Unfortunately, my experience at Liz’s place has to be added to the list of Airbnb horror stories. First of all, her profile photo was fake, and not a picture of her. That should have been my first warning sign when I checked in. I arrived at her apartment to find it in a state of disrepair. The doorknob to my bedroom was missing; she said a previous Airbnb guest had broken it (scary sign number two). The linens and bed were soiled, and had not been washed from a previous guest’s use. The bedroom was covered with dust. When I tried to shower my first evening in the apartment, the loose glass shower door fell to the floor, nearly shattering and injuring me. Because of the broken shower, I was unable to bathe or shower for the duration of my stay. During the course of my stay, Liz began asking me for cash for various things in her apartment she said were broken (that were already broken when I arrived). One night, she arrived at the apartment drunk at about 2:00 AM, waking me and behaving in a threatening and scary manner. I promptly checked into a hotel the next morning. On top of this, every review I have attempted to write about this experience has been deleted entirely and censored by Airbnb, so that other guests cannot be warned.
Back in February 2017 I booked Dora’s Airbnb in East London close to an area where I would be meeting friends for a farewell meal and drinks, as I now live in South Korea. A friend and I had decided to stay at an Airbnb to avoid a long and draining journey home. However my friend, who has never used Airbnb, was a bit reluctant. I assured her that I had had several good experiences and it would be fine. After finding Dora’s room online and reading numerous good reviews, I booked one night with her.
She was very nice and explained that she would be able to rent the room. However, ‘a friend’ would be staying in her room so she would be on the sofa that evening. I said this should be fine and when the weekend came, I dropped my stuff at her apartment and proceeded with my farewell evening. Once my friend and I returned to the apartment we got ready for bed incredibly quietly and went to get a glass of water from the kitchen for the night. However, after politely knocking on the door before entering, we heard Dora approach the living room/kitchen door and shout ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING I TOLD YOU I WAS ASLEEP!’
I said I had needed a glass of water as none had been provided in the room (which was advertised). I calmly and quietly got my glass and returned to my room. At this point I felt really uncomfortable having been shouted at like a naughty child for asking for water. My friend also felt uncomfortable and decided we should calmly speak to her before deciding whether to leave early. When we spoke to her, we explained this was an irrational way to act and asked for an apology as we no longer felt welcome. She insisted she did not need to apologise and said if we wanted we leave we should (at 1:00 in the morning).
Deciding to not be treated like this, we left and contacted Airbnb immediately who gave me a full apology and refund. They said they would speak to the host and she would not be able to leave a review as we did not stay the night. A few weeks later, having moved countries, I noticed a horrible review had been posted on my wall from the host, completely twisting the story around to make her look like the victim. I immediately got in contact with Airbnb as she had also said they had given her a full refund for the issue and asked for an explanation of how she had been able to leave a review against me and been able to contact me. They offered very little in the way of an explanation and merely took the review down. We subsequently found out that the ‘friend’ staying in her room that weekend was another guest; she had lied and double booked her home (the guest left a review on the website the day after).
I’m disgusted that hosts feel they have the right to bully people, treat them so badly after taking their money, and are allowed to get away with it. If you are looking for a place to stay in London for a night out I strongly recommend a hotel.
There were cockroaches, ants in the bed, and no privacy. We were even kicked out of our room for construction work. We booked a four-night stay at a place in Airlie Beach that was advertised as a ‘penthouse apartment’. The listing can be viewed here. This is possibly one of the most misrepresented listings I have stayed at through Airbnb. Advertising this as a penthouse is like advertising Adolf Hitler as a peacekeeper. It was dirtier than a Rawalpindi market, and the host, Leah, was as helpful as fly screens on a submarine. Jokes aside, here is the story.
The ‘King Bedroom’ was separated (used loosely) from a storage room by a tall cabinet and a piece of material draped over it, with a car’s sun visor leaning against it. This offered little-to-no privacy from the adjoining storage hall. The glass doors to the room had gaps between the walls, letting sound and light easily pass through. The sliding door to the balcony was old and unsturdy. It had a gap where, even if shut properly all the way, wind could come through and made sleeping at night impossible.
There were cockroaches. We saw several crawling around during our stay: two in the room (see pictures), and one in the laundry/bathroom area. There were also ants in the bed and on the walls. As we walked into the room at check-in, the building manager picked up a pinchful of ants from the floor. In the middle of the second afternoon of our stay, the building manager asked us to leave the room so that a wooden board (making up part of the wall of the room) could be patched up and fixed. We were trying to take a nap because of the lack of sleep we had on the first night.
By the second night, we’d had enough. It was approximately 8:00 PM when we looked for an alternative place for accommodation. As it was a Friday night, there was nothing available close by or within our price range ($100-$150/ night). We reluctantly spent the second night there and agreed to cancel the stay the next day, forfeiting the second half of the stay that was booked and paid for. Upon cancellation, I reached out to the host to try and request a refund for the total amount paid. We had not stayed for the last two nights, and the first two were atrocious. I did not think it unreasonable. I sent through photos of the uncleanliness and explained the poor experience we had. She sent back an animated response, wrought with spelling errors and incomprehensible sentence structure. I could barely understand the bulk of it.
I managed to deduce that she had denied the request, so I pushed on to Airbnb’s Resolution Centre. After several email exchanges, the case manager concluded that as per the terms and conditions, 24 hours was the window for cancellation and receipt of a refund. He offered a credit of 49 AUD as compensation towards my next stay. I responded by saying I would not be using Airbnb again to redeem this credit, so it is useless. I explained 24 hours to request a cancellation was an unreasonable part of the terms and conditions, as the bulk of the issues were encountered after this window. I referred to the ‘extenuating circumstances’ clause, highlighting the exception to their policy of ‘severe property damage or unforeseen maintenance issues’. He ignored this. He thanked me for my time in corresponding and my understanding in the matter.
Needless to say, I couldn’t understand a single shred of logic observed by this case manager. I initiated a chargeback through my bank for the $400 charge to my credit card. The outcome is pending. I have resubmitted a formal dispute with Airbnb. The result is pending. I have also investigated using the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) regulatory body to lodge a dispute. This will only take place if my bank is unsuccessful in recovering the charge. I’d like to note that this is not about the money, so much as the principle. Even if my bank is successful, I would like to warn users and non-users of Airbnb’s unreasonable customer service policies and poor support, as well as this host’s lack of consideration and diplomacy with respect to her guests. Stay here at your own peril.
We arranged for my elderly parents to stay in what was advertised as a full house/apartment in Greenville, SC. When my parents arrived, we met them at the Airbnb they had reserved and discovered it to be a room with a king size bed, one chair, and no dining room table. There wasn’t even a full kitchen (a sink, coffee pot, microwave, and fridge). This is not an apartment or a full house. Neither a person nor a couple could live there for two weeks. They could sleep and shower there, but that is all there is room for.
When we told the host we would have to move, my parents and I said we would like a refund for the booking on the first night. She told us we must just not like it and that she had had only good reviews so far. If we had a complaint, we needed to take it to Airbnb. We took it to Airbnb. Their customer service people have been trained to be empathetic and understanding, so one thinks their case will be heard and that they will help. However, after several hours total on the phone and online chat, my parents only received a 50% refund. The 50% refund was because “they had not received a response from their email.” Not only had they received a response, they had received more than one response.
All told, we have contacted Airbnb six times. The last time they sent us back to the owner, who has not yet responded. The third line in the cancellation policy says if you leave early you will be refunded the remaining balance. This did not happen. Airbnb also said, on the fifth call, that we had not provided photo evidence of our complaint. This is true. However, we were never asked to provide photo evidence. We cannot even give a bad review as they make sure there is no place to do it.
We cannot request money for the trip because the trip has already passed. We cannot make a report to the BBB because my father or mother have to do it. My father had a major stroke a month ago and is unable to do it, and my mother, who is his power of attorney, wrote a letter to the BBB asking them to allow me to complain on her behalf because of her poor health.
The first time I cancelled, Airbnb kept the reservation fee. I paid $226 for a week’s stay. I spoke to the owner and he was very forthcoming and helpful. He is operating his property from a foreign country and has a caretaker. I walked in to a big surprise. The bath room had not been cleaned and the toilet was filthy, to put it mildly. The beds were not made and they were using the same sheets without washing them. Dirty and clean clothes were all over the place and the dusty floors had not even been cleaned. I called the owner; he was very understanding and agreed to pay me the whole sum once I cancelled, but Airbnb only refund me $83 out of the $226 or so I paid. I didn’t even spent ten minutes in that place. You cannot contact them over the phone. They have no idea how they ruined someone’s good time and money. My host is willing to give me my money back but not Airbnb… how about that?
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.
The listing shows some nice bungalow with a hammock overlooking the beach. What the pictures don’t show are two vicious pitbulls ten feet to the right of your patio that are poorly tied up, with no fence between you and them. We returned the final evening to find the dogs had gotten free. Luckily, a neighbor had warned us as we approached that they might have broken free. Fortunately, I also had a rake in my hand as my friend struggled to open the front door. The dogs attacked and I fended them off with a rake. This wasn’t just barking, but a full-on attack. They ran up on my legs so fast I couldn’t believe it. If we had come home after drinking or unaware this would have been a complete nightmare. We were so shaken up we left and booked a hotel. I’m 47 and a big guy. A smaller person or a family with a child could have been seriously injured or killed. I guess next time I book a place I’ll inquire if there any dogs around, assuming I use Airbnb again at all. I tried to reach out to customer service that night to find another place – was on hold for 1.5 hours – and never reached them. Airbnb should implement a “safety survey” for hosts that need to be asked things like “Do you have dogs? Or are there any potential dogs in your vicinity that guests may be exposed to?”
I reserved a room for a week and confirmed with the host that I would be returning at 1:00 AM from a conference each day. He did not have a problem with this and I was quite respectful of his space. On the third night when I got back I was locked out. He had locked the inside door to which I did not have keys. This was my first Airbnb experience and the last. It was 2:00 AM (I took an Uber from Downtown LA through construction). I had a long day at the conference and had to be back up to prepare for the conference bright and early. As a woman locked out in Inglewood, not knowing the area, only having enough money for food and transportation for the week, it was a pretty traumatic situation.
I could not locate Airbnb’s phone number to file a complain anywhere online when I looked during my brief breaks I had at the conference. After it was over, I finally searched online for awhile and was able to find a phone number and called only to be strung along by Airbnb. I don’t know which is worse, getting locked out in the middle of the night or the fact that Airbnb staff was unwilling to assist me in this matter. I have called three different times and spoken with a supervisor, who was not very helpful either. She said I needed to go through the resolution center. The host and I communicated through Airbnb before I contacted customer service. He was only willing to reimburse for two nights when he locked me out, and an additional night so I could stay there. We spoke briefly the following day after he locked me out and I informed him I was not comfortable staying there given the fact he locked me out and I didn’t have access to my belongings. He offered to reimburse me $50 at first. I have asked to speak with a manager and the supervisor informed me she was the highest person there. She refused to inform me who her supervisor was. I am not impressed and would not recommend Airbnb.
We had our vacationed ruined by Airbnb and a host who was an absolute nightmare. Upon arrival at our condo we opened the door to an overwhelming smell of raw sewage. I’m not talking about a slightly unpleasant smell but a “you had to cover your face and eyes watering” smell. The condo looked nothing like the pictures that were on the Airbnb website. It was listed as a two bedroom but was actually only a one-bedroom condo with a three-foot crawl space with two mattresses thrown on the floor, which I guess made the second bedroom. In the end, none of that mattered as the condition and smell of the unit made it unlivable. We tried to phone the owner who told us to throw a couple of cleaning tablets in the toilet and the smell would eventually go away. There was no way this smell was going away anytime soon and the fact that we could not air it out due to the cold weather with open windows and doors only exacerbated the problem. The ultimate insult was when we stated the smell was not going away and the owner hung up on us. At this time, he is still refusing to return any calls.
We could not live in the accommodations and so literally had to spend our evening wandering, trying to find a place to lay our heads during spring break. We finally found a place that could take us for two nights for literally double what we had anticipated paying but we had no choice as we were at their mercy. I guess we will spend the rest of our stay trying to find accommodations for the rest of our stay. I have tried to call the Airbnb customer service line only to be disconnected before I ever reach a live person. The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t risk ruining your vacation and being put in financial distress by using Airbnb; it is just not worth it. I would not wish what happened to us on our worst enemy.
My fiancé and I had booked a home hosted by Huafeng in Kissimmee, Florida. We booked the property for February 27th to March 6th, 2017. We had a total of seven guests staying there. Four of our guests showed one day early on Monday, February 27th, 2017 to check in the day before my fiancé and I arrived on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017. Upon the arrival of our first four guests on the Monday, our guests contacted the host with concerns about cleanliness, unsanitary conditions, and the lack of towels. The host refused to listen to their complaints and proceeded to hang up the phone. This went on for a few calls and more hang ups. Our four guests advised Huafeng they were not going to stay in these unsanitary conditions if they weren’t taken care of and did not stay there for the duration.
My fiancé and I arrived at the property the next day, on Tuesday. We noticed that the phone did not work. We contacted our host via email (only way of communication). He told us to contact the front desk at the Runaway Clubhouse. Huafeng did not know that this resort hadn’t had a front desk aide in over six months, so we were unable to use the phone our whole stay, for 5+ days. My fiancé and I are the only two out of our group of seven that stayed the full time of our booking. We felt that there wasn’t an option to cancel our stay there within 24 hours due to our host hanging up on our guests when they initially complained.
The unsanitary conditions included: bed bug carcasses along the trim of bed mattresses in two rooms, blood smears on doors, over 30 stains on both couches, and over ten pasta or blood spots on carpets and stains on pillow cases and blankets. This was literally the most disturbing Airbnb experience we had ever had. I think that we deserve our money back since the first of our guests advised the host that they weren’t staying verbally within the 24-hour time frame the company allows. Since the host hung the phone up on them there were no options to take care of this issue. I have taken pictures of the filth that was present at this room and all that I have mentioned.