Feeling Like I’m on Candid Camera with Airbnb

I can’t imagine any experience with Airbnb customer service as frightful and frustrating as this ongoing experience. Had I not found this site I would have thought I was crazy. Get ready for a ride.

My husband and I are seniors (so they tell us). We got to Orange County on February 1st for a month’s stay while we visited our new grandson. Our son made our arrangement with an Airbnb host.

When we arrived we found this one-bedroom apartment. The major problem was that the bedroom had no closet nor did it have a dresser. My husband and I looked at each other perplexed with the same question: where would we put a month’s worth of clothes? Lay them out on the floor?

There was a tiny hall closet that could have possibly held a weekend’s amount of clothing with a portable hanging shelf which would hold the same. We were screwed. We immediately called our son who contacted Airbnb and the host to inform them we were not staying and we left within ten minutes.

Now the story gets good. The host offered to return half of our $3100, but by the time my son got back to her she rescinded the offer. Here’s where the story kicks in and the ride starts.

Airbnb told us to contact the host, which we did. This was her response:

“Hello, please stop the nonsense and willing harassment of me. This is my last communication with you. If you have further questions, please contact the rightful party.”

What? We were told to contact her… was she not the rightful party?

“I have nothing else to do with this. And nothing you’ve said has relevance or truth to it besides greed and entitlement.”

Are you kidding? What does that mean? It cost us a hotel room for days and then we needed to find a place for the month. I texted the host that there was no way that apartment could be rented for a month with no place for clothing. No response.

To make a long story short, we have, since February 1, spoken to nine different people at Airbnb who keep telling us our case had been handed over to a different case manager. It is now in the hands of a senior case “do nothing” manager with always promises to have someone contact me and tales of a procedure to follow.

One of the agents actually told us that in the amenities a closet was not mentioned. Since when is a closet an amenity? A hair dryer is an amenity.

Now get ready for the best part. We found out that the apartment complex does not allow their renters to sublet or rent through Airbnb. You’d think this meant gotcha. No. One agent told me that if they called this complex and that was the case then they could retrieve our money. No one has called them. So here I am, doubling up on my blood pressure pills, calling daily, and getting the same script from a different person.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. VRBO and Homeaway are far more honest and their customer service seems to be much better than Airbnb. I will never use Airbnb again. They are a bunch of crooks as far as I am concerned. Terrible customer service and worthless policies.

  2. Dear Judith:

    The haters on this blog are a pretty typical cross-section of AirBnB hosts. Casual vistors to this page should understand that many AirBnB hosts are bitter people and that hotels and real bed and breakfasts are the way to go. Seriously- your host is just a rip-off artist with a lame rental.

    The other things about AirBnB is rampant illegal discrimination- whether you are non-white or over 65 you will be treated with disdain. Hope all the haters have fun with the decline in world travel due to coronvirus fears.

    • Actually, Respondents here are counterbalancing these ridiculous stories where all we see is no personal responsibility from these posts.

  3. Here’s another idea. When you book a place, you can’t see every aspect of the apartment. In NJ a closet is not an amenity nor is a room considered a bedroom without one. And who would even think that an apartment wouldn’t have a dresser. And what about the host not allowed to do this according to her lease with her apartment complex? Where is her responsibility. Airbnb knew how we booked and I became point of contact. They never mentioned a 3rd party problem. So here is what I say. I hope when all of you who made a comment, find the years passing and you are 75, I hope someone tries to help you. Get with 2020? Why don’t you get with a little compassion. Shame on all of you. And, by the way, Airbnb finally did the right thing ?

    • For someone who can’t seem to book her own arrangement you sure do have a lot of online activity on this platform. Who knew…

  4. I agree that this time it’s your own fault. If you do book a room where you do not see a closet on the pictures, don’t expect one.

    However, I agree there is a cancelling system from hell – if you do not stay within this room, you will not get ANY money back.

    Easiest idea would be to go to the next supermarket and buy some kind of clothes rack.

  5. Well here’s to all of you who thought we were in the wrong. Did you ever try to sell an apartment and take pictures of it. You don’t take pictures of every wall. Yes I assumed there was a dresser on some wall. No one thinks it strange that there wasn’t. As far as getting with 2020, I hope someday when you are 75 someone will help you. Shame on all of you. And for your information Airbnb is doing the right thing!

    • Shame on you for not acknowledging your culpability here. If someone buys you a car and you don’t like the color, the dealer owes you nothing.

    • Oh boo hoo. You broke the rules. You think that your age gives you a break? Using that as an excuse is even more shameful. Stay away from something you don’t understand if it’s so frightful. Taking it out on them is not the answer, and shaming someone isn’t either. Stay in a hotel next time and live and let live.

  6. Have you asked your son if he checked the pictures for closets and/or a dresser or anything else you might feel entitled to? Have you asked for the measurements of the “tiny” hall closed to see if it would fit your choice of amount of cloths? Have you asked or checked anything prior to the booking, or just had expectations?

  7. Looks like hosts don’t like comments about their rentals. Couldn’t see the apt till we got there to know there wouldn’t be a closet or dresser

    • Yes, you didn’t see it because you didn’t book it or discuss with hosts directly. Open an account and do it yourself. It’s 2020.

  8. Here’s an idea. Forget Airbnb. Seriously. I booked with Airbnb and was given a host. No idea what you mean. You probably work for them or you’re Bonnie our host

  9. “Our son made our arrangement with an Airbnb host.”

    Read all the Airbnb info carefully: this isn’t allowed on Airbnb. As a host, I know never to accept third party bookings. I’m not covered for liability, and you’re not covered if something goes wrong, as it did. Shame on your son, sorry for you.

  10. Well, your son started off this whole incident by violating Airbnb’s terms of service by booking a reservation for you. Then, apparently, he didn’t think to look at the photos and realize that you might need someplace to store your things, like a dresser or closet. Then apparently, you didn’t think to look at them, either. So, basically, it’s 100% your fault. And you think you should get your money back and the host should lose money because the minimum stay is 30 days and there’s no way he’ll be able to get another guest on short notice. I’m sure that the host was getting messages from both you and your son (another problem with one person booking a reservation for another), and finally said enough and stood his ground.

    Now you keep wasting the company resources by continuing to call them when you are obviously wrong and if you took some time to read Airbnb’s policies, you’d realize it.

    You can’t even leave a review (well, you can, but the host can have it removed) because your son, who booked, never even set foot in the place.

    Tell us what you think and airline company would do if you bought a ticket and showed up at the airport, got on the plane, aid the seats are too small, and then walked back off the plane? Do you get it, yet?

    Yet another “hell” of your own making.

  11. Here’s an idea book your own homes and not there a third party. This is where you went very, very wrong. Hosts are under no obligation to you as someone who didn’t reserve directly.

    You wouldn’t know anything about the home otherwise.

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