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.

Moldy Dirty Airbnb Montclair: Why Cleaning Fees?

We were a group of seven adults trying to get up north for a close friend’s birthday and it didn’t turn as great as we wish it had. The first weird moment was when I got a text from the host telling me the hot tub was on, and if we were going to use it, it would cost $50 for utilities and a cleaning fee, when the hot tub had already been included in the listing. Who would want to jump in a hot tub outside in the Oakland/Montclair area in February while it’s pouring rain? We arrived there to find out that none of the “entrance doors” we going to be locked during our three-night stay. The host told us it was a really safe neighborhood and that he was a part of the “neighbor safety watch council.” We obviously had luggage as we had booked from Friday to Monday morning, so we were a bit skeptical by this news that had just fallen on us. After getting some of our belonging in the rooms, we noticed some of the beds were in fact only mattresses on the floor, which was different than those in the pictures on the listing. Some of the rooms had a really dusty/stuffy/moldy smell and it made it awkward to breathe, so we opened the windows a bit, even if it was pretty cold up there.

We all went out to the birthday boy’s dinner, to find out after coming back that the kitchen counter was not even clean. Why would they rent a dirty house to people? When adding some beverages to the fridge, we realized that the entire place was just dirty. Two of the rooms had a space heater, but the third one had nothing. The people staying in there were freezing during the night and tried to turn what seemed to be the “full house heater” on the next day, but the box didn’t even work. When it came time to take a shower, we realized that not only was there rust, the towels were falling apart, the rod used for the curtain was actually a metal pipe, and the bathtub was actually moldy all over. The listing showed a $75 cleaning fee. I’m not sure who is enjoying that charge, but definitely no one who ever touched a sponge, scrubber or any cleaning detergents.

The house all around was really mismatched and decorated in a really weird way, but what was shocking is the fact that only a homemade sliding door was separating our “entire place” booking and where the host lived with his girlfriend. If the door was closed and locked all the time, it would have been ok, but in our case, we found that door wide open every morning, after a few of us had already left. The host might have thought it was cool to just go around during our “rental time” without letting us know. He could have at least warned us. Also, please read the “Hot Tub Rules” that were listed on the side of the dirty fridge, and tell me if you believe this is okay to ask your guest to be completely naked to use the jacuzzi. There is so much more I could say about our stay, but I’ll just share the few pictures I took of that place that should not be on Airbnb before getting cleaned and updated.

I requested a part of our booking fee back from all the people who rented that place with me and didn’t get any answer. I believe that rust, mold and unlocked entrances at all times should not be a part of the Airbnb policy. The nonexistent customer service pretty much tells people like us, to resolve the issue with the host and would get involved only at the crucial part. I feel like it is a great business for them as they are charging quite a bit extra to the guest and take a nice part of what the host makes as well, just for the access to their website. For all the money they are taking away, I wish they would support whoever goes through that kind of experience a little better. Hopefully someone will get back to us and at least get us the cleaning fee and Airbnb fees back.

Airbnb charged us for a flood that was not our fault

Airbnb first said this house we rented last summer was a four bedroom. One of the so-called bedrooms was a half room, with no door and a crib and air mattress inside the alcove; that’s all it was, an alcove. Then we had this flood, which had something to do with the huge construction site two doors down. My daughters were bathing in the upstairs bathtub and when we let the water out, all the water from the toilet in the powder room came flooding up – black water and everything. When we arrived you could see it had happened before as the wood tiles in that bathroom were curling up and jagged. We had to vacate the house which was not easy as we were in high season. We contacted the owner who sent a plumber but we did not see him until he knocked at the door and said we were all good; the blockage was in the street. In the dispute they would not declare who the plumber was, nut Airbnb and our host blamed us and charged us 1000 USD. Beware using Airbnb; try any other good options as an alternative to these bandits. Happy Travels!

You be the judge: Who is at fault, the host or guest?

My experience with Lane & Elizabeth was absolutely awful. As I reached out to Lane attempting to meet at the house at 3:00 PM to check in, he could not make it at that time and it wasn’t convenient enough for him; he pushed it to 4:00. The second I walked into Lane’s place there was an overwhelming smell of chemicals. Lane spoke to me as if I were a child being given a lesson, as he barely showed me around, handed me the key rudely, and left. I already felt uncomfortable. As I began cooking dinner I could hear the neighbors walking around above me and clearly hear conversations from the hallway, outside and through each of the walls of Lane’s place. It was already an issue that the walls were so thin and if I would have known they would so easily let sound pass through I never would have rented the place.

I continued my evening with a few friends. I made sure they kept their voices down to avoid any noise complaints and sure enough after Lane responded to my question about how to set up the television he mentioned a noise complaint. At first he explained how clearly the neighbors would hear anything happening on the balcony so I warned my guests. Soon afterwards I received another text demanding “the party be shut down”, labeling my gathering as a crazy party Lane was stressing over. He said the neighbors were angry and he didn’t want to have to drive over and leave his pregnant wife at home. This is Airbnb, an official business under a professional transaction. Although I understand Lane’s complaint about having to deal with his nine-month pregnant wife it was very unprofessional and did not concern me as the cause of the stress he was experiencing. He continued to text me that the “Party needs to end now. The party needs to end.”

Receiving these texts was beyond annoying because there was no party happening. On a Friday night at 10:00 PM I was being told to send my few guests home and make me feel like we were being extremely loud when it was truthfully not loud at all. Next an Airbnb manager called and spoke to me about the complaint purely being about loud voices on the balcony and nothing else. By this time I had completely silenced the music and had minimal friends over who were all just talking and eating. It was extremely frustrating to be yelled at by Lane over text when I had followed all his instructions and kept the noise to a minimum. This still wasn’t enough. At this point we were over the night and extremely disappointed to have been bothered multiple times, complained about when I had been responsive, and in communication with Lane and the Airbnb manager who had called twice. The Airbnb manager was very polite and understanding and completely willing to accept a compromise in the end.

Five people did sleep over, which I honestly had not known would cost extra or be an issue, but I did agree to pay an extra $25 per person. This was my fault and I just wanted to compromise in some way. This $705 will not be paid to Lane because my experience was just as unenjoyable as his. He complained that there was a balloon stuck in the fan which would cost $100 to fix. We had meant to remove it but no one was tall enough to reach. It was not tied in or stuck at all, it was simply wrapped around and an easy fix for any of us. It is crazy how angry Lane was the next day. He texted me saying his place was trashed which was completely not true. We had taken out all the trash, washed all of our used dishes and cleaned all the trash and food. Anything we had brought was removed from his unit.

I paid a $45 cleaning fee and all we left for Lane’s cleaning crew – himself and his nine-month pregnant wife – to clean was the floor which had chip crumbs on it. Lane also complained that we had left a phone and bullets, which was innocent enough. A friend of ours came from the army and left them with his phone, there was nothing more going on with them. I do understand how this was probably scary but I assured them it was an innocently mistake and we could provide any proof if necessary. My friend was not able to retrieve his phone right away because Elizabeth held it hostage in exchange for her blanket, which we mistakingly took because I thought my friend had left it. She sarcastically responded to us finding it saying: “Oh, all of a sudden you now have the blanket”. She was extremely rude, and harshly accused my friends of trying to steal it.

The last complaint Lane left was regarding burns on the sofas and carpet. These burns were there when I had first come into his unit. I saw them myself and asked Lane about them because I clearly read that one of their few rules was no smoking whatsoever. There was no one smoking at my gathering and I can assure you that I am being wrongfully accused and attacked. I do not feel it is right to charge me $705 and unprofessionally handle this situation due to the anger and rage Elizabeth held towards us, someone to whom she had never spoken.

Airbnb Owners Traumatise Neighboring Family

We have attempted to communicate with our neighbours for the last three years to find some sort of resolution to the constant intrusion to our family life. Our communication has been up and down to say the least but we are now blocked. In summary they have countered, ignored and deferred our desperate pleas for action for three years. I guess if they are earning $600 a night for a heavily booked hotel with no consequences, it’s not in their best interest to acknowledge our concerns. Insulating the house and putting up a decorative privacy screen does nothing to mitigate the foul behaviour and assaults that emanate from an openly advertised party venue. The owners are running the business next door and they are responsible for what happens there. I believe that as an owner of the property they should be held accountable for what happens. We have been verbally and physically abused and my children now have to ask if it’s ok to play in our back yard. Airbnb have ignored our multiple reports and phone calls. I was hit by flying beer and wine bottles last week. What does it take?

 

Worst Valentine Getaway: No Help from Airbnb

I know a listing that must be taken off Airbnb. Customer support has not helped. Fay’s place was a nightmare. It’s unsafe – three dogs, broken guardrails – and has dirty floors, couch, kitchen and bathroom. It is not a private home, but rather a shared upstairs living room. She and others live there with three large dogs separated by a curtain with no door. It is a dirty studio with a view of her garage (guest house conversion) and three large German Shepherds which go outside and inside freely with no separation between them and your private space. Before arriving I contacted her several times with no response. The house was dirty and clearly thrown together at the last minute before we came in. The location would be ok if it was not the worst house on the block and an eyesore. Having three large dogs in the back yard barking at us was not ok and inviting them into the house without consulting us was also not ok because they bark at you aggressively. Also having Fay yell shut the hell up aggressively did not help us feel comfortable in this situation.

Airbnb was not helpful in resolving these issues and did not care about our safety and comfort. Instead they only asked us to take pictures of these issues at night in an unsafe house and conditions. Jolanda, our customer support case manager, answered the phone several times without responding for minutes while we were forced to listen to the room full of side conversations until she decided to answer the phone out loud (clearly someone was in training and rude side conversations dominated the actual support). After getting Jolanda on the phone and explaining these issues she said there was nothing Airbnb could do and they said that they wanted to contact the host and resolve the issue while we were there, without considering our safety and comfort in this terrible situation.

If a listing is unsafe and uncomfortable, then Airbnb should refund the cost of the rental and take the unit off of the market until the issues listed in the reviews have been resolved and reviewed by an Airbnb agent. They did not facilitate finding another location to stay even though they said they would and they would not acknowledge that several others have had these same issues (which we later found in other reviews). Also, after Jolanda said that she would find us a place to stay in 5-10 minutes she did not get back to us at all. So after waiting for 40 minutes I called Airbnb and stayed in contact with their team for over four hours with zero helpful customer support and no access to a customer support manager or supervisor. There is no excuse for this level of service.

Other important notes: if the outside railing of the second floor is rotting and spilling over to the bottom floor then this unit should not be listed as safe. If it is not a private home then it should not be listed as such. If it is not a penthouse then it should not be listed as such. If the host cannot fix these complaints and cannot prepare her home properly then she should not be a host. Also, Airbnb provided zero follow up with me now 15 hours after the event; customer support was rude and provided no conflict resolution for the four hours I was on the phone with them. After traveling with Airbnb for years and having many positive experiences I can only imagine that this was a freak event at a freak location. I would like to hear a response from Fay and Airbnb explaining the resolution to these issues.

Less Safety and Trustworthy Guarantee on Airbnb?

We booked a house with this host from December 30th, 2016 until January 1st, 2017. He had two properties: one for a maximum of ten people, and another for a maximum of fourteen people. I told him that I needed the 14-person house and then we paid. We had nine people, all with big suitcases. We knew some hosts do not reveal the real capacity of their properties for comfort level, so we thought we would take a precautionary step. We arrived, and we were still placed in the smaller room. The nightmare started right away. After we paid, we couldn’t reach the host. Neither phone calls (at least ten times) or messages on Airbnb would receive any response. Some of us needed to stay in living room (his beds were only enough for six adults). Every corner was filled with dust like no one had been cleaning. There was a smelly toilet, and no extra blankets for the winter weather.

After 24 hours and many requests to change or cancel the booking, the host finally responded: “I thought you had a sufficient number of Japanese style beds.” That’s all he answered. Therefore, any host who wants to make quick money in this irresponsible manner should use Airbnb. They know Airbnb does not have much of a hold on their behavior, so as long as they make money, why should they care about anything else? Airbnb can say that there are many more good experiences, but how about all these irresponsible hosts? Who can take action against them? The host’s profile showed others’ reviews. Are these reviews just plain words? Can they be respected? Or is this just a trick from Airbnb to dilute the guest’s anger and complaints, e.g. “I heard you but sorry, I cannot do anything.” Both Airbnb and the host are still making money. The host can choose to not answer our calls and messages during our stay. What if an accident or safety issue happened and no one responded? I have to put my money and life at risk, just because I booked on Airbnb?

Airbnb Guest Snuck Boyfriend into Room Overnight

I hosted someone from Airbnb on February 10th. He asked me if his boyfriend could check in earlier; usually I allow guests to check in at 3:00 PM but I was flexible so I let him do it at 1:30. An hour later a friend of his boyfriend came over with his things; he told us he was looking for a hotel. When I arrived that night I thought they were sleeping, and in the morning I knocked on the door at the check out time (12:00 PM). No one answered so I opened the door and found a condom in the bed, drugs, and the belongings of the friend that was supposedly looking for a hotel. They weren’t there. His things are still here, they have the key of my house, they don’t answer the phone, and I’m feeling insecure because I don’t know these people and when they are going to come and give me the key. I need Airbnb to respond as soon as possible to this abuse. I need an answer and a solution right now. I don’t want anyone breaking into my house. I can’t even rent the room with the mess that these people left in my house.

Airbnb Guests Damage House, Refuse to Pay

We have rented our house out for several years and recently had a party of guests who left the house in a complete mess, requiring an extra five hours of cleaning: burnt pans, broken kettle, damaged lights and kitchen utensils. Even worse, they had some sort of candles burning on the mantlepiece (we don’t allow candles) which caused significant smoke damage to the wall and ceiling which they tried to clean off, making even more of a mess. They broke every single house rule and then tried to claim the house was dirty when they arrived (I am a superhost and my house has always received five-star reviews) We contacted Airbnb with photos of the damage and after two weeks of going backwards and forwards with photos of items we need to replace and estimates for the cost of replacing them, they have come back and said they will not allow us to claim any of the security deposit to cover the costs of these things. I think this is disgusting and disrespectful and weighted far too heavily towards the guest. I used to think Airbnb was a great way of staying somewhere and we have always had no issues as guests. Actually our Airbnb guests have usually been better than those on other sites, but I will remove my house from their site now because they have confirmed that they don’t care what happens to my house; they won’t cover any damage.

Do Airbnb Hosts Take Any Pride in Their Homes?

Upon arrival we noticed the home hadn’t been clean. All primary areas in which we were to occupy were dirty. The home was not clean enough to stay in. The shower had mold, and the fridge and stove looked as if they hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. The linen was dirty with stains and what looked like pet hair. You could physically feel the dirt on the comforter. There were two locks and the key wouldn’t work for the bottom. Only the top lock worked, but it became stuck and hard to turn or remove the key. Some of the windows within the home did not have locks and the neighborhood appeared slight sketchy; the overall feeling wasn’t safe for two women traveling from out of town. Overall we did not feel safe. When attempting to contact the host to inform her we felt uncomfortable and unsafe she became very confrontational and basically said she didn’t care what we did as she had her money. She stated that the house had been throughly cleaned and cut me off as I was explaining the door situation. The host knew the home she provided didn’t conform to health code standards and should have been ashamed; no one would be comfortable staying in those conditions. Safe yourself from being robbed morally, financially, and probably even physically while using Airbnb.