My nightmare with Airbnb started with a horrible event but really escalated when I tried to complain about it. I booked an Airbnb to go to my friend’s wedding in Ukiah, California. The reviews seemed good; she was an older lady, so I thought she would have been harmless. The nightmare started shortly after I got there. After I arrived, I introduced myself to her, and she happened to be home with her friend. Then, after getting ready for my friend’s event, I went to go ask her directions to the winery where it was being held. While I was getting directions from her, she said that I looked very nice and told me to have fun. As I walked away, she grabbed my butt with a full hand and I was wearing a thin dress so it was very direct contact. I was in utter shock when it happened and didn’t know how to react.
First, this was an old lady, and second, all my things were still there and it was her home, so I didn’t know if my reaction was going to instigate something. I was in a hurry and tried to run out but it was raining when I got out and I came back to get an umbrella from her, still not knowing how to react when that happened. When I got to the event I was in such a shock, I told my friends there and then I told some friends online and people were telling me to get out of there as soon as possible. That’s when it sunk in what had happened. I tried to call Airbnb’s emergency line which my friends told me about but I was constantly put on hold and once I got through to someone and told them what happened they just said “can I put you on a long hold” and after ten minutes went by I had to hang up. I went back with a friend because I didn’t feel safe going back alone to pack up my belongings at night and checked into a hotel at midnight.
I finally got in touch with someone in the morning and told them about what happened; they said something to the effect that this doesn’t happen very often. They said they’d refer the matter to someone and get back to me. I didn’t hear from anyone and I had already contacted multiple people. I also went to file a police report before I left. The police were pretty horrible in Ukiah. The officer was really combative: he asked me if I did anything to bring this upon myself and actually went to the host’s house and asked her if she did it and then came back and told me she said she didn’t do it. He told me I was combative and referred me to his supervisor when I tried to make a report. I don’t think anything happened and the experience of filing the police report was one of the worst things I have gone through. I realize this is why so many sexual assaults go unreported.
A couple of days later they emailed me to put a review for my host on Airbnb. I was shocked. I wrote a tirade of what happened to me. Finally someone replied to me and I attached a screenshot of the reply to this review. Really repulsive. Thanks for allowing me to cancel when I didn’t stay there and doing nothing else in the air of customer service besides continuing to aggravate me after I was assaulted. The host’s profile is still on Airbnb, and my review is nowhere to be found. This is very disturbing because it looks like profiles on Airbnb are curated, leaving guests in complete danger. It’s EXTREMELY disconcerting that Airbnb does not take these allegations seriously and it is only concerned with making money: no matter the price, even putting people in danger. I hope this company eventually gets shut down (which it will). Here’s the host’s profile.
Wow Mark, what a horrible comment.
Try having an elder male host grabbing your penis and say that again.
Airbnb deleted my negative review for a host also. Her apartment had tile not the hardwood shown, and she didn’t give us towels so we needed to find them in a London neighborhood, ie no malls or towel stores for us so we paid $40 for one towel from a gift shop. She responded with all sorts of untruths in a review for us, we “destroyed the apartment” and “left it filthy” etc, and pursuing it with airbnb ended up having our profile be deleted. Weird things Definitely happen on airbnb and with hosts, I’ve lived it also. I’m sorry people treated you the way they did! I hate people mistreating others, I’m glad you saw the police and so sorry the police person treated you that way, i wish more people had interacted with you, urging responsibility by witnessing your interaction.
I’m sorry to hear about this! I’m a reporter writing a story on sexual assault by Airbnb hosts. Would you be interested in talking to me about your experience?
Oh man, these responses. “She’s a superhost so there’s no way she did that!” Really, folks? Everyone remembers that guy this past year that was a cop who was convicted of abusing women he’d arrest, right? Somebody being a superhost on a fucking website has nothing to do with anything.
This is a weird story all around. Not saying it’s not true. It’s just weird and to be honest, I don’t know what Airbnb should do.
Who gives a flying fuck if she is a super host or not? This should have been taken more seriously by the authorities.
Squeezing someone’s butt is a gesture of goodness in some cultures.
Touching someone in a sexual way without their consent is sexual assault. End of discussion.
The host appears to be a Superhost with 134 reviewers consistently giving her 5 Stars for all areas of service delivery. Very few hosts achieve these levels of excellence.
Further she is elderly and it’s not conceivable that my very old granny would have punched your cheek or slapped you bottom as a compliment and you were probably looking lovely.
Sometimes, though, we create problems that have no real foundations. It sounds like you are really distressed and indeed combatitive, having given the police who have real work to do the run around.
I am not dismissing the fact that you felt violated. Your offence taken is yours to deal with as you wish. But you will create I necessary anger within yourself by continuing to flog this apparent violation of your space.
It’s a tough one but I doubt it is Airbnb’s fault that this lady squeezed you bottom. It won’t matter this time next year so let it go. That’s my 10 cents worth.
either the host profile photo is 30 years old or you are 19. Either way, you are going to share how a Superhost with 135 reviews assaulted you? Ok.