Airbnb Deletes Negative Reviews, Favors Hosts

This is an echo of the same stories other guests had. I just want a way to let Airbnb know as they don’t seem to hear. I had a great experiences with Airbnb hosts for a few years. I always left the place very tidy and clean. I respect these are the hosts’ homes and livelihoods perhaps. I think there are some really picky people out there who pay for three-star services and expecting five-star treatment. I believe in honesty. However, I suppose any comment would possibly be taken personally by a host as it is their own home or livelihood and Airbnb is a way to help pay for their mortgage. Usually I try to be gentle.

I had a two-week road trip in the UK recently from tip to tip. We had great experiences, and honestly we just wanted to have a clean place with our own bathroom and toilet, in a quiet location… a place that appears the same as we see in the pictures. We also needed a place to boil some drinking water. We didn’t expect to have breakfast or meals there.

The place we stayed at Cornwall was not the cheapest nor the most expensive: a double bed with no views for £60 a night with no breakfast. It was advertised as two minutes from a cliff with a great view. The reviews there since May 2016 (about one year’s worth) have been 100% positive and still are since our visit. There was a friendly host, great place, etc.

However, on the night we arrived, we found out that it was a shared bathroom/toilet situation and we didn’t know that this was something Airbnb hosts don’t have to disclose. Most hosts would based on our favourable experiences. The host mentioned part of their home was closed at night for their family’s own use, i.e. their best selling point – the balcony – overlooking the sea cliff was only available in the morning. We were fine with that. We are pretty much out most of the day anyway.

Here is what we disclosed from our experience on our review:

1. There was no toilet paper in the shared toilet on the night we arrived. It was all used up. We didn’t want to bother the hosts, so we waited until the morning to tell them.
2. No wifi password was provided on arrival and we forgot to ask when we first met. We texted them to leave us the password in our bedroom during dinner. They did but it was on a card with writing so blurry you could hardly read it. We took a picture with our iPhone, blew it up, and could finally make out what it was.
3. The second day we were there, the other guests left the bin in the shared toilet full. It is the only bin which we have access to at night. They must have left it there the whole day since check out is in the morning and we found the rubbish at night after we returned around midnight. We messaged the host in their own home on the second floor to ask where we should put the rubbish. Our intention was not to mess up anyone’s home. We would like to respect their privacy but not go into their closed kitchen and lounge area. We didn’t leave all these gory details; we just suggested they could provide a bin in each room so that guests could leave rubbish. The small bin in the toilet may not have been enough.
4. We didn’t feel that the nicest part of the house was available to us as they left the door closed in the morning and didn’t quite tell us on our arrival that it would be okay to walk right in anytime before certain hours. This is the point to which they objected and thus Airbnb removed my review
5. The area that we got to see the most often was the room which faced a wall of the garage. The bathroom could be heard clearly from our room. There was no mention of any of this in the listing of course; we commented on this.
6. The bathroom was shared and not mentioned on the listing.

Airbnb removed our review based on this last point as well. What we only mentioned privately was we were badly bitten by some sort of insects which we are pretty sure happened at their property; the redness and itchiness appeared at least 30 minutes after we had left. The host vehemently denied it of course. Now I know better after reading this website. Airbnb is much more concerned about insect attacks than any of the neglectfulness we experienced. What I feel is most unjust and sour about this Airbnb experience is the host said we should be in a hotel and not use airbnb at all.

Airbnb said I cannot mention the shared bathroom was not disclosed, since they want to hide that fact, obviously. The host said that my comment about the accessibility of the nice balcony was incorrect. It is a bit of he said-she said I suppose. However, if Airbnb had looked into my history, they would have seen I was never vindictive towards any host. The whole review was taken out and Airbnb tried to call me once to explain or discuss the situation. I feel that they really should have done better to help expose the truth here for their user experience which was what made them stand out in the first place.

On the other hand, I had then stayed with another host two days later where they had a lodger just below us banging the ceiling and shouting at us when we were just taking showers. We still rated them five stars because they were friendly and helpful; they didn’t know their lodger was doing this. We told them the next day. The place was otherwise fantastic. The price was reasonable. We didn’t leave any bad remarks. In addition, Airbnb protecting these Cornwall hosts bad mouthing us by leaving us a bad review ‘saying that we should have stayed at a hotel’ when they are just providing service worse than that of a hostel at a price I think 40% above a hostel rate is leaving me a sour taste. It is bad business for the hosts who are doing the right things as well.

Airbnb is a Nightmare for Guests of All Ages

I am still fuming following outrageously dishonest treatment from a host in Leatherhead in the UK in early May which was arrogantly backed by Airbnb. They took over $849 AUD without providing any accommodation. I refused to stay in the accommodation shortly after check-in after enduring parking hell involving a building site with extreme restricted access in the “designated parking area” (see photo) and access to the flat. I was met with a drummer in the room above practicing and a room/flat which would never be described as “spacious” and certainly not “homely”.

The host was overseas at check-in and unreachable for three days. Instead he sent his mother to officiate, who showed no sympathy and was only concerned with defending her son. Airbnb even phoned me on my 50th birthday to tell me to take a hike and reduced me to tears as I apparently “hadn’t followed the cancellation procedure.” As far as the website was concerned, I had done so to the letter. The Airbnb representative was just nasty: she refused to take my photographic evidence into account that backed my case, saying that it was ” irrelevant” and condescendingly told me that “she didn’t have a problem with the website”.

I will never use this company again. I will certainly be warning others. The way the company operated towards me was utterly immoral and shameful and appears to deliberately make it extremely difficult to contact them. I would not trust them ever again. A disgusting organisation. Go to hell Airbnb.

Could it be? A positive Airbnb customer service experience?

I was renting my property with Airbnb. I had already had several great guests and I had many more booked for the rest of the year. I was then informed by the freeholder of my property that he would no longer permit short-term lets and changed the lease. This left me with a problem, as I had many outstanding bookings and a potential $50 fine on each cancellation. I phoned the UK Airbnb line and spoke to one of their customer service representatives, Olivia. She was very helpful and understood my situation. She wrote a report and sent it to the relevant department which dealt with lease issues. She said they would be in touch soon. The next day I received an email from John asking to confirm if I wanted to cancel my bookings. I confirmed, and they were all cancelled with an explanation email sent to my guests. John also provided me with a $100 voucher for the trouble. Overall my experience was very positive. It was horrible to have to let down so many nice people. However, the customer service team made it very simple and relieved a lot of stress. Overall I’m 100% for the Airbnb customer service team. I will continue to use it while I travel and will hopefully be able to host again soon.

The Worst Host in London Gives me Airbnb Nightmare

My experience with Airbnb was nothing short of a nightmare. I booked accommodation on Airbnb from February 9th through March 2nd, 2017 at premises owned by Tess. She asked me to leave the property on February 21st without contacting me. Airbnb also beglected to hear my side of the story, which is as follows:

The complaint by the host regarding the flat was based on three issues:

1. The locks being left unlocked. There were four separate locks to get into this tiny little studio flat. Two of these locks were in the middle of a dark alley with a step with no light whatsoever. I complained to the local contact about this. I asked him whether it is necessary to lock all four locks or would it be okay to just lock the one to the studio itself and the one to the gate outside, as this way the place is still safe and secure? There was no response from him. When Tess complained about it, I spent an extra ten minutes locking the two intermediate locks.

You may wonder why it took ten minutes? Because it was very difficult to see anything. Because she was complaining, I made this extra effort. I was in London to attend client meetings and buy a property and did not have the energy nor time to secure another flat… so I abided by her unreasonable requests.

2. There was loud music being played in the flat. I spent the evenings in the flat and spent my entire time working. Music was being played on my laptop to drown out the noise coming from upstairs with the constant walking around. I am a 40-something lawyer with my own practice, not a teenage girl playing loud music with no regard for neighbours. Not once did anyone knock on my door to ask me to lower the volume of the music. When the complaint came to me, I made a conscious effort to keep the volume at a low level.

3. There were uninvited guests. There was absolutely no room in the flat to have a person come and stand, let alone have me entertain them. The pictures of the flat do not reflect how very small it really is. The only explanation I have for people ringing the neighbours for me can only possibly be the delivery boys coming to deliver my dinner. There was no doorbell in the studio itself. This is one more thing that I told the local contact when I arrived. I asked him how I could have food deliveries, if I cannot hear when someone is at the door? He suggested I give the delivery people my phone number, which I did. But as you can imagine, they would not be calling a California mobile number for a food delivery in London.

When I came home on the night of February 21, 2017, it was after 10:00 PM. I then noticed the message from Airbnb. I had only one voicemail message on my phone at approximately 5:00 PM from her. By 1:00 AM, the local agent was at my door asking me to leave the property immediately. I insisted that the police be called so there is proof that I left the property, as every attempt that I made to reach Airbnb that evening was unsuccessful. After the police arrived, they sympathised with my situation but said they could not help in this matter. They provided me with a police report.

I was then told by the local agent that in fact the host was expecting relatives and guests and needed the empty flat. I was incredibly furious and shocked. The host does not live in the UK; she lives in Prague. She had assigned this property to yet another guest using an intermediary (as if Airbnb was not enough). She should have had the courtesy to call me and try to resolve the problem first, and come to a mutually acceptable solution. Furthermore, Airbnb should have defended me, as I am their customer; a legal relationship is created as I pay them directly. Since then, I have tried to reach out to Airbnb via emails and phone messages, and have not had even one representative bother to call me back. It is highly unprofessional for Airbnb representatives to make a decision to cancel a reservation on the evening of without verifying the facts with me and expecting me to leave the same night without reimbursement.

Lying, Rude Airbnb Host in East London

Back in February 2017 I booked Dora’s Airbnb in East London close to an area where I would be meeting friends for a farewell meal and drinks, as I now live in South Korea. A friend and I had decided to stay at an Airbnb to avoid a long and draining journey home. However my friend, who has never used Airbnb, was a bit reluctant. I assured her that I had had several good experiences and it would be fine. After finding Dora’s room online and reading numerous good reviews, I booked one night with her.

She was very nice and explained that she would be able to rent the room. However, ‘a friend’ would be staying in her room so she would be on the sofa that evening. I said this should be fine and when the weekend came, I dropped my stuff at her apartment and proceeded with my farewell evening. Once my friend and I returned to the apartment we got ready for bed incredibly quietly and went to get a glass of water from the kitchen for the night. However, after politely knocking on the door before entering, we heard Dora approach the living room/kitchen door and shout ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING I TOLD YOU I WAS ASLEEP!’

I said I had needed a glass of water as none had been provided in the room (which was advertised). I calmly and quietly got my glass and returned to my room. At this point I felt really uncomfortable having been shouted at like a naughty child for asking for water. My friend also felt uncomfortable and decided we should calmly speak to her before deciding whether to leave early. When we spoke to her, we explained this was an irrational way to act and asked for an apology as we no longer felt welcome. She insisted she did not need to apologise and said if we wanted we leave we should (at 1:00 in the morning).

Deciding to not be treated like this, we left and contacted Airbnb immediately who gave me a full apology and refund. They said they would speak to the host and she would not be able to leave a review as we did not stay the night. A few weeks later, having moved countries, I noticed a horrible review had been posted on my wall from the host, completely twisting the story around to make her look like the victim. I immediately got in contact with Airbnb as she had also said they had given her a full refund for the issue and asked for an explanation of how she had been able to leave a review against me and been able to contact me. They offered very little in the way of an explanation and merely took the review down. We subsequently found out that the ‘friend’ staying in her room that weekend was another guest; she had lied and double booked her home (the guest left a review on the website the day after).

I’m disgusted that hosts feel they have the right to bully people, treat them so badly after taking their money, and are allowed to get away with it. If you are looking for a place to stay in London for a night out I strongly recommend a hotel.

Airbnb is Losing their Business to Scammers

My family had an upcoming trip to London. I booked a place from a verified host, who had 25 positive reviews for his property. Less than a week before our arrival, my host sent me a message that the apartment I booked was no longer available. He suggested I stay in another apartment of his. According to the calendar, the apartment would not be available for part of our stay. The host is not answering my messages or phone calls. I’ve been calling Airbnb for three days straight. Each time they assure me that my case has “high priority” and their trip team will be in touch with me shortly. Nobody ever called me back. Today I’ve been told that they are busy helping people, who are right now standing on the street without a place to sleep; that’s why I should wait. I probably should, until my family is on the streets of London without accommodations. The customer service representative suggested I look for a new place and tried to contact my host, but he could issue a refund only after 24 hours. I asked him to help me find a reliable host with a real property, because at least 60% of Airbnb listings in London are fakes used for scams; he assured me that Airbnb is vetting all its listings. I used to love Airbnb, but it seems they are losing the game to scammers. Airbnb definitely needs a stronger security team and they need to handle situations like mine before people are on the street with no place to stay, not postpone until the last 24 hours.

Bitten by Fleas Repeatedly at London Airbnb

I have stayed at an Airbnb three times and I would not stay again based on the last experience. All three times I rented the entire home. The first two times the places were amazing; the hosts were great and everything went super smoothly. The last time, I booked a two-bedroom house near London and it was quite expensive ($400/night) but it was summer, the location was amazing (right in the centre, near a train station) and it was better than any of the hotels nearby. We had to be at this location for me to attend some work meetings.

The property was very clean and welcoming on arrival and everything went great… until I woke up the next morning with about 12-15 bites all over my legs and arms. I went to the pharmacy and they said probably mosquitos. I have been bitten by mosquitoes and these bites were so much worse. I bought several creams but nothing seemed to help. I noticed some of them were in a line so started to think it was bed bugs. I called the host but she was several hours’ drive away and we both freaked out thinking it was bed bugs. I looked in the sheets and mattress and never saw a single bug (alive or dead). I did not sleep with the windows open, but the bites were awful. The host did not want to pay for a hotel (I had one more night at her place) so I bought some bug spray, doused myself, and slept on the couch downstairs.

The next morning I woke up with even more bites. I had about 40-50 bites all over my feet, legs, back, chest, hands, and arms. They were on fire; I have never felt such intense itching and no cream worked. In the end I begged the pharmacist for an antihistamine and cortisone cream, which sort of helped. It took about a week for the bites to die down and I could wear normal shoes again; even the shoes rubbing on the bites unleashed incredible itchiness. The host had a pest inspector in after I left and reported there were no bed bugs or anything else, so I have to assume it was fleas. The south of England had a bad outbreak so that makes sense, and apparently even only one or two fleas can do this.

I get that things happen, but the host (while she was upset and I felt terrible about it as I’m sure the pest inspector was expensive) did not offer to move me anywhere else and probably thinks it’s my fault somehow. I never got a refund or any compensation even though I could not sleep in the bed the last night and being bitten so many times ruined my trip. It was so awful to have these bites. I no longer want to use Airbnb because at least at a hotel I can change rooms or there is some fallback if things go wrong.

Swindled by Airbnb for London Holiday Stay

On October 14th, 2016 I made a reservation through Airbnb for a two-bedroom apartment for myself, my wife, and our three kids – two boys and one girl. The address featured on the Airbnb website was in Earl’s Court in London. This reservation was between December 24th, 2016 to January 3rd, 2017. I made a payment of 19,596 NOK (Norwegian Kroners). Airbnb then allocated me this booking with a reservation code and the name and contact details of my host. My host was Ulya, and the Airbnb system provided her contact number.

Both myself and my wife started to have a hunch there was something amiss about this host since around November we started to receive both SMS and email correspondence related to this booking. What confounded us was that each time we responded it would transpire that these messages were not from Ulya but from different intermediaries. Since we had already paid, we continued to confirm our date of arrival and departure, grudgingly so.

On December 24th, 2016 we arrived from Norway at Gatwick Airport, London, and proceeded by train to Victoria Station. From the station we took a meter taxi to the address Ulya had given us which was in Earl’s Court. As we were in the taxi we realised that the address Ulya (the Airbnb host) had tendered on the Airbnb website was not valid. Whilst at the the taxi we made numerous calls to Ulya and her numerous intermediaries. Their phones were persistently engaged, so the taxi driver dropped us in the street. We related our plight to a stranger we found at the bus stop; she intervened and called the numbers for Ulya and her various intermediaries to enquire about the correct address for this apartment. This time one of Ulya’s intermediary gave us the correct address for the apartment we had booked, and she further advised that the apartment door was black. However upon our arrival at this address the door was purple and not black as we had been advised. It was at this point that it dawned on me, my wife and kids that we had indeed been swindled.

Realising that it was getting both late, dark and colder we then decided to proceed the Kensington Police Station at Pembroke Mews to report our plight. We received a hostile reception at the police station… perhaps the Kensington police thought we were either refugees or looking for accommodation. In either case, they gave us quite a hostile reception. They didn’t allow us anywhere near the precinct of their office. They ordered us to go and wait across the street. Our five-year-old daughter asked to use the toilet facility, an appeal that was not granted. After some time one police official came to us and harshly engaged us. We appealed to the police to at least assist us by calling the Airbnb host again. During this engagement it transpired that they learned I was a South African diplomat and that together with my family we were travelling on diplomatic passports. After having verified the authenticity of our diplomatic passports the police made numerous calls to both Ulya and her different intermediaries.

After these one of Ulya’s intermediaries gave the Kensington police an address on Ifield Road as the correct one for the apartment we had booked on Airbnb. We then took a taxi to this address. We stood at the street parking near the door of the apartment on Ifield Road for Ulya’s intermediary to give us the keys so that we could enter the apartment. Much to our surprise, the apartment door was not locked since the lady who came to give us keys just pushed it open and gave us a sets of two keys. Upon entering the apartment the first thing that we noted was that the bedrooms downstairs were cold and dirty. We immediately alerted the host intermediary about this. She indicated that she was in a hurry as it was Christmas the following day and that she didn’t know much about the apartment. She further indicated that Ulya had sent her to give us keys for the apartment. We nevertheless further appealed to her to at least turn on the heating mechanism for the two bedrooms, and she declared that these were on and would be warmer with time. She then left the apartment.

On our arrival we were greeted by garbage at the door. On seeing us entering at the apartment the neighbors complained that this pile of garbage had been there for a while. The very entrance to the apartment was visibly dirty. Later on, Airbnb’s partisan Resolution Centre dismissed this garbage as being of no significance. In the kitchen – which is combined with the lounge – the seats were falling apart such that it was not safe to sit on them. The only seat that seemed safe was the sofa couch which could also be converted to a bed. Again, Airbnb’s partisan Resolution Centre dismissed this as being of no significance. When we tried to connect our gadgets to the wifi which we found at the kitchen we discovered that whilst the modem was plugged in, there was no electric current. We tried it on the power outlet where the microwave was plugged in and it worked. To our surprise none of the power outlets in the bedrooms were functioning.

Upon proceeding to the ensuite bathroom we discovered that the light was not working and that the warm water was not functioning. We then tried the other bathroom and discovered that it was visibly dirty, just like the ensuite bathrooms. We alerted Ulya through a WhatsApp message about these problems and she promised to send an electrician to fix them. At around 19:30 Ulya informed us via WhatsApp message that she would be sending an electrician promptly. As we were exhausted both physically and emotionally after the aforementioned debacle of looking for an invalid address, we retired to bed early with our clothes on since the heating mechanism in the bedrooms was not functional. We also couldn’t wash ourselves since the warm water tank was not functional and therefore the water was cold. I took sleeping pills and slept much earlier than my wife and kids.

At around 22:50 I was woken up my wife saying there was someone banging on the main door. Fearful as I was, I climbed the apartment stairs and proceeded to the door to find out what was happening. I enquired who was knocking. The gentleman at the door indicated that he had been sent by the owner to check whether the warm water tank, power plugs, light in the ensuite and the heating mechanism were indeed not working. I opened the door for him to enter the apartment. He consistently purported to be engaged in a telephone conversation. Upon engaging this gentleman he indicated that he was not an electrician and didn’t have a toolbox but would call an electrician once he had confirmed that indeed the electrical problems which we had raised with Ulya were valid.

Clearly according to the Airbnb host our views were are not worth of respect. In the first place she didn’t do a basic quality assurance test to ensure that everything was in order in her apartment prior to us occupying the apartment. Even after registering our concerns inter alia about electrical problems in her apartment she elected to send her contact person who is not an electrician to ascertain the validity of the problems we had raised with her. What further astounded us was that even this gentleman kept on telling us us that he had been sent by a “he” not a “she”. When we enquired from him as to how come he is not an electrician since Ulya had made a promise that she would send the electrician straight away. This gentleman’s assertion confounded us even more since Ulya had told us that she was the owner of the apartment. Ulya later claimed that we refused her electrician entry into the apartment. Fortunately I had a gut feeling that something was amiss with this gentlemen and I took a picture of him inside the apartment.

Later on after cancelling the booking, a faceless member of Airbnb’s partisan Resolution Centre dismissed this picture of Ulya’s electrician inside the apartment as being of no significance and deemed not to give an idea of what transpired in the conversation between me and this gentleman in spite of me having indicated quite clearly that I had relayed this picture to refute Ulya’s false claim that we did not allow the electrician whom she had paid £100 to enter the apartment to fix the electrical problems we had raised with her. There was also insufficient linens on the bed; my two young kids coughed and cried bitterly the whole night complaining about the cold. With the bedroom’s heating mechanism not working, the bed linen provided by the Airbnb host was not sufficient. I again alerted the host about this fact and she maintained that there were was enough linen in the apartment. We live in Oslo, Norway, which is much colder than London, however we have never felt as cold as we did in Ulya’s apartment. Again, the Airbnb Resolution Centre deemed this fact did not warrant the cancellation of the reservation and a full refund.

Earlier on, immediately after assuming occupancy of the apartment and after realising that the electrical outlets in the bedrooms and some in the kitchen were not functioning my wife and kids went to a nearby shop and purchased an extension cord to charge our gadgets and continue to keep the wifi connected. I remained inside the apartment as I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. Upon their return we discovered that the main door keys were not compatible the door lock and therefore not opening. Fortunately I had remained inside the apartment and I opened it for them. Otherwise we were going to be literally stuck on the streets in a foreign country on Christmas eve.

Again the partisan Airbnb Resolution Centre deemed this fact did not warrant the cancellation of the reservation and a full refund. On the morning of December 25th, 2016 I awoke with my family hopeful that perhaps the the Airbnb host will send the electrician to fix the problems cited above which we had duly reported to her. As the day progressed without the electrician showing up, we washed ourselves by pouring water in the black bucket we found behind the apartment’s kitchen door. This bucket contained detergents and a mop for cleaning the floor. At around 12:15 PM on Christmas Day, and after it became clear that was going to be no substantive intervention by the Airbnb host to our plight, my wife and I agreed that we should cancel the reservation. Immediately after cancelling the reservation, the Airbnb host promptly sent me a message informing me that since I had cancelled the reservation our continued presence inside her apartment amounted to trespassing. She further threatened that she was sending her team to deal with us. We left the apartment.

On December 26th, 2016, the Airbnb host sent me a WhatsApp message claiming that we had damaged her apartment and therefore she had taken our fingerprints and would send us claim forms. At first after the cancellation I got a message from Airbnb confirming the cancellation of my reservation and informing me that my reservation was not eligible for a refund. This message further indicated that if there was an extenuating circumstance I should click on the link for the resolution center. Upon clicking this link I discovered that I qualified for a refund 17,650 NOK from the 19,596 NOK that I had originally paid. I accordingly filled in the message box included in the link. I got a prompt response from the host stating I would not get a refund because I had refused her electrician entry into the apartment and called her people names.

Since I had cancelled my reservation with the Airbnb host I had to endure further costs for an alternative accommodation and for changing the date of return for our flight. Given the Airbnb host’s refusal to refund me I escalated the matter to Airbnb’s resolution centre and I was given a reference number for my case. On December 29th, 2016 I got correspondence from someone at Airbnb’s Resolution Centre asking me to send him any pictures related to this matter. I immediately sent him pictures I had managed to take. Initially my correspondence with pictures did not go through. I kept on trying and then ultimately they went through. He responded that they were not convincing. I asked – among other things – if he thought I would leave the comfort of my place and subject myself and my family to cancelling a long arranged festive holiday accommodation for no valid reason. I further asked him how is he going to prove from the pictures that the electrical outlets and the warm water tank are not working.

In the first place, both Airbnb and their hosts have a responsibility. Ultimately the faceless member of the Airbnb partisan Resolution Centre gave me a meager refund of 5,000 Norwegian Kroner which did not cover the additional 10,000 Norwegian Kroner for changing the departure date for the family flight ticket due to the problems we had experienced with the apartment I had booked on Airbnb. Ulya’s Facebook profile picture was the same as her WhatsApp profile picture. The only difference was that on Facebook she used the name Elly. Her Facebook profile also indicated that she lives in London. Upon looking at her pictures on her Facebook timeline I recognised the area around the apartment we had booked. A dew days thereafter, with the intention to alert Airbnb and my bank about this, I searched for her on Facebook and couldn’t find her.

I’m just wondering if there is anything that can be done to assist me in this matter. It pains me quite profoundly because I lost a lot of money from this debacle and subjected my family to an infelicitous drama. I also believe that other people need to know about the shady side of Airbnb. I’m also wondering if anyone can kindly assist me to get a physical address of Airbnb’s offices either in South Africa or Europe.

Items Stolen by the Cleaners after Holiday Stay

The host in this story has told me to just accept that my items are lost, so that has now pushed me to the point of pure anger. I’m seeking some closure by hashing this out on my keyboard.

I went to my friend’s 30th birthday in Dorset, UK, only an hour or so away from us. Our mutual friends were staying in an Airbnb nearby for the week leading up to her 30th, so we went to stay in a spare room of the house for the one and only night we were there. Being a typical high-anxiety kinda gal, I like to take a few items of clothing to choose from when I know I’m going out in public, just in case I change my mind at the last minute because one actually makes me look like a primary school teacher/whale/idiot. I took two dresses and two suit jackets, and the morning after, I stupidly left all of those things hanging behind the bedroom door: barely worn, nice-ish labels (Phase Eight, ladies), average size for a woman, combined worth of £150.

Now, whilst I admit this was entirely my fault, naively enough I figured that of course any normal person would have found these and put them in a safe place ready to return to me, right? That’s normal; people are kind, right? My friend emailed the host to explain I’d left some things behind. There was no response. Then I emailed the host, saying I was happy to send over some money as per Airbnb’s “resolution centre”, and a few days later I got a response:

“Hi, I’m really sorry there was no sign of anything when I went in on Friday. Will talk to cleaners tomorrow for you as they are in.”

Great, that’s fine. Sure, it had already been a week by now and the cleaners were only just going in which was strange, but fine. I should mention here that I’m a cleaner of holiday lets myself. I heard nothing back for a few days, so I checked in, and the response was:

“There was nothing that I could see the other day. I will take a proper look on the next change over day. Will be in the new year now.”

It was December 27th, 2016. Ok, that was fine. There are people staying in the house over Christmas and New Year. I know this because Airbnb says it was booked out. However, that was fine; my clothes will stay wherever they’ve been left by the nice cleaners I’m sure. I waited until after New Years, or January 8th just to give her some breathing space. By this time I had let Airbnb know of the situation, and they were also trying to ring her, getting no answer. I got a message back a few days later:

“Hi Natalie. The cleaners are not aware of anything fitting that description. I have just been very busy and don’t live near the area. I’m not planning to visit the place until the end of the month. You might have to accept you have lost the items. I got a voicemail from Airbnb enquiring for you.”

So… no. “I’m really sorry, but we can’t find your things” or “I’m so sorry that we can’t resolve this but…” I just don’t understand this way of dealing with people at all. She’s not sorry, she doesn’t give a crap, and that’s that. But that just makes me even more concerned, and I kept prodding. I wrote:

“As a woman to woman thing, would you accept that you’ve ‘just lost the items’? I can’t just nip out and replace them. Do you understand that as a customer I therefore rely on you to help me? I paid to stay at your property and I feel like I’m being fobbed off. I’m sorry that you’ve been too busy to help out but it is a business you run based on trust and respect to your property and the people that stay there, and I have lost all sense of that. It is totally my fault that I left them there but if it was me, running a business like this, I would endeavor to make sure my clients were reassured. Can I please be put in touch with your cleaners as I’m guessing they live closer? Or your brother that goes around daily? Somebody who could go and check. As I said, I can wire money via Airbnb to post them back and I’m happy to add on more than the cost. I just want my things back.”

And nothing. That was it. Three or four cases opened by Airbnb, and closed again after 24 hours due to ‘no response from the host’. There’s been a bit of moaning and complaining to get their attention on Twitter. They told my friend that they saw no reason to continue any case for it (even though absolutely nothing was resolved) and they kept closing them. The scenarios that are going around in my head are: she took them, and she’s obviously not going to own up to that; the cleaners took them, and she’s also not going to own up to that (but she should); the cleaners are just bad at their jobs, didn’t see them, and another guest has taken them. Working out what happened with no proof just means thoughts pop into my head every now and again, I feel sick, like I’ve been robbed, and then I go back to realizing there’s nothing I can do. That’s my vent. I’m sure some people have real problems. Thanks for listening and don’t stay here.