Multiple Infestations of Bugs and Mice at Airbnb

The first (and last) time I traveled using Airbnb I got to my first cabin and it looked beautiful. However, when I went to have a shower, the water smelled so bad of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) that I couldn’t put my head under the water in the shower. For two days I avoided showering because of the nausea the smell caused. The next morning there were mouse feces all over the buns in the cupboard, the dishes, and the outside of the fridge… hello Hantavirus. That same night mosquitoes snuck in through the cracks at the top of the door.

On to the next Airbnb. On the second day of our stay, I was sweeping and found what looked like live and dead cockroaches, some larva, and many many spiders (both dead and alive in five different places in the rental unit). When I contacted Airbnb they asked for pictures, which I sent. They claimed the pictures were not enough evidence and refused to help me. I then called a health inspector who wrote a report which included building deficiencies. Airbnb does not require inspections to ensure building codes are safe or health inspections. This is the first and last Airbnb experience for me.

Airbnb Only Bothers to Protect Hosts and their Reviews

Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.

Did the Full Eclipse Motivate this Cancellation?

Our cancellation by a host in Portland, Oregon was issued about a week before the arrival date. The excuse given was pipe repair and the apartment was to be closed from August 18th. This booking was made well ahead of August 21st so that we could see the full solar eclipse. At the time of the cancellation all reasonable Airbnb accommodation was gone; most hotels were fully booked and those that were not were asking astronomical rates. We could not find anything and have changed our itinerary and have to forgo seeing the full eclipse (a once in a lifetime experience). When asked for proof of the pipe issue, none was offered by the host or Airbnb. Did the host cancel on us for a much better offer? We will never know. Did Airbnb offer appropriate remorse and compensation? That we do know; they did not. They offered a full refund or if we booked another Airbnb property we could use the refund plus 10%. What a joke when demand for that night was through the roof and at a massively increased cost. So… highlight of vacation ruined, extra cost incurred, and the host and Airbnb carry on regardless. Preplanning a stay is fraught with risk under these circumstances. We will never use Airbnb again and will revert to less expensive hotels of good quality where a bed for the night is guaranteed. Airbnb should be held liable.

Airbnb Steals Your Money And Then Makes You Angry

We just found that Airbnb didn’t transfer our money a few days after the client paid until we contacted them about this issue. Later, they cancelled one payment from another guest who actually already checked in and was not entitled to get any refund; we had a strict cancellation policy. We charged a very low fee under Airbnb’s instructions because they told us that our listings would not be found if our fee was higher than Airbnb’s lowest rate. However, Airbnb will take any comment against a landlord seriously and punish him or her without any investigation or fairness. Even though I have had my place listed on Airbnb for just a few months, I have felt very stressed and offended because Airbnb staff kept bugging me all the time as if they were the police with complete authority; this is ridiculous because everybody knows Airbnb started as a small website and is now getting bigger by coddling landlords while pissing off small ones.

I will never use this stupid website anymore and we will not have to because there are many other better ways. I think the reason Airbnb would like to get rid of small landlords is now they have bigger bosses in and they would not make much money by keeping small landlords and small tenants. Please remember that Airbnb never works in your best interest but by sucking as much cash as they can out of your pocket.

Who’s Worse, Shonky Hosts or Shonky Airbnb?

I booked a villa in Greece on Airbnb, got confirmation, and soon received a request for my private email address from my host so he could send me directions. Two minutes later he emailed me to say my villa was not available but he had another selection of wonderful choices; however, I shouldn’t tell Airbnb about this. What he is doing is using their site to rent but avoiding the fee. I called Airbnb, who could not care less. They sent me an email so I could forward the dodgy offer to them from the host but guess what? The Airbnb email comes from a “No Reply” sender. Airbnb and their hosts are in this for the money and the renters are the mugs. The company simply will not help you.

Your Personal Safety Comes First With Airbnb

I have heard hundreds of horror stories from neighbors, guests and hosts alike. First of all, I cannot believe the number of people who give total strangers the keys to their home. Unless these hosts are changing the locks after each guest, they are asking for huge problems. A guest could easily have a copy of the key made and come back to the home at any time. Since guests book online, you have absolutely no idea who these people are who are staying in your home. It could be another Ted Bundy who may rape and kill your daughters. It could be another Jeffrey Dahmer who may rape and kill your sons. It could be a serial killer who could return in the middle of the night at some future date and kill your entire family. Or, in a less violent scenario, the guest may return sometime while you are away and rob your home. If you are going to allow strangers into your home:

1) Get a copy of the driver’s license of any guest who will be staying at your home.

2) Get an electronic front door lock and change the code after each guest departs.

3) Be sure you have dead bolt locks on all bedroom doors where your family members are sleeping.

In the US there are all sorts of online sites where you can check people’s backgrounds. Sign up for a membership to one of these sites and do a preliminary background check on each guest who will be staying in your home. There are actually a lot of very nice people in the world and you may be lucky enough to host some of these people in your home. However, there are also some very unethical, sick and violent people out there. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your family.

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.

Why Can’t I Contact Airbnb Directly for Help?

I recently had a booking with a host. That was fine. Then I was forced to cancel. I did and the refund didn’t come right away. I had been told that it takes ten days to process. The ten days went by and I asked the poor host. He said I had to contact them directly. I finally got through to them and that’s when I was told that it was going to take longer. Now I’m trying to plan a different trip. I had to fill out this form on Airbnb; it required an ID of some kind: license, passport, etc. That’s isn’t a problem, because others require it.

However, that was something that should have been in my account when I first started to use it. You should not have to give that information when you decide to request your booking. I also had to use a cell phone. I don’t have one, so I used a land line. That’s something that also should have been part of one’s Airbnb account. I requested the booking from the host and then Airbnb took it from there. Basically, this is all fine. I just wish that they could make the process a lot smoother. They could be a great site, but they make it almost impossible to complete bookings. In trying to get assistance for the booking, there was only a list of possibilities to try.

Websites like Airbnb can be helpful, but if they can’t get it together then get out of the business and let some else who can do it.

Last Minute Cancellation by Host to List at Higher Price

We booked a two-bedroom apartment in London two months prior for some relatives arriving from Japan. The night before – 11:00 PM – I received a cancellation notice. However, the apartment was still listed as available for those dates but at a price 50% higher than that which I had booked. Disgusted, I contacted Airbnb who “kindly” offered alternatives (all of which were of much poorer quality given the timeframe) and a paltry £25 credit toward the cost. Booking anything comparable was going to cost me £200 or more at that stage.

Airbnb policy does not allow customers to post reviews if a reservation is cancelled the day before, even though in my case there was only 14 hours before check in. The host clearly does this regularly as some prior reviews alluded to. However, Airbnb wont take any action against the host to enforce the contract or prevent similar occurrences. I’m appalled by their apathy and refusal to see it for what it is: greedy and unethical behaviour. We won’t ever use Airbnb again after this experience.

Airbnb Sides With Host in Nearly All Cases

My husband and I were looking forward to a hassle-free stay at a beautiful converted barn in Dorking. We were heading to England for a family wedding and wanted somewhere close to the venue so we could have a few drinks and a short inexpensive cab ride back to our lodgings. By renting a large enough place, we were able to have family join in to share the cost and have more time together. The listing for the barn on Airbnb showed a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and fit the criteria for location and amount of people it could accommodate. My husband went through Airbnb and booked it for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Prior to our arrival my husband saw a review about the property that made us question whether we wanted to stay there. He emailed the host with his concerns about the lack of cleanliness and she assured him the clients were lying and they had tried to have more people stay than was allowed.

On Friday, we helped with some set up at the wedding venue and were looking forward to hot showers and relaxing at the barn before a night out . The coordinates we were given brought us to a beautiful Airbnb but unfortunately it was not the property we booked. We spent the next 1.5 hours on the phone, using our data by the side of the road trying to find the place. By the time we found it, we were frustrated. Then we pulled into the parking lot beside a garbage pile.

After a tour of the rustic barn, the first sitting area looked fine. Then we passed down a hallway with a cot in it beside a bathroom, the bedroom that was supposed to be an ensuite. We entered the main room which was spacious and could have been wonderful. There were dirty ripped chairs around the table and furniture that was more suited for a frat house. This was not the furniture from the photos on Airbnb. We were worried about sitting on it because it looked unsanitary. The kitchen was small and the carpet was filthy along with the refrigerator.

Upstairs in the loft was an open area considered to be one of the four bedrooms mentioned with three beds, some with linens and some without. There was a shelf with what looked like black mold and a table with crumbs from previous tenants. Some cobwebs were also present. Next we saw an actual bedroom and it was well presented except for the dirty floors. The final and fourth bedroom had two single beds. When we lifted the linens to check for bugs we found insect shell-like casings.

That was really the last straw. When my husband spoke with the host to point out our concerns she was very contradictory. We were honestly worried about bringing our suitcases in and getting bed bugs that would then be brought anywhere we stayed after that and then to our homes. We decided we were not staying at this property and we did not check in. Now we needed somewhere to stay for two nights.

She offered to bring in a cleaner and switch out furniture from her home (this is what she should have done before we arrived). Now we know she used that as her argument with Airbnb. She told them she tried to fix our concerns and we refused. First of all, a reputable host takes pride in her property and ensures it is clean and safe before new tenants arrive. Secondly, no cleaning company could have solved a mold and bed bug issue in a short visit. I guess we were supposed to sit in our car by the garbage heap while all this wonderful cleaning happened. If she felt her home furnishings were more suitable than they should have been in the barn to begin with. The doors didn’t lock and the property looked tired. It in no way resembled the quaint, rustic conversion depicted in her photos on the website.

We had already paid Airbnb approximately $880 (Canadian). We would have split that three ways, two couples and one single, so $176 each person. Then we paid approximately $600 for two nights for three rooms for a total of $1800. The nightmare ended up costing the five of us approximately $2680 total. We have lost way too much considering the host misrepresented herself. She is smug because Airbnb has sided with her so far. She has an unacceptable listing and is still taking in money without even having tenants; that’s a good gig.

Airbnb has been difficult to deal with. They sided with the host because she offered to “rectify” our concerns. She has posted a reply to our review that states we are lying and that my husband is a disagreeable and spoiled man. The Airbnb customer service representative feels she has rectified the situation and sent us an email with her decision. They have not put us through to a new case manager even though I called to reopen the case and was told I would hear from someone by the end of the day on July 21st. It is now July 25th and no one has contacted us. I think they hope we will go away. Sadly, Airbnb lacks true customer service when service is needed. They should be ashamed to allow someone like this host to represent their company. She is abusing their lack of control over listings and taking her word that she meets their criteria.