Airbnb Invades Privacy and Preys on the Poor

When you keep your nightly rate going up and down, you’re trying to desperately get more guests in, so you can pay your rent – and the algorithm knows that. Of course, the more desperate for cash you are, the more likely you are to be booked by indecent guests. So it happened with me.

This guest was an influencer (of course), rated low on cleaning and observing house rules. I had to give it a go; I couldn’t miss my rent payment. Furthermore, if hosts cancel they will be penalised.

I entered 48 hours of hell, between this couple having sex in common areas, taking my bath towels and leaving them on the floor, while simultaneously trashing the whole place like a frat house, with a sense of entitlement and superiority: “I hate Germans, they dress bad and are annoying,” she said. I’m not German, and it doesn’t take Martin Luther King to forbid that kind of language into my home.

I reported her to Airbnb. Airbnb disclosed my report to her – violating my privacy, EU/US privacy laws and putting me in a dangerous position. I got a bad, fake review (of course) where she clearly states “I filed a report on her.”

This violates Airbnb content policy, but Airbnb won’t remove it. After numerous email exchanges they finally provided me with their legal department address (of course, in order to make things more difficult, they only gave me a postal address), and closed the case, saying “this is our final decision.”

This is the message for Airbnb hosts: If you experience a prejudiced incident and you decide to report it, be prepared for a violation of your privacy rights, a lower booking rate and therefore less money to cover your rent. Disgusting.

Airbnb is running a poverty-line, slave-powered system. It will be replaced one day; the very nature of business capitalism finds a way. Whatever they do to me will be done to them.

Airbnb Allows Fraudulent Host to Rent out Property

I had the pleasure of dealing with Airbnb; what a horrible business. I will never use them or suggest anything but staying away from them. I had hired a property manager who did not manage the property and basically disappeared: no communication, the cleaners did not know when to clean, and I was scheduling myself out of desperation during Christmas.

I could see three reservations that were on the calendar for after Christmas and New Year’s. Finally I got a text from the manager to enter information for a co-host on Airbnb so I could see the reservation information. That was the last communication I got. The guest came and went, damage was done, submitted pictures to her… crickets.

I called Airbnb as no money had been deposited into my account. They said I wasn’t the host so I couldn’t input the bank information. I sent the bank information to the manager… crickets. I called Airbnb; they assured me I would be paid, so I let the next guest stay… no money.

Finally after five more phone calls, I cancelled the last reservations. Airbnb didn’t care that the guests’ vacations would be ruined, not their concern. That’s why you shouldn’t do business with these people. They refused to provide me any way to get my money except to confront the person… unbelievable. If I could sue them I would. They are worse then any criminals I have ever dealt with.

No Hell until you’ve Dealt with Airbnb Customer Service

You have not been to hell until you’ve dealt with Airbnb customer service. My ongoing nightmare began on November 18th, 2019. It was a dark and stormy night. In a brick brownstone in Portsmouth, I started my fight with Airbnb over the new Massachusetts short-term rental law.

Under the new law there are a few exemptions, one being about bed ‘n breakfast and timeshares. Bonus, right? Well, what I thought would be easy became very stressful in nature. I contacted their wonderful support team, mentioning that I am tax exempt under the short-term rental law and asking them to please make all of my timeshare listings a zero exemption.

Thinking the elves in the Airbnb workshop would work some magic on my behalf, I waited patiently for a response. Airbnb sent an email stating every rental owner is required to sign up. The next morning I called the government to verify, that I am indeed, tax exempt. “Yes, you’re tax exempt and just a heads up – we had many meetings with Airbnb and they’re required to have a drop down menu for tax exemptions on the site.”

Great news. I called Airbnb back to see what the customer service elves could do. The next email I got from Airbnb stated this was a voluntary law and you will see below, the actual response from the Regulations Department at Airbnb.

I work on a specialized team here at Airbnb. Thanks for reaching out about our collection and remittance of local transient taxes in Massachusetts. I understand you would like your listing to be exempt from taxes during reservations on our platform, because it is a timeshare.

As you are aware, Airbnb entered into a voluntary collection agreement with the local tax collector. We will be filing one tax return per jurisdiction, with the total combined reservation revenue. This means that all hosts located in your area will be represented by one remitted amount, and we will not be providing your personal information on the return. Regrettably, hosts at this time are unable to opt-out of automatic tax collection (collection & remittance feature).

For more information, please review our Help Center article. Your local tax office can share more information about the Voluntary Collection Agreement with Airbnb and how this process may affect your tax reporting and/or collection. For example, some areas request that hosts fill out worksheets indicating the amount that has been paid on their behalf. If you have additional questions regarding policies in your area, we recommend reaching out to a local tax professional or your local tax authority.

In short, I will say, to this day, I continue to fight for myself and the others out there who are suffering from Airbnb Hell.

Airbnb Host Guarantee Scam: No Payment for Damages

On or about September 5th, a tenant in my Hamptons home reached out telling me he accidentally broke a shower handle in my guest house. A few hours later, I sent in a handyman who notified me that the guest house was completely flooded as a result of the damage to the shower handle and the guests hadn’t even put down towels to dry the wooden floor which, in turn, was soaked in water.

I immediately reached out to Airbnb asking them to please notify their insurance provider and assist me. As a courtesy, I also offered to contact my own insurance (note: Airbnb asked me to lie and not disclose that an Airbnb guest caused the damage). Airbnb assured me that they’d pay any difference or deductible I may incur.

My insurance ended up confirming and estimating the flood damage at 21k (stating they’d reimburse 10k but not the deductible of 2.5k and a sum that they attributed to amortization, essentially because my guest house was built ten years ago and wasn’t brand new). In the meantime, Airbnb neglected to send in any adjuster, even if I repeatedly asked them to do so, and put me in touch with about 15 different anonymous individuals with no last names or phone numbers to reach.

After three months and when the remediation work had been finished for over a month (and after having reviewed all my final paperwork and invoices, which they knew well), Airbnb notified me that they decided to send an adjuster. The adjuster, in turn, called me stating that it was ‘crazy’, ‘in bad faith, and ‘unheard of’ that Airbnb would send him in so late and to simply verify that the work was done and that’s not something an adjuster should do. Instead, he told me, Airbnb should have sent in someone immediately, which they didn’t. Following that, I received an anonymous rejection of my claim, essentially stating that Airbnb wouldn’t cover what my insurance wouldn’t and claiming that my insurance didn’t recognize the damage (which is a lie as, in fact, they covered almost half of it).

I have loved Airbnb and I still believe in their business, but those practices are brutal and really show how unsafe hosting can become with some (terrifying) guests like these (who also smoked marijuana and disrupted an entire neighborhood by the way). I ended up spending 11000 USD of my own money and numerous days of my own work trying to remediate this and desperately trying to speak to multiple anonymous Airbnb employees.

All in all, I still believe in Airbnb but please don’t rely on the insurance. Unfortunately, some guests can destroy your homes and Airbnb won’t help you at all. They’ll instead put you through anonymous employees to make your life a miserable hell in the hope you’ll give up eventually.

Airbnb is a Scam to Guests as well as Hosts

Airbnb supposedly gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy when you list your property. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy. A woman booked my apartment in Cap Cana three months ago for Christmas and New Years, a 14-day stay. I gave her a discount price for the two-week stay.

Six days before checking in, I received a message from Airbnb stating that they cancelled her reservation and fully refunded the client due to extenuating circumstances. Apparently the client lives in Venezuela and one of the guests needed a visa to visit Dominican Republic.

First of all, I did not know that the guest was coming from Venezuela since in her verified information she said that she lives in Miami. Secondly I never receive any call nor was contacted by Airbnb staff before they decided unilaterally to cancel and full refund her.

They said that she provided evidence to them. Airbnb had her rental money for three months and then cancelled and left me without any rental in the high season. They did not try to help at all. They even lied when confronted, saying that they contacted me, which was not true. If we were the ones cancelling in order to forfeit the penalty under extenuating circumstances we would have to have a lot of paperwork in order for them to consider it.

I asked them to reconsider. They rejected my plead. I asked them to at least give us a partial refund, but they did not. Airbnb does not consider hosts; they do not care about us at all. It seems they do not realize that without our properties they are just a mere application. Their customer service is the worst. They charge a fee for nothing.

Airbnb Guest Attacked my Dog, Deleted from Airbnb

I’ve rented a few locations in Prague on Airbnb in the past two years. I had 107 four-star reviews, until a frat group from Israel arrived to get me kicked off the platform. Due to manners I greeted the guests in person at the place. They booked for seven days. I showed them everything.

Within the first five minutes, I got called “ata homo” multiple times  which I think is Hebrew for “you f%g”. I’m not the kind of guy who receives much disrespect unless people are of the utterly stupid kind, so I told them in English that I do understand them and they should show some manners. We got along great from that point on. It was fine when they were noisy or caused minor damage. They are young; they lack the respect that comes with responsibility. Not everyone has basic manners that are the basics of my life.

I live in the same district as the Airbnb. One Saturday night I walked my dog, seeing the group in front of the place. I walked by, asked if all was well with them, and if there were any issues. Suddenly one of the guys started to call me a racist (they were all just as white as me), saying that “people like you kill Jews” to which I replied with “my great grandfather actually served at Waffen-SS as a officer but those days are over, or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”

This resulted in them leaving to a Vietnamese shop nearby. I was just thinking “holy crap, these f-ing tourists”. Right next to the place is one great Pizza place (and Russian food). I stopped by there, and talked with them for a bit. My dog got free food and some water… all good.

Then I heard a bottle smash into the wall next to me; the frat boys from hell threw it, shouting English and Hebrew gibberish from across the street. I just told them to be quiet – normal people live here too. They crossed the street, and some highly aggressive talking starts from them. I had no idea what was up with them.

One of them kicked my dog who was just standing beside me not giving much a s&%t about whats going on. Like he actually kicked a dog in the chest. I replied “attack” and the dog defended himself by attacking the attacker. What an absolute mess: the pizza place owner came out of his joint and threatened us with the police. The guys tried to hit him and instead earned some fists.

The police arrived, took the guy who attacked my dog to the hospital – he lost two fingers. One other guy had a mildly broken nose, nothing too bad in my opinion. All were arrested but let go the next day. I immediately contacted Airbnb over this incident and wanted them to cancel the stay of these idiots. No. I was supposed to host them a few more days until they left.

Instead, the next morning before they left the police station, I went into the apartment to pack their stuff together. A legal person (a student lawyer of my lawyers) was around to provide “neutral opinion of the situation” so nothing got stolen or anything. I bagged everything and placed it in front of the door.

The place was not really damaged but a lot of the furniture was ruined. The total costs for repairs was 427,000 CZK, almost 20,000 Euro.

The guys arrived, picked up their stuff without any issue, and left to go somewhere else. I wrote them a long one-star rating, which after five days disappeared. Airbnb deleted my account within three days, after some s&%tchat with support over three months. They sent me a letter that I am not allowed to discuss this matter anywhere else.

Now I think I will sue them, because after all, Airbnb is involved in heavy tax avoidance schemes here in Czechia. Hosts never have to pay taxes unless they do so on their own accord. Airbnb never pays taxes to the city around here because hosts are supposed to pay taxes, but Airbnb won’t even forward them to the cities in which they are renting.

Sure, it is an easy way of making money, but the people are deteriorating fast. Other hosts I know of also complain more and more that people are an utter disgrace to society. It makes one wonder: how are we supposed to get a sense of society when scum and scams never get punished?

Airbnb Host Nightmare: Cancellation Penalty for Hosts

A few days ago I relisted my two properties on Airbnb. I was not able to link my channel manager to Airbnb and had issues logging in to the Airbnb system. I kept requesting a password reset and never got any reset link. I contacted my channel manager and they were not helpful, saying I had to log in to Airbnb to sort the problem.

I finally logged in. To my horror, I had 14 booking received within a few days, all confirmed with dates and availability that were not correct. I had the nightmare of contacting all these people and be ashamed to say we had technical issues. To my horror, for each booking that I cancelled, I had to pay a penalty of 50 dollars. Do the math for 14 booking and see how much I had to pay Airbnb for cancelling.

I had no email confirmation for any of these bookings and no notification or any chance to accept or deny any of these bookings. Some of the guests were very helpful and some just pain and unhelpful. Airbnb technical issues turned into nightmare and Airbnb has no compassion to not change the penalty when you have a genuine problem. I had no idea about any booking or how to fix the problem. Not happy at all.

Atheist Airbnb Host Versus Religious Guest

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I was renting my studio on Airbnb since 2016 and everything had gone fine. I did host people from all over the world of all ethnicities and they all did like the place a lot… until the day I received a reservation inquiry for a four-week stay of a certain guest. As this person had very few positive reviews, I decided to check his profile on Facebook and discovered lots of disturbing posts, especially for an atheist like me.

As my studio is located in in the same house where I live with my family, I decided to decline his inquiry. However, I also wanted to politely explain why I did it. So, in summary, I told him that being an atheist I had problem with his profile and I also added that that in my views religions (all of them) were toxic inventions that were made to divide us. I ended my message with a ‘salam’, meaning “peace”.

One hour later my account was deleted. The guest felt so offended that he claimed a file for “Islamophobia”. Airbnb didn’t even bother to contact me to see what the problem was. What counts is money and only money; they don’t care if you’re comfy or not with a given reservation. I’ve included some of the disturbing posts that motivated my refusal.

False Review and Guest’s Lies Lead to Listings Removed

I have been the owner and host for two Airbnb properties for the past two years, garnering positive reviews and mostly problem-free until now. On October 17th, a young male guest (24-25) with positive reviews arrived. His booking was for three days. During this time he left messages about how much he liked everything about the property and extended his stay by one day.

Meanwhile, my maintenance man encountered him and after a brief interaction texted me with concern that he appeared to be on drugs or intoxicated: he acted “amped up” and paranoid. A day or two later he saw and talked with him again and confirmed the same behavior.

After the guest vacated the property my co-host entered to clean it. She found that one bedroom lampshade had been crushed, as if someone fell on it. She brought this to my and the guest’s attention and said that she would contact the Resolution Center to handle it, the standard procedure. Little did I know that my life was going to explode in all directions thanks to this $10 lampshade.

These Airbnb messages between my co-host and guest reveal why:

“I noticed that one of the lamp shades in the bedroom was broken. I talked to the owner of the property and she advised me to file a claim with Airbnb to be reimbursed for the cost of the matching lamp shades.”

“Feel free to. I’m actually filing a complaint for the peep hole I found in the shower. I’m sorry you feel that way. I discovered the peep hole on my last night of the stay. I did however report the suspicious behavior on the premises prior to that. Facts are facts. I was not intoxicated. All my reviews pre and post my stay here are stellar. You are running a dirty scam, invading others privacy. How dare you. You will not be receiving any money from me. In fact, I have taken this matter straight to Airbnb Corporate with evidence of your intrusive misuse of hosting this home. My hope is that they resolve this matter accordingly, stripping your right to host any more illegal activity, reimburse me for this invasion of my privacy, and follow through with the apology I deserve. Shame on you.”

“Peep hole, illegal activity and dirty scam” were then red flagged by the Airbnb computers. What a surprise to learn that I’m accused of this at age 71. No such things or activities are associated with me or on my properties as established by the positive comments he made after staying there four days. What I also didn’t know at that time is that my Airbnb listings had been immediately shut down so I would not have any future bookings, depriving me of these income sources.

Meanwhile an Airbnb investigator was assigned to me. In the eyes of her and Airbnb I was guilty until proven innocent. She lectured that I had broken the “trust” of Airbnb with my actions. She then gave me 72 hours to provide evidence that I didn’t have a peephole and that people were not walking around on the roof at night (the guest stated that he had heard noises like this, confirming my maintenance man’s assessment).

The roof is totally covered with solar panels; water lines and swamp coolers = dangerous tripping hazards at night. Yes, photographs were submitted as evidence. Also in question is why the guest waited two weeks before submitting a scathing and accusatory review on November 5th. I have also asked Airbnb what evidence the guest provided to support his accusations and told that this information could not be divulged to me. I doubt that he took photos of the peephole before he vacated.

The maintenance man videotaped and narrated a “tour of the bathroom walls” to prove there was no shower peephole. I then sent the videotape to Airbnb after confirming their email, Airbnb.com/help. The email was rejected with “incomplete address” every time. I was now calling Airbnb every day to speak someone who could give me additional support or updates.

I reached someone who was shocked to learn how this case had been mistreated for so many weeks (she had access to my original “ticket” and opened up another to better defend me). She commented that it was blatantly obvious that the guest was lying and fabricating stories and that I was being vilified unfairly. When asked why the video was rejected she said that videos are unacceptable because they may have a virus. Then the original agent said all forms of media are acceptable but I couldn’t send her the video. This had become a Kafka nightmare.

Every professional, honorable company provides standard protocols and procedures to follow for every type of action that may occur. Airbnb does not. At no time did Airbnb send a notification to alert and explain an impending investigation. This is a simple, professional courtesy. Airbnb never provided me with information as to what steps I would need to protect my rights during this investigation. Airbnb never provided information as to collecting specific evidence (recordings, videos, photos) or a timeline to furnish them. The investigators failed to provide this.

Airbnb never informed me that my Airbnb listings were removed and when. Airbnb has yet to inform me how I will recoup my lost booking income since my listings remain inactive. Will Airbnb ever apologize to me for all my lost current and future booking money while my investigation was underway? Will Airbnb ban this guest for eternity? All the evidence supports that I was intentionally maligned.