Deceptive Airbnb Listing and Shady Host Practices

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I stayed at an Airbnb hosted by a Superhost. She had all five-star ratings (I later found out why) and was very responsive by text. The location was excellent: in Arlington, VA very close to Washington DC.

The apartment was large, as advertised, but that was the only true thing. The ad listed “central AC.” There was a large ceiling unit in the living room. It had two settings: off or frigid. The furniture was Walmart quality and on its last legs. The “fully stocked” kitchen was a joke. I had to buy several things in order to make anything more complicated than toast. The bathroom was tiny and there was no fan.

The real issue was that on our last night there we talked to another tenant who told us that there was mold in the building’s pipes and that you have to sign a waiver to rent there. We felt this should have been disclosed. Apparently the water is not safe to drink. When I posted an honest review, giving 3.5 generous stars with a pro/con list that was very kind, the host lost it and convinced Airbnb to take it down. Apparently, if the host removes their review the guest’s is removed as well and there is no recourse.

In addition, we realized we had left my husbands medication behind and asked to pay shipping for it to be returned. We were told she would only return it for an additional $150. I will never use Airbnb again, since you cannot trust any review posted.

Guest Cancels and Leaves, But Still Charged

We booked a week in a property starting July 17, 2021. When we arrived, we found the accommodation to be very unsatisfactory. Initially on inspection we discovered the accommodation only had five beds yet our party consisted of six people. When you’ve paid £2,250 for a week you don’t expect to be offered a camp bed.

When we first arrived, the cleaner was still there mopping the floor. The maintenance chap was also there. Neither were wearing face masks. In the listing advertising the property it stated (and still does) a 100-inch HDTV. However, there was no big TV: it was actually 24 inches.

As we closely inspected the place, we discovered the kitchen area to be unclean, the utensils were very dirty, and there was a used tissue in one of the drawers. The biggest shock was the state of the double oven. On opening the first door we could clearly see it hadn’t been cleaned and was in very poor condition. When opening the second door we discovered someone’s leftover pie. The cleaner quickly snatched it and hid it behind her back. The entire kitchen was in a very poor condition and certainly not what you’d expect for that amount of money. The garden area was untidy, with the grass not cut and loose tiles on the path.

On contacting the host, we found him to be rude, swearing and suggesting we were being unreasonable. We had just completed a six-hour journey to find our booking wasn’t to any satisfactory standard. We very luckily found alternative accommodation 30 minutes away so our stay at the Airbnb lasted only two hours.

On contacting Airbnb that evening telling them about all the problems and supplying photo evidence, at no point were we told to cancel the reservation until three days later, which meant we received £550 out of the £2,250 paid. Unfortunately for us, Airbnb took the host’s side and stood by the decision not to give us a full refund, which astonished us after sending the photo evidence.

A few days later, I decided to request a charge back on my credit card. Within a week we had our money back on our card and felt relieved, until my card company reversed the decision to uphold the chargeback and now I am £1,700 out of pocket for accommodations I couldn’t and didn’t stay at. I’m still contacting Airbnb and the host but not really getting anywhere. I’m desperate for any help or advice on what to do next. I feel I have a very strong case but unsure what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Airbnb Host Expected Me to Clean the Toilet After Fees

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I paid over $1,300 for a three-night stay at an Airbnb in Michigan City, Indiana. It had a pool. At first, all was well. We had a great time, but the night we got home, I got over 25 messages from the host, claiming she was disappointed in the way I left her house.

My crime? I didn’t vacuum or sweep the kitchen (I actually did sweep… must have missed a spot). I didn’t put her cushions back correctly in the garage (I tried; I just didn’t do it correctly). I put too many sheets in her washing machine (there wasn’t even a checkout manual — I had just stripped the beds and washed the sheets out of courtesy). I didn’t clean the stove (I don’t pay $1,300 to clean a stove). I didn’t wipe off the bathroom counter (again, just soap grime… no biggie). I entered her “clearly marked private space” (this was a cabinet with a post-it note where I found the laundry detergent).

She found dozens of other flagrant violations, all this from a person who didn’t leave a checkout manual. All this from a person I actually attempted to help by washing sheets and towels. All this from a person who included a $200 cleaning fee. All this from a person I actually left $20 for a cleaning crew (actually, there likely isn’t one). I did forget to empty the kitchen garbage into the outside garbage, but if someone strips your beds, attempts laundry, and doesn’t leave a dirty dish, you’d think this grave sin would be overlooked.

Instead, she left me a very, very mean review. I’ve flagged her conduct — which bordered on harassment — to Airbnb. Here’s hoping they care. I’ve attached some of the photos she sent me, that allegedly show what a “pig” I am. I’ve examined the photos carefully and for the life of me, I can’t spot what the problems are.

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Airbnb Hosts Turn ‘Karen’ Over Guest Complaints

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I recently stayed at an apartment in NYC for a getaway for a few days. Initially the host came across as very helpful and responsive and was easy to communicate with. Unlike any other Airbnb that I have stayed at, this host used a security app called Latch as a keyless entry system to his apartment and that system sent the guest a log in email. I never received the email from Latch nor did I receive one from the host (sometimes technology fails us — no big deal).

When we arrived at the apartment at 10:00 PM and downloaded the app to attempt to log in, we were unable to check in because we never got the confirmation log in. Being that we’ve never used this type of entry we assumed we would be able to access the building if we downloaded the app which wasn’t the case. We contacted the host to let him know that we could not get in to which he and his wife went full on “Karen mode” and attacked us about not getting the email.

When we asked if someone could come let us in — seeing as a host is responsible for helping guests if they have a problem checking in — we were told it wasn’t an option and it was a huge ordeal to get someone down to the building to unlock the door. Finally after arguing with the host and his wife over something so ridiculous they finally helped us get the app to work and we were able to come and go without any problems.

You’d think this would be the end of the issue, right? I mean having someone attack you over not receiving an email is an unpleasant check in experience and just absolutely stupid. Well, it got worse.

We finished our trip and left the apartment cleaner than when we arrived (knowing that the host flipped out over an email we most certainly made sure everything was immaculate as to not piss him off again). I reviewed the place as I would any other place I stayed at and left an accurate and unbiased review and recommended the place to anyone who would be interested in staying there.

The host responded to the review in the public comment section slightly passive aggressive but civil. However, he then private messaged me and went on a “Karen war path” for leaving him a three-star review. I have attached the screenshots of our message thread that shows the messages I sent him when we could not get in as well as the war path he decided to go on when he didn’t like my review of his place (also attached is the review and his public response).

Now I know this isn’t as awful a horror story as some of the other posts on here but it’s just utterly absurd that the situation turned into what it did. No one deserves to be berated over an email or a review. I would like to save someone else the headache of this host so I am posting this story here. Everyone loves a good “Karen” story and this definitely fits the bill. My only regret is that I did not voice record our conversation for your listening pleasure.

Airbnb Host Lies in Review After Disastrous Stay

We rented a three-bedroom apartment in Split, Croatia on the first floor using Airbnb. The host posted the same listing on Booking.com and Expedia too. At that time I did not know that my dream vacation would turn into a nightmare.

Let me start saying that the host is providing misleading information on the post. As per the description, it should be a deluxe apartment with a nice garden and air-conditioned accommodations. Sounds like a dream. It was a little expensive but the pictures were amazing; you can see a brand-new place with a garden and pool. I thought it was worth it. Such a mistake.

The location was not so good as advertised, but it was fine. The apartment was extremely dirty with hazards inside.
The place was hot, like 100 degrees F hot (+30/+35 Celsius) and all three bedrooms did not have AC. There were two ancient AC units in the living room and dining room. (Why the host has two AC units in one room, I do not know).

Two out of the three bedrooms did not have mosquito screens. As a result, I got a lot of mosquito bites during the night or could have slept in the hot box without the air. My son has asthma and he could not even breathe in the steamy hot bedroom. As result, my kids were sleeping, starting from the second night, on the sofa in the living room.

AC was not only a problem. In the master bedroom, we found blood stains on the mattress cover sheets. Super nasty. I sent pictures to the host in no time. She promised to remove the dirty sheets the next day, but it never happened. Also, all over the apartment were spider webs. Besides that, between window frames, there was a crazy number of dead bugs.

I opened the closet and I found old, dirty shoes. The closet inside was dirty too, and there were stains on the sofa and walls. The moldings on the floor were not fully attached. One of the bedrooms had a bleach stain on the cover. Generally, it was the dirtiest place we stayed in ever.

The washing machine was broken and discharge water was on the floor. I had to clean the water. There were exposed wires at electric outlets near the bed and wires all over the place, which could have caught fire in no time. My favorite example: a lamp in the bathroom had a wire exposed — good luck not getting electrocuted when you turn on the switch.

The pool was not usable. It was closed, and we could not even open it. In the listing’s picture, it clearly shows a beautiful pool. There was no mention on the listing that the pool was not in service, which is very misleading too.

The person who rents this apartment does not take care of the safety conditions. I sent many pictures and messages to the host within 30 minutes after checking in that I was not happy with the condition of the place, but she ignored my concerns. Airbnb asked me why I did not leave and fight later. Really, it is easy to say just go on the street, in another country and find a place to sleep with two kids, when you paid crazy money for this place and do not have a budget to pay another $2,300. Airbnb will not cover the cost.

After we left, the host posted fraudulent claims on Airbnb. The host stated as a fact that I asked for a refund for “the entire stay.” I never did this; I never thought it was an option before the review appeared and I called customer service to find out why the host was claiming this.

The host posted a review on Sept. 17. To create an escalation ticket regarding this fraudulent claim, I have to request a refund according to Airbnb policy. My request was created on Sept. 22. I did not request anything before her response. The refund requested was only for 22% of the total amount as punitive damages for the dirty apartment and false accusations. I was on and off with Airbnb customer service for a week. I had to provide pictures and videos to prove that the place was dirty.

The host also claimed that bloodstains were from me. I did report this issue right away, but no one cared. Actually, customer service said that I must provide proof that I reported stains right away and it was not my fault. I did report it on their website; they were too lazy to check.

A customer service representative said that according to Airbnb policy, hosts can post any false claim because it is only their opinion and does not need further investigation. Really? Hosts can post anything? Any false accusations? Nice to know.

Summarizing all this, Airbnb refused to help me with my concerns and stated that: “While we encourage and expect all community members to post reviews that contain objective and accurate information, Airbnb doesn’t mediate disputes concerning the truth of reviews. We expect the author of the review to stand behind the content of their review.”

Also, I requested Airbnb to check the misleading and false information regarding the apartment descriptions like the AC and pool, but they refused to do it. Every day I requested to talk to a manager, but my request was never satisfied. Airbnb only takes money and does not help with any issues. It’s so sad that people will pay money to this dishonest person and fees to Airbnb.

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Lost $1000 to Avoid Sleeping in Filthy Airbnb

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Once you click “book” on Airbnb, your money is gone. Misrepresentation and filth are not enough to get your money back. I booked what was represented as a beautiful waterfront home where I could work for a week. I booked just a couple days in advance.

Upon arrival, it was a rundown cabin, part of a rundown crowded campground. On top of that, the place was filthy with sticky residue on the appliances, light switches and mystery drippings on the walls. The bathroom was disgusting with a moldy shower curtain and orange slick grime that’s hard to see in the pictures. The grounds were a mess with cars, debris and junk.

I texted the owner via the app immediately (because all communications had been through the app). I said the place was not at all what was represented and that I was leaving immediately. She did not respond. I immediately contacted Airbnb via the app as well and they did not respond either.

The next day Airbnb got back to me to say they had to ask the host for the refund. I never heard from the host. Surprise: the host declined. I suggested a 50% refund to settle, which was generous in my opinion. Airbnb said I needed to go back and take pictures (a two-hour drive). I made the trip back to the property and took pictures of a clearly moldy shower curtain, sticky surfaces and junky grounds. The host noticed that I was returning to take pictures, so the property was actually an improvement compared to the views on my original arrival.

Airbnb said the host refused the refund because I didn’t speak to her in person. When did that become a requirement? Then they told me they could not refund the money because I didn’t take the pictures that first day and never explained why they sent me back there. I gave up and posted a negative review on Yelp and cancelled my Airbnb account. I lost over $1,000 to avoid staying in filth. I will never use Airbnb again and frankly think this sort of thing needs to be better regulated.

Months later, a person I suspect to be a friend of the owner tried to comment on my Yelp review but that was rejected. The post was just a bunch of name calling. Now more than nine months later, the owner apparently did some research to find out my profession (attorney) and posted a response to my Yelp review trying to deflect from the photos of the grossness and reality of the junky grounds. I never mentioned my profession.

Another guest recently posted more photos on Yelp of the disgusting level of filth complete with another moldy shower, exploded food left by others in the microwave and more. Airbnb has yet to hold this property owner accountable despite pictures. Even the more positive Yelp reviews from guests expecting a campground experience note the need for better maintenance.

The stalking behavior by the owner in digging around to find out about my profession so many months later is disturbing on a whole different level. And there is yet another Yelp review describing how the host cussed out their group when they complained about the mess.

What does it take for Airbnb to hold a host accountable? I read an article about a Boy Scout troop that booked a place in Florida. When they contacted Airbnb to report that two different listings were using the same information, Airbnb protected the hosts. The Boy Scout troop showed up to literally no place to stay and it made the news. Apparently you need a news story to hold hosts accountable if they are making money for Airbnb.

Don’t trust Airbnb for reviews. When I tried to post my review on Airbnb, it mysteriously went into the cosmos. When the world settles down a little bit, I think we need to look to our legislators and consumer protection laws to make some changes. In the meantime, I suggest using VRBO and VACASA. They cost a little more but they also have higher standards in my experience. Take lots of pictures upon arrival in case you need documentation for any reason and let karma take care of the rest.

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Host Robs Customers and is Supported by Airbnb

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I checked into a condo in downtown Aspen, where you would anticipate a nice stay if you have even half a brain. I checked in to see the condo had a tiny mini fridge and for some reason a giant ice box freezer on the floor. The freezer portion of the fridge was completely frosted over. The fridge continued to freeze all of my groceries so I contacted the host asking for help.

The host dismissed me and told me they’ve had other guests with no complaints. Apparently appliances only break on their perceived timelines. After two days of trying to get help from the host, I reached out to Airbnb. This was too late since I didn’t contact them within 24 hours. They suggested I check out and request a partial refund. I checked out well before check out time so the host could have rebooked if they would have liked. The host assured me they would give me a refund for the nights the condo was booked by new guests (as shown in their message attached).

The host laughed at me, made fun of me, called me names and berated me for days. No refund was issued. Airbnb told me there was nothing they could do even though the host assured I was due a refund. During a conversation with an Airbnb support ambassador, I explained what happened and asked them if they would be okay with paying someone $2,000 when there was no working refrigerator and they checked out only after a couple of days of a weeklong stay. They respond that would absolutely not be okay and my request was reasonable.

Airbnb staff agreed this was unacceptable only to then state that Airbnb would not do anything to help. I’ve never experienced customer service like this and hope people are aware of how Airbnb treats paying customers.

First Airbnb Experience was Extremely Disappointing

I joined Airbnb on Sept. 1. I found a suitable place and went ahead with the booking process for a two-week stay. Having booked various hotels and properties previously, I assumed it would be straightforward.

After inputting my details, dates, and agreeing on a price, I was asked to enter payment details. Fine, I thought. It asked to check my details — fine, I thought. Everything seemed to be okay but it was only after all of this I was then I was asked to verify my identity. There had been no mention up to this point including when my card details were checked which came as a surprise.

Unfortunately I couldn’t do this at that time which was 10:00 AM until I returned home at 6:00 PM. The booking was due to commence the next day and by 3:00 PM the host hadn’t confirmed. I was unaware they couldn’t confirm anything until my ID was verified. I checked my bank and the funds had been taken by Airbnb despite them clearly informing me no bookings could go ahead without official ID verification. I cancelled the booking so that I could verify my ID and rebook later.

I then contacted Airbnb by phone at 6:00 PM when the money had not returned to my account, nor made transferable. I was told by Airbnb it was my bank’s fault and the money should be available. Maybe it was my bank’s processing time, I was told. I was told for the future I should upload my ID before making a booking. Like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

I contacted my bank (Halifax) the following day who said no, it was Airbnb who needed to cancel the pending. It wasn’t even a refund so should only take 24 hours maximum. That was last Thursday.

Skip to today, and there has still been no movement on the funds. I contacted Airbnb and the rep clearly didn’t have a clue how to resolve this. Not her fault at all, so I asked to speak to someone who may have dealt with this before because. The only other resolution was to raise the issue and complain via the bank and let them complain to Airbnb.

she agreed to transfer me to someone but then said they would call me back. I said okay, but asked if I could have her details in case there’s no call back. At which point she then started to pretend she couldn’t hear me for about a minute. She told me I’d pressed mute, which I hadn’t. I knew she was lying because there was an echo on the line and she paused at one point when I spoke over her to say I could hear the echo. I called back and what do you know…. no follow up recorded. Completely unprofessional.

My money should never have been taken. These people have not only prevented a host from a substantial booking, prevented me from rebooking, but now caused excess expense to me as I’ve been in a hotel waiting for this to resolve. With regard to trying to resolve it they’ve got systems not fit for this purpose and clearly employ dishonest tactics. They simply do not care at all. They have left both guest and host out of pocket.

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Listing from Hell and the Song that Made it Worse

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I showed up, escaping Hurricane Ida, to an Airbnb in Houston. It’s Labor Day weekend and we had dogs in tow, so the pickings were slim. Still, this looked okay. Four of us were splitting the property; it was 3 bedroom/3 bath, a townhouse, in a nice part of town. I lived up the street when I came here for medical treatment two years ago.

I showed up and there was no key where it was supposed to be. The provided garage door opener didn’t work. The entire place smelled like mothballs and the modem and router were on the floor in the foyer. There were giant stains on the carpet up and down the stairs. It wasn’t clean and hadn’t been vacuumed. The furniture was split and there was just a sofa. No other furniture was provided in the living room. There were large water stains where some of the plaster had fallen from the ceiling in the living room.

There was a pool table (“don’t sit on the pool table” as if it was some heirloom and not a piece of crap from Walmart) but no tables — literally no tables anywhere. There were two stools to use at the counter in the kitchen. No coffee table. No end tables. The third bedroom was also locked from the inside.

The best part was that the host called himself “Premier Lux.” There was a plastic wrapper on the box spring of one of the beds. None of the bedsheets had been changed. You could see the outline where someone had slept in it. I refused to touch any of the linens because this screamed “bedbugs” to me (and I’m far from bug phobic). There was a large cardboard box of dirty laundry in the laundry room.

To recap: it was filthy, I couldn’t lock the front door and one of the bedrooms was mysteriously inaccessible because it was locked from the inside. I kept wondering “who is in there?” The entire place looked like a crew of eight 20-year-old frat boys had just moved out a few days before after a four day bender.

I turned to Airbnb (I am a host in New Orleans, so I know their drill pretty well). To make it “better.” Airbnb put me on hold to get a “Support Ambassador” on the line. So it started. Their horrible Airbnb song — you know the one, in which the waify girl singer that they always play on repeat to make people hang up, saying “Followww me”? Follow her right to the depths of hell.

The support person claimed he had to come back every two minutes to ask me again “may I put you back on hold” and the song started over again from the beginning. You heard that right. He claimed he had to get “permission” to put me on hold again. I’m 57 years old. I’ve never encountered that particular piece of customer service nonsense.

If I had any hair left, I would’ve pulled it out. It took 45 minutes for a “support ambassador” to come on the line. So I listened to the first two minutes of that “song” (it’s really a musical abortion) 22 times. Ultimately Airbnb made it right and refunded all of my money (and added a $200 coupon for next time), but not before adding heavily to my post-hurricane stress and aggravating me beyond measure. When they cancelled the reservation (and refunded my money) it was as if the host had cancelled, so I can’t leave a review. The listing is still there for the next sucker.

Needless to say, the host never responded to my phone calls, Airbnb messages or text messages to his phone. He’s a scuzzball who should be banned from Airbnb, but likely will not. I’m only posting one photo because it was the most bizarre. The huge box of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. That kind of summed the whole place up in a nutshell.

‘Last-Minute’ Reservation Cancelled and Future Reservations Blocked

I tried to make a reservation nine days ahead of time. I got a message from Airbnb saying it was cancelled citing “last minute booking of large houses” and also restricted my account from making any reservations. I don’t know what system assumes nine days as last minute. I usually book the same day.

I believe it’s part of the new program at Airbnb to prevent parties. This is broken since I never party. I had a false bad review about my leaving a place dirty recently that Airbnb might have assumed to be a party, but I never party. The last host’s place was dirty when I checked in. My most recent review from a host of a big house is extremely positive, and so are all other reviews.

Airbnb is a way of life for me. I work remotely and book at the last minute. It is who I am. I have a history of reservations and history of great reviews. How does Airbnb just restrict such an account?

I would like this to be resolved and call on more attention how Airbnb is taking advantage of its monopoly. If there was another service with as many listings as Airbnb, Airbnb would be out of business simply because of terrible policies and customer service.