Little White Lies Lead to Big Bad Airbnb

I booked my very first (and very last) Airbnb reservation in October 2016 and have had one problem after another with it. When I was first charged, the Airbnb system calculated the total amount and applied it to my credit card. Soon after that I was contacted by the host, John, and was told that the amount was not enough since there would be three adults staying in two rooms. I pointed out to him that I paid the amount that I was given as per Airbnb’s calculations, that I had entered all information correctly, and if there was a mistake in his listing then it was his mistake, not mine. He kept coming back and saying that it hadn’t been listed correctly and he was losing money over it. I finally agreed to pay him an additional $135 for the 7-night stay and that I would give it to him in cash when I arrived on December 3rd. I didn’t know at the time that this isn’t allowed by Airbnb. He contacted them and tried unsuccessfully to fix his listing.

Four days before my sons and I were expected to arrive he texted me and said that Airbnb needed to speak to me; he gave me a phone number to call. I spoke to a representative and was told John wanted an extra $135 and an additional $100 cleaning fee. I declined, saying I had made a deal with him for $135 and was not going to pay another $100 to clean one bedroom. He finally accepted that and I thought we were good to go. My sons and I arrived at the property around 7:00 PM on the 3rd and were greeted by John and another man by the name of Tom. So far so good. The next morning we also met another man by the name of Emilio. It shouldn’t have been a problem but I had been told that my sons and I were going to be the only guests during our stay; it turned out the other two people were long-term guests.

In all fairness, the home was as described in the listing, and fairly clean. John even gave us a healthy fresh continental breakfast each morning. However, when I booked he told me we would have a queen bed and a king with ensuite bath. What we ended up with was two queen beds, one per room. Of course my sons were adamant about not sharing a bed with their mother or each other. Two grown men will not share a queen bed, brothers or not. So my oldest son, who is 46, ended up sleeping on the floor with a comforter and a pillow. On the third morning my youngest who was using the bed came to me and showed me a bug he had found on the comforter that my oldest had used on the floor the night before and had thrown back up on the bed. It was a live bed bug!

I took the bug and showed it to the host and he acted and stated that he was totally shocked that we had found a bug. After getting down on hands and knees and searching both rooms we found solid indications that there was a bed bug problem in the house that had been previously treated. So we went to talk to John and his response was to suggest that my sons and I had brought them in on our suitcases. My oldest son pointed out that since there were so many dead bugs in the rooms around the baseboards it was impossible for them to “fall” out of our suitcases and stick themselves to the baseboards. John then proceeded to blame the bed bugs on his previous guests. The gall of the man knew no bounds.

It later came out in conversations that included Tom, that the house had indeed been treated for the bugs and that Terminex had said the infestation was under control. This had happened two days before we arrived. John had never said one word to me in all of our conversations in the previous month about having bugs in his home. This was the biggest lie of omission of all. Just an aside: we also found other irregularities during our bug hunt. There was marijuana in one of the drawers in one bedroom and a container on the dresser that contained multiple brands of a large number of condoms. We spent the remainder of our day spraying our suitcases with spray that Terminex had left at the house and several hours washing and drying our entire vacation wardrobe.

In the small amount of fairness that I feel I can give, John did contact Airbnb and they refunded every dollar I had been charged. John paid a local resort for accommodations for the remainder of our stay. The downside to all of this is that Airbnb listed the reservation as cancelled by me. Hence I have no way to leave a review of my experience. I would have been fair about it, most likely would not have mentioned all the times John lied, and definitely would have given him credit for paying for our hotel. I don’t feel it is fair that Airbnb didn’t give me the opportunity to leave any kind of review at all. I guess that’s their attempt to protect their business name. I will never use them again as I feel they have no oversight on the condition of their guests’ homes or rooms and really don’t seem to care.

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