Host Harassment After Five-Star Stay in Quebec

This is not a horror story but a cautionary tale. Hosts should be held accountable for their conduct, don’t you think?

My first experience with Airbnb was great until it wasn’t. My friend and I took a weekend trip to Mont Tremblant in Québec. Things were great. It was a sunny day and the drive was decent. When we arrived we parked and started to unload our belongings and groceries.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t pack light. We had a fair amount of stuff to carry and we knew this would take several trips. The host wasn’t lying when he said there were stairs. The apartment was built on a hillside and there were stairs to get down to the main door and two flights of stairs to navigate inside.

The apartment itself was fine and there was an excellent view of the ski hills and lake. On first inspection we found some laundry left in one of the closet’s which was quickly taken away after the host was notified.

I know you are probably wondering: when does this turn ugly? Well, there were two kids’ beds which I knew about. I kindly offered my friend the master which looked cozy. We agreed on switching sleeping arrangements but that never happened. When it came time to leave we packed our things and went home. We enjoyed our stay for the most part.

This was my first time writing a review so I pointed out the things I didn’t enjoy. I gave the host a five-star rating and I stated that the only drawbacks to the apartment were the stairs and the kids’ beds. This seemed to really piss off the host. After the review was posted I received text messages. The host proceeded to insult my intelligence and basically said his “four year old” was smarter than me. That statement may or may not be true but it’s bad practice to insult guests in my opinion.

This was my first experience with Airbnb and it was now tarnished. I was really shocked that this happened so I called Airbnb that night. The employee I spoke with brushed it off by saying maybe he didn’t mean it? I’m pretty sure he did. Nothing was done about it in the end and this guy continues to profit from Airbnb.

I deleted my account after that one experience. I realized that Airbnb does not hold its hosts accountable for such incidents. My review is still up for all the world to see and the host’s snarky comment along with it. It just angers me that people like this get away with harassing clients. If you plan on staying at this apartment then be sure to leave a good review or you may be subject to his wrath.

blank

Airbnb Business Model: Profit Over Human Safety

blank

I just had the worst travel experience of my life at this Airbnb. This company is deplorable and has put profit over human life. I would like to share my story because I hope no one will ever have to go through what I am currently going through with them.

My family (nine adults and two young children) and I planned a trip down to Valle De Guadelupe in Mexico for this weekend with a tour company that would take us from San Diego down to Mexico Saturday morning and would take us back on Sunday morning. I booked an Airbnb for Saturday night and intended on going there until I received a call early Saturday morning from my tour company. They called because they needed to cancel my family’s trip.

Their vendors were warning them that it was unsafe for anyone to go to Mexico right now because of sudden cartel violence in and around the area of Ensenada and Tijuana the night before where cars were set on fire throughout the city and U.S. citizens were being asked to shelter in place. In order to travel to Valle De Guadelupe, we would have to travel through the border and the city of Ensenada and Tijuana so our tour company did not think it was safe given what their vendors were telling them. This made sense and we were appreciative that they cancelled and refunded our trip.

However, when we went to try and cancel our Airbnb with our host, we did not receive any empathy regarding the situation we were placed in. Instead, we were told that the situation was safe without any evidence that was true and that we had a choice in coming. We had two young children with us. We did not have a choice. We did not want to endanger their lives by going to our Airbnb with active threats of violence in the area we would have to cross through. Airbnb then proceeded to go back and forth with us and at one point even called to say we would be receiving a refund to only send a message 30 minutes later saying they would not be able to because the host denied the refund stating the area was safe. If it was safe, why was everything we were reading about Baja telling us not to go and that the cartels in the area were threatening violence over the weekend?

Airbnb, you should be ashamed of yourselves for running a company that doesn’t care about people’s safety. I am livid that my family was told by your customer service team to travel to an actively unsafe area and put all of our lives at risk.

We called today to see if there were further updates on our request to escalate our inquiry. Airbnb sent a message 30 minutes after our call stating that they were closing our case despite not responding to our request to show us evidence that the area we would be traveling through was safe.

blank

Discrimination by Airbnb Host over Service Dog

blankblankblankblank

After carefully searching for two weeks, I finally decided on an Airbnb to book for a month, while I was new to the Los Angeles area. It was a decent commute for me, and the price was good. Most importantly, it allowed pets. I have a service dog, so legally through both Airbnb and laws in the state of California, the dog is not declared as a pet, is not subject to pet fees or rent — unless there’s damage caused by the animal — and the service animal does not need to be disclosed until after the booking. A host cannot legally refuse to rent to a person who has a service dog; it is discriminatory.

However, because I don’t want to impose on a host that does not want animals on their property, I specifically chose a place that allowed pets. My booking was accepted, but as soon as I explained I had a service dog, the host went ballistic sending a series of messages in rapid succession that I could not have the dog there because I didn’t pay a pet fee when I booked and didn’t include the dog as a pet. I explained the legalities of the situation calmly but also said that I didn’t want to stay where we were not welcome, so she could please cancel and I book a stay elsewhere.

She started saying that what I was doing was illegal too and stated how upset she was and that she was on the phone with Airbnb and she couldn’t cancel without a penalty. Honestly, she should have a penalty for her discriminatory actions. She told me I had to cancel. This was two weeks before my stay; this meant I would lose the $2,000 I had just paid. I told her why I wasn’t going to do that, but she then started saying she couldn’t be a Superhost for a year if she cancelled my reservation.

She agreed to refund me, but Airbnb needed to have done more. They need to educate hosts on this type of discrimination and impose penalties on hosts who violate the terms. This was a very frustrating experience and wasted the better part of my day dealing with it. Oh, and on top of that, it can be up to two weeks before the refund arrives, so now I don’t have the funds to even book another place.

Odd Pet Situation: Host Expects Guests to Take Care of Dogs?

I will start off by saying that this Airbnb listing did not mention that pets were in the apartment, so I was both shocked and pleasantly surprised (I like animals) when I saw two small dogs outside on the patio. They were puppies. I don’t mind dogs, and I just thought that they belonged to the owner. It turns out the owner was a live out owner, and no one owned the dogs. There was one guy who (I think) was supposed to look after the flat and the dogs, and serve as the attendant for the Airbnb, but he was gone (sometimes all day and most of the night).

I don’t know if this guy had a job, but while these dogs were getting food and water, they weren’t getting walked, and would constantly cry for attention. The neighbors would knock on the door, and leave notes telling us that the dogs were crying. There were three adults in the apartment who gone for most of the day. These poor dogs were not getting the best care. The other tenant in the apartment and I offered to walk them but they had no leashes.

Cut to later in the week two people came into the flat to adopt one of the dogs. Okay, so the owner breeds dogs, and then dumps them in her Airbnb until they can be adopted? Thats a pretty shitty thing to do to the dogs.

There were some other odd things about the place as well. The place looked like it was being lived in by someone else entirely. The kitchen had random family photos, none of which included the photo of the host. There were boxes full of stuff, and luggage in the closets. The bathrooms were stocked with a whole bunch of half used toiletries. It felt like a dumping ground, which someone never really moved out off.

On top of that, the place was on the bottom of a massive building, which was under construction. I’m sure this isn’t the worst experience, but it was odd, and misleading from the photos and description. There was no transparency, and neither the random guy or the host ever explained what was up with the dog situation.

No Refunds, No Matter What? An Airbnb Guest Weighs in

It was my first time using Airbnb and I was excited. After researching and looking at over 20 places in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I found a place that looked amazing (which it does, in the pictures). But this is not about how amazing the place is or the conditions of the place once I arrived. This is about eight hours later booking the place for a last-minute trip.

Once I booked, a few moments later I got really sick, and it seems I got food poisoning. I’ve traveled around the world for work and always enjoyed using mainstream hotels. Because of this, I never considered that there would be a subjective and erratic refund policy where one place gives you a 48-hour full refund with no questions asked and another just plain no refunds… period.

I was finally able to get a hold of the host, and they advised me to ask Airbnb to resolve this. After finally getting someone with Airbnb they said they couldn’t do anything and the host was the one that could refund me… It turned into a ping pong hot potato game and was getting nowhere. At this point I was vomiting and feverish with a rash all over my body.

They said, “Well, it was on the refund policy when you booked.”

I was confused since I did not see “anything” about this anywhere, so I looked. After running a search on the page in the browser, I found it past “everything” including the reviews at the bottom in the footer area of the page.

At this point I spoke with my business credit card company and will need to wait for the charges to post, so I can submit a claim. This is absolutely unethical and in a world where most services are customer-centric I am baffled. I spent some time reading about nightmare situations from hosts here. Airbnb seems to be based on an overall unethical business model. I’ve had people rent my home and destroy it to the point it cost me $30,000 to repair, so I understand the side of being a host. It seems the business model is focused on a win-win model that only Airbnb can win.

Do not use Airbnb unless you are comfortable losing money. Look for the refund policy, which is randomly set by the host. Airbnb is not there to protect you as a consumer. They are there just to make the process easier for you to spend money and not be safer.

If you are a host, you need to be comfortable in being able to resolve issues without Airbnb being involved or have insurance that covers vandalism. You are playing in their sandbox, and they hold all the cards. Unless you are one of those individuals that have the time to go after them and get pleasure out of it… your time on this earth is better spent elsewhere.

To my friends and people in Puerto Rico: you are the reason our reputation at Airbnb has fallen so low. I am deeply disappointed. My time is worth more than your petty no-refund unethical smoke screen expense. As a business owner, I know personally you will pay a hefty price, and it’s not always in money.

Discrimination at Airbnb in the South of France

Eight years ago I rented a studio in Montpellier, France for one month. I prepaid and arrived at the studio at the arranged time. I was told to return the next day. Remember that I had already paid. I stayed one day before the owner asked me to leave.

Why? Who knows?

I am an African American college professor who was planning to write for a month. Last year I rented another studio in Marseille for a month via Airbnb. The owner met me and let me in with no problem. There was an internet issue that was resolved by me purchasing my own service. Suddenly the owner wanted to come by with her boyfriend. She seemed to be uncomfortable. The boyfriend kept talking to me about Africa. I am African American. They asked me to leave although I paid for one month and had been there six days.

I was frustrated as I was at the end of the semester and super busy. I left because I don’t want to stay where I was not wanted. Airbnb kept more than 50% of my money even though I stayed for one week and paid for four. I will never use Airbnb again and the company clearly condones racism. I wanted all of my money refunded as I had to go to a hotel. I still want my money. Never again will I use Airbnb. I tell my friends and everyone I know not to use them. As a U.S. citizen, there is no way in hell that I would rent an Airbnb in the U.S. Never.

blank

Dirty, Disgusting Airbnb Makes Guests Second-Guess Stay

blankblankblankblankblank

What can I say? Something that should have been a lovely experience turned into a rather unpleasant one. We had seen an Airbnb listing and loved the photos of the fantastic views which persuaded us to book this cottage.
Upon arrival, there was the owner’s car parked on a small driveway so we were unable to park two cars on it and had to leave one of them outside in a narrow lane.

The cottage was unlocked so we were able to walk inside. We then entered and decided to have a look around.
The first thing we spotted was the unclean cooker. The door was covered in fat stains. When we opened the door and looked inside the cooker, this was even worse; it was caked in grime. The baking trays were also filthy. We cannot imagine the last time that this had been cleaned and we proceeded to clean it ourselves so that it would be okay to cook in.

There were cobwebs everywhere: on the walls, furniture and plants. A mountain of rubbish behind the sofa. Stained sheets on both beds which looked like nobody had bothered to change from the previous customers. A stack of bricks on one corner of one of the beds to replace a broken leg. A tea towel hanging on the cooker door which was black with dirt. The owner’s clothes left in the wardrobes and drawers with nowhere to hang our own clothes. Dirty dishes in the sink that had been left there. A filthy toaster. A filthy microwave. Outside in the outhouse there was the washing machine and fridge freezer, plastered in dirt.

We then called customer service at Airbnb to report the property. The girl on the end of the phone said we could stay in a hotel for the night if we wanted to leave and then find us another property the next day and that we would be contacted within two hours with an update. Two hours passed without a call (time now 10:30 PM) so we messaged customer service to be told that another member of the team would be in contact soon.

We heard nothing, so we had to stay at the property overnight. My partner didn’t sleep at all and at 5:15 AM I once again contacted customer services when we eventually were told we could have a full refund. That night we booked a hotel which we had to pay for out of our own money as it would take a few more days for the refund to appear in our account.

This whole episode has been a nightmare from beginning to end. Properties in this condition should not be allowed to feature on the Airbnb listings. The host’s excuse that there must have been a mix up with her cleaner just doesn’t cut it for us. This property had not been cleaned in months and we have the photos to prove it.

It has left us feeling disgusted and very angry, as this should have been a great experience spending time away, only for it to be ruined with state of the property and lack of contact from Airbnb. We will definitely think twice before booking again.

blank

Bait and Switch at Airbnb in New Orleans

blankblankblankblankblank

We arrived at our Airbnb after being moved due to an AC failure at the original place we booked. We booked it six months in advance and notified the host of the change the day before arrival. The new place at motor works is nice, but has some issues that management could have resolved and didn’t.

The refrigerator never worked and it was 100 degrees everyday; the door handle on the entrance door was falling off — that was finally fixed; the glass was falling off of the upstairs tub and that was fixed; the downstairs shower leaks into the bedroom closet and the water runs under the bed. There was no hand soap in the downstairs bathrooms, so we bought our own; there were very few paper towels and no hand towels. The beds were comfortable and the AC worked well, so I gave it one star.

A working refrigerator in 100-degree weather is a must and a maintenance man that says he will be back and actually shows up again when the door handle is practically falling off would be nice as well. We paid $200/night for the place we originally were going to stay, then they moved us to a place $200/night less with a refrigerator that didn’t work and they never replaced it like they said they would.

Airbnb removed the above review as it violated their community guidelines. I was told the host disputed the relevance of my posting the distance to a homeless camp… seems like that’s something people would want to know. As of right now we were offered a $517 refund. The difference in house pricing was $1,000 alone.

One of the Worst Things that can Happen when Traveling

Some travel bans are temporarily lifted, so I thought it would be the right time to take a chance and travel abroad. Normally I am a bit wary about using Airbnb, but since the date I was looking for was precisely during Easter, prices were pretty high as well as limited availability. So, I thought why not give this a shot? Although at the time, there really weren’t many options for these days.

I saw one that looked reasonable and I took it. What I immediately noticed that this person was already fully booked for three months and he had recently registered. I didn’t get a direct message right away, which was already a bad sign: usually hosts send a welcoming message or a thanks. As the days passed I noticed that the host rarely said anything. He was evasive, concise and slow.

Then after a week I started to worry, if this guy was fully booked then why does he only have a few reviews? The given address was also difficult to find in Google Maps and he refused to provide step by step directions. The numbers were oddly numbered and a jumbled mess. You would assume 58 comes after 57, but not in this area. Then I arrived at the exact time at the exact door, but the neighbourhood seemed very out of place and the antithesis of something that resembles U.K. architecture, reminding me more of a commie block in the former Soviet Union. It was full of Slavic immigrants and the place looked so poor that the price I paid was probably way more than the weekly rent, I am not exaggerating.

I checked the address, but it didn’t have a name tag, a buzzer and it looked more like a shed than an apartment. When no one answered the door, not only did I realize I’ve been had, but I didn’t want to stay here even if it was a real listing. I know Edinburgh quite well, only you have to keep in mind it was Easter Sunday and most hotels had no availability. Hotels that had any availability were not in the position to quote any rates they wanted. Even one that I am a regular guest with told me they were full, on which they offered me to go around to one a few streets back that had only one left for $180, saying “you want it or not?”

This is a common trick they will always play, because you are desperate and will make quick decisions. So what was left to do than to stay in the Edinburgh streets, with all your luggage, all the shops shut and without any tap water? Sit and wait as the hours pass slowly…. Happy Easter.

Fortunately it was a very great trip in Scotland with splendid stays at several great hotels — only this particular Airbnb booking was a hiccup. When I finally returned home, I found it strange that the host never emailed me. He never tried to call me either, nor were there any new messages in the chat box. No “where were you”s, or “were you alright”s.

When I asked for a refund he immediately responded and blamed me for everything. He apparently left work early and spent fuel to drive home to answer the door. Which to me, gives it all away because at first he refused to say anything, but now that I am far away at home he can after all respond within ten minutes and very detailed? Typical.

This also may seem like I went to the wrong address, but I can assure you that I’ve asked around several times where it was, and people said “Oh, that is over there.” There can be only one, and it was the address he claimed it was. It doesn’t matter if I get my money back from Airbnb or by credit card chargeback; what is important to me is that you can get scammed at any time. It will not be safe even if you look before you leap. Hosts can always claim that you didn’t show up and provide a fake address, that way they can always get away with it and Airbnb will probably side with them.

Who is going to compensate me for the lonely night in the streets without a toilet and water? Needless to say I won’t do this ever again. Have you ever heard of a hotel canceling your reservation for no reason? Have you ever heard of any hotel not opening the doors or not existing at all when you arrive?

Fraudulent Charges without Record of Receipt

Recently I was charged $2,800 by Airbnb: $1,800 for a booking and then two “mysterious” charges of $499 each which were not linked with a booking on their platform and for which I did not receive a record of receipt or any record of the charges on their platform whatsoever. Airbnb has thus far refused to provide a record or receipt of these charges. I received a refund for the charges, but was not provided any information on their basis or cause of the charges, and the charges were somehow linked with a mysterious login from California into my account. It would have been impossible to make these charges through an external login and so it must be assumed that these charges, two charges of $499 each, were made internally without cause through their payment processor.

Airbnb also erases records of logins from the consumer-facing portal once it is discovered that the login is fraudulent, thus erasing your ability to log the history of such. So I have no ability to show that the charges were associated with a separate login to my account, but I could honestly just provide this other information as well as the arbitrary nature of the booking (a booking for December made in May, seven months out). I’m considering suing Airbnb for breach of fiduciary duty.