Identification Trouble from Airbnb Hell

I’m not a frequent Airbnb user, but it has always been a good experience for some years now. Recently, Airbnb requested some real identification and asked for a copy of my passport. No problem, I can understand about that kind of request. It may even be some improvement to avoid scams or other abuse.

However, Airbnb then asked for verification with a live image of mine. I tried. I tried ten times with the app. I could take a selfie with the app, but then I just dropped back to the home page of the app. There was no kind of confirmation whether this image was received, and obviously it never was.

In parallel I tried to contact Airbnb support. They always wanted to walk me through the confirmation process. I did three times and it never worked. I asked to escalate this problem to someone who could find another solution. They walked me through the process again.

They asked me to install Airbnb on another phone. I did. Now the app asked for a confirmation code, which I received on my own phone. Again, that’s a reasonable request, but the second app did not give me any option where to enter this four-digit code which I had received.

I’m still in identification hell. I tried to book two different accommodations several times. After 12 hours this reservation will be deleted automatically since I still lack proper identification. You might guess that there should be any kind of bypass for the support team to accept any other kind of identification, but there is nothing else they claim they can do.

Broken app which has never been properly tested? Broken support, who can not help you at all? Unfortunately, there’s not much alternative to Airbnb nowadays (in Germany), other than ordinary hotels and booking.com.

Airbnb Needs to Offer More for Bad Hosts

Our flight was delayed two hours so we eventually rocked up near our Airbnb apartment in Amsterdam at 23:30, cold, wet, and tired. We were in apartment #79. We found #77 without a problem but that’s where the numbers stopped: in place of #79, there was a restaurant. Unsurprisingly they wouldn’t accommodate us but suggested #79 was in the opposite corner of the square (it wasn’t).

No worries. We called the host (who had been s%$t with his communication anyway). There was no answer via phone, Airbnb, Messenger, fax, carrier pigeon, or two cans with a bit of string tied between them. With the assistance of some very helpful locals we decided the property was one of two things: non-existent or well hidden.

S$%t happens but the real issue was Airbnb’s response. We obviously rang, waited the obligatory 15 minutes, and got the helpful “we’ll ring you back.” Waited. 00:45 (in a strange town, twenty minutes outside the centre). Waited. 01:05. Called again. “Case manager has gone home.” 01:30 called again: “Please help”; “A case manager will call you shortly.”

We gave up and dragged our luggage for another half hour to the nearest hotel we could find that would let us in. Hotels are not cheap at 2:00 in the morning.

We we were lucky. It was a nice town with nice people, and we were old enough to be unfazed. Imagine being young, scared and lost in a less convivial place. Airbnb needs to offer better security if their hosts let you down. A call back in the morning and a refund just isn’t good enough.

Airbnb Host Expects Guest to do All Cleaning

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I planned a weekend in Montreal for my son and I and tried Airbnb for first time. Upon arrival I noticed food crumbs all over the sleeper sofa in the living room. In the bedroom, my son pulled back the blankets; the sheets were stained. We contacted the host and he told me I could find clean sheets in the closet or dryer. After driving 6.5 hours, apparently I should change the sheets. I would also have had to wash the blankets, clean the sofa, stove, the TV, and god knows what was on the table; it had a film of grease on it.

I left and got a hotel for the weekend. My host’s response was to tell me since I left he hoped I had locked the door because I was responsible for the house and he would look at the place in the morning. I checked in with him the next day and heard nothing back. He then contacted me to say his property manager went to check on the place and there was a couple of issues but nothing as bad as I implied. Stained sheets are a deal breaker.

I contacted Airbnb and asked for a refund. Even though I asked for a manager, the agent gave me a $11.32 refund because he felt my issue with the host could have been resolved by me cleaning the place at 11:30 at night and washing all the bedding. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I arrive at a hotel it’s really nice to not have to clean for three hours before being able to relax.

Write Honest Reviews for your Airbnb Stays

I’ve stayed in four Airbnb properties over three years. One was very good, two were okay, and one was awful. The awful one underlined why everyone needs to be so careful with Airbnb.

One part of the awful stay included when the host embarked on a two-hour daily tickle game with his young son right on the other side of my room door. There were no curtains in my room, with the neighbor’s lights shining directly into my face all night long. There was one bathroom for eight people, a washing machine regularly operating right outside my window, a barking dog upstairs, family feuds on the other side of all walls round the clock, and hosts that stayed in with the TV blaring from 7:00 AM. I came away with insomnia and was so happy to return back home.

I simply would not pay above a certain amount for a place that I’ve never seen (and in an area I’ve never visited before), for which I cannot cancel once I’ve booked, and for which I need to make a large leap of faith having tried to read between all the lines of previous guest reviews. Airbnb relies heavily on trust, and as we all know, not everyone – both guests and hosts – can be trusted. You would be really foolish to part with more than a thousand dollars for an Airbnb stay.

I’m not defending Airbnb, but people have to be realistic about what they get, and if a place doesn’t have, for example, an electric kettle but an old-style stove kettle, I don’t think this really warrants a complaint. However, when what they get is dangerous and/or harmful to their health, then there is real cause for complaint.

As a female, I’m careful not to book with male-only hosts and to research the street crime around the apartment area, but some people seem to forget that your host/guest could be just about anyone. You should never let your guard down.

I definitely do think Airbnb should do a lot more to ensure greater safety of both their hosts and guests, and they certainly need a more thorough and better host profile and review system. There also needs to be more regulation around short-term rental markets to protect guests, hosts, and the surrounding community. The all-round system could be so much better than it currently is, and it’s a pity Airbnb seems to do everything to avoid leading the way on this.

The fact that Airbnb also seems to remove some negative reviews is also disturbing and effectively false advertising. I was so careful to scrutinize all the reviews for the bad place that I stayed at. Not one review mentioned that there were children in the house or that the place was beyond noisy 24/7 or that the neighbors’ lights were so bright at night, making it impossible to sleep. I simply cannot believe that no one else other than me had a problem unless other guests simply did not want to point out the negatives for fear of damaging the host’s income stream or receiving a poor review from the host.

I urge all guests who have stayed at an Airbnb to write a review and to be honest about anything that wasn’t good. If I had seen just one review saying there were young children in the same house, I would not have booked that property.

Sick of Airbnb Deleting Negative Reviews

Airbnb is so afraid of losing revenue that it is, as others have noted, deleting negative reviews. I stayed in an Airbnb in Atlanta that operated more as a rooming house and had a refrigerator full of old food that smelled so bad I would run in the kitchen to microwave coffee and then run back out.

In my review, I talked about the neighborhood (fine), the room (also fine), the other guests (fine), and the gross smell emanating from the kitchen (not fine). Then I learned that Airbnb took down the review because it didn’t meet their “Content Guidelines”.

Does it get any more absurd than that? The reason I had this awful experience is because Airbnb is censoring reviews that might have alerted me to the situation. They don’t care if you walk into filth. They just want to keep their numbers up. I’m really getting sick of dealing with this company.

Darling Harbour Penthouse Airbnb Nightmare

We had two families (six people) staying in a penthouse suite in Darling Harbour, Sydney to celebrate the wife’s 52nd birthday properly. We were travelling six hours to get to the property. After checking in, we decided to go out for dinner, and headed back to apartment at 11:00 PM.

We found that the lift was broken and non operational, so we called the host (no answer). We tried to use the fire stairs to get to the 6th floor with no luck as it was locked from the other side. We tried a couple of locksmiths, but because it was a fire door they couldn’t touch it. We called all the emergency numbers and the host again (no answer).

We then called called Airbnb and explained the situation. We also explained that in the property was heart medication and medical equipment that we needed access to. Airbnb then advised us they would contact the host. At 11:34 PM Airbnb advised us they could not contact the host and they would keep trying. We again explained we needed access to meds/equipment and advised us to find a coffee shop while we waited, saying someone would contact us soon.

At 1:25 AM, there was still no reply from Airbnb or the host so we had to find alternative accommodation with only the clothes on our back and no access to our meds/medical equipment. After finding some emergency accommodation for the night, the next morning I received a call from host apologising after reading my messages and stating that he was asleep. This was a complete joke; we had vital medication/equipment that we could not access, we had absolutely no help from the host, and we had no help from Airbnb.

We are out out pocket with additional expenses from finding emergency accommodation, and its been two weeks since anyone has got back to us from Airbnb after promising we would get a call. All this can be verified as we have transcripts of our conversation, even a message from host telling us how much of a disaster it was for him.

Rejected by a Host Because I’m from Taiwan?

Yesterday I asked a host in LA a few typical questions about housing conditions and parking, and I stated that I’m from Taiwan. The host, without asking further details, simply replied that she’s afraid of the coronavirus situation, and said she couldn’t help us. She rejected my request to book her place.

Now, of course, I’ve lost all interest in this host, but I feel very insulted that she assumed the virus situation in Taiwan (which is fairly safe at the moment) is the same in China (which is much worse). If the health inspectors at LAX let me through, why does she have the right to reject me just because I’m from Taiwan?

What’s more, my friend, who is Japanese and will be traveling with me to LA, also contacted the host and mentioned she was from Japan. Strangely, she was accepted. I’m not sure what’s on the host’s mind here. Either she can’t tell the difference between China and Taiwan or she is hostile toward Taiwanese guests.

Since I can’t book this place so I cannot leave a negative review for this host. I want others to know exactly who the host is and be aware of my encounter. I want people to be aware that there is more and more discrimination on Airbnb based on guests’ background due to fear of the coronavirus. I highly recommend others who are considering  staying at this place to look elsewhere.

Who knows? Maybe as the virus situation gets worse, she will cancel your reservation out of fear, especially those guests from Taiwan.

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Orlando Stay Cancelled in Middle of Music Festival

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Do not book through Airbnb. Your stay can be cancelled with no repercussions for the host. We found what looked like the perfect place for a music festival but were a little concerned about reviews that included cancellations. I asked them about this and they blamed the guest and said the guest would not provide additional documentation.

I booked the unit in August and crossed my fingers. The host cancelled our stay in January and of course I can’t find anything comparable for the same cost because of the music festival. The offered other accommodations that they said were 15 minutes away. I insisted on getting the address and it was 30 minutes away.

Then the host told me to cancel the booking. I am sure it was to screw me again on my refund or so it would not show up in their reviews. Airbnb thinks all is good because they refunded our money but this in no way solves my problem. A lack of suitable options and they are all at three times the price of the property we had reserved.

If we cancel, we lose our money. If the host cancels, there’s no harm to them, but to us and Airbnb does not care. Airbnb does not allow people with cancelled stays to leave a review; it only states “the host cancelled your reservation.”

Do not stay with hosts and do not use Airbnb. What are you going to do at the last minute when your stay is cancelled? If you look through their reviews, cancellations happen way more than you would think. In fact, when I went back to look at their listings, a new cancellation popped up. Don’t risk your vacation with Airbnb.

Birthday at New York Airbnb Gone Wrong

I got about five friends together for my birthday at a park in upstate New York, then it started raining. I found an Airbnb that seemed large enough for my friends and since none of us were from the town we just wanted a place to chill and wait out the rain for an hour or two. For $125 it was fine.

We arrived and brought up our coolers. Not even five minutes after we arrived, we got a knock on the door and this tall man counted us out. There were six of us and I said six on the reservation. He left and was very rude.

Then about ten minutes after that I got a call from Airbnb saying I was breaking the rules with having too many people and having alcohol in the apartment. We were all obviously over 21 and there was no rule against having alcohol.

At this point I was very annoyed. Luckily I had “I Love Lucy” on DVD and brought that into the room. We were all on the couch watching it. We didn’t even finish an episode when we got another knock on the door with a different woman bursting into the room, and saying that we unplugged their camera in the living room.

Now we knew we were being filmed in the apartment and decided to leave within 45 minutes. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose to take my money and get us out asap.

Don’t Trust Airbnb Reviews – Delete Bad Ones

I will file a lawsuit against Airbnb in two months, as soon as my upcoming non-refundable reservations end. I will also make a website called Airbnb Scams, Airbnb Lies and more domain names like this. I will explain all the scams, lies, misleading information, and Airbnb actions on my website in depth.

I had stayed at 28 Airbnbs in 17 months. I did hours of research to find a decent place in order to not to get screwed by Airbnb hosts. There are very few hosts honest enough in Airbnb listings, and Airbnb already knows all these scams because I have been telling them repeatedly for the last 17 months. Yet Airbnb does nothing to fix all these scams. Of course, if they remove all the scam listing, Airbnb cannot make any money.

1. You do not know where will you stay until you book and pay. If you are not familiar with the area , you will end up very dangerous place because even with 30 bad review, and a 2.6 review score there are lots of listings that still exist on Airbnb. Airbnb does not care if you are safe. They want your money.

2, Even though there are no bad reviews, it does not mean that the place is perfect because Airbnb deletes bad reviews reviews on some listings to do the host a sweet favor, just like an Airbnb case manager deleted my bad review about a host lying about me that I left his place dirty. I have recordings that show totally the opposite, and I am suing them in March.

3. Shows “kitchen” on the listing. Yet one mini fridge, one microwave and a coffee maker is not a kitchen.

4. Shows “gym” on the listing, and the gym is in the other building and belongs to some other company, or apartment. I even saw a gym listed but it was in the park.

5. Non-refundable bookings.

6. “Do not say you are with Airbnb; just say you are friend”. Most of the Airbnb hosts ask me or even say in their listing that I should tell anyone if asked that I am not an Airbnb guest. I should lie, saying I am their friend or relative. So, you are charging me $150/night and I have to lie for you? Then charge me $30 a night if you just want to scam your building staff, your neighbors, and the tax department?

7. No refunds if you stay there one night or two and find out the host lied to you about something. Airbnb may refund you the rest of the stay if you move out, but you still must pay the nights you were there just because a host lied to you.

8. Sometimes other very loud Airbnb guests will keep you up all night. There is nothing you can do.

I will write all my experiences when I make my website. One host said there was a gym, and I found out there was never a gym. In his words, Days Inn was letting them use their gym but not anymore. Surprisingly, the host found out the very same day I checked in that Days Inn did not let his Airbnb guests use the gym. Really? What a coincidence! I told Airbnb, and only got a partial refund. I lost $357 for one night, Uber payments, groceries, and wasted time and money.

28 places I have stayed, in three states and two countries. So many lies, scams, misleading information, and more. My only reason was the kitchen because I like to cook. Dirty utensils, lack of cooking materials, tiny fridges, more and more. They charge $50 – $250 cleaning fees, and yet I have to clean most of the places I have stayed.

As I said in the beginning, there are very few honest hosts. If you not spend many hours reading each listing word by word, you are screwed. There are so many hidden fees, such as for a jacuzzi, or two-bedroom apartment but the $38 price tag is for only one person, the second person is $16 extra per night, extra deposits and cash deposits. There are resort fees, this and that, and on top of all this, Airbnb charges almost $13% -15% and yet offers no real help if the host does not agree to anything.

Airbnb only helps if the host is willing to help. Otherwise you are screwed. No more Airbnb for me. I will continue to stay at hotels.