Let’s Talk About How Airbnb Reviews Work


My friend and I were going on a quick trip to Pittsburgh for a concert. We did not want to stay in a room adjoined to a house, so we ended up booking a unit described as a “tiny home.” The pictures were all close-ups, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Once I booked, the host demanded I change my accidental booking of one person to two (which was fine because the listing boasted an air mattress as well). Overall a $133 fee.

We got to the unit, in which the host just left the key in the door (super safe) to find a shack connected to a house. This is what one calls an efficiency, not a tiny home. Also, if this mysterious air mattress existed, it was nowhere to be found. Here I was, drinking a beer while being able to hear my friend, willing to overlook this because we had to leave.

In the morning, I awoke to my friend complaining of bites, and we looked in the bed; it was covered in ants. Still, I am trying to overlook things. While in the car ride back I received the attached message from the host. I tried to go about things as he wished, and didn’t leave a review just yet. I asked if the extra $30 for the second person could possibly be refunded as he listed it incorrectly, and, you know, bug bites. Nope, no such luck.

Lo and behold, Airbnb customer service was even worse. “The host just wants a good review.” The best part? I finally left a negative review after being patient and kind for 48 hours. Remember how I was supposed to get five stars? Yep, here’s what happened after my review. So there is my tale. Good luck to those who have issues with this service – you will need it.

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


  1. You should also look at news daily how guest are literally breaking hosts house , throwing parties, bringing in guns etc etc . Also many cases guests who lies and threatened hosts for money for negative reviews. There is two side of every story and then there is truth . Usually hosts are also living pay check to check . Most money in lost in fees, transactions, taxes, hotel taxes , income tax, property tax, maintenance etc list goes on and on and so many became bankrupt during pandemic

  2. Totally agree with John however I travel to the states from the Caribbean and invariably arrive around 1030 to 11pm at night. Sometimes late arrivals cant be helped. BUT I do read reviews and contact hosts religiously. Have not had a bad experience yet. Fingers crossed.

  3. I think the lesson here is to communicate better. This is a poor example of the actual problems on airbnb platform. It would be very easy to avoid “unexpected accommodations” by just checking it out, and not expecting more than you pay for.

    1.)If you can not determine if a listing is good for you by the online pics then you need to ask questions! The time to ask these questions is within the 48hr period for free cancellation!
    Why did you not post the listing here for people to see and be informed about?

    2.)It is a no brainier to request accommodation for the number of guests! How do you see this as unusual? It seems more like you had a problem with the cheap price, wanting it more cheap, and then created a reason for your need not to pay the advertised price after using the place. That is what it looks like even if you were just ignorant and had good intentions.

    3.)If something is not as advertised or the place has bugs, you need to leave and send notice as well as call airbnb to let them know you are NOT staying! In general airbnb is more of a risk when it comes to consistency and quality. You should not expect perfect accommodation for a cheap unreal price, and also have a backup if things go wrong. Using lesser services and complaining afterwards is just ridiculous. A cheap motel would probable be worse, but at least it might be more consistent!

    Travel advice for safety and adventure:
    Never show up to an unknown place late night to check in! Go more early, before the concert, and get things taken care of first. Then you have options to go to another place and not be stranded!

    Here are all of the red flags many newbees ignore on airbnb:
    1.)Cheap price and unreal deals mean just that!
    2.)Bad pics and poor listings mean poor accommodation
    3.) Listings with 1 night stays are typically the worst and most desperate hosts!
    4.) Listings with lockbox are also problematic/less service.
    5.)Look at the reviews …. call up the host to see what they are like and if they answer!
    6.)Expect to pay a good price for good accommodations… don’t take the cheapest place!
    7.)Do NOT expect airbnb to make it all right, showing up to hold your hand, when your ignorance gets you into a bad situation. They are an expensive, monopolized sector of a peer to peer platform with many risks! Think Ebay!

    Airbnb is something to seek adventure, and also requires good intuition, research, and learning how to see red flags!

    How about posting some real problems on the airbnb platform, like damages to host properties and failure of airbnb to bill for over occupancy! How about when bad hosts or guests are not removed from the platform after many complaints! How about the false claims of verification when pics and ID’s are actually optional! How about when airbnb cheats on reviews and claims 5 stars with no math based algorithms other than max profit!

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