Airbnb Condones Lying and Scamming Hosts

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I booked a stay in Los Angeles from September 23rd to September 30th. My total was $2134.46. Upon arriving to the location at 3:00 PM, the host took me through what seemed to be a back entrance to enter the building and up to the unit. I asked if he had two keys as I had a second person staying with me and he told me the building only issued one.

He showed me around to the unit, told me that the pillowcases and towels were still in the dryer, and then left. Within minutes of him leaving, I noticed that the bed linens were dirty, with hair on the sheets and white stains all over the bedspread and pillowcases. I was going to just wash them myself. However, the linens that were in the dryer were not dry. I tried resetting the dryer three times but it kept cutting off.

I tried to connect to the wifi and it would not work. I then set out to go pick up something to eat. Upon leaving, I double-checked to make sure the front door was shut tight and locked. However, when I pushed on the door, it popped right open. I tried to shut it about three more times but it would not shut and lock completely. Therefore, I called the host and explained:

• The bed linens were dirty.

• The dryer kept cutting off whenever I tried to reset it to dry the pillowcases and towels that were in them. I had to reset since after the first cycle had finished; they were still damp.

• I could not connect to the wifi.

• The front door would not shut and lock properly.

The host said they never heard that before. While on the phone I again attempted to shut and lock the door hard. However, it would not shut and lock properly. Add this to being brought in using a back entrance and I did not feel safe. I could not stay in a place that does not have a front door that shuts and locks properly.

The host said I could cancel my reservation and they would give me a full refund with no contest. I then called Airbnb to follow up; the person I spoke with told me she needed to see the communication and that she had to contact the host. Airbnb called me back, saying the hosts said they would come over to fix my issues.

This turn of events was alarming since when I talked to the host they said I could leave, cancel, and be given a full refund. I tried to tell Airbnb that I did not feel safe and was uncomfortable. However, the woman on the phone aggressively ignored my concern. Being a single female, taken through a back entrance, then realizing the front door did not shut and lock properly, the hosts being two men, I was completely terrified.

I packed up my belongings and went to wait for them outside in public. By the time I got to the door, they were on the other side of it. They came back to the unit to try to “fix” the issues listed above. They showed up to the apartment with an extra key in hand. However, I was told the building only issued one in the beginning; this was also concerning.

They proceeded to come in and I stepped outside into the hall, as I did not feel safe. They tested out the door and saw for themselves that it was not shutting and locking properly. On their several attempts to shut and lock the door, they told me that I just needed to slam it extremely hard. I should not have to slam and jury-rig the doors to the highly priced Airbnb I was staying at.

When traveling as a female alone, safety is of the utmost importance. I explained to both of them that I did not feel safe or comfortable staying here and I would really appreciate if they would stick to their word allowing me to cancel and give me a full refund. They agreed so they sent a message via the Airbnb app and confirmed they would honor a full refund for cancelling due to the issues listed above and their inability to fix them.

At this point, I returned the key to them, they walked me down out of the seedy back entrance I came in, and I left. The host agreed in the Airbnb app to giving me a full refund without contesting it. I then called Airbnb again to follow up; I was told that I had to cancel the reservation to get a refund. I did that and then called back.

At this point, I was told someone was handling my case and would be contacting me. I never heard from him until he emailed me at 5:41 PM saying that he had forwarded my case onto someone else who would be contacting me.

At 7:31 I began receiving messages from someone saying that he was handling my case. He said he spoke to the host and they sent videos/photographs of the issues listed above working. These alleged photographs/videos were obviously taken after I had left, after the host agreed to a full refund because he could not rectify the issues.

Airbnb told me that they would not honor my refund. They also said that the host was claiming that I refused to give them the key until I got my refund. This is entirely not true. As I mentioned above, I handed over the key to the host when he agreed to give me a full refund due to the issues listed above, as I no longer felt safe staying in this Airbnb.

There is absolutely no reason why I would withhold the keys. A key fob is not worth the $2134.46 I paid to stay in this Airbnb. Withholding a key fob is not going to get my money back, nor provide a place to stay. The host never informed me that any issues were fixed or could have been fixed. I tried reaching out to the host several times but they stopped answering my calls and texts and blocked my number.

I asked Airbnb who I could speak with but they ignored me. I called again; I just kept being told this particular case manage would call me. He did not; he continued to message me. He told me if I had proof of all this, to send it. Therefore, I sent him the screenshots of the messages where the host confirmed he would give me a full refund since. This is what Airbnb said they needed to see: verbal confirmation from the host agreeing to give me a full refund.

I requested Airbnb call me immediately. Finally, about seven hours later from the start of all this, they finally called and did not take into account my experience, but just kept reiterating that the host sent pictures. Had the host put any effort into seeing that all these issues could be fixed when he came back to the unit then I would not be writing this; the issues would have been fixed and I would have had a place to stay. However, he did not do any of that. The host agreed to give me a full refund without contesting it and we parted ways.

I asked Airbnb for a corporate number: they said there wasn’t one. Therefore, I asked to speak with a manager and he finally got us on the phone with one, who said an investigation would be launched.

I am appalled at this level of service. The constant run around with Airbnb customer service has taken up my entire day and ruined my trip. My brother was getting married and this week started in tears and fearing for my safety. Not only did I lose $2134.46, I am 3000 miles away from home without a place to stay.

This Airbnb host has scammed me. I deserve a full refund. My request was simple: I wanted a refund for the full amount which I was told from Airbnb customer service that the host had to agree to, and they did. There is no way I could have stayed in an apartment with a broken door, being taken through a back entrance and then having the host make false claims after confirming he could do nothing about the broken door, the dryer and wifi not working, and would give me a full refund.

This completely ruined my trip and overall experience with Airbnb. I have called numerous times, I have spoken with several “case managers”, I have been told ad nauseum that someone will be reaching to me and no one has. I then had to spend another couple thousand dollars on hotel accommodations.

I have had nightmares following this incident of someone breaking into my hotel room and doing terrible things, all because of the traumatic experience I went through with this Airbnb host and the company. I deserve a full refund for the hell this host and Airbnb’s customer service has put me through during a time that should have been one of the happiest moments for my entire family.

I am glad I found this site to help me learn I was not alone in this nightmare. I wish I would have found it before booking but I will make sure everyone I know knows about it before they consider booking with dirty Airbnb.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

5 Comments

  1. Why don’t you cancel the charge with your credit card? You have enough evidence, but your story lacks teeth. I am a host, and sometimes a guest, and I never, ever, ever give up trying to get what I need from Airbnb.

  2. For goodness sake, go to a hotel, bed and breakfast. Clearly you have money so why not use it to book a safe place in the future? Airbnb ain’t safe! I had to cal the police once because a crazy host refused to return my luggage after I canceled my stay and airbnb tried to blame me! Since then I’ve been boycotting Airbnb.

  3. Very interesting. The story has a few discrepancies. First the pillowcases are in the dryer and then you say the pillowcases were dirty and on the beds. Then how does a host take pics to prove a door locks or that there is wifi?

  4. I am sorry this happened, but given the zillion stories I have read just like this one, this guest is one of many, many people in the same situation.

    Imagine the money that Airbnb and their so called “hosts” make from cheating people like this? It has to be a fortune.

    The biggest problem with these services in my opinion is that you pay IN FULL before you ever see the place. I was in hospitality for decades and I charged guests at the END of their stay. ALWAYS. If someone had a problem (which hardly ever happened) they were not charged one cent especially if they DID NOT stay. (I did not care what the reason was-I wanted happy guests) That is the ethical way to handle the situation. It just amazes me that you let these billionaire companies into your Paypal account and banking details freely when stories like this abound. Nearly $2,200 is a LOT of money to most people ( not to mention a ruined vacation.) Hosts are more apt to want to EARN your money when it comes at the end of a stay. When they have the money up front, what is the incentive to work to make you happy?

    Lastly, I wonder if this property is even legal in LA? Perhaps that is why the “back door” was for “nightly” guests? Look up rental arbitrage (all the rage these days on Airbnb) I would be curious how many listings your “hosts” have and do the own the properties they rent? Perhaps the owner or management company was unaware that the unit was being used as a short term rental?

    I guess Airbnb relies heavily on the old adage: “There is a sucker born every minute.”

  5. I am so sorry for you because I had a similar experience. It was a nightmare also. The Airbnb customer service was useless and frustrating because they hope you’ll give up while dealing with all the run around. I followed protocol hoping that my 10 night stay in Florence could be fixed ASAP which it was not until 2 weeks after I returned home. The unscrupulous host sounds like mine; fully aware of the deficiencies and condition of her place but put on a good act because her deceptively inaccurate reviews put in super host category. But the worst part is that I am also a solo traveler who felt Airbnb should have been more attentive to possible danger. Absolutely destroyed an expensive vacation. I wish there is something more we can do to help people with refunds. Best of luck.

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