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Thanksgiving Not Happening at This Airbnb

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I’m grateful to find this site to post on and I hope that it is read and saves others from being put in an unsafe environment.

I made my reservation in Austin, Texas for my family to spend Thanksgiving together. The host’s home sleeps 16, has a pool, and is in walking distance to great restaurants and shops downtown. He just left out that the home is surrounded by homeless people, tents, trash and the walk might be one of a life time. This is devastating to see and a horrible situation for many reasons. I don’t think it’s right be able to have an Airbnb surrounded by this issue without stating it somehow.

I recently moved to Austin and was going to be downtown. I was excited to look up the address disclosed after I reserved it, to check it out. When I was getting close I’m not sure if my eyes or mouth were opened bigger from the shock of what I was going into. The pictures were taken in the daytime (couldn’t imagine it at night) I also felt horrible taking these pictures; they aren’t great because I was driving by but explain why I cancelled with no refund.

The host kept $1,000 with over three months’ notice for canceling because I didn’t want my family to be uncomfortable and be safe surrounded by the homeless situation. All I could think about was my nieces and nephews and putting them in such a devastating environment for the holidays. Great way to introduce them to my new hometown Austin so they look forward to visiting Aunt Angela never again.

Cancellations During Pandemic Mean No Refund

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control, i.e. COVID-19, we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of 10 had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their Airbnb was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service charge Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware — the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

Nine Months of Holiday Plans Ruined by Host

Our host cancelled our nine month pre-booked reservation just two weeks prior to our arrival. Although our planned stay met all of the many restrictions this host listed as conditions for occupancy and without acceptable communications, this person abruptly terminated our long-awaited vacation plans stating she was uncomfortable with our plans due to COVID-19.

Our travel plans met all health guidelines and moral practices of this pandemic. As a volunteer leader of an organization of medical professionals providing humanitarian assistance to people around the world, I of course fully endorse and practice the most strict standards in response to the current pandemic and our anticipated travel plans did not in any capacity conflict with regional health guidelines or rules.

As a courtesy I informed the host that our upcoming plans would include my spouse and I occupying the three-bedroom (maximum of six guests allowed) home with friends, a family of four joining us for three nights of our week-long vacation and upon their departure another family of four would join us for three nights, never exceeding the six-person maximum.

Upon notification of our plans the host responded with, “she had concerns of the large group of people” even though we would never exceed the host’s maximum six-person restriction. Without any further allowance to communicate to discuss concerns and a resolution just 20 minutes after the host’s initial message of concern, she abruptly and arbitrarily cancelled our reservation. This host displayed a lack of compassion and understanding of the impact of such an action.

We of course have made many plans in anticipation of our once-a-year summer vacation. We had paid for ferry reservations and other financial commitments based on this nine-month commitment.

There has been a complete absence of support by Airbnb. As a former Airbnb host, we understand the rights a property owner requires to operate their rentals. However, there is a moral obligation to meet your commitments to guests when they are willing to follow regional rules and Airbnb guidelines and the host’s very own restrictions. There is also an expectation with such important life plans, especially during these challenging times, to communicate honestly and provide an opportunity to resolve any issues that can sometimes arise.

Absolutely zero allowance or opportunity was given by this host to responsibly discuss a concern that arose so close to a long awaited vacation. We and our friends are now scrambling to find alternative plans. Shame on you for your insensitivity.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Mice, Apparently

My child and I were supposed to stay June 21-22 at this Airbnb property for  a bit over $1100, the price of a 5-star hotel. The first night we woke up at 4:00 AM from mice crawling on us. My child screamed and threw a mouse on the floor from his bedsheets. Mice in Colorado carry the deadly Hantavirus.

We packed immediately and left. While I was putting the luggage in the car a mouse jumped out of my suitcase and landed on the ground. I was able to take a picture of it. When we  got to an area where there was cell phone coverage I contacted the owner. She started screaming at me that I was crazy and that there were no mice. She expressed no concern about our safety and well being.

I cancelled our reservation online and sent an email to Airbnb. I called them immediately and stayed on hold for several hours without them answering. I tried to call them for the next several days as well to no avail. We slept in a hotel. The host refused to give me any kind of refund.

After a month I complained to the Better Business Bureau and finally Airbnb replied. They pretended to the take the matter seriously and looked at the mouse picture and the receipt from the hotel . They said that the host did not want to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do. They sent me $50 back out of the $1500 that I paid, a “refund of the cleaning fee.”

I asked them if this meant I had to stay with my child at the Airbnb property with mice crawling on us and they said we had to leave but they would not issue any refund.

Host Violated My Privacy, Had Access to Room

On July 31, I spent one night in Provincetown, MA. The host reeked of cigarette smoke. The room was dirty, there was hair on the pillow, and there were locks on the bathroom and bedroom doors that did not work. I didn’t feel comfortable taking a shower and I couldn’t lock my door when I left to go back downtown for the night.

I always put my zipper on my backpack or suitcase in a certain position. It had moved. He didn’t take anything, because I took all my valuables with me in a second backpack. But that’s a huge violation. The only lock that worked on the bedroom door was a keypad lock that he said didn’t work, but I didn’t know if he could put in a battery from the outside and try to get in. When I came in the doorknob was loose and I couldn’t turn it to get back into my room. I kept turning until it tightened and I was able to get in. Because of the lock, I had to put a table against the door and sleep in my clothes, all packed in case I had to leave in a moment’s notice.

I have PTSD to begin with and then to experience this compounded it. I wrote Airbnb on Aug. 2. I’m still waiting. I also filed a report with both Attorney Generals in MA and CA and a dispute with Paypal.

Are Some Host Reviews an Invasion of Privacy?

We spent a few nights in Kelowna in an Airbnb accommodation. We are a couple with some dietary restrictions, so we were specifically looking for a unit with a kitchen.

Our tw0-day stay at this unit was okay. We didn’t have any problem except that we had to deal with cheap dollar store pans, pots and utensils, which we kind of ignored because we were there for just two nights. Upon finishing the trip, we were unpleasantly surprised to see the host posted a review that among other things said “the guests spent whole two nights cooking in the unit kitchen provided.”

I personally took it as invasion of privacy as it is none of the host’s business to see what we were doing. I found it creepy as it also raised questions on whether the host was keeping an eye on what we were doing. I reached out to Airbnb with this concern and they brought the review down first. Upon pushing further, they assigned someone to this case who claimed that they had spoken to the host and that the hosts had assured them that they were not spying on us and checking out what we were doing.

To my utter anguish Airbnb decided to bring back the review and publish it again for some reason best known to them. Upon following up, they said that the review had been taken down due to some error earlier. This all begets the question — how seriously does Airbnb take privacy-related complaints?

In my case, I still do not know why someone would care what guests were doing in their basement unit, proudly boast about it in their reviews, and Airbnb would still not take it down. Any host could tell the whole world what you have been doing during your stay and Airbnb doesn’t think it’s inappropriate to post such personal stuff. No issues with breach of privacy.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Robbed, Threatened, and Still Can’t Get in Touch

My son and girlfriend rented a room in Ft. Lauderdale. The room was not as presented, but they tried to deal with it. They were supposed to have a two double bedroom. There seemed to be some type of human trafficking going on… I can’t go into much detail on that. My son was robbed, threatened to be shot, and left the property.

They tried to reach Airbnb since arriving at the unit and could not get through to a person due to misrepresentation of the room. Police were called to the hotel. The hotel clerk told my son and his girlfriend they needed to leave before something happened. Again there was no help from Airbnb. They left the unit at 1:00 AM and had nowhere to go. Their money was tied up in this unit and Airbnb would not give them their money back.

We got a frantic phone call at 2:00 AM that the kids were on the streets. Still nothing from Airbnb. We got on the phone and still nothing. I bet if it was their kid something would have been done. I posted their story to social media and suddenly I got a call. They actually put me through the whole process three more times, telling same story, promises to do something, and promises to call back. They sent me an email asking me to state it all over again, and then after I did, they told me “because of my lack of response, they were ending the dispute.”

Every time you call they mention how the calls are being recorded. Airbnb should check their recordings and email history. I have called at least 15 times. The problem is, they know that this happened to young adults juggling jobs and school that could wear them down. But Mom won’t be worn down.

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

Same Name, Same Crimes to Airbnb, Apparently

In short, I’m moving. My father got a new job in Texas and while the house is finishing we needed a place to stay. We use Airbnb. We made this reservation months ahead of time. In the middle of the night a few days before we moved, they cancelled. According to Airbnb, my father had a criminal record. Weird, because he doesn’t have one. They claim that he committed a violent crime in 1992 in a different city. Some brainlet at Airbnb probably uses Google with a name and state to check someone’s background. So some guy they Googled with the same name and state is now my father I guess. It doesn’t work like that. I’m now using Elon Musk’s naming scheme from now on so non-diligent companies won’t mistake me for someone else who committed murder in 1854. Absolute troglodytes over there.

Is COVID-19 Not an Extenuating Circumstance?

How is anything related to COVID not an extenuating circumstance, after the government put in place a stay at home order after having everything open, preventing anyone from traveling into the island?

Our trip to the USVI got cancelled, per the governor shutting down travel, and in contacting the airline about this (they gave us our full refund without question by the way) the airline told me that if the island was shutting down they would not be flying in — so we could be stuck there.

Now the host had told me that I would need to cancel for reasons including COVID and I should get my full refund because it was out of their hands. Airbnb only refunded us half and it would’ve been less had I not done it sooner. The host said she is unable to do anything about refunding us because she hasn’t been given the money.

Airbnb stole thousands from me. Neither myself nor the host has been able to actually get in touch with anyone at the company, all I get is a phone recording that just hangs up on me. Never again. Do not use this company.