Airbnb Experience from Hell in Toronto

I have stayed at many Airbnb properties in the past and have always had a great experience. The hosts have left me positive feedback as well. This is the first time I was ever in a situation where our stay was literally one disaster after another. Normally it doesn’t take me as long to write a review, but this one took me a couple hours as there were many incidents I wanted to touch on which created the terrible experience. Of course with Airbnb’s word limit I wasn’t even able to fully express my anger but now I can here on Airbnb Hell.

It all started a day before our trip which was a two-day drive for my sister and me; my boyfriend was to be driving separately and meeting us there since he lives a day’s drive away. I thought to touch base with the host as she did not have a house manual or any information on the listing telling me about the condo or how to check in. She didn’t reply to us for over 24 hours through Airbnb. I was growing weary that she may try to cancel, as one of the earlier automatic reviews mentioned she cancelled the reservation prior to the stay. I was also anxious, as once I entered Canada my phone plan and data plan would no longer work so I couldn’t text or check the Airbnb website unless I had wifi; while driving, I wouldn’t have that.

After waiting a day for her reply and not getting one, I was very anxious and weary. I contacted Airbnb to see if they could get involved. They replied that they were also unable to get in touch and have alerted her to contact me the next day by 9:00 AM EST (which she did not do), then they recommended I can cancel the stay. I really did not want to do this as we had already began our trip by this point. I did quickly looked at other places for us to stay in Toronto, but for three people almost everything was booked or a ridiculous 2-3 times our budget. Eventually I texted her, even though Airbnb recommends all communication happen on the platform and I also didn’t have an international cell plan. I was able to get a reply but no apology or acknowledgement about my messages on Airbnb from a few days ago that she ignored. In the texts, she gave me very vague instructions on the room number and told me parking was available.

At this time I never thought to ask any further questions but there were so many things I would later find that she didn’t explain prior to our arrival. The apartment uses fobs for entry and she has an assigned parking spot in a very complicated underground garage. On our trip my boyfriend, sister and I were traveling in two cars. We couldn’t figure out how to get the fobs to work or find her parking spot. I had to run in to get the fob from the doorman, and then once I got it and got back to my car (which was parked far away at a pay meter) I had to run back inside to the doorman because we couldn’t find the garage to the complex after driving around aimlessly. Once I was finally able to get in the garage, we assumed that the number written on the envelope was the parking spot number – it wasn’t. We spent an hour and 15 minutes searching for her spot and then another hour searching for a visitor spot as there are a very limited about for the entire place. It took two hours to get though all of that and was a huge waste of time when we only had one day to spend in Toronto.

The host did not make anything clear to us. How it works is there are a total of four big high-rise condos which all share this small parking garage. A fob is needed to get in, and the parking is assigned. Once you do go underground you lose cell service and it is easy to get stuck there with many dead ends in the narrow garage. Backing out is a huge pain. There were no instructions and everything was left unclear to us. After an hour of searching underground we actually made our way back up to text and ask the host how any of it worked. My boyfriend messaged her since he had bought a phone plan specifically before coming just based on the fact that he didn’t trust the host and wanted to be able to get in touch with Airbnb if we did get screwed out of the booking. While he was getting information from her, I went to the front desk to ask for help. The host told him her parking spot number and told him not to mention Airbnb, meaning she isn’t even supposed to be running an Airbnb to begin with. The doorman by this point can clearly tell I am not a friend of hers, which is what I had said I was since she said not to mention Airbnb, and he flat out asks if I am from Airbnb. By that point I can’t lie about it since she had given me no instructions or directions and I’ve been coming to him for help numerous times now. I mean I don’t even know her parking spot. He even commented “Wow, what a terrible host. She didn’t even tell you where the garage was or her parking spot or anything about this condo complex? That is really bad that she gave you no directions. What type of a host doesn’t give proper information?”

We asked the host if we could check in a little early at 3:00 PM (check in was at 4:00), since we were traveling from so far and just wanted to drop off bags. We told her we would then leave again so she could clean if she hadn’t already done so. She said that was fine. We walked in and saw it definitely wasn’t clean, but figured she would be doing it before check in. We all left immediately for the day for sightseeing since we had a lot planned. We didn’t make any comments to her, although my boyfriend did mention it. I didn’t message her only because I thought she had to come back to clean; the place was a disaster.

When we arrived back at the condo around midnight, we saw it was in the exact same disastrous state as before. When we first arrived the bed was completely unmade. It was so evident the sheets had been recently used and unwashed and they smelled (of urine) so we had to wash the pillowcases, sheets, and everything. Keep in mind when we finally got back to the apartment it was almost midnight on our one day vacation; cleaning was really a waste of time and not even something we should have even had to do. We were really upset about that. This is such a bad thing to do as a host: provide dirty sheets that your guest has to clean?

The rest of the place was nothing like it had been described. The photos didn’t match the bedroom or views from the condo at all. I even took a few photos of the messy bed and the dirt tracked all over the floor of the entire place. The place was very gross. There was no soap or anything to wash our hands after using the bathroom. The bathroom was bare and had nothing to use. Luckily, we were warned to bring our own towels but she should have mentioned that she also didn’t have any soap or anything. There was also no third “couch” she lists as part of the sleeping arrangements on the listing. Our third person, my sister, had nowhere to sleep. It said the space fit three people but definitely only fit two as the “couch” was clearly a very tiny loveseat. No one could sleep on that comfortably, especially an adult. She is really small and still couldn’t fit. All three of us slept on the small bed made for two so she didn’t get screwed over, which obviously wasn’t ideal.

I left the condo in way better condition than we found it as I actually made the bed with fresh sheets and cleaned the floor in the main room. When I arrived, as I mentioned, the sheets were used, the bed was completely unmade, and there was dirt tracked all over the main room floors. The laundry room was also a disaster as was the bathroom but I tried to avoid those spots as much as I could. The host didn’t ever contact me back on Airbnb until six days after my initial messages prior to my trip asking for information when she finally gave it to me. By then my trip was already over and I had to remind her I already stayed there last weekend. I tried to be as polite as possible even though I was pretty pissed about the whole stay. I told her the city was nice when she asked me how my stay was, and mentioned I would be writing her review later. It’s hard to say how much of the mess was from the last guest or her.

Since after coming back from the trip and after already writing my review and reading some of the recent reviews now I see that sometimes she will have two people stay in one weekend without cleaning in between. Honestly that’s extremely disgusting. She would not even wash the sheets for new guests. If this is what she’s doing she should inform the second person about this just so they have a warning about the situation. She should also tell the previous person that they should do their best to tidy up as much as possible as someone will be coming in right after them. Perhaps then our situation would’ve been better. It’s the only logical explanation I can think of for her to leave her place such a mess for guests.

We seriously considered canceling when we arrived back at the place at midnight and getting a hotel but it was so late in the night that we didn’t. The whole incident is also made me think twice about ever using Airbnb again as the other reviews weren’t terrible but makes me think they are fake. I don’t trust any reviews except the last ones which were also bad. However, these had not been posted at the time I had booked with her. No one should have to go through that experience. As some of the other reviews said, she should not be running an Airbnb because she was a terrible host. In addition, her complex clearly doesn’t allow it if her guests have to keep the Airbnb factor hidden. Even better than all of this is that I have received a reply from her for my review and I think our exchange just adds to the debacle.

Host: Unfortunately I paid someone to co-host/clean as I was in New York. Clearly they did not, so I apologize for the bed situation. In regards to parking, you’re the only person who had a hard time figuring it out. Given you did stay in my unit I’m open to returning $50 but I cannot pay you more than that. Laundry is off limits as well so it shouldn’t matter what it looked like to you. Hope you were able to enjoy your stay outside of this given the area is amazing and the amenities were great. I do have a pamphlet in the unit with all amenities listed and wifi. Thank you.

Me: I see in your message that you mention you “paid someone to co-host”, but it seems like from reading the other reviews I was not the only one who had this issue. In regards to parking, you also did not tell me prior what your parking spot was nor is it shown in the listing, yet I had told you I would be parking my car beforehand. That would have saved us hours from driving around trying to figure out a spot since we thought the room number/number on the envelope was the parking spot. It wasn’t until I asked for doorman that we finally got that information. You also say your space is for three people when you only have sleeping arrangements for two. How do you justify that? You also mention laundry is off limits, yet in the listing it clearly mentions that the guest has access to the washer/dryer. Also, if it’s off limits, how do you expect a guest to clean the sheets, since we weren’t given clean sheets when we arrived? As far as the costs, you mentioned giving me back $50, but then you only offered $36. Either way, I am going to involve Airbnb because of all the things I mentioned in my original message. Between the lack of information, the uncleanliness and us having to wash our own sheets, the false advertisement (saying the sleeps three when it clearly sleeps two) not to mention the photos of the apartment, bedroom, views, and bathroom aren’t even accurate and are not for this condo. For all those reasons I think a full refund is justified. Had we known all of those would happen we never would have booked this place, and if it wasn’t so late in the night we would have gone elsewhere.

Host: I’m sure I told you parking was 3017 or it was on the envelope but if not, have fun with Airbnb. I think you’re better off with a hotel next time. 3rd person would be the couch. All photos are accurate.

Me: I’m involving them because I believe my claim is justified for all of the reasons I gave you. Also you did not give me $50. The email I received from Airbnb said you only offered $36. The last time I checked, both of the last two reviews were also terrible. You also did not note on the envelope about parking. As I mentioned I didn’t have a phone plan in Canada so texting was not an option while I was there. My boyfriend who was in a separate car (and not with me) was the one who texted you- as we mentioned in the messages. The photos of the space (which I see you have taken down now) were not of the condo. The bedroom, bathroom, balcony and views were all from stock photos. Two other people even mentioned this in their reviews as well. As far as getting a hotel, we stayed at other Airbnbs along our trip and had great experiences at each and every one of them. What you have is a love seat – not a couch – which isn’t large enough for anyone to sleep on so I wouldn’t advertise it as a space suitable for three. Hopefully you can use the feedback I gave you constructively and not take it personally. Let’s let Airbnb decide how to resolve this. Have a good day.

Paris Airbnb Host Tries to Extort Positive Review

I rented an Airbnb in Paris, mainly because the location was so good. Check-in was delayed from noon, which is what was advertised, to 8:00 PM. That wasn’t much of an issue, because the host did let me know with plenty of time. When I got to the apartment, it was pretty dirty. I let it go because I wasn’t planning on spending much time there; I had the beautiful city of Paris to see. However, it was reflected in my review.

About a week after I rented the apartment I received the following message: “The apartment was dirty, and some of my belongings were touched and damaged. Did you have a party, and did you use my things? Please tell me directly as I would like to settle this with you directly, rather than legally.”

I did not touch any of his belongings nor did I throw a party (I was in a foreign city alone – who would I have had over for a party?) When I told him I did neither of those things and asked for more information, he responded with: “Ok. I must be mistaken. I suggest you change your review or I’ll put a bad one also for you, which is not good for either of us.”

So, first of all, I can only assume he was trying to extort money out of me. But, then he went so far as to try to influence my review? I don’t even know how he saw my review. I thought those were confidential until they were uploaded, to prevent exactly this type of scenario. I know there are worse stories, but it kind of ruined my day.

Airbnb Left us in the Lurch in Southern France

We rented an apartment for five months through Airbnb. We arrived at our destination and contacted our host as previously arranged. He did not meet us as planned but left a key in an empty mailbox on site. We were immediately disappointed in the apartment and its furnishings. We had paid top dollar only to find rummage sale furnishings, broken window blinds, stained carpet, a broken bed, a television with no user information, linens in poor condition, and a building filled with the smell of cigarette smoke. We contacted the host within the 24-hour window and requested remediation. He missed two appointments to address problems and didn’t even contact us until we were in our third day of this distress.

At this point we contacted Airbnb. We were contacted in swift succession by a number of Airbnb representatives. One of them indicated that it was clear we could not stay at the location. He recommended that we leave immediately and that Airbnb would pay up to $150 for a hotel. We were told to go online and cancel the contract. They did not tell us that this would mean that we would still be responsible to pay rent for the next 30 days. At this point Airbnb went entirely silent and basically abandoned us. There was no follow-up after being told to hit the street. We believed that the contract was cancelled because the landlord had not lived up to his contractual obligation and that we would be reimbursed. It turned out that “strict cancellation” means that the guest pays under any circumstances, even when Airbnb knows it was a bum deal.

Airbnb gave us no further instructions about arranging for another Airbnb property or about negotiating with the landlord for another property the the landlord had on hand. At that point we simply didn’t trust him. The host actually threatened physical confrontation. No one takes any responsibility at Airbnb. As it happened, a colleague rented another location from this “five-star” landlord to find that dozens of rats inhabited the attic. It took days to get that addressed. Airbnb does not oversee or caution hosts with serious complaints against them. Another money making racket with no concern for what it delivers. We contacted Airbnb again. After mediating with the host, Airbnb said that the host would return a mere $365 of the $1700 monthly rent.

Airbnb Long-Term Cancellation Policy: Buyer Beware

My husband and I booked a two-bedroom, two-bath condo for our 25th wedding anniversary. However, my knee gave out and I was unexpectedly forced to have total knee replacement surgery. We booked the condo through Airbnb and the owner had a 30-day cancellation policy. That was fine. We canceled three months and one week in advance because my surgeon did not want me to travel on a 5.5-hour flight over the ocean with no chance of stopping after undergoing the surgery, due to concerns about edema and blood clots. We were penalized 50% of our total amount because the hosts “have a super strict policy.”

First of all, we did not know about such a policy until after we booked; I was contacted by Airbnb when we attempted to cancel. The only policy we were given at the time of booking was the owner’s policy of a 30-day cancellation. Sure enough, on the Airbnb website, after much searching, I found the 50% penalty policy. Interestingly, it says in order to be afforded this tremendous opportunity, one must be “invited.” We weren’t invited; we never even knew about it. However, Airbnb says it is a policy for this particular listing. The owner of the condo says it is an Airbnb policy.

Whichever organization or company made the policy, Airbnb indicates that they have an appeal process, which we followed; my doctor wrote a letter explaining that I could not fly such a long distance until the very end of the year due to the possibility of complications (which I experienced with my first knee replacement). I even sent them my MRI results and an explanation of the surgery. They denied our appeal, again saying they “have a super strict policy.” To cancel over three months in advance and be penalized well over $1,300 is beyond absurd. So, when I can fly at the end of the year, we will never stay at this particular listing again (although we have stayed there many times), and we will never use Airbnb again (it was our first experience with this company). What a scam.

Airbnb Hell: Guest Shoots a Music Video

I allowed someone to rent my home because they were getting engaged. We do not allow parties at all and that is stated in the house rules. They said that there were only going to be four guests. When I showed up to check on my property – as I always do – to make sure everything was okay, there were over twenty people in my house and over ten cars in my driveway. We gave him two options: tell the truth, or we were going to shut it down and he would have to leave. The guest lied. He was black and thought because we were white we would discriminate against him. He was shooting a music video in my home. I live in an affluent neighborhood where Airbnb is frowned upon. The police have been called plenty of times because of guest lying to us and throwing parties. So we decided to do this guy a favor and allowed him to shoot his video, being that my husband is in the music and television industry himself. We stuck around because we didn’t want our neighbors to call the police and to protect our property; the gentleman was aware of that.

Now here comes the second nightmare: the guest reached out to Airbnb to get his money back because we stuck around and he said he felt uncomfortable. As the owner, I was pissed. Airbnb has a terrible customer service and resolution center. They offered no support in trying to remedy the situation and I still have not been contacted by a case manager. Please be aware that Airbnb doesn’t offer any support to their hosts when taking a risk and listing their homes on the website. They always tell you to reach out to the guest and try to resolve the issue before contacting them. They need to do better to help and protect hosts. You would think that they would understand that the little service fee that they make off the booking is not worth the thousands or millions that they could lose if they don’t do better.

Beware Booking Airbnb Properties in Los Angeles

We tried to stay in three Airbnb properties in Los Angeles over the past three weeks. The first one in the Echo Park area was great. The host was kind and helpful. The property was clean and very suitable for our needs. The other two were very bad. The second one in Mid-City had parking, but we had to go through two gates to reach the parking lot behind the house; the first one was padlocked. It was in a rundown neighborhood with garbage and used mattresses sitting on the street near the house. When we first entered the house we noticed that the rugs were filthy. We heard water running in the bathroom and found that the bathtub faucet had an annoying leak. There was a built-in heater already on which we couldn’t turn off , though the outside temperature was over 85 degrees. There was no air conditioning. When we opened the windows to cool off a little, we found that all the screens were ripped. We left the next morning, and got a refund of at least some of the money (we still lost hundreds of dollars). We then found another place on Airbnb to stay on short notice. It was a clean apartment in the La Brea area. Not until we checked in, however, did we learn that the owner and his wife actually lived in the house. We faced the choice of sharing the place with total and complete strangers, which was a total surprise and completely unacceptable. We immediately cancelled, but because of the strict cancellation policy of this property we lost over $500. Interestingly, each of these properties had multiple rave reviews on the Airbnb website. Be aware.

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?

Scam Alert in Atlanta: Beware Hosts Telling you to Cancel

I was planning a trip to Atlanta from Australia in October last year for one month. I found a place to stay (the listing has since been removed). The host, Valerio, advised he would be able to accommodate the one month’s stay and I paid the 2800 AUD fee. A few weeks later, Valerio contacted me and advised that I would no longer be able to stay and would have to cancel. I checked the cancellation terms (make sure you do this before any cancellation). It was a strict cancellation policy, which meant the host would get to keep the full $2800. I advised the host of this who said that he had called Airbnb and they had “told him” I’d be fully refunded.

I didn’t trust him and after a while searching online I was able to locate a contact number. Airbnb Customer Service advised me that I would not get refunded if I were to cancel and I needed to tell the host to cancel the reservation to get my money back. I repeated this to the host, who denied everything and said that this was incorrect. I still refused to cancel and contacted customer service again. This time they went into my account and pulled the chat history between us. They also messaged the user that I would lose all my money. He attempted one more time to get me to cancel, saying it would affect his rating and he would wire transfer the money back… I don’t think so…

Eventually he relented and cancelled the reservation from his end. How do I know this is a scam? A week later the apartment was listed as “available” again and my friend went ahead and tried booking it as we still hadn’t found other accommodations yet. The host waited a week and tried to pull the same thing, saying: “Oh, you need to cancel from your end.” He knows at this point (I’m sure he knew before) that if a guest is to cancel she will lose all her money. Again he said “I contacted customer support and they said you would be fully refunded.” Try again buddy.

She convinced him to cancel from his end. The listing disappeared and a few days later it was back up for the exact dates we needed. If you are to cancel yourself you cannot leave a review to tell people what the user is doing as an automatic “This booking was cancelled by the guest” appears under the listing so you have no way of letting anyone know. Be wary when cancelling and check the cancellation policy beforehand.

Airbnb Not as Advertised for Elderly Parents

We arranged for my elderly parents to stay in what was advertised as a full house/apartment in Greenville, SC. When my parents arrived, we met them at the Airbnb they had reserved and discovered it to be a room with a king size bed, one chair, and no dining room table. There wasn’t even a full kitchen (a sink, coffee pot, microwave, and fridge). This is not an apartment or a full house. Neither a person nor a couple could live there for two weeks. They could sleep and shower there, but that is all there is room for.

When we told the host we would have to move, my parents and I said we would like a refund for the booking on the first night. She told us we must just not like it and that she had had only good reviews so far. If we had a complaint, we needed to take it to Airbnb. We took it to Airbnb. Their customer service people have been trained to be empathetic and understanding, so one thinks their case will be heard and that they will help. However, after several hours total on the phone and online chat, my parents only received a 50% refund. The 50% refund was because “they had not received a response from their email.” Not only had they received a response, they had received more than one response.

All told, we have contacted Airbnb six times. The last time they sent us back to the owner, who has not yet responded. The third line in the cancellation policy says if you leave early you will be refunded the remaining balance. This did not happen. Airbnb also said, on the fifth call, that we had not provided photo evidence of our complaint. This is true. However, we were never asked to provide photo evidence. We cannot even give a bad review as they make sure there is no place to do it.

We cannot request money for the trip because the trip has already passed. We cannot make a report to the BBB because my father or mother have to do it. My father had a major stroke a month ago and is unable to do it, and my mother, who is his power of attorney, wrote a letter to the BBB asking them to allow me to complain on her behalf because of her poor health.

Airbnb Nightmare in Paris Leaves Guest Struggling

This was the worst Airbnb experience I ever had. I had booked a room at Catherine’s Hostel from February 27th to March 13th and from March 21st to April 1st. The first week everything was fine; I had a single bathroom which was quite fine and so forth. However, a few weeks before March 13th Catherine told me I couldn’t stay in her flat any longer because she had too many guests and there was no room left for me. She wanted to arrange another hostel on Airbnb for me, but the room was located in the 19th arrondissement, which is quite dangerous for someone who’s new to Paris. Even my local friends suggested I not stay there.

I’ve told her this whole situation is unacceptable: after all, I booked the room prior to my arrival and confirmed it before I came to Paris. Now I’m here but I’m not allowed to have a room? This is completely unreasonable. I told her I can’t accept how she dealt with this situation; she took a strong stand against me saying I couldn’t stay at her place, even if I had made a reservation. She said she would give me a full refund if I couldn’t deal with the change. I asked her to do so and found myself another place to stay. I was supposed to receive a refund of at least €300, but for some unknown reason in the end I got €255. I didn’t argue with her because I didn’t want to ruin my holiday mood. If you’re not fond of unanticipated situations in your travelers, I suggest you avoid this Airbnb in case of any trouble.