Host Refused Refund for Poorly Maintained Property

We booked a trip for ten nights in Barbados for my family of four. Upon arrival at the property, we heard hysterical dogs barking. The neighbor had a dog pen less than 30 yards from the house we were renting. The pen had about five dogs which spent every waking moment inside. When the host came about twenty minutes later to greet us, we expressed concern as we had a one-year-old who doesn’t do very well sleeping in new places, especially if dogs were barking aside. He told us that they would calm down. I wasn’t looking forward to our son and the rest of us being woken up at 1:00 AM to those dogs carrying on next door.

When we got settled into our tropical vacation cottage, we came to realize the place was filthy. Every piece of furniture was stained, and the floor hadn’t had a good mopping in weeks. I have pictures of our black feet. The kitchen was disgusting. One of the policies of Airbnb is that the properties must be clean, a policy they don’t care much about. There are even other reviews of the property (which we came across after the fact) pointing out how unclean this property is. The next day we asked to leave. We told the host about our issues. He said he had a little apartment in town that we could use, but the neighbors are less than desirable and it’s very tight quarters. He told us to think about it and contact him later.

We decided that we weren’t going to spend our 11-day vacation in some little dumpy apartment. We needed to be refunded and move on to another property through someone else. He told us via email that he wasn’t going to refund us anything. Airbnb asks that you place complaints within 24 hours; ours was placed 27 hours after check in. Keep in mind we’re in a foreign country trying to find a place to stay on very slow internet with two children. By 2:00 PM on the second day we found and paid for another property using Homeaway.com and then left. After returning home, we contacted Airbnb again for a refund, supplying a detailed account of our experience and about a dozen photos of the filth. After going through the process, which took three weeks, we were told that because we didn’t contact them within the 24-hour period there was nothing they could do, but they would refund us one night’s stay. We paid for ten.

We tried numerous times to contact Airbnb after this despicable explanation and were completely ignored. We never heard from them again. We were out $1200. Then we decided that since neither the host nor Airbnb were going to do anything for us after a three-week runaround, that it was time to leave a review. But no, you only have two weeks to do that. That’s right: if you don’t leave a review within two weeks of your check out date, your window closes. We got completely screwed out of $1200 and couldn’t even leave a review. This was the last time we’ll ever use this horrible, disgusting company again. What a horrible disappointment. Beware folks!

Four Families with Seven Children Kicked out at Midnight

My family and friends’ families were staying in State College, PA for the Blue and White Weekend. We arrived at the Airbnb rental property at 10:00 PM on Friday night. When we arrived, the owner showed us the house and strongly encouraged us all to use the hot tub, despite it being late. We stayed the night, did not enter the hot tub, went to the game the next day, and came back to the Airbnb rental around 6:00 PM. We then played with the kids, all under the age of five, in the backyard, ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and retired to the patio and hot tub for the night. My three-year-old daughter is scared of the dark, so my wife was rocking her to sleep on the patio with us. Some of us went to bed with the kids, some of us were wrapping up the night, and some were having nightcaps on the patio.

A couple of us got in the hot tub at the owner’s suggestion. The hot tub was so full of water that it overflowed with just one adult entering it. As others got in, it continued to overflow. We knew this was odd, but didn’t think anything of it. We were sure to keep proper care of the hot tub, as my dad owns a very similar hot tub that we have used in the same manner many times. Around 9:30 PM, my 62-year-old father walked around the house to make sure we weren’t too loud, as the sign asked us to keep it down after 9:30 PM, so we started to wind down around that time. After all, a person can only really stay in a hot tub for 15-20 minutes. My brother and his wife had already gone inside and another couple was already in bed asleep. At 10:00 PM, the the owner came out from behind some bushes and started screaming at us, telling us we were being too loud, it was past curfew, we were breaking the rules, and we were misusing the hot tub. He said we had to get out of the house right away and the cops had been called (at this point he had already called the cops himself and reported a noise violation). When my 3-year-old asked why he was yelling at us, he turned around and yelled at her, scaring her and causing her to cry.

The cops came and when they arrived, they actually thought they were at the wrong house because it was too quiet in the front driveway. We explained the situation to the police and the police pleaded with the owner not to kick us out. We even apologized, despite not doing anything wrong, and said we would go inside and head to bed as we had seven children sleeping in the house ages seven months to four years old. He would not take no for an answer and had the police forcibly remove us. He showed the cops a video, allegedly from the surveillance system (it is illegal to film someone without their consent in a private setting, let alone in bathing suits). The hot tub is surrounded by three walls and leads to a yard with an eight-foot privacy fence, making it more than reasonable to expect this area not to be under video surveillance.

The cops said they had never seen anything like this, but they had to ask us to leave. It was very traumatizing, especially to the kids, who kept asking why we had to leave, and my autistic sister,who was crying throughout the whole thing because they said we’d have to go to jail if we didn’t leave, and our kids would be given to child services. This is a traumatizing thing for a parent to hear, especially without being given a legitimate reason. We asked an officer and the owner to walk through the property so they could all see there were no damages to the household in any way. The owner chose not to walk through after all the guests were removed (he did storm to the door to go inside before we vacated and was stopped by the police). We have video evidence of the walk through along with pictures of how we left the house. For being kicked out at midnight, we left that house in pretty amazing shape.

According to the police, “officers cleared the call at 12:23 AM on April 23rd.” As for the hot tub’s condition, after the owner jumped out of the bushes and yelled at us, my father observed him close the hot tub, and everything was still working fine at that time, including the jets. There was no damage to the hot tub. The owner turned off the jets and placed the cover on. Several witnesses saw the jets working after the abrupt exit, the hot tub was 103 degrees when covered, and there were no drinks in the hot tub. The only difference was that there was less water, which is normal in any hot tub.

Now this traumatic incident has continued to disturb our lives with this fraudulent claim that we broke his hot tub. We exchanged words about the capacity rating of the hot tub and we informed him that my father has a similar model and we treated his hot tub the same as we treat his and did not misuse it. I think it is also worth noting that we were in one of the largest college towns in America; the parties of concern generally involve many college kids with extremely loud music and absurd amounts of alcohol.

We had a few 35-year-olds with a 62-year-old grandfather on a patio deck. We were kicked out in the middle of the night, packing toys, pack n’ plays, food, clothing and toiletries and loaded everyone into our vehicles for a two-hour drive home with our children. My 2-year-old was wide awake on the ride home and continued to ask: “Bye-bye? Why?” We did not get to our friends’ home until 3:00 AM, and our poor kids were tired, confused, and saddened. Not to mention traumatized because the owner yelled, screamed, was rude, and inappropriate through the whole ordeal. We are all shocked and stunned and are still suffering. There were no noise violations, no warning, and certainly no understanding or empathy for children. My friends’ wives and my sister were in tears because he was so out of control.

When we found out, he had been videotaping us in the hot tub as “surveillance,” we no longer felt safe. We called the police Sunday and the sergeant was very nice. He complimented us on how we handled the situation and even mentioned the guy tried to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police said, “the first officer arrived at the house at 10:15 PM and was met in the drive by the property owner. The officer did not hear any loud voices or music.”

The owner asked the police to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police did not witness anything that would warrant such charges and called the district attorney’s office to see if they could charge us with anything. The district attorney’s office told them we were doing nothing wrong. They called it a civil dispute in their report. This cop even apologized for having to do it, and said he would not have handled that as well as we did. We did not break any of the house rules. We did not have a party; we were not given a chance to vacate the patio by 10:00 PM, as his online house rules state, as he jumped out at 10:00 PM.

According to the police there is no noise ordinance for that area anyway. There were no rules anywhere about hot tub capacity or use. The owner then tried to open a claim against us on Airbnb for damaging the hot tub. His evidence is screen shots of random hot tub services, an invoice (which I have no doubt is fake), and his word. Looking through this evidence, I do not even understand where he is getting the number of $750 that he thinks we owe him. There are mostly screenshots of estimates from the internet. All of the screen shots of hot tub services/values prove nothing. There is one invoice, which our we believe is fraudulent. We believe this was fraud to exploit innocent families and children.

The invoice is also for cleaning the hot tub, which there was no need for. Airbnb ended up denying his claim because of the evidence we provided showing his claim was fraudulent and ruling in our favor. The owner and his friend were laughing as we carried our children from the house. I don’t know what kind of human being does this to kids and families. We have pictures and video evidence that we left the house in great shape despite being kicked out in the middle of the night. We tried to resolve this issue through Airbnb. Our first case was opened and seemed to be making good progress, but then communication stopped from Airbnb’s case manager. I called customer service and it turned out they closed our case for no reason. I reopened the case thinking it was a mistake. It took weeks to even get a response from them. I called every day for four weeks to check on the status and provided many pictures, police reports, and accounts of this story. On my final call I escalated the issue to a supervisor of the call center. The supervisor didn’t get on the phone and just relayed the message that the case had been closed. They did not give any reason or explanation as to why they closed the case, but offered to open another case, which I did. I still have received no response from Airbnb as to their handling of this. It is awful that they would let a host treat families like this with no repercussion. We will never use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Nightmare in Portugal with Children

We booked and paid for a pad for our family of seven including minors in Lagos, Portugal. With a confirmation and weekly reminders we were excited for the upcoming trip and stay. Finally, when we arrived at the reserved place there was no host or key. We were abandoned by Airbnb and literally on the streets of a foreign county with children who were worried and traumatized by the experience. Our 3:00 PM check in to a place after a long transatlantic trip never happened. Calling Airbnb was a total waste of time because they did not seem to care that we didn’t have a place to sleep. Airbnb cancelled our reservations to the place the following day. We were supposed to be staying in a place I had paid for all the way back in February. I will never use Airbnb again and if you have children I would advise you to be careful booking with them. They never answered my letter of complaint and that just proves how careless they are when it comes to customer service.

Dirty and Unsafe Airbnb for Vacation in California

This was my first trip to California. I have wanted to visit since I was a child, so for over 40 years. Now with the whole family – my wife and three teen daughters – it was about to come true. I was initially going to use VRBO which I have used with great success in the past but found what I thought was a great deal on Airbnb. Since I heard all the buzz about Airbnb, I thought I would give it a shot. What could the risk be with Airbnb behind me? Ha ha…

The fact that the apartment was in Downtown LA was some concern to me but not having been to California and in the excitement of the moment, I neglected to research just how much traffic there really is in the area; I will accept responsibility for that. Prior to booking I did repeatedly ask the host about the safety of the apartment and the surrounding area and was met with the response: “It will fit you perfectly.” Upon arrival, the initial impression of the complex was acceptable with a nice looking pool, architecture and grounds. However, once we began the ascent into the facility I began to have that sickening feeling when something just isn’t right. Musty odors and the smell of drugs were present as we walked the halls to the apartment. Once we entered I immediately tried to remain calm,though I was not pleased with the condition of the beige carpet, paint peeling off the walls, and a refrigerator containing old food.

Needless to say, below is what I wrote to our host and a representative after I decided to leave the following day. Yes, we stayed the first night as we were all exhausted after the seven-hour flight and fighting traffic to the apartment.

Hello Mike,

After some careful deliberation, we have decided not to stay in your rental due to the reasons listed below. As a result I would appreciate a refund for the balance of the days we will not be staying as even a cleaning will not make up for the fact that my daughters are uncomfortable with the environment and I don’t wish to subject them to the marijuana odors that waft through the halls or patio doors. I would appreciate your cooperation and will leave the keys with the concierge.

– Dirty, not cleaned well or recently

– Carpets are dark with dirt blotches and contained some sticky substances. I was afraid to remove my shoes.

– Old food in refrigerator and cupboards

– Smells of pot were frequent and loud neighbors stomping and slamming doors

– Unsafe surroundings not as described. My daughters were harassed outside the apartment even by pool area

– Sirens going several times throughout the night

– Dining seats are all stained, not appealing to enjoy a meal

– Food spillage down the kitchen cabinets and stove top dirty, making it unappealing to cook.

Following the above message to the host, I received a message from Nick at Airbnb who indicated that I had not followed Airbnb policy (when in fact I did, other than waiting around for the host to provide a resolution… with only five days available and the severity of the situation, this was not possible) and that I could open a refund request in the resolution center, which I had already done.

My response to Nick:

My first email was to Mike the Airbnb host, and I then opened a case with Airbnb within the 24-hour period as per the guidelines. Mike has rejected my refund request, following which I selected the option to involve Airbnb. As to finding a remedy, this situation was not able to be remedied in a timely manner as we are only in California for five days and it would be unreasonable to believe the apartment carpets and seating could be shampooed and other areas brought up to a clean standard in a reasonable time frame. Please review the pictures, as I am not sure anyone could clean what should have been done before even stepping foot in the facility. I was not about to put my family through this type of situation any longer than was necessary especially for Mike to come by to talk. The only resolution suitable would be a refund as these are distrustful and manipulative tactics simply to rent out his location. In addition, the safety factor is completely beyond the host’s means to correct, along with the elements of drug use; they are out of his control. My primary concern at this point is to ensure my family has a safe clean location to spend the rest of the short vacation in the time we have left. Had the host represented the location as not suitable for families this issue could have been avoided. I even questioned the safety of the location and was met with: “It will fit you perfectly.” I have used VRBO and hotels without issue in the past so this was a very stressful situation and caused me to seriously not trust Airbnb fpr future bookings, especially if there will be no support or protection for guests. Perhaps the host should have been more thoroughly vetted, as I would be shocked if any family would find this location acceptable. I have initiated the process to involve Airbnb and get a full refund.

Nick’s Response:

Hello Adam,

Thank you for your patience while I reviewed your case. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns and perspective on this experience. Based on the information provided, I have decided that any refund will have to come directly from Mike based on our refund policy which you can read upon within the previous email. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.

Best wishes,

Nick

So even after providing pictures as to the poor cleanliness of the apartment and the fact that my daughters were harassed – two conditions specified by Airbnb as reasonable – our request for a refund was still rejected. This issue is current as of April 26th, 2017 and I am still trying to fight it. Although with no response to my emails and no contact information for Airbnb as they don’t clearly list any means of reaching a representative or manager, it is tough. I do appreciate the contact information for Airbnb found on this site.

We Found Illegal Drugs in London Host’s Apartment

In April 2017, we rented a London flat via Airbnb. Our host was responsive and the flat was as advertised. However, my teenage son discovered a box under the sink (while looking for a sponge to do the dishes) that had illegal drugs (small amount of marijuana) and numerous smoking paraphernalia. The host had several locked cabinets with personal possessions, so we were distressed and upset at how careless he was to leave illegal drugs (marijuana is illegal in UK) in the flat. We weren’t going to make a big deal about it, but thought it was important that the host know. His response was disappointing: he immediately blamed his cleaning crew and then past guests for the drugs in his property. Our take was that this was too big a box for a traveller – likely international – to be flying around with. It was much less likely that a guest would travel with a big box like this, hide it in the flat, and then “forget” it when he checked out. Rather, it seemed obvious to us that the drugs, smoking papers, and other items belonged to the owner of the flat who forgot or didn’t care that they were there for guests to find. The host refuses to take any responsibility and has yet to respond to our complaint with the results of his “investigation”. We called Airbnb immediately upon our return to the US to file a complaint. It’s been nearly two weeks and there has been no response from Airbnb. I guess they don’t take illegal drugs in a host’s property seriously. We’ve attached a photo of what my son found… what do you think?

Superhost and Fellow Airbnb User Throws in the Towel

I was one of Airbnb’s greatest fans. I loved the service. I was both a Superhost and a regular traveler. I could not believe it when a last minute cancellation caused Airbnb to leave me stranded with my young children in a foreign city without any assistance. First, the case manager was unable to make outgoing calls. So, all she did was periodically send emails apologizing for all the trouble. In the meantime, I was on my own with my children waiting for an alternate reservation. It was like living through a bad dream all day long. Finally, I had to find my own hotel and paid a lot more than I was planning for a last minute reservation.

Airbnb will not do anything for you if you get into trouble with finding accommodation. All they do, at best, is reimburse you. By that point it’s too late to do anything. What you need is accommodation. They truly do not care about you or anyone else. Considering the fees they charge for bookings, they are pocketing all of the money and doing very little for those fees. I would not have believed it until it happened to me. As a result, I took my listing off Airbnb. There is no way I was going to take a chance that someone would trash my place. Now I knew Airbnb would do nothing to compensate me if something went wrong. I will not be fooled twice. I was stranded and they did not even help me get a hotel room. If someone trashed my place, I knew I would be on my own as well. This company cannot possibly last because eventually, something horrible will happen to all Airbnb users.

Airbnb Slumlord and Customer Service Torture me

I planned a trip to New York from Feb 23rd until May 31st. From the day I arrived the place was filthy. I brought my own linens and a shower curtain out of fear. Then mice and cockroaches started running through the place. We came home to a mouse just sitting on my son’s pillow. The fresh paint was a patch job and already caused mold to form. The heat didn’t work for three days. When it finally was turned on, the radiator was leaking and so loud you couldn’t even hear a person speak. The steam ruined the entire room, and the water caused the flooring to rot. My son must sleep in that room and the water shot all over our stuff.

I have now had to wait three different times for a repairman to come. This has messed up most of my days and the issue is still not fixed. A couple weeks after arriving, the hot water started turning off. I have had the city health department out here numerous times. Still, you never know when you can shower. For a month I tried to contact Airbnb; they always say a supervisor will call back. This of course never happens. I even sent pictures and explained about the mice. Still, there was no answer. I finally decided to do my own research. It was not hard to find who owned the building… the same guy who is our host. I Googled his name and his family is listed on the NYC worst landlord list. His mother was actually sued in court over being a slumlord.

Does Airbnb have no responsibility to at least investigate the product they are selling? They make money off me as well as the landlord, so does only the landlord deserve protection? I am now in fear of these people as Airbnb has notified them of my complaints. I wake up and, no hot water. He can now torture me if he wants. I just want out for my own safety. I feel there needs to be more responsibility or laws for Airbnb as they are making a fortune and do not have to comply with rules we apply to hotel owners. My entire trip has been destroyed.

In regards to Airbnb customer service, I finally have just been continually calling as I have not only been to the hospital because the property made me sick, but now I have an eye infection from the filth. They still refuse to help. I have been through ten case workers in two days. Most of them lack knowledge or even decency. If I sue I will request all taped calls as most have admitted to the terrible conditions and that they themselves would not stay here. I even will have a tape of one of the agents who forgot to put me on hold, and was discussing me with the supervisor, who refused to get on the phone. They had a nice conversation about how their break was more important and were laughing about me. I have sent videos, pictures, hospital notes, health department notices, all the text messages between the host and myself, and even the articles on the host’s reputation, and they are still giving me the runaround. I need to get out but they have all my money. Anyone that can help, please give me some suggestions.

Host Cancelled Ten Days Before our South African Trip

We made reservations for three days in Simon’s Town (near Cape Town), with plans to go shark diving. We also have two little kids, so it was fairly important that a particular location was large enough; we also wanted a pool for the kids. The reservation was made three months before the scheduled trip dates. Ten days before we were to depart for South Africa (from the United States), I received a message from the host that she didn’t realize the dates we selected were during the Easter weekend and that she had to cancel the reservation because they would be using the house. While we were able to find different accommodation, this was highly unprofessional. Airbnb also doesn’t allow you to leave feedback for a host that cancels a reservation; there is only an automated message that’s posted to their account. This is very frustrating because it doesn’t let you express your views of the host and thus there is little incentive for a host to think carefully before cancelling a reservation. I’ll think twice before using Airbnb again.

Family Reservation in Spain Cancelled after Three Months

I made my reservation with Airbnb about three months ago to go to Seville, Spain with the family. I rented a beautiful condo that accommodates seven people and paid a little more than $3,400 for ten days. We had planned on going to see the processions that take place during Holy Week. After purchasing plane tickets and seats at 190 Euro each, I received an email from Airbnb asking me to verify my identity. After copying my driver’s license, and giving them access to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, they cancelled my reservations. I called several times, and was told that someone at customer service was taking care of it and that he would reply shortly. Sure enough, after I hung up the phone, I received a reply with an email that essentially said it was just too bad and they didn’t owe me an explanation. What am I supposed to do now? I have asked them to have a manager or someone call us but they never have one available. All they keep saying is that someone will call me, but I haven’t had any luck.

Host Reviews Always Seem to be too Good to be True

We just returned from a really poor Airbnb experience in Chamonix, France. I looked at her reviews as host and they all were too full of sunshine. This makes me think that guests are afraid to tell the truth because then they will be reviewed negatively. So everyone says “It was great!” I’m tired of being lied to like this. The woman who rented to us was clearly crazy, micromanaged every moment of our stay, disrespected our privacy, told us what to do constantly, drove us out of the house the day before she left, gave us the bum’s rush about when we were leaving, had an infant grandchild stay in the small apartment who cried and awoke us, and smoked cigarettes. It was so difficult to relax and enjoy our vacation time. I am about done with Airbnb. It’s all roses in reviews then the reality is different. I do not trust the reviews at all. We were kind, quiet, clean and courteous guests and all we got was grief. We arrived an hour earlier than the 5:00 PM check in time and was greeted with disdain and freak out… how lovely. In addition, we thought it was a private attic apartment, not shared with her and a baby. I would have never booked a place with a baby in the house. Before we went to bed, I asked her to turn off or at least turn down a loud electronic baby toy next to the entrance to our room and she snapped and said “wear earplugs!” We were not allowed to touch anything in the kitchen due to an earlier guest. She should have stated that in her listing. We paid dearly for this crappy treatment and experience. It’s hotels or private accommodations from now on. Airbnb is not worth it anymore. There are too many flakes.