Uncomfortable Airbnb Experience in California

I booked an Airbnb for the first time for a recent two-week stay in the Los Angeles area. I was messaging the female host who sounded pleasant but upon arrival was greeted by her “boyfriend” who I was never even told lived there. He helped me with my luggage and I was taken to my room. I was never greeted by my host, saw her in the flesh or spoke to her in person. I started to question if she was even real. The boyfriend told me to keep quiet to the neighbors about him as he wasn’t on the lease. The whole thing felt sketchy and I was a woman traveling alone. There was no way I was going to stay there for one night, let alone two weeks, so I left and got a hotel. I called Airbnb, told them that I did not feel safe and that the listing was not as advertised which they seemed understanding about. I am now in a dispute with the company and had the full prepaid amount of nearly $1000 reversed from my bank as the case was being disputed.

Today I received a letter that I lost the dispute because of the Airbnb reservation policy and will only receive a partial refund of about a third of what I prepaid. I was in the room for less than one hour and their policy includes you must be greeted by the host. This is ridiculous and I am looking into small claims court. Has anyone else experienced something similar? This service came highly recommended to me by friends who both host and others who have been guests. I am beyond disappointed with this experience and being told I’m obligated to pay for a misrepresentation of the service being offered. All hosts should have to supply documentation of other residences and have a formal letter from their landlord or coop that they are allowed to host.

Giving up on Airbnb after Colorado Stay

There was dust, dirt, bugs, pet hair, cat poop, and an odor throughout the house. I told the host before I booked that I was allergic to pets and she said it would not be an issue. This was not true as the pet hair, dander, and poop smells had me wishing I had only booked one night and not five. I wanted so badly to be staying back in the two-star hotel from my first night. I did Linsey (the host) the favor of feeding her neglected and emaciated old cat with what little food she had available for him. When there was no cat food remaining, I used cans of fish at my expense to feed the poor creature. I also shoveled the driveway and sidewalk to help out more. The listing stated there was one room available. I was surprised by a strange man she concealed from me who came out of the basement. Apparently, Linsey had been renting the basement out to some random person. She told me she did not tell me because he was supposed to leave on the second day of my five-night stay. This was another lie from Linsey. The man returned on my last night. He is a permanent resident of her basement. Any travelers should be made aware that there will be another man here during there stay.

One of the host’s male friends who was over one night also drank one of my beers, so a guest can expect his or her food and beverages not to be secure as well if staying there. If you are good with pet allergies, uncleanliness, an unfriendly, nitpicking, irresponsible, and demanding host, a surprise strange man in the basement, and the police being called on you, then by all means stay here. Linsey was very quick to answer requests. I thought her quickness would translate into a good stay. This was not the case. I had expected Leslie to be friendly from her posting. She was not friendly nor willing to interact with me. Linsey kept sending me unwanted texts about the lights in the house, and accused me of not “respecting her house energy policy” by leaving a 15-watt fluorescent bulb on in the upper hallway at night. I thought that with the money a guest spends, one would not have to stay in a house of darkness.

I was a little late checking out. Linsey did not bother to contact me by text or phone as she had done so many times before about trifling things that should have been no issue, but she did manage to call the police to assist me in my check out. What I had expected from the posting and her promptness to be a friendly, peaceful, and relaxing stay, turned out to be a truly trying ordeal with an irresponsible and meddling host. I do not recommended anyone stay at her place. The host was dishonest, nitpicking, and unfriendly. She put my personal safety in jeopardy while at the same time I kept her place clean, shoveled her driveway, and fed her neglected cat. The location in Longmont was good, but I would highly recommend against staying here. For some place that was advertised as “420 friendly,” Linsey calling the cops on her guest was very unfriendly and very much not cool. She put me in jeopardy to satisfy her own crazy mental disorder. Based on this experience with Linsey’s house, I will no longer be using Airbnb.

Airbnb Construction Holiday in Palm Springs

My daughter and I have taken a yearly road trip to Palm Springs during Spring Break for the last four years. Last March, we rented a 3-bedroom and 2.5-bath townhouse in a small gated development just a block off Palm Canyon Drive. It was a two-story building, so I took the master bedroom upstairs and my daughter took the bedroom on the main floor so she wouldn’t keep me up all night watching TV. I was awoken on the first morning by what I sleepily dreamed was a cleaning crew giving someone maid service. I wondered why they were cleaning a room at 7:00 AM and realized I wasn’t in a hotel and the noise was above my head on the roof. Workers were redoing the asphalt. We had rented this condo for seven days and four mornings were ruined by the workers. We even woke on the third morning of work to find plastic sheeting was covering the entire patio. Because our access to the carport was through the patio gate, we couldn’t drive away.

I’m easy going, but after being awakened three mornings in a row before 7:00 AM, my daughter asked if we could go elsewhere. I did not want to move everything (clothes, food, liquor, a 42″ flat screen to replace the analog TV shown in the pictures, and an Apple TV), so I rented a room for her at the Hard Rock, while I stayed in the condo. I was going there to use the pool and to go out with my daughter. After renting the hotel room, I texted the property manager to tell her I would like a partial refund of the $1800 I had paid for six nights, and to tell her the wifi had been out since the previous night, meaning I had no TV or Internet. She immediately got an attitude with me. She asked why I had waited “so long” to tell her about the workers. I told her it was because I was a property owner and knew that things can happen, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped it was short-lived. However, by the third day I was getting really annoyed and knew the owners knew about it, because the Homeowners Association had sent letters to each owner several months earlier, as required by law (I spoke to some neighboring owners). She said the owners lived in another state and she would get back to me after she talked to them.

By the fifth day I had a large amount of video evidence regarding the level of noise. Pounding, dragging, pressure washing, etc. at 6:30-7:00 AM lasting until 5:00 PM. I had video of the back door covered in plastic, the back patio still blocked, and the grill and patio furniture, which was unusable. She finally responded, but only after we arrived home, to inform me the owners felt they could have stopped the workers if I had made an immediate complaint (right… the entire complex was being roofed, but one owner could have stopped it). She said because I waited until halfway through my stay I left them unable to do anything to assist me.

At that point my daughter told me to send a complaint with the attachment videos to Airbnb, which I did. After two weeks I received their response. “There was insufficient evidence for even a partial refund due to the timing of my complaint, but the property manager offered a 10% goodwill discount if I booked with them the following year.” As if it’s somewhere I would ever stay again. I think there are only two big property management agencies in Palm Springs and the property managers are all well known in the city. They all protect themselves and their paychecks by discouraging reporting with rude behavior. They delay complaints and give ridiculous explanations for why they can’t help you. Airbnb only makes money if it protects the hosts. Without hosts there are no travelers, therefore they will protect them before us. Especially the more expensive postings in popular destinations.

My First and Last Airbnb Stay, Accused of Damages

I graduated recently from school, and my parents were visiting me for graduation from outside of US. I decided to take them to Florida, and I booked my first Airbnb. Being a first timer on Airbnb, I was very cautious of everything. I tried to keep the entire house clean and tidy, and I tried to make sure I did not damage any part of the property. I won’t damage the property of anyone either now or in the future. My stay was good (not perfect, but nothing is, so I kind of ignored any small problems). I didn’t want to sound like a complaining guest; I didn’t know I could make complaints and get a refund (partial or full).

So here’s what happened. On my third day (last day, the day I checked out), I was washing the dishes in the kitchen sink of the property hosted by a shady couple. While doing that, I started the garbage disposer in the sink and within a moment, before I even realized what was happening, the plumbing below the kitchen sink broke and dirty water started to spill onto the floor. It could have caused an electrical short circuit as well as a fire. Anything was possible. I’ve attached the pictures of water coming out on floor. Then, I texted my hosts immediately. First, the woman told me that she would come and see what happened. Then, after some time, the guy called me and asked me what happened. I told him what happened and he was very calm after that. He said he knew what must have happened, as if he knew the plumbing was fragile. They also told me to put towels on the water and then leave the house; they would come and take care of the damage later.

I trusted them (my biggest mistake) and left the property. I was roughly four hours away from the property by car. I stopped at a gas station only to find out my hosts were demanding $200 in compensation for a broken pantry door (when did that happen?) They said that we broke the pantry door. If you think carefully, there is a connection. The plumbing was broken. They must have had to spend some money on the repairs. However, it was their fault, so they could not ask for money for that. Instead, they found another way out. If you look at the door, the wooden strips that are not present in the door are easily removable. They just removed them, took pictures, and filed a claim with Airbnb. There were slots to put the strips in or remove them if required. And it worked. Airbnb asked me to pay $152 in the end, because the hosts were so called “superhosts” and I was just a recent graduate staying at an Airbnb for the first time. Now it was their word against mine, and I lost.

If they had asked me for another $100 while booking the property for any legitimate reason, I would have given them that money. But, in this case, they falsely implicated me. My parents traveling 9500 miles to see me were not visiting their property to damage it. If we had damaged it or if there were any accident, we would have told them promptly. To add to that, when I gave a bad review of the property, the host used the weapon of good reviews and ratings they had in past(as I expected them to do), to say my claim was false a and make themselves feel secure. When you are so good at hosting, you can get away with doing one wrong thing so easily by pointing at all the previous good karma. That is what they did and victimized me.

I know some of you readers may find them right and more credible than me, but remember: you could also be in my place someday if you do not take enough care. I should have demanded the host walk me through the property at check-in and check-out so I could have confronted them easily if they said anything was damaged, but they used clever planning to avoid doing so, so that they could later blame me. My family and I were pretty much shocked and saddened by what happened. I quit Airbnb and will not return.

A few things went wrong or felt odd during my visit. These so called superhosts did not walk me through the property at check-in and check-out. I did not get sufficient information on how to get around the house and operate appliances; I had to figure it out myself. It would have been best to walk guests through the house at check-in and check-out so that host could have made guests aware of any pre-existing damages and any problems the host may have found at the time when guests walk out of the property. Because they filed a claim four hours after we left, I could not go back to the property to verify anything. To top it off, as Airbnb says, if the host and guest cannot reach an understanding, hosts can go to the Airbnb resolution center. However, this host did not contact me at all; he went straight to the resolution center. They didn’t talk to us directly before reporting the damage to Airbnb, because they were super liars.

The property was immensely dark in and around at the time of check-in. It was very frightening because when I lit the house I found some chameleons walking on the grass and trees around the house. The pantry door, shown in the picture above, was perfectly in the good shape, except one wooden strip below the door knob was not placed properly in its slot on the right side. The kitchen had empty chocolate wrappers (that’s how much cleaners attended to the property) and a rotten apple. My mother was this close to eating it, but fortunately, she decided to cut it in two pieces before she ate it and she found that it was rotten. The kitchen was not complete: there was no single appliance with its lid, so when I wanted to cook rice, I couldn’t. The soap bottles and shampoo bottles were almost empty. And they were Suave, which is very cheap. Everyone knows that. The lowest quality soaps were purchased to show the host didn’t care about guests and wanted to maximize his profit. The water pressure in the shower in the bathroom was also very low, equivalent to the gardening bucket we used to water the plants. Despite so many problems I did not want to complain, but I should have done it. Since it was my first stay, I was unaware of all the ins and outs of the Airbnb. Now I have decided not to continue using Airbnb but to book a regular hotel next time I need to go somewhere. If I can afford four days with Airbnb and two days in a regular hotel, I will still go with a hotel. At least there won’t be insecurity and frustration of being falsely implicated for damages which I never caused.

Long-Term Airbnb, Keeping their Standards Low

I moved out on January 5th from a three-month lease with Airbnb’s permission by letting them know that I wanted to move out. They said if the host decided to refund me for the days I didn’t stay I could get my money back. After I spoke to the host, she agreed and I moved out. Once I moved out, the host conveyed to Airbnb that it was a miscommunication and refused to pay me back for the days I didn’t stay there. During the course of this battle I never mentioned how bad my stay was so they even removed my review from the host’s page after threatening me for not having documentation. The house where I lived had a rat infestation and there were more people in the house than what was mentioned – all men who smoked. I was exposed a large amount of secondhand smoke as a result. I mentioned this in my review and stated why I hated the stay instead of mentioning about the lack of a refund. To this, the case manager who constantly harassed me finally took down my review even when I asked her to confirm the unsanitary rat infestation with the host. All this was when I only made a rough draft of review that wasn’t even posted. This makes me wonder to which how many people Airbnb is doing this. How many reviews are they censoring, tweaking, falsifying, and into how many unsanitary conditions are they letting the naive customers walk? There needs to be some sort of New York state regulation against this kind of behavior and unacceptable business model.

Airbnb Screws Guests with Refund Policy

I’ll keep it short. I had a place reserved for a month on Airbnb and the host (Laila) did not have the apartment ready. She told me that she would give me a full refund, but then decided to change her mind that night. That was on a Friday night. She kept telling Airbnb that she would let my family and I stay (my wife and I have a two year old), but would ever answer our calls. Finally, after three days in a hotel, Airbnb cancelled the reservation on her behalf and gave us a full refund. That was on Sunday night. They did not take the word of the guest at all, only what the host said.

As Laila was not ready, I reserved another place in a last-minute situation to get my family somewhere to stay for the month. When I arrived at the apartment I asked the host if he was allowed to rent to me, and he said he wasn’t but that it was ok because he had just bought a house. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable with that, and to please cancel the reservation. He told me no, and to get out of his apartment. After he kicked my family and me out, I called Airbnb to explain. They then cancelled the reservation on my behalf, without my permission, and gave me a $2 refund on $2350. I called his apartment complex to confirm that he was not allowed to rent, and they provided me with the portion of the lease saying that he is not allowed to sublease or use online rental sites.

I let Airbnb know and sent them the portion of the lease, but they said that I needed to provide his full lease with his name and address. Seriously? They know that I can’t provide anything other than the contact information for the apartment complex so that they can reach out. I’ve been going back and forth with them for over a week, and they gave me an 80% refund, but at this point it’s looking like he’ll keep $600. Now I have to go through the process of filing a claim with my credit company in the hopes that their lawyers can resolve it. If you have the option, do not use Airbnb. There are other sites like HomeAway and VRBO that will provide you with a much better service, and offer protection for this exact situation.

Airbnb’s Complete Lack of Oversight: Dirty Homes

My husband and I booked an Airbnb, for the first time ever, to travel from Eastern Canada to spend two weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona. We arrived only to find the property in a deplorable, filthy condition. I don’t mean dirty; I mean filthy. There was urine and dried feces on the toilet and pubic hair in the sinks. The bedding had not been changed and the pillows, instead of being white, were a golden brown, as were the stains on the bed covering. The carpeting, which was suppose to be tan, was a dirty mess of brown and black. There were dirty dish cloths and open food containers in the kitchen. One of the bedrooms had an air mattress.

After complaining to the host, who was leasing in violation of her Homeowners Association, she tried to tell us that the cleaner had come to clean the house, her water broke, and she had to leave to have a baby. Really… she was nine months pregnant and cleaning? Our host also told us that she had moved to San Francisco; however, when I texted her that the house was dirty, she showed up five minutes later to say that the house wasn’t bad, she tried her best and continued to tell us that she would pray for us. Being thousands of miles away from home with no place to stay, we did not need someone praying for us; it all felt more than a little weird.

I have been trying to resolve this issue with Airbnb; however, they say that they are not responsible for refunds, if the host does not agree to a refund. How can this be? Do they allow anyone to list their properties? People with questionable hygiene, sexual perverts, murderers? Is there no obligation on the part of Airbnb to screen hosts, ensure properties meet a certain standard, and ensure the safety of guests? Have you tried getting ahold of anyone at Airbnb? Just finding a phone number for them is like trying to pull hen’s teeth and they don’t have any. I have learned a very valuable, expensive lesson from Airbnb and I would like to pass on to those considering renting through them: don’t do it. Use VRBO or HomeAway.

Rittenhouse Square Filthy Philadelphia Airbnb

I recently stayed at an Airbnb in Philadelphia. It was so disgusting: black mold in the shower and urine stains on the sofa. The window to the fire escape did not lock. I had my family with me. It was New Year’s Eve weekend. We bravely stayed for one evening. I thought I would wake up with bed bugs. I contacted the host the day we arrived multiple times. He was very responsive. I contacted him again in the morning asking for a refund because his place was just so filthy and unsafe. He said he’d refund me. He’s not so responsive anymore. Two weeks later, and I’m still waiting. Airbnb customer service said to read over the cancellation policy. I guess they don’t care what type of accommodations their hosts offer. I will never, ever, use Airbnb again. Unbelievable.

Misleading, Dodgy Host Protected by Airbnb

In order to allow our son to stay with us in New York, we foolishly responded to an Airbnb posting describing a quiet, modern, spacious and well-appointed apartment. We were due to move in early in the evening after returning from New Year’s in Boston. Perhaps the first clue was a request not to tell other apartment owners that we were paying guests. When we arrived we found a dark, old, ground floor apartment, on the street. We could hear people talking outside and traffic noise. There was a stupefying smell of bleach, mould in the bathroom, and a living area dominated by a fridge with no extra room. The flooring was old and dirty, the blinds were broken, and there was a general sense of disrepair. We stayed long enough to survey the disaster and then checked back into a hotel in which we had previously stayed. We immediately reported our concerns to the host who simply denied everything. We reported the issues along with photographs to Airbnb. Despite numerous phone calls we had little response until today when our case manager informed us that our request for a refund had been denied. So we are $4,500 out of pocket with nowhere to go. This appalling organisation needs to be stopped immediately.

Ants and Poor Maintenance Ruin Airbnb Holiday

I rented a four-bedroom house in Reno from Christmas to January 1st. My daughter, husband, granddaughter, and two nephews were staying here with me to attend my other daughter’s wedding December 30th. When I arrived at the house, it was clearly dirty: poorly made beds, food and ants on the floor and counter. I emailed the host through Airbnb and listed the items. He sent over his mother-in-law and friend to address the issues. She was on an oxygen tank. I left for the day and when I got back, the bathrooms were still dirty, the sinks still did not drain, and I found ants all over the kitchen floor. I took pictures and used the host’s personal email to send them and complain again about the ant problem. He never responded. I sent him another email a day later asking for a $400 refund since he was not addressing the ant issue. He never responded. After dealing with the ants constantly, we could not leave a soda can on the counter, or a crumb of food anywhere without the ants swarming.

I filed a complaint with Airbnb seeking half of my money back. I paid $1936 for the week and asked for $1000 back. They took several days to get back to me and I had already returned home when they contacted me. Customer service asked for more pictures, which I sent, and called me back a few hours later. They said that the resolution was now closed and the guest agreed to refund the $120 cleaning deposit. I said that was not even close to compensating me for the amount of time we spend cleaning and killing ants. They told me I would be banned from Airbnb if I disputed the charge, that there were other arbitrators who would do the same if I disputed it again. They advised I should have left if it was that bad. I reminded them that this was over New Year’s in Reno and the hotels were charging a premium. Getting three hotel rooms and moving all our stuff was not an option for our family. She offered me $75 off a future stay, to which I said “No thanks.”

I am waiting to hear back on my second resolution complaint. I have never spent $276 per night and had to deal with ants constantly. I am appalled at my first resolution. I have also seen my review, which was censored and cut in half, while they left the host’s review, twice as long. He personally attacked me saying I was a dissatisfied type of person looking for problems. Trust me, I didn’t have to look far to see ants all over our food and drinks. I did purchase something to unclog his sinks, set out ant traps, and thoroughly cleaned the bathrooms myself. I feel extremely let down by this experience. If this had been a hotel and ants destroyed our food and drinks, they would take a much better approach at compensating a guest for their stay. I will update this when I hear back regarding my second resolution complaint.