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Lost $1000 to Avoid Sleeping in Filthy Airbnb

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Once you click “book” on Airbnb, your money is gone. Misrepresentation and filth are not enough to get your money back. I booked what was represented as a beautiful waterfront home where I could work for a week. I booked just a couple days in advance.

Upon arrival, it was a rundown cabin, part of a rundown crowded campground. On top of that, the place was filthy with sticky residue on the appliances, light switches and mystery drippings on the walls. The bathroom was disgusting with a moldy shower curtain and orange slick grime that’s hard to see in the pictures. The grounds were a mess with cars, debris and junk.

I texted the owner via the app immediately (because all communications had been through the app). I said the place was not at all what was represented and that I was leaving immediately. She did not respond. I immediately contacted Airbnb via the app as well and they did not respond either.

The next day Airbnb got back to me to say they had to ask the host for the refund. I never heard from the host. Surprise: the host declined. I suggested a 50% refund to settle, which was generous in my opinion. Airbnb said I needed to go back and take pictures (a two-hour drive). I made the trip back to the property and took pictures of a clearly moldy shower curtain, sticky surfaces and junky grounds. The host noticed that I was returning to take pictures, so the property was actually an improvement compared to the views on my original arrival.

Airbnb said the host refused the refund because I didn’t speak to her in person. When did that become a requirement? Then they told me they could not refund the money because I didn’t take the pictures that first day and never explained why they sent me back there. I gave up and posted a negative review on Yelp and cancelled my Airbnb account. I lost over $1,000 to avoid staying in filth. I will never use Airbnb again and frankly think this sort of thing needs to be better regulated.

Months later, a person I suspect to be a friend of the owner tried to comment on my Yelp review but that was rejected. The post was just a bunch of name calling. Now more than nine months later, the owner apparently did some research to find out my profession (attorney) and posted a response to my Yelp review trying to deflect from the photos of the grossness and reality of the junky grounds. I never mentioned my profession.

Another guest recently posted more photos on Yelp of the disgusting level of filth complete with another moldy shower, exploded food left by others in the microwave and more. Airbnb has yet to hold this property owner accountable despite pictures. Even the more positive Yelp reviews from guests expecting a campground experience note the need for better maintenance.

The stalking behavior by the owner in digging around to find out about my profession so many months later is disturbing on a whole different level. And there is yet another Yelp review describing how the host cussed out their group when they complained about the mess.

What does it take for Airbnb to hold a host accountable? I read an article about a Boy Scout troop that booked a place in Florida. When they contacted Airbnb to report that two different listings were using the same information, Airbnb protected the hosts. The Boy Scout troop showed up to literally no place to stay and it made the news. Apparently you need a news story to hold hosts accountable if they are making money for Airbnb.

Don’t trust Airbnb for reviews. When I tried to post my review on Airbnb, it mysteriously went into the cosmos. When the world settles down a little bit, I think we need to look to our legislators and consumer protection laws to make some changes. In the meantime, I suggest using VRBO and VACASA. They cost a little more but they also have higher standards in my experience. Take lots of pictures upon arrival in case you need documentation for any reason and let karma take care of the rest.

MIA Host, Double Booked Room, and Guest Climbs Through Window

After hours of the host being unresponsive, another resident of the unit let me in the apartment, then broke into the room through the window AC to let me in (this guest does work for the host). The room was double booked. When the other guest arrived he was belligerent and said he’d call the cops on the host (and presumably also me). All the host ever said was “can I call you back later?” via text message.

I had to extricate myself from the situation and get a very expensive hotel room at the last minute. Airbnb’s phone support agent did not help me with this but simply gave me a $128 coupon, which was borderline offensive; the refund itself might take three weeks to arrive. This host also has a long history of plain awful and unsafe behavior and they still allow them on their platform.

I’ve used Airbnb for many years. This year alone I’ve spent $12,000 on the platform, but I’ve had enough. I will stop using Airbnb because of this incident (other than during my confirmed, upcoming reservations which I can no longer cancel, unfortunately).

The Big Lie Airbnb Hosts are Allowed to Push

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on Airbnb. In fact, I quit using Airbnb a few years ago, because of this BS and other nonsense. However, recently out of desperation (no hotels available) I booked a room for two nights at a “charming” home in Prescott, Arizona. I got a notification that my requested reservation was not accepted. That’s okay: her house, her choice. Then the host sent me a message telling me that it was already booked.

I’m a former Airbnb host. If a space is booked, it doesn’t show up in the listings. That’s how this whole thing works. That’s how reservation systems work. I think hosts should be able to deny requests at any time for any reason. It’s their house. What I don’t like is being lied to. All this host had to do was deny the request. It would’ve been inconvenient, but now its inconvenient and insulting. It’s also happened with confirmed reservations.

I once got a message from a host telling me to cancel my reservation with them because the city they were in (Las Vegas) no longer allowed Airbnb. I wasn’t going to cancel it and eat the service charge. She finally cancelled it and she got dinged. Which she deserved because she freaking lied. Airbnbs are alive and well in Sin City. Twice in the Bay Area I had reservations either cancelled or denied with little warning.

There’s too much drama making lodging plans at Airbnbs. I’m just always waiting for them to pull the rug out. Which, admittedly, it’s their house so its their right. But it’s a crappy way to do business. I have never in all my years of staying in hotels have had to deal with this BS. I make a reservation at a hotel. I show up. I pay. I have a place to stay.

Who needs the Airbnb cloak and dagger mystery theater, “will they/won’t they” drama? I’m over it.

Airbnb Tries to Rip us Off with Last-Minute Cancellation

I work at a mid-sized property with many rooms up on Airbnb. Last Friday we had a customer that had a $550 booking for the weekend and they didn’t come. It was University of Virginia graduation weekend and if we had known the guests were not coming we could have rented the cottage in a second. The guest did not let us know they weren’t coming until after the office closed for the night.

On Airbnb we had selected the strict policy for cancellations. The guest had agreed to those terms when they booked so we expected to get paid. The funds for the stay were deposited in our account on Monday so even though we had wasted quite a bit of money on food, flowers and perishable gifts for the guest room we were fine because at least we got paid. Then at 8:00 PM on Monday night we got the following email:

We’re just getting back to you with an update regarding your guest. She gave us documentation to show they did indeed have a valid extenuating circumstance. So, we’ve cleared your calendar for these dates, and refunded your guest in full. This means you won’t get a payout for this reservation. You can review our Extenuating Circumstances Policy and we really do apologize for the inconvenience caused, thanks for understanding. Let me know if you have other questions. 

Do you see the last sentence? “Let me know if you have other questions”. Within a few minutes of receiving this email we responded with questions. Since then we have followed up a dozen times by email and phone (thanks to Airbnb Hell, as even as a Superhost you can’t find a phone number) and never gotten a response from Airbnb. The money was deposited in our account and the Airbnb website shows they are trying to take their money back through EFT.

I have responded that each day we will deactivate one unit and move it to Expedia until we hear from Airbnb customer service. So far they have lost three of 21 listings. I have also told them if they do withdraw any money from our account I will delist every unit permanently. The world is full of bad customer service but with the phone, electric or internet providers at least I can speak to someone and get an answer. With Airbnb there is no customer service at all. Honestly the worst company in the world.

Airbnb’s Attempts at Customer Service are Laughable

Months ago Airbnb removed security deposits from our listings claiming that we didn’t need them because they had insurance that protected their hosts. Three different claims have resulted in absolutely nothing beyond wasting about 20 hours of my time. They are always waiting for another department to get it done and claim because they are a global company, things take a lot of time.

Hosts no longer have any control over anything. If you are pet friendly, you are inviting Noah’s Ark as they have no provision to limit breeds, age, quantity or anything. People actually think it’s okay to bring their nine cats and six puppies. If the tenant stays beyond their reservation and you ned the sheriff to remove them, good luck getting the extra days’ payment. It’s either their resolution, mediation or some other department that’s handling it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only answer is to add another 10% to my nightly rates on their site and make sure there’s a better deal for them on VRBO. VRBO isn’t perfect either but at least you’ve got a chance. Now that Airbnb is a public company we should all should all show up at shareholder meetings or call ins just to tell them how bad they really are.

Calendar Blocked, No Idea When Airbnb Will Contact Me

After a decade with Airbnb, they suddenly blocked the calendars on all my listings with no explanation. I found out when I was checking my Airbnb calendar (because I have been very busy) and realized that all the dates were blocked.

I have called several times a day for six days now and gotten no explanation as to why this has happened or when it will be resolved. Every time I call I get customer service who says “I am so sorry, we understand but I can’t help you. I will escalate this.”

No matter how hard I push I can’t get through the firewall in place which adheres strictly to the Airbnb “policy”. There is a team (but no one can tell me what team) that supposedly is looking into this issue (which will not be identified). So just like that, Airbnb is preventing me from getting any bookings.

I have contacted Fair Shake because it is wrong for a big company to treat me like this. I also emailed Brian Chesky, but who knows when he will respond. I spent the day posting this on various websites so others are aware of how terrible customer service is with Airbnb. There is literally no one who can answer legitimate questions.

I am looking for alternatives. I started with VRBO. Where else can I post my listings?

Airbnb Hell in Japan After Cancellation

I had the worst experience in my life with Airbnb in Japan. I’m a permanent resident in Japan and had to book a place for a short stay while I’m waiting to go back home. The host who handled my stay treated the situation as if it was nothing. The place was dirty with cockroaches everywhere, plus bedbugs.

I tried to contact him by phone several times and he didn’t answer the calls at all. I don’t know what his issue was with residents: he didn’t answer the calls, he just didn’t want to chat. I decided to report directly to Airbnb support, which tried to get a refund to minimize the damage from the situation.

On Oct. 3, after Airbnb tried to reach the host for a whole day, the host cancelled my stay at 10:00 PM and asked me to leave the place by 10:00 AM the next day just like that, without any previous notice. I had to spent money on transportation, hotels, and handle the moving out by myself with more than 300 kg of suitcases and stuff.

I confess that Airbnb did a good job but I don’t see any protection for the guests in these cases. How come hosts can do this with such short notice? Especially in Japan, where everything is so proper and you have to give notice for everything. I’m very disappointed with the service, the place, the host, and specially his attitude.

I don’t recommend foreigners stay at Airbnb properties in Japan. You won’t have any rights. It’s much better pay for a hotel where you won’t have troubles like this. I will go determine my rights with my lawyer, because this is not the right attitude. I felt offended and disrespected.

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Airbnb Rip Off in Austin Forces Guests Out

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I’m a PM for a Internet technology company and I’m responsible for choosing Airbnb rentals for staff, usually 2-4 staff members. In September, I chose a host in Austin for one month. The rental had good reviews and looked good in the photos, so our admin assistant booked the unit for one month, starting the second week in September to the second week in October.

The staff arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday and were immediately underwhelmed, The cleanliness of the location was poor; there was debris in the front entry, dirty and dusty tile floors from the gap under the door allowing debris to blow in, sticky counter tops, a refrigerator with plenty of odds and ends from previous tenants with sticky unknown substance in nooks and cracks, and pubic hair in the toilet rim. In addition, the light bulbs and face plates in the house were not maintained and looked like the owner did not care to present a home they cared about, just a take or leave it house. However, they took 100% of our payment, $3,369.

Since our staff had to go through me and the company admin, the issue could not be addressed until Monday morning. Well, the host had an excuse for every issue, refused to let us out of our term, but was willing to send cleaners back over. After two days in the unit (not a home), our staff said “no way” to staying in this unit and we care and trust our staff. The host only offered a $220 refund and Airbnb is completely complicit in this behavior (they bear no responsibility or customer support for such situations). Since July my firm has spent approx. $41,000 with Airbnb. I will be recommending Extended Stay hotels to my executives for future projects.

Broke and Unhappy After Customer Service Experience

I’m highly disappointed in my recent experience with Airbnb’s customer service. My friends and I booked what turned out to be a scam listing. We were already about 8 hours into our 11-hour drive to the beach when we received a notification from Airbnb that our booking had been canceled and we wouldn’t be penalized for the late cancelation.

We expressed that we were already over halfway there and were left with no place to stay. We were told that Airbnb would book us a new place to stay and get back to us within an hour. We never heard back from them. We ended up booking the only other pet-friendly beach house in the area that turned out to be four times the price of where we initially thought we were staying.

We reached out to Airbnb many times and were told that we had to wait until our assigned case manager contacted us and that no one else could help us. My friends and I now owe a difference of $700 per person for the new booking and Airbnb has refused to cover any of this difference. Now I’m broke and upset and my whole vacation was ruined because of this.

Higher Rates on Airbnb Than Other Sites

Airbnb isn’t the first company in this industry to believe they can treat owners with arrogance. Most readers know who I’m referring to and that company has had an amazing attitude adjustment after seeing both owners and guests flee from their site.

Booking agents are totally irrelevant without owners, who take most of the risks in this industry. But since most owners are small operators and booking agents tend to be huge companies run by overpaid CEOs, they start believing they can enforce outrageous policies and treat customer service as a cost they want to get rid of.

Ever try to call Airbnb? Good luck. Question one of their policies? You get a ChatBot responding to you.

We own many properties and knowing full well how badly they need us, our response to their arrogance is simple: you can rent any of our properties anywhere else, for less. We list on several sites, and Airbnb is useful to us — some guests only look there and they book from the site. Others shop around and we get a hit for the same property on several sites. I’ve yet to see one choose to pay more just for the privilege of booking on their site.

I doubt anyone at Airbnb cares at the moment. After all, they are so much bigger than us. But I’ve seen this before, from their once-arrogant competition. Sales will falter, the C-Club will demand answers (only when they don’t get that fat bonus, forget the obligations to the actual owners of the stock) and people will be sent out to kiss ass and “try to understand how they can be a better partner.” Then we will set terms for them to get equal billing, just as will did with those other guys.

Ultimately, they will listen… money is common language. So from one CEO to another: a storm is coming your way. Enjoy the sunshine while you can.