Quick Cancellation, Dirty Room, but Good Customer Service

I was an avid Airbnb guest. The hosts I met were awesome: clean places that appeared as they were listed. However, my last dealing with Airbnb made it my last with them period. The first Airbnb I booked cancelled because they were out of town and did not respond to my request until four hours after the check in time. The host apologised and actually refunded the full costs of the rental with no problem. He admitted it was his fault because he himself was traveling and had failed to respond – remember this, because it comes back to bite me.

I started searching for another place. This is where I should have taken my money and paid for a hotel. I lucked out and found a place, but it was in an area I never stayed before. Given that I was new to this area, I should have researched the area before booking. The host contacted me after I clicked “book it now”. He called and stated that he just got confirmation that I booked his place. I asked him if it was a problem, to which he said it was not. Since it was getting close to 8:00 PM I just wanted to get into a place to unpack and relax… I was in for a real treat.

I received the addressed and entered it into my GPS. I told him it would be about 15 minutes before I arrived and he said that would be fine. After what should have taken 15 minutes took about 45 minutes I arrived. The area I pulled into was super sketchy. When I found the place, I tried to park but couldn’t find a place at all. The host failed to mention only street parking was available and you have to park in the direction of traffic flow or you will be towed. After making a round or two around the neighbourhood (and I use that word lightly) I parked my car. As soon as I parked my car, the neighbor next door started to whistle at me and make uncomfortable remarks to me. However, at this point I was so tired and ticked off I could have taken out a 600-lb man without thinking twice.

I was greeted by the host who proceeded to let me in and show me the place. I was totally confused. The posting stated I rented a house to myself. What I got was a room to myself, sharing a bathroom with two other people. I don’t have a problem with that ordinarily, but for the price I was paying, I was expecting the place to be in a better area and more of what the listing had mentioned.

Anyway, the host was using the area that was to be mine. He was in the process of making a model for which the glue fumes were so bad we had the windows open to air the place out for four hours. Did I mention it was winter at this time and 40 degrees outside? While he was picking up his project I went into the bathroom only to be grossed out. The bathroom had not been cleaned. Mind you, the host and his girlfriend use this bathroom too and neither cleaned it. I sucked it up because I needed a place to stay and it was now close to 10:00 PM. I just wanted to shower and wait for my boyfriend to get me for dinner. I got some cleaner and cleaned the bathroom like it had never been cleaned. Apparently it really had never been cleaned because the host remarked “I never knew the floor was that colour white!”

I finished cleaning and he finished picking up his project. I took some clothes out of my bag and sent a text to my boyfriend telling him where to pick me up for dinner. I showered, put my clothes on, and went into my room where a wall of icy wind met me because the windows were open. I closed the windows, turned on the space heater that the host left me, and waited for my boyfriend to get me. When he came he was super worried and asked why I booked a place in this area; that’s when I told him what happened. While we were having dinner, my boyfriend tried to get me a hotel but everything was super expensive (before anyone questions it, this is before we moved in together and he was renting a room with three other people – I couldn’t stay with him).

After dinner my boyfriend dropped me off and asked that I deadbolt the door. I did and went to sleep… or tried to at least. The bathroom was right next to my room and the walls are not that thick, nor is the door since it has a glass inset; I could hear almost everything happening on the other side of the house. The bed I slept on was a Murphy bed about as old as the house (from the 1800s) – every time you moved, it would make a noise. Eventually I decided to sleep on the couch.

The next day I looked at my account to make sure I had some spending money, and guess what? That refund I was suppose to get? Well, I didn’t get it. In fact, I was charged three times for the same amount. I called Airbnb and stayed on the line for 45 minutes. I spoke to a guy that actually helped me and did exactly what he said he would do. When I questioned him as to why I was charged so many times? His answer was: “we have never had this happen before.” He apologised again and issued a refund, which unfortunately would not go through until Monday because it was Saturday. Amazingly enough, I got the refund that was promised on Monday. As for the weekend stay with the misleading post, well I cleaned that place up and left it cleaner than when I arrived. After that ordeal, I won’t be using Airbnb again.

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


  1. The place did not match the listing. This is a valid Guest Issue to get a full refund as stated in the Airbnb policy. But unfortunately because you stayed there one night, I’m not sure if that counts. Regardless, leave a bad review. It sounds like because it was last minute, the host was not ready. But he won’t say no. Living in such a bad area means he needs the money or he wouldn’t be posting on Airbnb.

  2. I don’t play around. I make sure to get strictly what I’m looking for and always use the same method to make sure I do not fall into unnecessary situations. One thing I do is always CLEARLY STATE what I want / expect at the residence I’m booking in my message to the host (whether it be working stove, reliable hot water and electricity when visiting certain countries, a PERSONAL ROOM FOR MYSELF, good-RELIABLE internet.. etc.) and ask them to confirm that ALL these things are PRECISELY accurate and in existence. I do this regardless of whether or not it was already mentioned in the amenities. If the host replies and misses conformation on just ONE of the items, whether intentionally or unintentionally, CONVERSATION IS OVER AND I HAVE ALREADY MOVED ON TO NEXT PROPERTY SEARCH. I also examine pictures very carefully. If I don’t feel comfortable with the type of photos taken or with the amount of photos available, I’M DONE – MOVING ON TO NEXT.

    That’s just a BRIEF SUMMARY of all the steps I take to make sure I am not dealing with any BS.

    I also have another no credit card needed until I arrive reservation booked on BOOKING DOT COM that I will cancel or let become a “no show”/automatic cancellation once I arrive and see that my AirBNB reservation is solid.

    I ONLY accept and search in PRIVATE HOMES – WHOLE HOUSE TO MYSELF and will still thoroughly examine, research, ask questions and investigate to make sure it is, indeed, an entire place to myself. I haven’t had any major bad experiences with AirBNB yet. I just know how people are, so I know better than to just trust and accept things and take risks. Sometimes, I even read other people’s situations and earn from other people’s mistakes. However, sometimes I also need to use my own judgement and make my own decisions based on my own discretion because sometimes comments can be worse than your personal experience will be – IF you take the necessary steps to avoid unnecessary problems. That was the case with Air France – A bunch of complaints on Air France page, yet overall, I have had good experiences with them, and all minor issues that did occur, I made sure to be proactive and take the necessary steps to fix them in a timely matter before they escalated out of control and became major inconveniences that affected me financially (which it surely could have if I didn’t pay attention to certain things and let things slide until the last minute).

  3. And you are one of the lucky ones. The time will come for airbnb where either the host or the guest has an ulterior motive for entering your home and waiting for you to fall asleep. We dont pick up hitch-hiker any more… Why would we invite them to sleep in our homes? Where our children sleep. All it will take is one episode and airbnb will be history. Remember Charles Manson? It all happened one night in the suburbs.

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