Not so Charming Airbnb Bungalow Disaster

blankblankblankblankblankblank

Let me start by saying I had been a Superhost for two years when this incident happened. I had never been given a bad review, either from guests or from the hosts of places I’ve stayed in over the years. I am neat to a fault, and take pride in leaving a place in better shape than when I arrived. I even make the beds before check out at hotels and straighten the towels. Excessive, yes, but that’s who I am.

A few months ago I traveled to LA to meet up with a best friend who came down from San Francisco for the week. I had booked a bungalow in West Hollywood that looked cute and clean in the photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the reviews at this time and there were a few that talked about the shortcomings of this property, always with a snide response from the owner.

The owner and his property manager seemed attentive at first. When we arrived we realized there were no hand towels or washcloths in the bathroom, so I walked over to Target and bought some. When I told the property manager, he was apologetic and offered to reimburse us. I told him it wasn’t necessary and not a big deal.

The beds seemed clean and comfortable and there was air conditioning, though the window units and their filters were caked with dust and rattled. I removed the filters and washed them to improve the functionality of the AC, as the units were old and struggling. Still, this seemed reasonable and we were fine with the place.

A few days in, my friend went to take the trash out to the bins in the front yard/courtyard. She realized that all the giant-sized garbage cans were full, as well as the recycle bins, and a few were overflowing with pizza boxes on top.

At this point we realized we had a problem because we couldn’t take our garbage out. Again, I reached out to the property manager (at this point the owner had stopped responding to any emails or texts) and explained to him the issue. He was apologetic and said he would contact the housekeepers.

When we heard back from the property manager, he claimed that the owner was out of the country and unreachable — is that even a thing these days? — and that he was out of town on business. The housekeepers were too busy to come take care of the garbage, so there was nothing he could do. We put our garbage next to the bin at his approval.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed cooking and had stocked up at the grocery store. We soon realized that there were no food storage containers in the apartment, so we would put our leftovers into bowls with saran wrap or a plate on top (this will come in to play later). There were several important kitchen items missing (too many to name), which was inconvenient but we dealt with it.

As one of the other reviews said, the dryer was being held together with tape and it took effort to close it just right so it would work. At least half the lights in the apartment had burnt out bulbs; we were both trying to work during the week, so that was difficult. There was no caulking in the shower (which will also come into play later). Still, we were willing to stay and make the best of it.

As you can imagine, the day after we left our garbage next to the bin outside we discovered that a critter had gotten into it. My friend let me know and I went outside to check it out. At this point we were losing patience, and it was also becoming very uncomfortable. I came back inside to talk with her about the garbage situation, and looked down to see a cockroach the size of a lighter on the floor. It was broad daylight.

Well, that was it. We only had two nights left on our reservation but I couldn’t imagine going to sleep knowing that the place was infested with cockroaches (apparently if cockroaches come out of the walls in broad daylight it is indicative of a much bigger infestation within the walls and floors). The research I did told me that where there’s moisture, there are cockroaches. Cut back to the uncaulked shower. My guess is that the bathroom walls and floors were full of moisture.

Whatever the reason, we were ready to go, so we got to work preparing the place to leave. We read and reread the guidelines and did everything on their list. Remember how I said there were no food storage containers? Well, there were several dishes in the refrigerator holding our leftovers. Ordinarily we could put the leftovers in the trash and put the dishes in the dishwasher, but we couldn’t take the trash out.

This posed a problem so I reached out to the property manager once again and explained the situation. He told me, in writing, to leave everything in the refrigerator so as not to fill up the garbage can with food in the kitchen. That’s what we did. Everything else was spotless. We left the sheets and towels where we were asked to, we put all the other dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. Swept the floor, wiped the countertops, straightened the couch pillows. You get the gist.

At this point we were apprehensive about putting more garbage out by the overflowing bins (out of courtesy), so we made one fatal mistake: we left a small bag of non-perishable garbage just inside the front door. To be conscientious, we turned off the air conditioners as not to waste their money air conditioning a place that would be vacant.

Unfortunately, it was this decision that gave the owner and property manager what they saw as a reason to fight me on my claims. It was extremely hot during the day, and by the time the house cleaners got there, the garbage that was inside created an odor. This is when the owner began to chime in again, only to shame us by dramatically going on about the “stench“ in the house and how upset the house cleaners were when they got there. He began making false claims and that’s when I discontinued communication with him and the property manager and tried to go through Airbnb.

Honestly? It was my experience with Airbnb that had me the most upset. I called every day for seven days. Each time, I spoke with someone who was in another country and working from home. I could hear babies crying and dogs barking in the background for every employee. I explained my story and sent all of the photos to one representative. He explained to me that he would contact the host and hear his side and then make a decision. That was the last I heard from him. I couldn’t get him to answer any of my emails after that.

As it turns out, there is not an option to speak to a supervisor at Airbnb. When you speak with one of the people who answer the phone, they explain to you that they will email the supervisor and have them call you. I was told this seven times and never received a call back. Not one. The owner leaned in heavily with his lies, saying that we left the place in disarray and it had a stench. He ended up agreeing to reimburse us for one night, removing over $100 for a deep cleaning fee. I had to pay for a hotel for the last two nights in addition to one night at the bungalow. It cost me over $1,000.

I couldn’t believe that this major business wouldn’t respond to one of their Superhosts and offer me a reimbursement (a drop in the bucket for them). I had photo evidence and screenshots of my text messaging with the property manager and owner — what more could they possibly need? My guess is that they didn’t even consider it – I’m sure it never even crossed the desk (or computer) of a supervisor. I felt ignored and completely invisible around this issue, but there was absolutely nothing I could do.

I was afraid to leave a bad review because honestly I felt traumatized by the vindictiveness and cruelty of the owner and property manager. I regret this, but it’s too late.

I withdrew my home as an Airbnb destination and closed down my account. I ended up finding a review that someone left about the owner as a guest. It was awful, and I believed every word. He is an opportunist with several properties on Airbnb that I am sure are as neglected as the one we stayed in. He paints a picture of the apartment as a cozy home but it’s a money making scheme and he won’t hesitate to screw you, along with the powers that be at Airbnb.

Airbnb Discriminatory Hosts and Their Civil Rights Violations

We haven’t traveled for more than two years due to the pandemic. We are all vaccinated now so I booked a very special tour for my family of baseball fans at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I did this after reserving a very nice place on a lake for my family of four. My youngest daughter is a person with disabilities. She uses a professionally trained service dog specifically trained for her (he does balance work, interrupt behaviors, alerts, and retrieving objects).

I booked a home through Airbnb. I read their anti-discrimination policy and they suggest allowing the host to know about her service dog. I reluctantly did this and explained that her service dog is trained. I actually gave them more information than was required so they would feel comfortable that her dog is indeed a well-trained “actual” service dog.

Once the host found out he abruptly cancelled the reservation, citing “allergies.” I complained to Airbnb who sided with the host — they told them the house was occupied. We rented the whole house. I looked at the tax records and they also said the house was unoccupied and that there was monthly rental income. Basically, the host lied and that was the end of their so-called investigation.

I tried to find another place and every one of the places was denied access due to her service dog. I have documented all of the incidents with a paper trail. I’ve spent most of my life serving the public. I am really appalled at the lack of respect for my daughter. It is shameful.

Airbnb Charged Us Over $5,000 When We Didn’t Stay

We rented this unit at an Airbnb hotel for 7 nights and paid over $5,000. When we arrived we realized that the hotel was not accurately described and the most important details were left out.

This hotel sits behind a sister hotel and across a busy street. The host purposely deceived us with interior photos, very few street photos and very brief description to keep it to her advantage. To our shock, when we scouted the area we realized we had to cross a busy street in 100-degree weather with three kids. We noticed a homeless person screaming and doing her business in public.

We asked at the hotel if this was on a daily basis and locals confirmed. We arrived at 10:00 AM and check in was from 4:00 on. The host promised to let us store our bags in the room and that way we could also take a quick glance at the room. When asking the front desk about this, they said that they could not accommodate us and did not allow us to see the room or store our luggage.

We went to see where the pool was and found out that it was packed like sardines with an outdoor movie theater that did not work. Around 11:00 AM I had had enough and contacted the host to let her know we were not going to check in due to the resort not being safe and as advertised.

She is refusing to return our money. Airbnb is trying to resolve this issue. Discover card doesn’t care so we are stuck. I feel like this host robbed us. She is literally taking our hard-earned money and has the power to do whatever she wants. I am appalled this is happening in the United States.

Who can and is able to help? How can we get our money back?

blank

Dog Lost his Life due to Airbnb Host’s Negligence

blank

We rented an Airbnb in Cape May  last week. There were many issues with the rental but my family and I were happy to be there just to get a break. The one issue we did contact the host over was that the air conditioning on the first floor was not working. Three days later she sent a repair man without our knowledge; the doors were locked she provided him with the code. Inside were my daughters and my one-year old bichon.

Due to the front door not closing properly, my bichon ran away. The host called my daughter to notify her. We raced home and began the search for my pup. He ran into a corn field nearby. My family and I searched for three days and nights with the help of neighbor’s drones and bloodhounds. We found her three days later torn apart by a coyote. We are heartbroken no one should have entered the premises without our knowledge.

No one has ever even apologized. I know some will think “oh, it’s only a dog” but suppose someone’s child ran out that door — I am sure all hell would have broken loose. Well he was my baby and the pain is no less. He was part of our family.

blank

Brought Bed Bugs Home from Airbnb Stay

blank

We had a wonderful four days in North Wales this summer. I wouldn’t want to complain only if we had been smart enough to spot what was happening during our stay and not after.

I noticed some weird itchy bites on my body after the first night of our stay. Having no experience from the past with bed bugs, I had no idea it could be that. I was sure they were the little flies that you see near mountains. I noticed a couple more bites as days passed but still had no idea. It took us about a couple weeks after our return to realise we have brought home bed bugs. The itchy bites continued to appear and once we realised what an actual nightmare it had been, we found signs on our sheets and even one tiny bed bug on our sofa bed.

Unfortunately, we were unlucky and stupid enough to not spot this during our stay, and we had no evidence or proof that the Airbnb home was infested. We have coped with this fact, but I knew I must warn the host and make sure they take immediate action, so no other guests experience this.

I messaged the host nicely (and privately), without mentioning a refund or blaming them for having us in her nasty infested house. No, I was nice and kind. I explained what happened and suggested that she inspects her house and stop letting people in until it had been professionally cleaned.

The host’s reaction was a complete shock to me. She denied that what I was saying was even possible, accused me of lying, and ultimately threatened to have me removed from the platform. She said that she had inspected the house by herself and an independent third party company and it had been confirmed that her house was bug free. Then she said she would keep an eye on her furniture and if the infestation appeared it would have been me who brought the bugs into her house.

I would never have imagined I’d find myself in such a nasty situation. We have thrown away a few months old sofa, duvets, blankets, pillows, etc, and we can’t be sure our home is bug free as apparently they are a nightmare to get rid of. After all that, the host didn’t even think to show some respect and assure us that the action would be taken. We didn’t even try to get some money back, as we had no proof, but I needed to make sure she would take action. She didn’t; she insulted us instead.

Airbnb is involved but it is day four now without any single response from them. I guess it’s a lovely tool to use when you love travel, but only if you don’t need their support. My advice to Airbnb users: please be cautious. Because you are not aware of certain things doesn’t mean you are safe from their effects. Check sofas, beds and mattresses for any signs of bed bugs before you even take your shoes off at a hotel or Airbnb home.

Basically, Airbnb Thinks I’m a Liar for my Claims

I reserved an RV that was shown to be self-contained for a two-week stay while I was between homes. When I arrived to check in, I found the following: the couch pictured in the posting had been removed; the bathroom pictured in the posting had no water (no sink or shower), and the toilet contained dry brown material that emitted a foul odor; the kitchen faucet had no running water; the kitchen stove was not supplied with propane and did not function.

The property manager stated she was aware there was no working shower or toilet, and there is no propane connection for the stove. She went to the main house briefly to ask about the water in general, and confirmed there is no running water. The host was not present, but I contacted her immediately to inform her that none of the advertised amenities were working, and I requested a full refund. She responded “the amenities work”, said I would not receive a refund, and “god bless”.

I contacted Airbnb, and spent two weeks back and forth with “ambassadors”, and at the end of it all was told I didn’t request the refund quickly enough, and since I had no video evidence to prove the amenities don’t work, they will not issue a refund. Then said “have a lovely day”. I have repeatedly asked to have my case sent to a supervisor, and they just move it on to the next “ambassador”. I’m out over $400.

Racist, Narcissistic Airbnb Host Nightmare

I have a horrible host story. The guy was just creepy. He was a micromanager who wanted everything done his way (e.g. call, don’t text; stop here, not there; give me your full attention right now; respond to me right now) and just had a weird vibe. It wasn’t horrible until he entered the property when we weren’t there to get a vacuum cleaner, then denied that he was there. He said the day before that he might come and get it for another guest at another site, so who else would want it?

Not cool. We don’t know what he was doing or what he was looking at while we were gone. We decided to leave early, and this is where the fun begins. He wrote me a nice review. My review wasn’t mean, but it was factual. He got his feelings hurt and retaliated with another multi-message rant about how I was weak and everything was my fault. He referred to a previous guest staying in which he said “I will know not to have any more non-native English speakers as guests.” I am brown skinned. He is not. Then told me he would be praying for me.

I reported this to Airbnb and guess what they did? First of all, they did nothing about his entering into the property without our knowledge or consent. That’s not even mentioned. Then they deleted my review. This guy gets to continue his abusive, racists ways and is listed as a Superhost.

Shame on you Airbnb. They say they “care” about racism. No, they don’t. This guy’s been openly bigoted since 2014 and he’s still hosting.

Airbnb Platform Allows Hosts to Threaten and Extort Guests

We rented an Airbnb apartment to stay in downtown Toronto from April 19 to May 18. When we arrived, the place was extremely dirty. All kitchen items were in poor conditions. We couldn’t even cook or make coffee. There was a lot of hair and food stains all over the living room rug and carpets, a couch full of some animal hair, among many other issues.

I have a one-year old child and such a place would be less than appropriate for a toddler to be crawling all around. Not to mention Toronto was in the midst of a lockdown, and with all COVID safety protocols in place, those were the hygiene conditions of that Airbnb Plus property. After a lot of stressful back and forth communication with Airbnb and the host, they sent someone to clean and replaced a few kitchen items so we could at least cook. It was better, but far from ideal. We had to stay there for the rest of the contract because we wouldn’t get a refund and it would be hard to find something else at that point, so we made it work.

We left the Airbnb apartment two nights before the contract was up. The apartment was incomparably cleaner and in a more organized conditions that what we found when we arrived (I cleaned everything up myself because I couldn’t have my baby staying in such a dirty place). We took some pictures just to be safe and left. We thought everything was okay.

After Airbnb sent me multiple emails requesting that I write a review about my stay, I decided to do so. I believe that was around 11:00 PM on May 31. I woke up in the morning and there was an email in my mailbox titled “action required: your host is requesting $2,635 CAD for damages.” All the damages listed there were untrue. It’s scary how just a few hours after I had written my review that host was able to come up with a whole document with pictures of the alleged damage and invoices from stores for all the furniture he supposedly had to replace.

I won’t go into details of each of his absurd claims, but I called Airbnb and explained that I was being retaliated because of a review. A week later, Airbnb sent me an email saying the host’s claims were not covered by Airbnb, that he hadn’t provided enough evidence and they would not be pursuing payment from us. The request was removed from my account. We thought we were done with this.

The host sent me a message through the Airbnb app trying to extort money from our family. He threatened to start legal action against me if didn’t pay him $2,635 through Airbnb in three days. The payment request wasn’t even there anymore because Airbnb had declined it. Again, I called Airbnb and said I was not feeling safe, that I wanted to block this host from communicating with me (which I still am not able to do because the Airbnb app is not allowing me). They sent me an email a few days later saying I did not need to worry anymore, that they had given the host a final warning.

I received a letter from the host’s lawyer in my new home demanding payment by Aug. 20 (we just had moved to this address a couple months ago and that guy found out where we live). Airbnb was again notified about that.

We are not feeling safe. This host is clearly a troubled unstable person going to great lenghts to retaliate because he didn’t like a review. This is all happening because Airbnb created a platform that allows people to easily harass each other like that. We made a contract with Airbnb, not with this criminal and now we are being persecuted for that. He won’t leave us alone. Why are we having to waste our resources and time to deal with this?

Other things to consider:

– This criminal host is an Airbnb “Superhost”.
– The Airbnb Plus property is located in a building that does not allow short-term rentals. We had to constantly lie to the concierge and every time we parked our car in the garage.
– I communicated with Airbnb every step of the way and we are still having to deal with that criminal host almost three months later.
– Once I wrote my review, I could read the review the host had written before. He called me “nice and polite” with no mention of any damages. Would you call someone that caused you an almost $3,000 worth of damage “nice and polite”?
– He replied to my review with more false accusations, saying I was going after monetary compensation and Airbnb did nothing about that. But I am not the one trying to extort $2,635 from a family, am I?

That is the hospitality Airbnb offers you. We are not feeling safe and I am posting this here because we don’t know what else to do.

Hidden Fees Bump up Airbnb Stay by $1,300

I just completed my first and last utilization of Airbnb. I took my son and grandson to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the EAA AirVenture airshow. We booked a beautiful home near the airport for the week at $550/night ($3,300 for 6 nights). The host was very good and communicated well.

When I returned I found my credit card had been charged $4,658. I attempted to download an invoice from their very difficult to navigate website and was unsuccessful. Only after sending a “chat” message, I obtained a customer service phone number, which I called. My first attempt I was disconnected after finally obtaining a representative and explaining my dilemma. I called back and again after a long wait and final explanation, I was disconnected again. The third attempt, again a long hold and menu negotiation, I got a customer rep.

I addressed the $1,300 additional charge and asked for an explanation. After several holds, the final explanation was a $501 Airbnb service fee, a $600 occupancy tax, and a cleaning fee of $250, which I’m told is kept by Airbnb and not even given to the host. None of this was disclosed at the booking. The difference from my original daily rate of $550 turned into $775/night. Armed with that information I probably would have made different plans. The customer service person was apologetic, but offered no explanation as to the Airbnb policy. I will never use their services again and I will tell anyone standing still long enough to do the same.

Three Days of Pure Harassment over a Simple Misunderstanding

We arrived at our Airbnb today after 3:00 PM to check in. I walked in the backyard and found a pair of shoes — I didn’t know they were expensive, tried them on, and bought them back into the house. My son and I went out to dinner and when we came back we’re accused by host of stealing them. She stated they were her daughters and expensive and now she can’t return them and called the cops on me. I was horrified; I took them into the house to protect them. I didn’t text the host because I didn’t think it was my job to find out who these shoes belonged to. I offered to pay for them but they started to say nasty things to me again with the police there so I said we should wait until tomorrow.

I’m here with my family and we have nowhere to go. Everything is booked and there are no available rooms. The host broke into the house to get these shoes without my permission. I even called my husband during this and he stated what if I found a frisbee or a bottle of wine? How am I supposed to know? I didn’t harm or use anything. Just took them into the house. I want to feel safe here and not be pressured to buy these shoes.

The next two days were pure harassment. She called the cops on us for the next two days to force us to buy the shoes. It was a complete waste of time for the police and for my family. The host continued to watch the cameras on the home to see when we would come back from an activity. As soon as we arrived back at the home the cops would arrive 15 minutes later. The host also yelled profanities from the street to the house in the sunroom when we were putting sunblock on. My son took video of that interaction and we sent it to Airbnb.

Since this story has been uploaded to the platform, the matter has been handled by Airbnb and I was given a full refund and the host has been banned. You are not allowed to break into someone else’s space unless it is an absolute emergency. I want to thank Airbnb for handling this matter in a timely, professional way, listening to the guest’s side, and not thinking of the money made from the host.

When the host found out she was going to be banned, and the police said I was not going to be charged, she started yelling at Airbnb and the police. If any items are left in a shared space contracted by an Airbnb guest it is not the responsibility of the guest to secure the items.