I booked a stay at what was described as a beautiful retreat in the Yosemite area. My friends flew in from across the country to join me on a hiking trip in Yosemite and we were excited to be going. Dan, the owner, was very happy to rent to me, and it was all set up. We arrived to find the place to be uninhabitable. No running water, no promise of repair, and the oven looked as if it was vintage 1970s and had never been cleaned. There was a huge crack in the microwave rendering it unusable. We had to use water from the hot tub to flush the toilets. There was nothing about the place that was as described and I let him know it. He would not offer a refund and told me that if I wrote a bad review he would sue me. I called Airbnb repeatedly for help. We had to search for another place to stay. They promised callbacks that never came, and when I did reach someone, it sounded like I was talking to someone overseas. Whether or not that was the case, they asked me to write a letter – which I did – and to email pictures, because I definitely had plenty of them. They were not willing to try to help me in any way. Ultimately I disputed the charge with Visa and won. Today, I went to the site for the first time since that nightmare, and there was a negative review of me as a guest written by the host of the uninhabitable filthy place that Airbnb had listed for rent on their site. When I tried to reach out to Airbnb to discuss removing the review as it was unfair and they had proof of it, I could not get anywhere with customer service and couldn’t even find an email address. Airbnb is a terrible site and I will never use it again.
I had been receiving kind and warm Airbnb experiences until one month ago when I was in a rush booking a room for myself. The problem was that I did not carefully check the comments left on the webpage about the house. I was desperately in need of a place to rest immediately somewhere as close to my company as possible. One Airbnb option captured my attention. It was cheap and it looked clean enough with a spacious bed for one person. Here is how it went with this host: she acted perfectly welcoming, meeting me at the beginning, giving me advice on settling in. But let me tell you, it was difficult to use the hot water to shower. Each time I did, the host complained she paid a lot for electricity and water, so why would I shower two times a day? She offered the same bar of soap for every guest, as well as a used disposable plastic bowl and chopsticks which she had left over from her meals. It was extremely disgusting and insanity.
Apart from this, she offered also a disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware she offered. It felt like she not only intended to exclude me from her life but also implied I was a walking petri dish. Given the situation, I had literally no idea how I could use the disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware without any dish gel at all. This apparently made her snap and she shouted: “No adults in world don’t know how to wash a dish! If you’re complaining that much get out of my place at once!”
She was pointing at my nose losing her temper. That night around midnight, she stood at my door, shouting “Please, get out of my place at once!” I thought she was breaking down or had some mental disorder. I called the police because there was no reason I should get out at the middle of the night after receiving threats. It makes me feel sick even just thinking about it. Here’s how the police solved the conflict. They recommended that the host give me a refund immediately and took me somewhere safe for the night. Away from this psycho host with her mental disorder. For more details about where this place is and what I did afterwards calling customer service, please leave comments.
Here is a description of how we were moral policed and character assassinated during our stay at a host’s residence. Some details are left out due to the sheer number of these instances we had to put up with during our stay. The description of the place on the listing was not even close to the real condition of the residence; the room and linen smelled musty (we had to insist that the linen be changed periodically), the room was infested with mosquitoes at night, the walls, fans, and bathroom were dirty, and we had to either take the initiative to clean the place ourselves or personally supervise the cleaning as the host would grudgingly offer to have place cleaned or come back to us with statements like “previous guests put up with this so why should it be a problem for you?”
My partner and I have both backpacked (in India and abroad) and understand that hygiene levels slightly vary from the listing to reality but I’m talking about hygiene levels akin to living in a shanty, (things like coats of dust, grime and oil stains on the walls and switches of the alternative kitchen we were given, a filthy bathroom). The host even had the audacity to lock her kitchen at night without informing us (reason being – she did not list that non-vegetarian food was not okay and hence locked the kitchen to keep us away from using her utensils and basic cooking items). Though highly unacceptable, we tolerated these aspects (primarily because she refused to negotiate a refund or solution) and either cleaned things ourselves or made sure we were supervising when these issues were not taken care of (a clear responsibility of the host that was not fulfilled).
However, what was uncalled for and down right insulting were the remarks, attitude, and judgement that the host and her husband had towards us during the entirety of our stay. The final straw was the incident on the last day when the host’s husband simply insulted me by openly making a character judgement. Earlier they had turned down our request to have a buffer zone of a couple of hours to use their facilities on the final checkout day as we had a train that same night. Having taken enough time already, we checked out at 11:00 AM and were waiting for our taxi with our luggage at the main gate. I went to get a taxi to our location, while my partner monitored the luggage. The host’s husband passed my partner at the main gate without saying a word and then halfway down the road met me and started yelling – literally yelling at me on a busy street in front of all to see – saying:
“You came home at 5:00 in the morning – I know what kind of a girl does that!”
“Is this the behavior that your family raised you for?”
“What type of character does a girl like you have to behave like this?”
“Take a good look at your behavior and disgusting character! My wife and I are extremely glad you are leaving! Take a look inside yourself and stop being like this!”
This could have been completely denied by the host but instead she called us to confirm that this incident took place and went onto say that her husband always behaves like this and creates a problem every time. Then she sheepishly told us that “I know you will leave a bad review because of this and we have only been good to you.” I mean, there are ways of being two faced and this host really showed it. Basically she was calling to do damage control for this entire incident and tried to make it seem like she had nothing to do with any of the moral policing, insults, and character assassinations that we had put with for the past nine days. We were essentially being held for ransom to continue staying there because she had our money and refused to come to a negotiation even though we made it clear on numerous occasions that we were unhappy with the hygiene conditions, insults and passive aggressive judgements of the host and her husband. This is one experience that has definitely disgusted us and made us really wary of choosing listings.
This is the review I left on the host’s page:
I stayed for an hour. When I met Jason to pick up the key, which he was in a hurry to do so he could go watch a football game, he invited me and my under-21 kids to come back and “kick it” with him. He talked and talked about his job and how he broke his hand punching the wall. The bathroom had cockroaches as did the room I was going to stay in. The room is right next to the street so you hear all cars and anyone walking by. Around 8:00, in he came with a friend laughing, talking and turning the TV on very loudly. There is no trash can in the bedroom which I feel is needed. The entire home is very dirty with paint peeling, dirt and dust. My hour here was a nightmare!
This is the host’s reply…
First of all, I want to say that I take great care and effort in hosting Airbnb travelers in Charleston. This review is a slander in order to get a refund where this traveler ended up staying with one of their kids attending CoFC. I offered a complimentary bottle of champagne of which I do to some guests upon their arrival. The distortion of relayed information on how I broke my hand unloading my DJ equipment off a stage the night prior is in no ways hitting a wall, first and foremost. I have never even seen a cockroach on my property and considering the traffic my house sees with guests it gets cleaned daily. No trashcan in the bedroom is a first for a complaint [for this property] which has almost 50 great reviews… The timelines don’t even match up with an hour there when her check in was earlier and I never even saw her after check in. I really hope this isn’t a common practice with this Airbnber with her check ins abroad as it is wrong to a host to do such practices and falsify information. I took the high road and decided not to even leave a review for this Airbnber.
As of November 2016, I have sent numerous requests to the “Resolution Center” to no avail. I am now in contact with our company’s legal department.
My husband and I booked an Airbnb, for the first time ever, to travel from Eastern Canada to spend two weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona. We arrived only to find the property in a deplorable, filthy condition. I don’t mean dirty; I mean filthy. There was urine and dried feces on the toilet and pubic hair in the sinks. The bedding had not been changed and the pillows, instead of being white, were a golden brown, as were the stains on the bed covering. The carpeting, which was suppose to be tan, was a dirty mess of brown and black. There were dirty dish cloths and open food containers in the kitchen. One of the bedrooms had an air mattress.
After complaining to the host, who was leasing in violation of her Homeowners Association, she tried to tell us that the cleaner had come to clean the house, her water broke, and she had to leave to have a baby. Really… she was nine months pregnant and cleaning? Our host also told us that she had moved to San Francisco; however, when I texted her that the house was dirty, she showed up five minutes later to say that the house wasn’t bad, she tried her best and continued to tell us that she would pray for us. Being thousands of miles away from home with no place to stay, we did not need someone praying for us; it all felt more than a little weird.
I have been trying to resolve this issue with Airbnb; however, they say that they are not responsible for refunds, if the host does not agree to a refund. How can this be? Do they allow anyone to list their properties? People with questionable hygiene, sexual perverts, murderers? Is there no obligation on the part of Airbnb to screen hosts, ensure properties meet a certain standard, and ensure the safety of guests? Have you tried getting ahold of anyone at Airbnb? Just finding a phone number for them is like trying to pull hen’s teeth and they don’t have any. I have learned a very valuable, expensive lesson from Airbnb and I would like to pass on to those considering renting through them: don’t do it. Use VRBO or HomeAway.
We booked our stay through Airbnb to stay in a “well kept house overlooking Park City main street” in Utah. The host was listed as Felicia. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The host acted completely crazy from the beginning. We should have cancelled our trip. We booked from December 28, 2016 to January 4, 2017. We thought we might have to leave a couple days early due to work but because of the cancellation policy we figured we would just have to absorb the extra days or my mother would stay on with my 3-year-old goddaughter. Regardless, the house was supposed to be ours until January 4th. The host said, “well I will get the next owners to come a day early and if you watch my dog I will knock off another day.” We said sure. Then she said there is no phone number for Airbnb and that she couldn’t get them to give us our refund via email. It sounded weird. She said she didn’t get paid from Airbnb until after our stay but she would leave us cash for the refund in the house. After talking to Airbnb they said they pay their hosts the day the renters arrive. The first lie she told; they just started stacking up.
We were driving from Los Angeles. Not a short drive. On our way into Park City, Felicia texted that her dog has major anxiety and can’t be left alone. Because of this, she would keep the dog for a couple days and then wanted to meet with us at her house to hand over her dog for the other four days and the refund, as she had promised. She had told us previously that she was going to Santa Monica the same day that we were arriving and so to be sure to get to the house in a timely fashion to take Jude, her dog, out. Why hadn’t she left to go to California? Why was she still there? She said maybe she should just keep her dog and not give us our refund for either day. We said this would be fine; at this point we were already thinking that this situation was getting weird and we really just wanted to stay clear of her. I do not like dishonest people and we had already caught her in several lies. When we rent we don’t want to meet hosts. We just want to have a family vacation.
We finally arrived at the house and it all began. I had to use the bathroom as soon as we walked in. I sat on the toilet and the whole thing started wobbling; it was not attached to the floor. I am not a big person, so for me to be able to wobble the whole toilet meant it was extremely unstable. I looked at the back of the bathroom door and there was a big hole in it. I immediately took a photo with my phone and texted it to Felicia. She said that she knew about it and that her maid had been there. She also said that the people before us were big partiers and had left the house a mess, so much so that the neighbors had to call the police. Nothing was adding up. She had told me on the phone that she had been at the house since June and needed to get away from the snow. It just went on and on as I went through the house. The house smelled like cigarettes. She said there was no smoking allowed yet there were no fewer than three ashtrays in the kitchen. There were exposed electrical outlets that actually pulled up and out of the floor when someone unplugged something, and both the balcony doors would not lock. We found those two things out because our three-year-old let herself out onto the 3rd floor balcony after we thought the doors were dead bolted. The host said she knew about that too but thought the maid had fixed the door. There was a cracked window pane.
Everything in the house from the floors to every single dish in the kitchen was filthy. Every dish, glass, and utensil was old. It looked like things that had been used in the 1970s. We started cleaning. We stripped the beds and the master bed still had clothes on it: a black shirt, pants, and undershirts. We got into the house at about 4:00 PM on the 28th and were cleaning until midnight. Nothing ever felt clean. Even the things we washed came out with hair all over them. The gas valve in the fireplace was all eroded. The master bath shower didn’t drain so you couldn’t take a shower very long or it would overflow. We documented everything and contacted both Airbnb and the host. The host offered to send over a handyman and she wanted to come with him. Why was the host trying to get in the rental so badly? This was the second time she tried to come in while we were there; it was extremely intrusive. We had just arrived. We really wanted to just have a family vacation. She had been there for months. Why were we supposed to wait around for the repairman and then the repairs on our dime?
We took pictures and sent them to both the host and to Airbnb. We said why don’t you just refund us our money $4700.00 (not cheap) and we will leave. Our vacation had already been ruined. We were uncomfortable and did not feel that it was a safe environment for our three-year-old or our twelve-year-old. They said we did not have enough documentation and would do nothing. The host called us liars even though she admitted to knowing about most of the things we documented. She harassed us by texting me constantly not only through Airbnb email but through her personal email. The final straw was on New Year’s Eve when my husband went to get wood out of the garage. He found mouse droppings and saw a mouse scurry towards the door into the house.
We left New Year’s Day and drove twelve hours back to Los Angeles. We had paid for the house until January 4th. I knew the host wanted to come back to the house because she had lied about leaving town. She knew that we might be leaving on January 2nd. She would not give us a dime back so I told her that she couldn’t return to the house until the 4th. She called me January 2nd like clockwork knowing that we may be leaving early. She called saying that it was obvious we had already left because there were no tire tracks out the garage and it had been snowing. How did she know that? Had she been watching us? When I said it was none of her business whether we were there or not because we had paid until January 4th. She called again lying about a window being open and that she wanted to go into the house and close it. There were no windows open. You couldn’t even open the windows. We were afraid to open the master window because of the cracked window pane. Which was the window she claimed was open?
She said she was going in with a police escort. She didn’t bring the police. She just went in and stayed at her house while we paid for it. That is theft; we paid for the house until January 4th. Why would she go inside and not at least give us back the money for the three days she is staying in the house? Airbnb said they would not respond to any of our questions or concerns anymore and that as far as they were concerned, the case was closed; they would not be refunding any money to us. We talked to three customer service representatives, all to no avail. Airbnb and Felicia are thieves. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. This host is actually trying to blame all these things on us now. We started documenting problems within five minutes of entering the property. How could any of these problems be caused by us? She called us liars and said that she is putting us on some sort of renters blacklist. We have been manipulated, scammed, lied to and treated worse than I have ever been treated. We have been coming to Park City for winter break for ten years and used to love it there. I do not think we will ever be back. Felicia and Airbnb have not only ruined our vacation but our tradition.
Does anyone know of any recourse? We are so upset.
My family and I planned an overnight visit to NYC on Christmas Day in 2016. We found an Airbnb listing for an “Amazing & Modern” apartment in Times Square for our stay. The first red flag was that the payment was in One Vanilla prepaid cards. The second red flag was the security deposit: how does one get his security deposit back when the payment is a prepaid card? The final red flag was that we could not find the apartment when we did additional searches on Airbnb. We could not find any support on Airbnb so we opted to cancel the reservation as we did not want to be without a place to stay on Christmas Day in NYC. After a day or so, my wife sent a nice email staying that due to some concerns we would not be staying at the “Amazing & Modern” apartment. The response from the person we were in contact with via email wrote back to my wife: “Thanks for wasting my time.” My wife responded with an email that she wrote: “Ditto.” To which the response from the person we were dealing with was, and I quote: “I shit on your mother’s grave you faggot!!!!”
For my 40th Birthday we rented a house on Mallorca, Spain on Airbnb. The total for three nights was 1400 euros, including a 150 euro cleaning fee. I spent three nights there with family and a few friends. The stay was wonderful, but the beds were dirty and smelly. I didn’t report this fact to Airbnb, as we were overall lucky with the accommodation. Instead of giving negative feedback to the host, I just didn’t leave any feedback. After 14 days we found out the host had left following feedback for me:
“My guest, his family and friends celebrated a birthday party at the house. They were very nice and the communication was easy so we decided to offer them a late check out. Unfortunately, they didn’t invest this extra time in tidying up the house a little bit, as we found it very dirty and untidy. This is definitely not the way we consider it should be when you leave a property.”
The host offered the late check out, because this was more convenient to him. Also he had someone inspect the house at check out and the person said everything was ok. I felt very offended, giving my money to someone, and paying 150 euros for the cleaning. And he complains and expects me to have cleaned his house instead. If it was shared accommodation, things would have been different, but this was a commercial house rental. I wrote an email to Airbnb, asking them to delete my first review. They never replied, so I cancelled my account with Airbnb and I am note ever coming back.
My bad luck began when I found a really charming apartment in Paris on Airbnb and cancelled my hotel at booking.com. Apparently my host was very sweet, but time and again proved to be greedy. She demanded money for everything including early check in, a crib, and even an extra sofa bed which was listed in the property details already. Anyway, I paid and stayed there. I left yesterday and she knew I was in Paris for few more hours after check out and didn’t contact me at all. Now she opened a request for damaged goods demanding 500 euros. And what she listed doesn’t even exist in her apartment. Now she says her maid took pictures which she hasn’t shared yet, but reading stories here I’m not very optimistic. Should I block my credit card already? I have another booking coming up with Airbnb in two days for which I have already paid in advance. I’m not sure what to do.
I’m an incurable optimist, so I’ll start this write-up with the prelude that I’ve been treated incredibly well by so many people here in London. I’ve been treated to a free meal, drinks, bus rides and a gym visit; people have consistently lavished me with admiration and kindness here. Everybody except for my Airbnb host, that is. I had to submit a more concise version of this review through the website, but I had so much more to say about the nightmare than 500 words. This is the unedited version.
There should be a 0 stars option. When I stayed with the host, he must have gone off his meds. From the start, he overstepped his bounds and was obnoxious. By the end of my stay, it was obvious that he’s mentally unstable. I witnessed him being a decent person to the gay couple who left the day after I arrived, so I know he can sometimes be personable. I booked because he had good reviews. He’s chatty, and so appears friendly on first meeting, but I think maybe he’s bipolar and I got the unhinged version. Even his chattiness is telling and catty though: often it’s negative put downs of his previous and pending renters (mostly women), which tells me more about him than it does about them. Maybe if you’re a gay couple, he’d treat you well. However, my experience was atrocious and the host went out of his way to inconvenience me.
First, after my booking, he asked me to bring a “small” parcel to him from my country to avoid duty fees. I agreed to his request but the package turned out not to be small and was the size of half my carry-on suitcase. It was fragile as well, and I was liable for its protection. He was not empathetic to what an imposition that was, having the nerve to tell me how much luggage he brings on a trip as a justification that I should have the space to spare. As lip service to putting me out like that, he promised to make me a meal during my stay but of course that didn’t happen. In the flat on the morning after my first night there, the host asked me if I needed the shower as he wanted to do household washing in the tub. I said I didn’t need it then, but that I would after I came back from the gym later in the afternoon. A few hours later (after the other renters had checked out and I was left alone with him), the host had continued to commandeer the bathtub and wouldn’t allow me to have a shower after I’d returned from the gym. He wanted me to wait for an hour and 45 minutes. It was really inconvenient, as I had a scheduled event I wanted to go to.
He then argued that I was miffed I couldn’t access the shower when I needed it because I wasn’t familiar enough with the principals of Airbnb. We ended up bickering about it. “This is not a hotel, this is my house,” he said, as if expecting to get to the shower when I’m paying him for the rental is some diva-like demand, even after giving him several hours notice that I’d be showering in the afternoon. I ended up having to leave without one as I was running very late and he still hadn’t made the shower available. If showers are only allowed in the morning, then the ad should state as much. Coincidentally, at that event I went to, I met a lady who also did Airbnb hosting, so naturally I talked to her about what I’d been experiencing with the host where I was staying. She assured me that his behavior is very atypical and she suggested that I cancel. I actually didn’t have to, though, because the situation got even worse.
I got back late that night. Shortly thereafter I got to hear him having loud sex in the room next door. The next morning, I was rudely awakened by him, yelling and accusing me of putting a pink dye (as some kind of sabotage to a duvet) into his dryer, which I never touched. Truth be told, I wasn’t even aware of where the dryer was (nor do I travel with pink dye). He raged that he’d contacted Airbnb about this fabricated act and that I would have to leave the rental immediately, even though I had another night left on my stay and two nights booked on future reservations later in my trip. It seemed a ruse to get the rental cancelled so that I wouldn’t have a chance to poorly review him for the previous grievances. “Wow” is all have have to say; it was completely crazy and unethical. So of course I had no problem leaving his vortex of insanity.
The stress of packing up to leave unexpectedly and finding a new place to stay on the fly was not something I bargained for; it was actually the opposite of why I booked an Airbnb in the first place. To top it all off, he spent the next couple of hours yelling at me through the door (whilst I packed and tried to sort things out with Airbnb customer service over the phone), threatening to call the police on me if I didn’t get out faster. He has the lack of empathy and calculation of a sociopath. I’m not sure he has the ability to cognitively understand the ways he inconvenienced me; he’s unstable. It was a horrible nightmare of a first experience with Airbnb. As he’s shown no qualms about making things up about me, I expect him to continue his lies on his review of me, potentially jeopardizing my stay with other hosts in the future. But it may not matter as he’s soured me on room rental through the site, so much so that I write this from a hotel; I’d prefer not to be suddenly thrust into living with a obnoxious and crazy stranger who I would not have otherwise chosen. But for their part, I will say Airbnb customer service was gracious and empathetic about his treatment of me, and they took my side, giving me a partial refund on the nights I already spent there, and a full refund (despite the host’s strict cancellation policy) for the remaining bookings with him. The long and short of it is: save yourself the hassle and steer clear of this nutjob.