Airbnb Cozy Modern Studio Over a Dumpster

We were super excited to stay at this property because all of the photos on the Airbnb ad showed a lovely walk and beachfront condo. Little did we know that none of the exterior photos were of the unit being advertised. All of the exterior photos showed views of a beachfront unit with a patio and grill, when in fact this unit was in a separate building, facing the other direction, over a wall and an alley. There was no view, and no patio.

The only furniture near the patio (which was between the beach view units) was walled off with a sign that said: “owner only, no trespassing.” There was no view and no outdoor space, and it was the opposite of beachfront property; it was dumpster alley front. The inside was tiny, with no fans or air conditioning, only a tiny bed you had to climb a ladder to reach that faced an alley. There was not even a window that opens, just a tiny crank window in the bathroom that opened about two inches. We couldn’t sleep because there was a window (that does not open for air flow) right next to the bed with no shade. Cars drove down the alley all night with lights shining in our faces. It was also extremely loud due to all the drunk people fighting and running up and down the alley all night. It turned out, the bed was actually over the alley dumpster. Good luck sleeping with drunk people throwing bottles in it all night.

There was also a sunken shower that extended into the middle of the walkway – super dangerous and not at all family friendly. The Airbnb booking included TV. There was a TV, but it was mounted about nine feet off the ground, had no working remote, and was not actually hooked up even for local channels. For $250 a night, most people would think things like TV and air conditioning are standard. This is clearly a professional investment property. No one lives here – or could – full time. It is a tiny closet-sized box in an alleyway.

Airbnb did not care that the place was not as advertised. Simply not advertising them doesn’t relieve the host of his responsibility to be accurate. Accuracy includes divulging information, not withholding it. There should be a map showing that this is a back wall-facing unit with no views, no air conditioning, no TV, and no patio. I paid $978 and the place was so bad that we packed up and left at 7:00 AM, and moved to a hotel. I immediately messaged the host and agreed to pay 25% of the total price, so $734. He messaged me back and said he would refund me in accordance with the moderate cancellation policy. I thought that meant we had an agreement (which is more than fair, considering that we only stayed one night).

I didn’t hear from him again until I had arrived back in my hometown and he messaged me saying I would be refunded only $195. This really made me mad and I am sure it was tactical. He then told Airbnb that because I didn’t click “cancel” on my reservation, he couldn’t rent out the place for the remaining three days. He never told me that I had to do anything other than notify him. I am sure that this guy is out for the maximum return on his investment and doesn’t care about the comfort of guests. He also clearly was comfortable crossing the line into false advertising because he knew Airbnb wouldn’t do anything about it. They didn’t. They even acknowledged that some of the photos could be misleading, but have done nothing about it.

Airbnb Takes Host’s Side in Flophouse Complaint

It’s been ten days since I discussed the complaints about my host with Airbnb’s resolution center, to no avail. She won’t understand my queries. She uses all her energy to agree with the host and dismiss me. All she understands about my complaints are the cleanliness and misrepresentation, and that’s okay with her.

On April 21st, 2017, we reserved the master bedroom of for an appartment in Hollywood. The listing claimed the following amenities were included:

– You get your own master bedroom with a private bathroom, closet, balcony
– Sleeps three (third person can choose to sleep on living room couch or an air mattress)
– Free wifi
– Central air conditioning and heating
– Hardwood floors (carpeted bedroom/walk-in closet)
– All brand new furniture and apartment
– Dishwasher, microwave, full size stove
– Laundry Facilities inside the unit (modern washer and dryer)
– Cleaned by professional maids
– Full kitchen
– Extra comfortable mattresses: 600 thread count sheets, high quality comforter sets
– Chic and modern design
– Stainless steel appliances

We demand a refund for the following reasons. Before reserving, we asked for more pictures, because only one was provided in the listing. A woman claiming to be the host said that she did not have any at the moment. When we saw the apartment, we understood why she would not provide pictures. We did have our own room with a private bathroom. It was very sparsely furnished with just a bed and a TV. There was No bedside table or lamp, no dresser, no chairs, and no sofa, contrary to what was shown in the picture. In addition:

• We had to ask for the air mattress, which was stored in a pile in the dirty living room. • It smelled like cheap perfume in the room, as if someone wanted to hide a bad smell.
• The bath, sink, and mirror were dirty.
• The only linens that were provided were five washcloths and a hand towel.
• The blinds did not work properly, missing many slats
• The balcony was cluttered with stuff belonging to other people (and the host responded that he wasn’t responsible for the comings and goings of the people in the apartment)
• The room could only be locked from the inside, so we could not lock it when we wanted to leave.

Furthermore, the front door was always unlocked. The host only gave us the key to the building, not to the apartment, claiming that there was always someone there. Therefore, both the front door and the door to our room were always unlocked, so we could easily have been robbed. When we confronted the host about these problems, he made up excuses and said he would get the air mattress (which he did) and extra linens (which he didn’t). When we explained our problems with the state of the apartment, he replied that we had only rented a room, disregarding the fact that we were supposed to have access to the kitchen, which was in a horrible state.

As for the rest of the appartment…

• There were four or five occupants in the living room and kitchen when we arrived (alone, because the host did not meet us). These were all temporary lodgers or Couchsurfers, judging by all the couches and air mattresses.
• The kitchen and fridge were dirty and smelled bad, just like the rest of the apartment.
• There was no coffee maker, and no glasses. We only managed to find two cups.
• When we woke up, six people were sleeping in that mess of a living room. We have traveled a lot (often using Airbnb), enough to know what to expect from a room costing 123 CAD (plus fees) in Hollywood. We did not expect the Ritz, but we will not accept paying that for a room in a dirty apartment that felt like a bad youth hostel.

We also had the following problems communicating with the host:

• He made me repeat a lot of information before we arrived, while I was in Venice. All that information was already in our Airbnb messages.
• I had to insist that he take our luggage on the morning of our arrival, as agreed, because he thought he might no longer be available.
• He arranged a meeting to pick up our luggage, not in front of the apartment, but across the street. It wasn’t the host who met us, but a lodger who had been woken up at the last minute, and was late.
• When we came back that night, we again had to meet across the street. He then gave us confusing information, and asked us to claim that we are family if anybody asked.

The host did try to be courteous, and said he did not want us to be dissatisfied. He even made a brief attempt at tidying up the kitchen, but that did not fix anything. We had to sleep there the first night, because we arrived at 7:45 PM (as he requested), which was too late to find any other accommodations at a reasonable price, though I searched for three hours. I did find something for the next two nights, but it cost more than my Airbnb booking. At such short notice, barely anything was available in Hollywood. For all these reasons, and generally for false advertising, we demand a complete refund.

On a final note, I don’t think this host even has the right to rent out his apartment, because he always refused to meet us in front of the building, never came in with us, and asked us to claim that we were family if asked. I have contacted his co-op board to find out. Thank you for your attention and your cooperation.

Airbnb Not as Advertised for Elderly Parents

We arranged for my elderly parents to stay in what was advertised as a full house/apartment in Greenville, SC. When my parents arrived, we met them at the Airbnb they had reserved and discovered it to be a room with a king size bed, one chair, and no dining room table. There wasn’t even a full kitchen (a sink, coffee pot, microwave, and fridge). This is not an apartment or a full house. Neither a person nor a couple could live there for two weeks. They could sleep and shower there, but that is all there is room for.

When we told the host we would have to move, my parents and I said we would like a refund for the booking on the first night. She told us we must just not like it and that she had had only good reviews so far. If we had a complaint, we needed to take it to Airbnb. We took it to Airbnb. Their customer service people have been trained to be empathetic and understanding, so one thinks their case will be heard and that they will help. However, after several hours total on the phone and online chat, my parents only received a 50% refund. The 50% refund was because “they had not received a response from their email.” Not only had they received a response, they had received more than one response.

All told, we have contacted Airbnb six times. The last time they sent us back to the owner, who has not yet responded. The third line in the cancellation policy says if you leave early you will be refunded the remaining balance. This did not happen. Airbnb also said, on the fifth call, that we had not provided photo evidence of our complaint. This is true. However, we were never asked to provide photo evidence. We cannot even give a bad review as they make sure there is no place to do it.

We cannot request money for the trip because the trip has already passed. We cannot make a report to the BBB because my father or mother have to do it. My father had a major stroke a month ago and is unable to do it, and my mother, who is his power of attorney, wrote a letter to the BBB asking them to allow me to complain on her behalf because of her poor health.