A Terrible Experience with Airbnb During Omicron

In late November 2021 we booked a trip to Los Angeles for a week in January and paid $3,100 for a stay in a condo in Marina del Rey. In late December, omicron appeared and we realized that we could not risk traveling, especially with a two-year-old.

We contacted the host a few days before the date that we would not be able to get a refund of half of the amount. We asked to rebook in the spring but could not do it online because the calendar did not go out far enough. We contacted our host, asking her to do this and stating that we could not travel at this time. We never heard from her and so we contacted customer service.

They promised that they ‘had our backs’ but did nothing except run out the time until we were past the deadline. The host contacted us once to say that she heard from Airbnb but thought we were another booking so didn’t answer. Then after we were due to have arrived, she contacted us and said that she was not going to give us a refund, a credit, or rebook. Customer service kept promising help but never delivered anything but hours on hold listening to the same piece of horrible music over and over.

As it turned out, one of our party got COVID during the time we would have been in LA but this doesn’t seem to be enough to trigger a refund. When I called to ask about what kind of proof they needed of this COVID case, I got put on hold for 40 minutes. I finally sent a message asking to be called back and hung up.

We never were able to ascertain what responsibility to answer inquiries the host needed to fulfill and in what time frame. We got inconsistent and inaccurate answers from customer service (referred to in the future as customer disservice). Between us we spent literal hours on hold. All in all, an appalling display of purposeful incompetence, lack of ethics and callous behavior far below any other travel entity we have dealt with during COVID. We will never use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Accused Us of Extortion After Host Lied

We stayed at an Airbnb in Paris. The apartment was okay, but had some issues (dirty dishes, smoke smell) . We posted a review that mentioned these things, but also the good points. I guess the host did not like the review, so they told Airbnb that we had told them that if they gave us $100 we would post a five-star review; otherwise, we would post a negative review.

We had made the mistake of communicating with them using our own email (instead of Airbnb), so I guess they doctored an email to support their claim. Airbnb told us that we had violated their rules of conduct and our review would not be posted and if we continued this behavior we would be banned from Airbnb. They would not show us their “documentation” of our threat, nor even entertain the fact that possibly, the host was lying. I tried to contact Airbnb through their support, but got no response (and closed).

Lesson learned: do not give an Airbnb host your personal email address.

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My Airbnb Host Lied about COVID to Cancel My Trip

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Picture this: you are a 20-something business professional who event plans for a job and loves to celebrate every birthday. 30 is a big one, right? All you want is an amazing home with family and friends where you can eat delicious food and drink yummy wine.

After hours and hours of scouring Airbnb, you find the perfect home that sleeps eight people, has an ocean view, and even a spa. Amazing. You book this six months in advance (you’re very organized). You also message the host to double check that you are allowed to have a friend visit (not stay) to enjoy birthday cake and the property in the day time bringing the number of guests on the property to nine. You also want to ensure you send everyone’s vaccine certificates (you’re organized and respectful, remember?)

The host immediately thinks this is now a party despite your best efforts to say it isn’t. They go on to say they previously had a terrible guest that ruined their home. You sympathize and understand it must be difficult to trust other guests. However, you do your best to reassure the host.

Luckily, your birthday falls just after New Years so everyone is already enjoying their Christmas holidays, yourself included. Fast forward to Boxing Day and you receive a long winded message from your hosts explaining they need to cancel 11 days in advance as they had “close contact” with a COVID case (not confirmed person) staying in their home.

We’re in New Zealand; bear in mind there were maybe two cases at the time and none in the town or city where this home is located. The host then went on to say they were “devastated” but could not find a cleaner prior to our check in. Isn’t the home meant to be cleaned upon arrival anyways? In 11 days? They then went on to say they needed to cancel the listing until the end of January.

Okay no problem. I took it upon myself to find a cleaner so our place wouldn’t be cancelled, because you can best believe I have family and friends traveling more than ten hours and cancelling is not an option. Before I can even suggest this, the host cancelled and terminated any dialogue.

I’m absolutely devastated and also now out over $2000 NZD. Fast forward a few days. I went to check the listing and what do I see? My weekend was still available to book on the host’s calendar, and the following weekend which was available was now booked. What’s more, they updated their listing to include “no parties, 8 people max” which was never in the listing to begin with.

Being an understanding person, I decided to give the benefit of doubt and thought I would ring up the first cleaning company I could find on Google. They were available that weekend, as were two others.

It’s obvious this host not only lied to us about COVID but forced me to dramatically change my 30th birthday plans with zero remorse. I have family members and friends back home (I’m from North America originally) who’ve passed from COVID so to use this as an excuse is not only negligent, but disgusting. As I mentioned I’m respectful and organized, but also petty.

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Airbnb Host Hiding from Negative Review with Proof

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I stayed at an Airbnb near downtown Atlanta from Dec. 24 thru Dec. 28 and left an honest review that was deleted. The house had had so little toilet paper and paper towels we rationed them. The hand soap was refilled with water to stretch it (I threw away the bottle to force them to buy more). The hangers in the closet were a collection of store inventory (the kind they use at the store with the size on it), the wireless hangers were from a dry cleaner, and likely some from an old rummage sale.

There was literally both razor wire and barbed wire on the fence, guys walking up and down the block smoking marijuana, a collection of grocery carts full of trash across the street, enough towels for three people when the listing advertised hosting for eight people, and the loft/den on the second floor had a small area rug and love seat — that was it. There was no additional furniture in the room, so everyone had to either stand or sit on the floor. I mentioned that the neighborhood was hopefully “up and coming,” but cautioned that there were more than a few homeless encampments in the area.

I posted the review, and was told it violated standards. I had photos to prove what I said, but the review was removed. The host begged me to reconsider the review and claimed that less than a four would get them kicked off the site. They deleted their positive review of me and had mine removed as well.

Lying Airbnb Superhost in Vancouver Kicks us out

Compared to other stories, this is not the worst, but it was truly upsetting, especially for old friends, one of whom was dying. We rented an apartment with a view, which was beautiful, but nothing else was up to snuff.

The apartment was so tiny that one of us had to sleep on a love seat (the only soft, albeit uncomfortable, place to sit in the place) and another on the floor of an unheated, cold, windy porch since there was not even floor space inside. We were charged extra for a third adult, with no mention that the apartment was really not meant for more than a close couple or an individual.

The Airbnb property manager refused to give us more than one key, because he didn’t like the woman traveling with us (three retirees from different parts of the world). The Airbnb “Superhost” said the security guards would let us up on the elevator to our floor and we could deal from there, if we wanted to go out individually. The security guards would not let us up and thought that the manager was a scammer. We had a difficult time trying to coordinate our schedules so that we could get back in since our phones didn’t work internationally and we couldn’t buy any phones for short-term use. There were many uncomfortable situations.

We at least knew that the manager did have the owner’s permission since we were kicked out (without a word of thanks or accommodation) one evening so the owners could come in with their contractor. Much to the manger’s chagrin, we were late getting out so we met the owners, but couldn’t stay because there was literally no room for six people in the apartment.

This was not an inexpensive rental. We would have done better at a hotel down the street. So, beware, shop around, and don’t always trust Airbnb reviews.

Airbnb Booking Leads to Trailer Park Nightmare

I booked an Airbnb in Canada for myself, my girlfriend, and her three kids for a trip around Alberta for a couple of weeks during the summer 2021. It was in a mobile home park, but Airbnb did not tell us it’s a mobile home park on the website. It was one of the very few Airbnbs in the area. I believe there were only two or three that could accommodate five people.

When I was on Airbnb’s website, there were about nine or ten pictures of the unit and I’m believe about five of those pictures were of the kitchen: pretty much five of the exact same pictures. It looked okay in the pictures; there was nothing to see or identify that there was anything wrong with the house, which in the end was not a house. It was a rundown 60-year-old looking piece of crap trailer in a trailer park on the outskirts. There was a lock box that had the key for the trailer in it that was attached to an old wooden fence. Anyone could have come along, broken the fence, and taken the key.

As you enter the trailer you have to climb up these rickety stairs on to this wooden deck that looked like you would almost fall through. The door to the trailer was an old wooden door where the lock on the door barely locked. There was an approximately two-inch gap on the bottom of the door; mice or anything could have come in with no problem. Everything in the trailer was like a step back in time.

They listed it as a two bedroom: there was one full bedroom in the back of the trailer and the other bedroom was part of the kitchen where there was a curtain and a old rickety wooden bookcase that had been laid on its side to kind of make it look like it was a separate bedroom from the kitchen when it really wasn’t. There were no towels in the bathroom. Barely any hot water. The floor was disgusting; there are parts of it that I swear to god I thought I was going to fall through a number of times. Everything in the kitchen was plastic like it was made for a 50-year-old daycare.

The trailer park was full of noisy neighbors partying and yelling for half the night. It was a very disgusting experience I would never ever stay in the area again. When I called Airbnb after it was over to tell him about it then complain I got zero customer service from them: no returning my phone calls, no answering my emails, nothing. I love using Airbnb. I have used it a number of times and this was the first time I had ever experienced a problem residence. I just wish that Airbnb had much better customer service than they do.

No Help, No Refund in an Airbnb Emergency

My son and girlfriend rented a room in Ft. Lauderdale. The room was not as presented, but they tried to deal with it. They were supposed to have a double bedroom and no used condoms on the floor.

While there, my son was robbed, threatened to be shot, and left the property. They tried to reach Airbnb since arriving at this unit over the room situation and could not get through to a person. Police were called to the hotel after the incident. The hotel clerk told my son and his girlfriend they needed to leave before something happened. Again, there was no help from Airbnb.

They left their unit at 1:00 AM and had nowhere to go. Their money was tied up in this unit and they would not give their money back but promised to get it to them. We got a frantic phone call at 2:00 AM that our kids were on the streets. Still nothing from Airbnb. We got on the phone and still nothing. I bet if it was their kids something would have been done.

I posted this and suddenly I got a call. The kids and I had tried to get in touch with them for weeks after this happened and got a total run around. They actually put me through the whole process three more times: telling the same story, promises to do something, promises to call back. But, they did send me an email asking me to state it all over again, and then after I did, they told me “because of my lack of response they are ending the dispute.”

Are you freakin kidding me? Every time you call they mention how the calls are being recorded. Check your recordings and email history. I have called at least 15 times. The problem is, they know that this happened to young adults juggling jobs and school and they could wear them down. I won’t be worn down.

How can a company allow this? They know it happened — there are police reports. They removed this stay from their listings and they think telling me that it has been handled internally helps those kids and future kids in any way? They deserve their money back at a place they couldn’t even stay.

Poorly Cleaned Crack Den Passes for an Airbnb Listing?

Without going into the minutiae, the property was not as advertised (graphically or descriptively) on the web page through deceptive and misleading photography and unbelievably optimistic interpretation of the property condition, style and “vibe”. It was so incredibly dirty that it would not be addressed by an additional visit by a cleaner in the duration of the stay and very distressed throughout with burns on curtains, water marks on soft furnishings, dozens of scuff marks on floors and walls, chipped enamel, raised floor tiles, dirty, thread bare “linen”.

It was also potentially unsafe. The appearance and demeanor of the host’s assistant was not inviting at all: scruffy denim, no teeth, fell out of a scruffy white van on arrival and could barely walk straight or string a sentence together gave us the distinct feeling that he was a drug addict.

Based on this, we immediately complained to Airbnb, hastily took photos (because of safety issues) and left the property as advised by Airbnb. The host reached out to us within the hour and offered a further cleaning of the property. We declined as we had no intention of returning to the property as this was not the main issue. The host subsequently offered us another apartment in the same building. We declined this offer as we felt that any customer good faith had be irrevocably destroyed. In the meantime we started a full refund request from Airbnb.

Over the next several days we struggled greatly to deal with the process with many response delays, misinformation and lies from the various Airbnb Ambassadors. Eventually Airbnb summarily rejected our complaint but offered us a $500 good will gesture refund. We rejected this outright with the intention of reclaiming all our money.

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Reasons to Stop Using Airbnb in the Future

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I booked a trip to Montreal for February of next year to get out of my city and celebrate my graduation. The Airbnb I selected did have a strict cancellation policy which wasn’t an issue at the time because I had no intentions of cancelling. However, very shortly after booking the COVID situation in Montreal became dire with the whole city declaring a state of emergency. This week, Quebec reported nearly 10,000 cases. Montreal is on a complete shut down and will likely have similar strict measures in place come February. I decided it was best to cancel my trip early instead of waiting and having to do so last minute.

I contacted the host, whose profile says “response time one hour”. He did not reply to any of my messages. I contacted Airbnb customer service, which was of no help. They took a patronizing, condescending tone with me and constantly reiterated the “policies” by which their hands were tied. Airbnb does not protect customers in the case of COVID-related travel bans, closures, etc. Thus, even if I wanted for an official travel ban to be enacted, I still would not get my money back. My best option was to request a refund from the host. I did this and the host declined, citing this ‘policy’. Airbnb will not issue any credit to my account either. I have effectively lost my deposit.

Firstly, I do not think it is ethical or socially responsible for Airbnb to allow such policies in a pandemic. Obviously we’re all tired of this and want to get out and travel. However, there should be measures in place to protect customers in the event of unforeseen circumstances. I am aware the host has a strict cancellation policy, but this is an exceptional circumstance and I was at least providing him enough notice to find another guest.

I have accepted that I have two options: I can go through with my trip (or try to) or cancel now. I did not anticipate things would get so bad so fast and I do not want to risk traveling in February when COVID is likely to still be ravaging Montreal. I have decided to wait until the very last day to cancel my reservation, in hopes that it lessens the chance the host can find a new guest. I am also deleting my Airbnb account immediately after and will be boycotting the service going forward. When I think about it, I’m not saving that much money compared to a hotel. Maybe hotels will cost more, but I also won’t have to pay a cleaning fee and be responsible for cleaning the place lest I get tacked with additional fees and a bad review.

People like this host make the world a worse place to live in. Airbnb’s treatment of their customers is beyond poor. I refuse to give any more of my money to this platform. I always knew it was unethical, but I compartmentalized what I knew because part of me did like what Airbnb had to offer. The reality is, Airbnb is contributing to rising rental prices and housing scarcity.

If you’re on the fence about Airbnb or questioning whether you should boycott it, let this be a sign. At the end of the day, once they have your money, they couldn’t care less about you as a person. Customer service is not a priority once you’ve already paid them because absolutely nothing is forcing them to deliver. Put it this way: if a hotel has your money and for some reason you can’t travel due to unforeseen circumstances, they aren’t going to waive some draconian policy in your face and talk to you like you’re stupid. They will refund you or compensate you in some other way. A hotel isn’t going to charge you more money for not cleaning your room or subject you to a rating system that serves to encourage guests to ignore obvious problems with the unit and accept subpar service.