Memorable Anniversary Hell on an Airbnb Boat

We had an issue with a host. She flatly refused to offer assistance. The result was a prematurely short weekend – a memorable experience for sure – and the loss of almost $400 in Airbnb payments. We simply wanted what was fair, and we got a “we’ll gladly reduce your next stay by 25%.” What a joke. We started our trip with grand hopes of a romantic getaway; it was our one-year anniversary. An Airbnb on a sailboat sounded wonderful. We arrived on Friday afternoon, March 10th, a bit early for our check-in. We had been told earlier than we could check in anytime, and we were excited about that. Upon notification of our arrival, we were given authorization to board “the Lydie” and await Clint Austin’s (the captain) arrival.

When he arrived, he briefly walked us through the cabin, and tested faucets. They didn’t work, so he flipped a few switches, the water came on, and viola. He showed us the bathroom and said there was plenty of water for the weekend. We tried the stove and oven; they didn’t work. He tried to get the pilot lit, but it eluded him. We never did get the stove or oven to work. A few more switches flipped, and Captain Austin was away. We were on our own. The trouble began on Friday evening; while getting ready for dinner, we noticed the smell. There was air freshener beneath the bathroom sink, which we used not sparingly. Showering, we noticed the water not draining. We made contact with the host to explain our concern about standing water in the shower, and she absently suggested we wait for it to drain or “use the showers above.” We had just spent $400 dollars to stay the weekend, a romantic getaway, on a sailboat, and we were told not to worry about the water because the showers above worked fine. Incredibly, the host’s reaction to a stopped-up shower gave her no pause, nor any real concern for our comfort or wellbeing. She simply didn’t care. Taking her advice, we waited for the shower to drain, but it did not.

By the next morning, the smell was beginning to become an issue, and our next contact was with Clint Austin, the captain. We tried calling, then sent a text at approximately 8:00 AM. As our day had been planned – a leisurely trip to Catalina Island via ferry – and we were going to be gone all day, we figured any issues would have been taken care of and the boat would be back to an acceptable condition. We arrived back to the boat well after 6:00 PM with the same water standing in the same shower and the smell was now unbearable. We again notified the host and was told not to use the showers, which were directly tied to the toilet, and that this had not happened before. At the end of the day we’re dealing with a marine toilet and marine shower. They were not as fool proof as your own home toilet, but the good news is no one got stranded, as we had showers and toilets at the marina within walking distance to the boat. Walking distance. Outside the boat, 50 yards away, through a gate, across a parking lot, through a locked door, and into 1970’s ripped shower curtain hell.

Though there was evidence someone had been on the boat at some point in the day, the issue was not resolved: the boat smelled horrific, and our host seemingly had no intention of making right what had gone so wrong. We were heartbroken. This was supposed to be a memorable weekend. The next morning at daybreak (6:00 AM), after a horrible evening of no sleep, horrific smells, standing water in the shower, an unusable toilet, an oven that didn’t work, a stove that didn’t work, and a host with better things to do, we left the boat. We notified the host of our departure, requested a partial refund (we were willing to split the difference, as the first night wasn’t perfect, but not worthy of challenge, even though nothing worked), and were told “no”.

We realize things go wrong. We understand that. We simply requested a partial (one night) refund as things certainly weren’t worthy of the money spent, and simple requirements, not creature comforts, were unavailable at the time of our stay. Toilets are necessary in a $200 a night room, regardless whether it’s marine, or otherwise. When we requested a refund, the host gave every indication she was unwilling to pay. I suggested that our review hadn’t yet been left and it would be great for me to be able to say “our host, though we experienced some technical difficulties, did the right thing, and we would highly recommend the Lydie, etc.” However, if she continued to be unwilling, our review would reflect as such. She took that as a threat, though none was intended. We were simply trying to get her to understand our experience wasn’t what was purported, advertised, nor expected, and that she, as a host, was under an obligation to right a wrong. The wrong was simple: that which she sold, and we purchased, was not provided. Our contract was breached, and though we were willing to compromise, she flatly refused. She even had the gaul to comment “at least it turned out to be a memorable weekend.”

We are therefore requesting a complete refund of our weekend. To date, though it clearly states within 72 hours we will have a resolution, we have had none. We have had no replies from Airbnb, nor the host (other than to offer a 25% reduction in cost on our next stay – as if that were a possibility), and are currently frustrated at the process. We simply want a favorable resolution to our issue, as the circumstances certainly warrant it.

Airbnb Breach of Contract During Month-Long Stay

Airbnb (and their host) breached a contract for us to rent for a month. I live in Oakland, CA. My wife was visiting our daughter giving birth in Portland, OR when she had this experience with Airbnb. My wife stayed there one night before needing to leave because of the smell. The contract called for an an incense-free apartment. When my wife got there, she was told another renter had burned incense in the apartment. My wife tried to stay one night but the smell was too strong. Both Airbnb and the host refused a complete refund minus one night’s charge. They both said it wasn’t their fault; they couldn’t fix it, but wanted to keep half our money and rip us off. If they had refunded our money, that would have been the end of it. Now that I have to spend time and worry about chasing after them for not abiding by US laws, I want consequential damages and punitive damages. It is obviously Airbnb’s policy to keep hosts happy even if customers get ripped off.

Guests Refuse to Use our Plates, Cup and Cutlery

We have been hosting with Airbnb for two years now and have had over 400 guests (we live near an airport in the UK) from 30 different countries. There have been mostly very good experiences but obviously with over 400 guests you do meet a few weirdos. This one booking was for six weeks for a guy living in Australia coming to the UK for a training course. He was an aircraft engineer and very nice guy in general. However, I noticed from the first day that he seemed to have an issue with using the cutlery, cup, and spoon provided in his room and was downstairs in the kitchen, i.e. washing the items then cleaning them quite thoroughly. I thought this was very strange as we make sure everything is spotlessly clean. A couple of days in and he was asking for more toilet rolls to be put in the bathroom as he was going through at least one a day. It seemed like he had a cleaning fetish of some kind or a compulsive cleaning disorder.

Anyway, we had to go to our property abroad for a month and left him alone in the house (our part of the house we can keep locked so he only had access to the kitchen, bathroom, and garden). On our return he was due to leave in a few days but on the last day asked me if I wanted to keep the cutlery, plate, bowl, and mug that he had purchased new because he did not need to take them back to Australia. He obviously did not want to use our items and we found this to be incredibly rude, to say the least.

Another time we had a young girl arrive for three weeks with a large suitcase and a big box full of cooking pots and herbs, spices, and food. This girl was cooking Indian food twice and sometimes three times a day because she didn’t want to eat food from the supermarket. The house stunk of Indian food for the whole three weeks and I was having to apologise to our other guests (as we rent two rooms in our home) every day due to the smell. Lastly, we had a girl stay for a couple of weeks and she had to be told to stop using the kitchen at midnight. She was always cooking (like a frying pan full of eight chicken legs) late at night and the smell would move throughout the house, even into the bedrooms. Since the last guest, we added “no cooking after 8:00 PM” to the house rules.

Terrible Experiences and Service from Airbnb

I’ve now used Airbnb three times and each time was a nightmare. The first time, the house had no heater and we froze. I left the host a note, but being a nice guy, chose not to review them. The second was in a lovely location, but the unit was dirty and had safety issues. Worst of all, it was built into a garage full of automotive parts and old cars; it smelled of oil and gasoline. My wife has a serious medical condition that is severely impacted by strong chemical smells. We contacted the host and cancelled the rest of our stay and had to find a hotel, which ended up costing a lot more. The third time, I contacted the host in advance and told them about my wife’s condition. I was given assurances that the rental did not have chemical smells and was told to expect an upscale luxury retreat in a great location. When we arrived (after eight hours of driving) the condo complex was a dive, with sketchy people standing outside smoking, nestled between two freeway overpasses. The real issue was that when we went inside, there were strong air freshener smells that immediately made my wife ill. Throwing open the window flooded the place with foul mold smells from the sprinkler system and smoke from the shady guys outside. I contacted the owner, who started to deny all of it, but then apologized and told me to take it up with Airbnb. I will say her taste in decorations was very nice, but I had to find a different place for us to stay again. Once again, it ended up costing me a lot more. I’ve been battling with Airbnb customer service ever since. I did manage to get my money back, but conversations about compensation for my extra lodging has (which one agent promised me) have gone nowhere and I never receive the calls they promise me.

Deceptive Listing Leads to False Damage Claims

Our party rented a house in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The house was not as represented. The overall cleanliness of the house was gravely subpar. Upon entering the house, stains on the carpet were noticed immediately and discussed between members of our party. The overall consensus was that the carpeting was in such bad condition that it gave us concern. The entire house was re-cleaned prior to our party moving in. The lamps, light switches, doorknobs, sinks, toilets, showers, dresser drawers, TV remotes, hand rails, counter tops, and stove, as well as the cupboard doors and refrigerator were cleaned by our party. The filth that was picked up from the towels we used was evident by turning all of the white towels dingy, and then black. Some items in the kitchen were used and required washing before and after our use. Most items had food residue on them.

On the first day, we noticed two chairs were significantly unstable. They were placed next to the wall and excluded from use to ensure nothing would be broken as a result of our stay. Evidence on the chairs suggest that they had been previously repaired. Later, on the second day, while grilling outside, the septic tank began to spew out foul water. Upon presenting this issue to the owner our party was told that we were taking too many showers. At that time, there had been only six showers taken within the approximate 24 hours we were present. The owner suggested that showers be taken outside. All subsequent showers were taken outside to avoid overflowing the septic tank again. She stated that someone would come to the property to assess the situation. No one was observed on the property.

No further information was provided by the owner. As adults we knew to stay clear of the septic tank area to avoid harm because of the unsafe health risk of sewage on the property. Due to our understanding that the initial response was going to be observation only, we continued to take all showers outside. On the sixth day, we assumed that the septic tank issue was resolved and attempted a couple showers. The septic tank overflowed with a greater stench present at the rear of the property than that four days prior. We were willing to make accommodations by only bringing this to the owner’s attention and not Airbnb’s. We did not allow the lack of meeting our expectations to ruin our vacation. When we returned home, the host filed a claim for $500 to replace the carpeting. Despite providing our proof and complaints, Airbnb sided with the host.