Airbnb Construction Holiday in Palm Springs

My daughter and I have taken a yearly road trip to Palm Springs during Spring Break for the last four years. Last March, we rented a 3-bedroom and 2.5-bath townhouse in a small gated development just a block off Palm Canyon Drive. It was a two-story building, so I took the master bedroom upstairs and my daughter took the bedroom on the main floor so she wouldn’t keep me up all night watching TV. I was awoken on the first morning by what I sleepily dreamed was a cleaning crew giving someone maid service. I wondered why they were cleaning a room at 7:00 AM and realized I wasn’t in a hotel and the noise was above my head on the roof. Workers were redoing the asphalt. We had rented this condo for seven days and four mornings were ruined by the workers. We even woke on the third morning of work to find plastic sheeting was covering the entire patio. Because our access to the carport was through the patio gate, we couldn’t drive away.

I’m easy going, but after being awakened three mornings in a row before 7:00 AM, my daughter asked if we could go elsewhere. I did not want to move everything (clothes, food, liquor, a 42″ flat screen to replace the analog TV shown in the pictures, and an Apple TV), so I rented a room for her at the Hard Rock, while I stayed in the condo. I was going there to use the pool and to go out with my daughter. After renting the hotel room, I texted the property manager to tell her I would like a partial refund of the $1800 I had paid for six nights, and to tell her the wifi had been out since the previous night, meaning I had no TV or Internet. She immediately got an attitude with me. She asked why I had waited “so long” to tell her about the workers. I told her it was because I was a property owner and knew that things can happen, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped it was short-lived. However, by the third day I was getting really annoyed and knew the owners knew about it, because the Homeowners Association had sent letters to each owner several months earlier, as required by law (I spoke to some neighboring owners). She said the owners lived in another state and she would get back to me after she talked to them.

By the fifth day I had a large amount of video evidence regarding the level of noise. Pounding, dragging, pressure washing, etc. at 6:30-7:00 AM lasting until 5:00 PM. I had video of the back door covered in plastic, the back patio still blocked, and the grill and patio furniture, which was unusable. She finally responded, but only after we arrived home, to inform me the owners felt they could have stopped the workers if I had made an immediate complaint (right… the entire complex was being roofed, but one owner could have stopped it). She said because I waited until halfway through my stay I left them unable to do anything to assist me.

At that point my daughter told me to send a complaint with the attachment videos to Airbnb, which I did. After two weeks I received their response. “There was insufficient evidence for even a partial refund due to the timing of my complaint, but the property manager offered a 10% goodwill discount if I booked with them the following year.” As if it’s somewhere I would ever stay again. I think there are only two big property management agencies in Palm Springs and the property managers are all well known in the city. They all protect themselves and their paychecks by discouraging reporting with rude behavior. They delay complaints and give ridiculous explanations for why they can’t help you. Airbnb only makes money if it protects the hosts. Without hosts there are no travelers, therefore they will protect them before us. Especially the more expensive postings in popular destinations.

Cheap China Airbnb Host from Hell

I had been receiving kind and warm Airbnb experiences until one month ago when I was in a rush booking a room for myself. The problem was that I did not carefully check the comments left on the webpage about the house. I was desperately in need of a place to rest immediately somewhere as close to my company as possible. One Airbnb option captured my attention. It was cheap and it looked clean enough with a spacious bed for one person. Here is how it went with this host: she acted perfectly welcoming, meeting me at the beginning, giving me advice on settling in. But let me tell you, it was difficult to use the hot water to shower. Each time I did, the host complained she paid a lot for electricity and water, so why would I shower two times a day? She offered the same bar of soap for every guest, as well as a used disposable plastic bowl and chopsticks which she had left over from her meals. It was extremely disgusting and insanity.

Apart from this, she offered also a disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware she offered. It felt like she not only intended to exclude me from her life but also implied I was a walking petri dish. Given the situation, I had literally no idea how I could use the disposable napkin to wash the disposable cookware without any dish gel at all. This apparently made her snap and she shouted: “No adults in world don’t know how to wash a dish! If you’re complaining that much get out of my place at once!”

She was pointing at my nose losing her temper. That night around midnight, she stood at my door, shouting “Please, get out of my place at once!” I thought she was breaking down or had some mental disorder. I called the police because there was no reason I should get out at the middle of the night after receiving threats. It makes me feel sick even just thinking about it. Here’s how the police solved the conflict. They recommended that the host give me a refund immediately and took me somewhere safe for the night. Away from this psycho host with her mental disorder. For more details about where this place is and what I did afterwards calling customer service, please leave comments.

Airbnb Host with Moral Issues Yelled at Guests

Here is a description of how we were moral policed and character assassinated during our stay at a host’s residence. Some details are left out due to the sheer number of these instances we had to put up with during our stay. The description of the place on the listing was not even close to the real condition of the residence; the room and linen smelled musty (we had to insist that the linen be changed periodically), the room was infested with mosquitoes at night, the walls, fans, and bathroom were dirty, and we had to either take the initiative to clean the place ourselves or personally supervise the cleaning as the host would grudgingly offer to have place cleaned or come back to us with statements like “previous guests put up with this so why should it be a problem for you?”

My partner and I have both backpacked (in India and abroad) and understand that hygiene levels slightly vary from the listing to reality but I’m talking about hygiene levels akin to living in a shanty, (things like coats of dust, grime and oil stains on the walls and switches of the alternative kitchen we were given, a filthy bathroom). The host even had the audacity to lock her kitchen at night without informing us (reason being – she did not list that non-vegetarian food was not okay and hence locked the kitchen to keep us away from using her utensils and basic cooking items). Though highly unacceptable, we tolerated these aspects (primarily because she refused to negotiate a refund or solution) and either cleaned things ourselves or made sure we were supervising when these issues were not taken care of (a clear responsibility of the host that was not fulfilled).

However, what was uncalled for and down right insulting were the remarks, attitude, and judgement that the host and her husband had towards us during the entirety of our stay. The final straw was the incident on the last day when the host’s husband simply insulted me by openly making a character judgement. Earlier they had turned down our request to have a buffer zone of a couple of hours to use their facilities on the final checkout day as we had a train that same night. Having taken enough time already, we checked out at 11:00 AM and were waiting for our taxi with our luggage at the main gate. I went to get a taxi to our location, while my partner monitored the luggage. The host’s husband passed my partner at the main gate without saying a word and then halfway down the road met me and started yelling – literally yelling at me on a busy street in front of all to see – saying:

“You came home at 5:00 in the morning – I know what kind of a girl does that!”

“Is this the behavior that your family raised you for?”

“What type of character does a girl like you have to behave like this?”

“Take a good look at your behavior and disgusting character! My wife and I are extremely glad you are leaving! Take a look inside yourself and stop being like this!”

This could have been completely denied by the host but instead she called us to confirm that this incident took place and went onto say that her husband always behaves like this and creates a problem every time. Then she sheepishly told us that “I know you will leave a bad review because of this and we have only been good to you.” I mean, there are ways of being two faced and this host really showed it. Basically she was calling to do damage control for this entire incident and tried to make it seem like she had nothing to do with any of the moral policing, insults, and character assassinations that we had put with for the past nine days. We were essentially being held for ransom to continue staying there because she had our money and refused to come to a negotiation even though we made it clear on numerous occasions that we were unhappy with the hygiene conditions, insults and passive aggressive judgements of the host and her husband. This is one experience that has definitely disgusted us and made us really wary of choosing listings.

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.

My First Airbnb Experience: A Mentally Unstable Host

I’m an incurable optimist, so I’ll start this write-up with the prelude that I’ve been treated incredibly well by so many people here in London. I’ve been treated to a free meal, drinks, bus rides and a gym visit; people have consistently lavished me with admiration and kindness here. Everybody except for my Airbnb host, that is. I had to submit a more concise version of this review through the website, but I had so much more to say about the nightmare than 500 words. This is the unedited version.

There should be a 0 stars option. When I stayed with the host, he must have gone off his meds. From the start, he overstepped his bounds and was obnoxious. By the end of my stay, it was obvious that he’s mentally unstable. I witnessed him being a decent person to the gay couple who left the day after I arrived, so I know he can sometimes be personable. I booked because he had good reviews. He’s chatty, and so appears friendly on first meeting, but I think maybe he’s bipolar and I got the unhinged version. Even his chattiness is telling and catty though: often it’s negative put downs of his previous and pending renters (mostly women), which tells me more about him than it does about them. Maybe if you’re a gay couple, he’d treat you well. However, my experience was atrocious and the host went out of his way to inconvenience me.

First, after my booking, he asked me to bring a “small” parcel to him from my country to avoid duty fees. I agreed to his request but the package turned out not to be small and was the size of half my carry-on suitcase. It was fragile as well, and I was liable for its protection. He was not empathetic to what an imposition that was, having the nerve to tell me how much luggage he brings on a trip as a justification that I should have the space to spare. As lip service to putting me out like that, he promised to make me a meal during my stay but of course that didn’t happen. In the flat on the morning after my first night there, the host asked me if I needed the shower as he wanted to do household washing in the tub. I said I didn’t need it then, but that I would after I came back from the gym later in the afternoon. A few hours later (after the other renters had checked out and I was left alone with him), the host had continued to commandeer the bathtub and wouldn’t allow me to have a shower after I’d returned from the gym. He wanted me to wait for an hour and 45 minutes. It was really inconvenient, as I had a scheduled event I wanted to go to.

He then argued that I was miffed I couldn’t access the shower when I needed it because I wasn’t familiar enough with the principals of Airbnb. We ended up bickering about it. “This is not a hotel, this is my house,” he said, as if expecting to get to the shower when I’m paying him for the rental is some diva-like demand, even after giving him several hours notice that I’d be showering in the afternoon. I ended up having to leave without one as I was running very late and he still hadn’t made the shower available. If showers are only allowed in the morning, then the ad should state as much. Coincidentally, at that event I went to, I met a lady who also did Airbnb hosting, so naturally I talked to her about what I’d been experiencing with the host where I was staying. She assured me that his behavior is very atypical and she suggested that I cancel. I actually didn’t have to, though, because the situation got even worse.

I got back late that night. Shortly thereafter I got to hear him having loud sex in the room next door. The next morning, I was rudely awakened by him, yelling and accusing me of putting a pink dye (as some kind of sabotage to a duvet) into his dryer, which I never touched. Truth be told, I wasn’t even aware of where the dryer was (nor do I travel with pink dye). He raged that he’d contacted Airbnb about this fabricated act and that I would have to leave the rental immediately, even though I had another night left on my stay and two nights booked on future reservations later in my trip. It seemed a ruse to get the rental cancelled so that I wouldn’t have a chance to poorly review him for the previous grievances. “Wow” is all have have to say; it was completely crazy and unethical. So of course I had no problem leaving his vortex of insanity.

The stress of packing up to leave unexpectedly and finding a new place to stay on the fly was not something I bargained for; it was actually the opposite of why I booked an Airbnb in the first place. To top it all off, he spent the next couple of hours yelling at me through the door (whilst I packed and tried to sort things out with Airbnb customer service over the phone), threatening to call the police on me if I didn’t get out faster. He has the lack of empathy and calculation of a sociopath. I’m not sure he has the ability to cognitively understand the ways he inconvenienced me; he’s unstable. It was a horrible nightmare of a first experience with Airbnb. As he’s shown no qualms about making things up about me, I expect him to continue his lies on his review of me, potentially jeopardizing my stay with other hosts in the future. But it may not matter as he’s soured me on room rental through the site, so much so that I write this from a hotel; I’d prefer not to be suddenly thrust into living with a obnoxious and crazy stranger who I would not have otherwise chosen. But for their part, I will say Airbnb customer service was gracious and empathetic about his treatment of me, and they took my side, giving me a partial refund on the nights I already spent there, and a full refund (despite the host’s strict cancellation policy) for the remaining bookings with him. The long and short of it is: save yourself the hassle and steer clear of this nutjob.

Dangerous Area And No Jacuzzi Means No Romance

The rude host started by sending me an SMS at 5:00 AM with a string of texts about whom we should contact to get into the property. He offered an “apology” about the time by saying he was a surgeon on call 24/7… so, of course, that makes it okay to wake me up early on holiday. Then I had to use my UK phone to call this guy and arrange everything. I am originally from South Africa and decided to treat my partner to a romantic night with a jacuzzi overlooking Hout Bay. What we got was a block of flats by the bad part of the harbour with electric fencing, two armed guards and a jacuzzi that could be reached by a narrow fire escape. But wait, there’s more. The guy didn’t switch on the jacuzzi, so we were told to wait five hours, until 10:00 PM. In the meantime, I would have been too terrified to leave the premises at night for fear of being hijacked or robbed. It is miles away from the town of Hout Bay and just look up because if you look down or around you realise you have a cannery and are in a very poor area. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but you become a target for crime. I had a rather rude awakening to Airbnb policies and wondered why the host continued to be so arrogant – if you don’t stay there you can’t leave a review. Because of his cancellation policy, I couldn’t get a refund. So the fact that it was unsafe and misrepresented cannot be published. Good luck to any unsuspecting tourist because sooner or later there will be a crime reported.

Be Aware of Strict Cancellation and Pet Policies

I booked the Amity Cottage in Albany Western Australia to attend a workshop, and was planning to invite friends to come along. It was agreed I would update the host later with details. Bringing my dog along was ok and the host appeared to be a dog lover. However, when I updated with details of my friends and their dogs, it turned out there was a limit to the number of dogs (not listed anywhere), and my friends were refused. Over the phone, the host explained more dogs were unacceptable and promised a majority of the money to be refunded after I cancelled. But the refund was declined. After Airbnb intervened, I got $300 back from the $1238 that I paid. The host rented the house out to others for at least two nights during that period.

Airbnb Cancellation Policy is Unfair to Hosts

I accepted a three-night rental in our one-bedroom apartment. In doing so, I blocked off those nights so that I could not accept any other inquiries for those dates. Then, the very day of check in, I received a message from the guest that he wanted to cancel, presumably because of a sick relative. They used their “extenuating circumstances” excuse to waive my cancelation policy. No other hotel or vacation rental site would allow a guest to cancel only 5-6 hours before checking in. And this is not an isolated situation. In the past several months, I have had three other cancelations, all at the last minute. So, I have resigned to the fact that Airbnb is not at all reliable. I don’t want to accept a rental for any length of time for fear that it will be canceled at the last moment and I will lose the rental income for that time period. What I am doing is blocking off all the future dates in my calendar and then only unblocking two or three nights ahead for last-minute, last-resort bookings. Since TripAdvisor and VRBO do not have such a policy, I will depend on them for virtually all my future rental bookings.

Airbnb Policies Don’t Work if the Guest Cancels Early

Don’t trust Airbnb with their cancellation policies. I had a guest arrive late one evening around midnight. They seemed quite happy with the apartment, then the next day called to say that they had found a place closer to the sea, and would like to leave. I said that would be fine, and then they asked for their money back. I responded it was not possible as I have lost other bookings. The next day they left and cancelled with Airbnb and requested a refund, which I declined. They also left the place filthy and full of rubbish. I heard nothing from Airbnb until after my next guest arrived, then they processed the refund from the payment of the other guests. Without telling me. This is daylight robbery. So hosts: beware your Airbnb cancellation policy means nothing. You are not covered. And what’s worse is they said that the apartment was listed incorrectly, which is all they have to do to get out of the cancellation policy. Do not list your property in Airbnb if you are a host.

Airbnb Host Disguised as Guest Screams

We organised a trip to Singapore to surprise a dear friend and booked an Airbnb for four people which apparently had 400 positive reviews. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly Filipino lady. She explained to us that there is another guest staying so we just need to keep our volume down (fair enough). The aircon was also leaking. Not long after, we heard loud noises of someone seemingly playing video games coming from the living room. We ignored that, though we were told to be respectful and keep our volume down.

While waiting for our last remaining friend to arrive, we were getting ready to head out. One of our friends then came over to the apartment to wait for us while we are getting ready. The person who was playing video games earlier started to go berserk after seeing our friend appearing in the apartment (we had booked for four but there were only three of us in the apartment at the time of our friend’s arrival). Although we tried to explain to her over and over that our friend is not staying overnight, but just here to wait for us to get ready and go out, she went ballistic and shouted: “Get out of my house! Get out now!”

We only found out she was the host after this whole incident (we always thought she was just another guest staying in the place). So the person who insisted she didn’t want any noise in her place was shouting at the top of her lungs. The nice Filipino lady was actually not the host (we suspected she was the housekeeper made to do business for her by the way the host talked to her). We didn’t want to leave before she refunded our money, but she went ahead and switched off all the electricity, wifi, and anything else that she could.  After that we were left with no place to go, in a foreign country, having to find other accommodations at 7:00 pm.

The next day we continued to receive threatening messages saying that we were disrespectful and she would pursue legal action if we posted anything online. What a wonderful first experience with Airbnb! The problem is, no one is allowed to leave any feedback before completing a stay. Very often the reviews would be skewed towards the positive. So people like us who got chased out for a small matter were unable to leave any feedback on Airbnb. Although the host cancelled our stay on the day we arrived, this was not shown on <a href=”https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/3775738″>her page</a>.