Airbnb Made Me Pay for the Grimmest Cottage Ever

I booked an Airbnb holiday cottage for a week in Aberdovey, North Wales, in good faith based on the information given in the Airbnb listing. I turned up after driving for hours to find a drab, damp, dark, dated, depressing and smelly cottage situated on a dangerous road — totally unsuitable for children. We left after ten minutes of walking into the property having paid £603 in total for the booking.

I raised a complaint with Airbnb within 20 minutes of leaving the cottage. The result is that Airbnb gave us a £50 refund of our total £603 we paid. It seems they sided with the owner rather than the guest. It seems they tend to do this as a rule. So as a guest if things go wrong, be warned you will lose your money and Airbnb will not help you, no matter what they say.

Dirty Airbnb Stay in San Diego with Bed Bugs

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Early this month two friends and I decided to take a much needed break and head down from northern California to San Diego for a relaxing getaway.

We arrived at the apartment late in the evening, and immediately noticed a few issues with cleanliness. The sponge provided to wash dishes was old and smelled musty, there was a sticky gunk in the side of the stove and on some places on the walls, the bathroom sink had some little hairs on it, and there were some stains on the sheets.

Because it was late and we were tired, we took some photos and planned to deal with it in the morning when we could speak to the host on the phone. However, about an hour later one of the guests noticed a bug crawling across her pillow case and jumped up to see it disappear down the side of the bed. She turned on the light and found another of the same kind of bug inside the pillow case. She took a photo; we looked it up and it appeared to be a bed bug.

Based on the state of the rest of the place, it was the final straw. We immediately packed up, hopped in the car, and started calling hotels to find a place to sleep that night and for the rest of our stay. Once we found a hotel around almost 2:00 AM, I contacted the host, explained the problem, and sent him the photos we took. He originally offered to reimburse us for the last two nights of the reservation, but not the total (cleaning fees and first night), which I declined as we were seeking a full refund for that horrible experience, plus we had to scramble to book another place to stay last minute which meant we shouldered an additional cost for that.

Two days later, the host contacted me saying he “had a company come look at the place, and there were no bed bugs,” so he’s refusing to refund us for any of the nights. However, he agreed that the place was dirty, so sent me back $42 for the cleaning fee. As I pushed that this was unacceptable, he started saying that actually, the photos we provided were “not even his sheets”, and it was “clearly not his apartment”, saying that he “can’t find a linen matching the one in the photo with the bug” and that he “took his own photos as evidence of this.”

Because he won’t share his “evidence” photos, I have no way of knowing if he changed the sheets after we left and took new pictures to make it look like we’re lying about the whole incident. However, the photos we have not only show a time and location stamp matching the first night of our reservation, but we also have video that clearly shows we are in his apartment when we found the bugs.

To make matters worse, the host left a (somewhat incoherent) review of me stating that I was “running a scam” and in all caps “DO NOT HOST”. What kind of scam could I be running? I have clear proof of the bed bugs and other cleanliness issues, I did not stay a single night in the apartment, and he still has my money. If anything, I’ve been scammed.

I have contacted Airbnb about the issue multiple times, and have received no response on my case. The most I’ve heard from them is when I took to social media to rant about their horrible service, to which they gave me the canned response of “we’ve escalated your ticket to the appropriate team,” and I’ve heard nothing since.

After doing some digging, I’ve noticed several other reviews on the host’s other listings mentioning the conditions being unsanitary (cockroaches, sand in the bed on the day of arrival, stains on sheets and towels, etc). Especially during the pandemic, hosts should be held to a higher standard for cleanliness.

Unfortunately though, Airbnb does not seem to care about guests’ safety at all, and this host is still collecting money and accepting listings as a representative of their platform.

Cancelled in July, Still no Refund in August

I made two Airbnb reservations for this summer in December 2019. I cancelled them both on July 6. There was no question at that time of whether I was allowed a refund or not — both hosts agreed to give me a full refund. I got the full refund for one of the cancellations on July 10. I got billed a “cancelation fee” for the other reservation on July 10, but I haven’t gotten any money.

I called July 6 to ensure that this would work out since I had changed my credit card, and the customer service person assured me there was no problem. And indeed, I got the other refund without a problem. They said to wait 7-10 days.

I called again on August 17 and talked to a customer service person who said it looked like there was a problem and “an expert would contact me.” But here it is August 24 and no expert. Today I tried calling, and got a phone tree that explained: if the reservation was made before March 15, no refund is allowed. If the reservation was made after March 15, no refund is allowed.

If this is not about a cancellation 72 hours from now or less, nobody can talk to a person, just leave a message and an expert will contact you. Based what I am seeing from other people, I think my mistake was not insisting that I talk to a manager last week when I had a live person on the phone. This is pretty terrible.

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Dangerous Road and Smelled Like a Dungeon

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We fell for the “fabulous location” lie. The photos and description of this Airbnb disguised the fact that house was on a dangerous road with no verge. The photos didn’t show the steep, nail-biting walk on the yellow lines clinging to the brick wall trying to stay alive while cars whizzed past a hair’s breadth away. Much further from the parking lot than advertised.

It seemed impossible to get luggage to the door, let alone children. The photos didn’t show the dingy grimy unloved interior with just a hard wooden chair to sit on. No or patchy floor covering. The photos didn’t show the flypaper in the kitchen complete with fly corpses. Photos can’t convey the dank damp smell that hit you as you walked in. The photos don’t show the depressing feel of the place, nor the barbecue grid like mattresses.

I couldn’t believe anyone would so shamelessly advertise this house as ‘beautiful’. Because photos can’t convey smell or danger (would have died trying to photograph the house with a road in front of it), Airbnb ruled in the lying host’s favour. We lost our holiday and our money. Never again.

Airbnb Complicit with Hosts on Bait and Switch Fraud

These are the facts regarding two identical occurrences over a 10-month period where Airbnb was complicit with hosts in a fraudulent bait and switch business practice. The first instance cost me $2,000, and the second instance cost me an additional $600. If you are a lawyer reading this and are interested in a lawsuit against Airbnb, class action or otherwise, please contact me.

I’ve spent hours upon hours communicating with the overseas customer support center. On the first occurrence Airbnb admitted to their wrongdoing. On the second, no admission. I have pages upon pages of these communications and the lackluster efforts of Airbnb customer support.

First I made a booking and sent payment to Airbnb. A receipt of the transaction was provided to me. Then the host cancelled with no explanation given. Eventually a refund of payment was issued by Airbnb. Immediately after the cancellation, for the exact time period of the booking, the host raised rates, and was allowed by Airbnb to book new guests at the raised rates.

I was told by Airbnb customer support to find a new Airbnb to book, as there was “nothing they can do.” Airbnb and the host both financially profit more from the new bookings at the higher rates, after my cancellation. Per Airbnb’s policy regarding host cancellations per the company’s website, the following actions did not occur.

A. The host’s calendar will become blocked and they won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the cancelled reservation.

B. If the host cancels before the day of check-in, an automated review will be posted to your listing’s profile. These reviews cannot be removed.

C. “Superhost” status was maintained, although neither listing met the 1% cancellation rate threshold at the time.

D. In neither instance was an Instabook used, which gives the host wiggle room to avoid penalty under an “uncomfortable with reservation” loophole.

So to summarize, Airbnb and the host both benefitted financially at my expense due to the host’s post-cancellation rate increases for the same exact time period. To me, this is a clear cut bait and switch fraudulent business practice. It was communicated to me but Airbnb customer support found another Airbnb reservation, the host’s “Superhost” status was not revoked, and in my opinion this is a complete fraud of a designation. The automated message in the host’s reviews detailing the cancellation was never posted to warn future guests of the risk they are taking with a particular host. So the reviews you read are not inclusive of cancellations, and in my opinion, fraudulent.

Avoid Airbnb in Bath That Refuses Refunds

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so our 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 £849.00 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of ten had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their B&B 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 fee 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.

Not Traveling to Hawaii Just to Quarantine

I rented an Airbnb house in Oahu, Hawaii for 12 days on April 17. Just two weeks ago, the Governor of Hawaii announced that he wants every tourist to keep quarantining for two weeks until at least September and that they might extend this requirement past September.

I contacted the host and explained the situation, and she agreed to cancel my reservation and to authorize a full refund. It has been almost two weeks since she authorized it and Airbnb doesn’t want to refund me or cancel the reservation. The host has explained that they have the money and not her and that she authorized it.

I have called Airbnb multiple times and messaged them multiple times. Their response each time is that they will transfer my case to someone that can help me and no one does. I am at my wits’ end. I do not know what to do with them anymore besides dispute the charge with my bank. I can not travel with my two kids and husband for 12 hours on a plane to stay locked up in an apartment for 12 days.

Airbnb’s Dishonesty Over COVID-19 Cancellation

In February I booked a house in Manly Sydney for two couples from within Australia and New Zealand. Then came COVID-19 and with border closures flights were cancelled and borders closed.

I contacted the owner and was told cancelling would not be a problem and I would get a refund. I duly did so and it read that I would receive AUD 450.00 which was slightly less than I had paid. Then I received a email from Airbnb informing me that I would get no money as company policy was since I hadn’t paid in full, there would be no refund. I asked about a voucher but the answer was no.

Their blurb said if COVID-19 was the reason for cancelling and a booking had been made prior to shutdown then they would refund but actually that’s a lie. A lot of messaging between myself, the owner and the company was a waste of time. The owner blocked any communication and then Airbnb stated that due to COVID-19, property owners were struggling with their own debt hence the reason for no payment. They too refused to accept any further communication. The host did say that any reimbursement was out of his hands as Airbnb didn’t pay him until the date of the booking.

It is saddening that this company can take money from people and not return it when it’s a genuine reason for cancellation. The airline returned the full cost of tickets without even requesting the same but Airbnb is cheating us of our funds.

Airbnb has lost me as a user and I’ll stay with other honest short-term holiday rental companies that have been reliable in the past. I only used this one as it was exactly what we wanted and located where we wanted but I’ll look elsewhere and trust the company of choice. Use Airbnb at your peril but never again for me.

Cancellation for Employee Working on COVID-19 Response

Airbnb claims to be compassionate and supportive of people impacted by COVID-19 but my situation is quite the opposite. One of my staff was scheduled to attend the CSTE conference at the end of June in Seattle. However, she was pulled into the public health response to COVID-19 in our county.

We have been fighting with Airbnb for months about this and it’s still not resolved. All over $400+ dollars. Not only have there been numerous communications with Airbnb where they have refused to refund the money but my organization has also spent considerable time trying to resolve the situation. It’s spread like wildfire in our organization and we will no longer be using Airbnb for work and for personal travel.

Airbnb Hung up When I Asked for a Refund

My daughter and her friend were going to go to Santorini and I paid for the reservation. We fit right into the COVID-19 extenuating circumstances policy with all of the dates. I tried to get a refund through AMEX because I could not get through to Airbnb in early April.

I tried again today but could not get through. I called this afternoon. I had tried through my daughter’s account to find the cancellation button but could not. There was a 45-minute wait. I asked the rep if should could refund the amount. She would not give me a simple yes/no answer.

I asked for a manager per this site. She said I had to be verified. Then she said I had to go through my daughter’s account. I told her I wanted a manager as I had paid for the trip. She said she would need to hangup on me. I again asked for a manager as I had the reservation number dates, etc. She hung up on me. That is not customer service.

I went back online and found the cancellation button. The only option was a refund on half or full travel credit. Never again. Airbnb is the worst. This is our second horror story.