Airbnb Nightmare at Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala, Mexico

We arrived at Casa Pasco in Lake Chapala, Mexico, having booked through Airbnb. Our welcome started with the owner answering the door after repeatedly ringing the bell at the gate. No “Hello” or “Welcome” just, “Where have you been?” Well, we landed in Guadalajara, grabbed a taxi and the taxi driver had difficulties finding Casa Pasco. The owner, Scott, gave us quite the rude welcome. Immediately my first thought was this place was not going to be what Airbnb advertised, starting with some small out-of-control dogs that attacked the pet we had traveling with us.

There was a sewage/chemical smell in both Casa Pasco Casitas. The internet was not working, as had been promised in my Casita. I went to my family member’s Casita, and the internet was still working poorly: forget about watching Netflix or even getting some work completed. The smell was so disgusting I returned to my Casita. Every time we went to ask for help we always felt uncomfortable as the owners were not so friendly, as if we were a bother since we were complaining. It was almost comical watching Scott try to work with a simple internet router that was hanging outdoors on a nail outside my Casita.

Within a couple of hours of being there I knew we had to get the hell out of this place. No way we were staying for multiple nights. I talked to my family member and explained that we were leaving no matter what. We stayed up the entire night, keeping my family member up in my Casita outdoors to avoid the stench of sewage and chemicals (maybe roach spray?). Scott claimed to be so involved with the local community; he said that his local friends and soccer team kids would be visiting and that we should be kind and accommodating. We were also told to lock our belongings up while they visited. I won’t say or express what I think about this host.

Within 12 hours we were packed and left this Airbnb nightmare. The photos look great and the reviews are all great but one must wonder about the authenticity of each review as we had to negotiate with Airbnb and the owner to get a partial refund. Airbnb seemed to side with the host and I wonder if they even suggested that the owner take an honest look at our complaints and resolve them. I will never use Airbnb again, as I don’t feel I should have to negotiate the way we had to. I think that us offering to pay for the first night was more than fair especially after our experience. Don’t use Airbnb, and stay away from Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala. We found an amazing place within those first 24 hours by searching for accommodations on Google. A place that said “welcome”, loved our pet, and allowed us to decompress after 12 hours of hell.

In Airbnb Hell with my Cat for the Past Five Days

My Airbnb hell started when I tried to book a room for two weeks in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area on April 19. I requested a booking for a room that showed availability for my dates:

Hello,

My kitty, Cookie, and I will be flying into Fort Lauderdale tomorrow at 3:30 PM, so we hope to get to your house about 4:30. I look forward to meeting you then! Kim.

P.S. Cookie is well housebroken and declawed.

I sent this last Wednesday at 5:14 PM only to receive the following response:

Hello Kim,

Sorry for the inconvenience but those days are not available. Thank you.

I then tried to book a different place in Miami that showed “pets allowed” only to receive the following email from the hostess, Andrea, the next day as I was landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport:

Hi Andrea,

Do you have room for me and my cat, Cookie, for one week, April 20-27? We are flying into Fort Lauderdale from Denver tomorrow, arriving 3:25 PM. Cookie is extremely polite; she goes only in her box or outdoors, and she does not scratch. We hope to meet you tomorrow. I am a 64-year-old nonsmoker and nondrinker with a live and let live attitude moving to Portugal. Please advise.

Thanks,

Kim

Last Wednesday at 7:53 PM:

Hello Kim,

Thank you for your inquiry. The room is not available on April 20th, only starting April 21-27. What kind of arrangements do you have for your cat? Where will she/he sleep, eat, poop etc? I already have cats living here.

Last Thursday at 12:33 AM my request expired because Andrea didn’t respond within 24 hours. Airbnb recommended finding a new listing. Now the cheapest hotel was a Red Carpet Inn for $48 through Priceline so I stayed there even though my budget was for $21 per night . It got worse. The following morning I went to book a new listing only to be locked out of the Airbnb website; when I tried to book a new listing, it asked me to verify my bank account by entering two small deposit amounts. So I entered $0.50 and $0.75, thinking I was supposed to tell them two amounts to deposit and then verify they were deposited in my bank account. The message said “FAILED – TRY AGAIN,” so I entered two different amounts, and again “FAILED TO VERIFY BANK ACCOUNT.”

Now I was locked out of Airbnb because it then said to upload my bank statement. When I tried to do so, it would not accept the upload. I went on the site to find a phone number for help; there was none. Nor does the “Help Center” offer any solution or help for my problem. It doesn’t even describe it. I Googled “phone number for Airbnb” and a site called gethuman.com gave me a number which I called. After a long wait on hold, I finally got a person, but was disconnected while explaining the problem. I called back, again was put on hold, got a person, and then was disconnected again. Third try: same results.

I tried to email the Airbnb Help Desk:

Dear Airbnb,

I have been trying to book a room for the past 24 hours. When you requested deposit amounts on my bank account, I thought you meant I should give you two small amounts to deposit in my US bank account. I did, twice, and it said it failed. Then I went to get a bank statement to send you and saw you had already deposited two amounts into my bank account; I was supposed to see and enter them. I didn’t understand that from your website and now my bank statement won’t upload to Airbnb. I cannot book a room. Please let me book something. I have no place to stay tonight. I can’t call you… it’s maddening. Please use better English to communicate on your website. It is very unclear what you want users to do. See the attached photo of my US bank account showing the deposits.

Here is the response:

Unfortunately, your email has not reached Airbnb. To find an answer to your question, please visit our Help Center.

Thanks, Airbnb Customer Service 

I must now stay at the Red Carpet Inn for $79 because it is not possible to book anything through Airbnb. The next day, yesterday, April 22nd, my Airbnb account was working again, so I booked the first room I could find within my budget in Fort Lauderdale, asking the host if he would accept my kitty. He said it was okay so I went to his house and was relieved to find he would also rent the room to me through my entire stay, until May 7th. Meanwhile another lady booked the room through Airbnb’s ” Instant Book” for April 24th for one week, after he had committed to renting the room to me for two weeks.

Now Airbnb says I must leave, though I have no place to go and there are no rooms for rent for my dates. I told Airbnb: I am a 64-year-old woman you are trying to put out on the street with her cat with no place to go; I had already rented the room from the host, and I am not leaving. According to their rules, when the host agrees to honor the commitment he had made to me, Airbnb tells him they will charge him a penalty of $100 and issue a bad review and not allow him to book on Airbnb as a SuperHost if he cancels the Instant Booking with the lady who is due to arrive tomorrow.

It’s unconscionable. Airbnb is a nightmare, treating its customers – both guests and hosts – horribly and the public should be made aware.

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.

Noisy Dog: Not What We Expected From Airbnb

I wish we had been told the next door neighbour had a barking dog. We could not sit out in the back as the dog stood at the fence constantly barking. Opening the back door or having a conversation inside set the dog off early one morning. I opened the door and it barked so much. I tried to make it stop, but it woke up the other guests into house. I went to the clothesline and it stood looking over the fence constantly barking. When we first arrived we tried talking to it; usually dogs want to know you but there’s no way the owner tried to tell us how stressful it is being around it. It’s a bloody cattle dog – he has no idea how cruel he is to it. Paying money for a retreat, being rounded up by a cattle dog, and then having to clean the fridge, washing machine, a lint filter full of animal hair, and an unusable BBQ full of cockroaches made it one week of misery. From the last Airbnb, I know there are different hygiene standards but this place did not meet mine. Walking in to find caked stains in the fridge wasn’t a good start, the dog didn’t stop barking, and the host insulted my 19-year-old daughter asking her many kids she had.

Be Aware of Strict Cancellation and Pet Policies

I booked the Amity Cottage in Albany Western Australia to attend a workshop, and was planning to invite friends to come along. It was agreed I would update the host later with details. Bringing my dog along was ok and the host appeared to be a dog lover. However, when I updated with details of my friends and their dogs, it turned out there was a limit to the number of dogs (not listed anywhere), and my friends were refused. Over the phone, the host explained more dogs were unacceptable and promised a majority of the money to be refunded after I cancelled. But the refund was declined. After Airbnb intervened, I got $300 back from the $1238 that I paid. The host rented the house out to others for at least two nights during that period.

Deceitful Guests with Unauthorized Dogs Given Full Refund

I own two La Jolla, CA beach area homes that I manage.I use HomeAway and also Airbnb. I’ve been hosting and managing the properties since early 2013 and haven’t had one negative review. I accepted an Instant Book – never again! – 65 days prior for Thanksgiving: November 22nd for 6 nights. During the summer, peak season dates require a minimum 60-day cancellation notice to receive a full refund. The guests were a family of six, the renter’s name Elizabeth Razanno from Franklin, Massachusetts. Hosts should make a note of this name and blacklist her; otherwise, you will have problems. She’s a true deceitful law bender. During our chat (after the booking was confirmed, thanks to Instant Book, I specifically asked her to confirm the total number of guests, and if they would have a pet dog; pets were open to discussion, but I wanted them to declare them first.

She skirted the question pertaining to the dog. Again, I stated: “Please answer the question regarding the dog or I will cancel your reservation.”

She replied “Oh, it’s just us.” I should have cancelled her reservation… A few days before their arrival, she contacted me and stated, “Our flight doesn’t get in until the 23rd, one day after our arrival date. My daughter who lives in San Diego will be staying the first night.” A bell went off… not a good vibe.

I said, “Well, okay, but you are the responsible guest and I don’t have a good feeling about having someone other than the responsible guest entering my $2,200,000 home.” I stated, “She must be at least 25 and she cannot have any guests with her as the rental agreement states.”

She replied “Yes, she is 25 and won’t have any other guests with her.”

At 7:00 PM my Cellular Controlled Electronic Front Door Lock notified me her access code was used. I waited until 8:00 PM and arrived to greet her and verify her ID as I do all guests. I walked up as a male was unloading a box of alcohol from the trunk; the gate was open and the front door was wide open. As I knocked on the outside front door before walking in, I verbally announced myself, saying “Hello, owner.” The young girl appeared quickly and attempted to close the door in my face. I said, “I’m the owner of this house and I need to speak with you please. I need to check you in as per the listing states and the rental agreement your mother signed, may I please see your photo ID?”

At that point, two large black dogs appeared. One jumped up and with its front paws almost pushed me down the front steps. The girl had to restrain the one dog while the second was hurling itself from one sofa to the other across the living room wooden table. I immediately saw scratches in the coffee table. I was pissed off… I asked the girl, “What are these dogs doing in my home? They are not authorized, nor discussed with your mother. They are not authorized. You have not paid the pet fee, and I never would allow these types of hyper-aggressive dogs.”

She responded, “Oh, these are my dogs, your listing says ‘pet friendly.’ What’s the problem?”

I responded, “Get these dogs off my property now, before I evict your mother before she even arrives. These dogs are not authorized and your mother failed to declare them and ask permission to have them.”

The girl then said, “Oh, and what if they were service animals?”

I responded, “You and god know neither of these aggressive dogs are service animals so don’t even attempt to go there. If one was a service animal you would have informed me as soon as I walked in, and even more likely, your mother would have made it clear when I vetted her. But she did not.” I told her to get the dogs off my property now: “You can stay, but your pet dogs are out now.”

The next day at approximately 5:00 PM (almost 19 hours later, Airbnb called me and said, “We are giving the guest a full refund and cancelling the reservation from you, the host.” I went home and all three beds’ white linens were stained with dirt marks from the damn dogs jumping on the beds. Every light, every ceiling fan, the central heating, and all four wall-mounted flat screen TVs were on. I argued with Airbnb and they basically told me to pound salt. They said, “The guests said they had a service animal and you forced them to remove it.”

I have eight future reservations booked on Airbnb (Christmas, New Year’s Eve, January, February). However, I am going to terminate my Airbnb account and tell the guests to find me on HomeAway. I would never suggest Airbnb to anyone, ever.

Post-Traumatic Airbnb in Dogs’ Bedroom

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…

Lawyerly Defense in Mexico: Host Plot Foiled

My Airbnb rental was reserved for 45 days in central Mexico. I’m still here. But I’m only here because of the intervention of a Mexican lawyer. My host complained when my flight was late. We got past that. My host has a rescue dog (one of the three on the property) and she asked me to photograph the dog. I’m a professional photographer and I said I would. The host said he/she was leaving for Thanksgiving to the US. The host said, “Can you take care of the rescue dog in your apartment while I am gone?” I said, “Okay.” I didn’t want to do it, but being an idiot, I said, “Okay.”

As we marched up to her departure date my host said, “I will be leaving the rescue dog with you for a few minutes every day until I leave so that you can get to know him.” I responded, “No. I know him well enough already and please tell me what I can do about the heat here as there is none.” To her credit a portable heater was brought in. She said when the tank is exhausted call this number and order another. You will pay for it.” I was losing my sense of humor by now. The issue of water came up because in central Mexico one must have bottled water. There was water – again to her credit – when I arrived. As it ran out I asked about more. She said, “I have more bottles here. You can pay me for one.” I didn’t complain.

Then I, who had not smoked for years, smoked. And the host saw me smoke. One instance and boom. She called Airbnb and said, “I want her out.” She emailed me and wrote, “Get out. I’m putting your things on the sidewalk and I am changing the locks.”

I called my lawyer here in central Mexico. Here’s the fun part. I used to live in central Mexico. Yes, I have a lawyer here. And Mexican law is this: someone rents you a place? You can’t be evicted without a court case, period. Forget Airbnb. You have rights in Mexico. So I emailed the host this information and she folded. As it turned out, she doesn’t own the place. She rents it. She sublet it to me. I don’t care. She’s continuing to abuse me verbally and Airbnb, who said it would help me, hasn’t. No shock there either. Airbnb will listen to your complaint and that will make you feel so much better. But it will do nothing for you. I’m not moving until I have to go back to the US. Of course, my time in this place is ruined and a nightmare. But at least I get to tell you that if you are in Guanajuato, Mexico and this happens to you, stay put and find a lawyer. One hour’s consultation and your mind will be at ease. Airbnb is a joke.

Guest Cancels? 50% Charge. Host Cancels? Scot Free.

In summary: how on earth does Airbnb continue to do well? I think they lack integrity. I know they lack sincerity.

Just the facts:

1) We made a reservation with Airbnb three months ago, for seven days over Thanksgiving in a specific neighborhood in LA. We have three dogs, so we wanted a standalone house with a fenced-in yard. That’s hard to come by; that’s why made the reservation three months in advance.

2) The cost of the place was $1,800 for the week. It was a “STRICT” cancellation policy on our end, meaning we would have been charged 50% of the total stay, $900. It was a totally cool policy, as we are also hosts in northern california. We were certain of our plans, so we accepted their “strict” terms.

3) The host canceled on November 2nd, 17 days before we were to arrive, three months after they agreed to rent us the house. The host pulled their listing, so they are gone.

4) We couldn’t find another place on Airbnb in that neighborhood that took dogs, was a standalone house, and wasn’t a dump, so we scrambled to find another place. We did find one using Homeaway, but to the tune of $2,800 for that week, $1,000 more than original place. That is what happens when you are forced to wait until the last minute to book a place. That is why we did what we did three months ago, to prevent from over paying 2 1/2 weeks before the holiday week.

5) We asked and got a full refund from Airbnb for the $1,800, seeing as we couldn’t find a place through them at this late date.

6) The Airbnb case manager assigned to this oh-so highly complicated matter offered us a voucher for $100 for our troubles.

7) I asked him for a voucher of $900 because they canceled on us, and caused us to spend $1000 more than what we wanted to spend. Had we been the ones to cancel, we would have been charged $900 immediately, no questions asked. That is how I came up with the $900 figure.

8) Our double-talking case manager came back and would not give a penny more than $200. A shuffle in the right direction, but hardly a step. He talked and wrote in a very professional and seemingly sincere manner, no doubt, highly trained and polished. But there are many things you can’t polish, and one of them is Airbnb.

Awful Experience San Francisco, Refuses to Refund

I had an awful experience using Airbnb in San Francisco. I paid $1545. The condition of the apartment was deplorable: food stains on the beds, cigarette butts on the floor, old and stale food open in the kitchen, excrement in the toilet, flies around the trash, chewed and ripped up rugs, broken furniture, broken shower (meaning it did not function) and it smelled like musty dog pee. It looked nothing like the clean and nice photos on the website.  We checked out well before 24 hours after explaining this to the host, who simply disagreed with my assessment, claiming she’d had someone clean the place. We were willing to pay for the one night we were there, and wanted the rest back.

We provided all communications with the host, and photographic evidence of everything we found there, to Airbnb customer service. They’ve refunded the one night and kept the rest. After five phone calls and a slew of emails, our case manager sent this: “I have looked through all the documentation on this reservation including message strings and resolution case comments. I have also spoken with you and the host by phone. based on the overall situation and verifiable events I concur that a one-night refund the host provided is reasonable. This is a dog-friendly listing and building, which is clearly stated in the listing description. It is unfortunate that you did not enjoy this experience. However, there are no apparent or significant violations by the host that have not already been compensated.”

Dog friendly was never our issue. I own a dog; she doesn’t pee in my house, so it doesn’t smell like dog pee. Dog friendly has nothing to do with food stains, flies, trash, excrement in the toilet (as far as I know dogs don’t use the toilet or wipe with toilet paper), a broken shower, broken furniture, and open, stale food. The violation is that this place is falsely advertised as clean with a working shower. Our case manager refused to speak with me to explain how he and his team came to this decision to steal over $1300 from us. Not to mention the money we had to spend on different accommodations. Apparently, he doesn’t have a supervisor, and no one at Airbnb has the power to escalate this any further. Apparently, Airbnb can’t be held accountable for anything.

We’ve contacted our credit card company to see what our options are. My advice? Screw Airbnb.