Abandoned: Non-Existent Airbnb in New York City

Upon arriving in New York, we caught a cab and gave the driver the address of the Airbnb we booked. He pulled up to a parking lot and said, “this is it”. We got out and went up and down the street trying to find the address. It was non-existent; there was no such address. It was rush hour, 85+ degrees and we had gotten up at 4:00 AM. Needless to say, we were frantic.

I called Airbnb and could not get through. After dialing continuously for over 30 minutes and being put on hold for over 15 minutes, I finally got someone on the line. She was very nice and promptly gave us a credit on this booking. Then we had to find a hotel, which, obviously, was a lot more expensive. This is the chance you take when you use Airbnb, so just beware. Will I book with them again? Probably, but I will really read the reviews. This particular apartment had a lot of reviews – believe it or not – so here again, beware. Airbnb is a crap shoot for everything to work out. We had booked in Barcelona and nothing went wrong.

Another Host Cancels – Airbnb Needs to Stop This

I have never completed a stay with Airbnb before and will definitely never try to use it again. However, I will certainly make sure that no one I know ever uses it. I was in the UK and planned a four-night break in NYC as a treat for my wife. I booked my flights months ago as well as an Airbnb apartment on the upper east side. I did read the host reviews and was slightly concerned as there was a complaint that the host tended to cancel at the last minute. I contacted the host, who assured me it was due to his unfamiliarity of how it worked and all was well… so I booked. I have just received a message saying my booked is cancelled and I have been refunded.

What good is that to me? Just try contacting Airbnb; there’s no email and a good wait to call the states from the UK. After looking into it, last minute cancellations seem to be common practice and Airbnb has the worst policy to prevent them: they only charge the host $100 if they cancel less than seven days before the booking. Soes the customer get the $100 for their inconvenience? No – it goes into Airbnb’s pocket. At the very least, the host should be charged a minimum of $100 for cancelling at any time and up to the total cost of the booking less than seven days and give it to the customer who has been stiffed over. I’m never using Airbnb again.

How Airbnb Tried to Leave me Homeless in Two States

I have used Airbnb on several occasions before and always gushed about how great they are to anyone who will listen. After this week I won’t be making that mistake again. I’m currently on holiday in the USA (from Australia). I had a place booked in Chelsea, NYC with a male host and another booked with a woman in Washington DC.

The NYC host hadn’t responded to any of my emails before I came to the US but as I’d never had trouble with Airbnb hosts before I just figured he was busy or had forgotten; the booking had been accepted and Airbnb took my money so I had no reason to be worried… or so I thought. The day I was flying to New York I called him. As soon as he heard me say Airbnb, he hung up on me. He then diverted all calls from his phone so I couldn’t reach him again.

I called Airbnb customer service and they told me they’d try and get in touch with him on my behalf. I then hopped on a flight from LA to NYC and figured it would all be sorted out when I touched down. My check-in confirmation email had come through so I tried calling the host again to let him know I was on my way… again, the call was diverted. I rang Airbnb back and proceeded to have the most painful “customer service” experience of my life.

I had to repeat the most basic information over and over, and it was only after half an hour of having to talk to the representative like an intellectually challenged five year old, only after I lost my patience and started yelling into the phone in the middle of JFK airport, only after all of this did I finally pry out of her that he’d cancelled the booking while I was en route from LA. They’d already processed a refund which I was told would take up to two weeks, so I had to shell out $1300 from my holiday money to get new accommodations. Anyway, I was cranky and poor three days into my holiday but I decided to move on with life.

A week later, the day before I was due to get a bus to DC, I messaged my next host. There was no answer from her and I got distracted doing touristy stuff so I forgot to follow up until the next day. I called her before I jumped on the bus and she was shocked that her listing was still online because she hadn’t used Airbnb in a year and didn’t even live in DC anymore. I called customer service again; they told me to make another booking and they’d transfer what I’d paid. I went nuts because that option hadn’t been given to me a week ago. I made the booking, paid a little extra to make up the difference and then went without wifi access for a few hours.

When I got to DC, I found out the replacement booking had also been cancelled. Cue a very angry call back to Airbnb where I finally got someone who wasn’t completely useless and she found some options for me to choose from. With all my holiday money sunk into these cancelled bookings I didn’t really have a choice; I’d originally wanted my own place but I had to settle for a room in someone’s apartment. It wasn’t ideal, but to give credit where credit is due, my host was super friendly and accommodating so that removed heaps of stress. Still, after the past week you couldn’t pay me to risk ever booking through Airbnb again.

The Dungeon of Horror at NYC Airbnb

This was my first and last time using Airbnb; it is a total scam. I picked a room from an ad on Airbnb in NYC. The price was very much comparable to that of a decent hotel (about 100 EUR per day) but I had heard the Airbnb experience was great. Since I was planning to stay seven days, it was about 700 EUR altogether.

I arrived at the place. It turned out a total dungeon owned by an old lady. The picture the ad showed was actually the kitchen/living room in which the lady had put her bed just beside the fridge and the cookers. The angle of the picture made it look like a cozy place to stay, but in reality it was below human standards. It also turned out the room I had rented was not the one in the picture (the actual living room) but some smelly dark hole in which I was not ready to stay for one moment.

I politely said to the woman that the place was not what I expected, and she said “no problem; we can cancel.”

I tried to cancel the booking through the app, but it turned out Airbnb would retain around 250 EUR. Then I called Airbnb to see how I could recover my 250 EUR. They said I should request a refund from the owner – that she only had to accept the request, and that would be it. I did what they asked, she claimed that she had returned them, and everything seemed okay. It should have appeared in my account after a couple of days.

I went to a hotel and after a couple of days, there was still no money back. I contacted the host; several times she confirmed she had accepted the request. A few days more… still no money. I called Airbnb, and they said the old lady hadn’t accepted the request after all, and that they could not do anything.

To sum up: an ad which was absolutely misleading, miserable conditions in which only a poor old woman can live in, an obvious scam where she claimed several times she had returned the money, and Airbnb washing its hands and taking its share of the scam despite of the whole conversation concerning the return of my money was clearly stated in their message system. Airbnb – a total scam. Save your money and your nerves. Stay away.

Beware of this New York Airbnb Scammer Host

I had a business trip coming up in the Chelsea area of New York City in June 2017 and found a decent looking apartment on Airbnb a couple of blocks from the venue when I was going to be spending most of my week in NY. I contacted the host Paul on his property listing and explained that I knew my arrival date would be Sunday, June 10th, but was unsure whether I would be checking out the following Friday the 16th, or Saturday the 17th. I offered to make the booking there and then as long as he understood that the departure date might be either Friday or Saturday depending on how my schedule shaped up.

He responded by saying that it wasn’t a problem if I wanted to just take my time and figure out my schedule; he would hold the apartment for me until the end of that month. Here is what that conversation looked like:

Me: Cool. Is the ‘hold’ solid and if so when do you need to hear back from me by? Cheers!

Response from Paul: I’ll hold the dates through June 1st and then check back in with you.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?

On May 30th, after I figured out my schedule, I sent this message to the host:

Hi Paul, I just wanted to confirm my upcoming travel plans with you. I am arriving in New York on Sunday, June 11th. My flight gets in at 3:08 PM. I will be leaving Friday, June 16th. What kind of arrangements would you like to make for me to get a key?

This is where it gets funny (not really…). The next response I received from the host on Friday, June 2nd was:

Hey Colin, I have another apartment in Soho that I am renting out which is available during the same days. I could give you the same price I booked this room out because I didn’t hear from you a bit. Thanks, Paul.

And then:

Well, I booked the apartment for another guest as they wanted the whole month.

There was no apology from the host for renting the apartment to someone else. On top of that, he had the gall to try and blame it on me, saying that he hadn’t heard from me, when he promised he would get back to me and hold the apartment until the end of the month. Even with that, I responded before the end of the month to confirm the booking. This host is a scammer. He went on to offer to rent me another apartment a considerable distance from where my work was taking me on this visit, and when I asked him for a discount for the inconvenience of having to travel a considerable distance, he offered me the same price advertised to the public for that listing.

Here are some of his other properties that I know of. Do not rent from this host under any circumstances. If you do, you are likely to get scammed as I did.

Airbnb Slumlord and Customer Service Torture me

I planned a trip to New York from Feb 23rd until May 31st. From the day I arrived the place was filthy. I brought my own linens and a shower curtain out of fear. Then mice and cockroaches started running through the place. We came home to a mouse just sitting on my son’s pillow. The fresh paint was a patch job and already caused mold to form. The heat didn’t work for three days. When it finally was turned on, the radiator was leaking and so loud you couldn’t even hear a person speak. The steam ruined the entire room, and the water caused the flooring to rot. My son must sleep in that room and the water shot all over our stuff.

I have now had to wait three different times for a repairman to come. This has messed up most of my days and the issue is still not fixed. A couple weeks after arriving, the hot water started turning off. I have had the city health department out here numerous times. Still, you never know when you can shower. For a month I tried to contact Airbnb; they always say a supervisor will call back. This of course never happens. I even sent pictures and explained about the mice. Still, there was no answer. I finally decided to do my own research. It was not hard to find who owned the building… the same guy who is our host. I Googled his name and his family is listed on the NYC worst landlord list. His mother was actually sued in court over being a slumlord.

Does Airbnb have no responsibility to at least investigate the product they are selling? They make money off me as well as the landlord, so does only the landlord deserve protection? I am now in fear of these people as Airbnb has notified them of my complaints. I wake up and, no hot water. He can now torture me if he wants. I just want out for my own safety. I feel there needs to be more responsibility or laws for Airbnb as they are making a fortune and do not have to comply with rules we apply to hotel owners. My entire trip has been destroyed.

In regards to Airbnb customer service, I finally have just been continually calling as I have not only been to the hospital because the property made me sick, but now I have an eye infection from the filth. They still refuse to help. I have been through ten case workers in two days. Most of them lack knowledge or even decency. If I sue I will request all taped calls as most have admitted to the terrible conditions and that they themselves would not stay here. I even will have a tape of one of the agents who forgot to put me on hold, and was discussing me with the supervisor, who refused to get on the phone. They had a nice conversation about how their break was more important and were laughing about me. I have sent videos, pictures, hospital notes, health department notices, all the text messages between the host and myself, and even the articles on the host’s reputation, and they are still giving me the runaround. I need to get out but they have all my money. Anyone that can help, please give me some suggestions.

No Response from NYC Host, Keeps Half my Money

This was (and is) my first and only experience with Airbnb. I booked an apartment with Janine for nine nights in July 2016. I made the reservation in February, five months in advance. I then started seeing recent reviews about poor communication from the host, and difficulty with getting the keys to the apartment once in New York City. Since I would be traveling with a family of five, I wanted to work out any miscommunications in advance. I sent two messages to the host in February on the Airbnb website, and received no response. I sent an email to the address Airbnb had listed for the host in March. Still no response. In late March, I read more negative responses from recent guests about being told to say they were a relative of the host if anyone asked and more issues with cleaning and getting the key from a local café with changing hours of operation. This continued to raise my level of concern. I then texted the phone number listed for the host. Again, no response.

A week later, I called the number and left a voicemail. Still no response. At this point I began to wonder if I would land in New York to find that I had no place to stay. I could not locate any way of contacting Airbnb, so I cancelled my reservation more than three months prior to the arrival date. After cancelling, I discovered that the host keeps 50% of the money on all cancellations. Allowing the host to keep over $1000 for a place at which I never stayed and cancelled over three months in advance because she would not communicate with me at all does not sit well with me. After cancelling the reservation and requesting all of my money back, I got one simple response from the host, stating that I never contact her. She also declined to refund any of my money. The listing can be viewed here. The reviews can be viewed here.

NYC Apartments Illegally Converted to Rent on Airbnb

I am a tenant in a rent-controlled residential apartment building in New York City. Our landlady has evicted several tenants under the guise she needs the apartment unit for family members. Once they had been vacated, the landlady brought in IKEA furniture and set up the units for Airbnb guests. The new state laws allow for short-term Airbnb rentals of 30 days or more if the host is the lease holder. Because this particular building is rent controlled, the owner gets tax breaks in exchange for abiding by rent regulations. She must lease out units to renters who will carry a minimum of a one-year lease. The NY Department of Buildings inspectors have investigated this situation, have interviewed Airbnb guests within the building and have slapped three sets of fines. The landlady is now facing court proceedings for her illegal conversion of residential apartments into hotel accommodations. Here’s an example of how much money she is making. One particular apartment was vacated in January 2017 with an outgoing rent of $1743. This same apartment is now being listed on Airbnb for $5483 per month. I continue to see this landlady’s listings on Airbnb. I’ve contacted Airbnb to no avail. In a building of 16 apartment units, only five apartments are occupied by leaseholders. When will this end? Airbnb has allowed building owners to turn apartments into hotel units without paying any hotel tax.

Identity and Credit Card Information Stolen Through Airbnb

After renting an Airbnb in December, I received an email stating that my email address had been changed and to notify customer service if we did not make that change. We emailed them and didn’t receive a return call or message. We contacted them again after attempting to log on to our account (we could not access our own account to shut it down and still cannot to this day). There was no return call or email. About four days later, I received a random call telling me that if I needed additional towels, to please let them know. I then waited for over thirty minutes for a customer service representative over the phone. She confirmed that my account had been changed and that a rental in Brooklyn was active. $867 had been charged to the credit card linked to my account.

I felt great after speaking to her; she assured me that I would receive a call within four hours from the Trust and Safety Department to gather the details for the investigation. She also told me that she “placed a hold” on my account so that no additional charges could be made. Three weeks later after many phone calls, emails, wasted time on hold and additional charges on my credit card, and I have never received one single call or email from the Trust and Security Department. I continued to receive calls about my “stay” and even received a direct email from the Brooklyn host telling me that she gave me a five-star rating. Airbnb did not even notify the host that she had a renter that had stolen all of my information and was using my name and credit card. I received requests in the middle of the night for codes to be entered to change additional information on my account, which I’m assuming was the same person that originally stole my information. Airbnb was notified of all of these events and has never done anything to investigate or help us in this situation. It’s absolutely unbelievable that a company can function in this manner and stay afloat.

Reflections from a Guest: Airbnb is Going Downhill Fast

As long term Airbnb users, we can say it that is starting to go south and management doesn’t care. Firstly the currency conversion fees: when I book in a location with a different currency I am forced to use Airbnb’s woeful rates (more profit to Airbnb). I’d rather use my bank’s rates, but can’t do that anymore. Next we have awful hosts (looking at you NYC). What happens here is you enquire about a booking for given dates at the advertised price. The host comes back with a ‘special offer’ which is much higher than the advertised rate and may or may not include a ‘please pay me XXX on arrival in cash as well’. Nope, the calendar price is what we will pay. Suddenly, ‘I’m sorry the house is no longer available’. A bit of a grey area, but customer support doesn’t really care as there has not yet been a confirmed booking. Although a confirmed booking does not seem to matter either, as my next and last gripe will explain.

This has happened twice now. We make a booking, it is accepted, paid and confirmed, and we are all happy. Then sometime before the arrival date, the host decides to increase the price. We refuse, and ask Airbnb for advice. In the meantime, the host contacts Airbnb and they cancel on the host’s behalf. There are no penalties to the host, who is also a Superhost. We are left to find alternative accommodation and Airbnb doesn’t even follow their own terms and conditions.