A guest booked my place for three nights. She agreed to my house rules: no parties, no noise, be respectful of neighbors, and have a maximum of four occupants. She hosted a prom party with a large group until 4:00 AM and trashed my place: they jumped on the bed, ripped kitchen back splash tiles off the walls, left spilled booze pooling on my countertop (it seeped into the seam, inflated and warped the countertop so much I had to replace it). All of the linens, comforters, blankets and towels were covered in food, makeup, and booze. The inside of the oven was black with food scraps and a big pile of stinking, rotten forgotten food. The floors and furniture were covered in scattered garbage, half eaten food, drink bottles, and personal items that had been left behind. My dishes and decorations were found tossed around in different rooms. What normally takes four hours to clean took twelve hours. The cleaning and countertop repairs cost me over $700. Airbnb took eleven days to get back to me, despite many calls I made asking for an update. They responded via email, refusing to pay for anything and described it as normal wear and tear. I emailed them back twice asking for someone to contact me, but they have not. I have hosted for almost two years and have had hundreds of guests. I have never put a claim in. I have zero trust and don’t feel safe using Airbnb after their refusal to honor the host guarantee. If it doesn’t cover partiers trashing your home, what does it cover? It appears that the host guarantee is a scam that gives you a false sense of security. If your place gets trashed you have no recourse.
Letter to the owner of Airbnb. This is my fifth attempt sending it. Of course, there has been no response.
Dear Brian, Alena, Anvita, and others,
First, Brian – I’m appealing to you since you left your email address stating to bypass the Trust and Safety Department and communicate with you directly. I’m taking you at your word that you will become involved. Utter frustration, there is no other way to put it. Yesterday I spoke with a supervisor of the “non-trip department.” I requested the following: “Please have the Trust and Safety Department call me.” I left my phone number and once again requested they email me. I also gave her another email address for them to communicate with me since my first one was not getting through. Incidentally, they also have this other email on file. She assured me she would “accelerate the case and the would get back to me.” I’ve heard that from 20-25 non-trip representatives… very laughable. That’s the line of BS that is common amount if all the reps. Now I’m being financially compromised, and I literally am losing sleep… I cannot rent my home since I don’t have a calendar of my renters and I’m afraid I’ll double book someone. I’m also with VRBO and I can’t rent with them as well. I will soon initiate a lawsuit. I regretfully have been left with no other choice and I will inform the media how Airbnb treats its hosts. As a 5-star host since 2014 I wonder what I’ve done to deserve this? Everything is documented below.
On May 15th:
The Trust and Safety Department blatantly ignores my problem. It was Anvita, now it’s Alena… maybe they are the same, who knows? Avery, your tech, said that they fixed the back end but not the front end and therefore I’m not able to log into my account. I’m in serious trouble. These people are so inept. I have no clue as to who my future renters are and I cannot reach them to give them directions to the house, not to mention I cannot rent my home. Please help! Please!
On May 11th:
Dear Mr. Hassell,
My name is Alan Mayer and I’ve been a 5-star Airbnb host since 2014. My relationship with Airbnb has always been excellent until just recently. Approximately five weeks ago, unbeknownst to me, Airbnb deleted my account and changed my email address to an unknown email address. Subsequently I have not received any inquiries for the past five weeks and my profile has been assigned a different property. In addition, this incorrect property information is being sent to my renters, causing confusion and anger. Six days ago I contacted your technical support team and spoke to several individuals who all assured me that a urgent high priority ticket would be sent to the appropriate team. I was told that Anvita would be assigned my case. For the past six days, I’ve received multiple phone calls and assurances by your representatives that the case ticket has been forwarded to Anvita. I have received no correspondence from Anvita. Therefore I’m locked out of my account and unable to correspond with my renters or access my Airbnb calendar. I respectfully request immediate assistance in solving this issue. Neither of us wants bad reviews nor loss of revenue.
Today is even worse than the past week. The password Anvita sent to get into my account doesn’t work and the wrong home is still being displayed. Regina (who’s been wonderful) tried to activate the password to no avail. Anvita at the Trust and Safety Department issued a notice saying the issue has been “solved,” when actually it’s worse than ever. Respectfully, I’m requesting another case worker be assigned. Anvita isn’t qualified nor will she communicate with me.
I posted my spare bedroom in my “Rustic Basic Ecohome” on Saturday, April 22nd. Apparently I got a booking around noon the next day. The guest claims she drove to my house at around 3:00 PM and tried to call me. I was at home, sleeping with my phone off due to working the night shift. She got flustered when she called my Google voice number and heard my nickname rather than my legal name, the one that appeared on the listing. She never rang the doorbell. When I woke up, I tried to contact her for hours; apparently she was in some conference or meeting. She cancelled the booking and Airbnb incorrectly assumed I cancelled it. Up to this point, I felt okay with the situation; perhaps my guest was a bit skittish, so it’s probably better she found another place where she hopefully felt more comfortable.
Then Airbnb said they will not allow other bookings for the duration of the cancelled booking (two days) and admonished me for cancelling (which I did not do – rather, the guest gave up and perhaps pinned the blame on me to get her payment back). In the days to follow, I received no bookings. My listing showed up when I went on the site from my computer. Finally, after 13 days, when a friend tried to go online and vouch for my character, he got a broken link message. I asked him to look for my listing and he could not see it. I called Airbnb and they saw it as a “technical issue”. They started a case and referred me to the Trust & Safety Team, who only communicates via email. The tech support representative sent me an email that said “Ghosted”.
I think their temporary block for duration of the cancelled booking somehow wasn’t removed after two days. As of today, May 10th (17 days since the cancellation), my listing apparently remains non-operational with no explanation from Airbnb. I had originally planed to remodel a bathroom to give my guests their own suite. I’m so glad that I started with an existing bathroom and bedroom, considering how haphazard the process has been so far. I just put a listing up on Wimdu. Hopefully that process will go smoother than Airbnb.
After renting an Airbnb in December, I received an email stating that my email address had been changed and to notify customer service if we did not make that change. We emailed them and didn’t receive a return call or message. We contacted them again after attempting to log on to our account (we could not access our own account to shut it down and still cannot to this day). There was no return call or email. About four days later, I received a random call telling me that if I needed additional towels, to please let them know. I then waited for over thirty minutes for a customer service representative over the phone. She confirmed that my account had been changed and that a rental in Brooklyn was active. $867 had been charged to the credit card linked to my account.
I felt great after speaking to her; she assured me that I would receive a call within four hours from the Trust and Safety Department to gather the details for the investigation. She also told me that she “placed a hold” on my account so that no additional charges could be made. Three weeks later after many phone calls, emails, wasted time on hold and additional charges on my credit card, and I have never received one single call or email from the Trust and Security Department. I continued to receive calls about my “stay” and even received a direct email from the Brooklyn host telling me that she gave me a five-star rating. Airbnb did not even notify the host that she had a renter that had stolen all of my information and was using my name and credit card. I received requests in the middle of the night for codes to be entered to change additional information on my account, which I’m assuming was the same person that originally stole my information. Airbnb was notified of all of these events and has never done anything to investigate or help us in this situation. It’s absolutely unbelievable that a company can function in this manner and stay afloat.
We checked into Scott’s home in Silver Lake, CA after a couple of long flights. I’m from Chicago and my partner is from London. Scott welcomed us in and showed us to our room. He was very pleasant face-to-face. After no more than ten minutes, we left to get a late dinner. We returned around 11:00 PM and crept up the stairs to avoid awakening what we assumed was our sleeping host. We changed our clothes for bed, and my partner went to brush her teeth. She came back to the room wide-eyed and asked me: “Do you hear that?” She looked like she had seen a ghost. I said I had not. She gestured towards the door and whispered “listen.” I jumped up and took a step towards the door, immediately heard what she had, and understood the look on her face. Scott was vigorously masturbating and shouting to someone over the phone. I opened our bedroom door and he was yelling (he is somewhat deaf): “Yeah, you like it?” My partner said when she was on the toilet she heard him say “Eat that a#@$*le, you like that big hairy c$%k in your face.”
Scott’s bedroom is adjoined to the only bathroom in the house – the bathroom my partner and I, another couple, and Scott were to share. My partner said she felt sick. I went to brush my teeth and came back to the room with an idea: “I think we should just go down the street to the Comfort Inn. I don’t feel comfortable here.” My partner flipped her laptop around; she had the same idea and was searching for a new place to stay. We looked up Airbnb’s customer service line which was far too difficult to find. We called the Airbnb “Trust and Safety” line to make a report and the first thing they asked was for my partner’s phone and credit card numbers. After a complicated process (because my partner is British and the Airbnb system would not recognize her phone number, even though she booked the trip), we finally reached someone. My partner recounted Scott’s loud and aggressive masturbation session, said we were not comfortable staying with Scott, and would like a refund so we may stay somewhere else. The best they could do was refund roughly 30% of the 11-night trip we had paid for.
At this point, we had spent fewer than thirty minutes in the house. The “Trust and Safety” representative said that if Scott was not directing his sexual language at one of us, there was nothing Airbnb could do. The only avenue they suggested was talking to Scott, telling him our issue, and asking him for a full refund, which they reminded us would not include Airbnb’s fees. Nothing could convince the Airbnb representative that this was an uncomfortable place for us to stay. Their response was essentially: “It’s Scott’s house, and he can do whatever he wants in it.”
Yes, Airbnb, it is Scott’s house and we have just spent our holiday budget on a room in that house. Apparently feeling uncomfortable because of someone’s very loud and aggressive sexual behavior, audible from our bedroom and just short of inclusive while in the bathroom, does not meet Airbnb’s cancellation policies. Now we can’t leave Scott’s home because we can’t afford other accommodations. Airbnb offered no support or empathy. I suspect that when a person plans a trip to a new place, they would like to trust the person they are staying with, or at the very least the company that vouches for their hosts. It turns out, with Airbnb, you can’t necessarily trust either. It probably goes without saying but I will never plan a trip with Airbnb again.
I have had several problems with Airbnb in the past and I am a Superhost. This time was so crushing. I specifically stated I have a no pet policy because my oldest is extremely asthmatic to dogs and cats. I came home to find the guests brought a dog into my home and it defecated all over the house. It was disgusting. After 40 emails and pictures, Airbnb would not refund the carpet and house cleaning bill. Sadly, this is not the first time Airbnb has sided with a guest over a Superhost. I had a guest cancel on me at the last minute and I have a strict cancelation policy; Airbnb refunded the guest in full. Airbnb customer service is perhaps the worst I’ve encountered. You cannot actually speak to Trust and Safety and when you call the help desk they claim they have no way of getting a hold of the team. What is the point of a security deposit if a guest can break house rules and not be held accountable?
Even though I did not make a reservation for an accommodation, they sent me email, stating that my reservation was completed. I called to inform them I did not make a reservation and an associate there told me that the Trust and Safety Team would contact me within 24-48 hours. They did not. Worse yet, they withdrew $444, much more than the accommodation fee. I never received an email from them on this issue, though I did get an automatic email from the Trust and Safety Team:
As Airbnb’s Trust & Safety Team, we’re always thinking of ways to help our community travel and host with more confidence. Whether you’re a first-time guest or a veteran traveler, we want your trip to go off without a hitch. Here are a few tips to help you travel safely and be a considerate guest.
1. Leave the listing how you found it. Remember to treat your host’s space with respect—it’s their home, after all.
2. Get to know your host. Communicate clearly with your host about any expectations or questions you may have.
3. Know what to expect. Review your host’s house manual and talk with your host about their space.
The Airbnb community relies on trust, and we’d love your help in strengthening that trust by remembering these guidelines. If you have questions at any point before, during, or after your trip, we’re here to help.
The Airbnb Team
They initiate problems. Even though we report the problems, they don’t know what they need to do when their clients get into problems. I contacted my lawyer.
Your, your family’s, and your friends’ safety is at risk with Airbnb. They do not care about you and will not help you when a real threat occurs with a host. Our host did not show up at the apartment we rented and we had to pay for a taxi to her brother’s home to get the key. She expected us to ride a dilapidated old scooter with suitcases to the actual apartment; we paid for a taxi instead. The apartment was not the building on the listing: the room, size, layout, amenities, and everything else was different. Total scam. Initially Airbnb helped us get a full refund. However, the host threatened to call the police and somehow learnt where Airbnb relocated us. This is terrible customer safety. Our case was elevated to Trust and Safety but they never replied. Never. Not after being threatened, and not after nine phone calls, twelve emails and five weeks since the event. Not one single contact. This is the Trust and Safety team. This was a urgent priority matter and it is only by pure luck and our own initiative we were able to rescue our holiday. I have used Airbnb before, but never again.