Bully Host in Paris, Never Using Airbnb Again

I returned from my trip to France and Germany about a week ago. For the first time I decided to try Airbnb. My boyfriend and I had used it several times during vacation in the US under his account, and never had an issue. Then, I opened my own account this time to give it a try. Apparently, the review system is a hot mess. I received at least ten emails reminding me to write a review upon returning home. Quite frankly, I had such a bad experience I thought I should just not review it at all: a situation where if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.

However, I went ahead and wrote a review with the positive aspects of the place, which in reality was a bargain for the location. When I read the host’s review, I found he had given me one star, saying that I was not pleasant, and that I was rude. I was shocked to read those words because I barely exchanged a word with him during my stay in the place, and when we left, he was all giggles and smiles with my boyfriend. It took a lot from me not to tell him what I was thinking about his demeanor.

I am a straightforward person. When things are not good anymore, I just remain silent. I cannot fake being happy with a situation if I am not. This man was the king of fake; in fact, that was the whole issue. He pretended to be okay, and he faked being accommodating. He stressed us so much, and he basically ruined our romantic weekend.

I travel to Paris regularly, and normally use Booking.com or TripAdvisor (and believe me, I do regret not using those for this trip as well). My suspicions of making a mistake started when just a couple of days prior to the trip I did not hear anything from my host. I proceeded to message “her” through the app to arrange our meeting. To my surprise, I was contacted by a man. He replied to my message the day before my trip excusing himself already for replying late (first picture). I was wondering why the listed female host was not responding, but I figured this person was somehow related to her. I did not think much of it, and he requested we use WhatsApp to communicate. I agreed to it, but I assumed he did not have a clue about how cell phones work, because my American phone would only work in wifi friendly areas in France.

We originally sat up a time of 6:00 PM to meet at the place, but as soon as I landed in CDG, I received a message from my boyfriend who was flying from Germany to join me on the weekend trip, telling me Eurowings had a delay of an hour, and we would need to change the check-in time. I did that right away: contacted the host to let him know we would be arriving an hour later than arranged due to a situation beyond my control (second picture). His response to me was the following “Umm, okay – is there any chance you can come beforehand? The apartment is all ready to go and I have the keys. But I do have other plans tonight and had arranged around 6:00 PM.”

Who in their right mind would ask a woman that just traveled eight hours to come and meet beforehand with a male host (not the listed female host), and leave her boyfriend hanging in the airport? Thanks to some miracle, we both arrived at the place at 6:45 PM. At this point my boyfriend, who happens to have a European cellphone, was in constant contact with the host (fifth picture). He was pretending to be cool with the situation, but stressed us out so much by telling us he had to go due to his prior social plans. I had offered to meet him in another part of the city to pick up the keys since I mentioned I was familiar with Paris in my precious texts. He said it was no big deal, and that he would wait.

He was not accommodating at all. When we arrived, I was very tired, and disappointed at him for harassing us. I was very quiet and short. Before he left, I asked, when should we check out, to which he verbally responded: “We will sort it out. I will contact you guys.”

My boyfriend had mentioned at that point that we would like to leave around 1:30 PM because we had bags, and we wanted to go straight to the airport. He said that would work, and still he would contact us. The day before we left, there was no check-out information (sixth picture). It was around 7:21 PM when I told my boyfriend to contact the host since we had not heard from him at all. We had thought that the check-out time would be sometime around 1:30 PM, per our conversation.

Sadly, once again, this host was trying to pull a fast one bullying us. He said that we needed to be checked out by 10:00 AM because he had another person coming in at 11:00 AM. My boyfriend and I went back to the Airbnb website and looked at the listed times for check-in and check-out. “Sophie”, the host we never laid eyes on, listed 11:00 AM for checking out. My boyfriend pointed this out very politely to him, saying we would be ready at that time, as it was indicated in their Airbnb listing (eighth picture).

If you go to the property’s link now, that he has skillfully changed the check out time to 10:00 AM. Thank god for cell phones and the ability to take screen shots. At that point, we thought things were cool, and I actually prepared to leave the place in excellent condition. He failed to mention this in his very objective review. When he arrived in the morning, he was all smiles, and frankly, by then I was extremely dissatisfied with the whole experience. I avoided eye contact with him, and exited as soon as I was able to. However, he made small chat with my boyfriend and walked us out. It occurred to me he was so fake because he was there with the next host.

I forgot to mention he was late once again. Seems like that is his MO. But god forbid someone has a delay in flights that might interfere with his dinner plans. I do not understand what he meant in his review when he is talking about me being unpleasant and rude when he tried to bully us, and he failed at hosting. I am a psychotherapist, and it occurred to me that he might need a psychological evaluation.

I hoped to get a hold of the famous “Sophie” host. I sent a message through Airbnb, but of course Sophie is just a front, because the truth is this guy was in charge of the listing. As for the place, it looked like a storage room that had been conditioned for the sole purpose of renting it. There was no electrical outlet in the bathroom, so I did my hair with my hair iron plugged in the living room. The “bed” was an ungodly uncomfortable couch, and there was no temperature control in the room at all. The electrical breakers for the whole building are in the apartment, and there is no smoke detector alarm.

I hope people thinking about renting this place read my review. I am a world traveler, and have never had such an unpleasant experience. I guess that is what I get for using Airbnb. I should have stayed with Booking.com or TripAdvisor, which I will do for my next trip. I sure hope my next journey to Paris is more pleasant, and erases this terrible experience. Maybe my story will save you some heartache, and aggravation. I hope you don’t have to deal with this man.

You Can’t Trust Pictures or Reviews on Airbnb

My wife and I have booked some apartments through Airbnb and we can now say that what you see is never what you get. The property pictures on Airbnb are embellished; everything looks shiny, but the moment you enter the apartment you realize you more or less bought a pig in a poke. Not once did we feel an apartment was more beautiful and better than its pictures. Sofas and chairs looked nice in the photos, but turned out to be very cheap and uncomfortable.

Beware of apartments with old furniture. Some owners advertise them as art, design, or something. This is rubbish. They’re there because they’re old and almost broken, and the owners don’t want to use them anymore. They’re too greedy to buy new furniture. I prefer apartments with IKEA furniture, because at least that’s new.

Once during an Airbnb stay, my wife got bitten so badly by lice from an old bed (I slept on a new IKEA bed) that she had to go to a doctor. We like to cook, but in some apartments the kitchen utensils were also old and broken. Don’t trust five-star reviews. I know for sure that owners can make a guest change a negative review. Once, we stayed in an apartment that had a bad smell in the bathroom. After a week, a previous guest published a negative review mentioning that same bad smell. I even made a print of the review. Some days later, I looked again and… voilà: the review was 100% positive. The bad smell was no longer mentioned. It’s clear that the owner promised the guest a partial refund if he would change his negative review into a positive one.

As bad as a hotel might be, if you have problems you can complain to the staff; someone will be there to help you. Not so with Airbnb. After you check in, most owners disappear.

What Airbnb Will Never Tell You About Our Vacation

Once a year, our family gets together in a waterfront home large enough to accommodate all of us so we can relax and spend time together. As our family has spread out across the country, this vacation gives all of us and our significant others a time and place to reconnect and create new memories together. We typically select an east coast location in the middle states. Today, the ten of us who traveled as long as 18 hours to get to our vacation home thank this host. Without her my wife would never be able to say, “someday we will look back on this and laugh.”

This host is a self proclaimed intimacy MD. When advertising her psychiatry practice and her book she touts, “Achieve change. Are you ready for your best life ever?” If you are ready for your best life ever, stay away from her Airbnb and HomeAway listing in Virginia, listed on Airbnb  and HomeAway.

Giving credit where credit is due, the house is very pretty. Beyond pretty. However, the host was only looking out for her interests, not ours. The problems started when she requested a $200 deposit to use the boat listed with the house, which is a direct violation of Airbnb policy. Naturally, she accepted checks, but if you are already traveling how do you mail her a check in advance of your arrival? She also wanted us to take an online course and send copies of our driver’s licenses.

Once you arrive, be aware there isn’t a phone line in the house. Okay, she made it clear in her listing that there wasn’t a phone line. The listing stated there was Internet access, but upon arrival there was a note stating the Internet modem would need to be reset frequently. Frequent resetting didn’t matter The wifi never came up as available. Somehow the settings on the DSL modem/wifi unit were different than what was listed in the host’s looseleaf notebook about the house.

We would have set up our own hotspot, but there was limited cell service at that location. We could receive calls, but sending and receiving email was rarely possible. A number of us are techies. To fix the problem, we set the wifi to the settings she had written in the notebook. Unfortunately for us, the Internet modem did in fact need to be reset frequently. The unit barely functioned for any period of time.

The bigger problem was the A/C didn’t work. I couldn’t get the house under 88 degrees. Upon closer inspection, the return filter appeared to be clean, but was not connected to any ductwork. The air conditioning would not function. That is the reason the A/C kicks on and the compressors make noise. Cold air was never delivered because there wasn’t a return. Lucky for us, the host left us a notebook that said, “If you encounter any problems, please call #. We have a property manager who lives in the area but may not always be immediately available. We will do whatever we can to fix your problem as soon as possible.”

We called him. He asked us the address of the home. When provided the address, he told us we had the wrong number. What could we do? I called the host, but the call went to voicemail. The good doctor never answered her phone and only responded via email. When we emailed her to discuss getting internet access and air conditioning, she emailed back, telling us to leave and go to a local motel… talk about callous.

Ten people booked her rental home months in advance, paid good money, drove all that distance along with two dogs, and were told go to a local motel. Since I found it hard to believe, and you may too as she is an intimacy doctor, I pasted images of her email with the photos. Her next act to provide herself with her best life ever was to refund our long held deposit and email us to get out by 11:00 AM the next morning.

This goes to what Airbnb will never tell you about our stay. By refunding our money, this host ruined our vacation and prohibited us from posting a review of her home. Where do you go with ten people and two dogs for an entire week during the summer? By cancelling our reservation, even though we stayed in her 99 plus degree hell hole, she made sure that Airbnb and HomeAway would never let you hear about this.

If the self proclaimed intimacy doctor should ever read this, please note that there was no intimacy in your hellhole. At 99 degrees, which I am sure you never experienced in your personal home, intimacy is the last thing on your mind. Be sure to note that before you write your next book and invest the money somewhere else. Please don’t invest in another house and then use it to ruin peoples hard earned vacations.

Airbnb Deletes Honest but Negative Reviews

I found out that Airbnb will side with its so called Superhosts over the guests in a dispute. There are fewer places to stay and millions of potential customers. Airbnb needs hosts more than they need the six disgusted guests, apparently. They lost all six highly paid customers on the first night. At approximately 2:00 AM on our first night after dinner and just a couple drinks (the host claims we were very drunk and very noisy – couldn’t be further from the truth), we returned to the beautiful but very dirty condo in Mexico City. One bed had multiple different hairs in it (never had been washed after last occupants?) My female friend refused to sleep in it and chose the sofa. The male had no option, so he slept on top of sheets. Our other couple fell asleep in second room only to find that the pillow “design” he thought it was the night before turned out to be someone else’s blood.

Both couples fled to nearest hotel. Fortunately my husband’s and my room was fine. I was too scared to look closer. I contacted the host, only to be told that it was impossible that this had happened; we must have done it. I’m sure we dirtied a perfectly nice apartment after we had already paid just to then go pay a lot more at a hotel. She must’ve accused me at least 15 times of lying. I stayed because we had invested so much already. I complained many times to the deaf ears of the Superhost and figured I would take it up with Airbnb upon our return. I had pictures and testimonies.

To no avail, Airbnb simply said it was her word against mine and they could not decide in my favor. Once my review was up and for all to see (she must have stopped getting calls on it) they informed me they were taking it down because I dared mention to said Superhost that I did not wish to leave a bad review (they considered that a threat). All I asked was for said Superhost to please help satisfy my request. My request was a refund of $150.00 against the $600+ I paid. I had been honest and told her of a third couple joining us. Now I see I should’ve never admitted that and I would never been charged for the third couple. After all was said and done, they paid me just $75.00 and took down my very honest review.

Paris Disaster, Airbnb Useless for High-End Travel

We paid over USD 3000 for three nights in a large centrally located penthouse in Paris. We booked this on February 22, 2017 for our stay July 2-4. We received notification from Airbnb that the host (represented by “Caroline”) cancelled the booking around midnight on June 29. I am traveling through the Scottish highlands with my family with limited internet and have now stopped in at Inverlochy Castle to try to book a hotel for ten people in Paris tomorrow. I’m upset enough to write this complaint.

Customer service has been of no help; one representative said his manager would call us back. Over a day later, and there has still been no call. I just spent a hour talking to customer service with a sympathetic person who couldn’t help. None of the suggestions fit our requirements. We’re flying into Paris tomorrow with no place to stay. I am now left with no options but to book hotel rooms. Airbnb will have cost me over a thousand dollars in extra costs, several hundred dollars in phone calls, and loss of peace of mind on this vacation… not to mention the fact they have held my money since February. The asymmetry of their policies is incredible: if a guest cancels 48 hours prior, they are liable for 100% of charges. If a host cancels, they are penalized by Airbnb. However, when a guest suffers losses because of Airbnb, they provide no compensation in damages or assistance. I will send them my estimated hotel charges as soon as I have them. Let’s see where we go from here…

Renting Outside Airbnb Leaves Guest with Mud, Mice, and Ants

My hubby got a job in Tennessee and needed a quick place to stay, reasonably priced. The host I found on Airbnb texted me and told me to call her. She gave me her number in three different messages so that it could get through, i.e. first text or call XXX, second call XXX, third call XXXX to beat the ‘no sending phone numbers’ rule from Airbnb. We discussed prices and she said if I paid three months in advance she would take money off the price. She also canceled my reservation on Airbnb and told me to send her money via PayPal since we are now friends… she asked me to send it to friends and family so there are no fees for her on PayPal.

The hubby showed up at her house November 11th to stay for three months. The house was obviously in need of repair. There was mold in the shower, the toilet didn’t flush properly, and the sink didn’t drain. If there was water running anywhere the pressure in his room (a converted garage) trickled. There couldn’t have been more than dripping from the shower head. This is not a problem if the rest of the house knows you are taking a shower and doesn’t use water anywhere, but since there are four roommates that keep to themselves, the water pressure is a problem.

The owner does not lock the doors to the house. It is always unlocked. Although she did provide a key it was a bad one and didn’t unlock the doors; the house was never secured. The parking is not very good. If you are not the first two people home you have to park in the dirt. This was a problem since my husband was in a car accident that left him walking with a cane for the last four years. There were always slippery leaves on the porch. I wrote to the host and asked if I could stay for a few days when I came to visit. She agreed if I provided a few hours of housecleaning. I understood why when I got there.

The entire house was dusty; it had not been vacuumed for a long time (several months at my best guess). I sat down with her and shared only a few of my concerns. I told her that since my husband had a cane and needed it to be safe for him, she needed to get the wet leaves off the porch. She told me where a broom was and that I could do it myself. She also was not happy when I complained about the toilet not working properly. She said to me, “Perhaps the Morningstar House is not best for your husband. Maybe he needs to be moved to a treatment facility.” Really? because we didn’t like the dangerous slippery leaves?

There were mice in the house and mice feces in the closet. I told her about it and she said, “Yeah, but those are like a year old.” Oh, so that makes it okay? Obviously she knew there were mice because she admitted the feces were old. She told me that since she provided stuff (electricity, singly-ply toilet paper, and dish soap) that the price my husband was paying for what he got was a good deal… in other words, don’t complain.

After he was there for two months she asked for the next month’s rent. Even though we had paid three months in advance, she ‘required’ (didn’t tell us until he got there) that rent be paid 45 days in advance. She also wanted a cashier’s check. I told her that she’d have to wait until Monday for me to go to the bank so she said to pay with a credit card and that we’d have to pay the credit card fees. I told her she was going to have to wait then because I was not paying the credit card fees. Finally she said she’d take the payment and lose the fees herself, like it was killing her to pay the fees. She already had been paid in advance… this was just another way to get money fast.

There were cockroaches in the house, and ants in every room. Other roommates complained about ants in their rooms as well. The next month the host asked my husband to leave so she could rent the room to two female nurses (most likely to get more rent). She told my husband she would gladly refund him anything he had overpaid for. The following month she said that he could stay because it didn’t work out with the nurses. Basically, whatever was best for her was what she was going to do.

The last straw was the third time she went into my husband’s room and removed furniture that was suppose to be included in the room. When I texted her about it she said, “Sorry, I just wanted to paint my wicker.” When one of his roommates moved out she came to the room and asked for her table back. Apparently the host just gave him someone else’s table to use without asking the owner’s permission.

There was supposed to be an Apple TV box but it was password protected and could not be used. There was no cable, but she did provide wifi. When my husband moved out, the host refunded (in payments) $950. There is a balance due of $138.34 which she refused to repay, stating that she doesn’t rent rooms for partial months (it is a daily rental listed on Airbnb). I gave her ample time to refund the money amicably but she has refused and will not return my texts or calls. She doesn’t live in the property but she does have ‘circles’ with music and peace pipes, and weird religious stuff. She also has a library of books about goddesses and other religious media at her home. If this sounds like the place for you, feel free to rent it out.

Airbnb Deletes Negative Reviews, Favors Hosts

This is an echo of the same stories other guests had. I just want a way to let Airbnb know as they don’t seem to hear. I had a great experiences with Airbnb hosts for a few years. I always left the place very tidy and clean. I respect these are the hosts’ homes and livelihoods perhaps. I think there are some really picky people out there who pay for three-star services and expecting five-star treatment. I believe in honesty. However, I suppose any comment would possibly be taken personally by a host as it is their own home or livelihood and Airbnb is a way to help pay for their mortgage. Usually I try to be gentle.

I had a two-week road trip in the UK recently from tip to tip. We had great experiences, and honestly we just wanted to have a clean place with our own bathroom and toilet, in a quiet location… a place that appears the same as we see in the pictures. We also needed a place to boil some drinking water. We didn’t expect to have breakfast or meals there.

The place we stayed at Cornwall was not the cheapest nor the most expensive: a double bed with no views for £60 a night with no breakfast. It was advertised as two minutes from a cliff with a great view. The reviews there since May 2016 (about one year’s worth) have been 100% positive and still are since our visit. There was a friendly host, great place, etc.

However, on the night we arrived, we found out that it was a shared bathroom/toilet situation and we didn’t know that this was something Airbnb hosts don’t have to disclose. Most hosts would based on our favourable experiences. The host mentioned part of their home was closed at night for their family’s own use, i.e. their best selling point – the balcony – overlooking the sea cliff was only available in the morning. We were fine with that. We are pretty much out most of the day anyway.

Here is what we disclosed from our experience on our review:

1. There was no toilet paper in the shared toilet on the night we arrived. It was all used up. We didn’t want to bother the hosts, so we waited until the morning to tell them.
2. No wifi password was provided on arrival and we forgot to ask when we first met. We texted them to leave us the password in our bedroom during dinner. They did but it was on a card with writing so blurry you could hardly read it. We took a picture with our iPhone, blew it up, and could finally make out what it was.
3. The second day we were there, the other guests left the bin in the shared toilet full. It is the only bin which we have access to at night. They must have left it there the whole day since check out is in the morning and we found the rubbish at night after we returned around midnight. We messaged the host in their own home on the second floor to ask where we should put the rubbish. Our intention was not to mess up anyone’s home. We would like to respect their privacy but not go into their closed kitchen and lounge area. We didn’t leave all these gory details; we just suggested they could provide a bin in each room so that guests could leave rubbish. The small bin in the toilet may not have been enough.
4. We didn’t feel that the nicest part of the house was available to us as they left the door closed in the morning and didn’t quite tell us on our arrival that it would be okay to walk right in anytime before certain hours. This is the point to which they objected and thus Airbnb removed my review
5. The area that we got to see the most often was the room which faced a wall of the garage. The bathroom could be heard clearly from our room. There was no mention of any of this in the listing of course; we commented on this.
6. The bathroom was shared and not mentioned on the listing.

Airbnb removed our review based on this last point as well. What we only mentioned privately was we were badly bitten by some sort of insects which we are pretty sure happened at their property; the redness and itchiness appeared at least 30 minutes after we had left. The host vehemently denied it of course. Now I know better after reading this website. Airbnb is much more concerned about insect attacks than any of the neglectfulness we experienced. What I feel is most unjust and sour about this Airbnb experience is the host said we should be in a hotel and not use airbnb at all.

Airbnb said I cannot mention the shared bathroom was not disclosed, since they want to hide that fact, obviously. The host said that my comment about the accessibility of the nice balcony was incorrect. It is a bit of he said-she said I suppose. However, if Airbnb had looked into my history, they would have seen I was never vindictive towards any host. The whole review was taken out and Airbnb tried to call me once to explain or discuss the situation. I feel that they really should have done better to help expose the truth here for their user experience which was what made them stand out in the first place.

On the other hand, I had then stayed with another host two days later where they had a lodger just below us banging the ceiling and shouting at us when we were just taking showers. We still rated them five stars because they were friendly and helpful; they didn’t know their lodger was doing this. We told them the next day. The place was otherwise fantastic. The price was reasonable. We didn’t leave any bad remarks. In addition, Airbnb protecting these Cornwall hosts bad mouthing us by leaving us a bad review ‘saying that we should have stayed at a hotel’ when they are just providing service worse than that of a hostel at a price I think 40% above a hostel rate is leaving me a sour taste. It is bad business for the hosts who are doing the right things as well.

Airbnb Refused to Allow me to Write a Negative Review

I booked a last minute apartment in Athens, Greece called “50 Shades of Grey with Acropolis View” by Minas. Upon arrival, I discovered there was a full scale renovation of an apartment above mine creating loud noise all day and into the night (I arrived at 8:00 PM and there was still noise). I immediately told my host that I would not be able to stay there, but he refused to give me a refund. I also called Airbnb but they offered no help. In addition, because I told them I would write a review about the construction to warn future guests, they told me I would not be able to write a review. So yes, they charged me (even though I stayed elsewhere that night) and they denied me the right to write an honest acurate review because this particular host is a “superhost”. Airbnb has become a shady company and I won’t be using them anymore. They care more about receiving their service charge from a stay than the guests or hosts themselves.

Horrible Host in Dallas Doesn’t Even Know his Place is Clean

Stay away from this host and his place. I wrote a review after leaving an Airbnb that said that the place was not clean. There were bugs in the bathroom, the towels weren’t clean, and the silverware and sink were also not clean. However, I also added that everything else was accurate. That was all that was said in the review I wrote. Days after I wrote the review the host decided to contact me at night saying that my review was crap and I was not welcome in his place anymore. I was shocked that this person even reached out to me since I hadn’t even stayed at his place for almost a week. Of course I replied to defend myself and make him understand why I wrote the review the way I did which was I had the intention of being honest. After I replied he went on to say that I was too high maintenance and fancy for his place and that’s why I wrote what I wrote; I just needed to go to a hotel.

I was so offended. I replied and told him not to contact me again going forward. Nevertheless, he decided to tell me in a calmer tone that he would give me a refund for my troubles. I went on to be calm since he decided to be more respectful towards me and replied to him. However, when he said that he wanted me to edit the review to make it not be seen I was like… why?

Of course I wanted to test to see if he was trying to give me a refund because it was the right thing to do since I had to deal with the whole experience. When I told him that I couldn’t change the review he said that he couldn’t give me the refund. The funny thing is he tried to twist things on me, saying that I was trying to make him pay me to get the review changed. When it was obvious that he wouldn’t give me the refund unless I went to call Airbnb to go get the review changed, who is really trying to get the review taken off for money? After he said he couldn’t refund 50% of the money at least twice in the conversation prior to me telling him I couldn’t edit it. Airbnb has a 48-hour timeframe to edit a review, so then he said he wouldn’t give me a refund.

After that I told him that I will be publicly letting everyone know the type of host he is and I would reach out to Airbnb. He then wanted to use what I had said before and say: “You are unwelcome to contact me. Do not contact me.”

I didn’t reply after I sent my last message. This dude was so rude and so immature to be reaching out to over a freaking honest review about his place. Let me tell you: he made me take pictures of his place when I got there so that he could see if it was clean from the prior guest… what kind of host does that? He doesn’t even clean his own place and doesn’t even make sure it looks good for the next guest? He makes people do the work in making sure everything is clean… which is fine since he did state it in his handbook, but taking pictures of the place to make sure everything looks good? It should already look good when guest arrive if you’re a good host.

This was such a horrible experience for me and it made me so upset and annoyed to be dealing with something so unnecessary. For future reference, avoid places that make you clean everything for them. It probably means that they don’t care about the quality of your stay. Lesson learned.

Unsafe and Dirty Apartment in London, Still no Refund

Last month, my boyfriend and I booked an Airbnb in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London for three nights. The experience was unpleasant from the beginning. We picked up the keys from a coffee shop and the baristas were short with us and unfriendly. We then entered the apartment, which was advertised as a studio, but was completely misrepresented. The apartment did not have the amenities of a studio (it was nine square meters in total with only a microwave and small fridge, making it technically count as a studio). It was dirty, and had towels left in it that were already used and falling apart. The worst part was that the apartment was completely unsafe.

When I say unsafe, I mean that when we entered, the front doors to the apartment had been left wide open. It was easy for anyone to walk directly into this apartment building, go upstairs, and break into the rooms. The front doors were left open every single time that we entered and exited the apartment building. Our personal apartment door did not have a lock on it that was very secure, so we were completely vulnerable to any intrusion. It had the lock of a bedroom door, and a dent in the wall seemed to indicate that it had already been easily kicked in in the past.

We decided to call Airbnb customer service. Our customer service representative took down all of the information and ensured us that safety is the number one priority of Airbnb. We had to wait on the phone for 40 minutes (and this was an international call since we were not calling from our home country) and then explained the situation and how we felt extremely unsafe in the apartment for another 30 minutes. She told us to take videos of all of the extreme noise, dirtiness, and the unsafe and opened doors so that we could send them to her later. She also said that she would call us back within five minutes so that we could proceed with the case by sending all of these videos, and that most likely Airbnb would change our apartment for us that night.

The problem is that we never received a call back from Airbnb, and after a horrible night of sleep (the bed was caving in, there was noise directly outside the door, and someone even banged on the door in the middle of the night) we decided to check out in the morning. I am still shocked that there was absolutely no response from Airbnb when we had stated that we were experiencing huge safety issues. We tried to explain the situation to the host, but she was just rude and told us to deal directly with Airbnb, as the person kicking in the door was probably just drunk (this was clearly because this apartment scam has probably been going on for a while).

I had to look for another nearby hotel and spend extra money just so that we could sleep in a safe place, with no guarantee of a refund and no response from Airbnb at this point. When I arrived back home, I again called Airbnb and sent all of our receipts from the new hotel, all of our information (the videos I took, the photos, and the communications we had with the host and Airbnb), and spent approximately ten hours of my time going back and forth explaining this situation and sending all of my documented information. It is clear that we deserved a full refund, and even something extra, considering all of our time spent documenting, talking on the phone, and sending details over emails. It is clear that this shouldn’t even be a question as we were left with no response in an unsafe apartment.

However, first Airbnb offered us no refund (even though over a phone call, which customer service said had been recorded, they agreed that we should have a refund). After I insisted to have a second and third opinion on the case, we were offered only a one-night refund and a $100 Airbnb credit. This is the worst example of customer service I have experienced in my life. Our main contact told me over and over again that she had no decision making power over our case and that I was not able to speak with someone with decision making power. As stated before, she even agreed that we deserved a refund, but she was not the one deciding. How can it be explained that I could not even speak with an official decision maker?

It seemed like I spent hours playing a cat and mouse chase with no real winner and no clear answers. Why were we never given an explanation of how this refund was calculated? Customer service told me that we met all of the requisites for a refund, however in the end this randomized refund was offered to us with no real explanation of how it was calculated. It is clear that it is just in their interest to give no refunds to customers, as I had to even insist to get this partial refund; their first offer was no refund for no valid reason. I asked in various emails how this was calculated with no response.

I was also even told at one point that only my boyfriend could be in contact with Airbnb since the reservation was made on his account. So are only the guests that make the reservation valid guests? Do they discount all other members of the reservation in times of disagreement? This was also clearly a way of just trying to not deal with me, as I am a native English speaker and my boyfriend is Italian, so of course it was easier for me to be the one to explain this situation in my native tongue. I found this response one that just tried to avoid dealing with my level of discontent as no real answers could be provided.

This offer of a partial refund took almost a month to resolve. This is extremely slow, and as of today it still is not even listed as refunded in my boyfriend’s account. How can they explain that a company that is supposed to be prided on efficient service takes so long to answer a customer service query? I have never experienced such a terrible example of a company solely asserting their market power without caring at all about their customers’ experience. Clearly I won’t be using their services again and hope that this example makes others think twice before paying them for a service without any guarantee of true care for their customers.