Where to start with the Airbnb debacle? Long story short, we drove from the east coast for over twelve hours for my mother-in-law’s funeral in Cincinnati, Ohio. We arrived at our Airbnb on May 26.
The first word of the advertisement was the word “Lysol.” That certainly caught my wife’s eye due this time of COVID-19; however, that was certainly a misnomer.
At 10:00 PM, we arrived very tired and knowing we had a funeral the next day. We proceeded to check the bed. The sheets were quite wrinkled as if someone had just slept in the bed. We pulled off the bottom sheet to find the mattress pad covered in yellow stains, with hair on the mattress pad, and one side of the mattress pad taped together with duct tape.
Needless to say, we turned around and walked out. I called the owner right away while still in the apartment. He didn’t care as he said we’d have to take it up with Airbnb. As the next day was a full day with the funeral, I called Airbnb the following day. They didn’t seem to care either.
Here we were at 10:00 PM, far from home, very tired, during a pandemic without a place to stay. Numerous emails and phone calls to the Airbnb “resolution specialists” ensued which included several photos of the bed. The title is also a misnomer as there was not a resolution. The matter was not solved.
During my first contact with Airbnb, one woman indicated that this lack of cleanliness was not their policy. One “resolution specialist” even responded in one message that the host was not informed about the issue and that we stayed there and checked out, a lie.
We called the host just a few minutes after entering the apartment. We refused to stay there. The host indicated in a message that he is considered a “Superhost” and that he didn’t think he had ever had this issue. He also replied, “I don’t typically share my home with first timers because of these issues.” What the heck does that mean?
After various contacts that I initiated with the company and very little information from Airbnb, they replied on July 3: “We decided that no refunds will be made because your claim has been reviewed by my team and your refund request is already outside of our guest refund policy. We consider this decision final.”
Two months later, I am still trying to resolve this issue. We have not received a refund. I contacted Airbnb again on July 15. Again, another “resolution specialist” said she would re-escalate the case and that I should hear back in 24-48 hours or possibly longer.
How many times will we hear this? I researched Airbnb’s host standards: “We want to give you clear guidance so you know what’s expected and can provide a five-star stay every time you share your home.”
Five-star? Yellow stains on the mattress pad, hair, and duct taped together? That is in no way anywhere near five-star. “Get positive reviews – guests like to know they can expect a consistent level of quality, no matter where they book. At the end of each stay, guests will review their experience with you, which is one of the ways we evaluate you as a host.”
What we expect of Airbnb:
• Clean every room guests can access, especially bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen.
• Check that there’s no hair, dust, or mold on surfaces and floors.
• Provide fresh linens, sheets, and towels for guests.
• Clear trash, food, and leftover items from previous guests
Obviously, Airbnb does not expect their hosts, or “Superhost” in this case, to follow their own standards. Airbnb is not a company with which anyone should do business. They are a huge disappointment in so many ways: difficulty contacting them, very long hold times on the phone, and “resolution specialists” who don’t resolve problems, not following their own published standards.