The People Who Run Airbnb Are Thieves

Thieves! Never trust the listing and pictures. What you see is never what you get. I arrived with my family at the place we booked for our dream vacation on Boxing Day and we could not believe what we paid for. We paid four months before our vacation. The holiday turned into hell for us immediately. After going through a painful negotiation with the host and Airbnb they agreed to partially refund us on difficult terms if we left immediately. I spent all of Christmas Day and night listening to my kids crying from cold and exhaustion in the cold dungeon we booked as a luxury apartment. Now after 20 days, Airbnb refused to refund me, even the host did not receive any payment from them. They are just sitting on the money and not replying to email and phone calls.

Airbnb Screws Guests with Refund Policy

I’ll keep it short. I had a place reserved for a month on Airbnb and the host (Laila) did not have the apartment ready. She told me that she would give me a full refund, but then decided to change her mind that night. That was on a Friday night. She kept telling Airbnb that she would let my family and I stay (my wife and I have a two year old), but would ever answer our calls. Finally, after three days in a hotel, Airbnb cancelled the reservation on her behalf and gave us a full refund. That was on Sunday night. They did not take the word of the guest at all, only what the host said.

As Laila was not ready, I reserved another place in a last-minute situation to get my family somewhere to stay for the month. When I arrived at the apartment I asked the host if he was allowed to rent to me, and he said he wasn’t but that it was ok because he had just bought a house. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with that, and to please cancel the reservation. He told me no, and to get out of his apartment. After he kicked my family and me out, I called Airbnb to explain. They then cancelled the reservation on my behalf, without my permission, and gave me a $2 refund on $2350. I called his apartment complex to confirm that he was not allowed to rent, and they provided me with the portion of the lease saying that he is not allowed to sublease or use online rental sites.

I let Airbnb know and sent them the portion of the lease, but they said that I needed to provide his full lease with his name and address. Seriously? They know that I can’t provide anything other than the contact information for the apartment complex so that they can reach out. I’ve been going back and forth with them for over a week, and they gave me an 80% refund, but at this point it’s looking like he’ll keep $600. Now I have to go through the process of filing a claim with my credit company in the hopes that their lawyers can resolve it. If you have the option, do not use Airbnb. There are other sites like HomeAway and VRBO that will provide you with a much better service, and offer protection for this exact situation.

Fake Listing on Airbnb Cost me Over £3500

As a first time user on Airbnb I had never used their site. I was booking a ski apartment in Morzine, France for me and seven others. I found a perfect apartment; it looked lovely and was at a perfect location in town. I emailed the ‘host’ using the link on the Airbnb website, which said “click here to contact host.” For over three weeks I asked questions and explained I had to get a commitment from my seven friends, hence it took three weeks to finally make the booking. We must have exchanged over 20 emails. Little did I realize this host had a fake email address set up with an Airbnb heading: all the fonts, fine print, everything. At some point during our conversations she switched addresses and all further correspondence went through this channel without my knowledge. When it finally came time to book she even mentioned to me that I was to pay Airbnb and not her directly.

I was then sent an invoice from what appeared to be Airbnb (since then I have seen a friend’s real booking – his invoice looks exactly the same) and I paid it. I even checked online 24 hours later, saw the money had left my account and the beneficiary was Airbnb, and so I had no reason to question it. It wasn’t until a month later, when the holiday was getting closer that I decided to touch base and all was revealed as the host didn’t answer her email. When I tried to click through to Airbnb on one of her letterhead emails the listing had been removed. Airbnb sent me their standard email three times stating, “as I paid outside their platform they wouldn’t help.”

They won’t take any responsibility for a fake listing on their site. Since finding out I was cheated, I have done some research and have discovered unfortunately I am not alone; this has happened to a number of people though my situation seems to be for the most money. I am not a stupid person; these people are very clever and know how to scam others. I do not think Airbnb protected my interests. When setting up my profile I didn’t receive any warnings about how to pay hosts correctly. Instead, there are various references to ways littered across the site, including ‘instant book’ and ‘contact host’. These create enough confusion so that when an email is received from someone listed as a verified user you do not doubt it. When taking on a property it should be their responsibility to verify these listings. It wouldn’t be difficult – even a copy of a utility bill from this property would have saved me and others like me from being scammed. Airbnb is a huge international company, stretching to over 190 different countries, so I am just a small fry to them. Unfortunately for them £3500 is a huge amount of money to me and I will not stop until I get it back.

Hosts Pressure and Lie to Guests to Cancel Bookings

I am relatively new to Airbnb, but I’m already sick and tired of it. I have had two experiences from hosts who wanted to cancel the reservation, but are too disorganised and lazy to do so more than a week in advance. They concoct fake excuses to pressure the guest into cancelling the reservation themselves, saving the host paying a cancellation fee. My first experience was with Evelyne Chiarro in Saint-Quentin-la-Chabanne. About a week before I was going to stay, she asked me If I had a car. I replied that I didn’t, so she edited her profile description to say that a car was mandatory to reach her address, and if I didn’t have one, I should cancel. She then refused to give directions to her house, and ignored all my other emails. I requested she cancel, but she ignored that. Because it was so close to the non-refundable deadline, I had to cancel the reservation myself.

My second bad experience was with an Agnes Pingkan in Groningen. A week before I was due to stay, she sent me an email saying that she didn’t live at the address any more, she thought she had deleted the Airbnb account, and she was surprised it was still accepting bookings. I emailed her five times to cancel my booking, but she ignored them so I had to do it myself. Her room is still listed on the website. Needless to say, complaints to Airbnb were ignored too. Both these times caused me a lot of stress and I had to book expensive hotels in the area because of the short notice given. This makes me distrust Airbnb because I don’t know if my bookings are going to be honoured right up until the last minute. Unless Airbnb deletes these user accounts and cracks down on this sort of fraud, I can only recommend people avoid this website in the future.

Airbnb London Hell: Host Refuses to Cancel

I had booked an apartment with Isable and Hyder in London. I had made my booking at the end of October and paid three months in advance (all emails and payments are well recorded and can be provided if needed). Prior to making our journey to the apartment, we had contacted the host in the morning to reconfirm the booking and ensure everything went smoothly. The host had confirmed on several occasions that the apartment was ready for us. This was confirmed on the evening of December 28th, the next morning, and while we were on our way to the apartment.

When we arrived the consigner informed us that there was someone in the apartment we had booked. We tried to contact the host on several occasions and did not get any response from her; she avoided taking our calls. We finally managed to get ahold of the host, who then tried to relocate us to another apartment, which was much smaller in size, dirty and quite disgusting, and without a working shower, heathers, cooker or oven (recorded in photographs above). We informed the host that we would not be able to stay in such an apartment and she asked us to cancel our booking without any refund or compensation for the trouble they had caused us. However, we informed them we would be willing to take another apartment, similar to the one we had booked, but this was unavailable. The host then informed us they would compensate us £100, which was very insignificant, and an insult to the damage caused. We refused to cancel the booking and went through the process of a booking a hotel in the same area, which cost much more. At 7:02 PM the host decided to cancel the booking and a refund of £1041 was made to our PayPal account. However we had spent a lot of time and money in planning our five-day trip: £100 in household shopping including fruits and vegetables, £28.67 for our Uber from Harrow to Saint Edmund’s Terrace, £8.98 to Forset Court, and £25.24 back to Harrow. Our hotel booking is now £510 per night for three people and we are staying a total of five nights, totaling £2,550.

Disgusted Beyond Belief: Dirty Airbnb

Since Airbnb does not allow reviews on places if we leave I’m posting my story here. People may wonder why I tried so hard to make this work after reading my email. It was because I was exhausted and the thought of hauling our stuff down three flights of stairs and finding a hotel seemed like too much. I was a fool to try so hard. Here is the link to the property. Due to Airbnb policies not everyone gets to write a review which is why I was fooled.

Here is what happened. Prior to arrival, I called the host, and within 45 seconds of the conversation he said, “you can’t judge me.” I asked him why I would judge him and he said he was going through a breakup with a girlfriend and had lost his BMW. He said he had people judging him of late. If he means judging him based on what I’ve written below, then I guess I’m also judging him.

We arrived and texted Ryan, the host. He told us to come to a bar close by to get the key. My husband, Hanny, and I do not drink. It was 8:00 PM, and we were both tired. By the time we got the text we had already unloaded all of our luggage. We were not going to put it back into the car to find a bar, which Ryan told us to Google. I texted him back and informed him of this. After waiting some minutes without a reply from him, I called. He said he got the text and was on his way.

The complex he lives in does not know he is renting out space. I suspect this is not that unusual. We didn’t have a problem with that, but we also didn’t want to have to worry about what to say if approached. It was apparent the apartment had not been cleaned in some time. While not cluttered it was dirty. When we walked in, the table that should have been used for eating was not only dirty it had a dirty shirt in the middle of it. Ryan got us some towels, chatted for a few minutes and headed back to the bar and his date. We were tired and wanted to go to bed, so that was okay.

The bed was a whole issue within itself. It was missing a top sheet, and the bottom sheet showed clear signs of being dirty: nail clippings, popcorn kernels, and discharge. The pillow cases smelled of perfume. Hanny called Ryan to ask where we could find clean sheets. Ryan offered to come back, but we didn’t want to wait for him. He told Hanny where he could find the linens. He found one top sheet and a couple of pillow cases in a linen closet. I found another top sheet in our room. We were so tired we just wanted to make this work. So we stripped the bed and put on the two top sheets. Then we noticed the top sheet from the linen closet had something on it. Soap, hand lotion, who knows. At that point, I said screw this and pulled the sheets off and took them over to washer/dryer area. He had a huge mound of clothes on the machines that we had to move over to get the lid open. Inside was other clothes that I think might have been dirty. So I had to remove a stranger’s dirty clothes to wash our dirty sheets. There were also clothes in the dryer.

After starting the laundry, I went back to the room to unpack. Nothing had been dusted. The desk and the chest of drawers had a layer of dirt. I’m not picky here. I have a picture of a wet paper towel that shows the dirt I was wiping off so I could set our clean belongings on them. I went to use the toilet and found just a few squares that I could use. No other toilet paper was in that bathroom. Later, I took the roll from Ryan’s bathroom. After flushing the toilet with very little toilet paper in it, it went down and then came back up. When washing my hands, I could see the bathroom sink was not clean and the mirror was dirty. I went and got more paper towels to try to make things at least look clean. At this point very few paper towels were left. I used about ten squares in total, so there was not much on the roll. I went to put my fruit in the fridge. It was dirty. The stove top was dirty. The sink was full of dirty dishes.

I went to shower and found a dirty wash cloth hanging in there and a box that had used soap stuffed inside it. I chose not to shower. I went back into the bedroom and stepped on a dead worm. I put the dead worm on the kitchen table. I figured it wouldn’t matter since it was already filthy. I sent Ryan a text listing some of the conditions above and started packing. Hanny was about to call Ryan and tell him we were leaving when he came in due to the texts. Ryan’s unit is probably fine for young people who don’t care about basic cleanliness and want to hang out and party. For adults that are there for business, it was not so good.

Ryan kept trying to blame his cleaning lady, but I don’t think that room or unit had cleaned within the past two weeks. He could have stayed out of the bar and cleaned the unit knowing he had guests arriving. I tried to speak to him about taking responsibility and not playing the victim role. It was a waste of breath, and I was too exhausted to spend time having this conversation with him. He is too young and immature to be offering an Airbnb to anyone except his peers. He needs to change his post and stop claiming he is two blocks from the beach. While it is two intersections, it would take about 15 minutes. If you read his reviews, you will see to what I’m referring. He also has people going up three flights of stairs with their luggage. He doesn’t tell them about the elevator at the end of the hall. I think this is due to him not wanting people to notice what he is doing. He puts the onus on to his guests to ask these basic questions.

Thrown Out Before Christmas: Australian Airbnb Nightmare

During our most recent Airbnb stay, the electricity kept cutting out, the wifi wasn’t working, and after spending 3500 euro we needed to pay to use the washing machine and dryer. I simply told my host my concerns and he told me to get out of house ASAP, just like that. This was booked months in advance and was to be our home for six weeks, through Christmas, and that was it; he just wanted us out. I contacted Airbnb thinking they would be helpful in booking me in a new apartment but no… they just told me that if our host wants us gone, we need to leave and that’s all there is to it. I asked for a manager and the customer service representative said she was in charge of the case and hung up. Later, she sent me an email in reply to my request for assistance on rebooking and a refund for the money we spent on washing clothes. I couldn’t believe they would leave three young girls with no friends or family – we were moving across the world – alone and homeless on the street; all I received were smug answers to my questions. I couldn’t believe I was being treated this way, first by a host and then by customer service. To speak to me like that while I was homeless and out of pocket as they charged me a higher nightly rate instead of the discounted monthly rate was unbelievable. There I was on the side of the road with two suitcases, little money, no home for Christmas, and being spoken to like I was nothing more than dirt.

To all Airbnb users visiting Melbourne, do not book with a host named Frank. His property name is “Spacious, Bright & Charming home.” If you run into trouble and need help he will have no problem just kicking you out. I can’t believe this is just allowed to happen. I’ve had great experiences with Airbnb but I’m still in disbelief.

Review Removed: Terrible Trip in Milan

We are a mother and daughter from St. Petersburg, Russia. We travel a lot and used Airbnb for several years. We often stay in apartments in different countries; we have been to Italy many times and also stayed in many apartments in different cities. On previous visits everything was perfect: we hadn’t experienced any bad treatment or a shocking situation before. However, our most recent trip to Italy was terrible; Francesca was the worst host.

Our stay in Milan (which was short) was completely ruined by Francesca (on Airbnb her apartment is called “Mi casa es tu casa – Milano”). We booked her apartment from November 8-11, 2015. Our plane arrived on November 7th at 23:20 at Bergamo Airport. We took a bus at 00:00 and arrived at Milan Central station on November 8th at 01:10. We calculated our route in advance and wrote Francesca several times about our route in detail: when we would depart, when we would arrive, when exactly we would be in Milan. We were worried about a non-standard check-in time; that’s why we repeated our message with all information about our arrival several times, and immediately before our departure we texted one more time.

The most important fact is that Francesca accepted all our conditions and even added 25 Euro for an early check-in. We negotiated this itinerary: when we arrived from Bergamo Airport at Milan Central Station, we would take a taxi and send her an SMS that we were on the way. She was supposed to meet us at her flat, in the street. And then the worst began… we are still in shock. We took our bus, and decided to text her before we got in the taxi. It was a good decision. We informed her that we had arrived at the Central Station by bus and we were ready to take a taxi and go to her place. It was 01:30, November 8th, as we discussed (and she confirmed in her messages that it was ok).

Francesca didn’t reply for 10-15 minutes; all this time we were standing with our luggage at the railway station and waiting for her answer. Finally we got a message that shocked us: she said that there are other guests in the flat and she cannot help us, because she thought we would arrive the next day. She advised us to go to a hotel. Can you imagine such a terrible situation? We weren’t waiting in the safest place at night – the central railway station – and we were advised to run around and look for a hotel in the middle of the night? We have no words to say how terrible it was. In addition, we had an exhausting trip. We left from St. Petersburg to Tallinn on November 7th at 10:30 by bus. It took eight hours, then we took a flight from Tallinn to Bergamo – two hours more – and an hour more from Bergamo to Milan.

It took us 11 hours on several different means of transportation, and when we finally arrived we were looking forward to get to the apartment to get some rest. Instead, we received such a “nice” piece of advice: search for a hotel. Of course, we didn’t have any options. Almost all hotels near the central station were fully booked. After a while, we found one hotel. It was terrible, but we didn’t have a choice; we were so exhausted and Francesca’s message killed us. One night in the hotel (nine hours) cost 113 euros and didn’t include wifi. It was very expensive for us; we hadn’t planned on spending this amount of money at all, especially to search for a hotel in the middle of the night. In the hotel everything had additional charges and it was dirty and dusty.

When we checked in to the hotel, we wrote to Airbnb support asking for help, explaining the situation. Unfortunately, we only had wifi for three hours but a reply came in the morning. We spend a terrible night waiting for an answer and not sleeping. At 11:00 AM we checked out and were in the street again with heavy luggage. All this time we were sending messages to Francesca, explaining that because of her we were in a terrible place. She pretended she had no idea what dates we were talking about (as her English is so bad) and she insisted that it was not her fault but Airbnb’s booking system. We didn’t receive any understanding and support from this person. Finally, she “kindly” offered to let us check into her flat on November 8th at 11:30 am, when her guests left.

But the problem wasn’t solved. She didn’t want to compensate us 113+25 euros, which she took for an early check-in. We had to call Airbnb several times and try to solve this problem, walking with luggage around the city; it was a nightmare, and it was all because of Francesca. The support team called her and she said that the flat would be free ONLY at 16:00, though she told us that it would be free at 11:30. She lied to us. It was a crazy day. Instead of enjoying Milan, we were carrying our luggage around until 16:00. We regretted many times that we chose her. In the end, we took a taxi for 25 euros and came to her place around 17:00.

Tired and exhausted, we found one more unpleasant surprise: her flat was VERY far from the center, almost a suburb of Milan. There were not many people around and there are NOT any cafes and shops; you have to take a bus to reach them. It takes 20-30 minutes to reach the closest metro station by bus, then also the same time by metro. The district is very strange and a bit marginal; we always saw some suspicious people. We were warned in shops to be careful with valuables and money. It wasn’t pleasant to come back in a full bus in the evening, it is different in the centre. There is a criminal atmosphere in the district.

In the flat it was not so bad but we were confused that the host smoked inside, because we don’t smoke; it wasn’t nice. There was no blanket on the double bed, so we had to sleep under a cover. There was no electrical kettle; we had to find an old one, and clean it to boil water. Such things spoil first impressions especially when they were spoiled from the very beginning. On our first day at check-in we showed our bus tickets from Milan-Bergamo to Francesca, on November 11th at 16:40. She told us that it would take us 1 hour 40 minutes to get there. On our departure day we were in a hurry to clean the place and pack before 15:00.

We were a bit confused Francesca recommended we leave at 15:00, because we had gotten to know the city pretty well. That’s why we were ready at 15:20 and came downstairs to throw out our trash (we had several bags). Near the entrance we met Francesca, who opened the door. She didn’t expect to see us (she thought we would leave at 15:00) and told she wanted to say goodbye. It was the first time this had happened with Airbnb; we always say goodbye with an SMS, and leave the keys on the table or in a post box. Nobody came to say goodbye to us because it is not a convenient moment when you are packing and the host is staying above you. When Francesca saw the trash bags in our hands. she decided to show us how to “correctly” separate it. She started looking into our trash bags and separating them. Before this trip, we had stayed in Rome and the host told us how to separate the trash. Francesca didn’t say a word about it before; that’s why it was very unpleasant and unusual she would now.

Later we came back to the flat, and Francesca came with us. We hoped she would stay outside until we left, but no… We started packing our luggage, and quickly changing. Francesca was in the kitchen and was checking if everything was ok (in front of her guests): she replaced cups, turned on the gas, opened the fridge, and smoked. We could have been eating before our departure. We had to leave our products in the fridge, because the kitchen was occupied by our smoking host. Before our departure she reminded us to go to Garibaldi Station and change to get to Central Station. But everything was much easier, because there is a direct way from M Romolo to Central Station. It took us 30 minutes to get there. Francesca told us on purpose to leave the flat earlier because it takes 1 hour 40 minutes.

To sum up, we think it was unacceptable behavior with the guests. Our trip was completely ruined because of her, and it was full of disappointment. Such people mustn’t host guests, because she doesn’t respect them and thinks she is right. We don’t recommend Francesca’s flat of course, if you don’t want your holiday to become a living hell. After our trip, we wanted to write a not very positive but truthful review, and we did. However, our review was removed in just a couple of hours. We wrote customer support. And what do you think happened? The support agent wrote to us that our feedback had been rude, vulgar and not objective. She also wrote that the responses can not be removed, but in some cases there are exceptions. So our review will be deleted. We realized that the guests are not protected by anything. Airbnb is always on the side of the owners rather than the guests. This is very unfair.

Landlord Tried to Rip me off, Airbnb Supported the Hosts

I stayed six nights in a studio in Paris; everything went well. I was there on business and just rented the studio for a shower and some sleep, nothing else. As the landlord was travelling at that time, I took the keys from an Indian restaurant, and left the keys in his mailbox; we did not even met. I checked out and headed to the airport. At the airport, I received a text from her, asking about a 10 cm/4 inch scratch on the wall. I answered that the spot was there when I checked in and I was not the cause of this incident. Later, she reported and opened a case through Airbnb, asking for a refund of €130 to paint the wall. The studio was about 30×322 square meters and that amount required for payment would cover almost the whole house. She tried to rip me off.

I responded with the truth, saying that I had no part of making the scratch. Airbnb went through this request and charged me €38 for only the materials she requested. The required material was reported as 10 L of paint and a long list of materials attached to it… though the 10-cm scratch was up for debate. Airbnb acted as a judge, never listened to the guest, and was only keen on fulfilling the request coming from the landlord. I strongly advise you… you have to be very careful while making reservations, and checking in and out. Some things might happening after check out that are not your responsibility.

Airbnb might be rich from supporting this landlord’s scam but I am not that much of an idiot. They claim that there is an insurance policy for the premises in the event of damage: it never worked, a complete lie. Airbnb is too risky to anyone if your landlord has some strange kind of attitude. That’s not worth it. Open your eyes and consider some other options for accommodation.