Filthy Airbnb room, nightmare getting any refund!

For our holidays in Mexico City we reserved two apartments from Airbnb. About $800 USD for 17 nights.  The dollars are gone, but the lodging was unacceptable. Neither of our apartments was ready to use when we arrived, we had to look (and pay) for other places to stay. To put it plainly – airbnb is a disaster, don’t believe the colorful pictures, the euphemistic descriptions.  Never agree to “strict” cancellation rules because if you do, you’re really trapped. After almost 24 hours of travel to reach our destination we arrived about midnight in the first apartment. The fridge and kitchen cabinets were full of left-over food packages, the wardrobes were filled with used clothes, shoes and textiles of the “host”. Hair everywhere, on kitchen and bath towels, bed linen, sofa, carpets etc… it was disgusting.  We did not even open our luggage and left the apartment immediately to look for a decent hotel. Because of the bad experience, we decided to have a look at the second apartment before moving in. The place was in a quite grubby district, the forecourt was full of construction waste and the apartment was 28 steep steps upstairs (for me an awkward challenge). None of this was mentioned at all in the description. To reach airbnb help you need a lot of time (and patience) to navigate through the site, through a lot of predefined answers only to get stuck in a dead end or circles. When you finally succeed, you should not really expect answers or support from airbnb. We have to add, to be fair, that after many arguments back and forth airbnb finally agreed to refund 270 USD.  Obviously airbnb does not invest any time or money investigating to check their “hosts”, nor pictures and descriptions, nor the guests reviews to confirm their validity.   The risk falls entirely on you, the guest!

Airbnb Hell in Hawaii

A year ago I went to Hawaii, my favorite place. The flight was late and rental car was a no-show, so I was late arriving at the host location – it was between 8 and 9 pm. Half way through the stay, the host asked me to change rooms, but that required cancelling and re-booking. I had lost my credit card so the old one did not go through. I tried to reach airbnb to enter a new credit card number. The host also tried. We could not reach anyone. I offered the host cash but they refused, and then said that I had been nothing but trouble and told me to leave immediately or they would call the police! I am a 60-something, quiet, non-smoking, meditator-type. I went to a local hotel but some money was owed to me, and airbnb refused to refund it. They gave me some worthless coupons. They are worthless because the hosts of Puilani on the big island wrote a bad review of me and now I am not able to make other bookings and use the coupons. Airbnb still refuses to refund the money, or remove the host review. They have a poor business model for the travel industry. They need to have real people available real time to handle these kinds of issues. As for the hosts, they seemed to me to be burned out on hosting and unable to flow with the inevitable problems of travelers. I am very unsatisfied.

Guests POISONED During Nightmare Airbnb Stay!!

We are SOOO disappointed with the accommodation that we booked in July 2015 in Amsterdam! It started out OK…

Upon arriving, the representative let us into the apartment, showed us through, provided some maps and information to the area etc. During his explanation of the apartment to us, he casually mentions that the apartment has a distinct smell as it was only days before, sprayed with poison/chemicals for routine pest control. At the time, we didn’t think anything of it. We left to get some dinner, returned, showered etc and prepared for bed. The next morning we woke with varying degrees of headaches, nausea, dizziness and near-vomiting. The smell was unbearable. (It was also quite rainy so no windows could be opened to air the place out.) We called the representative EARLY that morning (approx 7am) and informed him of what had happened and that other arrangements would need to be made. We let him know that we had activities planned for the day, but he said that ‘someone would be in touch’ to let us know of what to do from there. By 4pm that afternoon, we had not heard from him, the owner of the apartment OR Airbnb. We left and checked into a hotel. We did not hear from anyone for the remainder of our time in Amsterdam. We began the process (online) to claim a refund. We were surprised to learn that approximately only one night’s worth of accommodation was refunded and we were still out of pocket for the rest of the nights! (approx $AUD1700!)

The first issue is this – THEIR website states: Accommodations on the Airbnb platform should meet minimum quality standards regarding safety, access, and cleanliness, and they should be consistent with the description provided by the host. I’d like to know how an apartment, sprayed with toxic chemicals, is in any way SAFE?! We had two small children aged only 4 and 6 at the time, we were the most affected by this. On these grounds alone we should have qualified for a FULL refund. The apartment should have NOT been available at that time – to let the chemicals air/disappear. Airbnb DID NOT inform us of this prior to our check-in and should have. Had we known, we would not have stayed there. So I have to assume then that maybe they knew this, and that’s why this wasn’t disclosed? (can anyone say ‘fraud’). So they took our money anyway, knowing that the apartment was less than acceptable.

Second issue is this (again from their website): For a full refund, cancellation must be made a full 24 hours prior to listing’s local check in time (or 3:00 PM if not specified) on the day of check in. For example, if check-in is on Friday, cancel by Thursday of that week before check in time. or If the guest cancels less than 24 hours before check-in, the first night is non-refundable. or If the guest arrives and decides to leave early, the nights not spent 24 hours after the official cancellation are 100% refunded. Clearly, we fit into the third category. We did check in, we did leave early. So the nights not spent after the official cancellation are 100% refunded!! (or should be…)

I have called the Australian number (only to be diverted to some Phillipino call centre) where the staff are clearly only trained to answer with very scripted answers. My details are ‘passed on to case managers’ who DON’T call back even though I have asked for TWO calls now, but instead reply with emails that state: Thanks so much for your patience throughout this process. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have issued our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Really?! They’re “disengaging” from this topic?? The customer, ME, does NOT accept the matter closed! Their OWN policy tells me I’m entitled to a refund! What is the point of a policy if you do not stick to it?! It isn’t worth anything. Given the seriousness of our complaint – the POISON you expected us to live in – they STILL have not addressed this issue and they continue to say that they’re decision is final. Again, I do not consider this matter closed and I will be informing the relevant authorities here in Australia that I can and any and all social media platforms!

Save your money and just book with hotels! Zero stars for you Airbnb Fraudsters!

AirBnB Customer Service – Slow and Rarely Helpful!

Each time I reach out to AirBnB, I lose great amounts of faith in their ability to realistically support their hosts on the expectations they set. They have INCREDIBLY dis-empowered customer service, proven from their resolutions and answers that provide pretty much no expectations and then a surprise outcome. None of their staff apparently have the power to do anything when helping you, and I’ve had several seemingly simple issues take over a month to resolve (3 times). From my understanding, they have only a few services that they provide that are crucial to a host’s success and integral to their role: – put your listing in front of interested travelers – manage guest/host refund and payment expectations – facilitate a good experience for hosts and guests. In these areas, they kind of suck. No, seriously they kind of suck. If it was out of 10, I’d give them a 4 or lower in each category. Here’s why:

“Put your listing in front of interested travelers” – I was one of the most searchable and highest ranking results in my area until a mystery shift happened about a month ago, and I suddenly went from top 3 results in a blind search, to almost being the 40th ranked result. No one could explain “why” this happened, and would only point me to their list of “improve your ranking” bullet points (which I easily satisfy and exceed all of them) and instruct me to share my listing on social media. After much prodding and time wasted on calls, I finally learned that brand new hosts get special treatment and a boost in rankings in their first month or two. So a successful acquisition campaign of new hosts in popular areas will push experienced and hard working hosts down in the rankings. Really!? This sounds like a horrible experience for guests and hosts. Push guests onto new hosts who have no experience, and punish good hosts for having experience and increased pricing. hmmmm

“Manage guest/host refund and payment expectations” I’ve had 3 issues in my 9 month history as a host get pushed to the resolution center and required AirBnB intervention. Both times it took over a month to resolve (a current one is now on a month). The current one, I recently discovered, froze a $650 payout and has been frozen for over a month with no understanding of why from anyone I speak to. They tell me it’s not protocol, it’s unusual, and that the “trip experience” team will have to look into it. If it’s unusual and not protocol, and AirBnB manages this portion of my business, it is their responsibility to fix it ASAP. This = disempowered employees who don’t even understand their own system but have no process to escalating potential technical issues that are impacting hosts tremendously. Imagine your job just taking $600 out of your paycheck and not understanding why it happened or helping you with it for a month?

“Facilitate a good experience for hosts and guests” They do a mixed bag of a job here. Lots of resources all over the place for guests and hosts, but they don’t focus on how important it is for guests and hosts to go through them. Should ANYONE just be allowed to host without any test/briefing on how to host well? Should all guests have to blindly fumble into the unique AirBnB’s without any expectations that these are small, 1-person run businesses sometimes but they expect it to be on par with hotels? AirBnB could do a tremendously better job here on creating quality filters for both host and guest, but I guess that would stifle their acquisition campaigns for new business. It will bite them in the butt in the long run, and a smarter competitor will surface to challenge them here and take market share…. and I will gladly join them 🙂 AirBnB is not a reliable business to count on for income, and I would not recommend anyone do it full time. At all. Only do a room in a house you live in, here and there maybe. Nothing more. For true vacation rental hosts, find alternatives or learn to market the listing yourself and compete.

Airbnb has the Worst Customer Service

I rented a room where the host said he would clean it after he got off work at 6. The check in time stated 3pm, but I didn’t feel like I could force him to come home from work earlier so I planned around his schedule. When I came back around 7:30 he had still not come back and the sheets were dirty and there were dirty towels from the previous guest. The toilet had urine on it and the apartment smelled bad. Airbnb wanted him to come home and remedy the situation instead of reimbursing me. When he was not home by 9 they finally agreed to reimburse me. Which is great, but I had to go back and forth with them for almost an hour and get a supervisor involved. They also agreed to pay up to $150 for my first night in a hotel. So I get a hotel for 2 nights thinking everything will be ok. Then this morning I find the case manager has sent me 2 emails between 9 and midnight stating she needs the receipt and then that she is not paying for the hotel anymore. When I call back i’m told I just have to wait for her to return and they can’t give me a timeline. Way to ruin a vacation! I wouldn’t have been upset with the dirty room if customer service had responded to the situation quickly and fairly and I was able to put it all behind me, but I’m still having to deal with them.

Airbnb is very unfriendly to consumers!

I’ve booked once before on Airbnb and it worked out great. Second time, not so great. I use the filter and put “dogs allowed” I checked a couple of places in one area then moved about 1 mile away to another set of listings. Apparently the filters do not carry over. It did not dawn on me that I would have to re-input all my filters again! If I have an account with Airbnb and a profile, shouldn’t all my standard filters be saved?? I found a house, sent a note to the owner. This listing was not an “Instant booking” so you are required to fill out a request form and “tell the host a little about yourself” I sent a note and told the host we are an older couple who want to have a reunion with our adult children and that we travel with a 9 lbs dog who is with us at all times. My husband and I work remotely from home and the dog is used to being with us all day and night. (so I tipped the host off to our having our dog with us) The owner said “yes we can accommodate you for those dates” and sent a payment request for me to pay. I paid. This was in October for a reservation for December 26-30th–way, way in advance. About 24 hours later, the host sends a note saying “oh sorry, we do not allow pets” It was not mentioned in the house rules or anywhere else on the listing. The reservation was cancelled in 24 hours and my money was credited to my card by the host, but Airbnb took their $80 fee. I contacted Airbnb and was told if you change a reservation for any reason Airbnb does not return their fee. I had to escalate my complaint to a manager who called me and said “we are going to refund our fee this time but in the future, YOU need to be more careful to read everything before booking” I told her she need not chastise me-I am a grown ass woman- and as far as I was concerned the error was on the host’s part for not clearly stating what their rules even after I sent a note telling her I was traveling with my small dog. I’ve also checked into other listings and found the advertised rental price is not always what you get. For example I pre booked another home for the December trip that was listed as $230 per night. When I got the booking information the nightly cost jumped to $330 a night. The host said the amount listed in their posting is only “a typical nightly rate” and that the rate can jump up during the Holidays. Additionally even if I tried to cancel a reservation 24 hours later, their policy is a “strict cancellation” and even with the reservation being for months away, the host can still keep 50% of your payment regardless of the possibility the host may re-rent for the dates you cancelled!!! Very unfriendly to consumers!

Horrible customer service

I stayed at an AirBnB site in Maui for 2 weeks. The host in the suite beside me was rude, drank nightly, and carried on loudly in the night and morning in her inebriated and hungover state. There were holes in the screens where the bugs came in, and when I looked closly at the mattress I could see it was not, it was a box spring. I had to use the wakeboard to sleep on. AirBnB did nothing to mediate, nor did they offer any sort of customer service. I recently found an unreturned refund amount, and they are handling like automons. When I complained about their communication they say “Thank you, have we answered your questions?” Its annoying, anything out of the simple monetary transactions are terrible. They deserve to fail as a business.

Bad Airbnb customer service – Canceled reservation without asking

I had a really bad experience on Airbnb today. I made a reservation, and 2 days later I realized I couldn’t make the trip, so I told the host that only my friends will stay in his place. (I don’t know if the host told this to Airbnb, or Airbnb is peeking our messages.) And then I got an email from Airbnb telling me I shouldn’t make reservation for others. The staff didn’t ask for my opinions or explanations and canceled my reservation immediately, which was really annoying to me. This cancellation caused me to lose 14 euros in Tax fees.  The person cancelling said she will give me a coupon, but I don’t even want to continue using Airbnb after this bad experience, why do I need the coupon? I really hope Airbnb improve their customer service quality.

I was gang-raped in Budapest – and Airbnb ignored me, then insulted me

I was in Budapest on Memorial Day weekend. Checked into an Airbnb rental at 7 pm and the host, Gabor, told me that I could call or text him anytime with any questions. Despite it being a Saturday night, I immediately began working on a report titled Women, Business, and the Law. At 9 pm, I realized that I hadn’t eaten since 8 am. So I texted and called Gabor, asking for the location of the nearest convenience store. I received no response. At midnight, I did the same—and again, had no response. Finally, at 2 am, I stopped working and left the unit. It had been 16 hours since I’d eaten. Immediately, I realized that I’d left the key to the apartment inside. What to do? No one was working at the front desk. Airbnb wasn’t answering. The US Embassy wasn’t answering. So I wandered Budapest, doing my best to avoid the drunken crowds. Took photos. Called my best friend from high school, Michele (in Texas, where it was a reasonable hour). But after an hour, she had to go feed her kids. Around 6 am, I came around a corner and saw a woman being harassed by a group of men at a major intersection. I won’t abide seeing a woman in distress, so I told them to stop. They said, “make us—either with force or money.” I said, “I’m not an idiot…I didn’t bring much money, knowing that I’d be among large groups and I’m clearly not Hungarian.” They said, “Oh, so you must be American—so get money.” I said, “I brought one credit card, and I don’t know the PIN for it. I don’t take money out on credit cards.” That made them angry. So, I’m told, they hit me in the back of the head with a steel pipe. Dragged me into an alley. And 4 to 6 men raped me. The next thing that I remember, I was awakened on a gurney in a hospital covered in blood, with most of my clothes cut off and an orderly screaming in my face that I was a “disgusting American maggot f***ot who deserved what happened and probably liked it.” He also said I had to leave the hospital immediately. Even though I was in shock and completely confused, I managed to ask, “What happened to me?” He said, “You know what happened—and you wanted it.” So I got up, found the doctor and asked if I really had to leave. He said, “My god no! We still need to do a CT scan, blood work, and more invasive tests. We thought you might be dead. You have to stay here at least 12-14 more hours.” I asked again, “What happened to me? Please tell me.” He said, “You really have no idea? Even through the pain medication?” And then I realized. So I left the hospital; I couldn’t wait through that. So I tried to talk to the police, to file a report. They laughed at me and said, F you, American f***ot. I got to a hostel, but Airbnb still wouldn’t answer. I still couldn’t contact the Airbnb host or get back into the unit. Then I had to call my mother and tell her what had happened to the youngest of her five sons. Then the US Embassy, who provided advice on getting a locksmith for the Airbnb unit and a replacement phone (mine had obviously been stolen during the attack). A couple days later, I left Budapest for Prague. Airbnb wouldn’t help me there either. I had to walk everywhere because I had no currency—including to a clinic to get post-HIV and STD exposure medications. The meds made me incredibly sick. I lost 40 pounds. Finally, in Berlin, Airbnb started calling me incessantly. Trying to seem like they were my friends. I said, I’m not talking to you. Everything has to be by email. Because you failed me as a company and as human beings. This will all be documented. So they called my mother—without my knowledge or permission. My mother, who has been dealing with my father’s Alzheimer’s. And told her that I’m “unbalanced.” My mother told them (politely) that she didn’t have a word to say to them. My parents both worked for the US government and don’t like attention. Then Airbnb changed their rules and said I could no longer contact them or their Legal Department. I lived in San Francisco for 17 years, before I moved back to Charlottesville, VA, in August 2014 to help my mother deal with my father. I’ve been in one relationship for 24 years. I work for international organizations, foreign governments, NGOs, and charities. I do anything I possibly can to help make the world a better place. Airbnb does not. It placed profits before people long ago. Proposition F in San Francisco MUST fail. I apologize for the length of this post. Thank you.


AIRBNB blows. I have had 2 bookings in 2 years while VRBO continually wins over guests. The customer service with AIRBNB is nonexistent and on the rare occasion you get through they are rude and short with you. I have since taken my listing off the AIRBNB site and have been satisfied ever since. 13 billion valuation? Good luck. Pesos maybe