Harassment by Host After Ignoring Check In

We booked accommodation in Madrid from January 19-22, and as previously agreed with the host we were supposed to arrive between 12:00-2:00 PM. We sent a text via Airbnb inquiring as to who would be available to meet us, with no response from the host. As agreed, we arrived at 2:00 PM, and found the main door of the building locked and with no response from the host to several phone calls and messages made to her registered number.

We waited outside for more than three hours with several calls and messages during the time, only to find her mobile was switched off the whole time. Finally around 5:00 PM she made it to the apartment and showed no remorse for leaving us stranded, instead asking us to look for another place if we were unhappy. Her attitude and mannerisms were extremely unprofessional and rude, and instead of containing the situation, she talked down to us and was very aggresive. She did not help us settle in, did not show us the amenities or even how to get the wifi started, which was already a problem.

Half an hour after moving in while we were using the shower, we had a neighbour bang at our door, non-stop buzzing and yelling and complaining about water leakage from our bathroom to theirs. They mentioned complaining about this water leakage to the host in the past, with no action from her. We were asked to immediately stop using the shower. We paid for all amenities – not only did we lose half a day for the host to show up, but now we were also asked not to use the shower. The wifi also stopped working soon after that.

The host was extremely rude and aggressive, and as confirmed by Airbnb support staff, she also repeatedly used profanity, and threatened us with cutting off the water supply if we were not available when she would send someone to fix it. As of 3:00 PM today, we have been forcefully vacated from the accommodation with no proper/prior notification. Airbnb denies the confirmed mistreatment and unprofessional attitude of the host, which has all been documented in Airbnb messages to us. Furthermore, we were asked to immediately vacate the premises by Airbnb with the assurance that they would take care of re-booking us immediately.

This booking we made with the host was fully prepaid, and as per Airbnb rules, the payment to the host is only released after 24 hours of check-in. Our first complaint was registered 20 hours ago. Kindly refer to the complete communication in the email trails between Airbnb support team and me. We have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by this host in person, via text and phone calls, all of which have been documented and shared with the Airbnb team. We are still waiting to hear from Airbnb regarding an alternative accommodation, and are literally on the street for the next two days, with no communication from their team regarding the above or even our money. We are looking for a full refund, and a solution to our current dilemma.

Airbnb Host Spying On Guests With Audiovisual Equipment?

When I made our reservation with Airbnb, I took advantage of their “Pay Less Up Front” program. I paid for only half the reservation at booking, and about two weeks later, I paid the rest. Who would know this would come back to bite me in the end? Let me back up a bit.

My group and I planned to meet at the airport for our flights to Atlanta at 11:00 AM Friday morning. Our flight was from about 1:00-3:00 PM and we were scheduled to check into the house we rented at 5:00 PM that day. At exactly 11:13 PM on the Thursday night before the trip, I received a heart-stopping message from my host:

“Dear Kayla, I am hoping you will get this. Airbnb Customer Service is getting in touch with you, as well. I am having huge septic tank issues and there is sewage in the house. I am not allowed to safely have anyone stay at this home. I have tried to let you know much earlier but Airbnb’s website would not let me cancel or notify you. I had to call Airbnb to cancel and they are now trying to notify you. I am so sorry for the inconvenience to your trip! Thank you for your kind understanding!”

Let me just put this out there: I had been in constant contact with the host, letting her know our arrival and departure times, and just discussing other little things related to the booking. I was just baffled as to how it was that she was unable to contact me until 11:13 PM the night before I was scheduled to stay with her. I thought it best that I not respond to her, as I know my words would not have been kind or understanding.

Instead, I immediately contacted Airbnb who had not even called me yet. The representative had no clue what I was talking about. The reservation was active and there were no notes on the account stating that it should be cancelled. She had to hang up with me and call the host to verify. Meanwhile, she told me to look for other listings and reach out to the hosts of the ones I like to see if they could take me at the last minute. Another blank stare moment.

Once Airbnb spoke to the host, she called me back and asked me if there were any listings that I saw that I liked. I explained to her that since I was looking to book something on what was now the same date I was expecting to arrive, that the prices were much more expensive than what I had paid. The only listing I found with a host that was willing to take my party at such short notice was $400 more expensive than what I had paid. Airbnb only gave me a $200 coupon, leaving me to come up with $200 more than what I had paid, all for something that was not my fault.

What the representative said next is what really blew my mind. I was informed that because I paid for the booking in two installments, instead of them transferring the money I’d already paid onto the new reservation, they had to charge me for the new one and I had to wait for the refund for the cancelled one. After escalating to a supervisor, I was told that the funds would be released to my bank in 1-2 hours and all I had to do was call the bank so they could make it available to me.

While speaking with my bank I learned that was hogwash and poppycock, told to pacify me and get me off the phone. Meanwhile, my account was severely overdrawn and I still had a flight to catch in the morning. To make matters worse, I only got an automated confirmation of a refund about the first half of my payment, which finally posted to my account on Tuesday. I never received an automated confirmation about the second refund. When I inquired via chat about the second portion of the refund, I was told the funds were never received.

Like I said, when I booked the reservation, I paid half upfront. I received several confirmation and reminder emails that the second half would be charged on Thursday, December 18th. Airbnb charged my account for the second payment on Wednesday December 17th, and sent me a confirmation email dated for Thursday, December 18th, thanking me for my payment.

What the heck is going on at Airbnb? Why are they charging folks earlier than they should, and sending confirmations for a later date? The first representative I spoke to that Wednesday night, when I called in irate about being prematurely charged, processed a refund for that payment. I escalated to a supervisor because I did not want to be charged again on the correct date while waiting for a refund, since that would mean double the amount would be taken from my account. The supervisor then cancelled the refund, kept the money and compensated me for my overdraft fees.

Fast forward to 2:00 AM last Friday, the day of my trip, when I was going back and forth with Airbnb. After reading the message that the second payment was never received, I demanded the supervisor I had been speaking with call me back. She called me back and told me the last message was an error; they did receive the second payment and they did process the refund. She typed an email to me confirming the two refunds and their respective amounts. A week later, I have not received the second refund. If they were both processed at the same time, shouldn’t they be in my account by now?

The madness does not stop there. The new host that I booked with was freaking me out from the beginning. She asked me the purpose of my trip, and constantly drilled that she lives in a conservative neighborhood and that her home is not a “party house”. I understood that – no one wants to have problems with their neighbors. However, the first red flag came when she asked me how my guests and I know each other. I let her know we’re coworkers and classmates, but I could not understand what that had to do with anything.

The second red flag came when she called me before we checked in. She let me know that once I got to the house, I would hold my license up to the camera at the doorbell, she’d verify my identity and give me a code to put in the keypad and gain access to the house. No problem. The issue is that she said the latch on her door “sticks”. She said we’d have to hold the latch tightly and push really hard on the door to get in. Every time we went to go inside the house, it literally felt like we were breaking in. I’m so glad we had two strong guys with us, because if not, I doubt us ladies would have been able to get in.

The third issue arose when we returned to the house Saturday night at about 2:00 AM and attempted to turn on the downstairs heater. It was 27 degrees outside. We are South Floridians who are not used to the cold, so we were beyond shocked when we tried to turn the heater on and discovered that the thermostat was now asking for a PIN number. I felt bad about contacting the host at such an hour, but heat in such conditions is like a basic human right. It couldn’t wait.

I practically found myself in an argument with this woman. The most unsettling part about this text exchange was the realization that she was eavesdropping on me and my guests. Notice her comment to me about her power bill. I never mentioned anything to her about it, but one of my guests had just said the reason she blocked us from adjusting the temperature was because she did not want to have to pay a high power bill. It was so scary that she turned around and mentioned it. She claims she was just clarifying, but who clarifies something like that without a question being asked?

We learned that the system she used to identify me at the door and remotely adjust the thermostat is called NEST and it provides clear audio and visual surveillance. I’m still creeped out by this. To make matters worse, the house smelled dank and musty when we first got there. We had to spray everything down with Febreeze. The host only gave us one set of towels each for the weekend. Imagine being a person that is used to changing towels daily, and having to use the same towel all weekend.

She claimed she had a cleaning crew but the house was horribly dusty. There was broken glass on the floor in one of the bedrooms and dog hair everywhere. The pots, pans and dish sponges were filthy. We had to buy dish detergent and new sponges so we could properly clean the dishes and cook our breakfast. I did my very best to overlook this situation, but Airbnb nearly ruined my birthday that I had spent months planning.

I cannot believe that a company that is supposedly the standard in home rentals is so careless and irresponsible with its guests and with who they allow to host. I’ve since learned that Airbnb does not even do background checks on its hosts. What if the lady that hosted us is some kind of sick voyeur and records or watches the people that she rents her home to all the time? I will never, ever, deal with Airbnb again.

Airbnb’s Unfairness Leaves me without Answers

I booked and paid twice with Airbnb, then both of my bookings were cancelled by the hosts without an explanation from them or Airbnb. I got my money back those times but my third host was a scammer. I know I should be more careful, but after two cancellations I was desperate to find a property in London for my family at the busy time of year.

My host approved my booking and was recommended as a good host by Airbnb. He claimed he had flats in London and Florence, but he was totally a scammer. Before I sent all the documents verifying this to Airbnb, they closed my case and my questions were not answered:

1. What procedures do you take to determine if hosts are good?
2. Do you have proof of the existence of your hosts’ properties, the identity of those hosts, and their contact information?
3. Did you really think my host was a good host to recommend to me?
4. Can you contact my host on my behalf?

I wrote here because I asked these questions but Airbnb closed my case with auto-reply emails. I tried to write the Airbnb trust and safety team back, but my emails were blocked by them and my negative comments on Facebook were blocked. That’s why so little negativity is shown on their Facebook page.

One way communication makes me feel bad. It is so unfair. Airbnb approved my host and now said he was a scammer, mentioning they are not responsible for any money loss or fraudulent information being circulated around Airbnb as well as outside the platform. Airbnb helped these criminals when they were recommended on a public site, and are still doing it. Can you really say Airbnb is not responsible?

Police suspect these scammers get inside help because; Airbnb didn’t even deny this when I asked. As upset as we were, the day of check-in, December 28th, 2017 in London, we waited for a return phone call from a supervisor at Airbnb’s customer help desk to help us to find an alternative property in London. They promised me twice over the phone and we waited three hours in a café in central London while checking other sites. We didn’t get any calls from them and all we got was an auto-reply email three days later.

We had to book an alternative place to stay through Booking.com and spend extra to buy a same day check-in. Airbnb promising something it couldn’t deliver was more upsetting. We also saw another young couple were waiting to get in to the property. How many more people will get scammed because of false recommendations by Airbnb? I hope they reconsider their system errors, and give some support and proper answers to me and my family after all this irresponsible service.

Both Host and Airbnb won’t Accept Negative Review

Here is a review I posted on an Airbnb host’s site. It was posted for one day and then Airbnb removed it from the post. I contacted Airbnb support and went back and forth many times and they refused to put the review back on the host’s rental site.

You will see in my review that I not only complained about the rental but also provided some positive feedback. It seems to me that the host and Airbnb don’t want negative reviews so they removed it. When I told the host I was posting a negative review, he threatened that if I did he would post something negative about me. I didn’t care about the negative feedback I would receive as I felt it was important to share my experience with others who may rent this house.

We also had five couples in the rental (all over 60) so I can’t imagine what he could have said about us. We were there less than 24 hours and took great care of the house. Since Airbnb wouldn’t post my review on their site I am now hoping to share it here:

Beware of this host. First let me say that we have rented many homes through VRBO and most recently Airbnb for over 15 years. This will be my first negative review I’ve written so I put a lot of thought into this post. Our first interaction with the host was amazing. She was quick to respond to all of my questions and allowed us to rent for only one night on a busy NYE stay – although at a premium rate of $1,600 per night (I believe the normal nightly rate is $500). We had five couples to share the cost so we felt the price was worth us spending a night in a nice house.

Now to the reason I’m writing a negative review. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the pool had not been cleaned; it was dirty and had leaves on the bottom of the pool. I contacted the host and she offered to come over and sweep it for us. We declined as it was starting to get dark and cool for the evening. Again, the host quickly responded to my question so communication was good. As the evening progressed we discovered many other issues. By this time of night it was getting late on NYE so we decided it was too late to call her. A list of issues we found that I want to share with potential renters:

1. When one of the guests went to prepare for bed she pulled back the top sheet and there was not a fitted sheet – only the mattress pad, which had many stains on it and was covered with hair. She found the fitted sheet wound up in a ball in the closet; it was wet so she couldn’t put it on the bed. She had to move all of her stuff to another bedroom which also had bedding issues (holes in the shams and stained sheets).

2. An ice cube fell on the floor so we grabbed a paper towel to wipe it up. The paper towel was black from the dirt on the floor. We tried wiping other areas in the kitchen and saw how dirty the floor was. We decided that we wouldn’t go barefoot in the house. In fact, by the bar area our shoes would squeak from the stickiness on the floor.

3. The fireplace didn’t work – or if it did we couldn’t find the instructions on how to use it.

4. One of the bathrooms had a hole in the drywall, the tub faucet was broken and the sink handle fell off when we turned it.

5. The ice dispenser didn’t work – we had to open freezer to get ice out of the bucket.

For $1,600 we expected a lot more from this rental. It didn’t have to be perfect as we understand many renters come and go through these houses, but clean and in working order was not too high of an expectation.

The next day I contacted the host and she said she was mortified about the linens and would repair all of the items I listed. Although too late for our stay, I hope it is better for the next renter. Her reasoning that things were not taken care of was that no one had ever told her about anything wrong in the house. I understand that others wrote good reviews so she wasn’t aware of any issues which is why I’m writing this review so the next potential renter can be informed.

All in all, the host was good to work with. We just felt that for the amount we paid to rent the house we deserved so much more.

Careful Booking Close to International Borders

I was trying to book a weekend getaway with my husband, sister and brother in law to celebrate our anniversaries. I was looking in Niagara, NY but somehow the site was showing me places in Canada too. I did not realize this.

I found a place that looked great for the price we could afford, and the address said Buffalo, NY. I booked it and as soon as I did it the confirmation said Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Since none of us had our passports current I cancelled it immediately (about two minutes had gone by since I booked and cancelled). Airbnb refunded me $350 of the cost and the host was supposed to refund me the remaining $200.

You have to put a request in for the money so I did and contacted the host. I messaged her explaining what had happened and she told me she had already made plans to go away for that weekend (apparently in the two minutes it took me to cancel) so she couldn’t possibly refund me my money. She said her strict policy on cancellations allowed her to do this. I had already read that policy and it said I had a 48-hour grace period to get my money back as long as it was at least 14 days before the booked date. It was in fact 30 days before the reservation date.

I messaged her several times explaining to her that if the money was not refunded we could no longer take our trip which we had been saving for, not to mention the hassel of getting the kids and animals looked after we were gone. She kept citing the policy, but ignored the part about the 48-hour grace period when I would remind her. Then she stopped returning my messages on the app.

I contacted Airbnb directly, explained the situation, and they refunded me. This is not a complaint about them except for the fact that they were showing me properties in Canada when I was looking in New York.

 

Airbnb Cancels a Long-Term Booking without Consulting Hosts

About a month ago I had a 31-night reservation that was cancelled without consulting us after 48 hours of checking in. Our guests wanted to leave the place after they spotted two cockroaches in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Our house is located in Bondi Beach, Australia, where cockroaches are simply everywhere in the summer, with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees, especially when guests leave the windows and doors open or food exposed.

Our property was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. Airbnb cancelled on our behalf without consulting us prior; even though we only have 5-star reviews from all other guests. Since then, apparently, we owe Airbnb for 29 nights, so almost $20,000.

When receiving this booking request four months ago, we decided to go for a long holidays with our kids during the rental, based on the money that we were supposed to receive from Airbnb. In short, we owe 20K to Airbnb and had to pay for our holidays. Usually, Airbnb gives the hosts 24 hours to fix the issue. In our case, Airbnb cancelled our 31-night strict cancelation policy reservation without approval from us or even trying to find a solution, which seems extremely wrong.

Looking into the Extenuating Circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, and natural disasters are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was cancelled does not fall into this scenario at all. Finally, completely to the contrary, Airbnb did not publish the bad review left by the guest. Airbnb didn’t agree with the review, but agreed with the guest to cancel the booking. Our lawyer is now on the case. If you have any advice or tips, please share.

Airbnb Hell Prevents Property Agent Scam in Munich

I’m posting this because thanks to a similar post from this website I just avoided being scammed. I’m a Spanish student about to start an internship in Munich, a city well known for its accomodation shortage, especially for students. Searching for flats I came across the following property. The host seemed to answer all of my emails really quick and had no problem with the duration of my stay. I showed interest and the conversation went as follows:

Hello,

Thank you for your answers. You can rent the apartment how long you want, My children are at school here and I don’t have plans to move again in Germany. Last week I took two days off from my job and came to show the apartment to a person that was interested in renting it. When I arrived there, he called me and said that he was no longer interested in my apartment. I have lost money and time.

So, in this case we can use Airbnb. Here is a brief description of the process: they will send an agent, and you will visit the apartment in his presence. You will be able to sign the contract with them. They will also handle the money and the documents so both of us will be protected and secured. You will not pay any additional commission or other taxes. The total amount that you will have to pay will be: 1 month in advance, 500 EUR warranty + 720 EUR = 1220 EUR.

To continue this transaction through Airbnb you must to send me these details: complete name and address of the future tenant; direct telephone number (mobile); I also need a copy of your ID or passport to complete the lease agreement After you give me your details I will forward them to Airbnb to make the reservation on your name. They will send an email to confirm your booking details.

Finally, you will get an invoice to make the deposit in their bank account to show your interest and provide assurance. After the company receives the deposit confirmation they will send a designated agent with the keys and the documents. The agent will arrange the visit with you if you decide to rent the apartment. If you refuse the apartment, you are fully refunded the same day. I am under contract with the company and they offer the best security methods available.

I await your answer because I have other tenants interested in the flat.

Of course the website in which her appartment was listed was not the official Airbnb website, but a really good fake. So good that I almost took the bait. Here is the link to the fake Airbnb listing, please take into account this is not the official Airbnb site.

Notice how close the layout is to the real thing. Especially for people who do not use Airbnb that much and are not used to the official site, it can do the trick and provide this fake sense of security. It indeed said that she was a verified hostess: there was a picture of her, and comments from fake previous tenants. When I went on the real Airbnb website I of course could not find her apartment.

Just letting everybody out there know that you always have to double check accommodation in cities such as Munich, especially if you are are a student. I hope this helped someone and screwed those scammers.

Slum House Throws Female Guest out at 2 AM

This was my first Airbnb, and it will be my last. I thought it would be nice to stay with someone local since I wouldn’t be in the room most of the time I was there. Checking in was easy, but I was confused about the key situation even though I read the rules.

My room had a bed that was unmade, and host said his cleaning lady hadn’t come yet. No biggie. I just slept on another bed. The sheets had an odor to them. I didn’t think much of it because I wasn’t going to be there often. I saw a key outside my door, but assumed it was the previous tenants’ key since the room had not been cleaned.

I came to find out I was using the lockbox key. I was called to return it and retrieve my other key. The person’s voice was full with attitude when I explained I couldn’t close the lockbox. He said he would do it. I didn’t let it get to me.

When I came home that night, I had some problems with the front door, and my new key. I used the lockbox key to open it, and then to my dismay could not shut it. I did not want to leave the house key outside, because it wasn’t safe, and I did not want to take the key again, and be met with attitude. It was late.

I texted my host to ask for help, but then figured it out and apologized for bothering him. I locked the door and went to my room. I saw my light was on, and the door was wide open. I left in the afternoon with some friends. My door was shut, and lights were off. I also saw three plastic cups. One was empty, another was full of water, and the last one had a brown liquor. Then I noticed my luggage had been searched, and there was a sports bra on my bed. That sports bra didn’t even belong to me.

I did not want to wake my host since I had already with my lockbox question. I just needed to be sure that I had rented the room for myself, and was not sharing it with others. This was my first time using Airbnb, and I thought maybe I had made a mistake. When I texted my host to ask I was quickly met with sarcastic remarks, and told that it wasn’t working out – I should just go.

I was a woman staying alone in another city that I didn’t know. It was 2:00 AM, and he was asking me to leave. I told him I didn’t have anywhere else to go. He kept with the insults the whole conversation, so I packed, and left. He kept insisting that he wasn’t a hotel, and it wasn’t worth his time for what I was paying. I was also made fun of for not locking my door. The lockbox key I was using previously did not lock my door, so I assumed the other one didn’t as well.

I was shaken, and betrayed. Who would just throw a woman out on their own at that time of night? This horrible person would. I was refunded close to $40. The house in the pictures looks funky, and cool. In actuality it is a run down dirty house with hardly any art at all. It stinks, and felt like I was staying at a halfway house, or men’s dorm.

I would not recommend Airbnb, especially for women. I’m sure the host will have a smart response to my story, and try to belittle me. It is okay. I just want to expose him and his crappy art house so no other woman will feel violated, as I did that night.

Airbnb Charging in Wrong Currency with Excess Fees

I was trying to pay my host, but the Airbnb system kept rejecting payment saying ‘server error, please retry’. I kept retrying and eventually selected PayPal as the payment mechanism.

I am booking an Italian property, with charges in EURs, and have a EUR credit card (despite living in the UK). My PayPal account has default currency of EUR and the EUR card was linked to it. However, when submitting payment via PayPal Airbnb kept changing the payment currency back to GBP. Airbnb then charged my credit card several times for this rental despite not finalising payment via PayPal, with automated email confirmations they have refunded it.

I opened the support message, which closed with no action. I phoned and was called back by people who have not bothered to read my support chat, saying I needed to ‘verify’ my identity. I did not need to do as I had already completed my account setup. Airbnb support are simply responding to the common issues people phone with, but absolutely not my issue. I was promised they would investigate and call me back. They didn’t.

It’s simple. I had a booking in EUR and I wanted to pay for it using EUR. I sent a message saying if I paid in GBP then they would need to refund me the 6% charge (3% Airbnb charge from EUR to GBP, and then 3% my bank charge converting GBP back to EUR). There was no response.

As the deadline for making the payment approached (on the special offer price) I needed to confirm everything, so I contacted my bank and transferred EUR into my GBP account, and then changed my payment method to use this account. However, now the system actually charges me in EUR from my GBP account. So, I now face bank charges from my bank converting EUR into GBP. This does not need to be this difficult. I simply wanted to be able to select a payment mechanism and select the currency.

I contacted Airbnb to refund this transaction and allow the correct payment to complete, but no response. I am sure as a UK consumer I am allowed to request a refund when the vendor misleads the consumer. All of this is documented on Airbnb message centre with screenshots, but I see this morning the case has just been closed with no comment. All of this is simply because Airbnb is trying to force payment in certain currencies so they can charge exchange rate fees. Their systems simply did not work as they should, and customer services are not empowered to resolve. I simply want these fees I have been charges refunded due to their system issues.