Incomplete Airbnb Stays: No Reviews Allowed

My friends and I lost hope of getting a proper resolution of our case through the Airbnb resolution center. We did not get a refund and our review was not published on the website. The situation with feedback is totally awful as our review was supported by multiple photos. We have contacted Airbnb multiple times but got only formal responses. I would very much appreciate if you could advise what we should do in this situation. I would want a chance to at least make our review available to others on Airbnb; the apartment is still listed on the site so there will be other people who may suffer from it.

We had used Airbnb to book an apartment in Barcelona from January 5-11, 2017 for our family. We arrived at the apartment at 8:30 AM but at that time the previous guests were there. The host told us that we may check in only after 12:00 PM. At that time we did not have a chance to look through the apartment and discuss its conditions with the host. We left our luggage and used the rest of the day for sightseeing in Barcelona. We came back at 7:00 PM and realized that the apartment was not in a good conditions. The linen was dirty, the bed was not suitable for two people, and there was no linen at all for the third guest. We can provide the full review with photos if anyone is interested. The host was not available so we could not discuss these issues with her. We were not comfortable staying in the apartment, so we had to leave it and find another location.

The same day, we informed the Airbnb resolution center about these issues and asked for assistance. The next day I discussed these issues with the host and she told me that our requests about cleaning and the bed could not be satisfied. She did not feel comfortable providing the apartment after our feedback about these conditions so we agreed to sort it out with Airbnb. A few days later, an Airbnb specialist cancelled our booking without our consent, and informed us that the case was closed. When we came back home from the vacation we provided a detailed review but it was not published by Airbnb. We had contacted the Airbnb resolution center and got a response that the review could not be released as we did not stay in the apartment and the booking was cancelled. We had called the resolution center and explained that the review was based on our personal experience – that we had to leave the apartment because of its poor conditions and that our booking was cancelled by Airbnb – but the response from the resolution center did not change.

Airbnb Guest Invites Strangers, Trashes House

A guest booked 12 people for two nights. I asked them to read our house description and rules and pay attention to our quiet time (10:30 PM) being announced there. The first night they were up and loud till 3:00 AM. I texted them and my messages were ignored. The second night they were up and screaming until 2:00 AM. After my messages were ignored, I went to their door to see what was their problem. First they didn’t open the door, then finally they let me in and I saw there were 16 people drunk and loud. I asked for the person who booked the property and he was not there. I called Airbnb, reporting there were four extra unpaid guests on our property, the person who booked is not among them, and they are so loud past our quiet time that he agreed to through the Airbnb reservation system; the trace of the message is there.

Airbnb did absolutely nothing. The guests were screaming after that until 4:30 AM and this lengthy phone call with Airbnb was just a waste of time. The guests left us furniture damage that Airbnb didn’t resolve through the resolution centre, as the guests lied and denied everything. Instead Airbnb closed my account, cancelled my upcoming reservations, and said my review of the guests qualified as racism. In reality the review had nothing to do with the guest’s ethnicity or nationality at all. My case was so unfair and poorly handled. The Airbnb founder, Bryan Chesky, who talks about trust and safety doesn’t realize that he himself abused the trust of his landlord at some time to sublet it to others as a short term and has no idea what trust is. It’s no wonder in my own case I don’t see any trace of trust or safety at all. Airbnb is his true child – like father like son.

Items Stolen by the Cleaners after Holiday Stay

The host in this story has told me to just accept that my items are lost, so that has now pushed me to the point of pure anger. I’m seeking some closure by hashing this out on my keyboard.

I went to my friend’s 30th birthday in Dorset, UK, only an hour or so away from us. Our mutual friends were staying in an Airbnb nearby for the week leading up to her 30th, so we went to stay in a spare room of the house for the one and only night we were there. Being a typical high-anxiety kinda gal, I like to take a few items of clothing to choose from when I know I’m going out in public, just in case I change my mind at the last minute because one actually makes me look like a primary school teacher/whale/idiot. I took two dresses and two suit jackets, and the morning after, I stupidly left all of those things hanging behind the bedroom door: barely worn, nice-ish labels (Phase Eight, ladies), average size for a woman, combined worth of £150.

Now, whilst I admit this was entirely my fault, naively enough I figured that of course any normal person would have found these and put them in a safe place ready to return to me, right? That’s normal; people are kind, right? My friend emailed the host to explain I’d left some things behind. There was no response. Then I emailed the host, saying I was happy to send over some money as per Airbnb’s “resolution centre”, and a few days later I got a response:

“Hi, I’m really sorry there was no sign of anything when I went in on Friday. Will talk to cleaners tomorrow for you as they are in.”

Great, that’s fine. Sure, it had already been a week by now and the cleaners were only just going in which was strange, but fine. I should mention here that I’m a cleaner of holiday lets myself. I heard nothing back for a few days, so I checked in, and the response was:

“There was nothing that I could see the other day. I will take a proper look on the next change over day. Will be in the new year now.”

It was December 27th, 2016. Ok, that was fine. There are people staying in the house over Christmas and New Year. I know this because Airbnb says it was booked out. However, that was fine; my clothes will stay wherever they’ve been left by the nice cleaners I’m sure. I waited until after New Years, or January 8th just to give her some breathing space. By this time I had let Airbnb know of the situation, and they were also trying to ring her, getting no answer. I got a message back a few days later:

“Hi Natalie. The cleaners are not aware of anything fitting that description. I have just been very busy and don’t live near the area. I’m not planning to visit the place until the end of the month. You might have to accept you have lost the items. I got a voicemail from Airbnb enquiring for you.”

So… no. “I’m really sorry, but we can’t find your things” or “I’m so sorry that we can’t resolve this but…” I just don’t understand this way of dealing with people at all. She’s not sorry, she doesn’t give a crap, and that’s that. But that just makes me even more concerned, and I kept prodding. I wrote:

“As a woman to woman thing, would you accept that you’ve ‘just lost the items’? I can’t just nip out and replace them. Do you understand that as a customer I therefore rely on you to help me? I paid to stay at your property and I feel like I’m being fobbed off. I’m sorry that you’ve been too busy to help out but it is a business you run based on trust and respect to your property and the people that stay there, and I have lost all sense of that. It is totally my fault that I left them there but if it was me, running a business like this, I would endeavor to make sure my clients were reassured. Can I please be put in touch with your cleaners as I’m guessing they live closer? Or your brother that goes around daily? Somebody who could go and check. As I said, I can wire money via Airbnb to post them back and I’m happy to add on more than the cost. I just want my things back.”

And nothing. That was it. Three or four cases opened by Airbnb, and closed again after 24 hours due to ‘no response from the host’. There’s been a bit of moaning and complaining to get their attention on Twitter. They told my friend that they saw no reason to continue any case for it (even though absolutely nothing was resolved) and they kept closing them. The scenarios that are going around in my head are: she took them, and she’s obviously not going to own up to that; the cleaners took them, and she’s also not going to own up to that (but she should); the cleaners are just bad at their jobs, didn’t see them, and another guest has taken them. Working out what happened with no proof just means thoughts pop into my head every now and again, I feel sick, like I’ve been robbed, and then I go back to realizing there’s nothing I can do. That’s my vent. I’m sure some people have real problems. Thanks for listening and don’t stay here.

“You have to use the Resolution Center, sir.”

I made a reservation for three weeks in Coral Gables, Florida. Based on the information in the listing, it looked perfect for my daughter and me. I’m 70 years old but my daughter is 38 and positively brilliant. She took a look at the listing and said “Dad, did you see these reviews? They’re pretty bad… and I think there’s no wifi or internet.” I had not looked at the reviews. Having had very good experiences with Airbnb for the last few years, I trusted their vetting process. Sure enough, this host had five different listings for the same property, under different headings. This normally isn’t a big deal, but every other item in “amenities” apparently had problems according to the reviews (of which there were 79). The property was an apartment building, not the home of a host; there was nothing kosher about this guy. According to the reviews, the listed wifi was essentially non-existent, 30Kb/s at best – virtually dial-up speed, if that. The electricity had gone out, there were stained sheets and mattresses blackened by the filthy tiled floor, unusable pots and pans, one towel for four guests, and two instances of this host canceling reservations a day before due to “a calendar sync issue.”

The list went on, from severely uncomfortable spring mattresses to the host being inaccessible. When I called this host, the phone number he’d listed with Airbnb had a recording I’d never heard before: “This customer is not taking incoming calls.” Ok, the plot thickens. First I called my credit card company, and before I could say anything, they wanted to know if there was fraudulent activity for a charge in Miami of about $1,400. “You bet your ass!” I replied. My pal at Capital One said, “Hold on, I’ll get Airbnb on the line and you explain your situation, see if they’ll cancel this recent charge… geez, it’s not even an hour ago! I’ll be listening in.”

Well, I got an amiable young man at Airbnb and explained my situation. He brought up my booking request, informed me my request had been accepted and if I wanted to cancel, the host’s strict cancellation policy applied: I would lose half the amount for canceling, since he said the payment had gone through. Although the reservation had been confirmed, the payment was still pending.

I replied, “No money was transacted, am I right? Airbnb is still holding that money, isn’t that correct?” Of course Mr. Amiable goes circuitously vague and obtuse. I continued: “This charge has not ‘gone through’ – it isn’t even an hour old! The reservation was made under false pretenses. Regardless, this host shouldn’t even be with Airbnb; this isn’t his home, he’s just renting out apartments and doesn’t give a flying crap about any guest-host relationships. He lied about a few things in his listing and I’m not going to be staying in his crappy apartment.”

“Well, you have to cancel the reservation, then take the issue to the Resolution Center and they will resolve the issues between you and this host,” said King Solomon.
“No,” I replied, “because by canceling a reservation, I will be reaffirming that the reservation was made legitimately and will be bound by the host’s cancellation policy, isn’t that right?” Dead silence on the other end of the line, so I answer my own question. “Yes, that’s right and that’s why I’m not canceling this reservation. Instead you, an Airbnb representative trained in conflict resolution, are trying to get me to validate this fraudulent host and his cancellation policy, so that I will be out $700 for services not rendered in the slightest and you are refusing to cancel a charge that was made one hour ago, for a reservation based on fraudulent information.”

I caught my breath and simply asked to speak with the supervisor. After a minute, Mr. Aimless came back and tried one more time to spin what was clearly a losing argument, for which I presented his points as illogical, incorrect and otherwise invalid again. “And by the way, why are you not letting me speak with your supervisor?” I asked this because I had been hearing this knuckle-dragger consulting with that supervisor several times, while I was talking.

“Sir, he has to deal with about 40 Airbnb agents…”

“Fine, you tell that young lady helping you that I’m retired and have nothing better to do but sue Airbnb for the most ridiculous refund policy ever presented. I would hate for a lovely corporate friendship to end in a court of law but you leave me no choice. Oh, never mind. Just do what you want. This charge is not going through and if you pay that crook of a landlord money, you will not be getting reimbursed.”

There were some clicking sounds, after which my pal at Capital One said, “Mr. Haber, once the charge is submitted to us for payment, we will explain why there will be no reimbursement. Capital One has your back.”

My First and Last Airbnb Stay, Accused of Damages

I graduated recently from school, and my parents were visiting me for graduation from outside of US. I decided to take them to Florida, and I booked my first Airbnb. Being a first timer on Airbnb, I was very cautious of everything. I tried to keep the entire house clean and tidy, and I tried to make sure I did not damage any part of the property. I won’t damage the property of anyone either now or in the future. My stay was good (not perfect, but nothing is, so I kind of ignored any small problems). I didn’t want to sound like a complaining guest; I didn’t know I could make complaints and get a refund (partial or full).

So here’s what happened. On my third day (last day, the day I checked out), I was washing the dishes in the kitchen sink of the property hosted by a shady couple. While doing that, I started the garbage disposer in the sink and within a moment, before I even realized what was happening, the plumbing below the kitchen sink broke and dirty water started to spill onto the floor. It could have caused an electrical short circuit as well as a fire. Anything was possible. I’ve attached the pictures of water coming out on floor. Then, I texted my hosts immediately. First, the woman told me that she would come and see what happened. Then, after some time, the guy called me and asked me what happened. I told him what happened and he was very calm after that. He said he knew what must have happened, as if he knew the plumbing was fragile. They also told me to put towels on the water and then leave the house; they would come and take care of the damage later.

I trusted them (my biggest mistake) and left the property. I was roughly four hours away from the property by car. I stopped at a gas station only to find out my hosts were demanding $200 in compensation for a broken pantry door (when did that happen?) They said that we broke the pantry door. If you think carefully, there is a connection. The plumbing was broken. They must have had to spend some money on the repairs. However, it was their fault, so they could not ask for money for that. Instead, they found another way out. If you look at the door, the wooden strips that are not present in the door are easily removable. They just removed them, took pictures, and filed a claim with Airbnb. There were slots to put the strips in or remove them if required. And it worked. Airbnb asked me to pay $152 in the end, because the hosts were so called “superhosts” and I was just a recent graduate staying at an Airbnb for the first time. Now it was their word against mine, and I lost.

If they had asked me for another $100 while booking the property for any legitimate reason, I would have given them that money. But, in this case, they falsely implicated me. My parents traveling 9500 miles to see me were not visiting their property to damage it. If we had damaged it or if there were any accident, we would have told them promptly. To add to that, when I gave a bad review of the property, the host used the weapon of good reviews and ratings they had in past(as I expected them to do), to say my claim was false a and make themselves feel secure. When you are so good at hosting, you can get away with doing one wrong thing so easily by pointing at all the previous good karma. That is what they did and victimized me.

I know some of you readers may find them right and more credible than me, but remember: you could also be in my place someday if you do not take enough care. I should have demanded the host walk me through the property at check-in and check-out so I could have confronted them easily if they said anything was damaged, but they used clever planning to avoid doing so, so that they could later blame me. My family and I were pretty much shocked and saddened by what happened. I quit Airbnb and will not return.

A few things went wrong or felt odd during my visit. These so called superhosts did not walk me through the property at check-in and check-out. I did not get sufficient information on how to get around the house and operate appliances; I had to figure it out myself. It would have been best to walk guests through the house at check-in and check-out so that host could have made guests aware of any pre-existing damages and any problems the host may have found at the time when guests walk out of the property. Because they filed a claim four hours after we left, I could not go back to the property to verify anything. To top it off, as Airbnb says, if the host and guest cannot reach an understanding, hosts can go to the Airbnb resolution center. However, this host did not contact me at all; he went straight to the resolution center. They didn’t talk to us directly before reporting the damage to Airbnb, because they were super liars.

The property was immensely dark in and around at the time of check-in. It was very frightening because when I lit the house I found some chameleons walking on the grass and trees around the house. The pantry door, shown in the picture above, was perfectly in the good shape, except one wooden strip below the door knob was not placed properly in its slot on the right side. The kitchen had empty chocolate wrappers (that’s how much cleaners attended to the property) and a rotten apple. My mother was this close to eating it, but fortunately, she decided to cut it in two pieces before she ate it and she found that it was rotten. The kitchen was not complete: there was no single appliance with its lid, so when I wanted to cook rice, I couldn’t. The soap bottles and shampoo bottles were almost empty. And they were Suave, which is very cheap. Everyone knows that. The lowest quality soaps were purchased to show the host didn’t care about guests and wanted to maximize his profit. The water pressure in the shower in the bathroom was also very low, equivalent to the gardening bucket we used to water the plants. Despite so many problems I did not want to complain, but I should have done it. Since it was my first stay, I was unaware of all the ins and outs of the Airbnb. Now I have decided not to continue using Airbnb but to book a regular hotel next time I need to go somewhere. If I can afford four days with Airbnb and two days in a regular hotel, I will still go with a hotel. At least there won’t be insecurity and frustration of being falsely implicated for damages which I never caused.

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.

 

Guest from Hell’s Complaints Neverending

I accepted an instant book for six nights starting in a few days time. I have hosted on Airbnb for nearly two years with great reviews (even from other hosts). My mobile home is based in Florida and is offered for sole use. Recently a guest brought in some bugs not native to the US and we had the unit treated several time to kill them. The guest that arrived started complaining the moment they walked in the door: “It’s dirty, the locks didn’t work, there were hairs on the sheets, the light bulbs weren’t working, the sink was blocked.” The list went on and on. However, as soon as we “corrected” an issue, even if there wasn’t one, suddenly there was another. We then got an email from Airbnb saying the guest wanted a refund! That’s when the resolution center came into the picture. I requested the guest leave, with Airbnb’s permission (she said). It took two days to get her out. I still have not been paid and now I have to deal with a case manager who has no supervisor to whom I can speak. I am so disappointed that Airbnb is so bad at customer service. I am thinking of cancelling all future bookings, telling the guests why, and getting them to contact Airbnb.

Condo in Beautiful Hawaii Filled with Bed Bugs

I went on vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii recently. I booked four nights at the Kona Islander Inn in Kona. The host’s name is Ann, who is from the Seattle area. From the very beginning I should have known better to rent from her. Upon my initial booking back in September she did not greet me in any way, shape or form as a host. That was a huge red flag right there: no communication. I checked in on November 18th, 2016. On the second morning I woke up with bed bug bites on my arm. I contacted Ann about the situation, and sent photos of the bite marks as well. Her response was: “They do not look like bed bug bites; I have never had any problems before and I keep my condo so amazingly clean it’s not even possible for there to be bed bugs.”

Her strategy about this entire situation was to simply deny, deny, deny. Not getting any honest information from Ann, I went and talked with the lady working at the front desk that morning. I asked if there have been problems with bed bugs at this condo complex, she informed me there have. At this point, I informed Ann I was checking out of the unit and expected a refund for this awful experience. So I checked out, washed all my clothes at a laundromat for two hours, and spent another two hours trying to find new accommodations. The only thing in my price range I could find was a run-down hostel about a half mile from where I was staying. Dealing with this bed bug situation ruined my entire plans for that day, one of the very last days of my trip.

I requested a full refund for all reasons stated above through the Airbnb Resolution Center. Ann’s response, once again, was to simply deny any problem existed, that she kept her condo very clean, and stated she was not refunding my money. Now I have petitioned Airbnb to intervene to get my money back from this money-grubbing host who does not care one bit about her guests. Her unit is #142 of the Kona Islander Inn in Kona, Hawaii. Also check out the overall Yelp reviews of the Kona Islander Inn; they’re really horrible.

Extortion and Invasion of Privacy: Illegal NYC Airbnb

I had a really unpleasant New York City host somewhere in the financial district. Superficially everything was nice until a few hours after we met. Here is how the interaction went:

Host: When will you be arriving?

Me: I will actually be in the city a few days before so I can arrive whenever is convenient for you to give me the key.

Host: Anytime after 2:00 PM on this end works.

Me: Okay I will be there around or before 3:00 PM then. Does that work?

Host: Okay.

(24 hours before said time)

Host: I cannot be here to check you in. You have to use the temporary key from the doorman. The permanent key is in your room. The temporary key must be returned very soon after checkout.

Me: Okay. When do I have to return this key?

Host: As soon as possible.

Me: Okay.

(Arrive at apartment at 1:54 PM. Remember: anytime after 2:00 PM is ok; check out the temporary key for which my ID is retained. I go upstairs to said apartment)

Host: Oh, I didn’t think you’d be here for a few more hours; the room’s not ready.

(One hour is not a few more hours, and I was within her “acceptable window”. This host clearly does not read her messages.)

Me: Okay, I will just leave the luggage here next to the shoes, no need to hurry for the room. I’m leaving probably till evening.

She shows me the room. I thank her, pet her dog (which is actually not allowed to live in that building), take the permanent key, and return the temporary key. Upon return of the temporary key I again have my state ID on my person. Six hours later I got a few messages from this host that she will be posting an $100 charge to my account because I did not return the temporary key.

Me: Of course i returned it. Is it true that the doorman holds your ID for that key? Okay. Then how would I have my ID otherwise?

(Host continues accusing me in a couple more messages that the key is signed out to me)

Me: Okay, it is the doorman’s responsibility to find it because I returned it but nevertheless I will go see for myself that what you say is true.

I return to the building from an inconvenient distance away, and it turns out the doorman did have the key. The mistake was on their part as the key was stuck in the crack of the machine that reads the key. The host apologized. I calmly went to shower so my muscles would be relaxed before the New York City Marathon. The host’s roommate came back to the apartment with a bunch of drunk friends. One of the male friends barged in on me while I was getting out of the shower. At least I had some tiny clothes on. I made small talk with the drunk people for a little bit then went to bed, at 2:45 AM (technically 3:45 AM because of daylight savings time). The host barged through the apartment in loud heels, slammed a couple doors, then stormed out.

Well, goodbye sleep. This was going to be an interesting marathon. About 3:10 PM after the marathon:

Host: Your checkout is by 7:00 AM please leave the key on the desk. You can leave the luggage in the common area if you want and get it later by using the temporary key.

Me: No, thanks. I don’t want another $100 temporary key incident.

(I didn’t see anything disrespectful here – I was just protecting my wallet from her)

I vacated the apartment at about 12:30 AM and took a picture of the state of the room I was in, with the key on the desk and a time stamp. I brought a friend to help me with the luggage and to make sure I got uptown at 120th Street safely. He also saw the key on the desk and we checked the apartment ten times to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. That whole piece of time was about 10-15 minutes. Maybe this host had work or something, but being reminded that I had to check out only 14 fours after a marathon is brutal. So I just preferred to forfeit this unpleasant experience and sleep uptown on the floor of a friend who was not evicting me.

The next morning when I woke up I saw a message that she did not find the key on the desk but that she is willing to not charge me the $150 it costs her to change her locks due to the trouble with the temporary key. I called Airbnb to complain and I said I will be requesting a $40 refund (from the $130/night it cost me) because I did not end up spending the night there. I also told the host that giving everyone access to the temporary key is a pretty bad security problem in her building. I obviously did not take her key. It’s of no benefit to me to keep a key from a place I would hate to live in, when I live about 2000 miles away anyway. I just needed a place close to the Staten Island Ferry for the marathon.

I proceeded to ask for a refund. The reservation was over; I had written the Airbnb review anyway so I was frank with this person. The Airbnb Resolution Center allows you to upload pictures so I showed her where the key was when I left.

Me: As you can see the key was left right there on the desk where I mentioned to you on the phone. You’re not accepting evidence by any other means, so I am sending it to the Airbnb Resolution Center. Accusing someone of theft is not only impolite but unprofessional as this is a business that you are running from this apartment. If you were the owner of the hotel, you would not be accusing your guests twice in 48 hours for items missing from the room before putting any effort into finding them. For example: at least double checking with the doorman that the key wasn’t lost by their own fault. The refund would be for the 17% of the total reservation time (from 2:00 PM Saturday to 7:00 AM Monday) that I did not spend in this rental. As I said before, it seems like your temporary key checkout is a security problem in the building so you should focus on that instead of throwing tantrums so you can charge your guests extra money. Feel free to cross reference the time at which I left your address with security footage. Also, I brought a friend over to help me with my luggage and so that I would get to 120th St safely at 1:00 AM. Therefore I also have one witness that the key was left in the right place. The very last thing I want to draw your attention to is that I left the door to my room closed on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM, and found it open at 4:30 PM, so someone went into my room while I was away. Have you even checked with your roommate to see that he didn’t stow the keys away somewhere? I am going to guess you have not.

Host: Hi, As I mentioned before, the key was not left on the desk. I apologized for the mishap with the temporary key, even after you arrived two hours prior (actually one hour and still in the time window she said was ok) to the time you said you would without asking. I did reach out to the doormen before contacting you. They were the ones that told me it was checked out under your name. When you spoke with them, they told you that the key was stuck in the reader and it did not register that you returned it. When you informed me of this I apologized and thanked you for letting me know of the mishap. You, however, were very disrespectful. As you can see from my house rules, you are not allowed to bring anyone into my apartment without announcing them to me and I charge a $20 fee (so by this logic should I charge her an $200 fee for her unannounced friends who saw me naked?) I do not appreciate that you brought someone to my home without asking prior. You can also see that my cancelation policy is strict. You cannot get a refund for leaving the reservation early. Therefore, I am not accepting this $45 refund. I was willing to waive the $150 fee and I might be willing to waive the $20 for the unannounced guest, so long as you do not contact me again. If I do hear from you again, I will be pressing charges and contacting my lawyer. You were the only person that had access to the temporary key and my apartment without me being there. There is video evidence of that as well as a record in the system of everyone with temporary key access. Due to this negative experience, I have removed my listings. Thank you.

She has not removed her listings and I will gladly privately share the link with you. In short: her drunk friends see me almost naked but I should get charged money for bringing someone to help me with the luggage through the subway at 1:00 AM, a time at which I’m leaving because of her irrational behavior? I was repeatedly accused of theft in my 48 hours of interaction with this psycho and threatened with an illogical lawsuit, but I’m disrespectful? Also she technically is renting two properties from what I can see in her Airbnb listings, so she can’t live in both of them at once. One of her Airbnb rentals is illegal by New York City law. I guess she forgot I can use this to get her an $1000 fine, right? NYC says rental types like Airbnb are legal as long as the host lives in the apartment during the guest’s stay. Here are all the messages I exchanged with her.