Airbnb first said this house we rented last summer was a four bedroom. One of the so-called bedrooms was a half room, with no door and a crib and air mattress inside the alcove; that’s all it was, an alcove. Then we had this flood, which had something to do with the huge construction site two doors down. My daughters were bathing in the upstairs bathtub and when we let the water out, all the water from the toilet in the powder room came flooding up – black water and everything. When we arrived you could see it had happened before as the wood tiles in that bathroom were curling up and jagged. We had to vacate the house which was not easy as we were in high season. We contacted the owner who sent a plumber but we did not see him until he knocked at the door and said we were all good; the blockage was in the street. In the dispute they would not declare who the plumber was, nut Airbnb and our host blamed us and charged us 1000 USD. Beware using Airbnb; try any other good options as an alternative to these bandits. Happy Travels!
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.
This is the review I left on the host’s page:
I stayed for an hour. When I met Jason to pick up the key, which he was in a hurry to do so he could go watch a football game, he invited me and my under-21 kids to come back and “kick it” with him. He talked and talked about his job and how he broke his hand punching the wall. The bathroom had cockroaches as did the room I was going to stay in. The room is right next to the street so you hear all cars and anyone walking by. Around 8:00, in he came with a friend laughing, talking and turning the TV on very loudly. There is no trash can in the bedroom which I feel is needed. The entire home is very dirty with paint peeling, dirt and dust. My hour here was a nightmare!
This is the host’s reply…
First of all, I want to say that I take great care and effort in hosting Airbnb travelers in Charleston. This review is a slander in order to get a refund where this traveler ended up staying with one of their kids attending CoFC. I offered a complimentary bottle of champagne of which I do to some guests upon their arrival. The distortion of relayed information on how I broke my hand unloading my DJ equipment off a stage the night prior is in no ways hitting a wall, first and foremost. I have never even seen a cockroach on my property and considering the traffic my house sees with guests it gets cleaned daily. No trashcan in the bedroom is a first for a complaint [for this property] which has almost 50 great reviews… The timelines don’t even match up with an hour there when her check in was earlier and I never even saw her after check in. I really hope this isn’t a common practice with this Airbnber with her check ins abroad as it is wrong to a host to do such practices and falsify information. I took the high road and decided not to even leave a review for this Airbnber.
As of November 2016, I have sent numerous requests to the “Resolution Center” to no avail. I am now in contact with our company’s legal department.
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.
We booked our stay through Airbnb to stay in a “well kept house overlooking Park City main street” in Utah. The host was listed as Felicia. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The host acted completely crazy from the beginning. We should have cancelled our trip. We booked from December 28, 2016 to January 4, 2017. We thought we might have to leave a couple days early due to work but because of the cancellation policy we figured we would just have to absorb the extra days or my mother would stay on with my 3-year-old goddaughter. Regardless, the house was supposed to be ours until January 4th. The host said, “well I will get the next owners to come a day early and if you watch my dog I will knock off another day.” We said sure. Then she said there is no phone number for Airbnb and that she couldn’t get them to give us our refund via email. It sounded weird. She said she didn’t get paid from Airbnb until after our stay but she would leave us cash for the refund in the house. After talking to Airbnb they said they pay their hosts the day the renters arrive. The first lie she told; they just started stacking up.
We were driving from Los Angeles. Not a short drive. On our way into Park City, Felicia texted that her dog has major anxiety and can’t be left alone. Because of this, she would keep the dog for a couple days and then wanted to meet with us at her house to hand over her dog for the other four days and the refund, as she had promised. She had told us previously that she was going to Santa Monica the same day that we were arriving and so to be sure to get to the house in a timely fashion to take Jude, her dog, out. Why hadn’t she left to go to California? Why was she still there? She said maybe she should just keep her dog and not give us our refund for either day. We said this would be fine; at this point we were already thinking that this situation was getting weird and we really just wanted to stay clear of her. I do not like dishonest people and we had already caught her in several lies. When we rent we don’t want to meet hosts. We just want to have a family vacation.
We finally arrived at the house and it all began. I had to use the bathroom as soon as we walked in. I sat on the toilet and the whole thing started wobbling; it was not attached to the floor. I am not a big person, so for me to be able to wobble the whole toilet meant it was extremely unstable. I looked at the back of the bathroom door and there was a big hole in it. I immediately took a photo with my phone and texted it to Felicia. She said that she knew about it and that her maid had been there. She also said that the people before us were big partiers and had left the house a mess, so much so that the neighbors had to call the police. Nothing was adding up. She had told me on the phone that she had been at the house since June and needed to get away from the snow. It just went on and on as I went through the house. The house smelled like cigarettes. She said there was no smoking allowed yet there were no fewer than three ashtrays in the kitchen. There were exposed electrical outlets that actually pulled up and out of the floor when someone unplugged something, and both the balcony doors would not lock. We found those two things out because our three-year-old let herself out onto the 3rd floor balcony after we thought the doors were dead bolted. The host said she knew about that too but thought the maid had fixed the door. There was a cracked window pane.
Everything in the house from the floors to every single dish in the kitchen was filthy. Every dish, glass, and utensil was old. It looked like things that had been used in the 1970s. We started cleaning. We stripped the beds and the master bed still had clothes on it: a black shirt, pants, and undershirts. We got into the house at about 4:00 PM on the 28th and were cleaning until midnight. Nothing ever felt clean. Even the things we washed came out with hair all over them. The gas valve in the fireplace was all eroded. The master bath shower didn’t drain so you couldn’t take a shower very long or it would overflow. We documented everything and contacted both Airbnb and the host. The host offered to send over a handyman and she wanted to come with him. Why was the host trying to get in the rental so badly? This was the second time she tried to come in while we were there; it was extremely intrusive. We had just arrived. We really wanted to just have a family vacation. She had been there for months. Why were we supposed to wait around for the repairman and then the repairs on our dime?
We took pictures and sent them to both the host and to Airbnb. We said why don’t you just refund us our money $4700.00 (not cheap) and we will leave. Our vacation had already been ruined. We were uncomfortable and did not feel that it was a safe environment for our three-year-old or our twelve-year-old. They said we did not have enough documentation and would do nothing. The host called us liars even though she admitted to knowing about most of the things we documented. She harassed us by texting me constantly not only through Airbnb email but through her personal email. The final straw was on New Year’s Eve when my husband went to get wood out of the garage. He found mouse droppings and saw a mouse scurry towards the door into the house.
We left New Year’s Day and drove twelve hours back to Los Angeles. We had paid for the house until January 4th. I knew the host wanted to come back to the house because she had lied about leaving town. She knew that we might be leaving on January 2nd. She would not give us a dime back so I told her that she couldn’t return to the house until the 4th. She called me January 2nd like clockwork knowing that we may be leaving early. She called saying that it was obvious we had already left because there were no tire tracks out the garage and it had been snowing. How did she know that? Had she been watching us? When I said it was none of her business whether we were there or not because we had paid until January 4th. She called again lying about a window being open and that she wanted to go into the house and close it. There were no windows open. You couldn’t even open the windows. We were afraid to open the master window because of the cracked window pane. Which was the window she claimed was open?
She said she was going in with a police escort. She didn’t bring the police. She just went in and stayed at her house while we paid for it. That is theft; we paid for the house until January 4th. Why would she go inside and not at least give us back the money for the three days she is staying in the house? Airbnb said they would not respond to any of our questions or concerns anymore and that as far as they were concerned, the case was closed; they would not be refunding any money to us. We talked to three customer service representatives, all to no avail. Airbnb and Felicia are thieves. I was traveling with my mother, husband, twelve-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. This host is actually trying to blame all these things on us now. We started documenting problems within five minutes of entering the property. How could any of these problems be caused by us? She called us liars and said that she is putting us on some sort of renters blacklist. We have been manipulated, scammed, lied to and treated worse than I have ever been treated. We have been coming to Park City for winter break for ten years and used to love it there. I do not think we will ever be back. Felicia and Airbnb have not only ruined our vacation but our tradition.
Does anyone know of any recourse? We are so upset.
I didn’t want to repeat my entire nightmare, but I do not wish this drama upon anyone. This was the nightmare before and after Christmas. We feel very upset about all the effort we have made to try and accommodate this family. So here is the letter I have written to them instead of an entire story.
I hope you are having a wonderful day. From the beginning you have made it very difficult for us, firstly by arriving earlier than the time you said you would. When we tried to reach you to confirm what time you would be arriving, we were unable to get a hold of you and then you arrived two hours earlier. You left your bags outside for my friend and I to carry inside even after we told you it would rain. We have driven four hours both ways in traffic to come and remove a field mouse from the house over Christmas and our only holidays. As we have stated before, we do live in the Kogelberg Biosphere, a very sensitive and fragile environment. We do have animals passing through our property, including three-striped field mice, baboons, leopards, mongooses, and many species of birds. This has always been something our guests have loved about our home. For you to have put poison down disturbs this natural habitat (and risks killing our endangered owls). When traveling to Africa, things like this happen. These animals’ behavior are beyond our control. This is why people choose to live in my home – to be closer to nature. We do not have vermin in our home as you have suggested. We have a little field mouse that frequents the house.
This is our second time hosting with Airbnb and we were not prepared for these circumstances: namely, your son’s musophobia. You have insulted our home, and accused us of having vermin. You have ruined our Christmas with your complaining and making us drive back. Each time we have driven back to the house, you told us repeatedly that you are happy in our home and all we need to do is remove the mouse (which we still haven’t seen). You have caused us to damage our own property in search of an invisible “mouse nest”. We have cracked a hole in to my cupboard to show you that there is nothing there. We have offered as much help and assistance as possible and each time you have told us everything is fine.
We are very upset that two days before you have to leave, you now suggest that we must refund you or give you a discount. When we asked whether you were satisfied you answered “yes”. Had you brought this to our attention earlier we may have been able to come to another arrangement. However, we are very close to the end. You have stayed over peak season in our home, we have gave up our Christmas to come, help you, make sure everything is okay, and spend a lot of our time and money in doing so. We are not talking about a dirty rat, vermin, or a plague. We are talking about a little field mouse that has never before caused any problems or made himself visible when we or other guests have stayed in our home. We are happy for you to contact Airbnb as we will be doing the same. We do not wish for anyone else to endure what we have over their holidays or festive season. Unfortunately, we cannot poison the animals that live in the garden as we are at the foot of a nature reserve and with this come animals that may come into the house by accident. I have suggested that if you are so unhappy, we can collect the key. You have chosen to stay on.
Upon arriving to a home which was promised to be cleaned and ready for use, we found many items that could have potentially hospitalized or kids or worse. Prescription drugs (EpiPen in paper box) were left on an open shelf on a nightstand and picked up by my three year old. Used razors in the shower were also easily accessible by a toddler, along with melted bars of soap to add to the grotesqueness. Open containers of alcohol were in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. Used tissues were stuffed into a seemingly new box, discovered by my 13 year old who needed a tissue and discovered a box full of dirty used tissue trash. Expired food (some from October) was in the fridge we were supposed to be able to use. The oven was greasy with stains that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years. Snow and fog prevented us from leaving the same night since we arrived late and discovered these issues late. Upon requesting resolution from Airbnb, they said the host had a strict cancellation policy and everyone has different opinions of what is considered safe/dangerous and clean. So they were suggesting we pay for something that we didn’t use and could have killed my kids. Airbnb needs to know their contracts should include verbiage that covers basic child safety requirements when hosts offer homes to families with children. Their staff should be instructed how to read and understand their own cancelation policy, which states if a home is unclean and unsafe that is concerned a legitimate reason for initiating a refund. How that is pushed as a matter of opinion or open for interpretation I don’t understand.
We booked with Airbnb for a family business trip at a farm. The pictures online looked charming and cozy. We pulled up the driveway to see three vicious looking pit bulls surrounding our vehicle barking incessantly. The owner was nowhere in sight and two of our children were so petrified of the dogs they refused to leave the vehicle. After we pealed them off the seats and as we met the host, on our way to the house ,she announced that the cold water wasn’t working properly. We walked in the door and were slapped in the face by this potpourri odor, filling the house like a pungent fart. We started to walk through the house and noticed cell phones propped up on their window ledges. One pit bull started barking as it followed us through the house. As we went up the stairs the dog upchucked. The stairs were steep, uneven, winding, and had no handrails; it felt like we were going up into an attic.
We stood outside the bedroom doors as the host was talking. Meanwhile the dog started barking again, upchucking yet again on the floor. As we entered the room the host mentioned that the overhead light was broken and that we had to stand on the futon bed to screw the bulb in and out to get any light. None of this is a joke. They said that they had a TV, but it wasn’t set up, just connected to a DVD player; they don’t believe in watching television. They listed they had an iron, but they have no ironing board (they don’t iron clothes) and the only place to iron was on their kitchen table being used as a poker table that night. They agreed our family of seven could stay when they had four in their own family and only one shower available for 11 people. The master bedroom had no door knob, and there were no blinds or shades for the windows. Next we noticed the window wide open in the bedroom when it was 30 degrees outside. There were no sheets on the bed as she was still drying them.
She proceeded to tell us that there is no landline phone and if we need to call from our cells, we must prop them up on the window ledge and place on speaker phone. Nice private calls; there must have been a trick to it as we never figured it out. By the way, they never lock their doors… ever. At that point we began to think we were either going to be the next episode of Criminal minds or that John Quiñones would jump out announcing “What Would You Do?” and we’d all have a great laugh.
That didn’t happen. Instead we tried to remain positive until we shut the window to attempt to MacGyver a phone call. It was then that it all started coming clear to us why exactly there was this strong odor of potpourri wafting through the air. I sat on the bed, and instantly smelled the noxious – and I mean noxious – odor of dog breath. I seriously think the dogs took residence upon the bed we were about to sleep. I looked at my husband and he said, “Grab your stuff everyone, we’re getting out of here!” We shoved our stuff in our pillow cases and ran for the car. Thank God there was a Holiday Inn down the road. We literally hugged the bed in appreciation of getting out of that situation alive. When we originally pulled in, we saw they had a bonfire going. We now wonder if they were burning the bones of their last Airbnb guests and if the dog was throwing up his victim meal from the night before…
I travelled to Paris for three nights in October 2016 with my three children. It was supposed to be a dream vacation. I was so excited to stay in the “Romantic Suite Saint Germain des Pres.” I have been a huge Airbnb fan, spending over $5000 in 2016 alone with the platform (as Airbnb customer service explained to me). We are a large family, and we had never had a bad experience with Airbnb. In fact, I was promoting the site among friends and family. I felt very hip to be using the service. We arrived at the flat, and it was slightly disappointing, in the way that you realise that the photos were staged expertly showing the best possible angle. Our host did not meet us; he sent his cleaner instead.
The flat could have been cleaner, and had a strange odor. However, with three kids waiting to see Paris, I didn’t think to complain immediately or call Airbnb for help. I kept telling myself: “it will be fine.” On the last morning in the flat, my son woke up with bites on his thumb, two on his ear, and one on his face. In 40 years of international travel, I never encountered bed bugs. I was horrified, but again – we had only an evening flight; I had to get through the day. Our host told me we had to be out by 11:00 AM but could leave our bags until 3:00 PM.
We came back at 3:00 PM, and the flat stank. There were strange black spots on the bathroom floor, the cleaner had not yet arrived, and, with a bit of help from Google, it became clear to me that the flat had telltale signs of an bed bug problem. I contacted the host from the airport. He didn’t respond until 24 hours later. I then called Airbnb customer service. I spoke with “Jeffrey M.” who told me that I should stop talking and “hear him out.” I realized quite quickly in the conversation that a 20-year-old dude working the phone lines in California has not a clue in this world what it’s like to be a 40-year-old mom travelling in Europe with three children aged 6, 8 and 10 and having this experience.
I asked for a refund. Jeffrey laughed, and told me that in the history of Airbnb that never happened. He asked me to send photos – which I did – and promised to follow up with the host. Jeffrey read from his script, “I, too, travel with Airbnb and understand your frustration.” I grew up in Arizona, I can smell SoCal tripe when I hear it. The speech had all the buzzwords of empathy, but no admission of fault and no promise to resolve anything. The next day, the host finally answered, and told me that he believed there was absolutely no problem with his flat. He refused to return any funds at all. No apology, nothing. He did offer me a discount if I were to come back for a five-night stay, and suggested that perhaps my son had been “bitten during the day.”
He showed a total lack of understanding for how bed bugs operate and didn’t seem keen on finding out if his flat had them or not. He also didn’t seem to give a care in the world about what it’s like to wake up with your child covered in bites. He suggested that there could not be bed bugs because “only one of you was bitten.” With the help of Google, I now know that to be totally false. The story gets better, though!
I tried to contact Airbnb through their Twitter handle, @AirbnbHelp. I figured maybe Jeffrey M. is just a bad apple, and maybe someone at Airbnb actually cares about customers who spend thousands each year with the company. At first, the Twitter chat was friendly; they promised to look into it, etc. I sent them all my photos, and screen shots of my conversation with the host. Then I got an email from Jeffrey. He wrote to accuse me of extortion, because I dared ask if I was allowed to write a review while my claim was being looked into. Jeffrey/Airbnb officially disabled me from being able to review the property.
I hadn’t reviewed it yet, as I’d read online that if you ask for a refund you shouldn’t write a review. Now the host will keep on making money, and other families will be exposed to the bed bugs. I was in a state of shock. Never in my life, not in the worst of all hotels, would this have happened. You would walk to the front desk, show the bites, ask for a refund, and would walk away compensated for the hassle. We arrived home at midnight, stripped the kids naked (literally) in front of our front door, put everything that had been in Paris in rubbish bags, and left them in the garage. I spent the entire next day washing and drying everything on the highest possible heat setting, and disinfecting our shoes and my handbag. The dry cleaning bill… a trip to the dermatologist with my son who confirmed my conclusion about the bites… the cost of this trip keeps growing even now that we are home.
I can only pray that I rid everything of any potential to bring the bugs into our own home. To be honest, that’s a thought I can’t even begin to deal with right now. After Jeffrey accused me of extortion, and removed my ability to review the property, the Airbnb Twitter chat popped up, and they confirmed that they are in full agreement with what my case manager has done. In other words, Airbnb took my money, doesn’t give a care in the world about my horrible experience, and worst of all doesn’t let me warn others to prevent it from happening again. Meanwhile, my host is still selling his fairy tale of romantic Paris.
I am, for once, left speechless. I studied at Harvard Business School. I know a bit about business models. So I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is how Airbnb rolls: ramp up as many as possible hosts & guests, generate as much as possible turnover – this in turn maximises valuation – take the whole thing public, then a few young guys who know nothing about family travel or normal people’s lives make themselves billionaires. There is no business reputation to protect. Airbnb isn’t like Marriott who cares if you come back again, or not. Airbnb isn’t a hotel replacement; it is just an online ghost, making a profit out of connecting customers (“guests”) with providers of a service (“hosts”). If either one of us gets screwed in the process, Airbnb doesn’t care. It just needs volume. It doesn’t need me to come back. It will find someone else to replace me, someone who hasn’t had a bad experience, someone who believes in the dream.
I too, believed in the dream, but now my feet are firmly back on the ground. I’m not going to shut up just yet, though. I’m going to write the owners of Airbnb, I’m going to contact journalists, and I’m going to get my story out there. My family’s trip to Paris was the quintessential European holiday gone wrong. It was so plain vanilla it could have been any of us. It will happen to someone else now, too, given that I can’t review the property and the host is still allowed to list. For the record, the Airbnb property is listed as “Romantic Suite Saint Germain de Pres” on Rue Gozlin, Paris, and in the photo you see two orange bar chairs by the kitchen. We spent $698 for a three-night stay in October 2016.
Thanks to the founder of this site, it is like therapy to find an outlet to share one’s story and know that I am not crazy and not alone. Being accused of extortion when complaining about a product or service? That is a first. Imagine if you go to the Gap to return a shirt which is ripped or stained and they accuse you of fraud? Imagine in a restaurant if your food has a problem, and the restaurant gives you the bill and forces you to eat the rotten food? Honestly, this new app economy is hilarious. Airbnb is nothing like an old fashioned bed and breakfast, where the owner would care about his reputation, and on a human level, about people too. Airbnb takes greed to a whole new level, and this is coming from the country which invented customer service.
I’m a recovering cancer patient and I went to Sarasota, Florida for respite and to look for a permanent home. I used to live close by there and enjoyed what the city had to offer in the art and culture areas. The efficiency apartment I thought I was renting for more than a month turned out to be a sort of converted single car garage without many of the listed amenities, i.e. pool view, Internet, el fresco table, privacy. Tiny windows were blocked by bicycles hung on hooks and there was no real entrance. Instead, there was a wooden gate with a padlock. The garage faced a storage shed, recycle bins, and a large lumber pile with critters. The shower was smaller than my son’s coffin. The host and his wife were very nice. If you want to be scammed, nice people do it in a charming way. There was a puppy (this was August 2016 so it may be a little bigger now) and two little children, not the one little child in the advertisement. The apartment was not across the street from a bus stop, and I don’t recommend that you stop here, period.