It’s 2:15 AM and I’ve just passed the 20-minute mark on hold with Airbnb customer service for the second time in the last hour. The first time, after 40 minutes on hold, my call was disconnected. I suspected my host (for a scheduled five-week stay) was drunk when I called to say I’d be arriving late. My suspicion was confirmed upon arrival, when I encountered the staggering, slurring host, who bounced off the hall walls as I was shown to my room. The room was very nice and as describe, except for the curtain that separated my room from his. As I paced around weighing my options, loud slurred endearments to his dog boomed from behind the curtain. Decision made: I had to leave. I grabbed my unpacked things, and knocked on his closed bedroom door. As my host opened up, he fell backwards, and accepted my decision to depart from a slumped position on the floor halfway between the hall and his bedroom. On my way out, I noticed the front door had been left wide open, and all the lights were on. Being an Airbnb novice, I had thoroughly researched this host and location. Every posted review was sterling, the host bio was appealing and congenial, and the photos showed a lovely home with a situation ideal for my purposes. It’s now 2:38 AM, and Airbnb customer service just disconnected me… again. I doubt the website will be at all useful, as several attempts to find a help topic appropriate to my situation came up empty. Clearly, the site is designed to frustrate any effort to seek immediate resolution and satisfaction. This was my first and could be my last experience with Airbnb.
I rented a condo in Panama City Beach, Florida in January 2017 to visit an old friend with terminal cancer. Upon arrival, everything was fine. When I returned home I realized a diamond ring that belonged to my late sister-in-law was missing. As you may imagine I was sick. I have never lost anything and that would be the worst thing to lose. I sent a message through Airbnb to the host, asked them to please look for it, and reminded them in what bedroom I stayed. Low and behold, they found it on January 31st 2017. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. They asked for my address and for how much to insure the package, and I provided the information.
It is now March 14th and I still do not have the ring. I contacted Airbnb on February 10th after multiple attempts to communicate with the host to which they would no longer respond. Airbnb reviewed all the messages and opened a case. I have not been contacted by Airbnb once. I have called multiple times, been on hold for 30-45 minutes, spoken to someone who stated that my case has been assigned to someone and they would be contacting me, and to date there has been absolutely no contact. Every day I call Airbnb, hold for a long period of time, speak to someone and that is it. I have asked for a manager or supervisor each time and was always told they were busy. I have insisted that I speak with someone and have been hung up on three times now. I am not sure what to do. I have contacted the local police department, filed a report, and also reported Airbnb to the Better Business Bureau. It’s bad enough I lost the ring, but the worst part is lack of help from Airbnb. I will never use them again.
Airbnb first said this house we rented last summer was a four bedroom. One of the so-called bedrooms was a half room, with no door and a crib and air mattress inside the alcove; that’s all it was, an alcove. Then we had this flood, which had something to do with the huge construction site two doors down. My daughters were bathing in the upstairs bathtub and when we let the water out, all the water from the toilet in the powder room came flooding up – black water and everything. When we arrived you could see it had happened before as the wood tiles in that bathroom were curling up and jagged. We had to vacate the house which was not easy as we were in high season. We contacted the owner who sent a plumber but we did not see him until he knocked at the door and said we were all good; the blockage was in the street. In the dispute they would not declare who the plumber was, nut Airbnb and our host blamed us and charged us 1000 USD. Beware using Airbnb; try any other good options as an alternative to these bandits. Happy Travels!
We checked into Scott’s home in Silver Lake, CA after a couple of long flights. I’m from Chicago and my partner is from London. Scott welcomed us in and showed us to our room. He was very pleasant face-to-face. After no more than ten minutes, we left to get a late dinner. We returned around 11:00 PM and crept up the stairs to avoid awakening what we assumed was our sleeping host. We changed our clothes for bed, and my partner went to brush her teeth. She came back to the room wide-eyed and asked me: “Do you hear that?” She looked like she had seen a ghost. I said I had not. She gestured towards the door and whispered “listen.” I jumped up and took a step towards the door, immediately heard what she had, and understood the look on her face. Scott was vigorously masturbating and shouting to someone over the phone. I opened our bedroom door and he was yelling (he is somewhat deaf): “Yeah, you like it?” My partner said when she was on the toilet she heard him say “Eat that a#@$*le, you like that big hairy c$%k in your face.”
Scott’s bedroom is adjoined to the only bathroom in the house – the bathroom my partner and I, another couple, and Scott were to share. My partner said she felt sick. I went to brush my teeth and came back to the room with an idea: “I think we should just go down the street to the Comfort Inn. I don’t feel comfortable here.” My partner flipped her laptop around; she had the same idea and was searching for a new place to stay. We looked up Airbnb’s customer service line which was far too difficult to find. We called the Airbnb “Trust and Safety” line to make a report and the first thing they asked was for my partner’s phone and credit card numbers. After a complicated process (because my partner is British and the Airbnb system would not recognize her phone number, even though she booked the trip), we finally reached someone. My partner recounted Scott’s loud and aggressive masturbation session, said we were not comfortable staying with Scott, and would like a refund so we may stay somewhere else. The best they could do was refund roughly 30% of the 11-night trip we had paid for.
At this point, we had spent fewer than thirty minutes in the house. The “Trust and Safety” representative said that if Scott was not directing his sexual language at one of us, there was nothing Airbnb could do. The only avenue they suggested was talking to Scott, telling him our issue, and asking him for a full refund, which they reminded us would not include Airbnb’s fees. Nothing could convince the Airbnb representative that this was an uncomfortable place for us to stay. Their response was essentially: “It’s Scott’s house, and he can do whatever he wants in it.”
Yes, Airbnb, it is Scott’s house and we have just spent our holiday budget on a room in that house. Apparently feeling uncomfortable because of someone’s very loud and aggressive sexual behavior, audible from our bedroom and just short of inclusive while in the bathroom, does not meet Airbnb’s cancellation policies. Now we can’t leave Scott’s home because we can’t afford other accommodations. Airbnb offered no support or empathy. I suspect that when a person plans a trip to a new place, they would like to trust the person they are staying with, or at the very least the company that vouches for their hosts. It turns out, with Airbnb, you can’t necessarily trust either. It probably goes without saying but I will never plan a trip with Airbnb again.
In early January 2016, I received an email from Airbnb that explained that since most guests preferred Instant Booking over talking to a prospective host, Airbnb would not list my home under guest searches. This is despite me usually getting great ratings from my Airbnb guests. Can you see how this could be seen as an aggressive attempt to make people offer Instant Booking when that feature does not work for their situation? Now, if Airbnb had sent me an email suggesting that I take more photos, I would do that. However, if I turn on Instant Booking, and/or offer a price considered below average for my area, I’ll lose money. My rate is already below average for my area. What will help me immensely is when Airbnb stops omitting my home from suggested places to stay. I had one guest in December 2016 and no guests in January 2017.
I have been very loyal to Airbnb and have advocated for their business in writing. I wrote a letter to the NYC Public Advocate in response to her scathing opinion of Airbnb. How do you think NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams would react to NYC homeowners being forced to offer Instant Booking? Please share your thoughts.
Our experiences with Airbnb have been excellent overall. However, the time and effort to get help with problems is a real concern. I believe guests used to get a post-visit email from Airbnb allowing the sharing of problems privately. This no longer appears to be the case. Here is a note I wrote which I could find no way to deliver. Moreover, I waited 25 minutes on the phone waiting to speak with someone.
Dear Airbnb Staff,
A question I have is how to contact you if a problem arises and neither a computer nor cell phone is at hand? We had need of this on our last trip to Pasadena, California. We arrived at 12:00 PM (3:00 AM New York time), in the heavy rain. Fortunately, our taxi driver was able to spot the entrance to the building and call box in the damp and poorly lit area. Our directions had told us to type in the owner’s name and call them to be buzzed in. The directions at the top of the call box sent a fleeting and almost unreadable message regarding entry. It said to type in a number and name. There were no symbols nor letters on the buttons in the call box, making it impossible to do this. I tried many times. Eventually I pushed something on the box and by translating the letters from our TracFone buttons was able to type in the names. The box said access denied.
To continue the saga, by accident I found a way to scroll for names and did manage to call the owner who said she would buzz us in. We lugged all our bags and suitcases through the gate only to find we were trapped between the outer and inner gate! No one had told us to go and open the second gate quickly. This could have meant we had to go in and out again, but my husband rang the door bell of a very helpful neighbor who came to let us in and show us where the elevator was. On getting to the correct floor in the dark – the lights apparently go off at a certain hour – it took another long time and required us to turn a large bench over in order to access the lock box. When we eventually got into the apartment all the clothes in one suitcase were soaked through.
In the apartment, there were no directions regarding the wifi or television use. My husband was able to get the wifi information from a call to the owner, as well as an explanation as to why the bathroom sink was sprinkled with mud… or worse. The owner informed us that sometimes the plumbing backed up. The apartment had no dining room, nor did it have a table or shelf high enough to use for writing or placing a computer. We did not plan to do cooking except for breakfast. Neither the electric oven nor the oven broiler worked. It was not made clear how to lock the doors on departure. Apparently you have to lift up the handle while turning the key, another item that should be in a manual.
I had intended to write this in a private communication to Airbnb. In the past there has been an option to write to Airbnb with suggestions for improvement that you do not want to communicate directly to the owner. No such email came from you. I have mentioned several problems above but want to reiterate: there was no instruction manual, let alone welcome manual in the house. There were no clear directions about getting into the house. There was no mention of the possibility of plumbing problems. There was neither a working electric oven nor a stove broiler oven. It was not clear how to lock the doors correctly on departure. This is the only time in many years of enjoying Airbnb homes that we have experienced any difficulty. Overall our stay was alright, with a comfortable bed and quiet space. However, I cannot say strongly enough that these problems should be addressed before the apartment is rented again. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I’m not yet a host yet but I have been trying. I became a member of Airbnb last November and got an inquiry for a booking in the first week of January 2017. I was on vacation and just received the last reminder from Airbnb to respond to a guest inquiry about our place in Kalimpong. As bad luck would have it, the network was pure hell where I was, so in the midst of a communication with the guest, I was cut off and sadly could not restore it again even though I tried my best. Hence, I missed my first guest. Whenever I could connect to Airbnb, I did try to explain the prevailing problem with the network and they were very cooperative in extending help. Subsequently, I came back from my vacation and was waiting for some kind of activity to happen and it did… Airbnb said my account was suspended temporarily due to protection. I was stunned; I know I can offer a beautiful homestay for guests and they will be truly happy but I do not have control over the internet which is intermittent at best. The hills in India are beautifully quaint but not up to coping with the efficiency and skill needed to interact with Airbnb. I must say it was fun while it lasted but anyone is welcome to come here and enjoy the stay with or without Airbnb. It’s time to look for other platforms. Thanks for your time and interest.
I would like to briefly highlight one issue here. When I reported to my host that some things were not good at her apartment, the very next day she asked me to leave, which was alarming to me. She agreed to refund me the pending payment for one night which had not yet gone through and also the Airbnb service charges. Upon asking why she was doing this she said she was getting a potential long-term client from February 1st and after that her offer changed into request mode. When I found that she was requesting me to leave so she would not incur a loss by losing a long-term client, I agreed on one condition: that I wouldn’t pay more for one night’s rate at her property at another place.
The next day upon searching jointly we found a place next to her apartment which had a bit of a high rate. I negotiated further with that host and brought down the rate further. Later she jumped into my negotiation and tried to spoil it. Earlier she asked me to leave on Friday January 27th, so I negotiated with the guy accordingly. Later she confused him and said that I would come to his apartment on Monday January 30th, without even informing me. That guy shouted at me but somehow I managed to control the situation. Afterward, I told my host very clearly that I didn’t want to leave the apartment because of how she wasted my time but I would on humanitarian grounds, her having a potential long-term client.
The last evening at her place I was informed that the apartment where she was transferring me was asking for a R1000 security deposit. I told Annette that I helped her but didn’t means that she could force me into paying R1000 extra. I am comfortable blocking payment to a big company like Airbnb but I wouldn’t try to do so to a random person. I also asked her that in case that guy wouldn’t pay me back my R1000 for whatever reason, then she had to take responsibility if I didn’t do anything wrong… which she denied. Finally she showed her true colors and said that she didn’t ask me to leave; it was me who wanted to leave. When I told her that I have everything in writing as well as her call recording too then she got afraid and backpedaled, saying that I was threatening her. She made a Whatsapp call (because they can’t be recorded) and said so many things to me, including:
1. If she reports me to Airbnb then they will charge 300USD to my account.
2. As I have no reviews on Airbnb then my case is weak.
3. I wrote so many messages to her, she got fed up (I can show who has written more messages, me or her).
4. I bring negative energy to her flat and she wanted me to leave.
I told my host that if she filed a complaint with Airbnb then I would do the same, with all the messages and voice recordings, letting Airbnb decide who is right or wrong. Then she got offended.
This was my first time booking through Airbnb and I landed in a heap of trouble by helping my host on humanitarian grounds. I have documentation of our exchange of messages and voice recordings, which can provide a clear picture as to who is right and wrong. My only mistake is I helped that lady without informing Airbnb because my parents always taught me to help everyone until my last breath. My last concern is that I am leaving her apartment on Monday January 30th and I told her (through Airbnb message and Whatsapp) that I wanted a thorough check of everything and needed a clear signal from her that everything was in order before I left. I am afraid now because if she can change her statement in front of me (when I have all the proof), someone who helped her, then god knows what will happen when I turn my back.
We have had three terrible experiences using Airbnb. After reading this blog from both guests and hosts, it appears Airbnb doesn’t discriminate on whose money they steal. We have been told to lie and say we had not rented the property through Airbnb, that we were friends with someone in the complex (they provided a name). Then when we left an unfavorable review because of some issues with the apartment, the true host posted that we threatened him; we never even dealt with him in person. The second time, when we received the itinerary my husband Googled the address to find it did not exist; there was only a commercial building at that address. We contacted Airbnb and they told us to cancel. We received $74 of the $447 as a refund. Because we had already planned that trip, we looked for another apartment, which we found and booked. Upon arriving, we found that the apartment was not quite as it was described in the posting. After our stay, we once again left an unfavorable review on some of the noise issues, but again, nothing that prevented us from staying. After we posted our review, we received a message through Airbnb from the host that the couch smelled of urine and requested we pay an additional $275 for cleaning. Of course we denied it. We have all the text messages and emails to support our claims. Something needs to be done to stop Airbnb from their unethical business practices. They are stealing from hard-working middle class people. We are willing to help any way we can.
The host is called Maryann, and she has a listing titled “Vermont, Mt Snow Ski house in Dover Vt”. Do not, and I mean, do not ever ever book or rent from this woman. She is the meanest, nastiest, greediest person alive. It’s no wonder she has zero reviews on this property. Here are the details.
My friend booked Maryann’s Vermont Mt Snow Ski house for February 17th-20th, President’s Day Weekend. My friend made this reservation primarily so she could go snowboarding at Mt. Snow. After all the house is titled after the resort so the host tries to capture this crowd. However, my friend broke her elbow on January 15th while snowboarding at Mt. Creek. She dislocated all of the bones in her elbow as a result of her fall. She went to the hospital and the doctor reset her bones and put her in a cast. The doctor told it would take months for her to get most of her mobility in her elbow. So my friend contacted Liftopia who she used for the lift tickets; they gave her a full refund after she sent them her medical documents.
My friend then notified Maryann. She even sent her the medical and doctor release forms and analysis. Could you believe Maryann asked to see the x-rays? About a week after the accident, my friend had her first checkup and got a letter from the orthopedic surgeon that she would not be able to snowboard for three months; she would be in a cast for an additional four weeks. My friend then sent all this to Maryann she wrote: “You and your friends could still come and enjoy the house and area. It is not rented with the idea that one must be on the slopes. Thank you but I do not feel any further funds should be refunded.”
This woman who titles her house “Mt. Snow Ski House” is now telling customers that the house is not meant for going to the slopes? Why else would we be going to Vermont in February? If the Airbnb policy was so straightforward why did she ask for medical forms? This is absolutely crazy. The host has had over a month to find another customer to rent her house. My friend, in addition to all the pain she has endured, the countless medical bills that she has to pay and continued future physical therapy, has the added insult of this nasty host who prefers to keep my injured friend’s money. If this is Airbnb’s policy, do not ever rent from them, and do not use their services.