Ottawa Airbnb Nightmare: Kate the Con Artist

I’m currently fighting with Airbnb and this con-artist host to resolve this issue. I will post updates if possible. Here is the rundown of everything I sent to Airbnb, with a request for a full refund:

I’d like a full refund for this incorrectly advertised, poorly hosted, nightmare of an Airbnb rental. I’ll start off by explaining what was wrong with the property itself before I go into the more disturbing issue with the host. First of all, the advertisement was listed as: “massive downtown seven bedroom.” The description said it was a large home that was very spacious, with large bedrooms.

The first thing we noticed as we we drove twenty minutes past downtown was the location. A rundown, beat-up house in the middle of a bad neighborhood in the south end of Ottawa. We were disappointed before going in, but tried to make light of the situation. We walked in to a crammed kitchen, a tiny excuse for a living area, with what was supposed to be the rest of it converted into the first “bedroom”. The rest of the house was just as small and crammed.

The first thing we went to do, as a small group of six, was to sit down in the kitchen and start eating some of the food we brought with us. We went to go sit down and the table tipped over and almost broke. We lifted the corner of it and I messaged the host to tell her about the issue. She kindly told me where the tools were in her house in case I wanted to fix it. I told her I’d leave the table in the corner and wouldn’t use it instead; she had no problem with that.

The place was clean for the most part except for bugs. Only eight of us stayed the night, and only four bedrooms were used out of the six small ones available. The next day, we cleaned up what we could, except all the dishes, because we knew that was taken care of with the cleaning charge. We even swept everywhere before we left. I personally checked every bedroom and washroom to make sure the place was properly presentable and a five-star rating was completely within reach for myself as a guest. I locked the front and side doors and put the key in the lockbox happy with the overall trip even though the Airbnb was disappointing.

Then came everything afterwards. Kate messaged me asking me what I thought of the property and to give her a personal review. I gave her a review in a polite and respectful way and even praised her as a host, just to be nice. I don’t think she liked my review so that was the last I heard from her for the day.

I realized I forgot my wallet in one of the rooms and messaged Kate the same day to ask her if she could please meet me or do whatever protocol we have to go through to retrieve my lost wallet. It took her over 24 hours to reply, after I reached out to Airbnb support for the issue. This leads me all back to right now. The host just sent me a disgusting message and is outright lying in all her claims. It’s very shameful someone in a position such as herself, who manages multiple properties, would be this slimy and corrupt in an attempt to pull more money out of her overpriced rental property than she already has. I’d like Airbnb to call me personally to deal with this. The only claim that she was accurate about was us moving that 8×10 paper-thin sorry excuse for a ‘carpet’ she had on the living room floor. No one touched the TV, the windows or the screens. We never left the residence so no one was ever locked out. The host is trying to steal money and delete the mediocre review I gave her.

There’s more I have to add. The six pictures of evidence the host provided were lazy enough to help prove all of it was a lie. She showed one broken screen in the backyard of the house that we didn’t go near or had any reason to go to. She opened the garbage bag that we left outside of all the things we cleaned, and for some reason took a picture to prove something in her favor…? There were a few flakes of ash in a bathtub that they placed to take a picture of, and then there’s a picture of what looks like a perfectly good TV – no picture of the “pulled out” cord. No picture of any broken fan. Then a picture of the living room that also looks very neat and tidy. There was also one more picture of a window, one with nothing wrong with it. Apparently we broke two windows?

The house was “smoking allowed” so the years of stench from other people smoking was strong when we came in. I still feel like I’m dreaming because I can’t believe that people have to resort to this slimy low level just to make extra money. Anyways, I’ll fight this in court if I have to.

 

Host Cancels and Immediately Becomes Unreachable

If you are looking for an Airbnb the Galway area, avoid this host. I take issue with a few things that happened in my encounter with Airbnb. This was my first time attempting to use the service and because of the way this cancellation was handled, I am unable to leave a review of the host on the other end of this reservation. I think the way this was handled was extremely unfair. I don’t think it is good business practice to not allow me to review this host so that others may avoid this problem in the future.

I booked the reservation for myself and five other travelers. Within just a couple hours of payment, the host contacted me and said that she had accidentally listed the wrong dates and could not accommodate us. However, when I attempted to contact her, the phone number she messaged me with came up as disconnected. I was also unable to message her. I could not reach her to ask further questions about how the cancellation would work and the money was already taken from my account.

I was obviously concerned, so I called Airbnb’s customer service number and spoke with a representative. While he was quite helpful, he did not seem to grasp what I was trying to tell him. She, the host, was the one who canceled the reservation, not me. Airbnb and the host alike both seemed to expect me to cancel the reservation so that the host could avoid a penalty. To some extent I understand this, but on the other hand I believe it to be a dishonest and inaccurate way to handle the situation. The bottom line is, she cancelled, not me. She does not have to pay a penalty but I am out $440 for up to five days as a result of her canceling.

Not only was that situation incredibly frustrating for my first experience with this business, but I am unable to leave any sort of review for this host so that other users may avoid this situation in the future. I am unsure how Airbnb handles affairs with their hosts, but the fact that this cancellation was handled like I was the one who canceled it so that the host could skirt around the penalty is very suspicious and untrustworthy. It is unfair to users who have their money suspended for a week while the host gets off. It is even more unfair that she is completely unreachable and Airbnb has no way for me to leave a review or lodge a formal complaint about this woman.

Paris Airbnb Host Tries to Extort Positive Review

I rented an Airbnb in Paris, mainly because the location was so good. Check-in was delayed from noon, which is what was advertised, to 8:00 PM. That wasn’t much of an issue, because the host did let me know with plenty of time. When I got to the apartment, it was pretty dirty. I let it go because I wasn’t planning on spending much time there; I had the beautiful city of Paris to see. However, it was reflected in my review.

About a week after I rented the apartment I received the following message: “The apartment was dirty, and some of my belongings were touched and damaged. Did you have a party, and did you use my things? Please tell me directly as I would like to settle this with you directly, rather than legally.”

I did not touch any of his belongings nor did I throw a party (I was in a foreign city alone – who would I have had over for a party?) When I told him I did neither of those things and asked for more information, he responded with: “Ok. I must be mistaken. I suggest you change your review or I’ll put a bad one also for you, which is not good for either of us.”

So, first of all, I can only assume he was trying to extort money out of me. But, then he went so far as to try to influence my review? I don’t even know how he saw my review. I thought those were confidential until they were uploaded, to prevent exactly this type of scenario. I know there are worse stories, but it kind of ruined my day.

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.

Negative Review of Crazy Host Deleted by Airbnb

This was truly the most negative Airbnb experience we ever had. I say this as someone who has hosted 300+ people and stayed in about ten Airbnb’s over the past six years. We stayed here for 2.5 months but we should have left earlier; we failed to notice early warning signs of bad hosting and I wish we read his other negative reviews better. We were hoping things would improve, but they only became worse.

To give you an idea: three weeks without a toilet (needed to flush using a bucket), broken air conditioner, every day there was new cat pee on the balcony, which prevented us from opening the door (we got tired after cleaning each day), lightbulbs spontaneously burning and incorrectly installed lights (made by the host) that caused electrical problems and electric shocks from the washing machine (a fire hazard), many rusty nails sticking out of the hardwood floor that ruined all of our socks (and hurt our feet), description says “A/C” but there’s only air conditioning in the bedrooms, a check-out fee (an early check-in fee is understandable, but a check-out fee during the daytime?), and lying about heating in the apartment – we had to wear winter jackets when autumn had just started.

The wifi didn’t work on my phone and the host said: “It’s working on my phone; nobody has ever had wifi issues in my apartments.” We read in at least five reviews that his other places had wifi issues too. The windows leaked when it rained, and there was a nightclub that was open until 7:00 AM and was very loud (I specifically asked the host about this; he just lied about it). The worst thing, however, was both hosts. In early messages they were friendly, but this changed as soon as they received payment – their tone soon became sarcastic and at times even offensive.

The very first day the 25+ year old air conditioner broke down, it was 90+ degrees out. The host refused to repair it. In the end they even wanted us to pay for repairing the flush of the 35-year-old toilet by saying we broke it. According to reviews of other guests and according to the plumber the toilet has been having problems months before we arrived. They knew about this but still tried to charge us.

We tried to solve some of the problems with the host and Nina at first. They were never helpful (at best) and at times even rude (at worst). Looking at how badly they dealt with the air conditioner, the nightclub, and the toilet and wifi issues we noticed we couldn’t expect much from them, so we stopped asking. Later the host said, “Why you didn’t ask me?” Well, we did notify them several times, but they just chose to ignore us.

The review above was deleted by Airbnb, because we mentioned other reviews. Why don’t they then remove that one sentence? Does this happen often? I wonder how many negative reviews Airbnb deletes on a yearly basis based on this. After the review was live for a very short time, the host even sent me this: “How can you be so repulsive? The lowest kind of human behavior… when did I not answer your problems? We constantly attended to your requests! You need to go to a hotel, not an apartment.”

This only confirms how crazy he was. While they never ever attended to the issues, this message comes on top of everything that happened. I need to say again that I was very understanding and even kind during our conversations, being a former host myself, but this host was completely uncooperative. We read some negative reviews about this host but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt; as a former host I know how unreasonable guests can be. I now wish we didn’t. The least Airbnb can do is publish our review and warn future guests.

Airbnb Hosts Given no Recourse for Guest Damages

Airbnb has been making money off of my property for four years now, and I’ve had quite a few problems with them. I had a guest cause permanent damage to a $1200 Italian wood coffee table: scratches and deep liquid/heat cup stains that of course she didn’t inform me of when she left, and I discovered afterwards. Airbnb had the gall to call it “standard wear and tear” (even though every other guest for four years had managed to use the coasters there on the table) and gave me none of the $200 deposit I required with each booking, nor any other way to seek recompense or repair. This stuff cannot be repaired, as it turns out.

Recently, a guest’s cat damaged a leather chair, destroyed two new bath towels and two throw pillow. She told me she wanted to “make things right”, very convincingly. I trusted that she would. I lowballed the cost of replacing the towels and throws, and didn’t include the cost of my time, not even knowing if repairing the chair was within my abilities. I posted a very good review for her because I believed her, her only review so far. Now that I know she was lying, and has disappeared without sending the agreed upon check, I wish to change my good review, or at the very least, remove it. Airbnb’s call center (who claims to have no way for me to contact the actual Airbnb company except through the general “feedback” box on the website – no phone, no email address, not even a mailing address), told me they “had no way to edit it” and it was protected as “free speech”. I said, “Yes, my free speech! Which is no longer accurate!”

They said I should’ve waited until long after the guest left to post a review (even though we are prompted to leave one starting the same day guests depart), after she failed to mail the check she promised. All I want to do is prevent other hosts from reading my review and opening their homes to a guest who will damage their property and abuse their trust. It’s not only in the best interests of fellow hosts, but of Airbnb as a company, when those other hosts get snowed. The so-called customer service contact talked in these positively insanity-creating circles. She said nothing could be done because I hadn’t filed a claim through their claim resolution within 14 days and that no one was able to remove my positive review, as if there were bots who’d overthrown management and hijacked their website. She could not refer me to anyone who is empowered to correct or take down the review. We hosts are nothing more than cash cows for Airbnb as they pull at the udders of our property, allowing flagrant abuse of our trust, and of our homes, to their great profit.

Psycho Airbnb Host Threatens Guest, Demands Cash

Unfortunately, my experience at Liz’s place has to be added to the list of Airbnb horror stories. First of all, her profile photo was fake, and not a picture of her. That should have been my first warning sign when I checked in. I arrived at her apartment to find it in a state of disrepair. The doorknob to my bedroom was missing; she said a previous Airbnb guest had broken it (scary sign number two). The linens and bed were soiled, and had not been washed from a previous guest’s use. The bedroom was covered with dust. When I tried to shower my first evening in the apartment, the loose glass shower door fell to the floor, nearly shattering and injuring me. Because of the broken shower, I was unable to bathe or shower for the duration of my stay. During the course of my stay, Liz began asking me for cash for various things in her apartment she said were broken (that were already broken when I arrived). One night, she arrived at the apartment drunk at about 2:00 AM, waking me and behaving in a threatening and scary manner. I promptly checked into a hotel the next morning. On top of this, every review I have attempted to write about this experience has been deleted entirely and censored by Airbnb, so that other guests cannot be warned.

Slander is Acceptable to Airbnb Regardless of the Facts

My wife and I stayed at this Airbnb in Barcelona with a host who has had rave reviews. My review was also quite positive as we had no complaints. Upon posting my review, I saw what our host, Gloria, had written. Her comments were slanderous fabrications with no basis in fact. What happened is that we left the room early in the day. While we were gone Gloria, without our permission, let a “worker” in the room to do some “repairs.” After the worker had left she smelled smoke. That evening, upon our return, we were confronted by Gloria and accused of smoking in the room. Neither my wife nor I smoke and we were not about to take up smoking at seventy years old. We assured Gloria that we had not smoked and the accusation was false. It was pointed out to her that the fact that there was no smell of smoke before we left for the day or in the evening should be a clue as to who smoked in the room, i.e. the worker. I thought that was the end of it.

When I read her review I was livid as she persisted with the slander and a whole lot of other accusations. Filing a complaint with Airbnb, I was advised by a representative that there was nothing to be done, because a review is a review. My response to Gloria’s review was taken down. The reason was that I shared what Gloria had told us, in great detail, upon arrival in her place. She claimed to be one of twenty-five people in the world with a rare kind of brain tumor. Believing her, I had given her the benefit of a doubt and in my response indicated that Gloria’s rant may be mitigated by the fact that she has brain tumors. Apparently Airbnb decided that a comment on the host’s health condition violated their policy, even though the host herself had gone through excruciating detail telling us her medical history. Confidentiality did not seem to be a concern with her. My protest, a matter of honor, has been ignored. The host’s falsehoods stand while my response has been taken down. Needless to say we will not be staying at Airbnb properties again. My trust in them has been badly shaken as it is clear that some hosts are, in my opinion, less than stable.

Dishonest Host at St. Patrick’s Day Party House

I have stayed at three Airbnb accommodations. The first two were great. I always got excellent ratings and feedback form hosts. The third experience was not good. The ratings were all five star for the accommodations. Well, the other guests who stayed in this accommodation obviously do not know what a five-star rating means…. the living room sofa needed cleaning, the screens were ripped and falling off of two windows, there were huge cigarette burns in the outside deck upholstery, and the oven needed maintenance. Her personal clothes were in cupboards and drawers. The dresser drawers fell out when I tried to open them. There was partying outside all night for two nights – it was a rough area. My friend yelled at them as the noise was loud and went on for hours.

When we left we did not do the dishes. The kitchen was so small one person could hardly move around in it. There was very little counter space, the sink didn’t have a drain plug that I could find, and there were no dish towels. I was quite sick when we left. We did not put out the garbage; however, it was all contained in bags. I left a note to say why we did not do the dishes. The host said they could not recommend me again as a guest, saying we yelled profanities at the “people who were just celebrating St. Patty’s Day”. We did yell at them at 4:00 AM to be quiet after hours of yelling and fighting on the street, but there was no profanity from us. The people on the street were yelling at one another and uttering lots of profanities.

This review is now on my file. My understanding is that this will never be removed. This host is a little batty… we did not break anything. She did not hire a cleaning person – she expected us to clean afterwards. When I am on a holiday I do not expect to have to clean the place before I leave. I will never stay using Airbnb again. This review process has no recourse and can be very damaging to guests’ reputations. Airbnb should be inspecting these places and negative reviews should be shared between host and guest so both sides can learn from the experience. I would have been glad to pay for a cleaning service if I had known this was expected. I was very ill. However, Airbnb should require hosts to use a cleaning service.

Airbnb Cares about the Guests, but not the Hosts

I received an extremely bad, fabricated review in retaliation from a guest who I reported to Airbnb because she had additional people staying in my apartment for whom she did not register or pay. Although our email correspondence on the Airbnb website clearly showed that the woman had additional guests, Airbnb awarded me a minimal and unacceptable settlement. Their reason? The guest did not make herself available to them for verification of my claim, and the term of infringement was not clear to them. I made numerous complaints to no avail. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has allowed this false review to remain on my page. Since it appeared, I’ve had 73 views of my page but not a single rental. Previously, my apartment was always being rented. That means not a month has gone by without guests until now. Airbnb is more concerned about the guests than they are about the hosts who make it possible for them to earn money. I intend to change to Vacation Home Rentals and hope my experience will be better there.