airbnb a few minutes away from the conference you’re attending. I can put up with a lot but when you start to feel like a vagrant in a homeless shelter, I think that’s where I draw the line. I should’ve figured something was up when I exchanged texts with my host who told me to head upstairs and open the door because it would be unlocked. Nothing of value and nothing to worry about, I suppose. I walked into what was obviously a college student’s bachelor pad. All furnishings were kept to a bare minimum except for a rack full of men’s sneakers. At least it looked clean, if not bare. I walked in to find a partially exposed full-sized mattress on a bare metal base with a single dingy dirty flat sheet, a thin ratty looking blanket on top, and a blue/brown pillow that looked like it should’ve been either blue or brown (but not both).
However, it was late at night, I was tired, and I tried to overlook this but I couldn’t get over how cold it was there. The “furnished living room” was surrounded by windows across two walls with a connected balcony door. That’s when I discovered that there was a gaping hole in that balcony door and a thin garbage bag taped over the opening was still flapping in the wind. Now, mind you there was an extreme cold advisory and windchill warnings in Portland, OR that week. It was 29 degrees outside and there was a hole in the window. The heat wasn’t working – of course – and despite what my host said should have been an easy flick of the knob, I wasn’t able to force it on. So I sat on this dingy ratty looking mattress with a dirty looking sheet, blanket, and used looking pillow and thought about why I made such a poor decision to take a risk on Airbnb. I went to the bathroom and found it bare, stained, and moldy looking with no toilet paper. None. Nowhere to be found. I mean, I was already thinking that it’s a little ridiculous to ask me to bring my own bath towel, but should I have brought my own toilet paper too? Even public restrooms stock their toilet paper. What am I paying for?
In the end, I left because even the host had decided he wasn’t going to stay there until the window was fixed (likely after a drunken college party as I found bottle caps and tabs under the bed). He was at dinner with his friends and wouldn’t be back for a few days, after the window was fixed. I tried to get a refund, which is obviously a joke. The host said he was never paid the full amount, Airbnb said he was. He would only give me the “portion” of the money he received, because he didn’t want to give me money of out his pocket (I guess only fools like me do). Airbnb said the $25 service fee was nonrefundable but I laid into the poor man I spoke with on the phone and he gave me a $25 credit on the site. I’m not sure why I agreed to that (maybe because I obviously wasn’t going to get anything else).
Reservation total = $125 for 2 nights. The host refunded me $57 out of the $97 reservation cost; so I’m out $40 for being stupid (-$3 which just disappeared) with a $25 credit to be stupid again. I’m so disgusted with the whole situation.
My daughter and I have taken a yearly road trip to Palm Springs during Spring Break for the last four years. Last March, we rented a 3-bedroom and 2.5-bath townhouse in a small gated development just a block off Palm Canyon Drive. It was a two-story building, so I took the master bedroom upstairs and my daughter took the bedroom on the main floor so she wouldn’t keep me up all night watching TV. I was awoken on the first morning by what I sleepily dreamed was a cleaning crew giving someone maid service. I wondered why they were cleaning a room at 7:00 AM and realized I wasn’t in a hotel and the noise was above my head on the roof. Workers were redoing the asphalt. We had rented this condo for seven days and four mornings were ruined by the workers. We even woke on the third morning of work to find plastic sheeting was covering the entire patio. Because our access to the carport was through the patio gate, we couldn’t drive away.
I’m easy going, but after being awakened three mornings in a row before 7:00 AM, my daughter asked if we could go elsewhere. I did not want to move everything (clothes, food, liquor, a 42″ flat screen to replace the analog TV shown in the pictures, and an Apple TV), so I rented a room for her at the Hard Rock, while I stayed in the condo. I was going there to use the pool and to go out with my daughter. After renting the hotel room, I texted the property manager to tell her I would like a partial refund of the $1800 I had paid for six nights, and to tell her the wifi had been out since the previous night, meaning I had no TV or Internet. She immediately got an attitude with me. She asked why I had waited “so long” to tell her about the workers. I told her it was because I was a property owner and knew that things can happen, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped it was short-lived. However, by the third day I was getting really annoyed and knew the owners knew about it, because the Homeowners Association had sent letters to each owner several months earlier, as required by law (I spoke to some neighboring owners). She said the owners lived in another state and she would get back to me after she talked to them.
By the fifth day I had a large amount of video evidence regarding the level of noise. Pounding, dragging, pressure washing, etc. at 6:30-7:00 AM lasting until 5:00 PM. I had video of the back door covered in plastic, the back patio still blocked, and the grill and patio furniture, which was unusable. She finally responded, but only after we arrived home, to inform me the owners felt they could have stopped the workers if I had made an immediate complaint (right… the entire complex was being roofed, but one owner could have stopped it). She said because I waited until halfway through my stay I left them unable to do anything to assist me.
At that point my daughter told me to send a complaint with the attachment videos to Airbnb, which I did. After two weeks I received their response. “There was insufficient evidence for even a partial refund due to the timing of my complaint, but the property manager offered a 10% goodwill discount if I booked with them the following year.” As if it’s somewhere I would ever stay again. I think there are only two big property management agencies in Palm Springs and the property managers are all well known in the city. They all protect themselves and their paychecks by discouraging reporting with rude behavior. They delay complaints and give ridiculous explanations for why they can’t help you. Airbnb only makes money if it protects the hosts. Without hosts there are no travelers, therefore they will protect them before us. Especially the more expensive postings in popular destinations.
I received notification for a booking in San Diego for “my nephew and niece” (neither of which I have) and that I was charged £427. Luckily the credit card company has taken this seriously. We did not make a booking. The apartment owner has got the police involved and is endeavouring to sort something out on his end. Our rant is that there is no phone number for guests, only (I assume) for hosts to contact Airbnb. What a strange and rather ridiculous way to run a company. Anyone buying a service should have recourse to contact the company. Does anyone have an explanation as to why they don’t want to be contacted? I don’t think I have come across a company without a customer service line before. I am concerned that whoever did make this booking may be tampering with bookings I have actually made for later in the year. Any advice would be most welcome so that I can get some reassurance from Airbnb about how the company handles privacy settings and all our details.
I had been receiving kind and warm Airbnb experiences until one month ago when I was in a rush booking a room for myself. The problem was that I did not carefully check the comments left on the webpage about the house. I was desperately in need of a place to rest immediately somewhere as close to my company as possible. One Airbnb option captured my attention. It was cheap and it looked clean enough with a spacious bed for one person. Here is how it went with this host: she acted perfectly welcoming, meeting me at the beginning, giving me advice on settling in. But let me tell you, it was difficult to use the hot water to shower. Each time I did, the host complained she paid a lot for electricity and water, so why would I shower two times a day? She offered the same bar of soap for every guest, as well as a used disposable plastic bowl and chopsticks which she had left over from her meals. It was extremely disgusting and insanity.
Apart from this, she offered also a disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware she offered. It felt like she not only intended to exclude me from her life but also implied I was a walking petri dish. Given the situation, I had literally no idea how I could use the disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware without any dish gel at all. This apparently made her snap and she shouted: “No adults in world don’t know how to wash a dish! If you’re complaining that much get out of my place at once!”
She was pointing at my nose losing her temper. That night around midnight, she stood at my door, shouting “Please, get out of my place at once!” I thought she was breaking down or had some mental disorder. I called the police because there was no reason I should get out at the middle of the night after receiving threats. It makes me feel sick even just thinking about it. Here’s how the police solved the conflict. They recommended that the host give me a refund immediately and took me somewhere safe for the night. Away from this psycho host with her mental disorder. For more details about where this place is and what I did afterwards calling customer service, please leave comments.
We rented a beautiful two bedroom house with a pool about five minutes from Ao Nang in Thailand for six nights. Within the first day I thought I was seeing rats but just brushed it off. Well, over the rest of our stay I saw them everyday. I emailed our host and let him know about the rats and to see if he had someone that was doing pest control. He said he had never seen any rats and was surprised about it. He had security cameras everywhere on the outside of the house for the guests’ protection and probably for any theft that might occur when the property was empty, but apparently never saw the rats running around on the property. I’m writing this here because Airbnb doesn’t allow for changes in reviews and it seems that a lot of them are very generic. My wife did our review without my input and kept it very basic. The host’s review of my wife mentioned we should not be traveling to Thailand because of geckos and other things common in Thailand. Funny enough, I just don’t like rats. I have now been to Thailand three times and have stayed at many places that did not have rats, including a relative’s house in Hua Hin that borders lots of vegetation. However, they do animal control in their area. I’m not saying we never saw rats – we did – but not anywhere we had stayed until now.
Is there no way to contact Airbnb directly to present a major complaint? This was the first holiday season in 40 years that my husband was able to take off work. We had a wonderful and very expensive Christmas vacation planned for us, with our grown sons and their significant others, in Palm Springs. We live on the East Coast. This was our first Christmas ever away from home, and we chose this particular property over many others with the same amenities because of the beautiful and unique looking heated pool and hot tub/spa, framed by the mountains. The first thing I checked when booking was that the pool would definitely be heated since temperatures are in the 60s in December. It was the main thing my husband and I were looking forward to in terms of relaxation and exercise. We arrived to find a cold pool and a half empty hot tub. To attempt to make a very long story as brief as possible, we spent four days of our seven-day stay, phoning, texting, pleading, and questioning the property manager about it. A variety of service guys were sent to fix it, to no avail. Four days of anger, frustration, and incredulity.
The last service man, who said he had been called to the property many times in the past, said the whole system was old and needed to be replaced but the owner refused to do anything about it. I say four days because after that we gave up. To add insult to injury, the property manager treated us as though we were being unreasonable about being so upset. The only offer of compensation was to refund the extra charge – over and above the advertised price – that we had to pay to heat the pool. If I were the host or owner of the property and this happened to a family spending their holiday at my house only to find the “crown jewel” of the property broken down, I would have offered either a refund or an invitation to come back at another time for a seven-day stay to compensate for this disaster. That didn’t happen of course.
It was then that I realized that Airbnb has major pitfalls. As per the agreement, Airbnb holds no responsibility for ruined vacations and is not obligated to offer any form of compensation for a major amenity not in working order and not delivering what is promised in the description; the property manager or host is not obligated to do anything in terms of compensation (they take half of the fee) and guests have absolutely no rights whatsoever. $4,000 rental for a Christmas trip? Just suck it up. I’ve used Airbnb many times, but never will again. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to feel anything other than pure rage every time I think about it.
I graduated recently from school, and my parents were visiting me for graduation from outside of US. I decided to take them to Florida, and I booked my first Airbnb. Being a first timer on Airbnb, I was very cautious of everything. I tried to keep the entire house clean and tidy, and I tried to make sure I did not damage any part of the property. I won’t damage the property of anyone either now or in the future. My stay was good (not perfect, but nothing is, so I kind of ignored any small problems). I didn’t want to sound like a complaining guest; I didn’t know I could make complaints and get a refund (partial or full).
So here’s what happened. On my third day (last day, the day I checked out), I was washing the dishes in the kitchen sink of the property hosted by a shady couple. While doing that, I started the garbage disposer in the sink and within a moment, before I even realized what was happening, the plumbing below the kitchen sink broke and dirty water started to spill onto the floor. It could have caused an electrical short circuit as well as a fire. Anything was possible. I’ve attached the pictures of water coming out on floor. Then, I texted my hosts immediately. First, the woman told me that she would come and see what happened. Then, after some time, the guy called me and asked me what happened. I told him what happened and he was very calm after that. He said he knew what must have happened, as if he knew the plumbing was fragile. They also told me to put towels on the water and then leave the house; they would come and take care of the damage later.
I trusted them (my biggest mistake) and left the property. I was roughly four hours away from the property by car. I stopped at a gas station only to find out my hosts were demanding $200 in compensation for a broken pantry door (when did that happen?) They said that we broke the pantry door. If you think carefully, there is a connection. The plumbing was broken. They must have had to spend some money on the repairs. However, it was their fault, so they could not ask for money for that. Instead, they found another way out. If you look at the door, the wooden strips that are not present in the door are easily removable. They just removed them, took pictures, and filed a claim with Airbnb. There were slots to put the strips in or remove them if required. And it worked. Airbnb asked me to pay $152 in the end, because the hosts were so called “superhosts” and I was just a recent graduate staying at an Airbnb for the first time. Now it was their word against mine, and I lost.
If they had asked me for another $100 while booking the property for any legitimate reason, I would have given them that money. But, in this case, they falsely implicated me. My parents traveling 9500 miles to see me were not visiting their property to damage it. If we had damaged it or if there were any accident, we would have told them promptly. To add to that, when I gave a bad review of the property, the host used the weapon of good reviews and ratings they had in past(as I expected them to do), to say my claim was false a and make themselves feel secure. When you are so good at hosting, you can get away with doing one wrong thing so easily by pointing at all the previous good karma. That is what they did and victimized me.
I know some of you readers may find them right and more credible than me, but remember: you could also be in my place someday if you do not take enough care. I should have demanded the host walk me through the property at check-in and check-out so I could have confronted them easily if they said anything was damaged, but they used clever planning to avoid doing so, so that they could later blame me. My family and I were pretty much shocked and saddened by what happened. I quit Airbnb and will not return.
A few things went wrong or felt odd during my visit. These so called superhosts did not walk me through the property at check-in and check-out. I did not get sufficient information on how to get around the house and operate appliances; I had to figure it out myself. It would have been best to walk guests through the house at check-in and check-out so that host could have made guests aware of any pre-existing damages and any problems the host may have found at the time when guests walk out of the property. Because they filed a claim four hours after we left, I could not go back to the property to verify anything. To top it off, as Airbnb says, if the host and guest cannot reach an understanding, hosts can go to the Airbnb resolution center. However, this host did not contact me at all; he went straight to the resolution center. They didn’t talk to us directly before reporting the damage to Airbnb, because they were super liars.
The property was immensely dark in and around at the time of check-in. It was very frightening because when I lit the house I found some chameleons walking on the grass and trees around the house. The pantry door, shown in the picture above, was perfectly in the good shape, except one wooden strip below the door knob was not placed properly in its slot on the right side. The kitchen had empty chocolate wrappers (that’s how much cleaners attended to the property) and a rotten apple. My mother was this close to eating it, but fortunately, she decided to cut it in two pieces before she ate it and she found that it was rotten. The kitchen was not complete: there was no single appliance with its lid, so when I wanted to cook rice, I couldn’t. The soap bottles and shampoo bottles were almost empty. And they were Suave, which is very cheap. Everyone knows that. The lowest quality soaps were purchased to show the host didn’t care about guests and wanted to maximize his profit. The water pressure in the shower in the bathroom was also very low, equivalent to the gardening bucket we used to water the plants. Despite so many problems I did not want to complain, but I should have done it. Since it was my first stay, I was unaware of all the ins and outs of the Airbnb. Now I have decided not to continue using Airbnb but to book a regular hotel next time I need to go somewhere. If I can afford four days with Airbnb and two days in a regular hotel, I will still go with a hotel. At least there won’t be insecurity and frustration of being falsely implicated for damages which I never caused.
Here is a description of how we were moral policed and character assassinated during our stay at a host’s residence. Some details are left out due to the sheer number of these instances we had to put up with during our stay. The description of the place on the listing was not even close to the real condition of the residence; the room and linen smelled musty (we had to insist that the linen be changed periodically), the room was infested with mosquitoes at night, the walls, fans, and bathroom were dirty, and we had to either take the initiative to clean the place ourselves or personally supervise the cleaning as the host would grudgingly offer to have place cleaned or come back to us with statements like “previous guests put up with this so why should it be a problem for you?”
My partner and I have both backpacked (in India and abroad) and understand that hygiene levels slightly vary from the listing to reality but I’m talking about hygiene levels akin to living in a shanty, (things like coats of dust, grime and oil stains on the walls and switches of the alternative kitchen we were given, a filthy bathroom). The host even had the audacity to lock her kitchen at night without informing us (reason being – she did not list that non-vegetarian food was not okay and hence locked the kitchen to keep us away from using her utensils and basic cooking items). Though highly unacceptable, we tolerated these aspects (primarily because she refused to negotiate a refund or solution) and either cleaned things ourselves or made sure we were supervising when these issues were not taken care of (a clear responsibility of the host that was not fulfilled).
However, what was uncalled for and down right insulting were the remarks, attitude, and judgement that the host and her husband had towards us during the entirety of our stay. The final straw was the incident on the last day when the host’s husband simply insulted me by openly making a character judgement. Earlier they had turned down our request to have a buffer zone of a couple of hours to use their facilities on the final checkout day as we had a train that same night. Having taken enough time already, we checked out at 11:00 AM and were waiting for our taxi with our luggage at the main gate. I went to get a taxi to our location, while my partner monitored the luggage. The host’s husband passed my partner at the main gate without saying a word and then halfway down the road met me and started yelling – literally yelling at me on a busy street in front of all to see – saying:
“You came home at 5:00 in the morning – I know what kind of a girl does that!”
“Is this the behavior that your family raised you for?”
“What type of character does a girl like you have to behave like this?”
“Take a good look at your behavior and disgusting character! My wife and I are extremely glad you are leaving! Take a look inside yourself and stop being like this!”
This could have been completely denied by the host but instead she called us to confirm that this incident took place and went onto say that her husband always behaves like this and creates a problem every time. Then she sheepishly told us that “I know you will leave a bad review because of this and we have only been good to you.” I mean, there are ways of being two faced and this host really showed it. Basically she was calling to do damage control for this entire incident and tried to make it seem like she had nothing to do with any of the moral policing, insults, and character assassinations that we had put with for the past nine days. We were essentially being held for ransom to continue staying there because she had our money and refused to come to a negotiation even though we made it clear on numerous occasions that we were unhappy with the hygiene conditions, insults and passive aggressive judgements of the host and her husband. This is one experience that has definitely disgusted us and made us really wary of choosing listings.
I moved out on January 5th from a three-month lease with Airbnb’s permission by letting them know that I wanted to move out. They said if the host decided to refund me for the days I didn’t stay I could get my money back. After I spoke to the host, she agreed and I moved out. Once I moved out, the host conveyed to Airbnb that it was a miscommunication and refused to pay me back for the days I didn’t stay there. During the course of this battle I never mentioned how bad my stay was so they even removed my review from the host’s page after threatening me for not having documentation. The house where I lived had a rat infestation and there were more people in the house than what was mentioned – all men who smoked. I was exposed a large amount of secondhand smoke as a result. I mentioned this in my review and stated why I hated the stay instead of mentioning about the lack of a refund. To this, the case manager who constantly harassed me finally took down my review even when I asked her to confirm the unsanitary rat infestation with the host. All this was when I only made a rough draft of review that wasn’t even posted. This makes me wonder to which how many people Airbnb is doing this. How many reviews are they censoring, tweaking, falsifying, and into how many unsanitary conditions are they letting the naive customers walk? There needs to be some sort of New York state regulation against this kind of behavior and unacceptable business model.