Abandoned by Airbnb When Berlin Host Cancelled

I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.

Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.

I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.

My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.

UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.

Won’t Host on Airbnb After Disgusting Guests

I was a host on Airbnb and after my latest experience with them I am only using VRBO now. We have been renting our ranch on Airbnb for years and I have never seen our home in such disarray. Our cleaning team sent me a list of all the issues (photo provided) including but not limited to:

– Stove top had burnt food all over it.

– Carpets were stained and had to be shampooed which is far and above the normal clean we would need to do after guests leave.

– There was dog food in the couch cushions.

– Toilets were plugged up and had all kinds of items that had been attempted to be flushed down including face wipes and tampons.

– Garbage was put in a coat closet.

– The bedrooms were a mess with food, drinks, games everywhere and the furniture had been all moved around (which we specifically ask our guests not to do)

– Worst of all, there were poop stains on my grandmother’s chair.

Our ranch hand came up to assist our guest during his stay with the toilet being clogged and reported to us that his 90+ year old father was sitting in said chair completely naked from the waist down. He had a “waste” bucket sitting next to him for him to utilize as a bathroom. My family’s ranch was purchased by my late grandfather in the 1960’s. This place is so incredibly precious to us and we love sharing it with others. We have always had respectful, wonderful people stay with us until now. I am so incredibly saddened, hurt, and frankly have a pit in my stomach by the way they treated our home.

Almost a month after I submitted photos, a cleaning bill, and a list of all the items that needed to be cleaned Airbnb finally responded with:

“After careful review of the information submitted, we’re unfortunately unable to process your request. Security deposits cover direct physical loss or physical damage to an accommodation. It does not cover indirect losses. Therefore, as we have not received documentation for any physical damages we would be unable to provide compensation.”

I will never use Airbnb again as a host or a traveler. A company’s true character is shown in how it handles the small events and they showed me theirs.

Airbnb Host Not Informed of our Reservation

My husband and I along with two other couples reserved a house in Camden, Maine for a week this past July. Airbnb charged the entire week to our credit card, half when we made the reservation and the other half a few days before our week started. We got numerous emails from Airbnb about our upcoming trip and how they hoped we had a great time.

When we got to the house, the owner had no idea we were coming and said he hadn’t dealt with Airbnb for over a year. Customer service was worse than useless. We were told that we could get a credit on a different place but there were none available and no help in obtaining alternate housing was offered.

After a couple of hours on the phone, we were able to get them to say they would credit our card but the amount they agreed to was over $200 less than the amount we were charged: probably a service fee. We waited a week and the amount wasn’t credited so I turned the matter over to Mastercard and of course was credited for the entire amount immediately while they investigated. It defies the imagination how a booking can be confirmed and credit card charged without the owner knowing we were coming. Never again Airbnb.

Stranded in Florence After Host Lied and Cancelled

Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.

We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.

Apartment in Brussels Illegally Rented on Airbnb

I am the owner of an apartment in Brussels. A couple of months ago I discovered that the person who rents my apartment has listed it on Airbnb. First of all, it is against the regulations in the apartment complex. I already had to pay a 500-euro fine. After calling the person who rents my apartment several times, she still refused to remove the listing on Airbnb. I’ve send several mails to the Airbnb website but with no response. I don’t not understand how they can accept this or not respond. Is there a quick and efficient way to contact them or must I take legal action, not only against the person who is renting my apartment but also Airbnb itself? They are making money out of it, and it is illegal because as a owner it is against regulations, and even the law in Brussels.

Airbnb Studio in Beacon Hill Makes Guests Sick

My wife and I booked a stay at a Beacon Hill area studio in the city of Boston recently and we had a horrible experience. The experience was so bad that it will make us reconsider ever using Airbnb again as guests. Although we really like the idea of Airbnb and we have been strong supporters, we feel that we will likely be victimized by the poor way that Airbnb operates in dealing with guest complaints. We’ll likely lose a bit of money and be left out in the cold even though we have been champions for Airbnb and have contributed to their bottom line.

The listing we booked presented the rental as the “Perfect Little Stay in Beacon Hill”. The unit was everything but perfect; it was overpriced, tiny, not clean, and not safe for us at all health wise. We have been using Airbnb as hosts for some time now and we’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the guests who have stayed with us. The guests love our property and the services we provide and we love having them. These experiences led us to try out Airbnb as guests. This turned out to be a huge mistake.

We selected the Boston property because of its location. Beacon Hill is a nice area – we figured – and the few photos online for the property looked good, though there were no photos of the building, which should have been a red flag. We communicated with the manager of the property online before arriving (initially asking if they had availability for a second night and if there was a place we could drop off a bag before checking in) and those communications went smoothly. So far so good.

However, when we arrived, things started to go bad from the start. We were a bit surprised by the overall condition of the building: the front door had a missing lock, the entrance was extremely dirty and in need of repair, there were boxes all over the entrance that we had to climb over, trash bags and laundry bags were piled all over the place, and there were big stains all over the carpet. It had the overall appearance of a drug dealer’s apartment.

We found the key and went to the unit only to discover that the door was unlocked. We dropped off our bag, but as we tried to lock the door we discovered that there were problems with the lock. Fortunately as we were leaving, the cleaning person came by. We showed him the lock problems and he told us that he would take care of it. He struggled with the lock as well and finally was able to latch it. This made us wonder about the security of the building and the bag that we were going to store.

Our first impression of the property was that it looked like poorly managed student housing – cheap, dark, dingy, not decorated well, very bare bones – not something you’d typically expect to see in a nice area like Beacon Hill. However, we figured this is what we selected and we’d make the most of it. Unfortunately, things got a lot worse. I came back to the room in the later afternoon to rest up. The room had been cleaned, but I was really surprised by the condition of the room. It was very tiny, poorly decorated, dark, no frills, had lots of wear (the wood floor was badly scarred up, stains on the bathroom walls, the shower had mold, a window was painted over with latex paint, there was caulk peeling in the bathroom, the view outside the window was of things being dumped in the alley).

I was hoping that my wife wouldn’t be disappointed when she got there and really took a look around. Again, these aesthetic issues were only the tip of the iceberg. After resting in the room for a couple of hours and turning the A/C on, I started to get very ill. I started having trouble breathing, was very congested, developed a bad headache, and felt nauseous. When my wife got there I felt really bad so she took a look around. She noticed several gallons of chemical products and garbage bags of stuff strewn about the stairways directly outside our room. She also noticed some odd chemical smells. We also were concerned about the condition of the A/C as it had some moldy odors. The longer we stayed in the room, the worse we felt.

My wife suggested we go out for dinner to get out of the room and get some fresh air. We did and after about an hour I started to feel better. My wife suggested that we go look for a hotel to stay the rest of the night. Fortunately, we were able to get a booking at the Bostonian, not far away. We went back to the room and my wife made me stay out on the street as she went back in and packed up our things and took all of the bedding off of the bed as we were instructed to do by the printed house rules. We never really used the property, such as the shower or fridge, as we spent so little time there. We were basically in panic mode because of the condition of the building and the fact that the building and room were making us sick. The whole experience felt like a frightening Steven King short story.

Fortunately, we had a good stay at the Bostonian. We checked in around midnight, though this set us back as the last minute booking was very expensive. I feel that we made the right call as one’s health, safety, and well being should always come first. As bad as the limited experience with the property was (poor condition, toxic environment, false advertising, etc.) what was even more troubling was the reaction and later communication with the property manager who listed the property.

I sent her a message in the morning as soon as I got up to tell her about how the property made us ill. In one message she seemed concerned but then in another message she seemed to be blaming us for the situation. This is very wrong to do from a hospitality standpoint, something a professional would never do. I didn’t go into a lot of details about the poor condition of the property, but did tell her we couldn’t stay in the unit and had to move to a hotel because of the condition of the property as something in the room or building was making us ill.

I wanted to give the host an opportunity to address the problem as I would if I were a host and one of my guests with a problem contacted me. She responded by saying that she would look into the matter and she offered to provide us with a 50% refund. We never actually asked for a refund; we just sent her a note about the problem we had with staying in the room. I did respond to her to indicate that her refund offer would be acceptable since we didn’t spend the night there.

She then turned around and changed her mind later in the day (after the Airbnb 24-hour complaint policy would expire) about providing a refund, indicating that she felt we did stay here, which of course was not true. So basically after all of the abuse we suffered by staying here, she conned us. It became clear later that she was just working the Airbnb policy system about guest complaints to her advantage.

For anyone who gets in this situation, be very careful. Make sure you find some way to contact management at Airbnb management immediately instead of trying to work out things with an unprofessional host who can take advantage of you. For this experience from hell we paid over $260 for a one-night booking. This property had a serious environmental problem that effected our health. The host was not forthright and in our opinion was using Airbnb to operate as a slumlord.

My wife took a lot of pictures of the condition of the property and we have our hotel bill to show that we did not spend the night there. We are trying to make an official complaint to Airbnb management to see if they can step in and provide some remedy, but from my quick research this is probably not very likely or will take massive effort on my part. Problems like this hurt the Airbnb experience for all of us. I really believe that Airbnb management needs to screen hosts better. I was always very honest and professional in my communications with this host, who unfortunately did not operate with the same standards.

My best advice after having quite a bit of experience operating as an Airbnb host is that you have to be very careful when you rent a property as a guest. Airbnb seems mainly concerned about protecting hosts and not guests. They seem to make it really difficult for guests to contact Airbnb and make complaints. If an unprofessional host takes advantage of a guest there’s not much a guest can do to get satisfaction, especially if the host is not honest and professional. Evidentially this will come back to haunt Airbnb. Just look at what’s happened to Uber and the company’s CEO.

I have one last point to make, and this is a very important one. In the earlier days of Airbnb many of the rentals listed were made available by actual owners of properties who took some care and pride in what they offered. This is really changing in a big way. Many listings that show up now (especially in competitive larger cities) are by sales people and shady real estate people just trying to make a quick buck by renting inferior properties by the night. They do not offer any kind of hospitality; they just want to make a big profit and exploit the marketplace. My wife calls these new generation of operators “Airbnb Slumlords.”

If you see a host like this offering so many properties with limited photos and generic descriptions, be very careful. After looking closer into the situation we encountered in Boston, I realized that this is what happened to us. The person we dealt with was operating as an agent with a group of others, marking up inferior properties, and trying to take advantage of less experienced guests. So called “hosts” like this know how to work the online sources such as Airbnb to their advantage. As a guest, be really careful as this will likely become a much bigger problem with Airbnb. It could really hold back Airbnb’s growth if they don’t find a good way to deal with this problem. I will certainly spend countless hours contacting Airbnb and trying to inform the public about my experience and knowledge. Maybe something good will come of it. I’d love to hear from others about their stories related to this.

Double Booked, Impossible to Contact Airbnb Support

I have used Airbnb 20 times to stay in Charlotte on business with no issues. Two weeks ago I landed in the morning and had a packed day of meetings ending with a dinner meeting with clients. I was wiped out and ready to relax. I noticed I did not have an email from the host. I had stayed at this Airbnb before and they used an electronic keypad app for your phone. I called the host and he said I needed to call another guy to check me in. I called the other guy, who said: “Who are you? The home is already rented. Someone is staying there now. You can try the Comfort Inn… maybe.”

I called the other host back and he said: “Let me call the guy and see what is up.” Keep in mind it was 9:30 PM and I was sitting in my rental car in front of the property. All I wanted was to check in. Thirty minutes went by and there was no call back. I called again and was told that the “other guy messed up, he’s not quite sure what was going on,”

He never said anything like “I’m sorry, let me help fix this”… nothing. I scrambled to find a hotel room (the downtown area sells out often) and I paid $700 for three nights after I had paid Airbnb $425 for those same three nights. It has been two weeks and I have been chasing the guy to get my refund. Today he said Airbnb thought it was fair for him to give me back half. Are you kidding? You need to give it all back and cover the additional $275 I have now paid for the hotel. It is too bad. The idea is great but Airbnb has almost no customer service; it is like the wild west.

Dirty Apartment, Stayed for One Hour, No Help from Airbnb

I’m complaining big time today. I am deleting my Airbnb account now. What a shame. My sister and I travelled to LA to celebrate her birthday with family and friends and we booked an apartment in Hollywood with two reviews (now we know: red flag). Everything seemed okay until we were in the apartment checking to ensure everything was nice and clean (as usual when staying at an Airbnb or hotel) and we found dirty and stained sheets and pillows, hair in the fridge, a full trash can, and dust in the living room area.

We contacted the host (never got in contact with her; it was always the boyfriend) and never heard from either of them. We called Airbnb and they said we’d be relocated within thirty minutes. At that point, it was approximately 5:30 PM. Thirty minutes went by and we were still waiting to be relocated, so we called again, and again, almost every hour because Airbnb would either keep us on hold for 40+ minutes at a time, or say someone else would call back. It was a really frustrating situation.

It was 1:00 AM and we still had not been relocated. Of course we ended up booking a hotel room. What kind of customer service is this? There has still been no refund, and we never heard from Airbnb regarding a solution. They said our case would be closed because we didn’t have enough proof… we had more than ten pictures of the gross apartment. I do not recommend Airbnb to anyone. Needless to say, we still enjoyed our trip and didn’t allow this experience to ruin our stay in LA. We’re still working to get Airbnb to refund us for staying in a dirty apartment for one hour, as we paid for four nights. Airbnb Hell indeed.

The Airbnb was booked through my sister’s account. Also, the host’s boyfriend accused us of stealing an Xbox. None of us care for an Xbox, and truly don’t even know what it even looks like. He stated he submitted a police report in LA; Airbnb told us the same thing. He is now requesting $200 from us.