Nasty Review When Host Provided an Uninhabitable Property

I booked a stay at what was described as a beautiful retreat in the Yosemite area. My friends flew in from across the country to join me on a hiking trip in Yosemite and we were excited to be going. Dan, the owner, was very happy to rent to me, and it was all set up. We arrived to find the place to be uninhabitable. No running water, no promise of repair, and the oven looked as if it was vintage 1970s and had never been cleaned. There was a huge crack in the microwave rendering it unusable. We had to use water from the hot tub to flush the toilets. There was nothing about the place that was as described and I let him know it. He would not offer a refund and told me that if I wrote a bad review he would sue me. I called Airbnb repeatedly for help. We had to search for another place to stay. They promised callbacks that never came, and when I did reach someone, it sounded like I was talking to someone overseas. Whether or not that was the case, they asked me to write a letter – which I did – and to email pictures, because I definitely had plenty of them. They were not willing to try to help me in any way. Ultimately I disputed the charge with Visa and won. Today, I went to the site for the first time since that nightmare, and there was a negative review of me as a guest written by the host of the uninhabitable filthy place that Airbnb had listed for rent on their site. When I tried to reach out to Airbnb to discuss removing the review as it was unfair and they had proof of it, I could not get anywhere with customer service and couldn’t even find an email address. Airbnb is a terrible site and I will never use it again.

Airbnb College Party Bachelor Pad with a Breeze

When you’re traveling alone for business, you would think it might be nice to save a few dollars and spend it elsewhere by getting an Airbnb a few minutes away from the conference you’re attending. I can put up with a lot but when you start to feel like a vagrant in a homeless shelter, I think that’s where I draw the line. I should’ve figured something was up when I exchanged texts with my host who told me to head upstairs and open the door because it would be unlocked. Nothing of value and nothing to worry about, I suppose. I walked into what was obviously a college student’s bachelor pad. All furnishings were kept to a bare minimum except for a rack full of men’s sneakers. At least it looked clean, if not bare. I walked in to find a partially exposed full-sized mattress on a bare metal base with a single dingy dirty flat sheet, a thin ratty looking blanket on top, and a blue/brown pillow that looked like it should’ve been either blue or brown (but not both).

However, it was late at night, I was tired, and I tried to overlook this but I couldn’t get over how cold it was there. The “furnished living room” was surrounded by windows across two walls with a connected balcony door. That’s when I discovered that there was a gaping hole in that balcony door and a thin garbage bag taped over the opening was still flapping in the wind. Now, mind you there was an extreme cold advisory and windchill warnings in Portland, OR that week. It was 29 degrees outside and there was a hole in the window. The heat wasn’t working – of course – and despite what my host said should have been an easy flick of the knob, I wasn’t able to force it on. So I sat on this dingy ratty looking mattress with a dirty looking sheet, blanket, and used looking pillow and thought about why I made such a poor decision to take a risk on Airbnb. I went to the bathroom and found it bare, stained, and moldy looking with no toilet paper. None. Nowhere to be found. I mean, I was already thinking that it’s a little ridiculous to ask me to bring my own bath towel, but should I have brought my own toilet paper too? Even public restrooms stock their toilet paper. What am I paying for?

In the end, I left because even the host had decided he wasn’t going to stay there until the window was fixed (likely after a drunken college party as I found bottle caps and tabs under the bed). He was at dinner with his friends and wouldn’t be back for a few days, after the window was fixed. I tried to get a refund, which is obviously a joke. The host said he was never paid the full amount, Airbnb said he was. He would only give me the “portion” of the money he received, because he didn’t want to give me money of out his pocket (I guess only fools like me do). Airbnb said the $25 service fee was nonrefundable but I laid into the poor man I spoke with on the phone and he gave me a $25 credit on the site. I’m not sure why I agreed to that (maybe because I obviously wasn’t going to get anything else).

Reservation total = $125 for 2 nights. The host refunded me $57 out of the $97 reservation cost; so I’m out $40 for being stupid (-$3 which just disappeared) with a $25 credit to be stupid again. I’m so disgusted with the whole situation.

Airbnb Retreat Offers No Hot Tub in Palm Springs

Is there no way to contact Airbnb directly to present a major complaint? This was the first holiday season in 40 years that my husband was able to take off work. We had a wonderful and very expensive Christmas vacation planned for us, with our grown sons and their significant others, in Palm Springs. We live on the East Coast. This was our first Christmas ever away from home, and we chose this particular property over many others with the same amenities because of the beautiful and unique looking heated pool and hot tub/spa, framed by the mountains. The first thing I checked when booking was that the pool would definitely be heated since temperatures are in the 60s in December. It was the main thing my husband and I were looking forward to in terms of relaxation and exercise. We arrived to find a cold pool and a half empty hot tub. To attempt to make a very long story as brief as possible, we spent four days of our seven-day stay, phoning, texting, pleading, and questioning the property manager about it. A variety of service guys were sent to fix it, to no avail. Four days of anger, frustration, and incredulity.

The last service man, who said he had been called to the property many times in the past, said the whole system was old and needed to be replaced but the owner refused to do anything about it. I say four days because after that we gave up. To add insult to injury, the property manager treated us as though we were being unreasonable about being so upset. The only offer of compensation was to refund the extra charge – over and above the advertised price – that we had to pay to heat the pool. If I were the host or owner of the property and this happened to a family spending their holiday at my house only to find the “crown jewel” of the property broken down, I would have offered either a refund or an invitation to come back at another time for a seven-day stay to compensate for this disaster. That didn’t happen of course.

It was then that I realized that Airbnb has major pitfalls. As per the agreement, Airbnb holds no responsibility for ruined vacations and is not obligated to offer any form of compensation for a major amenity not in working order and not delivering what is promised in the description; the property manager or host is not obligated to do anything in terms of compensation (they take half of the fee) and guests have absolutely no rights whatsoever. $4,000 rental for a Christmas trip? Just suck it up. I’ve used Airbnb many times, but never will again. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to feel anything other than pure rage every time I think about it.

Misleading, Dodgy Host Protected by Airbnb

In order to allow our son to stay with us in New York, we foolishly responded to an Airbnb posting describing a quiet, modern, spacious and well-appointed apartment. We were due to move in early in the evening after returning from New Year’s in Boston. Perhaps the first clue was a request not to tell other apartment owners that we were paying guests. When we arrived we found a dark, old, ground floor apartment, on the street. We could hear people talking outside and traffic noise. There was a stupefying smell of bleach, mould in the bathroom, and a living area dominated by a fridge with no extra room. The flooring was old and dirty, the blinds were broken, and there was a general sense of disrepair. We stayed long enough to survey the disaster and then checked back into a hotel in which we had previously stayed. We immediately reported our concerns to the host who simply denied everything. We reported the issues along with photographs to Airbnb. Despite numerous phone calls we had little response until today when our case manager informed us that our request for a refund had been denied. So we are $4,500 out of pocket with nowhere to go. This appalling organisation needs to be stopped immediately.

Christmas Disaster in Bali Thanks to Airbnb

I wanted to share my last Christmas experience so others can learn from it. I live in Singapore but am originally from France. This year we decided to bring our family from France to Bali to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Ideally, we wanted to find a house for the family so I decided to use Airbnb. The initial experience was good, but issues started to arise when we tried to reach the house (a quite peaceful paradise in Kuta). It took us more than 45 minutes with a private guide to reach the house as most of the time the host was not reachable. The house was advertised as a quiet and peaceful paradise in the middle of the busiest street. The real issue came when we reached the house. Paint was peeling off the roof, the bed sheets were not cleaned, the kitchen full of rust, and last but not least, taking a shower was part of an experience in which you had to wait about half an hour to get sufficient water to wash your hair.

I was feeling so bad that I immediately called Airbnb and the owner. The owner just said he was sorry but the cancellation policy is clear; there would be no reimbursement (does not take into consideration any difference between the pictures and reality). I decided to call Airbnb, which is in itself a challenge. I ended up talking to a person who said that he would call back to help me to find an alternative place to stay and mediate with our host. After five days nobody called, so I had to manage to find a last-minute hotel for the whole family. Today I received a reply from Airbnb saying that they were sorry but there was noting that they could do.

So my conclusions are:

  1. If you have a crappy house, rent it on Airbnb with no reimbursement policy. If the guests are not happy, too bad for them. Airbnb will not do anything as they need the transaction to get their cut.
  2. Airbnb is a high risk solution to accommodation. You may have the chance to find an honest host with great properties but you could also end up in the garbage. In both cases, Airbnb is only there for the transaction and will not risk the lost of any rent. This essentially means renters are screwed.

Airbnb Host Ruins Family Winter Vacation

We booked our stay through Airbnb to stay in a “well kept house overlooking Park City main street” in Utah. The host was listed as Felicia. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The host acted completely crazy from the beginning. We should have cancelled our trip. We booked from December 28, 2016 to January 4, 2017. We thought we might have to leave a couple days early due to work but because of the cancellation policy we figured we would just have to absorb the extra days or my mother would stay on with my 3-year-old goddaughter. Regardless, the house was supposed to be ours until January 4th. The host said, “well I will get the next owners to come a day early and if you watch my dog I will knock off another day.” We said sure. Then she said there is no phone number for Airbnb and that she couldn’t get them to give us our refund via email. It sounded weird. She said she didn’t get paid from Airbnb until after our stay but she would leave us cash for the refund in the house. After talking to Airbnb they said they pay their hosts the day the renters arrive. The first lie she told; they just started stacking up.

We were driving from Los Angeles. Not a short drive. On our way into Park City, Felicia texted that her dog has major anxiety and can’t be left alone. Because of this, she would keep the dog for a couple days and then wanted to meet with us at her house to hand over her dog for the other four days and the refund, as she had promised. She had told us previously that she was going to Santa Monica the same day that we were arriving and so to be sure to get to the house in a timely fashion to take Jude, her dog, out. Why hadn’t she left to go to California? Why was she still there? She said maybe she should just keep her dog and not give us our refund for either day. We said this would be fine; at this point we were already thinking that this situation was getting weird and we really just wanted to stay clear of her. I do not like dishonest people and we had already caught her in several lies. When we rent we don’t want to meet hosts. We just want to have a family vacation.

We finally arrived at the house and it all began. I had to use the bathroom as soon as we walked in. I sat on the toilet and the whole thing started wobbling; it was not attached to the floor. I am not a big person, so for me to be able to wobble the whole toilet meant it was extremely unstable. I looked at the back of the bathroom door and there was a big hole in it. I immediately took a photo with my phone and texted it to Felicia. She said that she knew about it and that her maid had been there. She also said that the people before us were big partiers and had left the house a mess, so much so that the neighbors had to call the police. Nothing was adding up. She had told me on the phone that she had been at the house since June and needed to get away from the snow. It just went on and on as I went through the house. The house smelled like cigarettes. She said there was no smoking allowed yet there were no fewer than three ashtrays in the kitchen. There were exposed electrical outlets that actually pulled up and out of the floor when someone unplugged something, and both the balcony doors would not lock. We found those two things out because our three-year-old let herself out onto the 3rd floor balcony after we thought the doors were dead bolted. The host said she knew about that too but thought the maid had fixed the door. There was a cracked window pane.

Everything in the house from the floors to every single dish in the kitchen was filthy. Every dish, glass, and utensil was old. It looked like things that had been used in the 1970s. We started cleaning. We stripped the beds and the master bed still had clothes on it: a black shirt, pants, and undershirts. We got into the house at about 4:00 PM on the 28th and were cleaning until midnight. Nothing ever felt clean. Even the things we washed came out with hair all over them. The gas valve in the fireplace was all eroded. The master bath shower didn’t drain so you couldn’t take a shower very long or it would overflow. We documented everything and contacted both Airbnb and the host. The host offered to send over a handyman and she wanted to come with him. Why was the host trying to get in the rental so badly? This was the second time she tried to come in while we were there; it was extremely intrusive. We had just arrived. We really wanted to just have a family vacation. She had been there for months. Why were we supposed to wait around for the repairman and then the repairs on our dime?

We took pictures and sent them to both the host and to Airbnb. We said why don’t you just refund us our money $4700.00 (not cheap) and we will leave. Our vacation had already been ruined. We were uncomfortable and did not feel that it was a safe environment for our three-year-old or our twelve-year-old. They said we did not have enough documentation and would do nothing. The host called us liars even though she admitted to knowing about most of the things we documented. She harassed us by texting me constantly not only through Airbnb email but through her personal email. The final straw was on New Year’s Eve when my husband went to get wood out of the garage. He found mouse droppings and saw a mouse scurry towards the door into the house.

We left New Year’s Day and drove twelve hours back to Los Angeles. We had paid for the house until January 4th. I knew the host wanted to come back to the house because she had lied about leaving town. She knew that we might be leaving on January 2nd. She would not give us a dime back so I told her that she couldn’t return to the house until the 4th. She called me January 2nd like clockwork knowing that we may be leaving early. She called saying that it was obvious we had already left because there were no tire tracks out the garage and it had been snowing. How did she know that? Had she been watching us? When I said it was none of her business whether we were there or not because we had paid until January 4th. She called again lying about a window being open and that she wanted to go into the house and close it. There were no windows open. You couldn’t even open the windows. We were afraid to open the master window because of the cracked window pane. Which was the window she claimed was open?

She said she was going in with a police escort. She didn’t bring the police. She just went in and stayed at her house while we paid for it. That is theft; we paid for the house until January 4th. Why would she go inside and not at least give us back the money for the three days she is staying in the house? Airbnb said they would not respond to any of our questions or concerns anymore and that as far as they were concerned, the case was closed; they would not be refunding any money to us. We talked to three customer service representatives, all to no avail. Airbnb and Felicia are thieves. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. This host is actually trying to blame all these things on us now. We started documenting problems within five minutes of entering the property. How could any of these problems be caused by us? She called us liars and said that she is putting us on some sort of renters blacklist. We have been manipulated, scammed, lied to and treated worse than I have ever been treated. We have been coming to Park City for winter break for ten years and used to love it there. I do not think we will ever be back. Felicia and Airbnb have not only ruined our vacation but our tradition.

Does anyone know of any recourse? We are so upset.

Albuquerque Host Takes Advantage of Widow

I’m a widow who made a reservation to see family in New Mexico. As the sole caretaker for my brother, who is a disabled Vietnam Vet, I got hung up when he needed an operation at the VA in Georgia. It came up suddenly and I ended up having to contact Douglas, my soon-to-be host. I apologized heartily, told him I didn’t want to cancel, that I’d be back in New Mexico as I am there 3-4 times a year, and asked him what I should do. He told me I should cancel immediately and perhaps get some of my money back. I did as he said and I got nothing back. He refused my request for a refund of my $530, lied by saying he suggested I should have simply changed the date, and gave me a song and dance when I asked him why he asked me to cancel if he would have changed the dates. In reality he just wanted to keep the money I took five months to save to see family. When I asked more about how to work it out and expressed my dissatisfaction, he suggested I simply contact Airbnb. I will never rent from this man again (he has multiple properties) on my many yearly trips to Albuquerque and will do my best to make sure no one else has the same bad experience that I’ve had. What a total disappointment. He is a liar and a thief. I trusted this man. I suppose it was because the other Airbnb hosts I’ve had were so wonderful. I have documentation of my reason to cancel and it’s hard to know someone would take advantage of a widow. I do not recommend Douglas Lopez or his properties to anyone. Avoid him if at all possible.

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.

We Didn’t Clean Host’s House = Negative Feedback

For my 40th Birthday we rented a house on Mallorca, Spain on Airbnb. The total for three nights was  1400 euros, including a 150 euro cleaning fee. I spent three nights there with family and a few friends. The stay was wonderful, but the beds were dirty and smelly. I didn’t report this fact to Airbnb, as we were overall lucky with the accommodation. Instead of giving negative feedback to the host, I just didn’t leave any feedback. After 14 days we found out the host had left following feedback for me:

“My guest, his family and friends celebrated a birthday party at the house. They were very nice and the communication was easy so we decided to offer them a late check out. Unfortunately, they didn’t invest this extra time in tidying up the house a little bit, as we found it very dirty and untidy. This is definitely not the way we consider it should be when you leave a property.”

The host offered the late check out, because this was more convenient to him. Also he had someone inspect the house at check out and the person said everything was ok. I felt very offended, giving my money to someone, and paying 150 euros for the cleaning. And he complains and expects me to have cleaned his house instead. If it was shared accommodation, things would have been different, but this was a commercial house rental. I wrote an email to Airbnb, asking them to delete my first review. They never replied, so I cancelled my account with Airbnb and I am note ever coming back.

Noisy Dog: Not What We Expected From Airbnb

I wish we had been told the next door neighbour had a barking dog. We could not sit out in the back as the dog stood at the fence constantly barking. Opening the back door or having a conversation inside set the dog off early one morning. I opened the door and it barked so much. I tried to make it stop, but it woke up the other guests into house. I went to the clothesline and it stood looking over the fence constantly barking. When we first arrived we tried talking to it; usually dogs want to know you but there’s no way the owner tried to tell us how stressful it is being around it. It’s a bloody cattle dog – he has no idea how cruel he is to it. Paying money for a retreat, being rounded up by a cattle dog, and then having to clean the fridge, washing machine, a lint filter full of animal hair, and an unusable BBQ full of cockroaches made it one week of misery. From the last Airbnb, I know there are different hygiene standards but this place did not meet mine. Walking in to find caked stains in the fridge wasn’t a good start, the dog didn’t stop barking, and the host insulted my 19-year-old daughter asking her many kids she had.