Airbnb Wants to Collect All Your Private Information

I will never use Airbnb again. They try to collect all your personal and private information, and there is no guarantee that you will get the booked apartment. Yes, hotels and apartments from sites like Booking.com are not as cheap as those on Airbnb but you are not treated like a criminal.

Yesterday, my husband and I found cheap flights to Malaga and decided to spend some days in the South of Spain. So, we bought plane tickets and booked an apartment on Airbnb in Malaga. We paid the total amount in advance. Today we received an SMS from the host telling us that the reservation had been cancelled because he forgot to update his Airbnb account. On November 1st, his apartment was not available.

We chose another apartment. When we started to reserve it, a message appeared asking to upload a copy of an ID. My husband uploaded a photo of his driver’s licence but it was not enough. The next message asked him to take a selfie. Airbnb insisted he take selfie with their mobile App but we ignored this recommendation because we didn’t want to have any spyware or malware in our mobile phones. My husband took a selfie using the webcam on his desktop.

In less than an hour we received a new message from Airbnb asking to upload one more selfie because the uploaded selfie was not clear enough. The uploaded selfie was more than clear. What games are they playing? Why do they want to collect all your private data? We agree that for security reasons Airbnb may ask for some information but… it’s too much. First of all, we also live in Spain. We paid with a Spanish credit card. We have Spanish mobile phones. We don’t use Proxy, TOR, or VPN when making reservations. Why are we so suspicious? Can’t they find us on Facebook?

Sorry, Airbnb, but we are not stupid and don’t want to expose our private lives, friends, and photos to the whole world. We don’t want to install their app. They already have enough information. They have our names and surnames. They have our credit card number, that is saved on their servers. They have our mobile phone number (in Spain there are no anonymous mobile phone numbers). Even all prepaid SIM card users must identify themselves when buying one. They have our email address. They have our IP address. Is this not enough? A copy of our driver’s licence… okay… is this still not enough? A selfie? Okay. Still not enough…? Another selfie? Now we are waiting for new messages from Airbnb. What will they ask for next? A nude photo? Childhood photos? All family member photos? Bank account information?

Fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty… and still not reimbursed

I have been a model customer of Airbnb, receiving nothing but five-star reviews. Between various accounts I have stayed in an Airbnb virtually every night since January this year. I was planning to use their service for longer. I book long term rentals (usually always over a month) so we are dealing with high volumes of money. I travel a lot for work and always make sure my booking is extremely close to a tube station.

I had long ago booked a long-term rental in the centre of London which was due to start on August 27th. Four days before this booking, the host cancelled due to extenuating circumstances. I received an email from Airbnb offering to assist me finding a new place at short notice. The assistance they offered me did not help. It was put on the highest priority and they only reiterated to me that there was nowhere similar in the same price range. This took two days.

With two days left, I tried to book into various places with no luck. There were not many places left and the people offering them had made mistakes in their profiles. With one day left, I booked a place that was approximately 1850 pounds. I was travelling and only had my iPhone and limited reception.

Although more expensive than I had planned, the property seemed to fit. It was a one-bedroom apartment listed as within Zone 1, and walking distance to London Bridge. That night due to an error on Airbnb’s system, the booking was automatically cancelled and I spent hours on the phone to a customer service agent who appeared to be helpful and sympathetic to the trouble that Airbnb had caused me. She thanked me for how reasonable and calm I was with her and said that she wouldn’t have been as cooperative as I was. The situation wasn’t fully resolved but she said she would sort it, as I told her I only had my phone with me and found it hard to work on.

The next day, I left Edinburgh for London with my partner and our bags. We had a busy day planned. It was when I got to London that I realised that the apartment was not within ‘walking distance’ from the station (30-minute walk according to Google) so we caught an Uber. We met the host’s mum at the property who showed us the property which we looked at quickly. She told us that the previous guests had only just checked out, and that’s why there were still dirty sheets in the apartment and in the washing machine. I had no time to complain because I had to make the next train to go to an event in London.

We left immediately, and once again took another Uber to the nearest tube station. I was planning to complain about all of this the next day. As I was running into the tube station, Airbnb rang me and asked if we were able to check in. I told her yes, and I was unable to talk at the moment as I was in a rush. We went to our function and got home at around midnight. Whilst walking to the apartment, there were some ‘shady’ characters standing outside of our apartment taking drugs and asking for money. They appeared to follow us down the road and watched us as we entered the apartment.

Once inside, we realised we were unable to lock the door due to some fault with the apartment. We tried for almost half an hour, and as my partner was scared, we grabbed our already packed bags, jumped into a cab downstairs, and went to our friend’s house for the evening (we slept on the couch). It was past midnight on a Sunday. We were tired and my partner had work the next day. We felt extremely unsafe and endangered.

As soon as I woke up at 7:00 AM, I emailed Airbnb telling them I was not staying in the apartment. I did not wish to stay in the apartment because I felt as if it was unsafe and fraudulent. I was tired and I had enough. I requested a full refund. Because I was such a good customer who had always been honest and good to deal with, I stupidly assumed that Airbnb would not want to side with a listing that is fraudulent, unsafe, and dirty. I then borrowed money off my parents who were in London on holidays and booked myself into a hotel. I am still in that hotel.

Airbnb eventually returned my calls the next day, but the representative sounded completely different and chose her words extremely carefully. She essentially said that ‘walking distance’ is subjective; although she doesn’t consider it at this length, Airbnb’s terms and conditions say that anywhere displayed on the map when booking is within walking distance (hours in some cases). She also told me that because I didn’t report the case (after midnight when my partner and I were scared for our safety), Airbnb didn’t have a chance to try and resolve the situation. It essentially was my fault the door was broken. For some reason the onus was on me to fix it after midnight on a Sunday whilst fearing for our safety.

Airbnb offered me 50% of the value of the booking in voucher form and said they would reimburse any Ubers or taxis. I declined this solution. I wanted a full refund at the very least. I have been a good customer and in Airbnb’s own words, beyond reasonable at times. This was a genuine case from someone who had proved themselves to be a loyal and honest customer.

After getting off the phone with her, I did some research and reread the Airbnb host’s profile. The profile said it was in Zone 1. A quick Google Maps search showed that it was not. The property was in fact deep within Zone 2 (closer to Zone 3 than Zone 1). Another finding was that on the map displayed by the Airbnb host, London Bridge Station was nowhere to be found, thus making it not within walking distance due to Airbnb’s own definition of the term.

I immediately rang Airbnb and told them this, and they looked into it. They agreed to the definition of walking distance that Airbnb listed; this was not walking distance. They declined to comment further on the situation and said they would need to look into it. I have since reported these facts to them, and requested a call back several times and have not received any response or contact from them. I told other customer service members about the fraudulent listing of the Zone 1 area. Nothing was done. I also spoke to them about how by Airbnb’s own definition of walking distance this was not walking distance. I sent a screenshot.

They took a couple days to get back to me then told me that it was within walking distance if you use an Android phone to book the property, but not if you use an Apple phone (seriously – this is what they said). Then they said they wouldn’t comment further and had to pass it onto the legal team. Since then, your customer service team has never returned my calls, and emailed me sporadically to ask me to restate the case again. I have been treated horribly.

Originally, I honestly thought that I would just ring up Airbnb and someone would help me find a new place and give me a small voucher for my troubles. I didn’t think I would have to go to this much trouble. I had planned to use Airbnb until the middle of 2019. Now I have checked into accommodation privately until January 2018, and have decided not to use Airbnb again because of the pain and trouble they have put me through. I did not think I would have to seek legal advice. All one has to do is look at my record to see that I am a loyal, good, honest, reasonable customer, that was not trying to scam anyone. I have always booked my accommodations close to a tube station and transport in London. This was the main reason I left.

The account was fraudulent and made out to be in a different area than it was. They have made me try and fight this meticulously and I have proven it according to the law and their own terms and conditions. It is a black mark against the name of their company, and this is not taking into account their blatant disregard for their customers’ safety. I have screenshots of every bit of evidence needed. The host still has the property listed as in Zone 1. Airbnb essentially told me that it was my responsibility to double check all information and only reimbursed me a third of what I spent on the place, despite the above evidence and me never using it. They also (for the first time) said that this was the case because I couldn’t provide evidence of the broken lock, despite the fact that the host admitted to it in private messages.

Hosts and Airbnb: Perfect Partners in Crime

It was my first time using the Airbnb website to rent an apartment in Paris. I expected that I could get a better deal than hotel rooms; in the end, I had been forced to pay more than that for an IBIS or Holiday Inn.

Last month, I went to Paris with four of my friends. They were from Vietnam. They were very excited because it was their first time visiting Paris. All we needed was low cost accommodation for three nights. We decided to get an apartment for the five of us from the Airbnb website. After spending some time searching on the Airbnb website, we found a place in the north of Paris.

However, before three days we arrived, the host sent us a cancellation notice. We had to look for a different place on the Airbnb website; we did not like it very much but had no choice. Finally we found an apartment in the 18th District; it was in a good location, because it took no more than five minutes to walk from the underground station. The size of the apartment was large enough for the five of us, and it was not expensive – only £415.41.

I am living in London; it is very easy for me to get to Paris. I decided to arrive in Paris at lunchtime on Friday, September 8th. Before I left London, the host sent me an email to inform me his coworker would be there to give me the key. The host also told me if I did not keep everything in the apartment in the same condition as before I would have to pay 50 euro.

When I met his coworker, she asked me for 200 euro; she told me that she needed it for a deposit and this was stated in the contact. I thought that it was normal, so I gave it to her. I asked her if she would return it to me on Monday and she said she would. I did not think very much of it because we were over 50 years old, we had no children traveling with us, and we were not planning on making a mess or breaking anything in the apartment.

My friends could only stay in Paris for three days. I tried to take them around Paris as much as I could. Everyday we left the apartment before 9:00 AM and got back around 9:00 PM. Everybody was tired after a long day of walking and all we needed was sleep.

On Monday, September 11th, the host’s coworker came to collect the key. She went to the shower room to tell me it was wet. I did not clean it; I told her that I could not clean it because there were no amenities. The host did not write on the listing that guests had to clean the property before they left. After that, the coworker came straight to the thin worn out plastic folding door, which separated the first and second bedroom. She pulled it out – it was broken – and she said that we had to pay for it because we broke it.

This was impossible because we never touched it. We could not have broken it unless we intended to pull it out and push it back and continued to do it until it got broken. At this stage, I could see the coworker was trying to take away my 200 Euro deposit; she had it in her pocket, so what could I do? I knew I could not get the full amount back but I had to think to get something back. I told the coworker that we did not break the plastic folding door. It was not an expensive door, so how much did she want us to pay?

The coworker did not answer my question. She started to say she had four children to look after, she could not afford to pay the host, and she only worked for the host. She did not call the host to report what had happened. I could not tell her to talk to her host. So I told her to keep 100 euro and give me back 100 euro. She agreed to that. On the way back to London, I sent many messages to the host to report what the coworker did. The host responded with the following text: “Please tell me, how much did you pay?”

The next day I reported the problems to Airbnb. I hoped that they could determine the truth and get my 100 euros back. The Airbnb staff told me under their regulations no cash transaction were to be paid outside of the Airbnb website. After two weeks, I received an invoice from the host requesting me to pay an additional 810.05 euro; the host wanted me to pay for the broken door and the broken bed and said I did not clean the apartment.

The host had called a big decoration company to come to repair the plastic folding door and the wooden bed frame support, but when I looked at the invoice, I could tell it was a fake invoice; there was no company logo or letterhead, and it was designed on A4 paper by using Microsoft Word. There was no cost break down including the materials cost for each item.

After that, I sent an email to the decoration company to ask about this invoice. They said that they never produced it and they never came to this property to repair anything. I contacted Airbnb to prove it was a fabrication. I also told them that my friends were a doctor, a teacher, a finance officer, and a homecare manager. We had no reason to come to this apartment to break a worn out plastic door or jump up and down to break the bed. I sent Airbnb a link to show how much the plastic folding door would cost on Amazon: around 25 euro. I only wanted my 100 euro back.

After one week, the Airbnb returned with the following decision:

“After careful review of all documentation, we do believe that your host should be compensated for the damages caused during this stay. With that being said, we have concluded to charge you 468 EUR for the following:

– Cost to replace the damaged bed frame (labor fee included): 290 EUR
– Cost to replace the broken door (labor fee included): 378 EUR

As you have paid your host an off-site Security Deposit (200 EUR), we have deducted this amount from the final decision. As of today, we have charged and transferred to your host 250 EUR (237 GBP) of the Security Deposit originally authorized with this reservation.”

I did not know about this 250-euro security deposit; Airbnb took it straight away from my PayPal account after they sent this email. They did not allow me to read their email or to ask them why I had to pay compensation. I also wanted to see the invoice of these repairs. Airbnb was not allowed to tell me these costs without evidence.

– First the host sent me an invoice for 810.05 euro. Airbnb’s decision? 668 Euro
– The Host took my offsite security deposit: 200 Euro
– Airbnb deducted this to make 468 Euro
– The Airbnb security deposit: 250 euro
– Finally, I still owed them: 218 Euro, which I had to pay in 48 hours.

If I did not pay Airbnb, they would remove my account. Airbnb always said no cash transactions outside Airbnb. I asked them why they talked about offsite security deposit in their decision; this was a cash transaction, but the host returned 100 euro to me. If the host didn’t take 200 euro, why did you include a deduction of 200 euro in their decision? How could they take 250 euro from my credit card when we had not finished reaching a decision?

I provided a lot of information about the fake invoice from the host and Airbnb did not bother to talk about it. The host broke Airbnb regulations – cash transactions – so how could the host still be allowed to ask for compensation? I requested to talk to a manager. I also told them to please take me to the court because I would not pay 218 Euro. It was my first and last time I used Airbnb. I will find a way to contact the press or TV to tell them about my Airbnb story. I did not receive any more responses from Airbnb. The Airbnb manager never called me. I am a victim. The host got my 100 euro and Airbnb got my 250 euro. Both of them were a good team for stealing money from guests. Please see the 810.05-euro invoice from the host. Was it fake? Other photos are from the worn out plastic folding door and the wooden support bed frame.

Airbnb Hell Cottage in Durham Gives me Allergic Reaction

So I booked a three-night Airbnb stay in a “cabin” in someone’s backyard in Durham, North Carolina. When I arrived I found that the place had seen better days (probably when the pictures were taken). It was a tiny cabin with some sort of heavy scratchy material attached to something that had a sofa-like appearance and something that was supposed to be a bed. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on it, even if it had had sheets. For pillows, there were some filthy throw pillows that looked like they were from a sofa. I was planning on using my sleeping bag at that point.

The outdoor shower was exposed to the outdoors and any neighbors. I started getting stung by mosquitoes immediately (this was mid-October). I went to my car to see if I had bug spray and a yellow jacket sprung out of it and stung me. I’m allergic to all stinging venemous insects, so this was scary. I took Benadryl right away and watched to see if I needed an Epi Pen. I sent a note to the host but got no response.

I decided to find a drugstore and grocery store so I went back to the car only to find it was surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets. It seems there was a yellow jacket nest right next to where I had to park, which was also the path to the back yard to reach the cabin. I ran off and called the host; there was no response so I left a message asking for help. Again, there was no response. I waited for a while and when it looked like the car wasn’t surrounded any longer I hopped in and backed it out towards the street. I very carefully got back to the “cottage” and grabbed my stuff and left.

I called Airbnb from a parking lot down the road and asked them for help. Airbnb and the host were totally useless. The host never responded to any of my calls. He sent me a note telling me I should go to a pharmacy at a WalMart. Airbnb said they wouldn’t return my money unless I could send them “proof” of the insects. How am I supposed to document a yellow jacket nest when I can’t go near them? I tried to send a pic of the sting but my camera doesn’t do close-ups well. I sent a picture of my Epi Pen too.

Airbnb has refused to refund the stay I couldn’t use; I had only recently arrived when this all happened. The host has not responded or been there. This place is a horror show and shouldn’t be rented on Airbnb. I had to go to a motel and stay there and am paying for three nights at the cabin I can’t stay at as well. I tried to call Airbnb again but they never connected me, no matter how long I sat on hold. I guess they know I’m calling about that listing as i clicked through it to call them.

Burgled within 60 Minutes of Checking into Airbnb

My wife, our young daughter, and I checked in to this apartment in Lisbon, Portugal mid-afternoon. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was the dangerous staircase; it was nearly impossible to lift a large suitcase all the way to the third floor and I struggled to do so. Despite this property being listed as ‘child friendly’, the staircase was an extreme hazard and at this point I was already concerned about our three-year-old.

When we finally reached the staircase summit and the apartment, a young lady was waiting inside who spoke limited English but showed us the apartment and seemed helpful. The apartment seemed nice and in a great location. It also seemed like a low security risk for the following reasons: a very steep, straight staircase; two other apartments (one on each floor); no escape points for potential thieves; and tourists/cars around outside. Keep in mind it was also about 2:45-3:00 PM at this point (broad daylight). However, we learned that safety and security was a big problem.

Here’s what happened. Shortly after check-in, we went for a brief walk to look at the surrounding streets and picked up some food. Upon our return (approximately 45-60 minutes later), we opened the building door, walked upstairs and discovered the apartment door had been kicked open (visible footprints over the door) with a broken lock. All our possessions including passports were stolen (including my three-year-old daughter’s).

We immediately phoned the host who contacted the local police and Airbnb. To their credit, each party responded well: we received a refund from Airbnb and they offered to put us up for a night in a nearby hotel. We later discovered two critical pieces of information for which we should have been informed but were not:

  • The building was in fact, empty, with no neighbours. This means that had the break-in occurred while my wife and child were alone, no one would have heard or seen anything (I was on a business trip). A simple burglary could have in fact been much more serious.
  • The property had been recently burgled before our experience, which we discovered from another reviewer on Airbnb.

The break-in was perfectly timed and this property is definitely being targeted by professional thieves and criminals. From the moment of our arrival, we were being watched (either by chance or someone knew of our arrival time) and the intruders had very easy access to the building; the front door was flimsy and provided little safety. This kind of burglary would easily have required some coordination and good timing: at least 2-3 people (one outside to keep watch) and the others to lift/struggle down the staircase quickly to avoid being caught. Remember, the street outside was busy and there were cars and tourists coming past.

There were also a few peculiarities. The thieves were extremely forceful with the apartment door (it was smashed/kicked open and broken with pieces of wood were everywhere), yet they were able to access the building door extremely easily (it was perfectly closed when we returned). It also struck me as a little odd that they also stole a key. Surely, their interests would be primarily in the valuables and getting out (not returning especially as the locks would be changed). I can only theorise at this point but regardless, it scares me to think what could have happened during the night or at other times. Intruders could easily walk up the stairs (with no neighbours around) and simply try their luck. We appreciate the host’s attempt to support us but this is a serious security and safety risk and I am concerned for future guests.

Cold Showers, Rude Host, and Ultimately a Terrible Experience

My husband and I recently travelled to Portugal. We had been visiting different cities in Portugal and staying in multiple Airbnb homes. We came across a listing for an entire house to rent for one month in Alentejo, Portugal. I talked to the host who was listed as a woman and had over 100+ four-star reviews for multiple properties and rooms across Portugal. The place we were interested in was a new listing with no reviews. Looking back, this should have been an obvious red flag.

I spent two days talking to the host on the Airbnb messenger and confirming that the entire place had hot water, a washing machine and a router that had wifi. I informed the host numerous times that I work from home; therefore, I would be relying on wifi. They informed me on the Airbnb messenger that they had all these amenities. The host also stated that the city had a taxi rank and close amenities but no local transport. The host volunteered to pick us up from our current Airbnb listing for a small fee and take us to their home by car.

In the morning a man arrived and claimed that he was working on behalf of the host and would be handling all our needs. He admitted that he had been pretending to be the host I was talking to, and that he was close friends with the host and used her account to list his house. This was odd but at this point, I had already made payment for one month through Airbnb and I thought as long as the place was as advertised it would be fine.

It turned out that there was no wifi in the house; there was not even a router. It was a 3G mobile hotspot that would jump between one or two bars and sometimes not work at all. There was no hot water whatsoever. The man had no clue how to operate the washing machine after he claimed that the house was his. He brought out a manual for the washing machine in Portuguese which we translated and used to operate the washing machine. It was clear that he did not own the house.

As it was within the 24 hours of us checking in to the listing, I contacted Airbnb and informed them of what was going on. Luckily, Airbnb refunded me 20% of the listing and gave me back 50% of my first night. I was also given the option to get a full refund and 20% discount on a new listing if I wanted to leave that night. Unfortunately, the small village we were in did not have a taxi rank that was in use; there was no means of us leaving the village. As it was during the popular summer season, a lot of the listings available on Airbnb were either too far away or unavailable.

We spent one month with no hot water and limited internet. Airbnb insisted that the host should try to rectify the issue and tried to reach out to the woman that owned the host Airbnb account. Her boyfriend called me and said that he was away at sea and could not drive down to fix the internet issues or the lack of hot water. He proceeded to try to speak broken English with me and tell me that there was hot water and that he had driven from Porto to Alentejo four days before our booking to ensure that everything was fine. As his English was bad, I spoke Portuguese to him so he could clearly understand everything I was saying. However, he insisted on speaking English and would not listen at all to anything we were saying, insisting that everything was fine.

Eventually, it was futile talking to him so I hung up and informed Airbnb of what he had told us. When the man that pretended to be the original host returned on the day we checked out, he stated that there was hot water. He proceeded to change the gas tank quietly while we were in the bedroom tidying up and thought that I was not watching him. He then declared that there was hot water and that we were not using the boiler properly. I informed him that I saw him changing the gas tank. He had absolutely nothing to say. Why lie? Why not just admit that the gas tank had run out before our booking?

I asked him why he lied about having a router and wifi, and he said that it was a small village and worked well for him. That was not what I asked him on the Airbnb messenger or in person. During our stay, we had to boil water with pots to take “showers” because he and the original host could not be bothered to ensure that there was a filled gas tank.

I left a negative review on the listing and Airbnb deleted it; the listing is still up. I wonder if this is why the place has no reviews – because Airbnb is deleting them. The moral of this experience is if you want to try and get some sort of refund or assistance from Airbnb, communicate in detail with prospective and current hosts on the messaging app. Airbnb can see everything that is said. Avoid phone calls if possible that discuss important issues. Avoid emails too. Communicate via the app so that all cards are on the table; I cannot stress this enough.

We are now staying in our last listing with another host who lied about having wifi with an ethernet port. Airbnb has offered me a partial refund if the mobile hotspot continues to give us issues. Why? Because I communicated everything through the app.

My Airbnb Mistake and Personal Hell in Oaxaca, Mexico

This was not only the worst experience I have ever had with Airbnb, it was the worst experience I have had in Mexico. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

I booked a night with Airbnb on October 1st. The host offered me a discounted rate if I paid him in cash. This was my biggest mistake. On top of the the payment I made online, I paid 7,000 Mexican pesos (373.00 USD) in cash to stay in the center of Oaxaca between October 2nd and October 22nd. The main problem was the place was and is infested with bugs.

Beginning from the first night there were multiple fire ants, mosquitos, cockroaches (or cockroach-looking bugs) and small, black flea-like bugs. I was bitten by bugs each night I spent at the place. The second and third day I bought various bug sprays, bug traps, and tape to seal off the windows in an attempt to prevent the bugs from entering the bathroom and bedroom. I also bought anti-itch creams and lotions for the various red marks and bites I had on my body. I could not sleep because of the constant bug bites. The last night of my stay I killed up to 100 ants with Raid spray in the bathroom.

After eight days of trying to fix the problem, I informed the host that I wanted to leave, and that I wanted a refund for the days left that I had already paid for. I really should have asked for a full refund, but I just wanted to get the money back for the days I was going not going to stay there and leave. He got upset, demanded I send him the photos, and was disagreeable. I filed a report with Airbnb. He sent his cousin to check the room and she agreed there was a bug problem. I sent him various text messages and he did not respond.

After 24 hours, his cousin came again and said that I would receive my refund at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 10th. The host was two and half hours late. He arrived at 1:30 PM. He demanded I give him my passport. I let him take a photo of it. He asked to see the bite marks. I told him I sent them to him and he didn’t even check my messages to realize that I sent them to him. He tried to make the excuse or false reasoning that fire ants cannot leave bite marks, despite the fact that I sent him an article about it. Regardless of that point, a place infested with ants and cockroaches is not a suitable place for a person to stay, whether or not those insects bite people and leave marks.

He refused to refund the 3,000 pesos he owed me and offered me 500 pesos (the equivalent of one night, as the room is listed on Airbnb). He tried to rationalize it by stating that he lost money by cancelling other room requests, a statement that cannot be verified, is inexcusable, and does not address the fact that he was operating a place infested with a variety of bugs. I explained to him several times what was written above and he refused to refund me the money. He went on and on about how he loaned me a microwave and insulted the character of tourists from the United States.

In this situation, what is a person to do? I refused the 500 pesos because it was truly an insult, handed him the keys, and I left to get a taxi. I left the room and bathroom as they were, with no damage or alterations. I regret not paying through Airbnb for all of the nights, but I write this a warning to any visitor to Oaxaca to not stay at any place associated with this host. I have sent the administrators of this website several videos of the fire ants in the rooms. This recently happened and I am waiting on a response from Airbnb’s resolution center. I hope they take the proper actions against this injustice. At the moment, my review does not even appear on the same page of the listing.

I am including four video clips ( ordered in importance) of the bugs found in the AIr BNB I paid for in Oaxaca, Mexico.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu7NgK9fDEo
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DypDuPTqgkw
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jMa_e2rR6s
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpePm_jHkq0

Some Absolute Nonsense at Thailand Airbnb

My group had been looking for a beach house in Thailand for a three-day stay for days and finally found a reasonable option for all sixteen members of our group (do you know how difficult that was, logistically?). We booked our stay and they took our money. We thought we were good to go.

The owner emailed us the next day and lied, saying that we had misled her about the year we wanted to stay. She kept saying we wanted to book for 2018. Under no circumstances did we say that. Our reservation was cancelled and now all the other options are over $1000 more than the original price. We can’t be spending that kind of extra money. When we called Airbnb, all they kept saying was sorry. They said they would help us rebook but then reneged on that real quick. That does not help with the money problem.

They also reassured us that the host had to pay a cancellation fee but it’s Airbnb that gets all that money. If we were able to use that money to get a comparable rate then I would be happy to keep using Airbnb, but they get the profit and we have to spend extra money because they did not have it together. Absolute nonsense.

Bad Experience with Fake Studio in Hamburg

My husband and I wanted to spend some time in Hamburg, Germany. We booked four days in September 2017, during my husband’s birthday. I was looking forward to this event and we also booked tickets as a birthday present for the Elbe Philharmonic.

When we arrived at the Airbnb, our host wasn’t there at first. He showed up telling us that there was no electricity at the moment because of a short circuit and he wanted to get it fixed (which he successfully did). The moment we entered the apartment, my husband turned around and looked at me horrified: the stench of a dog was just unbearable. He wanted to leave immediately. I stopped him and thought that maybe ventilation would help. Despite the fact there were strict house rules concerning the guests like “no pets allowed ” (and this made me believe that there would be no cat or dog living there), at least one dog was sharing the apartment with this “host “and his two kids.

The apartment didn’t conform to the pictures in the listing; there was no table in the room, and no chairs in the kitchen. Instead of a bed, there was an old 120-cm sofa for the two of us, and setting up the bed was only possible by putting some support items below one part of the mattress. The apartment was raised off the ground floor with huge windows and no way to darken them – no curtains or other items – but the pictures showed something else.

We found the dog’s food bowl in the kitchen sink. Worst of all: the disgusting smell of the apartment wasn’t gone when we came back into the “studio” (the space offered on the website), just the opposite – the smell increased. We found out that the smell was worse because one of the pillows must have belonged to the dog.

Because my husband suffers from dog allergies he could not stay in there any longer and had to leave the place, spending the night in our car. Of course I couldn’t get any sleep but preferred to stay in the room, waiting for my husband to come back and take me somewhere else (it was his birthday that day – what a pity). Meanwhile I had already informed our host (who had left with his kids to stay somewhere) via WhatsApp that we couldn’t stay any longer, telling him exactly what was wrong with his apartment and that it doesn’t deserve the word “studio” (which he has changed now into “apartment”- and this is also flattering). The terrible smell wasn’t disappearing, despite the fact windows were cracked open all night long (with no way to darken the room – and the surrounding area was crowded, being next to the Reeperbahn).

We both had a very horrible night: he in the car and me all by myself in this room. The host answered my SMS, telling me that he agreed to a refund and that he had already informed Airbnb, letting them know that he agreed with our refund request. We had paid 91 € a day for four days and were assured by the host that we would get the overpaid sum back (273 €). All we had to do was send Airbnb a message telling them about the refund and that the host had agreed to it.

This was exactly what we did – and what happened? Airbnb told us that our “host” had already taken payment and we had to get along with him. Great idea! Of course I did never expect to get any money back from this guy, but I thought that this should be the duty of Airbnb – after all, they take money from their customers. Nothing had happened until now, no answers to my complaints. This is not the way a respectable organisation should act. It was our first experience with Airbnb and for sure our last one. Besides I will tell all my acquaintances to free their hands from this company; it is not to be commended.

Scammed out of my Pension in Airbnb Nightmare

I am retired, and I have six children who live abroad so I don’t get to see them that often. We planned a family vacation in September, and since we are a big family, I looked for a listing that could accommodate us all. I found the perfect listing on Airbnb – a nice house in the city, a verified host – so I booked it for three nights.

After a few days, I realized we would need an additional night, so I asked the host to add one more night. She told me we would need to cancel the reservation and do the process again, and that she would send me a new invoice through Airbnb. I received this invoice, from “Airbnb” (rooms@airbnb.com) instructing me to send payment to Airbnb Holdings.

Once the payment was done, I got a confirmation from Airbnb stating “pack your bags, you’re going to Germany” – the text you see in the regular emails with links to the Airbnb website, policy, etc. In other words, I got an Airbnb email from an Airbnb address, and because I was sure Airbnb is building “a trusted community”, I did not doubt for a second that something could be wrong.

The day before the trip, as the host wasn’t answering my emails, I called Airbnb, who told me it was a scam, and there was no booking. However, the listing was still online, on the Airbnb website, waiting for people like myself to fall for it. I had to find a last minute booking (at twice the price) to accommodate all my family, because we were all on our way from all over the place, with nowhere to stay. Airbnb declined responsibility for scams they advertise, even though we paid for the service. They did not do the simple verification steps to check that the listings actually exist (not that complicated – just ask the host to send an invoice or official paper with the address). You had one job, Airbnb.

I lost a lot of my pension money, not counting the stress, frustration, sadness of being robbed when you feel secure on such a well known website. Airbnb refuses to refund anything, not even the fees they took for the reservation, which is the minimum they could do in that situation. The truth is, I am sad and disappointed that Airbnb takes so little responsibility towards the community they claim to be building. It’s easy to take fees on our transactions, to encourage us to open our doors and trust their users, and then they disappear when something goes wrong.