Airbnb Cancelled Month-Long Stay A Week Before My Flight

On April 9th of this year, my wife and I reserved an apartment in Colorado Springs with Airbnb for the entire month of September. We received a confirmation from our host the same day. Plans were underway and we were anxiously anticipating our autumn trip to Colorado. We made round trip airline reservations from Raleigh-Durham to Denver and made other ancillary plans and reservations for a rental car, etc.

On the evening of August 23rd, I checked my email and was shocked to learn that my Airbnb reservation had been canceled by the host. She explained that she had to sell the property but didn’t tell me until seven days before my flight to Colorado. A subsequent cancellation email arrived from Airbnb. My wife and I worked frantically to find another property, but due to the popularity of Colorado (especially during autumn), we were unable to do so. I contacted Airbnb and a customer service representative offered to help us find another property. He sent a list of five or six properties for us to evaluate. After an exhausting evening of research and property evaluation, we determined that only one met our long-term stay criteria of a kitchen, laundry facilities, and in a safe neighborhood. That property was almost $1,000 more.

However, to salvage our trip, we had no other choice but to shell out $1,000 more to book the only available property in Colorado Springs that met our criteria. When we tried to reserve the property, we were informed that it had already been booked just minutes before we submitted our reservation request. At that point, we were frustrated and exhausted. Greatly disappointed with the last-minute cancellation and with Airbnb’s inability to provide comparable lodging, we reluctantly cancelled our trip.

We had no place to stay. After several email’s to Airbnb Help Center and several phone calls, the Airbnb manager said that I didn’t give Airbnb a chance to resolve the problem and that “I was being too picky.”

Really? Who cancelled the reservation seven days before my trip? Never again will I book with Airbnb. It’s simply too risky and Airbnb isn’t willing to resolve the issue. I lost a considerable amount of money in non-refundable fees, but Airbnb only offered a refund for my lodging and less than 40% of the nonrefundable airfare/hotel costs. Other expenses linked to lodging were absorbed completely by me. The biggest disappointment was our loss of a much anticipated vacation in Colorado during the fall. Airbnb’s “Long-Term Policy” is supposed to be neutral, protecting the host and guest equally. In this case, the policy protected the host with the last-minute cancellation and shifted the burden to me. I’m very disappointed.

The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

Airbnb Unable to Handle Clients When a Host Double Books

The following is a letter that was sent to Airbnb:

Thank you for sending this email last Saturday. As per your request, we are am responding with receipts for our unnecessary lodging accommodations in Vancouver BC. Please find the following:

– Receipt from Poco Inn and Suites for the night of Sept 2nd, 2017

– Receipt from Expedia.com for the Budget Inn Patricia Hotel for the night of Sept 3rd, 2017

– Receipt for food is attached, though we are a little confused by this as you did not ask for food receipts over the phone.

Based on our phone conversation, it was our understanding that the $50 towards food was extended as a courtesy. We do not see the need to verify that we ate while on vacation. Nevertheless, a receipt from Sept 3rd is attached. We are aware that the amount on the food receipt exceeds the $50 you had extended to us. We do not expect a full reimbursement on this receipt. We expect Airbnb to uphold its obligations laid out in your email: $500 reimbursement for lodging and $50 toward food. We expect this to occur in an expedited manner. We expect an immediate reply to this email as well as same-day confirmation when the funds will be processed. We expect that the funds transfer will be completed by EOD Friday, September 8th, 2017.

Regarding our receipts, please note the following:

As you were equally aware during our phone conversation, finding lodging in Vancouver on such late notice was difficult. Our budget did not allow for high-priced rooms and I’m sure you will agree that hotel room prices tend to be higher when booking the same day, let alone in the early evening. Poco Inn and Suites was one of the only hotels in that area that had a room for under $300. Please be aware that this hotel was 30 miles away from our originally planned location. Also, once we completed our phone call with you (which lasted nearly 1.5 hours), it took us another hour on the phone to find a this room. The additional travel time to this hotel was also unwelcome. From a financial point of view, it is lucky we were able to use a credit card, but also unfortunate. I would hope that others who have experienced a similar dilemma were able to find cash on hand to cover Airbnb’s inability to find other lodgings.

The Budget Inn Patricia Hotel was cheap and available, but a quick look on Tripadvisor.com will inform you that the hotel is less than safe. Again, the travel time had been added to find this hotel but is disappointing to be confronted with safety concerns. We await your prompt reply to the above.

We are greatly disappointed in Airbnb and its apparent lack of preparedness to take care of situations such as this. In our case, a host reneged on her obligation and we were unnecessarily thrust in to a situation that cost us more money out of pocket as well as cost us a great deal of wasted time – time that was intended for vacation, not for talking to customer service and looking for last-minute lodging on a very busy weekend. This loss of funds and time were completely unnecessary had Airbnb a stronger vetting process to avoid hosts who are uncommunicative and irresponsible. Airbnb’s options, as you described them over the phone, are weak strategies to protect users of your service.

Option 1: We, the clients could find new lodging using the Airbnb app. But as you were quickly able to understand by your own searches, this was simply next to impossible. On that day there were no Airbnb listings available within our budget.

Option 2: “Instant Book”. This seems like a good solution on the surface, but as we understood from your description of this option, we were expected to accept a new booking sight unseen. This is unreasonable. We asked for more details on the location, room size etc. and in the time it took you to look up this basic information, the room was booked. We are surprised that your customer service team is not better equipped to find listings more quickly and with greater detail.

Once Airbnb’s first two options were quickly exhausted, you offered to reimburse us for our hotel costs. However, you were clear that Airbnb has no way of booking a hotel for its displaced clients. This left us to find last-minute lodging, thereby defeating the entire purpose of using Airbnb in the first place. It also seems clear that Airbnb is incapable of vetting their hosts. As you’ll recall, when we arrived at our host’s location, we followed her instructions very carefully. Her instructions were sent out automatically and, ironically, mentioned she required clients to be in contact with her prior to arrival as she “had been burned in the past”. We can verify that we attempted to contact her several times.

However, we never heard back from her on Sept 2nd, nor have we received any communication since. As you will also recall, on Sept 2nd you made two unsuccessful attempts to contact her. When we arrived at the host’s location we followed the host’s instructions and went to the rented room. As per her instructions, the door was open. However, upon entering we found the room was unready and still contained the luggage and personal affects of another client. There was another resident at the house. He informed us that the other guests were out of the city but had no intention of leaving as they were under the impression that they were allowed to stay.

We would prefer to leave a review on this host’s profile – but this situation does not feel safe. To write a review, a user must allow a host to write a review of the user. However, we are hesitant to write a review (and thereby warn other Airbnb clients) that this host was negligent. Why should a client who was stood up by a host be required to allow the host to submit any review at all? I hope that customers can expect Airbnb to address these problems. Indeed, you mentioned over the phone that we were not the first to experience difficulties on that day and in that location.

This was our second experience with irresponsible hosts. Our first was a host who cancelled our reservation 12 hours before check-in, also for the same weekend and in Vancouver BC. We booked another location on Sept 2nd and received confirmation as well. If Airbnb is unable to process same-day reservations, or if Airbnb is unable to provided hosts the proper support they need, then Airbnb needs to step up.

The bottom line is this: Airbnb allowed a host to double book a room; Airbnb allowed a host to remain out of contact with a client; Airbnb allowed a client to become displaced because the client trusted the integrity of the services that Airbnb offers. By not vetting your hosts and by leaving clients for fend for themselves when stood up or double booked, it is clear that Airbnb is more interested in making a profit in the easiest and cheapest way possible than looking after its clients and therefore Airbnb’s own reputation.

Your services cannot be trusted and this is too bad. Your business concept is a good one. Perhaps you should do more to make it function well. It is clear from a quick Google search that Airbnb has many problems protecting clients from unethical behavior by hosts: Airbnb Hell came up quite quickly. I’m sure a more thorough search would reveal much more. We will be posting our experience to social media in hopes of adding our voices to a growing chorus of dissatisfaction with Airbnb’s sloppy business practices. In the mean time, we truly hope that Airbnb can become a better business, or that some other entity can step in where you left off.

Abandoned by Airbnb When Berlin Host Cancelled

I was already in Germany and moving around, enjoying the flexibility that Airbnb offers. I made a booking request on July 19th for two nights, from the 25th-27th and then left Berlin for a campsite for a few days. I wasn’t able to check my account again until the 24th but found that the host had accepted my request the day after, on the 20th. So far so good.

Unfortunately the morning of the 24th, four days after she’d accepted the booking, the host cancelled on me. A crisis of some kind. I was obviously not pleased. I contacted Airbnb to ensure they knew of the problem and begged them to call me ASAP. I was sure they would call but they didn’t. I logged on again that evening (I have a very old phone) to find a cursory and unhelpful response. An insulting offer of £4 compensation, some very stupid suggestions of alternative places to stay that were well outside the S+U Bahn network, and no phone call at all. I had no choice but to rebook at 12 hours’ notice for twice the price.

I resolved to pursue this matter when I got home on July 27th. On checking my email, I discovered Airbnb had informed me on July 26th they considered the matter closed. On the 28th I made it clear it was not in any way closed and asked them to call me. On the 29th I was called by someone who required me to explain the whole story to him from scratch. He offered me $25 in compensation which I said was nowhere near enough. For all the trauma and expense, I believe they should pay all of my last two nights (£80) if not more for having abandoned me when I needed help. The Airbnb representative assured me I’d be called again shortly by his superior. It is now August 9th and I’ve heard nothing. They’re ignoring my emails.

My faith in Airbnb has been torpedoed. I’ve just used the opportunity of reviewing my last host to post this complaint about them (I told her I was going to do this and she didn’t have a problem with it). It doesn’t seem to have appeared though. They’re watching out for this kind of thing.

UPDATE: Interesting development. A few hours after submitting my story Airbnb contacted me. They apologised, refunded the £78 for my last two days in Berlin, and gave me a £50 coupon code for my next stay. They did the right thing… eventually.

Won’t Host on Airbnb After Disgusting Guests

I was a host on Airbnb and after my latest experience with them I am only using VRBO now. We have been renting our ranch on Airbnb for years and I have never seen our home in such disarray. Our cleaning team sent me a list of all the issues (photo provided) including but not limited to:

– Stove top had burnt food all over it.

– Carpets were stained and had to be shampooed which is far and above the normal clean we would need to do after guests leave.

– There was dog food in the couch cushions.

– Toilets were plugged up and had all kinds of items that had been attempted to be flushed down including face wipes and tampons.

– Garbage was put in a coat closet.

– The bedrooms were a mess with food, drinks, games everywhere and the furniture had been all moved around (which we specifically ask our guests not to do)

– Worst of all, there were poop stains on my grandmother’s chair.

Our ranch hand came up to assist our guest during his stay with the toilet being clogged and reported to us that his 90+ year old father was sitting in said chair completely naked from the waist down. He had a “waste” bucket sitting next to him for him to utilize as a bathroom. My family’s ranch was purchased by my late grandfather in the 1960’s. This place is so incredibly precious to us and we love sharing it with others. We have always had respectful, wonderful people stay with us until now. I am so incredibly saddened, hurt, and frankly have a pit in my stomach by the way they treated our home.

Almost a month after I submitted photos, a cleaning bill, and a list of all the items that needed to be cleaned Airbnb finally responded with:

“After careful review of the information submitted, we’re unfortunately unable to process your request. Security deposits cover direct physical loss or physical damage to an accommodation. It does not cover indirect losses. Therefore, as we have not received documentation for any physical damages we would be unable to provide compensation.”

I will never use Airbnb again as a host or a traveler. A company’s true character is shown in how it handles the small events and they showed me theirs.

Airbnb Host Not Informed of our Reservation

My husband and I along with two other couples reserved a house in Camden, Maine for a week this past July. Airbnb charged the entire week to our credit card, half when we made the reservation and the other half a few days before our week started. We got numerous emails from Airbnb about our upcoming trip and how they hoped we had a great time.

When we got to the house, the owner had no idea we were coming and said he hadn’t dealt with Airbnb for over a year. Customer service was worse than useless. We were told that we could get a credit on a different place but there were none available and no help in obtaining alternate housing was offered.

After a couple of hours on the phone, we were able to get them to say they would credit our card but the amount they agreed to was over $200 less than the amount we were charged: probably a service fee. We waited a week and the amount wasn’t credited so I turned the matter over to Mastercard and of course was credited for the entire amount immediately while they investigated. It defies the imagination how a booking can be confirmed and credit card charged without the owner knowing we were coming. Never again Airbnb.

Stranded in Florence After Host Lied and Cancelled

Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.

We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.

Apartment in Brussels Illegally Rented on Airbnb

I am the owner of an apartment in Brussels. A couple of months ago I discovered that the person who rents my apartment has listed it on Airbnb. First of all, it is against the regulations in the apartment complex. I already had to pay a 500-euro fine. After calling the person who rents my apartment several times, she still refused to remove the listing on Airbnb. I’ve send several mails to the Airbnb website but with no response. I don’t not understand how they can accept this or not respond. Is there a quick and efficient way to contact them or must I take legal action, not only against the person who is renting my apartment but also Airbnb itself? They are making money out of it, and it is illegal because as a owner it is against regulations, and even the law in Brussels.

Airbnb Studio in Beacon Hill Makes Guests Sick

My wife and I booked a stay at a Beacon Hill area studio in the city of Boston recently and we had a horrible experience. The experience was so bad that it will make us reconsider ever using Airbnb again as guests. Although we really like the idea of Airbnb and we have been strong supporters, we feel that we will likely be victimized by the poor way that Airbnb operates in dealing with guest complaints. We’ll likely lose a bit of money and be left out in the cold even though we have been champions for Airbnb and have contributed to their bottom line.

The listing we booked presented the rental as the “Perfect Little Stay in Beacon Hill”. The unit was everything but perfect; it was overpriced, tiny, not clean, and not safe for us at all health wise. We have been using Airbnb as hosts for some time now and we’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the guests who have stayed with us. The guests love our property and the services we provide and we love having them. These experiences led us to try out Airbnb as guests. This turned out to be a huge mistake.

We selected the Boston property because of its location. Beacon Hill is a nice area – we figured – and the few photos online for the property looked good, though there were no photos of the building, which should have been a red flag. We communicated with the manager of the property online before arriving (initially asking if they had availability for a second night and if there was a place we could drop off a bag before checking in) and those communications went smoothly. So far so good.

However, when we arrived, things started to go bad from the start. We were a bit surprised by the overall condition of the building: the front door had a missing lock, the entrance was extremely dirty and in need of repair, there were boxes all over the entrance that we had to climb over, trash bags and laundry bags were piled all over the place, and there were big stains all over the carpet. It had the overall appearance of a drug dealer’s apartment.

We found the key and went to the unit only to discover that the door was unlocked. We dropped off our bag, but as we tried to lock the door we discovered that there were problems with the lock. Fortunately as we were leaving, the cleaning person came by. We showed him the lock problems and he told us that he would take care of it. He struggled with the lock as well and finally was able to latch it. This made us wonder about the security of the building and the bag that we were going to store.

Our first impression of the property was that it looked like poorly managed student housing – cheap, dark, dingy, not decorated well, very bare bones – not something you’d typically expect to see in a nice area like Beacon Hill. However, we figured this is what we selected and we’d make the most of it. Unfortunately, things got a lot worse. I came back to the room in the later afternoon to rest up. The room had been cleaned, but I was really surprised by the condition of the room. It was very tiny, poorly decorated, dark, no frills, had lots of wear (the wood floor was badly scarred up, stains on the bathroom walls, the shower had mold, a window was painted over with latex paint, there was caulk peeling in the bathroom, the view outside the window was of things being dumped in the alley).

I was hoping that my wife wouldn’t be disappointed when she got there and really took a look around. Again, these aesthetic issues were only the tip of the iceberg. After resting in the room for a couple of hours and turning the A/C on, I started to get very ill. I started having trouble breathing, was very congested, developed a bad headache, and felt nauseous. When my wife got there I felt really bad so she took a look around. She noticed several gallons of chemical products and garbage bags of stuff strewn about the stairways directly outside our room. She also noticed some odd chemical smells. We also were concerned about the condition of the A/C as it had some moldy odors. The longer we stayed in the room, the worse we felt.

My wife suggested we go out for dinner to get out of the room and get some fresh air. We did and after about an hour I started to feel better. My wife suggested that we go look for a hotel to stay the rest of the night. Fortunately, we were able to get a booking at the Bostonian, not far away. We went back to the room and my wife made me stay out on the street as she went back in and packed up our things and took all of the bedding off of the bed as we were instructed to do by the printed house rules. We never really used the property, such as the shower or fridge, as we spent so little time there. We were basically in panic mode because of the condition of the building and the fact that the building and room were making us sick. The whole experience felt like a frightening Steven King short story.

Fortunately, we had a good stay at the Bostonian. We checked in around midnight, though this set us back as the last minute booking was very expensive. I feel that we made the right call as one’s health, safety, and well being should always come first. As bad as the limited experience with the property was (poor condition, toxic environment, false advertising, etc.) what was even more troubling was the reaction and later communication with the property manager who listed the property.

I sent her a message in the morning as soon as I got up to tell her about how the property made us ill. In one message she seemed concerned but then in another message she seemed to be blaming us for the situation. This is very wrong to do from a hospitality standpoint, something a professional would never do. I didn’t go into a lot of details about the poor condition of the property, but did tell her we couldn’t stay in the unit and had to move to a hotel because of the condition of the property as something in the room or building was making us ill.

I wanted to give the host an opportunity to address the problem as I would if I were a host and one of my guests with a problem contacted me. She responded by saying that she would look into the matter and she offered to provide us with a 50% refund. We never actually asked for a refund; we just sent her a note about the problem we had with staying in the room. I did respond to her to indicate that her refund offer would be acceptable since we didn’t spend the night there.

She then turned around and changed her mind later in the day (after the Airbnb 24-hour complaint policy would expire) about providing a refund, indicating that she felt we did stay here, which of course was not true. So basically after all of the abuse we suffered by staying here, she conned us. It became clear later that she was just working the Airbnb policy system about guest complaints to her advantage.

For anyone who gets in this situation, be very careful. Make sure you find some way to contact management at Airbnb management immediately instead of trying to work out things with an unprofessional host who can take advantage of you. For this experience from hell we paid over $260 for a one-night booking. This property had a serious environmental problem that effected our health. The host was not forthright and in our opinion was using Airbnb to operate as a slumlord.

My wife took a lot of pictures of the condition of the property and we have our hotel bill to show that we did not spend the night there. We are trying to make an official complaint to Airbnb management to see if they can step in and provide some remedy, but from my quick research this is probably not very likely or will take massive effort on my part. Problems like this hurt the Airbnb experience for all of us. I really believe that Airbnb management needs to screen hosts better. I was always very honest and professional in my communications with this host, who unfortunately did not operate with the same standards.

My best advice after having quite a bit of experience operating as an Airbnb host is that you have to be very careful when you rent a property as a guest. Airbnb seems mainly concerned about protecting hosts and not guests. They seem to make it really difficult for guests to contact Airbnb and make complaints. If an unprofessional host takes advantage of a guest there’s not much a guest can do to get satisfaction, especially if the host is not honest and professional. Evidentially this will come back to haunt Airbnb. Just look at what’s happened to Uber and the company’s CEO.

I have one last point to make, and this is a very important one. In the earlier days of Airbnb many of the rentals listed were made available by actual owners of properties who took some care and pride in what they offered. This is really changing in a big way. Many listings that show up now (especially in competitive larger cities) are by sales people and shady real estate people just trying to make a quick buck by renting inferior properties by the night. They do not offer any kind of hospitality; they just want to make a big profit and exploit the marketplace. My wife calls these new generation of operators “Airbnb Slumlords.”

If you see a host like this offering so many properties with limited photos and generic descriptions, be very careful. After looking closer into the situation we encountered in Boston, I realized that this is what happened to us. The person we dealt with was operating as an agent with a group of others, marking up inferior properties, and trying to take advantage of less experienced guests. So called “hosts” like this know how to work the online sources such as Airbnb to their advantage. As a guest, be really careful as this will likely become a much bigger problem with Airbnb. It could really hold back Airbnb’s growth if they don’t find a good way to deal with this problem. I will certainly spend countless hours contacting Airbnb and trying to inform the public about my experience and knowledge. Maybe something good will come of it. I’d love to hear from others about their stories related to this.