Five-Hour Journey Results in No Place to Stay

I booked a condo in Tagaytay, Philippines with residences renting on a monthly basis. Here they had a policy of people over age 65 not allowed out due to COVID, but not many stay home. Maybe the condo staff who do check ins let me stay due to my age?

I contacted the host to explain and she said “No problem, we will sort it out.” It was a bit of an odd reply, so I inquired further. They told me the rules changed on Jan. 1. I booked my dates on Airbnb from the 28th for a month — a great price for 40% off monthly, and 20% off for the first booking before April.

The host replied that she could book me for the 26th and 27th to clean the condo. They explained I would not be paying for those two days. I said it was okay, so she booked me on Airbnb for the two days. I thought it was a bit odd, but okay. I had the host’s mobile number so I called. She was out of range or her phone was turned off.

I sent a text explaining I was coming to Tagaytay to find a place to live permanently, using her joint for a month to look around, moving out of where I live now. New people are moving in when I leave and my furniture is going to my wife’s sisters, so this condo in Tagaytay has to be a sure thing. I got a text back saying “hello” and that was all. I tried calling: no answer, not even ringing.

I returned to Airbnb, explaining I had had no contact via mobile. I was a bit worried now. Her reply was “My husband is out of range, but will call tonight.” I got a message later via Airbnb saying I could call him anytime. I called twice. The second time I got an answer. Speaking English, the guy didn’t understand me, so I put my wife on the phone, telling her we wanted information on the tower number, condo number, and caretaker’s number.

I contacted Airbnb saying I had concerns, explaining the extra days for cleaning, and how there were no replies to texts or calls. I was doing a lot of thinking about moving out of there. I looked when the host would be paid by airbnb and it said the 27th; I don’t arrive until the 28th. I contacted Airbnb. As far as they were concerned, I was booked from the 26th. Eventually the payment was frozen.

On the 27th at 10:30 PM I got a message through Airbnb from the hosts. I rang their mobile — the one they never answered — and they said no money has come from Airbnb. I lost the plot, explained why no money would be paid until the 29th, and gave them 30 minutes to supply all the information I needed to Airbnb. The wife came on the phone saying they had only just bought the condo and didn’t really understand how this works. She said she was going to Tagaytay in the morning with her husband and the phone would be on.

I tried to call them five or six times on route, a five-hour journey, and it never rang. I arrived at 2:00 PM and no one was there. I waited two hours and called… nothing. Condo security said they had a condo there. I contacted Airbnb on the messenger site several times telling them the situation. I paid a night for a condo.

The next day I phoned Airbnb and explained everything. They were helpful. All the information was on his screen: messages from me saying I thought this was going to go bad, and it did. I got my money back, but I can’t understand it. These scammers knew they were not going to get paid since I was moving out of my place, but they still let me travel five hours. Beware if it sounds too good a price to be true. At least I got a refund. I hope Airbnb punishes these scammers somehow.

Hosting is Always a Nightmare with Airbnb

As a property manager I use many OTA (online travel agent) platforms. The most difficult to deal with is Airbnb. Their lack of customer service makes it impossible to resolve issues in a timely fashion, if at all. The last issue I had was a staff member accidentally putting a refund request through to the wrong guest. Ten seconds after this was done, we contacted Airbnb and explained we had two guests with the same name and they had granted a refund to the wrong guest.

The outcome was the guest who stayed did not choose to give back the refund so Airbnb closed the issue. The complaint that we had was that Airbnb took weeks to refund the guest. During peak COVID time when we were busy refunding guests they took so long to refund people who desperately needed their money that we had to consistently follow up with them and force them to refund them.

We have had to give many apologies to guests waiting long periods to be refunded, yet they refused to intercept the request to cancel with their accounts department. Instead they refunded a guest who did stay, who did have a good time and who was happy with our service. I think that in this age of choice, whether we be a host or a guest, there are so many more ethical businesses out there to deal with. This company is a disgrace to the original concept of Airbnb. This company should be investigated for its disturbing way of dealing with both hosts’ and guests’ needs.

Airbnb Unable to Accommodate Non-Smartphone User

We added a new gite (vacation home) to our existing Airbnb account. I reached the end of the process but was then thwarted by the verification process. I scanned and attached a passport (which I had not been asked to do on my first gite and although a message is now there the posting is still active without it) and then it said to take a selfie and post that. I do not have a phone that takes photos, it just texts and calls — I know, very old fashioned but it’s all I want or need. I have photos on the computer but there was no way to upload them.

I managed, eventually, to have a live chat, but it became obvious that the rep was a computer as she did not address my problem, just gave me company rules and regulations. I went onto chat again and (maybe) got a person. She also quoted rules and regulations to me. I explained that, in these hard COVID times maybe they had to be a little flexible, that they had my passport and surely an uploaded photo of me would be enough. Each time she responded she told me to use a certain ‘app’ or to do something only possible with a smart phone. Each time I explained I didn’t have one and had no ability on my computer to take photos.

This went on for a while and I tried to keep my temper in check. Eventually she said I could complain via a feedback form. I pointed out that these are not responded to individually and she said that despite that Airbnb would keep in mind what I had said — a big help. I sent three more messages asking for a supervisor or an email address where I could contact someone more senior. Eventually she said she would pass my messages on. I am going to lie down in a dark room now. My new gite is not published and, frankly, I am looking at other sites. This is just too bad.

Warning to Hosts Allowing Renters Who Smoke Marijuana

If you are a host potentially housing federal employees, you need to be aware of Airbnb’s tolerance of marijuana use by guests. Federal employees are randomly tested for drugs to maintain security clearances, which will terminate their employment if they fail. This includes marijuana as it is a Schedule I controlled substance.

Despite this, Airbnb policy cites that “many states” legalized marijuana, and therefore they allow its use by guests. As a host, you need to realize the potential for cross-contamination of guests, and your potential liability if you’re the cause. After over four years of solid five-star ratings and excellent guests, our number came up. We had the guest from hell.

The 21-year-old arrived on a “one-year break” from college, and claimed to have a job telecommuting and a full ride to a good school. When we showed her around the room, and the amenities, it was as if she wasn’t even listening.

A few weeks later she asked to turn the heat up at night. We had to point out that she had a heated bed. She often didn’t clean up after herself in the common area kitchen. Once, we asked her to remove dishes from the sink. She removed some and promptly added more. She routinely woke us up at 5:00 AM singing or talking loudly on the phone, and had to be reminded of the rules numerous times.

When her time was up on Airbnb, she asked to extend four months, and promised to follow the rules. One night at 4:00 AM, she woke us up yelling vulgarities. We texted her, “haha, quiet time please.” She later tried explaining it away as her watching and commenting on a documentary, as unbelievable as that was.

Two days later, in retaliation, she sent a text complaining of loud sex noises from our room, saying she had an interview to attend and asking us to keep it down. Then she texted that she needed to talk, setting up an appointment to meet in the kitchen. We set up a different time and she didn’t reply or show.

Later that night, she said that she needed to talk to us “about boundaries.” I texted her back the rules of the house, emphasizing the ones that she was breaking. She texted that she felt “uncomfortable” and made up a story about her catching us having sex in a common area within plain sight. We refused to give it credence and told her she had a week to leave.

Upon leaving, she demanded her money back for the rent, prior to room inspection, and sent harassing and threatening texts. We inspected the room and it reeked of marijuana. Servpro inspected it, found receipts for pot, spent vials, and paraphernalia. Their estimate was $1,500 to clean the room, contents, and high-touch common areas.

That night, her mom called and asks why we hadn’t returned her money. We told her the situation, and that she was liable to pay for cleaning to decontaminate. She wasn’t aware of her daughter smoking pot, and she wasn’t aware of the daughter’s promiscuity. We felt bad having to be the one to tell her.

Within a week, we got a call from Airbnb. The guest filed a complaint. We told our side of the story and sent pictures of solid evidence of pot use, spent containers, receipts, notes to herself with a daily schedule beginning with “smoke” at 6:00 AM. It didn’t matter. Airbnb removed our accounts, citing a violation of their safety policy and providing no other evidence. They refused to pay for the cleaning, saying that their policy does not prohibit marijuana use, although we explained that there were many federal facilities in the area, and workers are subjected to drug testing, including marijuana as it’s a Schedule I federally controlled substance.

The guest was using oils as well, and it was all over the place. Future guests, mostly professionals, could test positive on random drug tests and lose their security clearances and jobs by coming into contact with the residues in the room. Regardless, Airbnb refused to pay, and we were banned with no explanation other than the vague violation of the safety policy.

Other than the cleaning costs not being refunded, we were glad to be done with Airbnb, as it was an eye-opening experience. Reading other experiences of hosts here cemented this decision. Again, beware of Airbnb’s tolerance of federally illegal drug use by their guests, and let these hosts’ experiences here be a lesson to those thinking of doing business with Airbnb.

Stripped of My Superhost Title Through No Fault of My Own

Just two days ago I was notified by an email from Airbnb that my Superhost status had been removed, and my many years of hard work and continually abiding by the rules had been cancelled from my Airbnb listing. On investigating the listing, it is true that as of March 20, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had no accommodation sales from Airbnb (in fact it is the same for all our suppliers: Expedia, Agoda, Booking.com, etc).

Our 14 Airbnb bookings were cancelled until January. This was somewhat like “a kick in the guts” or “a kick when you are already down in the gutter.” My accommodation business has had zero guests since March, resulting in no income. I have supported Airbnb for many years, and Airbnb supplies my accommodation business (as they do for many others in Bali) with possibly 80% of our clientele. I am grateful for that.

Bali, being one of the largest tourist resorts in the world, has been closed to overseas tourists since March, and has only just opened in September to its domestic market. Obviously, your automated system is unaware of what is going on in the world, and shows no compassion to many of your clients who have supported you for so long. Even though we have had no guests since the middle of March, I have endeavored to keep all my seven staff employed and on full salary, not forgetting dealing with their emotional issues and trauma  as well as my own caused by this damming virus.

Indonesian citizens receive no financial support at all from their government, unlike the U.S. and many western countries. Life is tough, and in addition to fighting the virus, people are hungry. We are hoping the vaccine is developed quickly and hopefully the Indonesian overseas tourist restrictions will be lifted soon. It is then we will be able to try to get back to some normality.

I am therefore asking Airbnb to consider placing the Superhost title decision on hold until the restrictions from the pandemic are eased, and start to show some compassion to the clients who have supported them so well in the past. It might be of benefit to review the situation, rather than acerbate and remove rewards that clients have worked so hard for (COVID-19 is no fault of their own). This would not only be of advantage to the client (in this case, the Superhost and possibly other related issues) but also be of advantage to Airbnb in rehabilitating a stricken industry.

Airbnb’s demotion email has affected me greatly. Such a shame after such a good association.

Airbnb Might Seize my Payouts Should I Die of COVID

Airbnb has blocked my access to my payout and transaction history for eight months, and they refuse to explain their so-called “security reasons” for removing my accounts. Perhaps they’ve taken this illegal action during the pandemic in the hopes that they can seize my payouts if I die of COVID.

Finally, on Dec. 7, Airbnb gave me access to my account. However, the transactions of those not paid, i.e. the payouts I was supposed to receive were still blocked. The last time Airbnb showed me those transactions, my payouts were $19,000 — an inaccurate, low amount. Now that amount has dropped to $14,000.

I have made numerous requests by phone and email for my money, which I was saving for my sons’ college tuition. Airbnb’s unprofessional and illegal actions have disrupted my filing my taxes, getting my stimulus pay and filing for unemployment, and has contributed to my depression.

Cheap Airbnb Host Charges Extra for Everything

I was looking to stay at a place for ten weeks and found a good deal. The minute I expressed interest the host basically harassed me until I signed and kept saying that “if I didn’t agree he had others lined up.” He actually cancelled on me until I went back and said yes (this was within 24 hours).

Anyways, his post had pictures of a pool table and a large couch with projectors. He also told me that he and his girlfriend traveled quite a bit and that I would have the whole townhome to myself. When I arrived, however, I found out that I basically got one bedroom and was told that downstairs was off limits. He then said that I could have one shelf in the fridge. I was in a room with no central air and the bathroom was absolutely disgusting. The sink took a while to drain but I was fine with that.

At first it was okay and I never used the kitchen. However, one time he and his girlfriend left and I began to spread out more into the upstairs living room areas. One day, I left for my rotation day quite early and was planning on cleaning up that evening. My host got back a little after I left and sent me image after image saying how disgusting it was to come back to a dirty house. He then kept sending me images and pictures saying that I was irresponsible and that I needed to clean up. He kept harassing me until I paid him $50 apologizing after which he basically didn’t say anything. The irony was he and his girlfriend moved a bunch of their stuff back and piled it all over the kitchen.

I was pretty much just left in my room all the time because it was too awkward to go use the house. He disabled the heat and the cable while he was gone so there was a span of five days where I was living in a 50-degree house. After I checked out, he messaged me saying that one of his towels was missing and that the drain was clogged. After three weeks, he sent a message requesting $45 to repair the drain. When I mentioned the $50 I had already paid him previously as an extra/coverage for such fees, he said that that didn’t count and that I paid him without him asking — this time, he was requesting the $45.

It was awful. I was confined to a room for ten weeks and basically never really got to use the house. He got angry when I tried to clean up the kitchen with cleaning supplies I bought (he didn’t leave any cleaning supplies). He said that he only preferred to clean with his own supplies but he kept them hidden away and would charge $30 every time something needed to be extensively cleaned, which he found to be quite often. Furthermore, there were amenities on his listing (pool table, a projector lounge, large TV) that were inaccessible to me. Basically, he harassed me to sign up and then I stayed in one room. Horrible.

Airbnb No Longer Reimbursing Hosts for Material Damages

Two guests booked two days for our 35-foot motorhome during a local Renaissance fair. We’ve been hosting 3.5 years. I should have been suspicious when three guests showed up. The guests were drunk when in residence — a bit loud, but tolerable because the motorhome is remote.

Then we went to clean for the next guests. What a mess. They had been cutting and sewing costumes for the fair, both inside and outside the coach. Strings and pins/needles were everywhere in the carpet. They ruined one set of sheets and towels with black goop that my wife couldn’t get out, so we had to order new ones for $65. They spilled coffee with creamer on the fabric couch and dribbled it on floor.

Normally takes about 2.5 hours to clean the unit. My wife spent five hours cleaning and I spent three extra hours spotting the carpet and steam cleaning the couch. I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to remove all the tiny threads, and pins/needles so the next guests would not injure themselves. I’m an an old guy but we got it cleaned.

The three guests left just after a noon check out, and new guests arrived at 4:30 PM and had to wait until we were finished. This was the first time this has happened in 3.5 years.

Here is the clincher. When we contacted Airbnb for reimbursement for the sheets and towels (not for our extra five hours of cleaning) we were denied because we didn’t meet their “complaint before next guest arrives” time frame. The next guests arrived before we had finished cleaning. Did I mention the extra time Airbnb demands to meet their COVID-19 cleaning requirements?

What have we learned from this lesson? Airbnb does not cover hosts’ damages even through they require a damage deposit from guests. Do not allow new guests to check in until you have made any claims, even if it means cancelling the new guests. We are rural and must drive to town to upload pictures due to our slow internet. We have no cell signal here. We increased our price 25% to cover any material losses because Airbnb will not charge guests for them.

When our “weird-s–t-O-meter” goes up for new guests…. we go with it and deny them access to the property. Don’t get me wrong: we have had good results with listings from Airbnb. Their fees are more expensive than most other platforms and our guests in the past have been top notch. I find that it is Airbnb, not the poor guests, that are the problem. Airbnb has always paid us the $50 per night on time and correctly.

If you cannot “personally” manage your rental check in and after rental inspection then I would not recommend them, as I do not believe you will be reimbursed for any property damage. Talking to a large number of Airbnb guests has convinced me that “hosts” are not cleaning to the Airbnb standards on the website as we do. But I must admit when we have traveled using Airbnb we have gotten very clean and tidy places to stay.

Calendar Blocked, No Idea When Airbnb Will Contact Me

After a decade with Airbnb, they suddenly blocked the calendars on all my listings with no explanation. I found out when I was checking my Airbnb calendar (because I have been very busy) and realized that all the dates were blocked.

I have called several times a day for six days now and gotten no explanation as to why this has happened or when it will be resolved. Every time I call I get customer service who says “I am so sorry, we understand but I can’t help you. I will escalate this.”

No matter how hard I push I can’t get through the firewall in place which adheres strictly to the Airbnb “policy”. There is a team (but no one can tell me what team) that supposedly is looking into this issue (which will not be identified). So just like that, Airbnb is preventing me from getting any bookings.

I have contacted Fair Shake because it is wrong for a big company to treat me like this. I also emailed Brian Chesky, but who knows when he will respond. I spent the day posting this on various websites so others are aware of how terrible customer service is with Airbnb. There is literally no one who can answer legitimate questions.

I am looking for alternatives. I started with VRBO. Where else can I post my listings?