Nasty Review When Host Provided an Uninhabitable Property

I booked a stay at what was described as a beautiful retreat in the Yosemite area. My friends flew in from across the country to join me on a hiking trip in Yosemite and we were excited to be going. Dan, the owner, was very happy to rent to me, and it was all set up. We arrived to find the place to be uninhabitable. No running water, no promise of repair, and the oven looked as if it was vintage 1970s and had never been cleaned. There was a huge crack in the microwave rendering it unusable. We had to use water from the hot tub to flush the toilets. There was nothing about the place that was as described and I let him know it. He would not offer a refund and told me that if I wrote a bad review he would sue me. I called Airbnb repeatedly for help. We had to search for another place to stay. They promised callbacks that never came, and when I did reach someone, it sounded like I was talking to someone overseas. Whether or not that was the case, they asked me to write a letter – which I did – and to email pictures, because I definitely had plenty of them. They were not willing to try to help me in any way. Ultimately I disputed the charge with Visa and won. Today, I went to the site for the first time since that nightmare, and there was a negative review of me as a guest written by the host of the uninhabitable filthy place that Airbnb had listed for rent on their site. When I tried to reach out to Airbnb to discuss removing the review as it was unfair and they had proof of it, I could not get anywhere with customer service and couldn’t even find an email address. Airbnb is a terrible site and I will never use it again.

Long-Term Airbnb, Keeping their Standards Low

I moved out on January 5th from a three-month lease with Airbnb’s permission by letting them know that I wanted to move out. They said if the host decided to refund me for the days I didn’t stay I could get my money back. After I spoke to the host, she agreed and I moved out. Once I moved out, the host conveyed to Airbnb that it was a miscommunication and refused to pay me back for the days I didn’t stay there. During the course of this battle I never mentioned how bad my stay was so they even removed my review from the host’s page after threatening me for not having documentation. The house where I lived had a rat infestation and there were more people in the house than what was mentioned – all men who smoked. I was exposed a large amount of secondhand smoke as a result. I mentioned this in my review and stated why I hated the stay instead of mentioning about the lack of a refund. To this, the case manager who constantly harassed me finally took down my review even when I asked her to confirm the unsanitary rat infestation with the host. All this was when I only made a rough draft of review that wasn’t even posted. This makes me wonder to which how many people Airbnb is doing this. How many reviews are they censoring, tweaking, falsifying, and into how many unsanitary conditions are they letting the naive customers walk? There needs to be some sort of New York state regulation against this kind of behavior and unacceptable business model.

Airbnb Has the Worst Customer Service

I’ve taken three trips in six months with Airbnb. Each was wonderful on its own and each experience with a host has been great. However, on my last experience, due to an issue with our passports at the airport, we had to cancel our trip less than 24 hours before the check-in time. As a result, per the terms of agreement, Airbnb charged us the service fee and the first night of stay. However, once I received my credit card bill I noticed I was charged more than that. It seems that an issue with the time zone calculation cost me an additional nightly charge and a cleaning fee to a place which I never checked in. After calling Airbnb (twenty minute wait on the phone) and explaining this, the customer service representative on the phone proceeded to hang up on me. When I called again (another 27 minute wait on the line) they hung up again. I called in a third time (21 minutes’ wait time) and they hung up again. I understand the company is trying to make money. However, this is not the way to treat its customers.

Another Airbnb Debacle: What do Mediators even do?

I called Airbnb to let them know that I had a signed contract with my guest, Ms. Ponga, which superseded theirs and any dispute was to be handled with the American Arbitration Association. I have never called to notify them of this before, but I knew this guest was trouble. My big mistake was caring that I would lose my Superhost status if I cancelled. Anyway, customer service ignored this fact as well. I also doubt that they looked to see if this guest has done to other hosts what she did to me. I am sure she has. I am the kind of host who provides luxury robes. Ms. Ponga vandalized my apartment. I have had so many bad, horrible things happen using Airbnb because of the incompetence and unconscionable behavior of the mediators and case managers. The other problem is the “Guest Refund Policy” which attracts con-artists, criminals, and extortionists. Airbnb just attracts thieves and criminals in general. I have never had a problem with guests from any other site.

The biggest problem is that the people who work at Airbnb do not know what the “Guest Refund Policy” says. They do not seem to have been trained. I am starting to doubt that they even graduated from high school. One guy on the phone gave me the impression that either he or some of the people that work there are high school dropouts. Anyway, this story is a rerun of so many I’ve seen on Airbnb Hell. Actually, there are so many incompetent people in this story that I am going to submit a separate complaint for each person. I am also going to go back through all the unconscionable things they have done and submit separate complaints for all of those things too. There are actually some people with common sense who answer the phone who can understand what happened was wrong, but when it gets to the next level, the supervisors say their subordinates promised something they can’t deliver. They always use the excuse that the case is closed, as if I closed it.

Patricia Ponga was my guest; she has now changed her name to Ruth. I suppose this is because of my review which has been taken down, put back up, and taken down again. Maybe when Ruth realizes the review is down she will change her name back to Patricia. First, she told me that she would be staying seven or eight days but her friend would only be staying three of those days. She asked if I could I give her a discount, which I did. It turned out that story was a lie. I have some terms. I made the mistake of pre-approving her and saying if she agreed to my terms to accept my invitation to book, if not she could decline. So she booked the property. She also said she agreed, but she did not follow through with her actions. In my experience, if people do not agree with the terms, they do not book, and if they do agree, they comply with my terms right away to show good faith. Not this lady. She wanted to change everything up and renegotiate after agreeing.

One of my terms was that instead of getting a deposit, I would have them buy a $59 Property Damage Protection Plan for insurance. She and her friend tried to tell me that they have been using Airbnb and this other site for a long time and I couldn’t ask them to do that. However, this other site told me as long as I am listed on their site and I have the listing number, people who booked rentals on other sites can buy insurance. Somewhere along the line, someone on the phone at Airbnb told me that I was not allowed to ask guests to purchase insurance, so I purchased it on their behalf. Later, I learned that Ms. Ponga told Airbnb that I forced her to buy insurance. This was a lie, and I can prove it with my credit card statement.

Ms. Ponga wanted to check in late, so I told her I would leave the keys at the 24/7 deli. She said this was perfect, but later complained about it. There was one mistake because the deli guy gave her the keys to my apartment and not her apartment. Luckily, my place is steps away. She knew she had the wrong keys but she used them to open my door and walk in. Later, I gave her the correct keys. She was clearly aggressive. She clearly acted like a person who is not afraid of anything. Next I got a call from her saying that the apartment was not habitable because there was no heat. I told her there was; she just needed to push the heat button on the central air and heat. Then she complained that there was a window she could not shut. I told her once she got the heat turned on she would be boiling and dying for the window to remain open, but she insisted that I come there right then. I said I would, and had to reiterate, right now. So, I arrived in about three minutes. She had not turned on the heat and told me that she knew how to circumvent my strict cancellation policy; if I did not get the window closed she could get me thrown off Airbnb, as she is friends with Brian Chesky.

The window was a bit hard to close, but I did it and I told her the window guy was coming on Monday. She complained that he never came on Monday, but she was never there on any Monday, so clearly that was a lie on her part. Then I did not hear from the guests for about four days. On the fourth day, I received a message on the thread saying everything was fine and they just needed more towels. Never mind that I had already given them four sets of brand new towels, and there were two sets in the bathroom. I said there were more towels in the cabinet next to the bathroom. I did not hear anything and it seemed all was well. In the middle of the night, when I was in bed with a migraine, she called me and demanded I bring clean towels from my apartment. I said there were clean towels there. She said they were not clean because she got an ear infection. Ear infections in adults are caused by flying, seasonal allergies, and smoke.

I tried to explain to her that the towels in my apartment are laundered by the same company, and were in the same load as the towels that were over there. I even had the new towels washed because I wanted them to have the smell of whatever the laundry uses on them; it’s so wonderful. In addition, who knows who has been touching them? Anyway, she would not listen to reason, and she told me the TV is also broken. The TV was not broken. It was a pretext to get me out of bed. You have to use both remotes, and if you do not get it, you can read the house manual. I gave them the phone number to call for customer service. The bottom line is that I am such a nice host that if I had not had a migraine, I would have gotten up to help them. It is my nature, but I couldn’t do it. I offered to have them come get towels from my apartment, but the towels there were better.

Now enters the Airbnb mediator, who does not know the meaning of the word mediation. He ignored my strict cancellation policy with no proof, no photos, without talking to me and released them from the reservation. When I called Airbnb they said it was because of the dirty towels and a broken TV. I sent Airbnb a photo of the cabinet full of clean towels and the working TV. Then he told me that I forced them to buy insurance. Also, not true. I sent him the credit card summary showing that I paid for it. The next excuse was that it was because I told them if any neighbor asks, to say they were my friends. Apparently, the mediator took that to mean that I was not allowed to sublease my condo. Also, wrong! A lot of people in my neighborhood work in the hotel industry. If they get fired or something, I do not want them to think it is my fault. However, since he doesn’t know the meaning of the word mediator or mediation, he doesn’t know that he should have talked to me.

According to the “Guest Refund Policy” I am supposed to be given a chance to remedy any real or imagined problem. This mediator did exactly what other incompetent mediators have done. When his initial reasons for ending the reservation turned out to be wrong, he made up new reasons. Airbnb owes me $900. Mediators: don’t assume. Talk to both parties. Read your company’s policies; get a dictionary. They took down my review of Patricia Ponga AKA Ruth, put it back up, and took it down again. I suppose someone decided to do the right thing and then the next person up the chain said no. That has always been my experience with Airbnb. Maybe Ms. Ponga called her friend Brian Chesky and he had them take it down.

 

Airbnb’s Complete Lack of Oversight: Dirty Homes

My husband and I booked an Airbnb, for the first time ever, to travel from Eastern Canada to spend two weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona. We arrived only to find the property in a deplorable, filthy condition. I don’t mean dirty; I mean filthy. There was urine and dried feces on the toilet and pubic hair in the sinks. The bedding had not been changed and the pillows, instead of being white, were a golden brown, as were the stains on the bed covering. The carpeting, which was suppose to be tan, was a dirty mess of brown and black. There were dirty dish cloths and open food containers in the kitchen. One of the bedrooms had an air mattress.

After complaining to the host, who was leasing in violation of her Homeowners Association, she tried to tell us that the cleaner had come to clean the house, her water broke, and she had to leave to have a baby. Really… she was nine months pregnant and cleaning? Our host also told us that she had moved to San Francisco; however, when I texted her that the house was dirty, she showed up five minutes later to say that the house wasn’t bad, she tried her best and continued to tell us that she would pray for us. Being thousands of miles away from home with no place to stay, we did not need someone praying for us; it all felt more than a little weird.

I have been trying to resolve this issue with Airbnb; however, they say that they are not responsible for refunds, if the host does not agree to a refund. How can this be? Do they allow anyone to list their properties? People with questionable hygiene, sexual perverts, murderers? Is there no obligation on the part of Airbnb to screen hosts, ensure properties meet a certain standard, and ensure the safety of guests? Have you tried getting ahold of anyone at Airbnb? Just finding a phone number for them is like trying to pull hen’s teeth and they don’t have any. I have learned a very valuable, expensive lesson from Airbnb and I would like to pass on to those considering renting through them: don’t do it. Use VRBO or HomeAway.

Absurd Cancellation Fees One Day After Reservation

I was just planning a trip to Italy in June (their high season) for a wedding and I wanted to talk to some of the hosts to be sure the place where the wedding was being held was close enough. Some of the places had automatic reservations, which means that if you wanted to ask the host anything, you first needed to reserve the place. I booked two places, because in the cancellation fee policy it said I could cancel them any time until 30 days before my arrival. Once I got answers from the hosts and determined which place was better for us to stay (a day after) I went ahead, canceled one, and kept the other. When I saw my account I was reimbursed but for 190€ less. Now they say that there’s a new policy for multiple reservations where they will keep the Airbnb service fee even if you cancel a reservation an hour after making. But this is not shown anywhere unless you look at the really fine print. Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations on how to recover this 190€?

Airbnb Customer Service Still Won’t Refund My Money

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment that had not been cleaned when we arrived. The place was filthy and smelled bad. We contacted our host who said the cleaner was running late because of the recent holiday period. We were very annoyed because we had both traveled a long way that morning and had already waited outside the apartment for two hours in the heat, as we arrived before check-in time. We asked for a partial refund due to the inconvenience, which our host kindly agreed to. Seven business days later and we still have not seen the refund in our account. First of all, it was really difficult to get in contact with Airbnb, and when we finally did after being on hold for a long time, the lady that answered was very rude and not helpful at all. We originally paid for our stay with my friend’s PayPal account. Months after we paid in full for our accommodation, her account was hacked, her money stolen, and then her account was permanently closed by the hacker. Airbnb refused to pay our refund to any other account other than the one with which we paid, fully aware of my friend’s unfortunate circumstance. Calls were made back and forth trying to get our money back and we spent a lot of time on hold. In the end, they did not give us our money back, even though PayPal customer service said it was their responsibility. Not only has our host missed out on money, so have we (and a substantial amount of time), Airbnb was the only one to benefit. I am really disappointed and annoyed, and will let everyone I know not to trust them. Their customer service is horrible, they are not empathetic at all, and their policies need some serious reviewing.

Airbnb Customer Service All But Impossible

We were supposed to spend a month in an apartment with good reviews. We arrived there pretty late. The place had not been cleaned at all. There were mounds of dust on one of the doors, a refrigerator filled with half-eaten food, a bed sheet that was very old with hairs of debatable origin on it, toothpaste on the countertop, brown stains and hair on the back of the bathroom door, soda cans and bottle caps under the bed, and hair and dust at accumulated levels in the bedroom. Large food particulates were in the toaster oven, most drawers had things in them, and nothing seemed cleaned. It was late and we called Airbnb for help. They told us we could not get a refund because the unit owner had a strict refund policy and we were already in the apartment. Of course we were in the apartment; that’s when we learned that it was disgusting. Are they really that stupid at Airbnb? Whatever genius was working that day should be fired. Supposedly I am getting some money back, but so far nothing has been refunded. We are talking about thousands of dollars, and I have heard nothing about getting my security deposit back even though we never stayed in the apartment. I tried calling Airbnb; it’s all so automated that you can’t speak to anyone. Big time nightmare. Bottom line: the concept seems good when it works. But if your host is a pig, Airbnb could care less. Never will I use that company again.

Ants and Poor Maintenance Ruin Airbnb Holiday

I rented a four-bedroom house in Reno from Christmas to January 1st. My daughter, husband, granddaughter, and two nephews were staying here with me to attend my other daughter’s wedding December 30th. When I arrived at the house, it was clearly dirty: poorly made beds, food and ants on the floor and counter. I emailed the host through Airbnb and listed the items. He sent over his mother-in-law and friend to address the issues. She was on an oxygen tank. I left for the day and when I got back, the bathrooms were still dirty, the sinks still did not drain, and I found ants all over the kitchen floor. I took pictures and used the host’s personal email to send them and complain again about the ant problem. He never responded. I sent him another email a day later asking for a $400 refund since he was not addressing the ant issue. He never responded. After dealing with the ants constantly, we could not leave a soda can on the counter, or a crumb of food anywhere without the ants swarming.

I filed a complaint with Airbnb seeking half of my money back. I paid $1936 for the week and asked for $1000 back. They took several days to get back to me and I had already returned home when they contacted me. Customer service asked for more pictures, which I sent, and called me back a few hours later. They said that the resolution was now closed and the guest agreed to refund the $120 cleaning deposit. I said that was not even close to compensating me for the amount of time we spend cleaning and killing ants. They told me I would be banned from Airbnb if I disputed the charge, that there were other arbitrators who would do the same if I disputed it again. They advised I should have left if it was that bad. I reminded them that this was over New Year’s in Reno and the hotels were charging a premium. Getting three hotel rooms and moving all our stuff was not an option for our family. She offered me $75 off a future stay, to which I said “No thanks.”

I am waiting to hear back on my second resolution complaint. I have never spent $276 per night and had to deal with ants constantly. I am appalled at my first resolution. I have also seen my review, which was censored and cut in half, while they left the host’s review, twice as long. He personally attacked me saying I was a dissatisfied type of person looking for problems. Trust me, I didn’t have to look far to see ants all over our food and drinks. I did purchase something to unclog his sinks, set out ant traps, and thoroughly cleaned the bathrooms myself. I feel extremely let down by this experience. If this had been a hotel and ants destroyed our food and drinks, they would take a much better approach at compensating a guest for their stay. I will update this when I hear back regarding my second resolution complaint.

Airbnb Cancellation Policy Cost Me $1200

Beware of this Airbnb host. I am sharing my experience so that no one else books a strict policy booking with this host and loses their money. I accepted a lower priced invitation (1200 USD) to sleep in this hosts living room for the month of January. She encouraged me to book and pay immediately since there were other interested parties. I did. Unfortunately, two days later, a family emergency arose and I realized I would have to cancel the stay. I immediately contacted the host so that she could rebook with the other interested parties and reimburse me. This is when I discovered that she had imposed a strict cancellation policy on the booking. I did not even know such a policy existed since, in my experience, normal and fair business practices are flexible bookings. The strict policy means that no matter what, you do not get any money back. Family illness, death, force majeure… it doesn’t matter. The host declined to pay back the 1200 or any part thereof, even though she had ample time to find someone else; I was not due to arrive for a few days. As a landlord, if a tenant’s plans change, I try to reimburse what I can. I would not keep a full month’s rent when there’s the possibility of finding a new tenant. I find that such an extreme position shows a lack of class and character. I have always had positive Airbnb experiences but the fact that they even allow such a policy makes no sense to me. There are hosts offering real private rooms (not living rooms) at similar rates and they offer flexible bookings. Most people are reasonable. Things happen in life. Unless you are prepared to throw away money on services not received I would not risk a strict booking with this host or any other hosts on Airbnb. Flexible bookings are another matter, but make sure you check.