Memorable Anniversary Hell on an Airbnb Boat

We had an issue with a host. She flatly refused to offer assistance. The result was a prematurely short weekend – a memorable experience for sure – and the loss of almost $400 in Airbnb payments. We simply wanted what was fair, and we got a “we’ll gladly reduce your next stay by 25%.” What a joke. We started our trip with grand hopes of a romantic getaway; it was our one-year anniversary. An Airbnb on a sailboat sounded wonderful. We arrived on Friday afternoon, March 10th, a bit early for our check-in. We had been told earlier than we could check in anytime, and we were excited about that. Upon notification of our arrival, we were given authorization to board “the Lydie” and await Clint Austin’s (the captain) arrival.

When he arrived, he briefly walked us through the cabin, and tested faucets. They didn’t work, so he flipped a few switches, the water came on, and viola. He showed us the bathroom and said there was plenty of water for the weekend. We tried the stove and oven; they didn’t work. He tried to get the pilot lit, but it eluded him. We never did get the stove or oven to work. A few more switches flipped, and Captain Austin was away. We were on our own. The trouble began on Friday evening; while getting ready for dinner, we noticed the smell. There was air freshener beneath the bathroom sink, which we used not sparingly. Showering, we noticed the water not draining. We made contact with the host to explain our concern about standing water in the shower, and she absently suggested we wait for it to drain or “use the showers above.” We had just spent $400 dollars to stay the weekend, a romantic getaway, on a sailboat, and we were told not to worry about the water because the showers above worked fine. Incredibly, the host’s reaction to a stopped-up shower gave her no pause, nor any real concern for our comfort or wellbeing. She simply didn’t care. Taking her advice, we waited for the shower to drain, but it did not.

By the next morning, the smell was beginning to become an issue, and our next contact was with Clint Austin, the captain. We tried calling, then sent a text at approximately 8:00 AM. As our day had been planned – a leisurely trip to Catalina Island via ferry – and we were going to be gone all day, we figured any issues would have been taken care of and the boat would be back to an acceptable condition. We arrived back to the boat well after 6:00 PM with the same water standing in the same shower and the smell was now unbearable. We again notified the host and was told not to use the showers, which were directly tied to the toilet, and that this had not happened before. At the end of the day we’re dealing with a marine toilet and marine shower. They were not as fool proof as your own home toilet, but the good news is no one got stranded, as we had showers and toilets at the marina within walking distance to the boat. Walking distance. Outside the boat, 50 yards away, through a gate, across a parking lot, through a locked door, and into 1970’s ripped shower curtain hell.

Though there was evidence someone had been on the boat at some point in the day, the issue was not resolved: the boat smelled horrific, and our host seemingly had no intention of making right what had gone so wrong. We were heartbroken. This was supposed to be a memorable weekend. The next morning at daybreak (6:00 AM), after a horrible evening of no sleep, horrific smells, standing water in the shower, an unusable toilet, an oven that didn’t work, a stove that didn’t work, and a host with better things to do, we left the boat. We notified the host of our departure, requested a partial refund (we were willing to split the difference, as the first night wasn’t perfect, but not worthy of challenge, even though nothing worked), and were told “no”.

We realize things go wrong. We understand that. We simply requested a partial (one night) refund as things certainly weren’t worthy of the money spent, and simple requirements, not creature comforts, were unavailable at the time of our stay. Toilets are necessary in a $200 a night room, regardless whether it’s marine, or otherwise. When we requested a refund, the host gave every indication she was unwilling to pay. I suggested that our review hadn’t yet been left and it would be great for me to be able to say “our host, though we experienced some technical difficulties, did the right thing, and we would highly recommend the Lydie, etc.” However, if she continued to be unwilling, our review would reflect as such. She took that as a threat, though none was intended. We were simply trying to get her to understand our experience wasn’t what was purported, advertised, nor expected, and that she, as a host, was under an obligation to right a wrong. The wrong was simple: that which she sold, and we purchased, was not provided. Our contract was breached, and though we were willing to compromise, she flatly refused. She even had the gaul to comment “at least it turned out to be a memorable weekend.”

We are therefore requesting a complete refund of our weekend. To date, though it clearly states within 72 hours we will have a resolution, we have had none. We have had no replies from Airbnb, nor the host (other than to offer a 25% reduction in cost on our next stay – as if that were a possibility), and are currently frustrated at the process. We simply want a favorable resolution to our issue, as the circumstances certainly warrant it.

Airbnb: Easy for Guests, Frustrating for Hosts

As a host, Airbnb is not easy to deal with. If you have just one listing, it will take you a while to negotiate the system. Misunderstandings between lovely guests and yourself will make the experience barely worth the effort. I am a travel agent by trade. However, I have an Airbnb account and have tried to get three listings up and running. If you even attempt to create a second or third listing, the reviews will all be on the same listing. How are potential guests going to figure out why the feedback doesn’t even fit the room they are looking at? Also, your photos will get mixed up: when you open your profile, the photo listed may not even be there. Apparently, the photos randomly change. I cannot work it out and have had no success with contacting them. They keep asking if I am okay now and if they can close communication; the answer is always no.

The profile picture for your listing will be determined by Airbnb. You will have to delete the one they chose and play cat and mouse with them to get the one you want. The staff members barely speak English and sound really harried. You can email them but that will just be a communication exercise gone wrong. All in all, the site is horrible to use. I have stayed using Airbnb and that was easier, as anything other than the most basic hosting will be a nightmare.

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.

Left out in the Rain with no Customer Service

I was going to Houston for a wedding. Because the official wedding hotel was the uber fancy St. Regis, I figured I would book an Airbnb across the street instead to save some money. What a mistake that was…

There were bad omens from the start. Just checking in required me to get the keys from the front desk of a building that did not actually allow Airbnb hosting, so I had to pretend to be a friend staying the weekend. The front desk seemed to have all sorts of problems copying the electronic key fob for me to use for the weekend, so it took thirty minutes just to get the keys. It also turned out the building was massive with hallways that sprawled for what seemed like a mile (everything really is bigger in Texas), so just finding the right apartment was a challenge. I briefly pondered how hard this would be later that night coming back after a few glasses of wine and decided I better try and keep it together.

Finally stepping inside, the apartment was nice enough, but the delay meant I was running late for the rehearsal dinner. What a lovely dinner it was; the food, wine, and atmosphere were splendid. After a great night, the group decided to cap it off at the St. Regis bar. I met a girl. No, she was not a prostitute (as my friends speculated), but she did make things pretty easy for me. She eventually asked if I had a room in the hotel. I couldn’t believe my luck, but had to be honest and said: “No, but I do have an Airbnb just across the street!” She went home. I guess I can’t blame that on Airbnb, but it was a painful reminder of how your cheapness can come back around to bite you.

After that, I decided it was probably time to call it a night. And so I began my two-minute journey across the street to my place, trying to remember again where in the labyrinth of a building I was actually staying. I thought to myself how ridiculous it would have been had I brought the girl back and we couldn’t find it. It immediately started to rain. Hard. Thank God I was only across the street, because I was in my suit. After the two-minute trek, I hit the key fob against the sensor. Nothing. I tried again – nothing. One more time. I start to panic. The front door staff was long gone. Clearly the problems they had activating my key fob were worse that I thought. I called the emergency number. I reached someone on the phone who explained they could not send anyone to help me until the following morning. I asked what the point of the “emergency” number was then.

I called my host. She explained she couldn’t help me because she wasn’t in Texas, and with the staff gone there was nothing she could do. I called Airbnb to see if they could find me a place. The estimated wait was over 45 minutes. I stayed as long as I could, but my phone’s battery wouldn’t have lasted that long. It was raining, I was in my suit, and it was almost 2:00 AM. I had nowhere to stay, with all my luggage in a room in a building I couldn’t access. I considered waiting around until someone walked in or out for me to follow, but realized that would only get me to the apartment door which I still would not be able to open.

Remembering that someone said the St. Regis was booked, I started to look for other hotels on my iPhone. 17% battery. It was about to go. Then it was gone. I had no other choice but to run back to the St. Regis, hoping people were still at the bar. It was empty. I explained my situation to the sympathetic people at the front desk. Fortunately there was, contrary to belief, still a room available. The kind folks gave me the wedding rate, which at that point seemed beyond worth it. They also gave me an iPhone charger. I walked into my beautiful hotel room and instantly realized why hotels are far superior: when you travel, whether you like it or not, you are not a resident but a customer. Customers frequently require customer service, which Airbnb just does not offer.

Disgusting Airbnb Stay in Florida, Still no Refund

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.

Impossible to Speak to an Airbnb Decision-maker

Airbnb has insufficient customer service: everything is automated, and the staff has changed from the US to an overseas call centre where nobody has any authority to handle anything but straightforward cases. There is no email address, no complaints department, and no phone numbers a robot company with incompetent employees. There are two issues with this system:

1) My previous guest did not check out, left half of his stuff in the room, and took the house key to my home where I live with my family. This is a major security issue because a stranger is somewhere out there with the key to my home in his pocket and nothing has been done from the Airbnb side. I spent the whole evening on this speaking to four people. Now it is 10:00 PM; I started to ring them at 6:00 PM. To change a door lock in Australia costs $350. That’s not enough cover for damage done by guests.

2) Photographers. After I moved houses, it took nine months to finally get someone to take an accurate photo of my single room. Because I have no fish eye lens I was not able to take a decent photo of the room from an angle where everything is visible. After the photographer finally arrived (three hours late) he took photos and downloaded them to the wrong listing. This was four weeks ago. In the meantime I got bad reviews of guests who thought rightly, that the advertised photo (room in the old house) is inaccurate, even though the same furniture is in the room. I called Airbnb four times where I was left waiting for hours. Despite this, nothing has happened. Airbnb threatened to cancel my listing because I do not have five-star reviews due to the inaccuracy issue.

In addition, the expectations that hosts have to provide five-star accommodation and service is unrealistic. A hotel room in my area starts from $180 per night and I charge $26. I provide low cost accommodation in an almost brand new, meticulously clean home in a beautiful area. 98% of all my guests were very happy with my service and facility. Surely one cannot expect butler service and five-star accommodation for $26 per room per night in an expensive tourist area in a western country like Australia.

Not even a Response from Airbnb Customer Service

Don’t trust the information on the Airbnb website. I have had three good experiences with Airbnb in Australia so I thought I would use it for a recent overseas trip. Two of the four were terrible. The Dublin accommodation did not mention it was a very old building with no lift and the room was on the third floor; not even a mention of the unit being an apartment, just ‘self contained accommodation’. My travel partner was unable to use the stairs so we had to cancel. We cancelled before the cut off date for a 50% refund but the host refused to process the refund. We contacted Airbnb with absolutely no response.

The second experience was in Edinburgh. The room was uncomfortable and the host rarely spoke. When he did, he was very rude. We paid top dollar for this property as it was central, but we were very glad to get out of there. We contacted Airbnb and once again, there was no response. Absolutely no response to disputes and concerns is extremely poor customer service. I will never use Airbnb again. I would rather pay extra and feel confident in my choice of accommodation.

The Tables have Turned: Hosts Rating Airbnb

On March 10th 2017, I happened to check my account on Airbnb and found that my response rating had been reduced from 100% to 50%. No prior warning was provided. It appears that I had not responded to Airbnb inquiries, but I had not received any. I set about trying to make contact with Airbnb, but that proved to be impossible. There is no contact point and no way of raising a support ticket. There is a feedback form I found on their website but after trying to write in my complaint, I got a response saying that the feedback form will not receive individual responses and it s not a support ticket. So where is the method or means to raise an individual support ticket request? It appears there is none. Airbnb is happy to take our money and dish out severe ratings but certainly does not want to hear about any problems that they may have created themselves. I tried to post the following to their feedback form, but I think this will not get any response:

Complaints about Airbnb as follows:

1. Unable to make any form of direct contact with Airbnb, almost suggesting the company is not interested in any contact from its customers.

2. Airbnb suspended my listing without any notice or threat due to my lack of response to their inquiries. However, none of these enquiries have come through in any of the methods usually deployed by Airbnb including:

a. No email indicating an inquiry was issued by Airbnb.

b. No notification alert from Airbnb.

c. No mobile phone text message from Airbnb.

However, Airbnb threatened to suspend my hosting as well as immediately reduce my response rating from 100% to 50% with no prior notification. This clearly is an Airbnb system fault and not my lack of response. I know this because customers have actually made contact with me since there was no response via Airbnb. This clearly supports the fact that it is your system that has the problem. A Google search on the matter brought up multiple similar occurrences with other Airbnb hosts. While this may be a glitch in Airbnb’s system. There is no way of contacting Airbnb to inform of the problem or get help to rectify this problem. There is no human contact available. Given this lack of response, there is a loss of customer revenue from the host’s point of view, which also translate to a loss of revenue from Airbnb. I would therefore reduce my rating of Airbnb as a hosting site from 100% down to 50%, similar to what they have given me. Unless I hear from Airbnb within the next two days, that satisfaction rating on Airbnb as my hosting site will be reduced further from 50% to 0%.