We just got back from our vacation at Andy and Rachel’s Knotty Pine House in South Lake Tahoe. This was our first time AND LAST time to use Airbnb. The first night we were there, my four-year-old niece went to take a shower. She was the first one out of our group. When her mom went to turn off the water, the way you’re supposed to turn it off, the hot water knob came loose and sprayed water everywhere. The water dripped from the second floor bathroom down to the first floor bathroom and the kitchen (the first floor bathroom and kitchen share a wall). We contacted the Airbnb hosts immediately.
The homeowner was very frazzled and couldn’t believe that the knob could come off because he had installed it himself just six months ago. He made statements like, “There’s no way it could come off without using a wrench!” He had me running around outside to try to find the water main to shut off the water to the house. He had me look under a piece of wood that covered a hole on the front porch where he thought the water main was. It was not there. While I was talking to him, my brother was able to insert the knob in somehow to stop the water from leaking any further. After this, the host sent his wife over who was staying at one of their other vacation homes in the area because he was out of town. She came over with her father who walked around the house as if to inspect to see if we had caused any other damage, and when he couldn’t find anything, he proceeded to sit down in the living room and wait for his daughter. Talk about awkward.
Needless to say, the host’s wife, Rachel, walked through the bathroom and inspected the shower. She took pictures of the bathroom and the water that had leaked to the first floor. I mentioned to her that all the towels in the house were damp and unusable. She said that they had a back to back reservation and blamed her cleaning people for not getting the towels dried in time for our arrival. She also stated that this was a vacation home and not a hotel. I said that we were paying $329 a night and the least they could do was give us usable towels. She then went into the locked garage and proceeded to give us some dry towels… which she found out were still damp as well. She found five dry ones that she left for us while the rest were being washed and dried.
They were supposed to provide two rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, and one bathroom only had one roll and a half. They told us that since it was late (around 6-7 pm at the time) that they would get a plumber the next morning. So, now we were stuck with one working shower for the thirteen of us to share. We were gone on excursions the next day and thought the repair would be done while we were out. Of course the plumber didn’t come until after 6pm the next night during dinner time. Anyway, we finished our week there and went home and the next thing you know, I got an email from the hosts requesting we pay $180.00 for the plumber who came to fix the loose knob. I told the host that I did not agree with that and that it was their responsibility to keep their rental home in working order. I never heard from the hosts again because they took the situation directly to Airbnb to let them decide.
The evidence the homeowner provided was a picture that I texted her of the loose knob, a screen shot of a text message between them and the cleaning people to ask if the knob was fine when they were cleaning the house before we got there (How are you going to rely on people who can’t even get your towels clean? They couldn’t even put new rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms, the oven had leftover crust everywhere that sent smoke through the house when we turned it on…), and a screen shot of a text message from the previous people who stayed there – they said that it was fine, but they had taken most of their showers somewhere else. The next thing I got was an email from Airbnb asking what our side of the story was. I told them. Then I got another email saying that they were going to charge my credit card because “there is no denying it happened while you were there.”
We are not denying that it happened while we were there. They failed to take into consideration that the homeowner installed it himself (he told me this in our phone conversation when I had called the number on the reservation to report the problem) and that there could’ve been a possibility that it was installed incorrectly. (The whole house reeked of non-professional installs, e.g. the toilet rocked back and forth, the sink fixtures moved around). They charged my credit card and “disengaged” from further conversation. I repeatedly asked for an explanation of how they came up with their decision and the only response I got was that they have the final say so.
I was so mad that I called the city only to find out that the city has no record of the homeowners pulling any permits for any remodel work done on that home. I believe that the homeowners should be held accountable for something. What if something worse happened while we were there? If there was an electrical fire while we were there, would Airbnb make us pay for it because we were there when it happened? There is no logic to their decision in this matter. My one-star review showed up for one day, but has magically disappeared. How is anyone ever going to get an honest review of the hosts or the place or the practices of Airbnb? According to all the reviews, it was a 5-star place, but of course it is since our honest one-star reviews didn’t get posted!
If we could at least WARN people about how Airbnb goes about making their decisions in matters like this, then hopefully this will not happen to anyone else!
1. Because the homeowner did a shoddy installation job, Airbnb made us pay a professional to install the shower knob correctly.
2. Airbnb’s Help Center is a joke.
3. The number they provided routed me to someone in Asia who said she could do nothing except email the Airbnb “mediator” to ask her to email me back…I have yet to hear back from her.
4. The “mediator” only responded to my emails after 10:00 pm my time which led me to ask where they could be located. I found out that they are located all over the WORLD, which would explain why they don’t care about local laws that require permits to be pulled for remodel work of any home.
5. There is NO WAY to leave a bad review for the hosts or Airbnb.
6. Whatever the cost, DO NOT EVER USE AIRBNB! There are ALWAYS other options out there!