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Airbnb Left My Family in the Desert without Air Conditioning

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My brother, sister and I booked a luxury property through Airbnb for Father’s Day Weekend. The booking was made in May 2021 for a stay from June 18-20, 2021. The day before the trip, I learned that the owners fired the property manager who accepted the booking and the new property management company had no record of my booking.

A few hours before the trip, I was contacted by a representative asking me for my personal information so she could make a reservation and grant me access to the property. Although reluctant, I acquiesced. When we arrived at the property, it was 115 degrees outside and 90 degrees inside the property. There were huge lizards over the entry door, spiders and bugs throughout the property due to a cracked foundation, inadequate seals around the windows and doors and no working wifi.

After a couple of hours of trying to restore the wifi, I called property management and my sister attempted to reach someone at Airbnb. I started receiving text messages from one of the representatives who walked me through everything we already tried. After five hours in the extreme heat, they sent out a technician. The technician was able to restore the wifi, but could not get the air conditioning to work.

Airbnb provided no valuable assistance by phone. We made the difficult decision to stay overnight, because it was pitch black in the desert. I came from Moreno Valley, my sister from Los Angeles and my brother from Big Bear. We spent most of the night outside, unable to sleep well due to the overwhelming heat, an influx of spiders and the smoke detector going off at 3:00 AM. We got up at 6:00 AM, called The Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage who generously accommodated all of us with an early check in and attempted to salvage our trip.

I have spent the last month attempting to get resolution. As of today, Airbnb and the property owners are withholding my money for the first night’s stay. They did not provide the accommodations that were advertised, but are charging me for what was the worst travel experience of my life. The property management company is refusing to take any responsibility even though they accepted the booking, were responsible for managing the property, provided failed technical support and left my family in an extremely unsafe situation.

Dynamic Pricing = Fleecing the Client?

I browsed Airbnb for a property in Suffolk able to accommodate 13 for a family holiday in August 2022 and found a great contender. The listing quoted £3,141 for a week but there was no mention of COVID terms and conditions. I messaged the host who replied promptly with a satisfactory answer – so far so good.

On booking however, I discovered that the price had risen overnight to £3,535. I messaged again. The host replied (equally promptly) that it was due to dynamic pricing (i.e. based on demand). However, it was a good location and I went ahead with the reservation for my chosen dates which were for Sunday to Sunday. I thought I was home and dry, but no. The host declined the reservation, saying he only did Friday to Friday in the holidays, though this condition did not appear in his listing.

Another message and another prompt reply later, he assured me that if I rearranged my dates to suit his booking schedule, it would make no difference to the price. I asked him to amend the booking to Friday to Friday. Surely this would seal the deal? If only.

The host responded with the dates amended to six days for approximately £3,600 with an option of an extra day to make it a full week for another £200 or so and called it a ‘special offer’. The seven-day quote had now risen from £3,141 to around £3,800 – all within 36 hours.

I declined to book and he withdrew the offer. The moral of the story is that when you hear the phrase Dynamic Pricing, please remember that it actually means that for every enquiry you make, the price increases. I am not naming the property – the host may be very nice (though I will never find out) – but I believe the Airbnb system is fleecing its customers and will not be tempted down this road again. Airbnb’s loss is Cottages.com’s gain.

Hosts Can Cancel up to 48 Hours Prior to your Reservation

I booked an Airbnb in Montana on July 10, 2020 for my son’s wedding for the following year on July 10, 2021. It’s a big home with four bedrooms, four beds and three baths, sleeps 10 plus room enough for two RVs in the driveway. After establishing right away that the RV spaces did not have electricity availability, I booked the reservation.

Almost a year went by, but when I contacted the host to see how big her driveway is because we have a huge 45-foot diesel pusher RV that we just needed to park there and not actually stay in while we were there, she freaked out and said the HOA had changed the rules since she did not have a dedicated RV pad; she no longer could have RVs in her driveway. I quickly looked up the ad she had running for future bookings, and she still advertised RV availability in two different places.

This was strange, but I messaged her back and said that it was okay, we could easily store our RV somewhere else but that I still needed the reservation because the wedding was three weeks away and I had family coming in to stay with me and there were no hotel rooms available. She said she was concerned that I would still bring my RV because she had no way of verifying that I would not bring it even though I assured her I had other options to store it elsewhere. I even proposed she contact someone in town to do a drive by to verify there was no RV there during our stay.

Well, she promptly told me she had already cancelled my reservation and that there was nothing I could do about it because she has the right to cancel for whatever reason if she feels her home would be in jeopardy. Now, my original price for her home was around $250 per night for five nights which came to roughly $2,000, which was affordable for me. When I looked for a replacement home, the three homes left were approximately $1,100 per night, $1,600 per night and $2,200 per night.

I quickly booked the home for $1,100 per night which made my cost go from $2,000 to almost $7,000 for five nights. But what was I supposed to do? It’s my son’s wedding and I was responsible for housing the people coming to the wedding. When I messaged Evelyn to say it was completely unfair to cancel my reservation, her response was, “You have an RV” and in another response she indicated that we could all fit in my RV and so she saw no reason for my panic.

Panicked didn’t even cover the half of it. She completely destroyed my savings. I did everything right and booked a year in advance so I wouldn’t have to worry about housing for the wedding, and now she has placed me in financial difficulties and extreme emotional distress. I did what everyone in this situation would do; I contacted Airbnb customer support.

I spoke with four or five different support people, each time telling my story and each time they gave me different answers. One even said it wasn’t the RV issue, that the host double booked the home for that time period and made approximately $100 per night more, which only came out to her making about $500 more; however, it cost me $5,000 more to have to book a more expensive home. Support said it was also their “policy” (that they couldn’t show me anywhere on their site) that a host can cancel up to 48 hours prior to your reservation for any reason.

Their reason is that within 48 hours it’s too hard to book another home, but prior to that you are responsible for booking your own replacement home, even if the host lied as she did in my case. She still advertises RV spaces in her driveway so I just have to assume she lied to me and just wanted an out to make more money on a new booking. To tell me that it’s all okay because we can all just cram into my RV for the wedding?

Support also told me that in order for them to help me, I had to go ahead and book the replacement home and then it would go on their books and they could see that replacement home in order to help me out. Once I booked the replacement home, the next support person said that I booked the replacement home when I should have let them handle it and there was nothing they could do for me because I already booked the replacement home. How confusing is that? I did exactly what they said to do only to have them say I did the wrong thing. This is their job and they are supposed to give me, their client, the right information on how to deal with these types of situations.

When I asked support to look over the whole messaging between the host and myself, I asked them what I did wrong and what they would have done differently if they were in my shoes. Each time the support person said I did everything right and that it was just an unfortunate situation. Yeah, a $5,000 unfortunate situation for me that put me into complete hell with panic attacks and migraines nightly right before my son’s wedding.

What exactly is the punishment for a host canceling the reservation with little time left to rebook on the guest’s part? I was told the host gets fined $100 and gets a bad mark on their file for two weeks. If they don’t abuse another guest then it comes off after that time. In my case, the host lied to me (or lied to Airbnb) and the support person told me that the bad mark had already been removed after a few days.

I am now pursuing arbitration against Airbnb and a small claims court action against the host. Any advice anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated. I am a single mom and stage three cancer survivor who is not going to let this go as I did nothing wrong.

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Rude Host Refuses to Take Lockdown Under Consideration

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When lockdown hit in Bondi Beach and surrounding areas, it was physically impossible for me to travel to and from Bondi. Informing the host of this, she refused a refund, and Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances does not offer refunds for anything COVID related. I never actually ended up staying at this property, but still had to pay 100% of the cost.

I am a part time student and this was a lot of money that I lost. A little empathy in an unforeseen situation that none of us could have helped would have been appreciated and ensured I would have stayed with this host again. However, because of this situation I will never consider it, and I actually won’t consider Airbnb again in the future.

Think to yourself: would you want to lose all your accommodation costs with no chance of a refund if you are forced into another lockdown? Definitely not. Book a hotel. Understanding the importance of reviews and always written with the upmost respect to any business operations especially supporting small business practices but in the instance there is nothing positive to pass on with the experience.

Due to the sudden COVID outbreak in Sydney, I requested a reschedule date. Concerned I may have got stuck with no way of getting home if there were a lockdown to take place, I was well aware of being inside the cancellation timeframe so prepared to forfeit a fee under the cancellation policy in hope to reschedule so I wouldn’t lose the full amount that had already been deducted. However, the host was not accommodating nor was she prepared to compromise in any way other than suggesting to contact Airbnb directly for further information, which I did.

Airbnb said I could still request a refund or a partial refund from the host even if the policy stated otherwise. Desperate, I reached out to her again requesting some kind of resolution explaining so I could come to Sydney to celebrate a close friend’s birthday. Otherwise, I would not have planned to travel during such uncertain times. I was simply hoping to reschedule the trip for one month later aligning for when the birthday celebrations had been rescheduled. Further to this, I was happy to pay a fee for the inconvenience, only to receive a devastating response without even considering my request.

Birthday Ruined Because of Airbnb’s Latitude to Hosts

In the hopes of making my 35th birthday one to remember, I booked a top-floor penthouse in Atlanta, for July 8-10. That same day, I reached out to the host to confirm my reservation and ask him if there was any other information he felt I needed to know. He never replied. Red flag#1.

Considering he may have been busy, I didn’t press him for a reply. On July 8, my birthday and the day I reserved to check in, he finally sent me a message. However, his message wasn’t in response to my June 19 message; it was to inform me that I could no longer check-in at 3:00 PM, but instead, check-in was now 6:30 PM.

I asked him to explain the change, and he responded that “they” wouldn’t allow him to do so until 6:00 PM because of issues with the building. Red flag #2.

“What issues?” I asked.

He wouldn’t elaborate. I asked him if I would receive a discount since by having to check-in 3.5 hours later than I expected. I was missing a day on top of having a dinner reservation at 8:00 PM. He changed the subject and told me that his nightly rate had changed since I booked the penthouse. The price had gone up from $85 per night to $96 per night, plus there was now a $45 cleaning fee.

What got to me the most was his following statement. He told me that I could always cancel if I disagreed with his last-minute changes. So, after he told me that, I went to customer service about the unfortunate situation I had to deal with. I kid you not; customer service gave me the runaround for eight hours straight. Then, I would be transferred to someone who would better handle my situation, and that person wouldn’t answer.

Finally, around 8:00 PM, I spoke to someone and got a refund, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that my birthday was ruined because of this host’s inability to communicate. I tried to find another place to stay from the list of places emailed to me, but it was too late.

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Got Bitten by a Rat in my Sleep at this Airbnb

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I stayed at a goat farm in North Carolina. The house was rustic but seemed pretty clean and the hosts were nice. So my friend goes to work very early in the morning around 4:00 AM. My friend lives in the area and has a car. She was staying at the Airbnb with me since it seemed like a nice getaway.

I woke up around 4:30 in the morning to a pain in my hand. I jerked away and heard something scurry off. When I turned on the light, my pinky was covered in blood. I woke the host up to let her know. She made me a cup of tea and basically told me I did not need to go to the ER because her husband did not want to wake up to drive me.

When my friend got back from work she insisted that we go to the ER. I got antibiotics and am not awaiting a bill which I’m sure will be very expensive. Airbnb took over two weeks to get back to me and offered me nothing. Finally, after back and forth for a month they offered me $50 which is about what the antibiotics cost. Still in a standstill with them but wow I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable at an Airbnb ever again.

The Big Lie Airbnb Hosts are Allowed to Push

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on Airbnb. In fact, I quit using Airbnb a few years ago, because of this BS and other nonsense. However, recently out of desperation (no hotels available) I booked a room for two nights at a “charming” home in Prescott, Arizona. I got a notification that my requested reservation was not accepted. That’s okay: her house, her choice. Then the host sent me a message telling me that it was already booked.

I’m a former Airbnb host. If a space is booked, it doesn’t show up in the listings. That’s how this whole thing works. That’s how reservation systems work. I think hosts should be able to deny requests at any time for any reason. It’s their house. What I don’t like is being lied to. All this host had to do was deny the request. It would’ve been inconvenient, but now its inconvenient and insulting. It’s also happened with confirmed reservations.

I once got a message from a host telling me to cancel my reservation with them because the city they were in (Las Vegas) no longer allowed Airbnb. I wasn’t going to cancel it and eat the service charge. She finally cancelled it and she got dinged. Which she deserved because she freaking lied. Airbnbs are alive and well in Sin City. Twice in the Bay Area I had reservations either cancelled or denied with little warning.

There’s too much drama making lodging plans at Airbnbs. I’m just always waiting for them to pull the rug out. Which, admittedly, it’s their house so its their right. But it’s a crappy way to do business. I have never in all my years of staying in hotels have had to deal with this BS. I make a reservation at a hotel. I show up. I pay. I have a place to stay.

Who needs the Airbnb cloak and dagger mystery theater, “will they/won’t they” drama? I’m over it.

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Airbnb Had Bedbugs, Awful Host and Airbnb Wouldn’t Refund Me

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I scheduled a stay at Kalkoen Farm in Hahira, Georgia for my sister and I to spend the weekend together and catch up from June 11-13. The first night I went into the bedroom and when I turned the comforter back, I saw a lot of ants on a corner of the comforter. I couldn’t see what was attracting them and it was late so I went into the third bedroom (a bunk bed) deciding I’d deal with it the next day.

The next morning I decided I’d just wash the sheets (not everyone washes comforters so maybe there was something spilled that I couldn’t see). When I pulled off the sheets I saw a small something moving along the mattress pad. I called my sister in.

“Is that what I think it is?”

Yup. A bedbug.

We further investigated and saw a few dead ones. My sister got a zip lock bag and put the live bedbug in it. We then looked at her bed and the bunk bed. Her bed looked ok; the bunk bed had a few dead bugs on the mattress pad but we couldn’t tell if they were bed bugs (very small). My sis pulled a wash rag out from a bin under the sink and there were multiple live bed bugs on the towel.

At that point I booked a hotel and we got the hell out of there. I reached out to the host to tell him we found bed bugs in his place and that I got a hotel. His response was: “do you have photos?” Yes, I did and shared with him. I attempted to work it out with him — I only asked for a refund for the second night that I couldn’t stay in the place. We went back and forth and he said he would refund me. Then I stopped hearing from him.

I reached out to Airbnb’s resolution center, shared photos, and explained what happened. I had to wait for 72 hours for the host to respond. He didn’t. Airbnb reached out to me to tell me that they couldn’t refund me because I didn’t contact them immediately after the incident. They asked the host if he’d be willing to refund me and the host told them no.

At that point I wrote a review saying that the house had bedbugs and the host refused to refund me my second night. Airbnb took down my review. So, I am out the cost of the Airbnb and the hotel. I’ve since canceled my Airbnb account and will never use them again. Kalkoen Farm is still up on Airbnb and who knows who else has been exposed to bedbugs. I guess I should thank the ants because had it not been for them, I would have slept in that bed with bedbugs.

Do You Know Who You’re Sharing an Airbnb With?

I was traveling up the Pacific Coast Highway as part of a road trip that had been planned pre-pandemic. Finally, after a year of lockdowns, my summer trip began in Los Angeles with the bustling city and the colorful people setting the tone for a great journey ahead. After a packed day and a quick nightcap, I headed to the Airbnb reservation in a quiet, suburban neighborhood.

Allow me to set the scene: there are five rooms in the house designated for Airbnb reservations. There is only one shared bathroom. I was awoken to a loud conversation at six in the morning in the room directly to the left of ours. Mildly annoyed, I figured that most of everyone in the house was up and about. Gathering my toiletries and towel, I made my way to the dark bathroom just across the hall. The water was scathing hot against my skin as I washed the shampoo from my hair.

Suddenly, a knock on the door. A voice mumbling as the door handle was jostled. My stomach in my throat. The door opened.

“I don’t know who you are, but you need to leave now,” he said.

The support team at Airbnb would question whether he had been too senile to realize what he was doing. The man who was repeatedly asked to leave, who left and shortly returned before verbally refusing to leave and attempting to open the shower curtain as I screamed for help? No, he was not too senile to realize what was happening. The illusion of safety is easy to grasp onto.

After all, you trusted a stranger to open their home to you. Why would anything bad happen if Airbnb tells you otherwise? It becomes easy to blame yourself. Did I lock the bathroom door enough? Did I not speak loud enough the first time? Reality sinks in hard when you need to prepare yourself for the possibility of these questions being thrown back to you by a stranger’s voice on the other end of the phone, telling you that you can trust them. Trusting another stranger to handle your traumatic ordeal with a stranger? How strange.

We were told that we would receive a refund, but the lingering trauma replaying in my head would stick with me for the rest of the trip. Our final reservation in northern California held four rooms designated for Airbnb with one shared bathroom between all of them. The illusion of safety was shattered.

The affordability and convenience of Airbnb will always be a draw. There’s no doubting that. Yet, the veil that serves as your safety while inside a stranger’s home is razor thin. Airbnb would never have known that the lock on the bathroom door was never going to function properly, or that the man in the room next to mine was never going to acknowledge a locked door to begin with.

For women to truly feel safe while booking with Airbnb, the shared bathroom would need to disappear. There is no way to guarantee a guest’s safety otherwise. All guests on a reservation should have an Airbnb account and receive a background check, not just the guest who booked the reservation. There is no way to guarantee a guest’s safety otherwise. Small steps towards something much larger.

As we checked in to our hotel in San Francisco, a wave of relief washed over me. A dead bolt on the door and the bathroom being located within our room meant a solid wall of safety, a brief interlude between the next dark bathroom down the hall of a stranger’s home.

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Airbnb Host Warns of No Air Conditioning During Heat Wave

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I had planned on having a fun, relaxing weekend for my husband and booked a cute cabin in Flagstaff, AZ for Father’s Day weekend. It was listed that there was no AC but that it is cool in Flagstaff and not needed. Based on the reviews, I didn’t think twice honestly.

I booked his airfare (I was going to drive to Scottsdale to stay with family with our two boys) to meet us in Scottsdale and researched hikes in Sedona. Upon checking in to the cabin, it was cute and had everything we thought we’d need for the weekend. It was 86 degrees F upon check in, but noticed that the host had left the largest window opened and it was 101 degrees outside. I was a little annoyed but figured once we left the windows open all night and immediately closed them upon waking up that it would in fact stay cool as the host left his “stay cool tips.”

Well, the joke was on us. It finally got to 71 degrees F at 4:00 AM. We couldn’t sleep comfortably at all. The kids tossed and turned (ages 1.5 and 8) and it wasn’t until 4:00 AM that I was able to finally fall asleep for two hours. We got up around 6:00, closed the windows and headed for Sedona. After hiking for a few hours we headed back to the cabin. It was 86 degrees F in there, again.

I reached out to the host while nursing a migraine and dealing with three very very grumpy and miserable boys. He basically told me that it was a heat wave and outside his control. Which yes, I understand he could not control the weather, but I mean come over and check out how hot it is. Bring over fans or a portable AC (we paid him enough), get us a cheap hotel with AC, give us a partial refund… anything. He could not have cared less honestly.

I ended up having to take a cool bath with our baby to just calm him (and myself) down. My husband had started packing because we couldn’t imagine staying another night like we already had. I messaged the host again to let him know it was now 93 degrees F and there was no way we could stand another night there with it being that hot. I asked for a partial refund (we checked out with 24 hours of check in) and was told no, that his cancellation policy said no refunds.

I can’t imagine treating anyone like that but especially knowing how hot it truly was. To expect us and kids to stay in that is infuriating. It was mostly disappointing that someone could be that selfish and cruel. After reaching out to Airbnb, I was ghosted for two weeks. I decided to just call and was told “unfortunately the host said he won’t issue a refund.” I explained the situation to the gal and she was very nice but not very helpful. I was told she was going to reach out to the host and see if he’d change his mind basically. I told her it was unlikely and asked if I’m basically out all the money even though we checked out within 24 hours and she said I could escalate it to some Airbnb team and go from there.

Well, now I’m being offered a $100 coupon. All I want is my partial refund for the night we couldn’t stay. We didn’t even ask for a refund for the night from hell. I can’t believe the host and Airbnb just wouldn’t do the right thing.