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.

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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:

Ghosted by Airbnb After Atlanta Booking

I was invited to book my trip to Atlanta and opted for the installment plan. It had been awhile since I’ve done a reservation. Didn’t realize the booking should have been in pending status while waiting to book. In any case it wasn’t. The reservation still didn’t show up even after my first payment came […]

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Airbnb Profiting from Pandemic Cancellations

Here is the summary of my issue with Airbnb. I put down a $2,777.40 deposit in December 2019 for a rental house in Eugene, Oregon. The rental was for June 21-29 so four of us had a place to stay to watch the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field. In March, with COVID-19 spreading, […]

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Host Cancelled My Stay with Bogus COVID Excuse

I booked an Airbnb in December 2019 for a stay July 16-31, 2020. A week before, the host cancelled my vacation. The email indicated it was because of COVID. I sent a message to the host and called the COVID reason out as she just had a renter leave a review from June 2020. She […]

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Ungrateful Airbnb Host After Uneventful Stay

I am shocked after spending a nice time in Ador, Valencia. The trip was fine. We spent most of the time outdoors, went to the beach… the usual plan when you are in Spain during the summer. Our problem was that the owner left and left his girlfriend in charge of checking on us (my […]

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Possibly Going to be a Part of a Satanic Ritual

I booked my first Airbnb trip this past 4th of July weekend. Upon arriving, the host insisted on having my partner and I call her. Her front gate was horrible to unlock, having to add pressure and weight to somehow jiggle the key in. Naturally, we called her to let us know we were there. […]

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Airbnb’s 48-Hour Free Cancellation Was a Lie

I have had the worst experience with a reservation I made in Hawaii for my sister’s wedding. We booked a place that said we had 48 hours to cancel the reservation. We booked it because we didn’t want to miss out on the place. Shortly after booking two people in our party backed out. I […]

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Host Declines Refund During COVID-19 Pandemic

Two other coworkers and I excitedly reserved a nice two-bedroom condo in Telluride, Colorado for a June wedding weekend. The hosts graciously accepted our deposit. They were so friendly and accommodating at first. They even promised that if travel was still discouraged in June (due to the worsening pandemic), then they’d happily void their own […]

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Unacceptable – Airbnb Complaint Not Answered

We booked an amazing house in Brenton-on-Sea Knysna, South Africa all through the Airbnb official site, then paid in full on June 12. The host confirmed the booking and supplied an Airbnb booking reference. The Airbnb host confirmed payment was received. When we went back online it stated on their site that we had paid […]

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No Seizures Allowed According to Airbnb

My husband and I were looking for a place to take the kids for the summer and found a beautiful summer home in Arizona. It was perfect: pool, three bedrooms, big property, the works. We booked it. After the 48-hour window had passed and I really started to read the reviews I realized that the […]

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Airbnb Promised 25% COVID-19 Relief That Requires Work

I received an email from Airbnb at the beginning of the pandemic explaining the 25% relief reimbursement I would receive for qualifying cancelled reservations This email stated: “You need to do nothing — this reimbursement will be automatic.” To the contrary, I have had to bring each qualifying reservation to the attention of Airbnb and […]

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