I booked an apartment for a week in Toronto in December. The listing said it was a two bedroom. However, what the host didn’t disclose was that the second bedroom had an old futon with broken wooden slats (held together with tape). The first night I slept on the old futon and had terrible back pain. The second night the bed broke. I looked under the sheets and found the issue. This wasn’t a mattress; it was a cushion. There was no box spring, just broken wooden slats. I called Airbnb who suggested I get in touch with the host to see if she could help. We emailed her and she didn’t respond for hours, saying she was out of town and could come to the apartment the next day. I called Airbnb expecting them to help. Instead I got the run around. I was told I could go buy an air mattress and they’d give me the money back. Did I mention this was at 5:00 PM over Christmas and I was sick? I was then told they’d give me $150 as a total refund. I explained I still had three nights at the Airbnb and $150 was the price per night for a hotel. They refused to give me any more money even though there was no solution to help me. I have been trying for over a month to get my money back from Airbnb. I filed a formal complaint on Airbnb and received no response for three weeks. I called eight times and was given the run around over and over again. I sent emails, and received no responses. I was promised return phone calls that I never received. I was even hung up on when I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was then sent an email saying there was nothing wrong with the bed even though it was an old futon held together with tape and that I wouldn’t be getting a refund. I am now going to go into arbitration. Airbnb is a horrible company that allows hosts to do anything they want and not support their guests.
Here’s my horror story; it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I had a person Instant Book my place with a stolen Airbnb account. The account holder was in Belgium and this guy was from Canada where my property is. I texted her to see how things were going only to find out she had no idea who I was and that she definitely had not booked my place. I called Airbnb and explained the situation to them. They put me on hold for 45 minutes at 3:00 AM in the winter in Montreal, so I called the police. They never came so I grabbed a baseball bat and entered my property. There was no one to hit with the baseball bat. No one was there, and most of my electronics were gone. That is not why I’m mad; it’s because of the way Airbnb handled the situation from there. I spoke to at least ten customer service representatives. They were all very nice, but my situation never got dealt with. After months of calling the only thing I could do was file a dispute with the person whose account got hacked, which they told me they would deny. They said they aren’t responsible for any stolen items, and that they would help resolve the situation if the guest had stolen anything. They would never pay my losses with their money. Obviously I can’t go after the guest who had her account stolen. Now it’s obvious that I can’t reason with Airbnb.
This is an ongoing story. We received no help from our hosts, Alex and Julie, who treated our complaints as a joke, and no help from Airbnb who made it very difficult to make contact. We arrived at the apartment in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood during a snow storm. The apartment was obviously not ready to receive guests: no wardrobe space (closets full of Alex and Julie’s clothes, no provision for our clothing), no drawer space in the dressers (again full of Alex and Julie’s personal belongings), no space for our effects in the bathroom as the shelves and cabinets were full of toiletries belonging to the hosts. No allowance at all was made to receive guests. After everything we had heard about Airbnb we wondered if we were even supposed to be in the apartment. We took photos of the bathroom, the wardrobes, and the filthy oven in the kitchen and posted them. We contacted Alex and Julie about the problems with the apartment and our complaints were treated as a joke. We left the apartment early the next morning, leaving the keys in the mailbox. Airbnb has thanked us for our feedback.
We arrived at the apartment in Montreal at four o’clock in the afternoon, as had been arranged. We had trudged through a snowstorm and were looking forward to what was described in reviews as a clean and comfortable apartment. What we found was that absolutely no provision had been made for guests. In fact, we thought at one point that perhaps a mistake had been made. There were boots and shoes everywhere, with no room for our own. The wardrobes were full of the young woman’s clothes with no space (no hangers) for our things. Every surface in the apartment was covered with the owner’s trinkets. The medicine cabinet in the bathroom was overflowing with no possibility of putting anything of ours away. We had to remove items that were left on the toilet seat and on the toilet tank just to be able to accommodate a few of our own items. We’ve never liked the habit of Airbnb guests (or hosts) leaving opened containers of food in cupboards and fridges. In this case, the fridge, freezer, and cupboards were full. The bottles of liquour in the cupboard might have been for us to use but we weren’t sure that we were supposed to partake. Personal items were left in the apartment with no appearance of expecting guests. The money left on top of one of the dressers wasn’t even tempting – just one more example of the negligence of the hosts. If someone shows up at the door tonight offering to remove dresses, shoes, lipstick, booze, frozen bagels, etc, I don’t think I’ll want to speak to them.
We booked a stay in an Airbnb for four nights in Toronto. The location was great. However, there were a few major issues:
- The bed was terrible. There was no box spring or support for the mattress, so it sagged badly.
- Not an inch of closet space or a single drawer was available.
- The apartment was not very clean.
- Living room was totally open and exposed for the neighbors to see; there were no blinds or curtains.
- The patio advertised in the listing didn’t have any furniture on it at all.
- Light bulbs went out and there were no replacements.
- The nightstand had dildos, vibrators and owner’s underwear inside.
I gave an average review on Airbnb. They cut my review and only posted the positive: the location. How would the next renter know about any of the problems? This is the second time I had a problem with an Airbnb rental. I’m not likely to rent through them again.
We paid the full cost of renting (or rather, trying to rent) a condo in Toronto. After delays – hours after the check in time – we were told via text to proceed to the unlocked condo. It was immediately obvious that the condo was not fit for occupancy: there was wet paint still on the walls, splattered paint over most floors, painted wall light switches, and painting around wall pictures. The stove was filthy, there was dirt in several corners, closet doors were missing, and the list goes on. Airbnb had to intervene and finally stated that we could have given the owner time to fix these deficiencies. The owner refunded part (less than half) of the rent. There was no further refund from the owner and a refund from Airbnb for the service fee, about $95 Canadian and a whopping $50 Canadian for future bookings. Pathetic!
I needed a break. I had work on a business plan that needed to be done but I was distracted and my apartment (and the city) were loud; I wanted silence. A friend recommended a cabin in the woods and the idea took hold. With somewhat limited time – an earlier planned vacation fell through and I was scrambling – the need for a location with wifi, and budget constraints, I decided to join Airbnb after recommendations from friends. The host I found was in one of my favorite spots in British Columbia and in my budget for a four-night stay. I could cook, visit local trails, watch deer on the large property, and walk a pleasant 40 minutes to the nearest town center. I thought it was perfect, and the host agreed it was a great spot for writing especially after I specified I wanted peace and quiet. I thought it was only going to be a retired couple in the adjacent home so I wasn’t worried about loud parties.
When I got there and the host showed me the place, he casually mentioned I might hear the odd noise from the person renting the suite next to mine. I brushed it off, thinking it couldn’t be that bad. The home was older, made of wood, and the walls were very thin. The neighbors woke me up in the morning and kept me up at night (they went to bed later). It sounded like they were constantly renovating or building something. Then the neighboring property had a loud party that went on quite late. I had to leave each day just to get the peace and quiet I went there for. It was disappointing and I didn’t get any work done. Before I left, I made sure my dishes were done and put away. I used the carpet sweeper on the rugs, cleaned the bathroom and made the bed. Things you do when you stay at someone else’s place.
When I got home that evening I opened up my email to find a ranting message from the host saying I had left a bloody mess on the duvet, tried to clean it, and then made the bed to “hide the now wet and bloody mess.” She wanted money for the damages. I was stunned. First off, it was a very hot week (mid-August) and temperatures were in the low 20s C even at night. I pushed the duvet off to the side along with the wool blanket covering it and used only the top sheet, none of which had any stains. I made the bed as a courtesy, and didn’t notice any stains. I was not menstruating and had no wounds that would have bled. If that stain on top of the duvet was blood, it most definitely was not mine.
I explained this to the host along with my surprise at the tone of her accusatory message and asked for more detail about the stain. She provided pictures of an orangey stain she was adamant was blood. After hearing my side of things, she agreed one of her cats could have brought something in and left it at that with the hope I would write a nice review. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. Not wanting to leave a bad review, I said nothing hoping this was a one time misunderstanding. Airbnb closed the claim and labeled it resolved. I should note they have a 48-hour window once a reservation ends to file a claim. I was relieved.
Three weeks later (too late for either party to leave a review) I received another message stating she wanted money because she couldn’t remove the stain. I declined responsibility, citing the earlier resolved claim. Two days later Airbnb reviewed all the facts and documentation and sided with the host, charging my credit card the security deposit. Since Airbnb’s head office outside of the US is in Ireland, I would have to attempt to reach someone at 2:00 AM, which is when I was receiving messages from them. They are not in the business of hospitality; they are there to “handle the money so you don’t have to.” Successful hosts and guests have been lucky. Please use due diligence and do your research as there is no recourse for you should something go wrong. Better yet, don’t use Airbnb.
We booked and confirmed a two bedroom apartment in midtown Vancouver four months in advance. Everything seemed fine except the host told us she did not have “front desk” privileges and access would be via the side entrance. The host’s name was Ashleigh P. A few weeks before leaving for Vancouver, I noticed her listing had disappeared from Airbnb. I messaged her and she said she had to take it down because she was getting too many requests. She replied using the name Nicole P. One week before leaving for Vancouver I contacted Airbnb to discuss my rising doubts. I was told there was no need to worry. They were confident everything was above board. Why were they so dismissive?
Five days before arriving I got a message reminding me she had no “contract” with the management at her condo for concierge services so she would meet me personally to let me in and show me around. At 8:30 AM on the morning of the booking I was boarding a plane to fly to Vancouver and I got a text saying to meet her at a different address in Vancouver. I called Nicole/Ashleigh and she told me she could not provide the apartment to which she agreed as her access pass had been blocked but she moved us to a one bedroom in a different area of town. She was not prepared to explain or “argue with you about this.” The booking had been changed and she had no obligation to do more.
What transpired was that she had been subletting an apartment illegally in a building and the owner/building management found out and blocked her access. She had been doing it successfully for some time and had good reviews but now had been caught and barred. Obviously, the assurance she had given Airbnb was false. When I raised this with Airbnb they said: “We have hundreds of thousands of hosts. We can’t verify all their claims.” Airbnb cancelled the booking and helped us find another that we had to accept with just four hours’ notice. It was a long bus ride out of town and the unit was on a very busy highway. Our holiday was completely ruined.
What is my complaint? Airbnb said Nicole told them she had a last minute hiccup and they accepted her excuse. They agreed it was unacceptable but they had absolutely no plan to do anything other than help me find an alternative accommodation; after all, she was a successful host (i.e. she made big money for Airbnb). I was told this really did not happen often and I was unlucky. I was told four times that Airbnb took great care to look after their customers and that my experience was unusual. The bottom line is that Airbnb will keep Nicole/Ashleigh. She is a valuable source of income to them. They understand what has happened but if she tells them she is okay to offer an apartment then they will take her word for it. Airbnb’s model is set up to facilitate scamming and they know that, believing they can “manage” victims when they inevitably emerge. It’s a “let the buyer beware” portal. So beware.
Guests beware: you are not protected by Airbnb if your host enters unannounced and without consent. I had the left the residence for a few hours only to return to find out the host had entered the property while we were away and had gone through our belongings and left a visibly noticeable mess. My first reaction was to take photos of everything, email Airbnb and then text our host to notify him of what we had occurred. The reaction from our host was blasé; he had forgotten some of his belongings and was in a hurry so he came back to his apartment to find them. After confronting him about why this was unacceptable, he tried to justify his actions by telling us that he also came home to give us quilts…. the weather for that scorching July summer day was 33 degrees Celsius without considering the humidity and the lack of any central air conditioning.
We were robbed of our money and a few pairs of ladies underwear according to my female friend. What did Airbnb do? Nothing! I consider myself to be fairly progressive with my use of user driven business applications such as Uber, eBay, and Stubhub, and for the most part have had extremely positive experiences. However, in the rare case when I, the consumer, have needed assistance to protect my well being, they have always been incredibly responsive and empathetic to my customer experience. I have yet to hear from Airbnb, and its been three weeks and counting.