Will Never Use Airbnb Again After Construction

I used Airbnb for the first time a week again and I will never use them again. The studio we rented was totally misrepresented. When we arrived at the rental, we discovered the building was a construction site. The hallways and stairwells were being decorated and the floors tiled. There was dust everywhere, building materials on the landings and stairwells, doors held open with fire extinguishers, and bags of rubbish left in the halls. There were workmen coming and going, and they were grouting the hall outside the rental while we were there.

The studio rental was also directly above a nightclub. The host gave no indication of the nightclub in the description and at no point contacted me beforehand to let me know about or apologise for the building work. In addition, the keypad system to enter the building stopped working. We were in fact locked out of the rental on our first evening. It was late and only by the sheer luck of another resident turning up with a key were we able to re-enter the building and get back to our belongings. I emailed and left a voicemail for the host the following morning about this issue and to date he has still not had the decency to contact me. Fortunately the estate agent next door that managed flats in the building was able to get us a key. However this took over an hour of our time, during which we could not leave for fear of not being able to re-enter.

As soon as I returned I logged an issue with the resolution centre. Again, the host has not had the decency to respond to me. I have now forwarded my issue to Airbnb directly, and despite a standard response saying I would be contacted within 24 hours, I have not had any communication from them. Previously I have used Booking.com and Hotels.com for both personal and work travel and I will be staying with them from now on. They are both excellent services that Airbnb could learn a lot from.

Awful and Stressful Experience Contacting Airbnb

The host was unreachable. I booked this reservation for my 21-year-old son. The host did not leave a building key and promised to let my son in by buzzing him in through his cell phone. My son was left out in the freezing cold a few days in a row because the host would not respond. He could not get into the building. We wrote to the host on Airbnb and barely got responses. He promised to leave us the building key but never did. He then claimed my son lost the key and was going to charge us for it; he never left it. This was an awful and very stressful experience. My son left the premises after just a few days because he did not have easy access to the apartment.

I am disputing the charge with my credit card company but it seems that I will have to eat this cost because Airbnb is completely unreachable. There is no email address to contact them. Their help on the site has questions and answers but no phone number. You can never speak to anyone. I used Google to search for a contact number, was on hold for over a half hour, and then hung up. No one answered if that was even the right number. Do not use Airbnb. You will be throwing away your money.

Airbnb Million Dollar Warranty is Fake

Friday evening my guests texted me with photo evidence that they broke our keys in the door lock. We are in Milan. I knew from experience that it would cost at least 500-600 euro to fix the issue. Forgetting about our evening plans, my husband and I rushed to the place with some tools, hoping we could fix it ourselves. There was no chance; the guests used the wrong key (even though we had explained during check-in which key was used for which lock) and they forced it in a way that the metal key had broken, leaving part of it deep inside the door lock.

The guests were a nice couple from Slovakia. They were terrified and felt guilty as there were five of us (together with the neighbour, who couldn’t get in as the door they broke was actually the common one) witnessing that it was their fault. It was as obvious as 2+2=4. Everybody agreed; there was no discussion there. We called a 24-hour locksmith. They said they would arrive in half an hour and make a determination as to whether the lock needed to be changed completely. It would cost 400 euro without a receipt and around 600 euro with a receipt. The guests were shocked and almost crying. The neighbour needed to be let in; he had already waited outside of his home for an hour. The locksmiths were pushing us, saying that they had a 94-year-old lady waiting for them and that we needed to make up our minds.

We called Airbnb and explained the issue. They suggested we pay and then claim the money back from the guest through the problem solving center. If the guests refused, they would get involved. Everything is protected under the one million dollar warranty. So, we went for the official option and my husband paid the 600 euro. I wasn’t nervous about reimbursement as it was very obvious whose fault it was. We finally got back home at 2:00 AM, but our Friday evening was ruined. The next morning I started the process according to the rules of Airbnb. After a few weeks I received an answer: “We’ve carefully reviewed the claim you submitted and unfortunately, we’re unable to fulfill your request because we do not believe that the guest can be held wholly responsible for the damages caused.”

After a series of messages from my side, they answer was that we could not get a cent back for what we have paid for another person’s mistake hoping for the support of intermediate. Not even the deposit of 80 euro. Nothing. No explanation why, no references to the Terms and Conditions. They simply did not believe me. This was the final decision and end of the conversation. I am really disappointed. Does anyone have any ideas about what can we do in this situation? What lessons can I learn from this? Thank you to everyone who has read this until the end and for your comments.

Airbnb Expected us to Pay for New Locks

First we were excited about Airbnb. Within 30 minutes of creating an account we had our first reservation booked for over a month and a few days later we were booked out for the next three months. A few days after our first guest moved in, she changed her reservation to about two weeks and complained to Airbnb that her refund was not was she had been expecting. The reason was that she did not qualify for the monthly discount anymore. It was very clear and simple on our listing but Airbnb contacted us several times and asked us to grant her the monthly discount for the two weeks. The day when she moved out we received a phone call from a lady from Airbnb’s trust and safety department, saying that the guest was upset that she lost her key. She said Airbnb would take take of it.

We received a link in our email which had a box for the amount of the damages. If the guest would not pay within 72 hours, Airbnb “would step in”. The new lockset (two deadbolts and two knobs for the main door and the security door) was $59.40. A locksmith would have charged around $250 to rekey the four locks. After three days we received a message from Airbnb telling us to just make a copy of the key and not to change the locks because “nobody would know that the lost key was for our property” and their “mediation decision” was final.

At this point we closed our account and cancelled all the upcoming reservations. We did not feel safe anymore knowing that some unknown person was in possession of our key. It could be her boyfriend or one of the buddies of her boyfriend (who came several times to visit and who was not a verified guest). We could not believe that Airbnb expected us to pay for the new locks for which the guest is ultimately responsible. Airbnb also stated that there was no deposit on our listing, which is not true. It shows up under “settings” but it won’t print out when going to the individual reservations; we don’t have any way to prove that we set up a deposit. Airbnb seems to stand on the guests’ side and does not care about hosts. This was our first guest and our first experience with Airbnb. There wasn’t a huge amount of damage but it showed us Airbnb’s attitude.

Extortion and Invasion of Privacy: Illegal NYC Airbnb

I had a really unpleasant New York City host somewhere in the financial district. Superficially everything was nice until a few hours after we met. Here is how the interaction went:

Host: When will you be arriving?

Me: I will actually be in the city a few days before so I can arrive whenever is convenient for you to give me the key.

Host: Anytime after 2:00 PM on this end works.

Me: Okay I will be there around or before 3:00 PM then. Does that work?

Host: Okay.

(24 hours before said time)

Host: I cannot be here to check you in. You have to use the temporary key from the doorman. The permanent key is in your room. The temporary key must be returned very soon after checkout.

Me: Okay. When do I have to return this key?

Host: As soon as possible.

Me: Okay.

(Arrive at apartment at 1:54 PM. Remember: anytime after 2:00 PM is ok; check out the temporary key for which my ID is retained. I go upstairs to said apartment)

Host: Oh, I didn’t think you’d be here for a few more hours; the room’s not ready.

(One hour is not a few more hours, and I was within her “acceptable window”. This host clearly does not read her messages.)

Me: Okay, I will just leave the luggage here next to the shoes, no need to hurry for the room. I’m leaving probably till evening.

She shows me the room. I thank her, pet her dog (which is actually not allowed to live in that building), take the permanent key, and return the temporary key. Upon return of the temporary key I again have my state ID on my person. Six hours later I got a few messages from this host that she will be posting an $100 charge to my account because I did not return the temporary key.

Me: Of course i returned it. Is it true that the doorman holds your ID for that key? Okay. Then how would I have my ID otherwise?

(Host continues accusing me in a couple more messages that the key is signed out to me)

Me: Okay, it is the doorman’s responsibility to find it because I returned it but nevertheless I will go see for myself that what you say is true.

I return to the building from an inconvenient distance away, and it turns out the doorman did have the key. The mistake was on their part as the key was stuck in the crack of the machine that reads the key. The host apologized. I calmly went to shower so my muscles would be relaxed before the New York City Marathon. The host’s roommate came back to the apartment with a bunch of drunk friends. One of the male friends barged in on me while I was getting out of the shower. At least I had some tiny clothes on. I made small talk with the drunk people for a little bit then went to bed, at 2:45 AM (technically 3:45 AM because of daylight savings time). The host barged through the apartment in loud heels, slammed a couple doors, then stormed out.

Well, goodbye sleep. This was going to be an interesting marathon. About 3:10 PM after the marathon:

Host: Your checkout is by 7:00 AM please leave the key on the desk. You can leave the luggage in the common area if you want and get it later by using the temporary key.

Me: No, thanks. I don’t want another $100 temporary key incident.

(I didn’t see anything disrespectful here – I was just protecting my wallet from her)

I vacated the apartment at about 12:30 AM and took a picture of the state of the room I was in, with the key on the desk and a time stamp. I brought a friend to help me with the luggage and to make sure I got uptown at 120th Street safely. He also saw the key on the desk and we checked the apartment ten times to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. That whole piece of time was about 10-15 minutes. Maybe this host had work or something, but being reminded that I had to check out only 14 fours after a marathon is brutal. So I just preferred to forfeit this unpleasant experience and sleep uptown on the floor of a friend who was not evicting me.

The next morning when I woke up I saw a message that she did not find the key on the desk but that she is willing to not charge me the $150 it costs her to change her locks due to the trouble with the temporary key. I called Airbnb to complain and I said I will be requesting a $40 refund (from the $130/night it cost me) because I did not end up spending the night there. I also told the host that giving everyone access to the temporary key is a pretty bad security problem in her building. I obviously did not take her key. It’s of no benefit to me to keep a key from a place I would hate to live in, when I live about 2000 miles away anyway. I just needed a place close to the Staten Island Ferry for the marathon.

I proceeded to ask for a refund. The reservation was over; I had written the Airbnb review anyway so I was frank with this person. The Airbnb Resolution Center allows you to upload pictures so I showed her where the key was when I left.

Me: As you can see the key was left right there on the desk where I mentioned to you on the phone. You’re not accepting evidence by any other means, so I am sending it to the Airbnb Resolution Center. Accusing someone of theft is not only impolite but unprofessional as this is a business that you are running from this apartment. If you were the owner of the hotel, you would not be accusing your guests twice in 48 hours for items missing from the room before putting any effort into finding them. For example: at least double checking with the doorman that the key wasn’t lost by their own fault. The refund would be for the 17% of the total reservation time (from 2:00 PM Saturday to 7:00 AM Monday) that I did not spend in this rental. As I said before, it seems like your temporary key checkout is a security problem in the building so you should focus on that instead of throwing tantrums so you can charge your guests extra money. Feel free to cross reference the time at which I left your address with security footage. Also, I brought a friend over to help me with my luggage and so that I would get to 120th St safely at 1:00 AM. Therefore I also have one witness that the key was left in the right place. The very last thing I want to draw your attention to is that I left the door to my room closed on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM, and found it open at 4:30 PM, so someone went into my room while I was away. Have you even checked with your roommate to see that he didn’t stow the keys away somewhere? I am going to guess you have not.

Host: Hi, As I mentioned before, the key was not left on the desk. I apologized for the mishap with the temporary key, even after you arrived two hours prior (actually one hour and still in the time window she said was ok) to the time you said you would without asking. I did reach out to the doormen before contacting you. They were the ones that told me it was checked out under your name. When you spoke with them, they told you that the key was stuck in the reader and it did not register that you returned it. When you informed me of this I apologized and thanked you for letting me know of the mishap. You, however, were very disrespectful. As you can see from my house rules, you are not allowed to bring anyone into my apartment without announcing them to me and I charge a $20 fee (so by this logic should I charge her an $200 fee for her unannounced friends who saw me naked?) I do not appreciate that you brought someone to my home without asking prior. You can also see that my cancelation policy is strict. You cannot get a refund for leaving the reservation early. Therefore, I am not accepting this $45 refund. I was willing to waive the $150 fee and I might be willing to waive the $20 for the unannounced guest, so long as you do not contact me again. If I do hear from you again, I will be pressing charges and contacting my lawyer. You were the only person that had access to the temporary key and my apartment without me being there. There is video evidence of that as well as a record in the system of everyone with temporary key access. Due to this negative experience, I have removed my listings. Thank you.

She has not removed her listings and I will gladly privately share the link with you. In short: her drunk friends see me almost naked but I should get charged money for bringing someone to help me with the luggage through the subway at 1:00 AM, a time at which I’m leaving because of her irrational behavior? I was repeatedly accused of theft in my 48 hours of interaction with this psycho and threatened with an illogical lawsuit, but I’m disrespectful? Also she technically is renting two properties from what I can see in her Airbnb listings, so she can’t live in both of them at once. One of her Airbnb rentals is illegal by New York City law. I guess she forgot I can use this to get her an $1000 fine, right? NYC says rental types like Airbnb are legal as long as the host lives in the apartment during the guest’s stay. Here are all the messages I exchanged with her.

Elderly Airbnb Guest in Germany Kicks Cat, Steals Keys

This is my story of hosting a Spanish woman; I offer tips on avoiding weird guests on Airbnb and alternatives to Airbnb:

1. Use Wimdu instead. It’s a German platform. I have switched to Wimdu and like it.

2. Don’ t ever assume Airbnb customer service will help. They are a bunch of useless employees.

Made no mistake, those two points are equally important.

3. Avoid taking bookings from this guest.

4. The guest asked to stay in my flat for a month. She told me she was visiting to improve her English, and used a picture of a lovely flower as her profile picture. I assumed (big mistake) that I was going to host a young, open minded student… never ever take bookings from people who are not verified and who hide their real photos using pictures of flowers, cats, dogs, etc. I did not know that I was going to host a narrow minded 70 year old from Spain who was expecting me to be her maid.

5. On the arrival day, I saw her: a 70-year-old lady who struggled to find my place, wearing heels, with her lovely toenails painted red. She was the kind of person who thinks “you are my maid because I am renting a room in your house.” She wanted me to take her to the shop (LIDL) to buy food. Because she was quite old I tried to be nice so I took her to LIDL in my car, she did her shopping, and she called me on the phone to pick her up when she was finished (like I was a taxi service)

6. The second day, she pushed us to have dinner together because she had to improve her English. I said, “Well, I am not starving; I will have dinner later.” She replied, “Okay, then I will wait and I will have dinner with you.”

7. On the third day, she woke up in the morning “fresh like a flower” after she had been snoring the whole night (I got no sleep…) and she asked me about breakfast. I simply said: “No, I’m not cooking breakfast for you.” I never offered breakfast in my listing; it was just the room with ensuite bathroom, fresh towels and linen, and free use of the kitchen.

8. Day 4: she realized she had no travel adapter. I told her that there is a shop close by that sells them, and she replied, “You have more than one so you have to give me one of yours.” I just said “No…”

9. Day 5: she started using the washing machines (I’m not talking about one but multiple washing machines and driers) at 7:00 AM… on a lovely Saturday morning… the fact that I was still in bed and the washing machine was bloody noisy did not even bother the “princess.”

10. Day 6: I went out, came back, and caught her hitting my poor kitty cat. Finally, this was too much. I called Airbnb, told them I wanted to her out of my flat. Airbnb contacted her, so the fresh flower came to me and said, “Okay, I can leave… but you have to find me some new accommodation.”

11. I gave her the phone number of a 4-star hotel where she could be treated like a real lady, a fresh flower. However, I doubt that even in a 4-star hotel someone would have given her a travel adapter.

12. Finally, when she checked out at 9:30 AM, I stopped her and asked for the keys. She replied: “I am going downstairs to the car and then I am coming back to get my second suitcase.” I waited and waited and waited…. but she did not come back. I called her and she hung up on me. I texted her and told her to come back, take her suitcase, and give me the keys. No reply. Basically, I had her suitcase and she had my keys. I didn’t know where she was, and she could enter my flat anytime she wanted. I contacted Airbnb immediately. They replied: “She can’t give you the keys because she is busy finding new accommodations.”

At 4:00 PM I went to a locksmith to change the locks at my flat (120 euros). I called Airbnb and they said the same thing again – “she is busy looking for a new place” – so I told them: “Okay, it seems that you are not helping at all. I do not know what’s in this suitcase so I am going to the police station to hand the suitcase to a police officer.” An Airbnb representative called me back after five minutes (the case manager of my original contact) and begged me not to involve the police. He asked me to go the the hotel where she was staying – I thought that she had been looking for accommodations…? – and to give her the suitcase. I told him to tell the fresh flower to go to the police station to collect her suitcase because I had no intention of going to her hotel. Finally at 5:00 PM I managed to get my keys back thanks to the police.

When the adventure with the fresh flower was finally over, I asked Airbnb for compensation because I had had to replace the locks in my flat. Obviously, there was no compensation and they have not paid me for the six nights the “fresh flower” stayed in my flat. I had never had a cancellation before and I won’t have cancellations again; I am not using Airbnb anymore.

Lost Everything in Airbnb Theft… Inside Job?

We moved to Southern California on July 15th, 2016 and unfortunately, while staying at an Airbnb in Pasadena and looking for a permanent place, our apartment got broken into and everything we had brought with us including our passports, birth certificates, national ID cards, all our academic diplomas and transcripts, and every single immigration document we had got stolen (including the copies of them). This is in addition to the huge financial loss due to the jewelry, laptops, even specialty contact lenses being stolen. Obviously the police were immediately notified and involved. We are still in shock and I don’t think it’s something we can easily recover from. We’ve compiled the list of the items we remember that have been stolen and every day still remember some new items that are missing and realize they were in our suitcase or backpacks… The truth seems to be far from what the reviews and the Internet suggest!

Unfortunately, some of the documents are irreplaceable such as both of our undergrad and masters original transcripts and diplomas as they are issued only once in our home country. This can have a significantly negative impact on our professional lives and careers. The magnitude of the damage is beyond repair. The host and management company failed to change the lock on the unit, after the previous tenant had not returned the keys. The Airbnb host and the apartment management are telling us conflicting stories. The Airbnb host says he had asked for the locks to be changed but management denies it, as says he only asked for a duplicate key.

The apartment management claims that the security cameras were being serviced exactly in that hour when the burglary happened and thus no footage has been recorded. There was no evidence of forced entry (remember this is a gated apartment complex with a digital entrance, gated parking, and a key to the unit). These all suggest that it was an inside job. Nothing that was originally in the Airbnb property was even touched by the thief, whereas all of the stolen items belonged only to us! The property loss is about $20,000 (jewelry, laptops, bags, clothes, etc.). Financial loss is something that you can forget and recover from, however the loss of all identification documents, educational records, and most importantly the feeling of having been violated this way, is something that will be haunting us for a long time. We firmly believe the people who caused this need to pay for it and make sure this does not happen to anyone else…

We believe Airbnb should have done something to make sure any apartment that is being rented using Airbnb’s name is a safe place and that if a tenant does not return a key, that it is immediately reported, and the unit made unavailable as soon as possible. I hope this will not happen to anyone else!