Cold House from Airbnb, Used Electric Oven to Stay Warm

This is my personal Airbnb Hell story. I was born in Canada but had not been there in almost 50 years as I had moved to the United States when I was very young with the rest of my family. However, I had no choice but to return for personal reasons. I arrived at the Airbnb listed as “Comfy Room” at a house located in Surrey on August 21st, 2016. At first, everything went well. In fact, I lived there for several months before things starting falling apart.

I began to notice the following issues. Every time that Lyn Taylor (real name Evelyn Mercado) would clean my room she would turn off the nightlight that I had plugged in so that I would not be stumbling around in the dark when I woke up during the night to use the restroom. The nightlight only uses 0.7 Watts. She later complained to me that I was leaving that light on – how cheap can you get? The weekly housekeeping started turning into every eight days, then nine days, then ten or more days. Eventually it got to the point where I had to get myself a clean towel as I could not depend on either Paul or Lyn to take care of that.

They have Instant Book so people would be checking in at all hours of the day and night, including 2:00 AM in one case. Many times they were not even there when people would come to check in and I would have to answer the door and explain to them that I was only a guest. Many guests were told that the key to their room was in the lock box outside the front door, but when they opened the lock box there was no key inside. They were staying in the basement suite underneath the house but it began to feel at times like they were absentee landlords.

I stayed there only because I had no close family in that area. At that time I had not driven in over four years and did not have a drivers license. The weather was turning cold, so I did not want to take the chance of going through all of that hassle to find another place that might be just as bad, or even worse.

One time I was having trouble sleeping. It was almost 2:00 AM; I heard noises outside my room and noticed that some lights were on. I opened my door and discovered that Lyn was cleaning downstairs, in the middle of the night. Another issue I noticed is that several times when I was taking a shower the warm water disappeared and all that came out was cold water. One time the water was so cold when I got out of the shower I actually felt warmer. They rented out all five rooms in their house and were staying downstairs in the basement. When the house was full there could be nine people or more using the hot water to take a shower, wash clothes, etc.

I also noticed that as it got colder outside that I would feel cold in the house even when I was wearing a flannel shirt over another shirt. I mentioned this many times to both Paul and Lyn and they would always say “the thermostat is set at 22 Celsius” even though I complained numerous times. I know that 22 Celsius is the same as 71.6 Fahrenheit so I knew that was not the real temperature; 71.6 Fahrenheit is a very comfortable temperature. I told Lyn that I was feeling cold one time and she told me that “I am sweating inside here while I am working.” Of course this ignored the fact that she was dressed in very cold weather clothing and was vigorously cleaning around the house. Many other guests also complained to me personally about feeling cold. Eventually it got to the point where my hands felt like ice even when I was fully dressed. One evening another guest who had also complained to me about feeling cold took their meal out of the oven and then told me that they would leave the oven door open for a while to heat the room up. I noticed that soon after he did that the room started feeling warmer. This other guest and I began to use the oven to keep us warm. Otherwise, we would have felt like putting on our jackets inside the house. That is how cold it felt. We did that for about a week.

The other guest left on a Saturday morning as he was retiring and moving to a property that he had purchased. I continued to use the oven every now and then to warm things up and on Sunday, the day after the other guest left, Paul and Lyn confronted me about using the oven to stay warm. I told them that I had only been using it for a week and had only used it because I was so cold. Lyn became very angry and told me that “ever since you have moved in our electric bill has gone up.” She told me that “I want you out of here tomorrow.”

I truly believe that she would have thrown me out then and there even though it was cold with snow on the ground outside except for the fact that her husband Paul said, “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” Lyn threatened to report me to Airbnb and give me a bad review if I did not accept their cancelling my reservation. I left the next day as they requested. Lyn sent me an email in which she accused me of taking hot showers even though it was “minus 5 outside.” What does she think I am going to do, take a cold shower when it is so cold outside? She also accused me of leaving the oven on when I went to bed which is not true. I owned up to what I did and told them why I did it. I would never have done that if they had not ignored my numerous complaints, as well as the complaints of other guests about feeling cold.

I had paid for the entire month of March yet I moved out on March 6th. I received a message from Lyn in a day or so in which she said that she and Paul were in line to become Superhosts and they would appreciate it if I could give them a good review as she felt I was a good person. Against my better judgment I gave them a good review and Lyn had stated that she would review the February and March billing for the electric and get back to me about a refund. I never heard anything back so I contacted Lyn in April about my refund. She stated that she was still having jet lag (even though she had returned home about two weeks before) and that she would get back to me by the end of April.

When May arrived I then contacted Airbnb to see what I could do as I was told by my bank that I had to contact them to see if I could resolve the issue as they were the actual merchant. Airbnb checked with Lyn and their last message stated: “Thanks for your patience. I wanted to give you an update on your refund request for your reservation. At this time, Lyn hasn’t agreed to issue you a refund for the adjustment to this reservation.” I have now filed a formal dispute with my debit card issuer as I am owed for the 25 days in March that I paid for and did not receive. The only refund I received was $18.00 Canadian dollars and a $75.00 credit from Airbnb. I am owed about $840.00 Canadian dollars. It is obvious to me now that Lyn never had any intention of refunding my money and just tricked me into giving them a good review to help them become Superhosts. I feel used, to put it lightly. Basically I got ripped off big time. I will never use Airbnb again. I could care less about the $75.00 credit they gave me.

Even Airbnb SUPERHOSTS are treated like tools!

Over the past 2 years of hosting. We’ve had our share of horror stories. Each time, Airbnb ONLY cares about their service fees. As long as they can keep that, they let the guests do whatever they want and will even cancel a guest with a full refund when the guest had no proof that anything was wrong. We hosted over 500 people in our units and are Superhosts, but Airbnb will take the word of guests with no reviews over ours. If there are any damages, good luck getting your deposit back! Oh, and your commitment rate goes down when THEY cancel a guest for no good reason, so you have to call and email them over the next few weeks to get them to fix it and hopefully keep your Superhost stats.

This is only 1 example of how they treat you as just a money-making tool, they have no regard for honesty or integrity: Recently, the guests asked for a refund AFTER their stay, claiming that they had only stayed there for a portion of the time, since their plans changed. They have no way of proving this and the situation really is not our responsibility. We told them no, and afterwards they apparently called Airbnb and they received a 50% refund just like that. We don’t know what they told Airbnb, but Airbnb didn’t even bother to contact us before making a decision. Oh, and the guest was still allowed to write a review after this ordeal! Because we denied the refund in the first place, they decided to get back at us and slander us with a bunch of false claims in the review. I called Airbnb and told them that there clearly was no indication of our unit being in bad condition and that it was apparent the only time things got ugly was after we denied the refund. Airbnb said they value people’s opinions and that the great thing about this community is that the reviews are not censored. I just really wanted to spill all kinds of profanities when I heard that. The thing is, I had called them before responding to the guests asking for Airbnb’s advice. I said that I was worried about bad reviews so I feel pressured to give in to demands. The rep ASSURED me that Airbnb will not allow unfair reviews. That if there is reason to believe the bad review was only because we denied the refund and if the message thread had no indication of any problems stated in the review, they would remove it. Low and behold, now that the guest actually went out to write a false review, they did NOTHING. I would understand if the guest wrote they were angry because they wanted a discount, but they wrote things like the place was dirty and in a bad location and did not look like the photos and gave 1 star reviews! How can this be true when we have over 500 reviews and 5 stars on all units?! Also, the guest had told us they were having a great time all throughout the stay!! Still Airbnb did not help.

Similar situations have happened more than a handful of times now. Where Airbnb would give us lip service when we asked for advice and assure we will get reviews removed if ____ and ___ happened or we will get our deposit back if _____ and ____ happened. When shit actually goes down, they do absolutely NOTHING for us. What is the point of us paying these service fees when no services are provided when we need them! I understand if they claim this is just an advertising fee for us to expose our units, however, then why do they CONTROL all the payments and deposits. Those people who actually got their host guarantee/damage deposits on social media or the news are just their publicity ploys! They will only help when they know that it could damage their reputation, I’ve never heard of any fellow host friends who was able to get any compensation. Many have similar stories to mine. In sum: THEY ARE ALL TALK AND NO WALK. THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT GETTING THEIR SERVICE FEES. THEY OUTRIGHT LIE TO THEIR HOSTS. THEY HIDE BEHIND THE PRETENSE OF A SHARING ECONOMY WHEN THEY ARE NO BETTER THAN BLOOD SUCKING CORPORATIONS WHO EXPLOIT OTHERS FOR PROFIT. When will something better come along so that we honest hosts, who are just trying to make some side money, can actually choose to host for a company that actually provides the services that they advertise?!