Ottawa Airbnb Nightmare: Kate the Con Artist

I’m currently fighting with Airbnb and this con-artist host to resolve this issue. I will post updates if possible. Here is the rundown of everything I sent to Airbnb, with a request for a full refund:

I’d like a full refund for this incorrectly advertised, poorly hosted, nightmare of an Airbnb rental. I’ll start off by explaining what was wrong with the property itself before I go into the more disturbing issue with the host. First of all, the advertisement was listed as: “massive downtown seven bedroom.” The description said it was a large home that was very spacious, with large bedrooms.

The first thing we noticed as we we drove twenty minutes past downtown was the location. A rundown, beat-up house in the middle of a bad neighborhood in the south end of Ottawa. We were disappointed before going in, but tried to make light of the situation. We walked in to a crammed kitchen, a tiny excuse for a living area, with what was supposed to be the rest of it converted into the first “bedroom”. The rest of the house was just as small and crammed.

The first thing we went to do, as a small group of six, was to sit down in the kitchen and start eating some of the food we brought with us. We went to go sit down and the table tipped over and almost broke. We lifted the corner of it and I messaged the host to tell her about the issue. She kindly told me where the tools were in her house in case I wanted to fix it. I told her I’d leave the table in the corner and wouldn’t use it instead; she had no problem with that.

The place was clean for the most part except for bugs. Only eight of us stayed the night, and only four bedrooms were used out of the six small ones available. The next day, we cleaned up what we could, except all the dishes, because we knew that was taken care of with the cleaning charge. We even swept everywhere before we left. I personally checked every bedroom and washroom to make sure the place was properly presentable and a five-star rating was completely within reach for myself as a guest. I locked the front and side doors and put the key in the lockbox happy with the overall trip even though the Airbnb was disappointing.

Then came everything afterwards. Kate messaged me asking me what I thought of the property and to give her a personal review. I gave her a review in a polite and respectful way and even praised her as a host, just to be nice. I don’t think she liked my review so that was the last I heard from her for the day.

I realized I forgot my wallet in one of the rooms and messaged Kate the same day to ask her if she could please meet me or do whatever protocol we have to go through to retrieve my lost wallet. It took her over 24 hours to reply, after I reached out to Airbnb support for the issue. This leads me all back to right now. The host just sent me a disgusting message and is outright lying in all her claims. It’s very shameful someone in a position such as herself, who manages multiple properties, would be this slimy and corrupt in an attempt to pull more money out of her overpriced rental property than she already has. I’d like Airbnb to call me personally to deal with this. The only claim that she was accurate about was us moving that 8×10 paper-thin sorry excuse for a ‘carpet’ she had on the living room floor. No one touched the TV, the windows or the screens. We never left the residence so no one was ever locked out. The host is trying to steal money and delete the mediocre review I gave her.

There’s more I have to add. The six pictures of evidence the host provided were lazy enough to help prove all of it was a lie. She showed one broken screen in the backyard of the house that we didn’t go near or had any reason to go to. She opened the garbage bag that we left outside of all the things we cleaned, and for some reason took a picture to prove something in her favor…? There were a few flakes of ash in a bathtub that they placed to take a picture of, and then there’s a picture of what looks like a perfectly good TV – no picture of the “pulled out” cord. No picture of any broken fan. Then a picture of the living room that also looks very neat and tidy. There was also one more picture of a window, one with nothing wrong with it. Apparently we broke two windows?

The house was “smoking allowed” so the years of stench from other people smoking was strong when we came in. I still feel like I’m dreaming because I can’t believe that people have to resort to this slimy low level just to make extra money. Anyways, I’ll fight this in court if I have to.

 

Airbnb Experience from Hell in Toronto

I have stayed at many Airbnb properties in the past and have always had a great experience. The hosts have left me positive feedback as well. This is the first time I was ever in a situation where our stay was literally one disaster after another. Normally it doesn’t take me as long to write a review, but this one took me a couple hours as there were many incidents I wanted to touch on which created the terrible experience. Of course with Airbnb’s word limit I wasn’t even able to fully express my anger but now I can here on Airbnb Hell.

It all started a day before our trip which was a two-day drive for my sister and me; my boyfriend was to be driving separately and meeting us there since he lives a day’s drive away. I thought to touch base with the host as she did not have a house manual or any information on the listing telling me about the condo or how to check in. She didn’t reply to us for over 24 hours through Airbnb. I was growing weary that she may try to cancel, as one of the earlier automatic reviews mentioned she cancelled the reservation prior to the stay. I was also anxious, as once I entered Canada my phone plan and data plan would no longer work so I couldn’t text or check the Airbnb website unless I had wifi; while driving, I wouldn’t have that.

After waiting a day for her reply and not getting one, I was very anxious and weary. I contacted Airbnb to see if they could get involved. They replied that they were also unable to get in touch and have alerted her to contact me the next day by 9:00 AM EST (which she did not do), then they recommended I can cancel the stay. I really did not want to do this as we had already began our trip by this point. I did quickly looked at other places for us to stay in Toronto, but for three people almost everything was booked or a ridiculous 2-3 times our budget. Eventually I texted her, even though Airbnb recommends all communication happen on the platform and I also didn’t have an international cell plan. I was able to get a reply but no apology or acknowledgement about my messages on Airbnb from a few days ago that she ignored. In the texts, she gave me very vague instructions on the room number and told me parking was available.

At this time I never thought to ask any further questions but there were so many things I would later find that she didn’t explain prior to our arrival. The apartment uses fobs for entry and she has an assigned parking spot in a very complicated underground garage. On our trip my boyfriend, sister and I were traveling in two cars. We couldn’t figure out how to get the fobs to work or find her parking spot. I had to run in to get the fob from the doorman, and then once I got it and got back to my car (which was parked far away at a pay meter) I had to run back inside to the doorman because we couldn’t find the garage to the complex after driving around aimlessly. Once I was finally able to get in the garage, we assumed that the number written on the envelope was the parking spot number – it wasn’t. We spent an hour and 15 minutes searching for her spot and then another hour searching for a visitor spot as there are a very limited about for the entire place. It took two hours to get though all of that and was a huge waste of time when we only had one day to spend in Toronto.

The host did not make anything clear to us. How it works is there are a total of four big high-rise condos which all share this small parking garage. A fob is needed to get in, and the parking is assigned. Once you do go underground you lose cell service and it is easy to get stuck there with many dead ends in the narrow garage. Backing out is a huge pain. There were no instructions and everything was left unclear to us. After an hour of searching underground we actually made our way back up to text and ask the host how any of it worked. My boyfriend messaged her since he had bought a phone plan specifically before coming just based on the fact that he didn’t trust the host and wanted to be able to get in touch with Airbnb if we did get screwed out of the booking. While he was getting information from her, I went to the front desk to ask for help. The host told him her parking spot number and told him not to mention Airbnb, meaning she isn’t even supposed to be running an Airbnb to begin with. The doorman by this point can clearly tell I am not a friend of hers, which is what I had said I was since she said not to mention Airbnb, and he flat out asks if I am from Airbnb. By that point I can’t lie about it since she had given me no instructions or directions and I’ve been coming to him for help numerous times now. I mean I don’t even know her parking spot. He even commented “Wow, what a terrible host. She didn’t even tell you where the garage was or her parking spot or anything about this condo complex? That is really bad that she gave you no directions. What type of a host doesn’t give proper information?”

We asked the host if we could check in a little early at 3:00 PM (check in was at 4:00), since we were traveling from so far and just wanted to drop off bags. We told her we would then leave again so she could clean if she hadn’t already done so. She said that was fine. We walked in and saw it definitely wasn’t clean, but figured she would be doing it before check in. We all left immediately for the day for sightseeing since we had a lot planned. We didn’t make any comments to her, although my boyfriend did mention it. I didn’t message her only because I thought she had to come back to clean; the place was a disaster.

When we arrived back at the condo around midnight, we saw it was in the exact same disastrous state as before. When we first arrived the bed was completely unmade. It was so evident the sheets had been recently used and unwashed and they smelled (of urine) so we had to wash the pillowcases, sheets, and everything. Keep in mind when we finally got back to the apartment it was almost midnight on our one day vacation; cleaning was really a waste of time and not even something we should have even had to do. We were really upset about that. This is such a bad thing to do as a host: provide dirty sheets that your guest has to clean?

The rest of the place was nothing like it had been described. The photos didn’t match the bedroom or views from the condo at all. I even took a few photos of the messy bed and the dirt tracked all over the floor of the entire place. The place was very gross. There was no soap or anything to wash our hands after using the bathroom. The bathroom was bare and had nothing to use. Luckily, we were warned to bring our own towels but she should have mentioned that she also didn’t have any soap or anything. There was also no third “couch” she lists as part of the sleeping arrangements on the listing. Our third person, my sister, had nowhere to sleep. It said the space fit three people but definitely only fit two as the “couch” was clearly a very tiny loveseat. No one could sleep on that comfortably, especially an adult. She is really small and still couldn’t fit. All three of us slept on the small bed made for two so she didn’t get screwed over, which obviously wasn’t ideal.

I left the condo in way better condition than we found it as I actually made the bed with fresh sheets and cleaned the floor in the main room. When I arrived, as I mentioned, the sheets were used, the bed was completely unmade, and there was dirt tracked all over the main room floors. The laundry room was also a disaster as was the bathroom but I tried to avoid those spots as much as I could. The host didn’t ever contact me back on Airbnb until six days after my initial messages prior to my trip asking for information when she finally gave it to me. By then my trip was already over and I had to remind her I already stayed there last weekend. I tried to be as polite as possible even though I was pretty pissed about the whole stay. I told her the city was nice when she asked me how my stay was, and mentioned I would be writing her review later. It’s hard to say how much of the mess was from the last guest or her.

Since after coming back from the trip and after already writing my review and reading some of the recent reviews now I see that sometimes she will have two people stay in one weekend without cleaning in between. Honestly that’s extremely disgusting. She would not even wash the sheets for new guests. If this is what she’s doing she should inform the second person about this just so they have a warning about the situation. She should also tell the previous person that they should do their best to tidy up as much as possible as someone will be coming in right after them. Perhaps then our situation would’ve been better. It’s the only logical explanation I can think of for her to leave her place such a mess for guests.

We seriously considered canceling when we arrived back at the place at midnight and getting a hotel but it was so late in the night that we didn’t. The whole incident is also made me think twice about ever using Airbnb again as the other reviews weren’t terrible but makes me think they are fake. I don’t trust any reviews except the last ones which were also bad. However, these had not been posted at the time I had booked with her. No one should have to go through that experience. As some of the other reviews said, she should not be running an Airbnb because she was a terrible host. In addition, her complex clearly doesn’t allow it if her guests have to keep the Airbnb factor hidden. Even better than all of this is that I have received a reply from her for my review and I think our exchange just adds to the debacle.

Host: Unfortunately I paid someone to co-host/clean as I was in New York. Clearly they did not, so I apologize for the bed situation. In regards to parking, you’re the only person who had a hard time figuring it out. Given you did stay in my unit I’m open to returning $50 but I cannot pay you more than that. Laundry is off limits as well so it shouldn’t matter what it looked like to you. Hope you were able to enjoy your stay outside of this given the area is amazing and the amenities were great. I do have a pamphlet in the unit with all amenities listed and wifi. Thank you.

Me: I see in your message that you mention you “paid someone to co-host”, but it seems like from reading the other reviews I was not the only one who had this issue. In regards to parking, you also did not tell me prior what your parking spot was nor is it shown in the listing, yet I had told you I would be parking my car beforehand. That would have saved us hours from driving around trying to figure out a spot since we thought the room number/number on the envelope was the parking spot. It wasn’t until I asked for doorman that we finally got that information. You also say your space is for three people when you only have sleeping arrangements for two. How do you justify that? You also mention laundry is off limits, yet in the listing it clearly mentions that the guest has access to the washer/dryer. Also, if it’s off limits, how do you expect a guest to clean the sheets, since we weren’t given clean sheets when we arrived? As far as the costs, you mentioned giving me back $50, but then you only offered $36. Either way, I am going to involve Airbnb because of all the things I mentioned in my original message. Between the lack of information, the uncleanliness and us having to wash our own sheets, the false advertisement (saying the sleeps three when it clearly sleeps two) not to mention the photos of the apartment, bedroom, views, and bathroom aren’t even accurate and are not for this condo. For all those reasons I think a full refund is justified. Had we known all of those would happen we never would have booked this place, and if it wasn’t so late in the night we would have gone elsewhere.

Host: I’m sure I told you parking was 3017 or it was on the envelope but if not, have fun with Airbnb. I think you’re better off with a hotel next time. 3rd person would be the couch. All photos are accurate.

Me: I’m involving them because I believe my claim is justified for all of the reasons I gave you. Also you did not give me $50. The email I received from Airbnb said you only offered $36. The last time I checked, both of the last two reviews were also terrible. You also did not note on the envelope about parking. As I mentioned I didn’t have a phone plan in Canada so texting was not an option while I was there. My boyfriend who was in a separate car (and not with me) was the one who texted you- as we mentioned in the messages. The photos of the space (which I see you have taken down now) were not of the condo. The bedroom, bathroom, balcony and views were all from stock photos. Two other people even mentioned this in their reviews as well. As far as getting a hotel, we stayed at other Airbnbs along our trip and had great experiences at each and every one of them. What you have is a love seat – not a couch – which isn’t large enough for anyone to sleep on so I wouldn’t advertise it as a space suitable for three. Hopefully you can use the feedback I gave you constructively and not take it personally. Let’s let Airbnb decide how to resolve this. Have a good day.

Host Needs to Work on Definition of Full Loft

Our Airbnb property was advertised as a “full loft” with “dedicated parking behind the building”, which is why we chose it. We arrived in Montreal and drove right by the property twice, because it’s a poorly-marked, hard-to-find doorway between two other buildings. Behind the building there were no markings about where to park and/or that there was a safe, dedicated area for guest’s vehicles. Our email from the host suggested we park across the street on the public road. Due to the French signage and parking permit issues, I did not want to do that for fear my car would be towed.

After hauling our luggage up a narrow, tall flight of stairs, we were confronted by a narrow hallway that smelled like cat urine. There may have been a “full loft” up here at one time, but what we saw were three doorways with numbers on them. Behind our doorway there was a room that was, perhaps, 10’ x 10’ with one tiny, skinny window above eye level and a skylight. In the original listing photograph that accompanied our original reservation confirmation email, there had been a real bed with end tables; the actual bed in the room we got was a pull-out couch with a two-inch thin mattress.

There was no kitchen, only a small counter and bar fridge. No table on which to eat breakfast. The bathroom was so small, if one person was on the toilet and the other opened the door, it would have hit them in the knees and the head. The room was like a student residence, not a “full loft.” My suspicion is that this property had once been a “full loft” but, in order to pack in the people like sardines to make more money, it had been divided up with thin walls (that also needed some fresh paint). We had planned to cook and have friends over during our stay, but it was so small and embarrassing, we left within the hour and found a hotel instead.

We contacted the host immediately: he defended the property and said we hadn’t looked at the photographs closely enough. He said he would contact Airbnb to see about a refund, which I assume was a stalling tactic since the Airbnb site clearly states that refunds are up to the discretion of the host. We also got the impression that the host listed hasn’t even seen the spaces on his profile and is only managing them through text messaging and emails. We have taken a screenshot from our original reservation confirmation, along with a screen shot of the follow up emails. As you can see, at first glance, both spaces shown are similar (barnboard on wall, deer art above bed) but that’s where the similarities end. We booked this space based on the first photos from the original listing and the original reservation confirmation. I don’t know if the host was trying to pull a “bait and switch”, but to us this is misleading and why we are asking for a refund.

Last Minute Cancellation for Formula 1 Weekend

I had already had an Airbnb host cancel for the Formula 1 weekend in Montreal, so my choices were limited. I picked someone despite evidence of recent cancellations and a 2.5 cleanliness rating. Communication was minimal but the host said she was busy at work; there were no major worries. I sent a reply through the Airbnb site on Thursday to let her know I would arrive at around 5:00 PM and would text once we knew our exact arrival time. There was no response. We flew into Montreal, met a friend, parked near the apartment, and then went for lunch. While eating, the text notification came up: “Your host has cancelled”.

She did not have the common courtesy to provide a note or reason. We were stranded in the middle of Montreal on its busiest weekend. I phoned Airbnb but could not get through. I knew they would not do anything (their 10% credit if you rebook is a joke) so I headed to the race. I tried to find acceptable lodgings but there was nothing in the city under $250 per night. In the end, we found a bar beneath a flophouse and I went in to charge my phone and look for places far away. On a whim, we checked the flophouse and there was one room left. With no other option, we took it. One of us slept on the floor in a room with no aircon, and a fan that would turn off with the light. Prostitutes use this place for an hour at a time. It was not pleasant.

Airbnb is only as good as its hosts, and there are many good ones. However, it just takes one useless piece of garbage like this to ruin the whole experience. This host also removed the listing, but I’m sure she’ll be back under another name to ruin the weekends of more travelers.

Cold House from Airbnb, Used Electric Oven to Stay Warm

This is my personal Airbnb Hell story. I was born in Canada but had not been there in almost 50 years as I had moved to the United States when I was very young with the rest of my family. However, I had no choice but to return for personal reasons. I arrived at the Airbnb listed as “Comfy Room” at a house located in Surrey on August 21st, 2016. At first, everything went well. In fact, I lived there for several months before things starting falling apart.

I began to notice the following issues. Every time that Lyn Taylor (real name Evelyn Mercado) would clean my room she would turn off the nightlight that I had plugged in so that I would not be stumbling around in the dark when I woke up during the night to use the restroom. The nightlight only uses 0.7 Watts. She later complained to me that I was leaving that light on – how cheap can you get? The weekly housekeeping started turning into every eight days, then nine days, then ten or more days. Eventually it got to the point where I had to get myself a clean towel as I could not depend on either Paul or Lyn to take care of that.

They have Instant Book so people would be checking in at all hours of the day and night, including 2:00 AM in one case. Many times they were not even there when people would come to check in and I would have to answer the door and explain to them that I was only a guest. Many guests were told that the key to their room was in the lock box outside the front door, but when they opened the lock box there was no key inside. They were staying in the basement suite underneath the house but it began to feel at times like they were absentee landlords.

I stayed there only because I had no close family in that area. At that time I had not driven in over four years and did not have a drivers license. The weather was turning cold, so I did not want to take the chance of going through all of that hassle to find another place that might be just as bad, or even worse.

One time I was having trouble sleeping. It was almost 2:00 AM; I heard noises outside my room and noticed that some lights were on. I opened my door and discovered that Lyn was cleaning downstairs, in the middle of the night. Another issue I noticed is that several times when I was taking a shower the warm water disappeared and all that came out was cold water. One time the water was so cold when I got out of the shower I actually felt warmer. They rented out all five rooms in their house and were staying downstairs in the basement. When the house was full there could be nine people or more using the hot water to take a shower, wash clothes, etc.

I also noticed that as it got colder outside that I would feel cold in the house even when I was wearing a flannel shirt over another shirt. I mentioned this many times to both Paul and Lyn and they would always say “the thermostat is set at 22 Celsius” even though I complained numerous times. I know that 22 Celsius is the same as 71.6 Fahrenheit so I knew that was not the real temperature; 71.6 Fahrenheit is a very comfortable temperature. I told Lyn that I was feeling cold one time and she told me that “I am sweating inside here while I am working.” Of course this ignored the fact that she was dressed in very cold weather clothing and was vigorously cleaning around the house. Many other guests also complained to me personally about feeling cold. Eventually it got to the point where my hands felt like ice even when I was fully dressed. One evening another guest who had also complained to me about feeling cold took their meal out of the oven and then told me that they would leave the oven door open for a while to heat the room up. I noticed that soon after he did that the room started feeling warmer. This other guest and I began to use the oven to keep us warm. Otherwise, we would have felt like putting on our jackets inside the house. That is how cold it felt. We did that for about a week.

The other guest left on a Saturday morning as he was retiring and moving to a property that he had purchased. I continued to use the oven every now and then to warm things up and on Sunday, the day after the other guest left, Paul and Lyn confronted me about using the oven to stay warm. I told them that I had only been using it for a week and had only used it because I was so cold. Lyn became very angry and told me that “ever since you have moved in our electric bill has gone up.” She told me that “I want you out of here tomorrow.”

I truly believe that she would have thrown me out then and there even though it was cold with snow on the ground outside except for the fact that her husband Paul said, “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” Lyn threatened to report me to Airbnb and give me a bad review if I did not accept their cancelling my reservation. I left the next day as they requested. Lyn sent me an email in which she accused me of taking hot showers even though it was “minus 5 outside.” What does she think I am going to do, take a cold shower when it is so cold outside? She also accused me of leaving the oven on when I went to bed which is not true. I owned up to what I did and told them why I did it. I would never have done that if they had not ignored my numerous complaints, as well as the complaints of other guests about feeling cold.

I had paid for the entire month of March yet I moved out on March 6th. I received a message from Lyn in a day or so in which she said that she and Paul were in line to become Superhosts and they would appreciate it if I could give them a good review as she felt I was a good person. Against my better judgment I gave them a good review and Lyn had stated that she would review the February and March billing for the electric and get back to me about a refund. I never heard anything back so I contacted Lyn in April about my refund. She stated that she was still having jet lag (even though she had returned home about two weeks before) and that she would get back to me by the end of April.

When May arrived I then contacted Airbnb to see what I could do as I was told by my bank that I had to contact them to see if I could resolve the issue as they were the actual merchant. Airbnb checked with Lyn and their last message stated: “Thanks for your patience. I wanted to give you an update on your refund request for your reservation. At this time, Lyn hasn’t agreed to issue you a refund for the adjustment to this reservation.” I have now filed a formal dispute with my debit card issuer as I am owed for the 25 days in March that I paid for and did not receive. The only refund I received was $18.00 Canadian dollars and a $75.00 credit from Airbnb. I am owed about $840.00 Canadian dollars. It is obvious to me now that Lyn never had any intention of refunding my money and just tricked me into giving them a good review to help them become Superhosts. I feel used, to put it lightly. Basically I got ripped off big time. I will never use Airbnb again. I could care less about the $75.00 credit they gave me.

Scammed by Airbnb Host with Personal Problems

I booked this entire place from a girl named Danica, in Vancouver, the Westminster area. When my boyfriend and I arrived, we followed the instructions to enter the place, but then we saw the front door wasn’t locked. We went up to the number of the suite as we were instructed by the host in the message, then we were surprised that the suite door was opened and not locked. We opened the door: the bed was a mess and looked like someone had just used the room. I went in and checked the rest of the place. There were trash bags still in the kitchen.

Then I messaged the host to ask her what happened; she didn’t answer my text or calls. I asked someone in her complex if she was home, and one girl said she was. We asked her if she could call her down to talk to us, and the girl just disappeared. A few seconds later, Danica answered my texts… so she was home the whole time but didn’t want to come down and resolve the problem. When I told her I wanted a refund, she initially agreed, then she said her housekeeper must have made some mistakes. I said I didn’t care anymore; this was just unacceptable to us. We had just arrived in Vancouver and went all the way from the airport to her place (a 34-minute trip).

Then she told me that she was trying to resolve her divorce case… excuse me? I don’t have to know about a host’s personal matters, and would we be in any position to understand her issues? I asked her to refund me ASAP, then she just ignored me. Nothing has been resolved, and I still haven’t gotten my money back. It’s so difficult to contact Airbnb customer service: I called, and no one picked up. This is outrageous, the worst experience with Airbnb ever.

Airbnb Supports Misleading Property Pictures

I had a mini break from school and decided to visit my husband in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). For the last four nights of my visit we decided to book an Airbnb close to downtown so that while he’s at work I could easily go shopping as well as easily find a place to eat when needed. He saw a reasonably priced suite, ‘Avala Suite’ and he booked it based on the pictures associated with the ad and recent reviews. Thursday night we checked in at approximately 11:15 PM. The first thing I noticed was the bed didn’t have a frame like it did in the pictures; to me, that was minor and didn’t warrant a complaint. Then my husband went to the kitchen and I decided to checked out the bathroom. To my surprise, the bathroom was completely different from what was posted on his ad. I called my husband’s attention to this and he too was shocked. We revisited the ad, because we both knew that what we were both viewing was not what we saw.

The suite was so stuffy and we noticed the ‘clean’ sheets folded in the linen cupboard had hairs on them and looked like they needed to be washed. We used our own pillow covers and sheets to put on top of what was on the bed and decided to go get Febreeze at the nearest gas station to help with the dusty odour. When we got back to the room we decided to rest and contact Airbnb in the morning. Unfortunately when we woke up and tried to locate the ad, the property was no longer listed on their platform, so we did not have the supporting evidence from the ad. We still sent an email informing them of what we saw in the initial ad and sent pictures of what we are now seeing and explain to them that we cannot access the ad to send a screenshot of what was advertised. To my surprise Airbnb replied saying the bathroom was the same and it was just a cleaning issue. Now I became irritated because I felt like we were being taken for fools.

On Saturday I decided to send an email to Airbnb, still being unable to view any ad from Avala. The email sent is as follows:

According to Airbnb’s Content Policy which clearly states that you do not condone listings and profiles which contains contents that are fraudulent, false, misleading or deceptive. If your company does not support misleading contents, why is it that my husband is clearly being taken for granted after filing a complaint about the host of our reservation posting on his ad being completely different pictures of the bathroom for his suite. It is quite clear that the pictures being advertised are completely different as he posted a bathroom with bluish colour wall tiles and the tiles noted in the bathroom on arrival is of a creamish colour. How can your representative sum this up as a cleaning issue? It is clearly not a cleaning issue; the ad was misleading. Secondly, where is the cleaning issue in the host posting a picture of a wooden trimmed toilet seat compared to the white one we viewed on our arrival? I am only left to sum this issue up as either the representative was not interested in doing their due diligence for a proper investigation to see that the ad for the suite is false and misleading or this host may be making you guys a lot of money. In that case, complaints against him fall on deaf ears. Either way, it is not right to treat customers in this manner. Hosts should not be allowed to falsely advertise their space. It is the pictures shown that help clients select the property that seems suitable for visits. This is not ok Airbnb.

I got no reply. Finally on Sunday, Avala’s platform was back up on the website. I took a screenshot immediately and decided to call again. The representative that I spoke to told me that the case manager that dealt with the matter has summed this up to a cleaning issue and asked what I wanted him to do after I informed him of the situation and letting him know that not only is there is picture of a bathroom that does not exist at all in suite but all of a sudden there is a picture of a clean version of the pictures they sent to us the day before which was not there at all when we viewed the ad. I highlighted to the representative I spoke to on Sunday morning that it is not ok for the company to be saying they don’t condone misleading postings of suites, yet, this matter seems to be falling on deaf ears. He simply stated he would send me an email and a case manager will contact me. Honestly I get the feeling that because this host has numerous suites and possibly makes a ton of money for Airbnb, that the rules do not apply to him about false, misleading advertising. However, as consumers, to book a place to stay for visits we only have the reviews of others to help us determine which place to select and most importantly the actual pictures of where we will be staying. I feel wronged by Airbnb and they don’t seem to care at all. Shame on Airbnb.

Airbnb Charged USD when Price was in CAD

A few tips to potential Airbnb guests:

1. Customer Service is basically non-existent. So be extremely careful not to make any mistake, or you’ll have to pay for it.

2. Do not click “instant booking” if you are not 100% sure you want it, because you’ll be instantly charged if the host accepts, which usually happens in a few minutes. It’s better to contact your host if you have any concerns prior to booking.

3. Check Airbnb’s cancellation policies carefully. They’re stricter than those at most competitors.

4. Always double check the price with currency symbols because you might get overcharged.

I did my search via airbnb.ca and found an apartment listed for 157 CAD/night. I requested to book the apartment for seven nights with four guests. The host responded and the total price was 1238 CAD on the pre-approval email; the total price was calculated based on guest numbers plus service fees. I then clicked on the “Book Now” button from the email and got re-directed to Airbnb Canada’s payment site. The price amount on the page was still 1238 CAD, so I paid. Since I had been doing all the transactions through Airbnb Canada, I assumed everything was still in CAD. Apparently the currency symbol on the payment page switched to USD without me noticing. I was actually charged 1619 CAD and ended up paying $381 more in Canadian dollars. I tried to contact customer service but haven’t had much progress yet. Overall I think the Airbnb website has an appealing UI interface, but the business practice does not favor customers. I will not use it again or recommend to others.

Host Lied and Airbnb Refused to Help with Refund

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.