We Found the Host Having Lunch in our Airbnb

I had a five-night stay in a Brooklyn Airbnb, where my brother and I rented the entire home. After the first night, I called the host to express my dismay at the lack of cleanliness and got nowhere. If I had contacted Airbnb at that moment, none of the following would have happened; I would have gotten my money back, and all would be well. I didn’t know that was an option at the time. I tried to work with the host directly. I didn’t think I could have afforded to move to a hotel and I was worried about paying for two places and not getting my money back. I stayed and tried to make the best of it.

On the third day, the ceiling started to cave in from an upstairs plumbing issue and the pipes had backed up into the bathtub. The bathroom was completely unusable. I contacted the host, requested a refund and he refused. He literally said, “Why?”

Really? He said it was an old house and he would get it repaired. When I returned to the home that evening, the repairs had been made. I only had two more nights in that awful place and I figured I would make the best of it, really wanting to avoid any further hassle. The next day, we came back to the rental to find the host and another person inside. They had been there for quite a while, totally unauthorized. My suitcase had been packed and moved aside. The host was eating a meal on the patio and refused to leave even after I showed him my reservation. There was a huge fight. He said it was his house and he wasn’t leaving. I certainly wasn’t going to stay and hang out with him.

It was an unsafe and very volatile situation. I had no choice but to leave immediately before things got out of hand. I contacted Airbnb by phone from my alternate lodging less than an hour later and they said they would look into it. A few days afterward, I received an email stating they have issued me a refund for one night’s stay.

Does this seem right to you? No one should have been inside much less going through our things. Despite all of my other complaints, this alone should warrant a full refund. They were trespassing. He had no reason to be in there much less hanging out with another person while we were away. How many other times was he there while we were out for the day?

Airbnb Does Not Care if Criminals Want to Rent your House

Airbnb is a giant scam. Beware. Their customer service sucks (both as a host and as a guest). But that is only the tip of their iceberg. Hosts (especially) should use VRBO or other vacation rental resources, and travelers and guests are advised to do likewise. Airbnb claims to verify their renting guests, and puts many hurdles in the way of hosts trying to require potential guests to fully identify themselves. Only owners or hosts who own fleabag properties would allow any Joe Schmoe to take possession of their property without providing full ID – SSN, Drivers License, DOB, full name, mailing address, etc. – and permission to run a credit check. Maybe that is why so many Airbnb properties are fleabags.

We have properties worth over $1 Million with valuable furnishings and artwork and there’s no way are we going to give the keys to someone Airbnb will not let us verify. I am a realtor and attorney, and I can tell you horror stories when owners do not fully vet guests themselves.

We recently tried to check on one “verified” guest, only to find that their cell phone was really someone else’s (same first name, but different last name and no idea who the “guest” was). No other information Airbnb gave us access to checked out either. We tried several ways of contacting the booking guest but only got one reply – through Airbnb’s anonymous contact email, which was clearly written by a non-native English speaker (even though their name was listed as “John Smith”; I am using a pseudonym here, do not want to implicate anyone directly).

I am guessing they were Eastern Bloc scammers who had cased our Airbnb listing through the pictures, booked for a weekend, and planned to simply rob the entire place during their stay. When I called Airbnb to report my reasons for thinking this was a scam and cancelling the reservation, they penalized me and said I was being unreasonable in the information I was requesting from the guest even though my listing clearly stated what I require prior to a stay.

VRBO has no problem with me getting full verification and ID from guests. Airbnb claims they have a $1 million dollar insurance policy on each rental. When the bandits steal all my valuables, I then get to argue with a third party insurer who has no relationship or loyalty to me (only to Airbnb, their real client), prove my losses to their satisfaction, and hope that I am ultimately made whole (of course, after paying out of pocket for six to twelve months to refurnish the property, not to mention trying to replace irreplaceable artworks, which I enjoy sharing with my otherwise respectable, and fully vetted, guests).

Any legitimate business model would give paramount importance to securing the person and property of the owners and hosts. Any hotel around the world will make you show authorized IDs (passport, credit card, etc.) for every guest before renting you a room. Only Airbnb thinks it can bully owners (increasingly sleazy slumlords and fly-by-night “re-renters” who have no real connection to the properties or neighborhoods they have on offer) into rolling the dice on any jackass who can present a credit card with a limit equal to a few nights’ rent. They then might steal or cause damages worth 5, 10 or 100 times that amount.

My Place was Trashed and Airbnb won’t Pay

A guest booked my place for three nights. She agreed to my house rules: no parties, no noise, be respectful of neighbors, and have a maximum of four occupants. She hosted a prom party with a large group until 4:00 AM and trashed my place: they jumped on the bed, ripped kitchen back splash tiles off the walls, left spilled booze pooling on my countertop (it seeped into the seam, inflated and warped the countertop so much I had to replace it). All of the linens, comforters, blankets and towels were covered in food, makeup, and booze. The inside of the oven was black with food scraps and a big pile of stinking, rotten forgotten food. The floors and furniture were covered in scattered garbage, half eaten food, drink bottles, and personal items that had been left behind. My dishes and decorations were found tossed around in different rooms. What normally takes four hours to clean took twelve hours. The cleaning and countertop repairs cost me over $700. Airbnb took eleven days to get back to me, despite many calls I made asking for an update. They responded via email, refusing to pay for anything and described it as normal wear and tear. I emailed them back twice asking for someone to contact me, but they have not. I have hosted for almost two years and have had hundreds of guests. I have never put a claim in. I have zero trust and don’t feel safe using Airbnb after their refusal to honor the host guarantee. If it doesn’t cover partiers trashing your home, what does it cover? It appears that the host guarantee is a scam that gives you a false sense of security. If your place gets trashed you have no recourse.

Nightmare Stay in Rio de Janeiro Leads to False Accusations

I stayed in Rio de Janeiro last summer. My host, Carolina, seemed nice enough. My boyfriend and I rented the entire place for two weeks. She claimed I caused a number of damages, the most ridiculous one being a round mark on her kitchen sink that was present on my arrival. She requested the security deposit of 500 Brazilian reals, which unbeknownst to me was unable to be collected because Mastercard had frozen my card in Brazil (I used it and it must have been flagged for suspicious activity – there is a lot of corruption there). My phone did not work as I had to put a local sim card in, and I hadn’t logged onto Airbnb for days when I realized this.

I politely explained to Airbnb how her sink was leaking, which caused her towels to be in poor condition which she also charged me for falsely. I included photos of bugs in her bathroom when I got home (to the US). I called Airbnb but never heard anything for months until January of this year. When they sent that email (about five months later) my account had been frozen since my trip. They ambiguously worded an email that said I owed 500 reals with an additional 2800 “to be collected ” on top of the security deposit. I again stated honestly that I did not causes any of those damages, and asked for clarification over the matter: why did they seem to be asking for much more than even she had asked for originally?

After I asked for clarification, they refused to give me an answer. I called them and again asked for clarification. I later received an email back, as the customer service representative put a note on my account or something. The response: I was no longer welcome as a customer and they blocked my account. It didn’t matter what evidence I showed Airbnb or proof. I only had pictures of the sink and bathroom bugs, but she claimed it cost her about 400 dollars to replace the countertops (which had marks on it when I arrived – she claimed I made them in order to scam me).

I would recommend everyone using Airbnb to fully document anything about the place upon arrival so this doesn’t happen to you. It was a perfect service for me, until it was not. I did not have one bad review.

No Toilet, No Concern, Old Plumbing… Our Fault?

My husband was working in France over the weekend of our anniversary so we decided that I would meet him in Toulouse, a city we previously had enjoyed. I picked <a href=” https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15017680″>this Airbnb listing</a> because it looked comfortable, had a great location and most importantly, had favourable reviews.

To start: we never met our host. The meeting spot where I was going to pick up the keys from her was vague and I only figured it out the day before I left. I was having travel issues and let her know as it would affect our meeting time. Not only did she not respond to me but she did not call my husband to make sure everything worked out; he had to call her once she arrived. Her brother let my husband inside but gave him no warnings that would have been helpful like: the door is very difficult to lock and you need to jimmy it just so; only one of the windows opens; the plumbing is old and the toilet doesn’t work properly so even though I haven’t included toilet paper, you should probably not use it and not put anything inside of it because it’s due to fail at any moment.

After a weekend of the toilet making strange noises, it finally overflowed our last morning and went immediately into a hole in the floor and flooded the downstairs neighbour’s kitchen. We had a confrontation with her because it was not the first time this has happened. We cleaned up the mess and could see how to fix the toilet but as it is not our apartment (nor our responsibility), we chose not to fix it and let our host know instead. She said there had never been any problems and didn’t seem concerned that we didn’t have a toilet to use for six hours. This also didn’t factor in the importance of the Airbnb customer service team. Our host also didn’t meet us to take the keys back, stating that we should just leave them under the doormat.

A day later, we received a claim from her for 1048 euros to fix the toilet. She completely changed the machine that chews up matter from the toilet and then sends it down the tubes. She did not contact us at all, or make a claim for the security deposit. She immediately went to the Airbnb resolution center for the entire plumbing bill. My husband and I were completely baffled by this, even enraged when after all the information I gave them about her lack of empathy, how this machine works and why it fails (never from regular use), my happy cooperation was only to end in the resolution that we pay half of this bill.

We would understand if she wanted the security deposit as that is what it is for, even if we were not at fault. However, to include this as a part of the bill in any way was enough for me to cancel my account and never considering work with Airbnb again. They made no effort to act as an actual mediator, and did not send us paperwork and related material that would have helped us understand not only where the case stood but would have given us an opportunity to get more information and paperwork to strengthen our position. They feel resolved in their final decision and there is no compromise. We are going to keep fighting their lack of neutrality and pursue this as a civil case outside of Airbnb for recuperation of the cost and lawyer’s fees if need be. As someone who is skilled at mediation, I doubt the customer service agents at Airbnb have the ability to be objective in their cases; they seem to only create lazy and quick resolutions. I am furious. I will use the resources listed on this site and email the founders (as they can be found on the airbnb site and then through social media) if need be to complain.

Airbnb Promises to Pay us Back for Damages, but then…

While Airbnb claims it has people in every major city of the world, they remain unreachable when you are locked out in the middle of the night in Paris. Whatever action you take, such as calling a locksmith, Airbnb will not cover the inconvenience, even when you rent one of those superstar flats. We had to call a locksmith who ultimately cut the lock open and charged us 1200 euros, and left us with an open door all night. When the host calls the help center (they only respond when it is a host), they promise to reimburse the guest, but then after one month of back and forth lingering, announce they are not covering the costs. Here is our 1200-euro story.

We arrived at the flat after a romantic dinner in Paris at about 12:30 in the middle of the night. When we inserted the key, it somehow got jammed in the lock. After trying incessantly to unlock the door, we finally called the host. There was no answer. The Airbnb help center? No answer. Our passports and belongings were in there, including our credit cards which are required to book a hotel. So we called a locksmith… on a public holiday. Finally we got hold of a locksmith that came over, and forced the key out. Now that the key was broken, the only option was to cut the lock with a mechanical saw. Once inside, the locksmith is quick to pimp the bill with holiday and nighttime labor fees which finally amounted to 1200 euros. The next morning we got a hold of the host who quickly contacted Airbnb (she is a Superhost and quickly gets their attention). Because she insisted, Airbnb called us and told us not to worry about the money; they would reimburse us. After one month of back and forth emails, always asking for the same clarifications, they finally announced that they closed the case, and that we should ask the host for reimbursement. Bottom line: Airbnb is like renting your friend’s flat, but without insurance. Just pray nothing bad happens.

Airbnb Hosts Given no Recourse for Guest Damages

Airbnb has been making money off of my property for four years now, and I’ve had quite a few problems with them. I had a guest cause permanent damage to a $1200 Italian wood coffee table: scratches and deep liquid/heat cup stains that of course she didn’t inform me of when she left, and I discovered afterwards. Airbnb had the gall to call it “standard wear and tear” (even though every other guest for four years had managed to use the coasters there on the table) and gave me none of the $200 deposit I required with each booking, nor any other way to seek recompense or repair. This stuff cannot be repaired, as it turns out.

Recently, a guest’s cat damaged a leather chair, destroyed two new bath towels and two throw pillow. She told me she wanted to “make things right”, very convincingly. I trusted that she would. I lowballed the cost of replacing the towels and throws, and didn’t include the cost of my time, not even knowing if repairing the chair was within my abilities. I posted a very good review for her because I believed her, her only review so far. Now that I know she was lying, and has disappeared without sending the agreed upon check, I wish to change my good review, or at the very least, remove it. Airbnb’s call center (who claims to have no way for me to contact the actual Airbnb company except through the general “feedback” box on the website – no phone, no email address, not even a mailing address), told me they “had no way to edit it” and it was protected as “free speech”. I said, “Yes, my free speech! Which is no longer accurate!”

They said I should’ve waited until long after the guest left to post a review (even though we are prompted to leave one starting the same day guests depart), after she failed to mail the check she promised. All I want to do is prevent other hosts from reading my review and opening their homes to a guest who will damage their property and abuse their trust. It’s not only in the best interests of fellow hosts, but of Airbnb as a company, when those other hosts get snowed. The so-called customer service contact talked in these positively insanity-creating circles. She said nothing could be done because I hadn’t filed a claim through their claim resolution within 14 days and that no one was able to remove my positive review, as if there were bots who’d overthrown management and hijacked their website. She could not refer me to anyone who is empowered to correct or take down the review. We hosts are nothing more than cash cows for Airbnb as they pull at the udders of our property, allowing flagrant abuse of our trust, and of our homes, to their great profit.

Host and Guest Come to Agreement, Customer Service Disagrees

I am a longtime Airbnb host. A guest failed to notify us of a leaking radiator for over a month. By the time we were aware of the problem, it had ruined the kitchen floor and required a $3100 repair. We were eventually able to work out a fair and amicable resolution with the guest, who agreed to pay us $500 towards the $1000 insurance deductible that we had to pay. After we reached this agreement, an Airbnb case manager blocked the payment and closed the case on the grounds that we had involved our insurance company. This is completely absurd; should we have taken the full loss or tried to get the guest to pay the full amount? Since this happened a few days ago, I have reached out to Airbnb repeatedly without being able to speak with anyone with the authority to remedy the situation. This is a horrible experience that is showing an inept and unfeeling Airbnb.

Apartment Trashed, Airbnb Closes Case After 24 Hours

My guests came, held a party, and trashed my place, causing thousands of pounds of damage to the furniture and fittings. I was made redundant last year, and I rented out my apartment as I could not sustain the cost. The previous tenant moved out on February 24th, 2017, and the new tenant took up residence on March 16th, 2017. Given that I had three weeks when the apartment was vacant, I decided to use Airbnb to ease my strained financial situation. This was my very first time using Airbnb, the auto accept function was on, and I was too naive and should have checked the guests had reviews before accepting.

The guest held a party, trashed my apartment, and caused damage to furniture, the wooden floors, and fittings. It was a traumatic shock when I came in: there were stains from alcohol everywhere; the wooden floors were badly damaged as they moved furniture; the furniture and fittings were also damaged. I immediately called Airbnb on the day. I was supposed to get a call back, but didn’t get one. I again chased them down, and  was eventually directed to the resolution centre. I sent in the pictures of the damage, but unfortunately I had not been able to get the receipt for my furniture from the manufacturer. I also could not get the contractor to come around in time to assess the damage to the wooden floor and fittings, and this is the only contractor we are allowed to use under the building lease to maintain standards.

I explained the situation to Airbnb, that I was chasing the contractor, but they kept decreasing the time I had to submit the documents, from 72  to 24 hours (and they sent their emails at 2:00 AM). They closed my case, explaining that it was in line with their terms and conditions, and that the final decision rests with them. The problem is exacerbated for me as my current tenant is saying that the damage to the floor and furniture was not there when he agreed to the contract, and wants the floor fixed and the chair replaced, otherwise he will vacate. This is going to cost me £5,000, which is very difficult at this stage given I don’t even have a job. I know Airbnb has the final say, and they have gone by the terms and conditions laid out. I implored to their sense of compassion, as the ramifications are more far reaching than just the damage; if I don’t fix the damage, I may lose the tenant, which would be a disaster given my already strained financial situation. However, my case has remained closed.

Not Reporting Issues to Airbnb Means You Pay for Damages

Two of my friends and I used Airbnb for the first time about a month ago. As soon as we walked in the condo, we sat down on the bed and it seemed like a piece flew out from under the bed. We weren’t really paying attention or sure about what happened. That night, the wood pieces that comprised the bed frame started collapsing and progressively the bed sank lower and lower. We fixed the wood pieces, but every time we moved too many in the bed it happened again. After more investigation we realized that a part of the frame that had originally been welded together was broken and any time we fixed the bed it would only be a temporary solution. For the last night of our three-night trip, we just put the mattress on the floor.

As soon as we packed up we emailed the host all the pictures of how the bed was severely broken before we arrived. Instead, she accused of us of breaking the bed and said it was “very strange” how we did not bring it up sooner. We are three graduate students in Miami for a weekend trip. Honestly we had never used Airbnb before and did not want to deal with communicating with the host (who had been unhelpful about all of our other issues) when we could come up with short term solutions for the remainder of the trip. After checking out, the host reported us to Airbnb for not cleaning (we paid a cleaning fee and she left zero cleaning supplies) and breaking the bed. We told Airbnb our side of the story, but because we did not report anything right away they ruled against us and are now charging us for the cost of the bed. I am shocked that Airbnb would handle their business this way and I can affirmatively say I will never stay in an Airbnb again. Thank goodness for Hilton and Marriott; they certainly don’t treat their customers this way.