Dirty and Unsafe Airbnb for Vacation in California

This was my first trip to California. I have wanted to visit since I was a child, so for over 40 years. Now with the whole family – my wife and three teen daughters – it was about to come true. I was initially going to use VRBO which I have used with great success in the past but found what I thought was a great deal on Airbnb. Since I heard all the buzz about Airbnb, I thought I would give it a shot. What could the risk be with Airbnb behind me? Ha ha…

The fact that the apartment was in Downtown LA was some concern to me but not having been to California and in the excitement of the moment, I neglected to research just how much traffic there really is in the area; I will accept responsibility for that. Prior to booking I did repeatedly ask the host about the safety of the apartment and the surrounding area and was met with the response: “It will fit you perfectly.” Upon arrival, the initial impression of the complex was acceptable with a nice looking pool, architecture and grounds. However, once we began the ascent into the facility I began to have that sickening feeling when something just isn’t right. Musty odors and the smell of drugs were present as we walked the halls to the apartment. Once we entered I immediately tried to remain calm,though I was not pleased with the condition of the beige carpet, paint peeling off the walls, and a refrigerator containing old food.

Needless to say, below is what I wrote to our host and a representative after I decided to leave the following day. Yes, we stayed the first night as we were all exhausted after the seven-hour flight and fighting traffic to the apartment.

Hello Mike,

After some careful deliberation, we have decided not to stay in your rental due to the reasons listed below. As a result I would appreciate a refund for the balance of the days we will not be staying as even a cleaning will not make up for the fact that my daughters are uncomfortable with the environment and I don’t wish to subject them to the marijuana odors that waft through the halls or patio doors. I would appreciate your cooperation and will leave the keys with the concierge.

– Dirty, not cleaned well or recently

– Carpets are dark with dirt blotches and contained some sticky substances. I was afraid to remove my shoes.

– Old food in refrigerator and cupboards

– Smells of pot were frequent and loud neighbors stomping and slamming doors

– Unsafe surroundings not as described. My daughters were harassed outside the apartment even by pool area

– Sirens going several times throughout the night

– Dining seats are all stained, not appealing to enjoy a meal

– Food spillage down the kitchen cabinets and stove top dirty, making it unappealing to cook.

Following the above message to the host, I received a message from Nick at Airbnb who indicated that I had not followed Airbnb policy (when in fact I did, other than waiting around for the host to provide a resolution… with only five days available and the severity of the situation, this was not possible) and that I could open a refund request in the resolution center, which I had already done.

My response to Nick:

My first email was to Mike the Airbnb host, and I then opened a case with Airbnb within the 24-hour period as per the guidelines. Mike has rejected my refund request, following which I selected the option to involve Airbnb. As to finding a remedy, this situation was not able to be remedied in a timely manner as we are only in California for five days and it would be unreasonable to believe the apartment carpets and seating could be shampooed and other areas brought up to a clean standard in a reasonable time frame. Please review the pictures, as I am not sure anyone could clean what should have been done before even stepping foot in the facility. I was not about to put my family through this type of situation any longer than was necessary especially for Mike to come by to talk. The only resolution suitable would be a refund as these are distrustful and manipulative tactics simply to rent out his location. In addition, the safety factor is completely beyond the host’s means to correct, along with the elements of drug use; they are out of his control. My primary concern at this point is to ensure my family has a safe clean location to spend the rest of the short vacation in the time we have left. Had the host represented the location as not suitable for families this issue could have been avoided. I even questioned the safety of the location and was met with: “It will fit you perfectly.” I have used VRBO and hotels without issue in the past so this was a very stressful situation and caused me to seriously not trust Airbnb fpr future bookings, especially if there will be no support or protection for guests. Perhaps the host should have been more thoroughly vetted, as I would be shocked if any family would find this location acceptable. I have initiated the process to involve Airbnb and get a full refund.

Nick’s Response:

Hello Adam,

Thank you for your patience while I reviewed your case. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns and perspective on this experience. Based on the information provided, I have decided that any refund will have to come directly from Mike based on our refund policy which you can read upon within the previous email. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.

Best wishes,

Nick

So even after providing pictures as to the poor cleanliness of the apartment and the fact that my daughters were harassed – two conditions specified by Airbnb as reasonable – our request for a refund was still rejected. This issue is current as of April 26th, 2017 and I am still trying to fight it. Although with no response to my emails and no contact information for Airbnb as they don’t clearly list any means of reaching a representative or manager, it is tough. I do appreciate the contact information for Airbnb found on this site.

Abusive Hosts: Forced out of Home, Police Involved

I’m posting this because the hosts removed the original room listing, and created a new account with a new title. This house is located in Geneva, Switzerland. I think it’s important for anyone renting this place to know what the hosts are really like, and reviews on Airbnb are the cornerstone of the website. Here is my review that was approved by Airbnb on the original listing:

I am a quiet and clean person, and have a professional career. I liked that this place had a good location, with an eight-minute walk from the house to a main tram (tram 12). The grocery store was also across the street from the tram stop. However, if you don’t mind that there are many “house rules” imposed on you suddenly and without prior agreement such as:

  • You do not get a private bathroom as indicated in the posting. You will share the bathroom with two people, the host couple. If their 25-year-old son returns to the house with his girlfriend, they will also share the bathroom. And sometimes the mother of the host will live in the house and also share the bathroom with you.
  • Your room is part of their storage room. The entire closet wall, three of the four drawers of the cabinet, and one of the two drawers in the table are used by the host family
  • As part of their “house rules”, you cannot take a shower after 10:00 PM
  • You will not be allowed to use the washroom when they have a party on Saturday. However, the only day they allow you to do your laundry is on Saturday.
  • The host family refuses to give you your room key, while the remaining family members of the house have door keys on each of their rooms. They can also freely enter your room without your permission.
  • You need to be prepared that the washroom lock can be opened anytime at the discretion of the host.

My original rental agreement was from October 2016 to March 2017. However, the host family gave me a short one-day notice to terminate the Airbnb rental agreement for not following their “house rules”, which were imposed suddenly. I even had to call the police for help, in order to stop the host family from abusing my right to close my bedroom door for the remainder of the night. When the police came, I was forced to move all my belongings to a basement room, that is dark, damp, and dusty, and which was currently occupied by one of their sons. The host only gave me half an hour to remove all my belongings from the house the next day. I was forced to live in a hostel for the next two nights, until I was able to find my next accommodation. I was so frustrated that I paid such a large amount of money, but was unable to receive the amenities that I was told I would be given. If you don’t mind these minor examples listed, out of many more examples, this is a good place for you to stay.

Physically Attacked by Host, Still Waiting for Airbnb Response

After complaining to my host that the swimming pool, described as “private” in the listing, was being used by their grown children and their friends (five kids between the age of 10 and 20 throwing a ball back-and-forth in a ten-meter  long pool is not exactly my definition of “private”), our host screamed at us to “get the f*** out of there” and ended up hitting my husband in the throat. We had to call the cops to be able to get out of there as the owner was blocking our car.

Airbnb’s reaction? I’m still waiting. It’s been three weeks. I had paid in advance for three nights, and spent only one there. I think it’s fair to ask to be reimbursed considering that we were forcibly kicked out, but apparently Airbnb considers it a sound business practice for hosts to pocket money in advance and then kick people out. Their lack of a reaction suggests so at least. In contrast: our host asked us for money, but did not have any grounds to do so. This complain was managed within days. So… what’s more important to Airbnb, people’s safety or money?

Toronto Host Gives us Runaround for Six Hours

We asked for an early check in and our host said it would be fine at least three days before check in. As we were driving she asked for an estimate as to what time we’d arrive because her previous guests asked for a late check out. We arrived about an hour before check in to drop our luggage and leave. That’s when we heard a key enter the lock to the outer door and a man walked in, said “sorry,” and disappeared. We were scared as he opened the door with a key and then was gone when we went out to ask him who he was. So we immediately left and called Airbnb to say we were uncomfortable and wanted to leave with our money back. They said they had to speak with the host and figure out the whole story. At that point we had been driving around for about an hour in another country with all of our stuff in the car, having nowhere to go. They called back saying they were having trouble getting in touch with her and that we should try to go grab something to eat. As we’re eating (now about two hours after the incident) the customer service representative called saying that it was “probably” just the cleaning guy and that we shouldn’t worry and to just go back to the place. No one could tell us definitively that it was a cleaning guy, but it probably was. For all we knew it could’ve been the previous guest who still had a copy of the key and could come in at any time during our three-day stay.

After being hung up on twice and being on hold for about two hours they also said they couldn’t give us a refund; only the host could. We tried to get in touch with her and she said to “go ahead and cancel” to which I replied: “Will we get our money back?” She didn’t reply for another five hours. Airbnb refused to help us, saying they needed to protect their host and they couldn’t take her money as it couldn’t be proven we were in any immediate danger. No one cared that we were not safe and felt uncomfortable and had to barricade the door with the couch just to feel safe; they had to protect their host. To top it all off, after we returned home the host sent an email requesting money saying we checked in early and wasted her time because she was on the phone with Airbnb for 39 minutes. She wasted the entire first day of our vacation and she wants to be compensated. Absolutely the worst customer service I have ever dealt with.

Airbnb House Filled with Potheads, Constant Sleepovers

Our host did not indicate how many people were living in his house (four people, including him). When we arrived the house was freezing because their idea of comfortable is to sit in the home with jeans and jackets on. Then we thought that the house didn’t have a heater; it did, but they would only turn it on for two hours at night. There was no hot water, just warm water the same temperature as cold water where we come from. The sitting room had nothing, the TV didn’t work, and there was no light. They sat on the couches with their shoes on. Every night they had friends over who would smoke with them and crash on the living room sofa. Every other night they had parties until 3:00 AM and a bunch of people would come and all smoke together, play, and sing music loudly. They would not leave and all of them would sleep in the living room.

The only time we sat with them was the first day, to get to know them. Only one person spoke English. He told us right away that he was going to marry another one of the roommates because she offered him money; he is Italian and she can legally stay in Spain. It was terrible knowing this because our room didn’t have a lock or safe. For safety we had to lock all our valuables in our luggage every day and night. Everybody living in the house was a drug user and the smell of marijuana permeated the whole house everyday. The living room table was filled with marijuana and cigarette ash, as if the house were a drug den.

All their kitchen equipment was in bad condition so we bought our own. They did not have a water boiler so we bought that as well. One day I came to make tea and couldn’t find my mug; they were smoking and using my mug as an ashtray. They showed no remorse and I had to clean it. They did not provide any cabinets in which we could put our supplies and furthermore used our food on more than three occasions even though we told them it was ours. They blamed us for not putting our food in our section of the fridge; mind you these products were not supposed to be in the fridge.

They also kept the cats’ litter box in the small kitchen. At times the litter box wouldn’t be cleaned for two days and the whole kitchen would smell horrible. Furthermore they did not wash their dishes for days and filled the washing area with their dishes; this was why we couldn’t wash our dishes.

Once they could have killed us as well. We came back to the smell of gas and burning everywhere and saw that the pan was on the gas and it had not been turned off. It was possible it had been left like that for more than an hour; smoke was everywhere. We did not speak to anybody throughout our stay and were outside every day. We spent half the day outside trying to avoid their horrible house for the fifteen unfortunate days we had to spend there. Nestor and his roommates are true definition of potheads who have no responsibility or concern about what they do or how they treat their guests. We did not want to write a review, as we thought it was best to just forget about it, but they showed no respect, forcing us to write the truth.

Silk Purse Description for a Sow’s Ear in San Diego

The photos on the Airbnb website of this full apartment on “Golden Hill” were outstanding. When we walked in, it was a very clean full apartment. However, after we had been living there for four days, it was clear the fresh paint and cleaning were bandaids on a poor foundation. There were so many problems with this property that this has to be a long review. Sure, the cosmetics were all attended to. The cleanliness was excellent, but things went wrong at every turn.

We arrived in the rain at 2:00 AM due to a red-eye flight. As we approached the apartment area, only ten blocks away, we encountered a tent city of homeless people. There were people walking around, in the rain, at 2:00 AM. This was discomforting. As we approached the residence, there was a liquor store on the corner. Turning onto a side street, there was a tattoo parlor. It was a neighborhood we totally didn’t expect from the polished guest reviews. In front of the tattoo parlor was a large black beach truck. Again, the fact people were walking around at 2:00 AM was disturbing. Across from the property was a disabled van in the driveway. The property was lighted. What struck me immediately was the heavy metal fencing and gates – unusual for a supposedly safe area.

Two days before the trip, we had a change in transportation and decided to rent a car rather than hailing a cab. I sent the owner a message asking about parking. He didn’t reply. Going back over the description, I found a statement that said, “There is ample street parking available.” The problem was when we got there there was no parking for blocks in every direction. Because of the neighborhood, I wasn’t going to leave my partner alone with the luggage or walk alone from where I parked. We both pulled our luggage in the rain for two blocks. The next day, I sent the owner a message asking about this. His reply: “There is ample street parking available. Yes, its very available around there. No one has complained about lack of parking.” Since I knew this was a lie, and the condition of the property wasn’t as described, I decided I couldn’t trust anything he said anymore and stopped contacting him except for the confusion with the gate.

We found the yellow gate mentioned on the listing. When I tried its handle, the gate opened; someone had already defeated the security system. I was also concerned when the owner gave me the codes to the gate and the apartment. He said they were the same and presented this as if it were a convenience to memorize. What it actually meant is that every apartment dweller or guest (for at least four units) also had the code to our apartment door. Why? Because they all needed the gate code to access the laundry. Going through the gate we entered a long completely dark hallway. It was dark because it had a motion light, a mercury vapor type which made it take a very long time to get bright enough to light the hall. We waited almost a minute in the rain for enough light to see.

The second night and all during the day, the gate lock was opened. I thought it might be broken. The third night, as we came back from dinner, the gate was locked. I tried the code. It didn’t work. After three tries it would no longer take new tries. We were lucky that the dinner included business, so I had all the rental paperwork with us. It provided three contact numbers. The first was the owner; I got his voicemail and left a message. The second was a female voice: also voicemail, left a message. I called the third number and got a live person who said he was the property manager. He said the code had been changed and he gave us the new code (which was not the same as the apartment code). The implications are bizarre: if the gate had not been open the night we came, we would have been stranded outside the gate at 2:00 AM because no one would have answered their phones.

Entering the apartment, our first impression was positive. It was clean, but there was clearly a big problem; it did not have a bedroom. The photos had been taken to make it look like there was a bedroom. The bed area was simply a screened-off section of the living room. The screen didn’t go all the way to the ceiling or across the room. This caught my attention because the description said: “When cooking, close the bedroom door as the smoke alarm is sensitive and will go off.” There is no bedroom door, because there is no bedroom. The lack of a closed bedroom isn’t a problem for a couple alone, but for four people, or if there are guests, it’s a big limitation on privacy. It also doesn’t allow a quiet space for someone sick or who wants to sleep. There is also no clothing storage in the bed area – just a night stand and a chair. Clothes could be hung at the far end of the living room. The other clothes’ storage was in a dresser in the living area. The bed area was very small.

The bathroom appeared bright and clean, but when we tried to use it, the problems became apparent. In front of the shower was a thick rug. The bathroom door wouldn’t open enough to get to the shower unless the rug was folded back. Even with the rug pulled up, the door stop was the wrong kind; the door wouldn’t open all the way so the rug could be folded back down. There were signs on the wall talking about conserving water: “turn the water off while soaping your hands”, etc. The old single handle water tap was defective; it wasn’t marked for hot and cold, so we had to guess and turn it to one side or another and let it run to find the hot water. Not knowing how long it takes for the hot water to kick in, it can run cold water for minutes before you try the other side. Once you find the hot-cold direction, setting the temperature is almost impossible. The valve jumps between hot and cold with the smallest adjustment of the dial you can possibly make. If you finally get it right, and then push it off, when you pull it on again, it doesn’t come to the same temperature. So, you spend a lot of time freezing trying to get it right again, all the time defeating the idea of saving water.

The floor mat in the shower has nothing like holes to let the water drain. If you leave it down, the water doesn’t drain. If you take it out, you slip on the tiles. The toilet is the smallest I’ve ever seen. It looks like a child training device. It appears they recently put on a cheap new plastic seat, but the material is so flimsy that anyone over about 120 pounds will make it slide. Every time you sit on it, it seems you’re going to fall in. If you close the cover and try to sit on it, it bends in the center, seemingly like it’s going to break and you’ll fall in. The sink is a simple pedestal sink. That means there is no surface area to spread out toiletries. The towel holders are positioned poorly. If you use the “hand towel” holder, the towel falls either into the sink or blocks the limited surface space. There was only one hand-sized towel (which means none for the kitchen).

The area partitioned as a living room was both the living room and dining area. The way the furniture had been set up, the roll-out couch faced the dining table. The TV, however, was on a dresser to the left of the couch. We didn’t even try to use it. To do so, you either have to always look to your left (which would cause neck pain) or rearrange the room. The clothes closet was in the living area at the opposite end of the room from the “bedroom”, but it wasn’t really a closet. It’s a walk-in cupboard. To go into it, you have to climb up an 18″ step and go through a small door. It was helpful and had plenty of hangars, but was “unusual”.

There are not enough power strips to plug in electronics. The wall plugs were behind the couch, or far from the couch. I couldn’t find an extension cord. There were plug strips already plugged in, but they were totally full already.

The kitchen floor was not on the same level as the living area. It had a steep six-inch drop off. Since the floors were both dark, the drop off wasn’t clearly visible. All three of us (including a visitor) fell off this ledge. It’s a serious tripping hazard and clear code violation without markers like railings. The refrigerator is defective. During the night, it started making a loud buzz. When I got up to check, there was water on the floor. That’s when I noticed rust stains around the legs. It turns out the floor under the refrigerator is also uneven. So by rotating the refrigerator, I could temporarily find a way to stop the buzz. It took three tries to find a place where the buzz wouldn’t come back after awhile. By then the refrigerator had been rotated so much, it was hard to access and someone would try to straighten it. The opening lines for the listing say, “There is a separate full kitchen… decorated and stocked to be your home away from home.” Well, the decorations are great. The only stocked part, however, was a good array of spices. We found a coffee maker and coffee filters, but no coffee. There was an open box of tea bags with only two left. There was a basket mostly full of sugar – no Splenda. No hot chocolate. This hardly counts as “stocked” – and we were only looking for the basics that would be found in motel rooms.

A number of comments mentioned the high fees. A $90 cleaning fee is extreme for such a small, sparsely furnished two-room (actual count) apartment. Initially assuming it was reasonable, that implied a large space – misleading and unjustified. Seeing an additional management fee show up was also a surprise, especially one that high. You don’t see that in motel charges unless they try to scam you for parking. As a first time Airbnb user, I was very disappointed. I’ve heard many stories of fraudulent situations, including one in the apartment complex where I live. I wanted to believe otherwise. This was not a good start. Furthermore, I sent this same review to Airbnb and never got a reply. The listing for the apartment is now gone, but the renters have a number of other places in the area as well.

Tampa Nightmare: Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Guest Safety

I really wanted to have a good experience with Airbnb. Really. The concept is simple enough: rent out a room in a “host’s” home and save considerably over the cost of a hotel room. Unfortunately, my first (and last) reservation with Airbnb has risen to the top of the list of the worst customer service experiences this quinquagenarian has ever seen. I accepted a new position with a software company in Tampa with the hopes of relocating my wife (and our dog, Lucy) sometime in the first quarter of 2017. Unfortunately, President Trump issued an Executive Order that implements a hiring freeze for all non-medical employees of the Veteran’s Administration, my wife’s employer. Since her move was postponed, my employer has graciously allowed me to return to North Carolina every 2-3 weeks. Because this situation is no fault of my employer, I am responsible for my housing while in Tampa.

It’s only natural that I would look for the least expensive roof to put over my head. My philosophy is that for the majority of the time I’m under the roof, my eyes will be closed, so my decorative expectations are low. I started by searching for a no-tell motel near the office. It turns out most motels in downtown Tampa double as retail crack and prostitution outlets. Who knew? The chain hotels, including the long-term suites, are just outrageously expensive. I resigned to the idea that the least expensive route was probably going to involve a shared property or roommate.

Enter Airbnb. I searched the site and discovered that not all of the listings are for roommates. Some listings were for entire homes and apartments. Others are homes that are set up like European hostels with digital bedroom door locks and shared common areas. I was optimistic as I inquired about several properties. One of the first hosts to get back to me were “Chris and Loni” who listed a “Luxury Private Room” in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa. Chris and Loni don’t live in this Ybor City house, but it appears as though they recently purchased it and have set it up as a hostel. I have driven through Ybor many times and it appeared that parts of it were being redeveloped. Other parts seemed to have not come around yet. Naturally, one of my concerns was the safety of the neighborhood. Before I made the reservation I asked about safety. They responded: “I can assure you this is a safe and friendly neighborhood.” I accepted their assurance and made the reservation.

After a nine-hour drive last Sunday, I started to approach Chris and Loni’s “luxury private room.” The first thing I noticed was the dilapidated houses, overgrown yards and then… there they were. Plain as day. Practitioners of the world’s oldest profession, approaching slow moving cars within 100 yards of Chris and Loni’s hostel. I continued down the street and past the little blue house, until the street dead ended at train tracks. To Chris and Loni’s credit, their house appeared to be the nicest one on the street. People were relaxing on their porches and in folding chairs and milk crates on their lawns. Many of them sipping on beverages wrapped in brown paper bags. I decided that it was probably best for this unarmed, white male driving a Prius, not to get out of the car. I found a McDonald’s, called the Airbnb customer service number, and expressed my safety concerns. The agent on the other end of the line offered to contact Chris and Loni and request a refund. About twenty minutes later, I received a text from the hosts that read: “This is a last-minute cancellation and we will not offer a discount. You’re welcome to cancel and address this with Airbnb.”

This text was followed by responses defending the safety of the neighborhood. I have been addressing this issue with Airbnb for four days now. Here’s a synopsis of my Airbnb customer service experience:

Sunday, February 19, Afternoon – after those texts from the hosts rejected my request for a refund, I called Airbnb customer service. After being on hold for 25 minutes, I finally spoke to “Miriam” and presented my case. She offered to contact the hosts and attempt to negotiate a resolution. Later on the same day, I received a phone call from Miriam indicating that she had not been able to reach the hosts.

Sunday, February 19, Evening – I booked and checked into another (more expensive and safer) place I found on Craigslist, called Airbnb, and asked to speak to a supervisor. I spoke to “Billy” who offered to open a resolution case. He suggested that I cancel the reservation, so that the dates would be made available to rent to someone else, thereby giving Airbnb more leverage to negotiate with the hosts. I promptly canceled the reservation. I am also told that my case manager, Miriam, will be off until Wednesday, but Billy was going to assign it to someone else.

Monday, February 20, Morning – I do as Billy suggested and covered all bases by going online and opening a resolution case with Airbnb. I submit crime statistics for the neighbor that show the area is 52% more unsafe than any other Tampa neighborhood. No communication from Airbnb.

Tuesday, February 21 – I contact Airbnb to determine the status of my request. I’m told that they have not yet received a response from the hosts. I tweet my frustrations to Airbnb and its CEO. I get a response indicating a case manager will be in touch shortly.

Wednesday, February 22, Morning – Miriam calls to tell me that the hosts have not responded to both email and telephone calls.

Wednesday, February 22, Evening – No more communication by 6:00 PM. I tweet: “Day 4 of no resolution and no refund from Airbnb or slumlord “host” Brian Chesky probably spends my $300 on bottle of wine at dinner tonight.” Shortly thereafter I receive a call from Miriam indicating that the owners had responded to resolution case with additional BS about their neighborhood being safe and refusing to offer any refund or compromise. She tells me that “safety” is not among the hosting standards of Airbnb and it is my word against the owners about crime. I suggest they review the crime statistics I sent. She tells me that I will not be getting a refund or even a partial refund. I go on a rant and asked to speak to a supervisor who can make a decision. Miriam tells me that supervisors don’t talk to customers and that they are only there to guide her.

My gasket is blown. It’s not enough money to sue over. My credit card company says it may or may not allow me to challenge the charge. The paperwork is extensive, has to be notarized, and may take 30 days to get an answer. This morning I sit here, for the first time in my life, contemplating contacting one of several Tampa-area consumer reporters who I’m sure would love to take on Airbnb. Does anybody have Keith Morrison’s cell phone number?

Airbnb Denied Refund for Rental in Austin, Texas

I was in Austin, Texas for the week of February 6th, 2017. I decided to stay an additional night and went back to Airbnb again. The place I had booked was not available for Friday night, February 10th, so I booked a place in an area of North Austin called Hyde Park. From the photos it looked like a sweet deal. I went by the location Friday morning to drop my car off and was quite shocked by the area: it was run down, “no parking” signs were everywhere, and there were several gun concealment signs. The few people in the area did not look inviting at all. Given the air of the location, I was concerned about leaving my car parked on the street as well as my safety staying the night there. I promptly cancelled my reservation and booked a hotel. Given my concerns I requested a refund from the host and then Airbnb. Both refused. In one of the replies from customer service, the agent stated, “…we have issued our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic.”

Talk about just telling a customer to f*** off. The bottom line is I feel I should have my money refunded. The area of this rental is unsafe for any visitor. Airbnb deleted my review. My review was not inappropriate nor did it indicate anything about the inside of the unit. It simply stated my concerns about the area. If Airbnb insists on keeping my money, my review should be visible for others to read and decide for themselves. If there were other past reviews of this rental that did indicate a problem with the location or safety and Airbnb deleted them, then shame on them for their actions.

Lost Over $7,000 Due to Airbnb Check In Policies

My experience with Airbnb has been unfavorable to say the least. For starters, I had helped some work associates book a property as they had to be in Los Angeles to work on a construction project. Since these are close personal associates, I offered to book through my account since the guys had never used Airbnb before. These men are also aware that I am a licensed realtor, so they trusted that I was more than capable to set us up with something that was safe and secure. Since I hadn’t been there at the time the guys showed up, and the owner decided to drop in, the situation turned ugly. Frank Grande, who is by far the biggest scammer I’ve come across, kicked everyone out, and reported the incident to Airbnb. Considering that I was going to be joining the men during the duration of their trip, it should have been noted and considered when it came to Airbnb’s terms and conditions, which clearly indicate that you must be present at the booking. However since I wasn’t there at the very same moment, I was penalized and lost over $7,000 due to Airbnb’s “judgement” on the situation.

The entire situation was ridiculous. I lost thousands to the owner who kept all of the money, and Airbnb who pocketed their share. Considering this, how can Airbnb be considered a neutral party to pass judgement on the situation? Isn’t it fair to say that since they stand to profit off my loss it would have been an easy decision for them in spite of my reasoning? Wouldn’t it be fair so say that a licensed realtor would never want to compromise their license over a booking for strangers? Considering the fact that I explained the entire situation to them and received no remorse and no compromise, I’d say their scales are highly tipped toward everyone’s pockets being filled versus moral ethics and compromise considered by a neutral party that doesn’t profit.

I have recently come to discover that someone had recently placed a listing on my account, allowing people to request and book through my account. I received no verification, emails, or any kind of authorization for the creation of this listing, the acceptance of bookings, and any notice until after the fact. How is this even possible? When I called Airbnb, I had to wait 25 minutes to speak to someone who merely apologized and told me they would have someone contact me. Here was their response: Change your password (in a nutshell) and then close the report. What kind of service is this? I will forever discourage people from using the site and being very careful about any bookings they place and payment sent considering this was easily done and Airbnb has done nothing about it… what a pitiful company.