Burned in Mexico: Airbnb Bait and Switch

This trip to Mexico was intended to be a fun get away for myself and two other girlfriends. One of my friends did all of the reservation making at least a month in advance. About three weeks before our trip, the owner of our Airbnb in El Pescadero wrote us saying that after his last renter he wasn’t going to rent the upstairs master bedroom and bathroom anymore. My friend just thought that since there were only three of us, we could make due.

The owner, however, never mentioned that all of the views were upstairs where we weren’t welcome. My friend also asked him specifically about the condition of the dirt road from the main road to the house. He said, “oh, it’ll be fine in a rental car!”

A couple days before the trip, he sent a text saying that the refrigerator had a problem but his neighbor went over and fixed it. A few days before the trip, our friend who made the reservations now couldn’t go since her husband was in the hospital with pneumonia. The two of us headed to Mexico alone for our vacation. We rented our car and drove an hour to the town. When we turned on to the dirt road it was a 20-minute drive on the most potted-pitted road from hell to the house. We had a hand drawn map that the host had sent but none of the landmarks he used existed. We had to drive 20 minutes back up to ask for help with finding the house. On our way down the RFH we kept seeing men weaving in and out of a pathway through bushes. That was a little unnerving, to say the least.

We finally found the house. We opened the door and the first thing we noticed was the place smelled bad. We looked around and saw it was dirty and grimy. The TV room had an old microfiber sofa that was lumpy and darkened, and the glass coffee table was disgustingly filmy and grimy. There was a blow-up mattress up against the wall, and the area rug was old and stained. We looked in the kitchen and the front of the fridge was gross. We opened the fridge to find it full of the host’s items with a small amount of room on two shelves for our eight-day stay. The worst part was the fridge stunk and was tepid in temperature. There was a spoiled, rancid odor.

The half bathroom was dirty with bugs in old candles and personal crap around. We were in a cell dead zone and neither of us could sign on to the wifi. We had no way of communicating with anyone. The ocean looked much closer on his website pictures. We felt stuck in some disgusting filthy house in a desolate part of Mexico with no way of asking for help if we needed it. We sent the host a text telling him his house wasn’t represented well and unacceptable. Therefore, we weren’t staying there. We then headed out to find a place to sleep. We were exhausted, frustrated, stressed and extremely disappointed.

We wound up spending a fortune to stay at a nice place and try to salvage our vacation. We have been denied a refund by Airbnb who sided with the host. This house was clearly a bait and switch. The host said we should have called so he could have had his neighbor come over and fix all of the problems. As a host, he should have had all of the problems fixed before we arrived. We are still trying to dispute the charges. $175.00 a night in that part of Mexico is really expensive, especially for a hovel like this property. I will never travel outside of the country and trust Airbnb. I see no integrity with the customer service agent assigned to our case. She won’t listen to reason or extenuating circumstances. 

Unable to Cancel After Reading Fresh Bad Reviews

My wife and I booked a nice property in Pattaya, Thailand back in April this year for a holiday we planned for June. We saw the nice pictures and read the nice reviews, so we decided to book this property. Reviews have always been one of the main factors in our decisions for booking a property. Everything was fine until we saw three bad reviews on that property that occurred in May. Some of these reviews were quite bad, as some guests had bad experiences and shared them for all to read. We were really concerned about the prospect of having a similar experience, especially with my four year old with us. I attached the reviews above.

We no longer wanted to stay at this property. If we had read such reviews, we would not have booked that property. Our only problem was we had booked it two months ago in April. Our problems started when we contacted Airbnb, and an agent who said she was our case manager basically told us that there was nothing she could do for us as there was a company policy regarding refunds. Since the reviews are written by hosts and guests and not by Airbnb, bad reviews were not a reason to cancel bookings; there was going to be a 50% cancellation fee.

She made me feel that were creating trouble when in fact we felt like we were being victimized and forced to commit to a property that appears to be okay, but was in fact not. Would anyone who read these reviews even consider staying there? This is not right. Airbnb was trying to be polite and claimed to want to help us but just came across as condescending. It’s ironic that she said the reviews could be fake and Airbnb doesn’t recognize reviews as reason for cancellation, when reviews are the company’s bedrock for sales. We would really prefer to stay at a different accommodation and be given a full refund or to have the charges applied to a different property asap. We are running out of time.

Extremist Political Signs at Airbnb in Bozeman

I booked a stay in Bozeman, Montana with what turned out to be an unusual host named Stacey. When I showed up at the place, I noticed there were extremist political signs all over the front yard and in the windows. Venturing inside, I found much more. I texted her that her place was just too weird for me. She would not provide a refund. She seemed a little strange, so I expected that. What I didn’t expect was the runaround and no support from Airbnb. I did not feel safe at this host’s house, I spent no more than five minutes there, and Airbnb would not refund anything. To add insult to injury, they wasted a huge amount of my time on numerous emails back and forth for nothing. They would not even allow me to post a bad review on this crazy host’s listing to warn others about her. Airbnb Hell, please take my $5 donation to fight Airbnb.

Driveway from Airbnb Hell in Montacino Italy

We booked a house in Tuscany through Airbnb last week. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even check in because the driveway road (a treacherous footpath) was so dangerous we were afraid we would destroy our rental car or get into an accident. This left us stranded at 1:00 AM, forcing us to find a random hotel 30 minutes away after driving for nearly three hours. We called Airbnb Customer Service immediately to file the report and even spent part of the next day capturing pictures of the road on foot. Despite all of this, Airbnb refuses to refund us, won’t reopen our claim, and wouldn’t even let me speak to a supervisor. I was a loyal Airbnb customer for four years but I will never use them again. Never.

President of Alliance for HOPE International Speaks Out

Airbnb let a host take $900 from us after advertising a really dumpy, sub-par unit in Washington DC. “Tommy”, the owner, posted his row house but took only pictures from a distance and did not show a picture of the bathroom or the kitchen. His unit was listed as #11324355. This is always a good way to identify a dishonest Airbnb host but my staff members missed it. We booked the unit and did not realize how poorly maintained it was until we arrived at the unit on a Friday. We immediately contacted Tommy to say we could not stay there; he was profane and raged against my staff members. We booked another unit within the hour and had a great host. However, when we appealed to Airbnb, they sided with Tommy and let him keep our money even though the unit had dirty, stained carpets, tattered furniture, holds in the walls, faded paint with water stains, and peeling paint on the front door. The kitchen was old, drab, and poorly maintained with 1970’s formica and linoleum. Airbnb thought we were first-time users even though I have personally spent tens of thousands of dollars with them over the years. They sided with the host and would not refund our money. They ripped us off and sided with a very dishonest host.

Airbnb Tilghman Island – Where Guests Are Housemaids

Welcome to your Airbnb rental! Your host knows you love doing housework. That’s why he didn’t bother to have the place cleaned before your arrival. I hope you like dirt and grass clippings all over the floors, food dropped on the stairs, globs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, dishes in the kitchen sink, unmade beds, and wet towels in the washer. That was the experience we wound up with when we chose to rent an Airbnb property for a weekend getaway on April 22 -23, 2017. The rental fee was $554 for the two nights, which included $395 for the property, plus (laughably) a $100 cleaning fee and a $59 service charge. The check-in time was at 3:00 pm, but when we arrived, we found the place was left unlocked by the previous tenants and we actually entered and saw it between 1:30 and 2:00 PM.

I immediately called the owner to complain, but naturally, he didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail message describing the condition of the house and stating that we did not want to stay there under those conditions and requested a full refund. The owner didn’t respond, so I followed up with a text message at 3:30 PM. Hearing nothing, we located and rented a hotel room (another $143 apiece) for the night. Finally, just before 6:00 PM, the owner sent a text message with an apology but no solution to the problem. When I told him we were staying elsewhere and asked about the refund, he replied that he couldn’t process a refund without proof, so I sent several photos I’d taken at the house documenting the conditions (see attached). He responded saying the previous tenant denied having left the house as I described it. When I pointed out that I had the photos as proof and a picture of the note they left to the “housekeeper” as evidence that they fully expected that the house to be cleaned upon their departure, he texted back that he would come to see the place the next day to verify my story.

The next day, we waited for the owner to get back to us throughout the day but heard nothing from him. Finally, around 5:00 PM, we decided to cut our trip short and return home a day early. Around 8:00 PM that night, I finally texted him myself to ask if he’d visited the house to verify the conditions I described. Surprise – he had not. A day later, he sent a message stating that he would refund $400, which he characterized as “very fair given the facts. I would have gladly worked with you to make this right on the day of your arrival.” Since he didn’t even respond until 6:00 PM on Saturday night, it’s safe to say there was no way he was going to “make it right” on the day of our arrival, especially since he lives in another state at least a 2.5-hour drive away from the property. Given that this dispute stems from the place not being clean, it’s somewhat amusing (but nevertheless galling) that the refund he offered is essentially the amount of the two-night rental cost less the “cleaning fee” and “service charge”. My advice to potential customers: do not rent from Airbnb. There’s no third party resolution support if anything goes wrong (hence my writing on this website). This is my first and last rental through Airbnb.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Basic Cleanliness

I booked a room in LA for three months. It was probably not the best move, but I didn’t know anyone in LA and I actually thought it would be safer to use Airbnb. When I finally got there, I thought it was the dirtiest place I had ever seen. I can only assume that the host and his flatmate used used all the old furniture they had to furnish the so-called guest room. There was one shaky secretary, one chair whose height adjustment no longer worked, an old drawer, and one old bed. This bed was quite a sight: its stage was broken, so the host decided to put one mattress on top of the other in order to compensate for that. The mattress on the top looked and felt like a rescue from an underfunded dog shelter: it was quite possibly older than myself (30) and it sank in when I’d lie on it to sleep. Quite soon I had a lot of back pain.

The room itself was filthy beyond belief. It seemed to have never been cleaned for over a year. I vacuumed the carpet the first morning I spent there, and I cleaned the secretary, the windows, and the drawer. Everything was dusty and stained. The sheets also did not seem to be recently cleaned. The rest of the house wasn’t much better: the furniture was far newer and more appropriate, but it was equally dirty. It boggles my mind: do these people actually think it’s normal to live like this? There was an unpleasant smell in the house. The kitchen had mold. The floor was sticky due to the accumulated filth.

I left the house after one week (as soon as I found another room). I asked for a refund, which, as expected, the little scammer that calls himself a host refused to pay. So I got Airbnb involved. What did they do? Nothing. Zero. After two weeks they still hadn’t responded to my claim. I had to call them, after spending an hour searching for their number on the internet (it’s nowhere on their website, which is indicative of their whole attitude). When they finally said something, it amounted to nothing.

“The host is unwilling to negotiate a refund.” Oh, really? Who would have guessed?

So how much did I lose? $2000, thanks to the host’s strict cancellation policy (which has already been struck down by a court in South Korea). The host then went on to double book the room. In addition, some of the reviews on his posting were fake. How do I know this? I had seen one of his flatmate’s friends when I was there, the first morning. He left a review on the posting two weeks after I left, raving about how awesome the host was.

Ripped Off After Last-Minute Cancellation in Milan

Early in the day when we were due to leave for Italy, our host sent an email advising she could no longer host us. Whilst she offered five other accommodation options through her booking agent (I presume a group that handles a number of bed and breakfasts in the Milan area), we simply had no time to try and communicate with those hosts to get a booking confirmation and arrange a meeting before our departure as we simply would not have access to any communication tools whilst travelling. Because of this, we had to urgently try to find alternative accommodations, settling on a hotel in Milan so we knew we would have reliable accommodations upon arrival, in 24 hours’ time. Since our host cancelled, I have been unable to get a refund of the $418 we paid for our booking. The host’s email no longer works and she will not respond to SMS messages sent to her phone. She has also removed our booking from the Airbnb site so we cannot contact her via our “Trips and Reservations” area of the website. Airbnb has no way of offering help on their website, instead referring people to Q&As on their website, which are useless. As a first time user of Airbnb, this has been a really bad experience and I will never use it ever again. I will do all that I can to persuade others to stay away from Airbnb. I feel totally ripped off.