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.

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.

Arrogant and Opaque Conflict Resolution – Host Extortion

I went to visit my daughter in Seattle, planning to stay for a week. The apartment, given that it was the host’s primary residence, was pleasant. However, after five days the host called my daughter on the phone and informed her (not me) that I was to vacate the apartment immediately. He claimed that if I didn’t his landlord was going to evict him and charge him $600. My daughter was distraught; she took one of my checks and gave it to the host. The host gave me about twenty minutes to pack up and leave. The only review of the host stated he’d abruptly cancelled the reservation of two young women who just happened to be counting on staying in his apartment when I was requesting a reservation. I doubt that was a coincidence.

Of course, Airbnb would have liked to have washed their hands of the whole matter. I persisted as best I could and the host offered a small settlement. Airbnb claimed they’d tried to reach me; they tried exactly once. After that, they screened my calls. In the end, being the clever person I am now and then, I had my bank cancel the check due to fraud. I also immediately cancelled the credit card Airbnb had on file. Once they have your card they can do anything they like. In the end I guess I prevailed. The $600 was returned, the security deposit was returned, and I still received the settlement.

Now they send an email a day over a bill for $19. I go to their help section and tell them I’ll send them a check. I just put one in the mail. The point is that their customer service is dreadful. It’s all skewed towards the hosts. How many young people get caught up in this kind of nonsense? They’ve gotten too big, too fast. I do give Airbnb some credit. The host has lost his privileges after extorting cash from my distraught daughter. No cash should ever change hands directly between host and guest.

 

Price Gouging Airbnb Host in the NY Catskills

Our family is planning a trip to New York. Upon finding a house that fit our needs and that was in our price range, we decided to contact the host for more details. We liked what we saw and heard, so we decided to book the seven nights, paying with our credit card through Airbnb. After the request for booking was made and after having several messages between the host, Frann (the host) decided to significantly raise the price per night of the house, and raise the cleaning fees. Therefore, the Airbnb fees were raised, adding an additional $1200 dollars to the total bill. Frann was not willing to accept her advertised price. Therefore we had to cancel our reservations. Under the Hosting Responsibilities portion of Airbnb, the host is required to advertise the correct price. I’m very disappointed and makes me leery about using Airbnb for future rentals.

Airbnb Offers No Customer Service Whatsoever

Let me first say that Airbnb offers no way to leave a comment or complaint. I tried, but when I left a comment in the cancellation field under the “other” box for reasons, I couldn’t process the cancellation. I was only able to cancel using one of their predetermined reasons (that don’t allow any comments). Jessica (my host) did not notify us that the location of her Airbnb houseboat had changed. We made the reservation on September 9th, 2016 for February 17th-24th, 2017. Had I not visited her listing this week, I still wouldn’t have been aware of the change. I booked a stay on her houseboat at Regatta Point Marina in Palmetto – a full service, premier marina. Her original description listed the marina amenities: pool, exercise room, a bar and restaurant on site, and gated. The boat was located on C Dock. Jessica’s listing description has now changed to state “the location of the houseboat has changed”… since when? Sometime around December?

I found out it was now located at the Bradenton Beach Marina – a mom and pop place with none of the aforementioned amenities – under and next to the bridge (causeway) that connects Anna Maria Island to the mainland; in other words, it’s noisy. This is not what I agreed to when I made the reservations. Although Jessica has changed the description of the accommodations, she left the location map and pictures from the initial listing on the Airbnb website. I called Jessica the morning of February 9th, and she did not return my call. I sent a message from the Airbnb website the morning of February 9th, and she has not responded. I feel she should pay the Airbnb service fee for our cancellation as the property description and location has changed substantially, and she has not communicated with me regarding these changes. It seems she would have at least notified her confirmed guests back in November or December there was a change so if they wanted to make other plans, they could. I tried to copy the URL from the listing but it had been removed immediately after I cancelled.

Uninvited Guests Make Themselves at Home in our Airbnb

I am a guest who stayed at an Airbnb and had a horrible experience. When I arrived at the house there was one female, one male, and two children in the house. The women identified herself as “Sam” and informed me that the night before there was a party at the house; a door on one of the bedrooms was broken, they did a clean up of the house, and it was perfect now. Sam handed me a single key, said only I was allowed to have it, and said that there would be a security guard downstairs. I asked Sam if the security guard would be there all night and she informed me that he would not be. I checked the house and noticed that the floors were sticky; there was dirt everywhere and there were stains on the sofas. There was dust everywhere and there were two blinds broken.

When I was setting up the table for dinner I tried to turn on the lights and half the ones in the kitchen were not working. I called Sam and asked about this. She told me to go into the basement and get a lamp. At this point I felt there were cameras in the house because she knew every move as I was making it. I went into the basement as she told me to. I went to the washroom and the toilet would not flush properly. My guest and I went to to get food. I tried to lock the door and the key would not work. I called Sam to inform her. She said “in her haste she had given me the wrong key” and told me to leave the door unlocked. I asked one of my guests to come to the house because I had personal items there. I received a call from Sam saying there was someone in the house. They had neighbours watching the house and I felt very uncomfortable with this.

During my dinner, some of my guests were outside and noticed a young boy come out from the basement. We asked if he wanted food; he came and ate some and one of my guests asked if he was with the security guard. He told us his father owned the house and was sleeping downstairs. I was never told he was the owner nor that they would be sleeping in the basement. I was told that this security guard was not going to be sleeping downstairs. After I noticed that the young boy kept coming upstairs and speaking to my guests, I was being questioned by Sam about the number of people there. There were only sixteen. The young boy was upstairs when Sam called me so I asked him to speak to Sam; she said that the music was too loud and I overheard the young man say his father kicked him out of his room in the basement.

Around 3:00 AM I received a phone call from a number I did not know. I picked up and it was the young man’s father saying that the neighbours called him and he was going to call the police. If they came, we would get kicked out. At this point I became irate. I only spoke to Sam – she was the only person who had my number and she had given my number to this security guard. I never authorized anyone to give out my information outside of Airbnb. When my guest and I were going to bed the young man came upstairs and said his father kicked him out of the basement and he had nowhere to sleep. I rented this place and the owner’s son was upstairs looking upset with nowhere to sleep… we could not say “sorry, no” at 4:00 AM. As human beings, we offered him a pillow. I stayed downstairs to clean and noticed that the young man got up, turned on an alarm, and went back downstairs. Some of my guests were so upset with what happened they left. Overall this entire experience has been horrible from the start.

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.

Host Lied and Airbnb Refused to Help with Refund

I booked an apartment for a week in Toronto in December. The listing said it was a two bedroom. However, what the host didn’t disclose was that the second bedroom had an old futon with broken wooden slats (held together with tape). The first night I slept on the old futon and had terrible back pain. The second night the bed broke. I looked under the sheets and found the issue. This wasn’t a mattress; it was a cushion. There was no box spring, just broken wooden slats. I called Airbnb who suggested I get in touch with the host to see if she could help. We emailed her and she didn’t respond for hours, saying she was out of town and could come to the apartment the next day. I called Airbnb expecting them to help. Instead I got the run around. I was told I could go buy an air mattress and they’d give me the money back. Did I mention this was at 5:00 PM over Christmas and I was sick? I was then told they’d give me $150 as a total refund. I explained I still had three nights at the Airbnb and $150 was the price per night for a hotel. They refused to give me any more money even though there was no solution to help me. I have been trying for over a month to get my money back from Airbnb. I filed a formal complaint on Airbnb and received no response for three weeks. I called eight times and was given the run around over and over again. I sent emails, and received no responses. I was promised return phone calls that I never received. I was even hung up on when I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was then sent an email saying there was nothing wrong with the bed even though it was an old futon held together with tape and that I wouldn’t be getting a refund. I am now going to go into arbitration. Airbnb is a horrible company that allows hosts to do anything they want and not support their guests.

Extremely Rude Airbnb Host in Rome

First of all, the host was no help at all when we asked about parking so we ended up checking in that evening looking for a safe 24-hour parking spot. It was too late for the host to reply about the parking situation and since English was not his first language, we had a miscommunication. When we arrived at the place, we didn’t know which buzzer to press as he didn’t mention it; it was a good thing he arrived after a few minutes or we’d have ended up freezing on the street. When we went up to his place, he didn’t let us into our room (even when we were so tired and hungry). He made us stay in the check-in area and interrogated us. The way he spoke to us was unaccommodating, rude, and disrespectful as he made side comments which made us feel awkward. Then he asked for our documents, which we denied him; this was our first time using Airbnb when we have been asked for our identification. Sometimes the way you say things is more important than what you are saying. Because of this, we were skeptical.

Before using Airbnb, we had already been asked to scan our proof of identity. We had already been using Airbnb for quite some time now; there had never been an incident where we have been asked for our documents. We understand if the purpose is security, but this kind of thing should have been elaborated upon clearly in the posting so guests won’t be surprised at what is expected of them. We can fill out a form if this is mandatory, but we will never give a copy of our travel documents as they have already been checked at Airbnb from the beginning. He kept mentioning “mafia” but we couldn’t understand what he was talking about because it was in Italian. While my husband was filling out the form, the host kept sighing heavily and making side comments which made us feel really uneasy and uncomfortable; we felt he might do something to us.

Days before coming, I asked the host if we could stay one more night and he agreed. Although I didn’t confirm it, we needed to know if we would feel comfortable staying here. Clearly, that was not the case from the beginning. We were about to leave but the host insisted we stay. We told him that we were not going to stay another night. He insisted and I confirmed we were not going to stay one more night. I may have asked him about staying one more night but I never confirmed it. How could we stay one more night if we didn’t feel comfortable anymore? Airbnb is not cheap; you can pay the same amount for a hotel room but since we like the feeling of being welcomed warmly, we decided to use Airbnb. Due to this incident, we will never use Airbnb after this holiday.

There was also no heating in our room so it was cold. There was no heating in the toilet so it was really chilly after finishing a shower. The toilet is separate from our bedroom so it was really cold. The picture of the toilet that was given to us was not shown in the listing, but only ones which were pleasant to use. We were able to sleep around 3:00 AM as noise can easily be heard from outside the window and I woke up around 7:00 AM due to vehicles outside. I didn’t get any sleep. Then I had to move the double bed out of the way in order to see the mirror. We never even bothered to use the kitchen as we were feeling uneasy already.

Upon checking out, I messaged the host to let him know that we were leaving as we had to return the keys. He never replied back so we waited for about ten minutes (I even thanked him). When we were about to leave, he came and never said a word. How comforting it was for us to leave his place. Also, I believe we were supposed to be given safety cards and should have been shown the fire extinguisher but there was none. We are not so particular about these things but since the host had an unwelcoming rude attitude, we might as well be finicky about it. I already left this review at Airbnb but unfortunately, it hasn’t been shown on his page. The reason why I booked it there is because he had lots of good reviews. Now we understand how it works. The host will not accept the review and will not give the guest a review either. This way, any bad review won’t show up. As I was looking for the host’s pictures of the bathroom, they weren’t visible anymore. Too bad I wasn’t able to take pictures of the room where we stayed as it was totally different from what I saw on the listing prior to booking.

Airbnb Host Wanted Guests to Feel the Heat

We arrived at a rental for an entire house ($1200 US for three nights) with high expectations as it was advertised with air conditioning in the amenities. The host (Adam) was not there but left his cell phone number. On arrival, we found a single wall air conditioning unit in the first floor hall and turned it on. When we went to the second and third floors looking for the other units we were surprised; there were none and the temperature was 85F outside with 80% humidity. The host answered his phone and said to “close all the windows and leave the air conditioning on high.” The upstairs temperature continued to rise making it impossible to sleep or even breathe. We contacted the host the following morning and he said that he’d “see about renting a portable air conditioning unit.” We told him we’d be out for the day and he had our cell phone number.

We were surprised on our late afternoon return that there was no new air conditioning unit. There was an email on our 4:10 PM return that said he tried to find one but there was none. He was on a “waiting list” and if that wasn’t an acceptable solution we’d have to vacate by 4:00 PM, which had already past. We called him again and he became verbally abusive telling us that “he knew that New Yorkers would be trouble.” Luckily a friend from the town was with us and we found a local electronics store (thanks to Harvey Norman Inc) which had units in stock, but were closing at 4:30 PM. We rushed over, picked up the unit, and after six hours the third floor bedroom was cool enough to use.

When we told the host we spent 300 AUD he said we couldn’t use the unit because his electricity bill would skyrocket. We continued to use it anyway. Our friend kept the air conditioner when we departed two days later for the US. The host changed his Airbnb posting after we left so that it no longer said that the place had air conditioning in the amenities but then gave us a bad review; we never even reviewed him but did delete our Airbnb account. Never again. Airbnb gave us $175 US back and a credit for $100 since the host would not return his emails.