I recently had a nightmare experience dealing with a unresponsive host and entirely unhelpful Airbnb customer service. I booked a four-night stay at an apparent Airbnb in Cincinnati (here is the link to the listing – be aware this host has a number of listings) which advertised free parking on site
When we arrived, my friend had to go up to the unit to check in to get the fob for the garage so we could park; I was circling the block when he said the code to get in the unit was wrong. I tried to call the host and her phone went to voicemail after one ring. I messaged her on the app and didn’t get a quick response, so I called the emergency number which was a third-party answering service that could not figure out why we couldn’t get in.
The lady at the answering service finally said to try a shot in the dark with using a different code and it worked. This was worrisome because obviously the codes are constantly reused so the unit could potentially be accessed by any past guests. My friend then said there was no key fob for the garage so I finally found a street spot and parked and went up to help look for it.
This is when I realized the lack of garage fob was the least of our worries. The place was absolutely trashed. I would guess there was a bachelor party or something before us and it had not been cleaned at all. The floor was sticky, there was liquid running down the walls, there were multiple holes in the wall, none of the lamps had light bulbs, there were wooden chairs stacked against the wall but no table to go with them, there were crusty nasty stains on the carpet, hair all over the “clean” towels, no sheets on the bed and nasty white stains on the couch.
Since I still hadn’t heard back from the host, I called Airbnb and said we could not stay there. This is where the hours-long saga of us trying to find a place to sleep began. Meanwhile, this was at 9:00 PM and I didn’t find a bed – finally at a hotel – which I paid for out of pocket – until after 2:00 AM. I sat on hold with Airbnb for a while when they told me they needed to give the host a chance to respond before moving forward.
Two hours later, Airbnb finally called me back just to say they couldn’t get in touch with the host and there was nothing they could do yet, but they assured me they would fix this for me. The host finally reached out hours later to let me know she had another unit we could stay in. We went to look at it and it also was not clean, was unlocked, had a huge glass door that was open – again scarily insecure – smelled like weed, and had dirty towels on the floor (including one balled up against the door to keep the smoke smell out of the hallway).
Since it was around 11:00 PM we were desperate and said if it was cleaned we could stay there. The host said she would try to get a cleaner out there to get it ready. An hour later I still had not heard back from the host so I reached out and all she said was she had not heard back from the cleaner. Then all she said was she could not accommodate us.
This was about 12:30 at night now and we were just stranded: nowhere to sleep and no help from the host or Airbnb. I started looking for hotels. Meanwhile I had been talking to Airbnb through the app which was not helpful. The first person I talked to ended her shift and didn’t bother to pass this case on to anyone. I had to call back, sit on hold for over an hour again, and start the whole process over.
Needless to say I was frustrated at this point. After hours on the phone with Airbnb, no help from them or the host, we went to three hotels before I could find a room and finally had a place to sleep at 2:30 AM – already having paid almost $1000 for a room I couldn’t sleep in. I then had to shell out another almost $300 for a room. Airbnb promised me they would reimburse me $200 for the room and give me a $150 credit towards another booking, neither of which I have seen – shocking.
I have also been continually reaching out on the app messenger with no reply for days now. I am appalled at the fact that the host was at fault for having a place unfit for humans to stay and yet I am the one that has paid for it through hours of my vacation and money out of my pocket. I have never dealt with a company that cared about their customers less than Airbnb.
The host has never reached out to explain or help or apologize and couldn’t have cared less. Not to mention I had told her I was pregnant before we left and she couldn’t have cared less about being stranded with no options besides sitting at a bar – the only place open – until I found a place to sleep. I included pictures of the apartment as well as screenshots from the Airbnb messenger showing the payments I was promised that have not been received.