Uncensored Airbnb Stories & Reasons Not To Use Airbnb

AirbnbHell.com is dedicated to helping Hosts and Guests share their stories about the risks and dangers of using Airbnb.  If you had a bad experience using Airbnb as a Host or Guest, please Share Your Story.

This website is ran in partnership with iPropertyManagement.com, a website that provides informational resources on short and long term property management.

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Here is a summary list of reasons why you should NOT use Airbnb.  At the very least, be aware of these serious issues with the Airbnb service and consider other options including Airbnb Competitors.

If you are a potential Airbnb GUEST:

  1. If any of your personal items, cash, or valuables are stolen (by the host, other guests, or burglars) you have no protection from Airbnb.
  2. If there is a foul odor, loud noises, or any other problems with your room that are not easily documented with photos, you are out of luck and your claim for a refund will be denied.
  3. If you rent a single room, there is no guarantee regarding how many people might be living in a given home/condo while you are there.  If there is a shared bathroom, you might end up sharing it with 1 person, or 20.
  4. A “fully stocked kitchen” means very different things to different people.  One pot, 2 dishes and a handful of silverware does not mean you can actually cook a meal there, yet this is not enough evidence to seek a claim for refund
  5. If you buy groceries and another guest or the host uses them or throws them away, you’re out of luck.
  6. If the host or another guest has a party every night, you will have to thoroughly document each incident with video recordings and time stamps to seek any sort of claim or refund.  Even then, it will be a battle that may take weeks and you are unlikely to win.
  7. Airbnb charges you about 15% on top of what the host actually receives for your reservation (even more if you need to exchange currency).  That means you COULD get your reservation for about 15% LESS if you booked directly with the host.
  8. If you have to cancel your reservation at the last minute, the host has the right to keep some or all of your money for your entire stay.  You will not have any ability to write a review of your host if you cancel your reservation, even if you end up paying for your entire stay and the host double-books the rental space.

If you are a potential Airbnb HOST:

  1. If your guests claim any sort of insect/pest/vermin problem, airbnb will instantly return 50% of your guests money for their entire reservation, even if it’s a year long reservation and the claim is false.  This is a common scam tactic.
  2. If your guests steal your cash or other difficult-to-prove assets, airbnb will do nothing.
  3. If you make any claim regarding damage to reclaim part or all of the security deposit, airbnb will make your life a living hell by demanding receipts for your original purchase even if it’s furniture that you’ve owned for 20 years.  If you don’t have receipts, you’re out of luck, and even if you do, it will take weeks or months to get any resolution.
  4. If you wait more than 24 hours to make a claim regarding damage from guests, your claim will be denied by default.
  5. Airbnb takes 3% of every reservation from you, but they also take about 15% from the guest!  That means your guests are WILLING to pay 18% more than you’re actually receiving but you’re not getting any of that extra money.  Airbnb also takes a very aggressive 3% Exchange Rate Fee for transactions not in USD, for a total of about 21% in fees taken off the top!
  6. Even if you use a Strict Cancellation Policy to protect yourself from flaky guests canceling their reservation at the last minute, Airbnb has the right to override that policy at any time and without warning or explanation and refund the guest the entire amount of their reservation, even if it’s less than 24 hours before the guest is scheduled to check in.
  7. The “1 million dollar host guarantee” is virtually impossible to actually claim.  Don’t fall for this marketing ploy!
  8. Airbnb has been known to cancel and remove even long-term hosts listings without warning and without any explanation.  This may cause you to lose communication with your current guests, and lose significant income for all upcoming reservations which are also instantly canceled.

Read the 10 most recent uncensored Airbnb stories from Hosts & Guests:

Living Next to an Illegal Airbnb in NOLA

I live next to an illegal short-term rental Airbnb. In New Orleans you cannot have an Airbnb in a residential neighborhood unless the owner lives on the property permanently. Yet the city of New Orleans does not enforce these laws. Therefore there are many, many illegal Airbnb’s in our residential neighborhoods. I live next to […]

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Dirty, Disgusting Airbnb Makes Guests Second-Guess Stay

What can I say? Something that should have been a lovely experience turned into a rather unpleasant one. We had seen an Airbnb listing and loved the photos of the fantastic views which persuaded us to book this cottage. Upon arrival, there was the owner’s car parked on a small driveway so we were unable […]

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Airbnb Website Misleading Regarding VAT Charges

I made a booking for a week at a hotel in London via Airbnb. All seemed fine, until arriving at the property I was asked to pay an extra charge for VAT — a government tax. I’m really happy to pay my bills, but not happy when I thought the tariff I paid directly to […]

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Bait and Switch at Airbnb in New Orleans

We arrived at our Airbnb after being moved due to an AC failure at the original place we booked. We booked it six months in advance and notified the host of the change the day before arrival. The new place at motor works is nice, but has some issues that management could have resolved and […]

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One of the Worst Things that can Happen when Traveling

Some travel bans are temporarily lifted, so I thought it would be the right time to take a chance and travel abroad. Normally I am a bit wary about using Airbnb, but since the date I was looking for was precisely during Easter, prices were pretty high as well as limited availability. So, I thought […]

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Fraudulent Charges without Record of Receipt

Recently I was charged $2,800 by Airbnb: $1,800 for a booking and then two “mysterious” charges of $499 each which were not linked with a booking on their platform and for which I did not receive a record of receipt or any record of the charges on their platform whatsoever. Airbnb has thus far refused […]

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Host and Airbnb Failed to Resolve a Nightmare

My family and I were traveling to New York for my graduation from NYU. We arrived to the Airbnb around midnight and found the room unlocked and dirty. The sheets on the beds looked slept in. They were stained with white and there was a white powder on the table as well (my six-year-old nephew […]

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Beware of Sonder Properties on Airbnb

More than a month ago I booked accommodations for my wife and her cousin in San Diego at a property owned by a group called Sonder (seems they own a lot of properties on AirBnb). About a month before the stay, I changed from my originally booked location called ‘The Baker’ to one called ‘The […]

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Deactivated Airbnb Account is Suddenly Activated

I hosted a successful apartment in Brooklyn to unanimously good reviews, but because of the constant frustrations dealing with Airbnb finally shut the account down. My apartment is great, but one of the things people always commented on was what a good attentive host I was (good customer service). Wish I could say the same […]

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Airbnb Customer Service Line ‘Disconnected or No Longer in Service’

I made (and paid for) reservations for a farmhouse outside of Frederick, Maryland for a weekend stay in summer 2020 so that my siblings and their children could all be together when we buried my mother’s ashes at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. The pandemic caused us to postpone our stay until the summer of […]

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