Crazy Owner’s Girlfriend Didn’t Even Own the House

I left my Airbnb after one day, fearing the owner of the place. The picture on Airbnb looked like a decent place. When I walked in, it turned out to be a rundown dump in a dangerous neighborhood: rusty bars on the windows, expensive cars in the driveway, Boost Mobile stores on every corner, etc. It looked nothing like the picture inside. The house was a wreck and reeked of cat piss. Stray cats all over the property were wandering in the house through a broken back door. The windows didn’t close, and the A/C was broken. The inside thermometer said it was 94 degrees. I went to Target to buy two box fans and stayed for one night.

Today a strange guy walked in the house drunk. This guy looked like Doc from Back to the Future after two years of meth addiction. I asked how he was, and if he was another guest. He answered: “No! And I’m absolutely terrible. You see, my girlfriend rented this place without my permission. She does not own it. I own this house, but she’s desperate for money.”

He said he was the homeowner, and that the lady who rented it out is his girlfriend who is desperate for money and doesn’t actually own the property. After his furious rant I grabbed my stuff and bounced. She messaged me apologizing, saying he was “off his meds and incoherent.” Why are you hosting someone else’s home, assuming it was owned by a crazy unmedicated lunatic?

 

 

Airbnb Expected us to Use our Psychic Powers

My husband and I recently sold our home and needed a temporary place of residence for three weeks before we could move into our new home. We figured an Airbnb would be the most comfortable route as we have a dog and a young son. Upon our arrival to our Airbnb everything seemed fine and the host had been very kind in his messages. Upon further inspection, the toilet was not clean, the shower looked like it had not been cleaned in awhile, the shower curtain liner was brown at the bottom, and the host had left his used bar of soap that had body hair on it in the shower. The fridge was full of his food which left no room for the groceries we would need for three weeks and the freezer had dried food stuck to it. In addition the bed was only a full bed for three people (myself, my spouse, and our son).

We stayed there less than 12 hours and the next morning I immediately messaged the owner and kindly told him it would not work. He asked if there was anything he could do and I stated that we just wanted a refund and it was okay. I later called Airbnb asking for a full refund and they stated they would back the owner’s refund policy of only 50% if we did not cancel prior to staying there. My question is this: how on earth could it be possible that we would know before seeing the apartment that it would not meet our needs? We paid $2156 to stay there for 22 nights and only actually occupied it for eight hours. How is it fair that we only received $856 as a refund?

The cancellation policy was stated, but the apartment we expected was not what we got. The owner is also at fault. It is not expensive to hire someone to clean a residence before you know you will be having guests stay there. Basically we are out $1300 because Airbnb somehow expected us to use our psychic powers to know that the apartment would not meet our needs prior to staying there. Not only is that the most ludicrous and ridiculous policy I’ve ever heard, but it’s also theft to let someone take so much money from us and then not provide us with a refund. I will never, ever, use Airbnb again and I will let everyone know how they do not advocate for their guests. I will also be filing a complaint with the BBB. My husband even offered to refund the host for the time we did occupy the residence and still a refund was denied. In the past I have used VRBO to book vacation homes and have never been disappointed with my experience. This has taught me that I should have stuck with a company who cares about its guests and to never, ever, use Airbnb again.

Fraud Alert: Host Fakes Damages to Remodel Bathroom?

I need some help. I am writing this letter regarding my Airbnb stay in Paris, France. This letter is about the review and the money that the host requested due to damages. Before I begin, I would like to state that I contacted Airbnb five to six times for this issue and each time no one called me back. I was the one that contacted them. After they “resolved the issue” I asked to talk to the representative that made the resolution but he told me I couldn’t talk to him and they made the final decision; that was it. Note that I did not feel comfortable to talk to the host due to her treatment of me.

The first time I called Airbnb I got a reference number. I contacted customer service right after I got home from the trip, after the host asked for money. I called to make a complaint about her. I was told several things: I didn’t have to answer to her request or talk to her and only pay for what was broken. Airbnb would negotiate and I didn’t have to contact her. I also asked about the reviews and the representative assured me that it will not post until I submitted my review. I was waiting for them to get back to me.

They failed to mention two things to me. First, if Airbnb negotiates, their ruling is final and second after 14 days the review will show up on my profile. I did not receive any communication from a representative. I asked one to have someone contact me ASAP because I didn’t want this to drag on. He mentioned that they were high volume calls and someone would get back to me soon. However, four calls and three weeks later was unacceptable.

The second time I called, 2-3 days later, was after I saw her review, which was full of inaccuracies. The representative told me that they took the information and asked if I had any other items to add to the response. I told them that I first needed to talk to someone and that I would not enter anything until I did.

The third time, I contacted Airbnb again because the host wrote to me. I told them I needed to talk to someone. Again, I was told to write my side of the events. I finally did that. A few days later when she emailed me for the fourth or fifth time, I saw that she asked Airbnb to intervene and that someone contacted me asking for my documents and my account of the issue. After a day of “deliberation”, I was told I owed the host $1,012. They actually tried to take money from account. They did not notify me at all. They were going to take the money out without telling me how they came to that conclusion.

I contacted Airbnb and asked if the manager could call me back. They told me that he was in another call and he would get back to me. That day at noon I sent an email to him asking him to contact me and that I was waiting for his call. He emailed me back stating: “In addition, please be advised, due to the sensitive nature of our work, the Trust and Safety department is unable to receive and inbound or make any outbound calls at any given time. 100% of our work is carried out using emails only.” I guess they expect people to just take what they say at their word. I called Airbnb the same night. I was told that was the final resolution and there was nothing I could do about it. I also asked for a manager but was told that the managers couldn’t do anything about it.

I called again the next morning, asked for a manager and got one. He said that he only took care of minor issues. When I told him that I would be taking the necessary steps for the case, he told me that they would not take my calls again because the case was closed. They were going to put a note in my file to say not to engage with me next time I called. I didn’t spout any profanity or yell at anyone that I talked to. This host is a fraud and I am not going to pay her a dime.

Regarding the review: I was under the assumption that I wouldn’t see her review until I reviewed her. However, three days later I saw her review. It was not on my profile but it was in my email. I read it. I did contact Airbnb that day and they asked me to send my comments through online. I didn’t do that due to the previous conversation. I was waiting for someone to get back to me. The next day I saw that her review of my stay was posted on my profile. The fact that I did not review the host and the fact that it was posted on my profile is appalling. In addition, I couldn’t write my reviews about her. No one told me that there was a timeframe to write a review and that was misleading on Airbnb’s part.

I did have two extra guests come and they only stayed for two nights. I was celebrating my birthday; I didn’t know they were coming. Two days before I was in the hospital and I had forgotten to inform the host. I took responsibility for that. Due the hospital stay and my excitement I forgot to mention that to her and I apologized. I told her I would pay for the extra people. However, the way she approached the situation was rude and charged me way too much. The host was not in town that week and she had her friend be the point of contact, the person to reach out to if we had any issues. I went to him to get more towels and bed covers. She claimed she left five towels but only four were big enough for grown adults and the other was really small. The towels were not good either. They were really old and dingy. This guy was the one that mentioned we had extra people.

The host messaged me:

I do not want to sound disagreeable with you but I rent my apartment via a platform governed by rules. It is at the time of the reservation that we agree the number of people who will be at the place. I am not obliged to accept the presence of additional guests. I would be entitled to demand that the entire stay be billed for seven people. The manager, who is fortunately my friend, does not hold me accountable for the inconvenience (I had planned everything for five people). I let you consult the price of hotels to give you an idea. I ask you to add 160 euro, which seems reasonable. Have a excellent day!

She asked that I pay her the total amount for all the days for the seven people. The additional people stayed only for two nights (I can provide some documents). I don’t believe I need to pay her that much money (Saturday night – two people, Sunday night – two people, Monday night – four people,  Tuesday night – seven people, Wednesday night seven people, Thursday night – five people, Friday night – four people, and Saturday night – four people). The reason they stayed for those two nights was because the sofa couch was dirty. She also told me not to inconvenience her friend. Now, that is not right. She told me to contact him if I needed anything related to the stay and then went and told me not contact him. That was not right on her part.

From that message I did not feel comfortable staying at her place. I almost called Airbnb to move us but I didn’t and I regret that now. I also did not feel comfortable contacting her manager. He was smoking weed when I went to ask him for assistance with the towels and the bed sheets. That put me and my guests in a compromising position. The person that was supposed to be our contact was high and that made me feel unsafe in the apartment and in the building as well, especially in a different country where I did not know the rules and laws.

I had to contact him due to the shower drain not going down. I noticed that on the day we arrived but I thought I wouldn’t need to make a big deal about it. However, as more people used it, it became apparent that it was not going away. He came and unclogged the drain for us, pulling out hair that didn’t belong to any of my guests and a piece of plastic from the drain (identical to the one that she had a picture of). I do not know where that came from; when we checked the bathroom the first day neither of us saw that. He told me he would notify her about that. I am not sure how it got there.

The host messaged me later and vaguely talked about it. I mentioned it to her but she did not respond. The next time she contacted me was about the checkout time. I told her it would be around 8:30 AM. Instead of her coming up to check the apartment it was her husband and property manager. I did not see her until we left the apartment, when she waived at four people leaving from the balcony. I had to return the bed sheet that she loaned us when her husband came up (I had a contract with her and not her husband; she should have gone up herself). Her husband spent a good 15 minutes in the apartment with me looking at everything, checking if everything was good. He saw the place, said it was clean, and I was good to go. I gave him the key and 20 minutes after that we left.

We did clean the apartment, as much as we could. She also asked me to water her plant while I was staying there per her instructions, and I did. Every other day in the morning, I woke up early those days before my friends and I left to go sightseeing to water her plant. I do not think that as a guest she had the right to ask me to do that but I did. The first thing her husband said to me when he got inside the apartment was “my plants are still alive”.

I do not speak or understand French that well. Luckily I have friends that do and thanks to Google translate I was about to translate her request and review of my stay. I didn’t think that it was fair and frankly rude that the last two communications with her were in French and not English. Our communication started in English and she wrote to me in French. That put a burden on me as a guest and seemed that she was trying to scam me.

She said we did not clean the apartment. We did. We might have missed some spots but she claimed that we destroyed her apartment. I also paid a $40 cleaning fee for the apt which meant she could have easily cleaned it as well. The last Airbnb I stayed at, the host mentioned that I left the place clean. I also went with people that had used Airbnb in the past and their hosts said they were clean. Furthermore, that morning we had three people cleaning the floor. We swept all the floors. Her husband saw us sweeping the floor. The picture she showed of dirt on the floor is a misrepresentative; there was too much dirt on the floor after three people cleaned it.

She claimed we dirtied her couch on the patio. That was not us; that stain was already there. We barely used the patio; we were out the majority of the time and had no time to use it. In her pictures there is a flower on the chair. She has flowers all over her patio and if you look very closely there is a small stain.

She claimed we broke her shower, which was a total lie. My friend used it that earlier that morning and it was not broken. When I checked it with her husband, the shower doors slid easily. The string was not pulled out as she showed in her pictures. The piece that she had in her pictures was similar to the one that her friend pulled out of the drain. This caused the shower to not drain earlier that week. Also in the picture she had the shower head on the floor. When we left, the shower head was in the right place. If you look at one of her pictures of the shower it looks like a piece is missing from the picture on the bottom. Now, if I look at my picture, that piece is there. This is 100% fraud and I will not pay for that. That picture was staged to look like my party and I broke her shower.

She claimed we left the oven dirty. We did not use the oven. We used the two fridges and the stove and we left those clean (pictures are provided). We only cooked one day and we ate out after that. That is either from her or her other guests. She said that we broke her glasses.. that could have happened; however, when I was cleaning them I didn’t see any type of damage to them. She almost made it seem that we destroyed and broke two of her glasses. I admit breaking her wine opener. I felt bad for breaking it. I was also under the impression that I didn’t have to worry about it. Even her husband told me not to worry about it and that it was an old one.

She claimed we “degraded the room of my son”. I think it was something that was there before. No luggage was anywhere near her son’s drawers. No dirty items were left on them. She also lied about me not contacting her. If you see our messages, I contacted her right away after she sent me a message.

Overall, I think she is scamming me for more money for her shower, the patio furniture. While her apartment was good for my stay, I think it needed some upgrading, especially the bathroom; that’s why she is asking for more money. I am a reasonable person and I tried to work with Airbnb to resolve this issue. However, it seems that I can’t get someone to talk to. The communication has been severed due to them not answering my calls.

Airbnb has Standards for Hosts? What Standards…?

Let me start with the link to the luxurious, custom and tastefully decorated house we rented in Union City, California. Whatever you do, don’t believe anything you read concerning this house on Airbnb and don’t rent this house. If you do, you won’t be able to say I didn’t warn you.

We rented this house because it was big (for seven people), it seemed nice, it was well situated for us, and the comments of past renters were all good. The stay started with the host saying that the house was not ready for us when we got there, one hour and a half after the check in time. The host then told me that he was told by the last renter that she might have heard a mouse during the night. We later learned that this was a lie because when the comments of the previous renter was posted, after our arrival, the mouse traps were already there before she got there.

The next morning we went away early for the day. We had time to see that the place was not very clean. We ate out that night and got home around 10:00. To our disgust, we killed two roaches in the kitchen. That was when we first contacted Airbnb. To our surprise, Airbnb replied immediately. We said we were disgusted and we wanted out. They told us we had 24 hours upon our arrival to file a complaint so we could get out of there with a refund. We had been there 28 hours.

To make a story short, here is a list of all the issues we experienced with the house and Airbnb:

1. We saw a mouse, we killed two roaches and we found many other bugs in the house.

2. The stove was out of order, the BBQ grill was disgusting, and there was supposed to be a gaming room with pinball machines, foosball, and pingpong table.

3. The house was not very clean: curtains were stained, the BBQ grill was disgusting, the doors to the bathrooms were dirty, the windows were filthy we could barely see through, and on the side of the house we found a dozen empty old paint containers.

Attached you will find a few pictures to show some of the nice things we had to live with. You should also know that these three points contradict two of Airbnb’s standards and regulations. However, Airbnb doesn’t care about their own standards and regulations and their customers. Like I said earlier, Airbnb were very quick to respond and seemed very helpful. We had constant contacts everyday. I was on vacation and the last thing I wanted to do during my vacation was run after Airbnb customer service.

In fact, they were not helpful at all and they were all but productive. I had seven case managers involved in my case, all seemed very understanding of my situation but none of them answered my questions. When our trip was finally over, I asked for a refund. After a few exchanges I was told that I could get a partial refund by one of the case managers involved. He changed his mind because the host sent him a copy of the invoice of a pest control company that supposedly visited the house during our stay and it said there weren’t any traces of vermin in the house.

I didn’t believe a pest control company came to the house so I asked to see the invoice or the name of the pest company, but Airbnb told me the host didn’t want them to share that information with me. Talk about transparency. If you have nothing to hide, show me the invoice, right? Not with Airbnb. The host did not want them to share it with me. I didn’t believe that a pest control company came because the host told me that when it came it didn’t find traces of vermin.

That same night we found traces of mice in two different places in the house. Then the host told me that the bag in which we found different bugs under the fridge were long dead according to the ‘pest control company’. In fact, I had killed the bugs myself the night before their visit. Lastly, we found rolled up paper coming from the mouse traps on the counter after their ‘presence’. It is not very professional for a company to leave their trash on the counter after they left, isn’t it. One last thing: my reviews, that were very negative, were never posted on the site. Maybe that is why we see few negative comments concerning the houses we can rent on Airbnb. Transparency…

Aren’t Service Dogs Welcome at Airbnb Properties?

I tried to book an Airbnb in Norman, OK for three nights in mid-September with someone who has a no pets policy. However, I have a service dog. A real, bonafide, has to be with me, medical alert, highly trained with impeccable manners, service animal as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. As a courtesy, I told the host that I would be traveling with my service dog, so she would not be surprised. I later received a reply that she had accepted a long term rental last week. The property still shows that it is available for the dates that I requested in mid-September. If I am truly not welcome there, I am not going to force the issue, but if she is in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 she should be made aware of her legal liability in situations such as mine, as should all Airbnb hosts. If there is a good reason that a property stays listed as available, even though it is not, I would like to know it. If you are not familiar with the ADA of 1990 I encourage you to research it (although I would be very surprised if this issue has not arisen before now). In it, it is stated specifically that I cannot be treated differently than any other customer, by any business anywhere, because I have a service animal with me. I cannot be given a table in the back because of her. I cannot be charged a pet deposit at a lodging. I cannot be refused any service, or entry to any place that I would be allowed to go without her because she is with me.

Construction Airbnb Nightmare in Napa, No Refund Given

I initially booked a home in Napa for the weekend of April 6 through April 9, 2017, through Airbnb. The home was advertised as recently renovated. The pictures provided on the website displayed what appeared to be a clean home in reasonably good condition. Upon arriving at the home late on the evening of Thursday, April 6th we found that the driveway was inaccessible due to heavy construction equipment (a skip loader to be precise). A portable lavatory and run-off barriers blocked the driveway entrance which was still in the process of having a roadbed installed for what must be assumed as subsequent paving and surfacing. It was evident that the property was still undergoing construction as another home was under construction in the back of the property.

The entryway leading to the front steps of the home was laden in mud and debris from the construction and lack of any ground cover to absorb the recent rains. Little if any illumination made it treacherous to maneuver to the front steps of the home late at night and several of the guests stepped in deep puddles of mud, ruining their shoes.

The beds had no sheets and linens and towels were piled near the washing machine in the laundry area. It was very evident that the home had not been prepared for the arrival of new guests that evening. I immediately sent the owner an email expressing my displeasure with the condition of the home and received no response. The following morning, Friday, April 7, I attempted to take a shower only to find out that there was no hot water. I called the owner but was unsuccessful in reaching him. Shortly thereafter he returned my call and explained that his cleaning woman had gotten into an accident that same Thursday and did not show up to clean and prep the home for arrival of new guest. I also mentioned the lack of hot water and he indicated that he would have his plumber come by immediately to inspect the situation.

When I asked how long that would be the owner indicated that his plumber would be arriving within 30 minutes. I did impress upon the owner that this was unacceptable and that we had a very tight schedule that morning and may not be able to wait around. The plumber did arrive and I personally accompanied him to the basement to review the hot water heater, which was dated 1990, yet the listing for the home clearly stated that the home was recently remodeled with new plumbing. I stood by and watched the plumber attempt to get the pilot to the hot water heater ignited, which after several attempts he was successful in doing so.

I along with my guest waited for over twenty minutes for the hot water to begin flowing so that we could take our showers but the hot water never did come on. In addition, we noted several GFI receptacles in the kitchen had been tripped, suggesting that there may have been a short somewhere along that electrical line, which I was quick to point out to the plumber. He offered no suggestions, which meant that several of the electrical receptacles in the kitchen were inoperable.

We left for our morning appointments and later that day I contacted the owner to inquire as to the status of the cleaning of the home, changing of the linens and towels, and most importantly the status of hot water. The owner assured me that all issues had been rectified to our satisfaction. Upon returning to the home later that evening, the ladies wanted to shower prior to dinner only to find out that of the four guests only two were successful in taking a warm shower as once again the hot water heater shut off.

The following morning, Saturday, April 8th, I again contacted the owner but this time he did not respond to my calls or text messages. I was successful on my own in getting the pilot lit for the hot water tank but the hot water stayed on only long enough for two of the four guests to get a shower. That evening and the following morning we had no success in getting hot water in spite of my numerous attempts to contact the owner.

From all accounts, the property was not ready for placement on Airbnb and was grossly misrepresented. Although there was clear evidence of some significant remodeling to the kitchen, the simple amenities that travelers expect (e.g. hot water on demand, a mud-free entry to the premises, clean linens, towels, soap and toilet tissue) were all lacking. Upon my personal inspection of the crawlspace below the home there was no evidence of new plumbing but instead, a patchwork of some replacement pipes. Advertisement for the home clearly indicated the home had recently received new plumbing yet the owner had failed to upgrade a hot water heater that dated back to 1990; this was an egregious misrepresentation of the condition of the home.

Having stayed at Airbnb homes all over the world this was unquestionably the worst facility I had ever had the misfortune of renting, not to mention the embarrassment of having another couple endure this hardship with us. The Tuesday following my return home, I made one last attempt to contact the owner to give him a chance to make some reasonable accommodation for the terrible hardship we endured at his home. Again my outreach fell on deaf ears as he never returned my calls.

One most interesting lesson learned from this ordeal was you need to choose your credit card company carefully. I have been an American Express Card holder for over 37 years and my attempt to obtain a refund through American Express would not have posed any difficulty for me. However, this is not the case with Chase and the Mileage Plus Visa Card, which unfortunately I chose to use to secure the property with. I initially disputed the charge with Chase but with each volume of documentation provided to them as requested, was met with another ridiculous request for further documentation.

From the outset, Chase contended that the charges were valid and sided with the merchant (in this case, the host). Never once did Chase speak or receive any documentation from the host to refute my claims but nevertheless, they were reluctant to resolve the matter yet provided a phone number to contact them to discuss. Needless to say, each attempt to contact a human at Chase was met with “the person you are trying to reach is away from their office right now”.

I did finally seek assistance from Airbnb who attempted to reach out to the host but was also unsuccessful in receiving any return call from him. Airbnb did post a small credit (just under $300) to my account but I felt considering the gross misrepresentation of the property by the owner that a more meaningful adjustment was required. I am currently still pursuing the matter and seeking a further adjustment through Airbnb. I have since cut up my Chase Mileage Plus Visa Card and the other Chase Card and returned them to Chase with a stern directive as to where they now can place their cards.

Moral of the story: there is a reason why I have held the Amex card all these years and have no problem paying the annual fee. Had I used the Amex card for the this trip I would have had this resolved back in April. Further, Airbnb needs to do a far better job at screening their hosts and protecting their customers.

Stranded in Florence After Host Lied and Cancelled

Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.

We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.

Airbnb Blames Guests for Hosts Violating TOS

My brother had spent hours trying to verify himself via Airbnb’s verification process for creating an account. He called me for help, and after Googling it, I discovered that there is a known issue with Android phones and verifying with Airbnb. Since we had found an entire house available for ten days for my brother to stay in while visiting California, and at a reasonable cost, I emailed the hosts, told them about the trouble my brother was having verifying, and asked if I could book the house for him using my verified Airbnb account. The host said I could book on behalf of my brother, and in fact, she book on behalf of her son, so it was “no problem”.

When I took my brother to the house to check-in, we were really surprised and dismayed to find that he was renting a room in a four bedroom house, and that four other people would be staying in the house while he was there. I’ve used Airbnb for years and booked many rooms in houses, full homes, and so on. I understand that when it says “a room”, it means a room in a house. However, in all the Airbnb rooms I’ve booked, I knew that the host was either staying in the home as well, or the listing stated that other people would be staying in the home at the same time I would be staying there.

If the host is not the person staying in the home, I don’t book the property. Why? Because obviously I do not want to stay in a house with people I do not know and who come from who knows where. If the host lives in the home, their photo, information, etc. is known to you when you book it, and they are verified. I do not want to sleep in a house of strangers when traveling alone.

This particular listing did not say that there would be others staying in the house. We actually thought that it was a small, one-two bedroom house that my brother would have all to himself. I contend that the listing and the photos and the description were vague and misleading. The host offered to give the money back, or, try to find an alternate place for him to stay, but having just arrived from New York and it being evening time, we were stuck. There were no other choices for him.

We did not check him in; we went to my place and I called Airbnb to try and find a solution, and two things happened. First, they told me that hosts are not obligated to let you know that other people will be staying at the house. Now, think about that: if I were a single woman who had booked this room, and three or four other men or people whom I did not know, who came from who knows where, were staying in the same house with me, I would not feel safe. I think hosts should tell guests that other guests will be staying in the home with you.

The person at Airbnb told me also that “for security reasons” the hosts are not obligated to tell guests there will be other people in the home. Really? Whose security, I wonder? Second, the guy at Airbnb told me that I had “violated the third-party booking policy” by booking the room for my brother, and that that negated any help they would give me. I lost it at that point, and told him that the hosts agreed to me booking the room for my brother. They were the ones who broke the policy.

My brother and I went back to the house, and he checked in, again, because he had no other options. Guess what happened? The other guests, a couple who booked another room in the house, who also thought they had booked an entire house for themselves, were checking in and were arguing with the host because my brother was there. They too “misread” this listing, thought they had booked an entire house to themselves, and were upset to see my brother in the house.

My brother is a really sweet guy, but he is huge and very imposing looking. If I did not know him, I would be dismayed at this very large Italian-looking guy (very handsome, though) was sharing a house that I thought I had booked to myself. The couple wound up talking to my brother, and all agreed: this was really a dishonest ‘bait-and-switch’ experience with Airbnb, and they have the worst customer service. Airbnb blamed the guests and refused to help us. Now Airbnb wants me to “review your experience with your host” which I will not do.

One other thing: while my brother was staying there, the host had a contractor there to enclose the deck into another bedroom that they can rent out to yet more Airbnb guests. I’ve written to Airbnb, and not received a response. So, I’m taking to social media to tell this story. If you rent out rooms via Airbnb, great, good for you. Run your home like a hotel. But hotels have to be honest to guests, and have rules they must follow for the safety and security of the guests. Airbnb cares only about the hosts, not the guests.

If you are a single woman traveling using Airbnb, be very very careful when booking a “room” and make sure to ask if other people will be staying in the house with you, and who they are if they are not the host.

I just got an email from Airbnb that is really just unbelievable:

“About two weeks ago we were recently notified that you may have made a reservation on behalf of someone else… Transparency builds trust, which is why it’s important for everyone on Airbnb to represent themselves honestly. Given the circumstances, as this is a violation of our Terms of Service, we have revoked the capability to leave reviews. If you have any questions or concerns, just reply to this email. We’re here to help!”

I noticed today that the hosts have changed their listing to inform guests that there will be other guests staying in the home. Too bad they didn’t do it sooner.

Filthy Condo Forces Couple to Leave Early

My wife and I were very disappointed with our stay at this property in Laguna Niguel. I would not recommend this condo; it should be removed from Airbnb. We only stayed three nights then could not stand it any longer so we booked a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Irvine. Upon entering the condo, we noticed the place smelled. We found the property to be very dirty. Countertops had dirt and grit and had not been wiped or cleaned prior to our arrival. Toilets had not been cleaned and had dirt and hair on the tops of the bowls and rims. Bathroom countertops had not been cleaned and had dirt, hair, and grit. When we tried to clean the area with wipes, they came away with quite a bit of black stuff and dirt.

There was mold in the master bathroom’s shower. This concerned us very much. The sheets for the master bed were washed and folded on the bed, but when we made the bed we found the sheets were stained and made of a very cheap, thin material. We did not use the second bedroom with a twin bed as it was only the two of us. The towels and washcloths were very old and grey from long-term use and multiple washings (in other words, not white anymore); one washcloth even had very dark stains. It made us uncomfortable to use them.

The shower wand in the master bath was lying on the floor of the shower and I thought it must have fallen. When I put the wand in the holder it was dripping. Attempting to turn the hot and cold faucets off securely did not stop the dripping and this was the reason the shower wand was left on the floor of the shower (otherwise when sleeping you would hear the constant drip).

The condo only had a toaster oven and no microwave. The toaster oven was dirty. The coffee pot was a very old drip type with no cup markings on the carafe or water reservoir to tell you how may cups of water for filling so it made it difficult to determine how much coffee (scoops) to put into the filter. There was spilled and crusted food on the shelves of the refrigerator.

On Wednesday morning we got up early and washed the sheets and towels as instructed (this took over two hours to wash and dry, so we made sure to get up early to complete this task). We mopped the floors (the mop we found was filthy). When I went to vacuum the carpets, I found the filter was completely clogged and caked with dirt. I cannot imagine how this vacuum could have picked up any dirt from the carpets. For a filter to be clogged and caked this severely must have been from neglect over a matter of months. The connecting hose from the vacuum head to the filter was duct taped. I cleaned the filter as best I could between each of the pleats.

We just could not stay in this condo, so we left early and reserved a room at the Hilton Garden Inn at John Wayne Airport. This added an extra $300 on top of the $480 we paid for four nights in the condo. The host responded to our review stating that we were “scammers”. This was my 67th birthday. I am a professional engineer and very responsible and very clean. We keep our home immaculate.

Airbnb Sides With Host in Nearly All Cases

My husband and I were looking forward to a hassle-free stay at a beautiful converted barn in Dorking. We were heading to England for a family wedding and wanted somewhere close to the venue so we could have a few drinks and a short inexpensive cab ride back to our lodgings. By renting a large enough place, we were able to have family join in to share the cost and have more time together. The listing for the barn on Airbnb showed a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and fit the criteria for location and amount of people it could accommodate. My husband went through Airbnb and booked it for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Prior to our arrival my husband saw a review about the property that made us question whether we wanted to stay there. He emailed the host with his concerns about the lack of cleanliness and she assured him the clients were lying and they had tried to have more people stay than was allowed.

On Friday, we helped with some set up at the wedding venue and were looking forward to hot showers and relaxing at the barn before a night out . The coordinates we were given brought us to a beautiful Airbnb but unfortunately it was not the property we booked. We spent the next 1.5 hours on the phone, using our data by the side of the road trying to find the place. By the time we found it, we were frustrated. Then we pulled into the parking lot beside a garbage pile.

After a tour of the rustic barn, the first sitting area looked fine. Then we passed down a hallway with a cot in it beside a bathroom, the bedroom that was supposed to be an ensuite. We entered the main room which was spacious and could have been wonderful. There were dirty ripped chairs around the table and furniture that was more suited for a frat house. This was not the furniture from the photos on Airbnb. We were worried about sitting on it because it looked unsanitary. The kitchen was small and the carpet was filthy along with the refrigerator.

Upstairs in the loft was an open area considered to be one of the four bedrooms mentioned with three beds, some with linens and some without. There was a shelf with what looked like black mold and a table with crumbs from previous tenants. Some cobwebs were also present. Next we saw an actual bedroom and it was well presented except for the dirty floors. The final and fourth bedroom had two single beds. When we lifted the linens to check for bugs we found insect shell-like casings.

That was really the last straw. When my husband spoke with the host to point out our concerns she was very contradictory. We were honestly worried about bringing our suitcases in and getting bed bugs that would then be brought anywhere we stayed after that and then to our homes. We decided we were not staying at this property and we did not check in. Now we needed somewhere to stay for two nights.

She offered to bring in a cleaner and switch out furniture from her home (this is what she should have done before we arrived). Now we know she used that as her argument with Airbnb. She told them she tried to fix our concerns and we refused. First of all, a reputable host takes pride in her property and ensures it is clean and safe before new tenants arrive. Secondly, no cleaning company could have solved a mold and bed bug issue in a short visit. I guess we were supposed to sit in our car by the garbage heap while all this wonderful cleaning happened. If she felt her home furnishings were more suitable than they should have been in the barn to begin with. The doors didn’t lock and the property looked tired. It in no way resembled the quaint, rustic conversion depicted in her photos on the website.

We had already paid Airbnb approximately $880 (Canadian). We would have split that three ways, two couples and one single, so $176 each person. Then we paid approximately $600 for two nights for three rooms for a total of $1800. The nightmare ended up costing the five of us approximately $2680 total. We have lost way too much considering the host misrepresented herself. She is smug because Airbnb has sided with her so far. She has an unacceptable listing and is still taking in money without even having tenants; that’s a good gig.

Airbnb has been difficult to deal with. They sided with the host because she offered to “rectify” our concerns. She has posted a reply to our review that states we are lying and that my husband is a disagreeable and spoiled man. The Airbnb customer service representative feels she has rectified the situation and sent us an email with her decision. They have not put us through to a new case manager even though I called to reopen the case and was told I would hear from someone by the end of the day on July 21st. It is now July 25th and no one has contacted us. I think they hope we will go away. Sadly, Airbnb lacks true customer service when service is needed. They should be ashamed to allow someone like this host to represent their company. She is abusing their lack of control over listings and taking her word that she meets their criteria.