Know What You’re Getting Into Before You Book

In the city center of Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, there was a cozy and quiet Airbnb apartment for rent in a building over 100 years old. It was newly renovated and in the historic center of Palma, located 150 meters from City Hall Square (Cort), 300 meters from the cathedral, and just 70 meters from the Plaza Mayor.

I would like to share my experience with you about this Airbnb host. I heard that Airbnb will start doing inspections and I am very glad for this. My last experience at Palma was not very good for a few reasons. I don’t want to make this story very long but I want it to convey what you are getting into if you are thinking about renting this apartment. The only good thing I can say about this apartment is that it was a good location if you like to be downtown. The rest I will be honest with you about; not a word of this is a lie. I have pictures and recordings to document my stay.

The stairs (she mentioned that there was no lift) are a nightmare. They aren’t meant to be used by older people; this should be mentioned in the listing. What she forgot to mention was that the building right beside the apartment (I mean less than two feet away) is under construction. The sound of drilling is still in my head. We had to leave from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The noise seemed like they were actually in our bedroom. It was really terrible and extremely loud.

On a previous trip to Palma, we went to the beach and came back around 3:00 PM to take a nap. Not this time. One day we arrived at the apartment early and it was impossible even to talk because of the noise. I wrote a private letter to the host and the answer I received was not very good. He gave a very poor apology, saying that it was not noisy. I have this recorded.

There was also a very bad kitchen. It said on the listing that the kitchen was fully equipped, but there was not even a kettle to heat water. One knife that barely cuts.

The most important aspect for me was the safety. There was no fire escape, only two fire extinguishers in the second floor (people could be fighting over using them). I don’t know the rules in Spain, but this is unacceptable. An accident can happen when people smoke everywhere. There was no place to go in the event of a fire. There were also ants everywhere; the host was so “kind” that he left an ant killer spray.

Dreadful Customer Service with Airbnb After Host Bailed

On June 30th, I booked a one-night stay in Barcelona. The host messaged at what time I was supposed to check in. It was in Spanish and I couldn’t understand a word of it. My battery was extremely low and I was running out of data. I asked him to reply via text or call, and in English. He did neither. I’d been travelling all day from Granada and had a train to catch for Paris at 7:00 the next morning. It was essential that I slept well. He ignored nine calls and still hadn’t replied to a WhatsApp message over two hours after the time I’d arranged to check in.

I had to find somewhere to sleep and after asking at hostels and hotels that had no available rooms I eventually found a place after walking around with my luggage, tired and annoyed. The only available room they had was 127.34 euros. Was I supposed to walk around and compare prices to find somewhere within the price bracket, assuming they had a room at all!? What’s the alternative, sleeping in a park? What are the chances of finding a last-minute room in Barcelona, let alone one for 60 euros? It’s an impossible task.

Airbnb offered me zero assistance in finding additional accommodation. I was told by the adviser on the phone (after calling twice and being on hold for around ten minutes) that it was too late to book an alternative Airbnb room and I was left totally alone. I had no data or phone battery to research. I had to wander around from hotel to hotel. After being told at numerous hotels and hostels that there were no rooms, I booked the first available room. I didn’t just decide to book the most expensive room available.

I have now been told in a very highhanded manner that I can’t be reimbursed, as I didn’t clear it with Airbnb first. Should I have stood in reception and been on hold for another ten minutes with a dying battery to be told it was okay to book a room? The customer service representative has also refused to forward my case to a senior manager and told me that he considers the case closed.

On Facebook they asked me to send a direct message with my email on Twitter. I did and waited over a week for a response. They only ever messaged via Twitter despite asking for a direct email address. I kept it up and they sent this response: “Thanks so much for your patience throughout the revision of your case. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have decided to reiterate our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Thank you for your contribution.”

The arrogance is astonishing. This is the most appalling customer service. Any advice on what I can do?

Not Paying Attention to House Rules Can Cost You

I had a flight to Zurich two weeks ago. When I was boarding, I made a booking on Airbnb at the last moment, like I always do. This is my travel life style; everything is booked at the last minute, and I thought no host would complain about it. Anyway, I booked it, they charged my card, and after a while this host in Zurich said that I could not check in at the time I wanted (1-2:00 PM) and I needed to wait for him until 9:00 PM. For me, after a long flight the last thing I want to do is wait seven hours with luggage, tired in the airport. Of course I wanted to arrive, take a shower, sleep, and then explore the city.

When I saw his reply that he only checks in guests at 9:00 PM and later, I said he could cancel my booking. He rudely said no, that this was my problem for not looking at the house rules on his profile page before I booked. I checked his page, and it was my mistake. I totally agreed with him and asked him what I could do now. I had already paid. Again, I was completely okay with this being my mistake, because I made the booking in a hurry before my departure. However, from the beginning I saw a rude attitude in his messages and honestly did not want to see his face. Even though I had already paid, self respect is more important than the fifty dollars I paid.

I arrived in Zurich, met my friends for coffee, and told them the story that I had to wait for host until 9:00, and that the host didn’t sound like a host. My friends told me I could stay with them, and forget about paying 50 USD for an Airbnb. I was very happy. That evening this rude host started asking me where I was, and why I was late. Really? I rented a room at his place, where he lives, not the entire home, and he wrote in his profile that checking in anytime from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM was fine. Why should I hurry? He would be home all this time, waiting for me and his other guests, because this is somehow extra income for him. Why would he tell me he is not a hotel and I most arrive at the time which we agreed upon?

What is it, if not a hotel? The moment you start to get any money from a guest it’s called rent, and I’m his customer. I wanted to write a negative comment about him, but was busy with my travels. Now Airbnb is saying I can’t write a comment after 14 days, which is sad, because he wrote a comment about me. I don’t know how to remove it, or how to write and report about him.

Airbnb Disaster Avoided: Almost Homeless in Seville

A month ago I reserved this house in the Jewish quarter of Seville, happy with the price and the location and reassured by more than 30 positive reviews. The host was quick to reply and easy to contact, at the beginning. Five days before the beginning of my journey, I wrote him a message on Airbnb to ask him about some facilities and the check-in procedure. After more than 24 hours of waiting for news from him, I tried to call him on the “verified” number, which turned out to be wrong. As a consequence, I called Airbnb customer service to inform them of what was going on.

The guy from Airbnb told me that he would try to get in contact with the host, who – according to the reviews and to his profile – used to be quite active on the platform. After 36 hours, the host eventually replied to my questions about the facilities, but he eluded the question about the check-in time. I asked again about checking in, and also demanded he provide a proper working mobile number. After some hours, he gave me a new number and told me that he would contact me via WhatsApp straight away (but of course, he didn’t).

Late in the evening, Airbnb customer service called me, saying that they had finally reached the host over the phone, and that he intended to cancel my reservation. Obviously I didn’t know a thing about his intentions, and that happened three days before I was supposed to arrive. When things started to sound weird after contacting customer service for the first time, I reserved another place (not the house of my dreams… but what can you expect with a very last-minute booking?) with flexible terms, in order not to find myself homeless in Sevilla.

Since the host just “announced” his intentions to Airbnb’s staff, but didn’t really cancel the reservation, customer service did it in his place. I got a full refund from Airbnb. I don’t know what this guy had in mind… if he wanted to scam me, or if he is just an awful person who for whatsoever reasons wanted to leave me without a place to stay, ruining my holiday in Seville.

Airbnb Fail, Kicked out of Barcelona Flat

On May 24th, I stayed for one night at a flat in Barcelona, and it was an absolute disaster. That night, things were very loud. Despite going to bed at 10:30 PM I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30 AM when the party outside my window finally died down. These conditions were not conveyed to me ahead of time. I calmly approached my host about this the next morning at 8:40 AM. Rather than trying to resolve or talk through the issue, she canceled my reservation and demanded I leave the flat by 12:00 PM. I received a refund at 9:30 AM after which I frantically tried to contact Airbnb for support while I searched the website for alternatives. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone from their support team, and the website yielded “zero available rentals during my preferred time frame.”

By 9:40 AM, my host became hostile. By 9:55 AM, she was back at the flat demanding I leave immediately. She threatened me by saying: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Don’t make me call someone to remove you.” I tried to reason with her; I was afraid and alone, and I felt it best that I leave immediately. I hailed a taxi to a nearby hotel where I shelled out 500 euros per night for the remainder of my trip (2500 euros total). This was five times what I had budgeted for the trip – the host’s flat was only 80 euros/night. Seven days later, I still have not heard back from Airbnb support on this issue, despite sending the desperate email attached. I am massively disappointed with their vetting process for hosts, and for their lack of customer support in resolving the issue and making me feel like a valued customer. I have three upcoming trips planned with Airbnb over the next six weeks, and I’m tempted to cancel them all.

Airbnb Customer Service Handles Lack of Wifi Poorly

I booked an apartment through Airbnb in Madrid for a long-term stay, about 60 days. I never met the host. This wasn’t a problem, as I was shown around by her friend who was also the person I was to solely communicate with about any problems. The first thing I did when I arrived was check the wifi signal, as it was listed as an amenity on Airbnb. The connection was terrible and always disconnected due to the router being three floors away and shared by a number of other guests. I told the host’s friend about this problem as well as the host herself and they mentioned that they would bring a signal booster around within the next couple of days. I waited patiently whilst delaying my work and losing some income.

Eventually the host’s friend arrived with the signal booster which we set up and tried but it didn’t make a difference at all. The host’s friend also mentioned that some guests have had problems with the wifi in the past too. After fiddling around with the signal booster by putting it in different positions for about an hour the host’s friend gave up and left. At this point I phoned and complained to Airbnb, who told me that they would help me find a new place before my next installment of £1000+ was due. However, they did not keep their promise and this forced me to cancel my booking.

When cancelling my booking the website told me the amount due was for the next 30 days; to cover myself, I paid this so that after the 30 days were up I could move somewhere else. However, this was not the case. Upon canceling my booking on the Airbnb website it stated that I must pay for the following 30 days but it didn’t tell me that I was not entitled to use the apartment for these 30 days that I just paid for. At this point, I was in such a panic and contacted the host telling them what I had done. Luckily they agreed to still let me stay (as they should – I paid for those days). During the 30 days I was staying there I complained a number of times to the host and the host’s friend as well as Airbnb and nothing was done about the situation with the wifi.

After the 30 days were up, I moved into a new place and this time talked to Airbnb to request half of my money back. After a few emails back and forth with the woman who was dealing with my case, she stated that according to their terms and conditions I am only entitled to four days of staying there as after these four days is when I cancelled… even though I paid for 30+ days and lost out on thousands of paid work. On top of this, Airbnb could clearly see in the chat log that the host was lying through her teeth as she said that I sent her a message saying that the wifi was working when there is no such message; there were only messages of me complaining about it. I am never going to use Airbnb again. I thought being a modern company they would have some ethical consideration and take things into account rather than blasting ”according to our terms and conditions” in my face.

To sum it up, I spent £1300 on an apartment for 33 days, and they told me I was only entitled to four days’ refund as I cancelled my booking to prevent myself from losing out on more paid work due to the amenity problem. If Airbnb reads this then they can be assured that they’re going to lose a lot more money than the modest refund that I requested for being screwed over by them and the host.

Not Able to Find Airbnb Host, Cancelled Stay in Dublin

I booked an Airbnb in Dublin, outside the city center I believe. I drove because I thought I could stop somewhere and ask for directions. I had Googled the trip directions and followed them. About 7 km from the destination things went wrong. At a cafe I rang the host for assistance. She basically left me there to fend for myself. I clearly said where I was. According to her, none of her guests had had this problem, so why couldn’t I put an address in Google? What about herself? After asking the girl in the cafe for directions, also assisted by a customer, I got new directions. I was going the right way. But with all the traffic and side roads, road works, etc, I got totally lost and ended up in the city center. The end of the story is that I never reached the place and got so stressed I decided to return home. There was no respect or any kind of understanding from the host. Apparently people are all the same and can handle everything.

Family Reservation in Spain Cancelled after Three Months

I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.

Scammed and not Given Compensation for Barcelona Stay

My boyfriend and I had paid to stay in someone’s apartment in Barcelona as a last resort because there were no affordable hotels available on our dates because they clashed with a world congress gathering. We arrived at the address of the listed apartment (from a verified host with multiple positive reviews) which lead us down a narrow poorly lit side alley to a building with no lights, locked doors, and appeared to be undergoing construction. Keep in mind this was at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night in a foreign country. We tried phoning and texting the host and got no response. He turned his phone off when I continued to call so we left and found a safe place to sit with our bags while frantically trying to work out what to do. I had never used Airbnb before so never knew what to do in this situation. With help from both our families back home we got a place to stay. In total we had to spend £600+ on hotels for the three nights, which is significantly more than we had originally spent on the apartment.

We tried emailing Airbnb and didn’t get a response. When they eventually did respond they weren’t much help at all and by then we had already sorted out a place to stay. They have now eventually refunded what I originally paid for the apartment but nothing else, meaning we are £400+ out of pocket as a result of this guy’s actions through absolutely no fault of our own (other than not having insurance). I totally understand if I had had insurance that this could of been different but after reading several forums online of people being given compensation by the company I asked why I wasn’t given the same consideration. I was told “every situation is dealt with on a individual case by case basis.” I was massively let down by both this organisation and the host. I understand not every host on this site is a fraud and I probably got one bad egg out of a whole bunch. However, the possibility of this happening is very real even if hosts look reliable so I’d advise anyone planning on booking to learn from my mistakes and be more wary.