Cold Showers, Rude Host, and Ultimately a Terrible Experience

My husband and I recently travelled to Portugal. We had been visiting different cities in Portugal and staying in multiple Airbnb homes. We came across a listing for an entire house to rent for one month in Alentejo, Portugal. I talked to the host who was listed as a woman and had over 100+ four-star reviews for multiple properties and rooms across Portugal. The place we were interested in was a new listing with no reviews. Looking back, this should have been an obvious red flag.

I spent two days talking to the host on the Airbnb messenger and confirming that the entire place had hot water, a washing machine and a router that had wifi. I informed the host numerous times that I work from home; therefore, I would be relying on wifi. They informed me on the Airbnb messenger that they had all these amenities. The host also stated that the city had a taxi rank and close amenities but no local transport. The host volunteered to pick us up from our current Airbnb listing for a small fee and take us to their home by car.

In the morning a man arrived and claimed that he was working on behalf of the host and would be handling all our needs. He admitted that he had been pretending to be the host I was talking to, and that he was close friends with the host and used her account to list his house. This was odd but at this point, I had already made payment for one month through Airbnb and I thought as long as the place was as advertised it would be fine.

It turned out that there was no wifi in the house; there was not even a router. It was a 3G mobile hotspot that would jump between one or two bars and sometimes not work at all. There was no hot water whatsoever. The man had no clue how to operate the washing machine after he claimed that the house was his. He brought out a manual for the washing machine in Portuguese which we translated and used to operate the washing machine. It was clear that he did not own the house.

As it was within the 24 hours of us checking in to the listing, I contacted Airbnb and informed them of what was going on. Luckily, Airbnb refunded me 20% of the listing and gave me back 50% of my first night. I was also given the option to get a full refund and 20% discount on a new listing if I wanted to leave that night. Unfortunately, the small village we were in did not have a taxi rank that was in use; there was no means of us leaving the village. As it was during the popular summer season, a lot of the listings available on Airbnb were either too far away or unavailable.

We spent one month with no hot water and limited internet. Airbnb insisted that the host should try to rectify the issue and tried to reach out to the woman that owned the host Airbnb account. Her boyfriend called me and said that he was away at sea and could not drive down to fix the internet issues or the lack of hot water. He proceeded to try to speak broken English with me and tell me that there was hot water and that he had driven from Porto to Alentejo four days before our booking to ensure that everything was fine. As his English was bad, I spoke Portuguese to him so he could clearly understand everything I was saying. However, he insisted on speaking English and would not listen at all to anything we were saying, insisting that everything was fine.

Eventually, it was futile talking to him so I hung up and informed Airbnb of what he had told us. When the man that pretended to be the original host returned on the day we checked out, he stated that there was hot water. He proceeded to change the gas tank quietly while we were in the bedroom tidying up and thought that I was not watching him. He then declared that there was hot water and that we were not using the boiler properly. I informed him that I saw him changing the gas tank. He had absolutely nothing to say. Why lie? Why not just admit that the gas tank had run out before our booking?

I asked him why he lied about having a router and wifi, and he said that it was a small village and worked well for him. That was not what I asked him on the Airbnb messenger or in person. During our stay, we had to boil water with pots to take “showers” because he and the original host could not be bothered to ensure that there was a filled gas tank.

I left a negative review on the listing and Airbnb deleted it; the listing is still up. I wonder if this is why the place has no reviews – because Airbnb is deleting them. The moral of this experience is if you want to try and get some sort of refund or assistance from Airbnb, communicate in detail with prospective and current hosts on the messaging app. Airbnb can see everything that is said. Avoid phone calls if possible that discuss important issues. Avoid emails too. Communicate via the app so that all cards are on the table; I cannot stress this enough.

We are now staying in our last listing with another host who lied about having wifi with an ethernet port. Airbnb has offered me a partial refund if the mobile hotspot continues to give us issues. Why? Because I communicated everything through the app.

Beware of Airbnb Housing with Bad Hosts

I recently stayed in two different rooms with a lady in Turlock, California. While she was very nice and accommodating, there were serious issues that I felt other prospective tenants needed to be aware of. Airbnb deleted my review. This lady lives in her garage with her three 100-lb dogs. There was no bathroom out there and the dryer was not vented to the outside, which was a serious fire hazard and can cause carbon monoxide and respiratory dangers. The dogs were very clean but she never washed their bedding so there was an aroma of ‘dirty dog’ which permeated the house. They barked and howled loudly at times.

She eavesdropped on my phone conversations, at one time standing in my doorway with her arms crossed until I hung up. She seemed to have some serious mental health issues. There were family photos in the bedroom, two of which were quite large and inappropriate for a room being rented out to the public. She did not let me use the washer/dryer and I could not have cooked unless I had brought my own pots/pans, spices, and cooking utensils, as she does not cook.

Although this is a ‘B&B’ there are no breakfast items ever available, whether it be cold cereal, muffins, or even toast. If you have a problem, do not expect Airbnb to resolve it. They have lousy customer service and are only concerned with their hosts, not the guests. I had to fight to not be required to pay the cost of the entire reservation, and she got to keep almost three weeks I had paid with no refund. I paid for housing in two locations for that time, and I cannot afford that. I will never ever use this service again; they are disreputable and the hosts are not screened.

Was My Host Just Plain Nuts? A Guest Ponders After Bad Review.

As a warning for Airbnb guests, you are only allowed two weeks to respond to reviews. I didn’t even know I had a review until after the fact. There is no way to contact Airbnb from what I could find. On the listing of reviews, my visit didn’t even show up on the site from my viewing.

I have to wonder about Airbnb’s practices regarding reviews of hosts. They make their money from having hosts supported. Even a few negative reviews too many would hamper their success. If negative reviews are kept out, no one is the wiser. Notice Amazon businesses bending over backward to do right by their customers. The overwhelming number of reviews of my hosts portray their experiences as all sweetness and light. There’s a dark side.

It is difficult to fathom the animosity and personal attacks expressed in my host’s comments about me as a guest. She began by claiming I disregarded her 11:00 AM check-out time. Her listing stated nothing with an 11:00 AM check out. Her Airbnb listing stated, “Flexible check out time.” She never stated differently. The fact is, I did, coincidentally, leave the room at 11:00 AM.

I checked my emails while in her living room and left the house until about 3:00 PM, returning to pick up my belongings. Her listing also stated she and her partner “work 8-5 jobs” and that I took advantage of her and her partner, claiming I knew they were not home. I did leave my bags in a corner of their living room during the day while I was out. I certainly did not know their whereabouts. They appear to live in the basement of their house. I didn’t see them Saturday and they made no effort to communicate with me. I assumed they would have been home.

Where the host stated I stayed five hours after her check-out time, I did make a judgement call about leaving my bags at her house while I spent the day out. I was not at her house during that time. But what did Megan actually communicate to me regarding my departure time and my leaving my bags at her house while I was out? We texted at 3:00 PM that day: “Okay, if you could leave prior to 5:00 that would be great… I have no problem with you leaving bags while you were out, but would like to have known in advance.”

Fair enough. My bad. An egregious transgression of etiquette? Additionally, she claimed I lingered at her house, “When I realized [the guest] was still lingering, I asked him to leave,” but, as I quoted her above, she admitted to being okay “if you could leave prior to 5:00,” which I did.

The host also wrote “rides to/from the airport are not included or offered in our listing but you pestered my partner into driving you 20 miles across town.” Pestered her partner? Going back again to her and my 3:00 PM phone text, “I won’t be home in time to give you a ride. I apologize!”

She omitted the fact I stated I could also call Uber. She omitted I offered her the $20 for the service I was told Uber would have charged. There was no pestering. Moments after our phone text, and her demonstrating an openness to my offer, I walked into the house and made her partner the same offer just before the next guests walked in. As he checked in the new guests, I sat at their dining table waiting for his answer. When he finished with the guests, he offered to take me. If he had said no, I would still have had 2-3 hours to catch a ride with Uber or a taxi. I had no investment either way how I would have gotten to the airport. I thought I was being thoughtful with my offer.

The host added to her complaints, saying I was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation” in her house. Her new guests, her partner, his brother, and I were all the people at the house. Five people. At other times it would be possible for her partner, his brother, their housemate, and his friends or relatives whose were staying there, along with the host and her son, to have all been at the house – four additional people. Somehow, I, as one person sitting quietly at her dining table was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?” I waited patiently for her partner to do a routine check-in, and then he gave me a lift to the airport – accepting my $20 payment. Easy-peasy. How was that “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?”

In addition, she left out the fact that because the bedroom was so hot, even with windows open and fans going, I slept on top of the bed where the only attention for the room would have been to straighten the bedcovers – I had cleaned the room before leaving. I left a note for her saying as much.

It appears that despite any effort on my part, the host glossed over if it might show I was not the “unpleasant,” “entitled and disrespectful,” “pestering,” “lack[ing] etiquette” and “lingering” guest she portrayed me. 
Considering her comments of me, perhaps I should have given a more frank telling of the condition of her house and my experiences with her. The house was a mess (I politely excused that, with her having a young son). The bathroom had the appearance of a college dorm bath being used with several people’s bath items strew about, crowding the sink and tub areas. I wrote only, “The bathroom was adequate, but in need of updating.”

I was shocked by her insulting accusations and other comments about my stay. I went back to her site to see what credibility there might have been in her numerous accusations… precious little. What I did discover was a photo of her bathroom only showing the toilet, excluding the tub. I believe this was an intentional deception on the host’s part to hide the bathtub from view – with good reason. The tub is the worst I’ve ever seen in a house. To that, I wrote only the bath is in “need of updating.”

I nearly chose not to shower because of the dark brown and grey-black stains where the finish had long worn off. It looked like a vat used for toxic chemicals that had worn off the finish. I wish I had taken photos to show I am not exaggerating. I’m surprised no one else had mentioned it in their reviews. I suspect it was left unsaid, just as I had left it unsaid, as an act of generosity as a guest.

It appears after all is said, her only issue with any legitimacy was that I did not call her before leaving my belongings at her house for a few hours. For that, she lashed out, maliciously lying, misrepresenting and berating my character and my actual behavior, all the while creating a fanciful fabrication of what my stay actually consisted.

I was willing to be graciously forgiving of her failings as a host and in my overall assessment of my stay. She suggested as her last comment to me, “Let this be a learning experience for each of us.” Indeed!

Host Lied About Practically Everything at Airbnb in Gloucester

This Airbnb host lied about what she is offering and although Airbnb has been notified and provided with documentation, they still run her listing which is unchanged on the crucial points I will mention. Although I got a full refund and half the cost of staying at a hotel for the first night from Airbnb, I found dealing with Airbnb support to be quite challenging. It took a great deal of time and aggravation. It unnecessarily became the focus of things for me during the first 24 hours of my vacation, when I was exhausted and uncertain where I would be able to spend the night far from home.

Please note that Airbnb will encourage you to write a review and to put lots of detail into it, but not inform you that they will only post a certain number of words of it, whether that means they cut you off mid-sentence, making you look like a lunatic or not. They will not inform you that you only have 48 hours to edit your review. If most people are like me, they will write the review and spend the first 48 hours checking the host’s listing to see it if has been posted yet. Then, when it is too late, they will check further and see that by that point Airbnb will not allow editing of the review. Airbnb are terrible in many ways and I would be hesitant to consider booking using their site again.

The best part of the whole experience was the people of Gloucester who were unfailingly kind and helpful when they saw I was in trouble. I initially planned to stay in the room on my own, looking forward to several days of relaxing on the beach and catching up with cousins in the area. Although I didn’t need a second bed when I first asked for permission to book, it had stuck in my head that the listing said there were two beds. I looked at the listing again and confirmed that there were when a cousin from a bit outside the area said she’d like she’d like to join me. I was a bit confused, though, since the photograph of the room clearly showed just one bed. Maybe it was a bed that could be split into two? My cousin told me she had an air mattress she could bring if necessary.

I messaged the host through Airbnb to ask what the story was. Suddenly the lightning fast responses I’d gotten previously when asking if I could book dramatically slowed down. I tried calling her at the number provided by the site. A text came in from her while the phone was ringing that said “I can’t talk now”. Okay… I’d called during business hours and she was busy. Later I received a text back from her saying “who is this?” If she had to know who was phoning her, wasn’t there a more polite way to ask? I texted her back identifying myself and apologized for bothering her. No response. I received a message from her through the Airbnb system that said I should “bring the air mattress just in case”. Just in case she wasn’t being honest about her listing, which clearly stated two beds?

In retrospect, I wish I had cancelled then and paid the cost of the hotel I eventually went to instead. I should have known further trouble awaited. I arrived half an hour early in front of the house, where there was street parking, not “private parking” as was listed in the amenities section of her listing. I texted the host to ask if I should come back, or if she could possibly check me in a little early, since it was very hot in the car, but received no response. After a little while, I phoned and left the same message on her voicemail.

A few minutes after the agreed upon time, she pulled up. She made no indication that she’d received either of my messages. She took me inside and we chatted a bit. I mentioned that one of the reasons I’d been interested in getting away is that the air conditioning at home had been on the blink. It wasn’t until she took me downstairs to the room that she revealed the room had no air conditioning, only a small fan. The “private” room also had no door between it and the rest of the house, being at the bottom of a flight of stairs from the living area. It had its own door to the outside on the opposite wall. Only a baby gate stood between the rest of the apartment and your “privacy”.

The biggest problem came while we were still upstairs in the kitchen and I asked her about a key. She told me that she “never locks” the apartment. She must have seen the utter shock on my face, because she then told me that if I expected her to lock the place all the time she would give me a key. There was quite a bit of hostility in her voice when she said this. Having just had a very long drive and being exhausted, I said nothing while I decided what to do about the situation. I certainly didn’t want to stay in an unlocked space, nor was I comfortable asking for the key, given the hostility expressed towards me just for mentioning it (I should note that this was in a small apartment where the host herself lives). Given that there was already bad blood and I was overpaying for an air conditioned room that didn’t exist, the best I could do was get out of there as soon as possible.

Airbnb support did assist, but they also failed to express a shred of empathy for me in the situation, demanding that I take photos as evidence and repeatedly asking if I had addressed the problems with the host. As pointed out on this site, not all problems are photographable, and not all problems can be rectified instantly. In those cases, it is ridiculous to repeatedly interrogate the guest as to whether they have “brought the problem to the host’s attention”. Why would I need to bring something to her attention that clearly is not as she stated and that she obviously knows about? After all, she lives in the space.

Please also note the importance of acting quickly when you first find a problem with Airbnb accommodation. The amount of support I received would certainly not have been there if I had waited until the next day, not fully adequate as it was. One of the ironies of the experience was that I was on the phone with Airbnb at the time I left the apartment to get my iPad from the car and shut the front door behind me… and found myself locked out. A door knob lock must have been engaged. Having the phone in my hand, I called the host and left a message on her voicemail saying I was locked out. She pulled up in her car soon afterwards, but gave no indication that I’d left her an emergency message.

After taking the necessary photos, I exited the apartment with my belongings. I was certain she knew that I was gone, but began sending messages to me through the Airbnb system. She seemed to be trying to make it look like I was still there. She sent one saying she just wanted to let me know the door upstairs was unlocked, and another saying she’d left a key for me on a table. Completely weird. Checking her listing currently shows she is still lying about the number of beds, the lack of air conditioning, and the “private parking”. She fails to mention the room has no door between it and the rest of the apartment. She does go into a long explanation about leaving one of the doors to the place unlocked all the time (I wonder how her landlord would feel about that if they knew?) and about the easy availability of street parking. Why lie and say there is private parking?

Avoid this Airbnb Nightmare in Bordeaux, France

We (a couple with a child) have nothing against simple. Some simple apartments are good, but this host’s apartment in Bordeaux was not. It was much older than shown in the pictures. In fact, every single thing in her apartment was old and of low quality. The pillows and blankets were so old that they had yellow stains and smelled moldy. It was summer, but the host and her boyfriend only gave us two heavy winter blankets (the only ones they had). Our things had to remain in the suitcases, because the whole apartment was crammed full with her belongings. In the tiny kitchenette, there was no free space to prepare a meal. The bed was uncomfortable and the sofa bed was a joke: very old with a very thin “mattress” (almost the same as sleeping directly on the floor). With the windows closed, one could hear every single word spoken on the streets. The apartment was not clean, they vacuumed only the floor (there were hairs on the bathroom door). Two light bulbs were broken. On the third day, it was very annoying: we had to open the door for her boyfriend because he wanted to have one of his books. On check-out day, instead of coming to collect the keys, he wanted us to bring them to him at his workplace. After I gave the place a negative review, he had the nerve to send me a very angry message. Going to Bordeaux? Avoid this terrible apartment.

From Bad to Worse at Airbnb House in Mexico

I booked a house near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last weekend, July 28-30, 2017. Making the reservation was smooth with no problems. When Friday came, the Airbnb app gave me the address where the house was located, and I already contacted the host where I learned he was not the house owner. I told him that we were running late because the traffic was very unforgiving coming from Los Angeles to Mexico. As we arrived at the destination that Airbnb gave me, the house was nowhere to be found. That’s when bad things started happening.

Imagine being in a different country late at night trying to look for a house that you don’t even know. I contacted the host and he told me that my party and I were nowhere close to his place. He gave me directions on how and where to get there. As we arrived at the property, we noticed the house was a great size and looked pretty decent from the outside. As we waited for the caretaker to open the gate, we met the host and were finally invited inside after the gate was opened by the caretaker. The host let us into the house in which had three bedrooms and two studios, which was a good size for my party: five adults, one teen, five kids.

As we went up to the second floor, we found that there was no fridge, no stove, and no microwave. As I continued to have a gut feeling that this stay was just gonna get worse I stayed optimistic and told my wife we should head out to Walmart early in the morning so we could get an electric stove; that’s the only thing we really needed because we brought our own cooler with our food to cook anyway. It was pretty iced up so it should have been good. As the host gave us a better look of the premises we noticed the rooms were average, but the two studios had clear glass walls. They had sliding blinds but they were pretty old, worn out, and raggedy. Then we headed to the roof. It had cement tables and benches. There were guide rails to prevent you from falling but they were unsafe – unstable and wiggling – and one part in which the glass was broken and had been blocked by a broken heater.

The bathrooms were okay. Unfortunately we had women and girls in our party, so that sucked for them because some of the restrooms didn’t have toilet seats. That having been said, we were tired from the drive and traffic. We decided to just sleep it off and had no other choice at that point because it was almost midnight with no Internet to work with. As morning came, we went straight to Walmart, got what we needed, and went back to the house.

As we were eating our breakfast we noticed that some other people were around. We figured they were friends of the caretaker just passing by, bu those people ended up being surfers, because the house is really close by the ocean. I decided to contact the host to check in with him as to ask if there should be other people in the vicinity since the host fully disclosed that the place was all ours. He called me and confirmed the property was ours. No one should have been there besides my party. I let that one go since the surfer guys didn’t take long, they left after a couple hours.

We headed out to do our trip into town, practically stayed out the whole day, and came home almost midnight. We honked and just waited for the caretaker to open the gate for us. Little did we know there was a small party going on and we felt like we were crashing the party. People were on the roof sitting on the ledge drinking, beers were on top of the cars, and there was a radio playing. At once I called the host and I told him that this was happening, so right after I messaged him he called back quickly and asked what was going on. I told him that his caretaker had visitors on the premises, drinking and having a party. People were on the roof and the two other rooms (unoccupied, suppose to be empty and unrented) were being used. I told the host I didn’t want to have a hostile situation so I would let the party go on but I needed it to be finished by midnight. The host agreed, as our kids simultaneously got ready for bed.

As soon as it was time for the adults to get ready for bed the water shut off. Again I contacted the host and his reply was to talk to the caretaker and she would help us out. We were already feeling like outcasts with a party on our own rented house, and now the host wanted me to go and talk to the caretaker, who was having a party. A few moments later I decided to come down to where the caretaker and party was and ask her; to my surprise, she was not in. The lady told me she left not knowing what time she would be coming back. We all decided to rest and use baby wipes just to get through the night. Unfortunately for my cousin, she was in the middle of showering when the water had gone out, so they used bottled water just to rinse off.

I stayed up while my whole party was resting, because people were still on the property, it was already past midnight, and the caretaker was unavailable. Between 3:30-4:00 AM I heard yelling, arguing and threats being yelled, so I walked out and went outside to check up on it, just to learn that it was the caretaker cursing some guys out over dropping little girls off. Mind you, it was 3:00-4:00 AM. The caretaker saw me and so I approached her and asked what was going on with the water. She said it was cut off, and she would know what’s going on in the morning.

I got up around 6:00 AM to see if the water had been fixed. Unsurprisingly, there was still no water, so I went back to the caretaker and knocked; no one answered. I went back abut an hour later and a man answered the door. I asked where the lady caretaker was. He told me she was asleep and asked me how he could help. I asked him what was going on with the water. He said the water was shut off, and they were going to talk to the owner to see what was going on. We decided to get our breakfast going so we could go ahead and do the last part of our trip.

If you think the hell stops there… the electricity shut off. Now the electric stove I brought was all for nothing. They said the circuit breakers shorted out and there was no way to get a quick fix. That’s when my whole party decided to pack it in. We placed all our belongings in the car and just gave our kids a quick walk by the beach. I tried calling and messaging the host but he didn’t reply until later on that day, offering a $100 discount. While I was talking to the host I told him that we ended up leaving the house to get a hotel room so we could get a decent shower, we ended up throwing our food to be cooked away because it was already half spoiled, and we ended up spending more for breakfast and lunch. The whole party ended up spending more, with the intention of saving using Airbnb. This was not even my first time going to Mexico as my wife has family down there.

The sad part is that it was my cousins’ first time coming down there. I called Airbnb and told them what happened. They told me to send a copy of the receipt of the electric stove that I bought and they would reimburse me $200 and the host $250. However, the food wasted, the stress, the hotel we ended up renting to shower in, the unplanned breakfast and lunch… I told Airbnb that it doesn’t even come close to whatever they were reimbursing me. Airbnb got so rude, thinking I was money hungry, which I’m not. I just wanted my party to be given back what they thought was right. The operator was no help either, telling me that the case was already closed and they could not reimburse anyone in my party because they were not listed on the website. I put down ten people as guests and they told me I should have put their names down so they could reimburse them. I’m still waiting on Airbnb to fix this for me.

Blocked Toilet and Freezing Shower Make a Bad Stay

I have been trying to get in contact with Airbnb for days to resolve an issue. The only time I got to talk to them was the day I decided to cancel my booking. The only person at customer service was a lady who was really hard to understand; it seemed like she had a muffin in her mouth, or was talking under a pillow. Her instructions were not clear; they left me even more confused and disappointed.

I made a booking for six days in one place. The toilet was blocked and every time I flushed it, it overflowed. It was the first day and first time entering in that toilet; it was supposed to be my private bathroom but it was dirty. I really needed to use it and felt uncomfortable telling the hosts the toilet was dirty. When I flushed everything just came back out. It was very uncomfortable because my host accused me of blocking in up when I had just arrived.

It was late and I took a shower before bed. The hot water was off and the shower was freezing cold. Coming out of the bathroom, I had to go through the baby’s room. He started to cry, and then the host said I was not allowed to use the shower or toilet at night because the baby would wake up very easily. I started to feel really annoyed.

The next day, due to jet lag, I slept all day. However, I woke up to eat something in the middle of the night since I was also very thirsty. The host’s mother came to the kitchen to say I was making noise, when in fact I was as quiet as a mouse. Again, I could not take a shower so I decided to cancel the booking the next day. In the morning, while getting dressed, their baby bumped my door open when I was practically naked. I notified the host and Airbnb about the cancellation and left the place.

Airbnb told me when the booking was completed they were going to refund me for the days left. I have been trying to reach them without any success, only to have them direct me to the host. I asked the host for a refund but she decided to insult me, saying that my change to the booking didn’t work. When I cancelled the booking, Airbnb didn’t get back to me at all. They paid the host the full amount.

What is going on? Where is the guarantee and protection for the guest? This is not fair.

Filthy Condo Forces Couple to Leave Early

My wife and I were very disappointed with our stay at this property in Laguna Niguel. I would not recommend this condo; it should be removed from Airbnb. We only stayed three nights then could not stand it any longer so we booked a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Irvine. Upon entering the condo, we noticed the place smelled. We found the property to be very dirty. Countertops had dirt and grit and had not been wiped or cleaned prior to our arrival. Toilets had not been cleaned and had dirt and hair on the tops of the bowls and rims. Bathroom countertops had not been cleaned and had dirt, hair, and grit. When we tried to clean the area with wipes, they came away with quite a bit of black stuff and dirt.

There was mold in the master bathroom’s shower. This concerned us very much. The sheets for the master bed were washed and folded on the bed, but when we made the bed we found the sheets were stained and made of a very cheap, thin material. We did not use the second bedroom with a twin bed as it was only the two of us. The towels and washcloths were very old and grey from long-term use and multiple washings (in other words, not white anymore); one washcloth even had very dark stains. It made us uncomfortable to use them.

The shower wand in the master bath was lying on the floor of the shower and I thought it must have fallen. When I put the wand in the holder it was dripping. Attempting to turn the hot and cold faucets off securely did not stop the dripping and this was the reason the shower wand was left on the floor of the shower (otherwise when sleeping you would hear the constant drip).

The condo only had a toaster oven and no microwave. The toaster oven was dirty. The coffee pot was a very old drip type with no cup markings on the carafe or water reservoir to tell you how may cups of water for filling so it made it difficult to determine how much coffee (scoops) to put into the filter. There was spilled and crusted food on the shelves of the refrigerator.

On Wednesday morning we got up early and washed the sheets and towels as instructed (this took over two hours to wash and dry, so we made sure to get up early to complete this task). We mopped the floors (the mop we found was filthy). When I went to vacuum the carpets, I found the filter was completely clogged and caked with dirt. I cannot imagine how this vacuum could have picked up any dirt from the carpets. For a filter to be clogged and caked this severely must have been from neglect over a matter of months. The connecting hose from the vacuum head to the filter was duct taped. I cleaned the filter as best I could between each of the pleats.

We just could not stay in this condo, so we left early and reserved a room at the Hilton Garden Inn at John Wayne Airport. This added an extra $300 on top of the $480 we paid for four nights in the condo. The host responded to our review stating that we were “scammers”. This was my 67th birthday. I am a professional engineer and very responsible and very clean. We keep our home immaculate.

Incorrect Compensation for Working Hot Tub

We had been scheduled to host three people for a month. Before they checked in we asked them if they wanted us to fill up the jacuzzi for them but they said we could just show them how it worked when we met at check in. We instructed them about this the moment they arrived at the apartment. Two or three days later they contacted us again saying the jacuzzi wasn’t working so we sent one of our staff members to show them again how it worked and once again instructed them.

A week before they were schedule to check out we received an email from a case manager at Airbnb saying we needed to send documentation that showed the jacuzzi was working. I responded “How can I do this?”

The case manager said we needed to go and take a picture of the jacuzzi when it’s filled up and so on. We wrote the guests about this asking to come and do this but they didn’t respond. The same day they were supposed to check out we went there and took a video and pictures. However,t Airbnb sent us a decision before we had finished saying we needed to compensate the guests 691 USD because the jacuzzi wasn’t working. Now it doesn’t matter what I send them as they are saying our deadline has passed. It’s very frustrating and I can’t get in touch with anyone at customer service or file a complaint.

Hosting Companies Are Slowly Ruining Airbnb

I am neither a host nor guest although I have used Airbnb as a guest and had great experiences. I applied for a casual job as a cleaner for an Airbnb house. In applying I dealt with the owner. After weeks of delays and masses of emails the house was finally on the market.

It was only then that I realised it was managed by a hosting company and they were in another country, as was the owner. The house was just that; it was certainly not a home and to begin with only had the absolute minimum of fittings (cheap bedding, one towel per guest, no saucepans, cooking utensils, oven and dishwasher not working, no toaster, no microwave etc). Basically it was a two bedroom house with a queen bed in one room and a horrible single bunk in the second room. While it was advertised as suitable for five people, one would have to sleep on a thin foam mattress in the master bedroom and the other guest on the lounge in the living area near the TV.

This lounge was not a sofa bed, and was not long enough for an adult to stretch out his legs. There were no glasses (just plastic cups), one mug, plate, bowl per person and the same with cutlery. There were no pictures on the walls (just the hooks where pictures had been) no books, magazines, music, or DVDs. There was a large TV that has the minimum number of stations available, i.e. no cable or Netflix or something similar. There is internet and it is actually rather good.

People are being charged nearly $170 a night for this. I spent a lot of my own time cleaning the house before the first guests as it just had that dirt that tends to accumulate when someone lives there, especially when you remove most of the furniture. For some bizarre reason, it was heavily booked for the first few months. All short-term guests seemed happy enough. By this time I had convinced the owner to purchase a few necessities such as drinking glasses, extra bedding (winter was on the way), and saucepans. Some things I bought myself as I realised they were needed.

Once some longer term people stayed, they mentioned in their reviews things such as the fact there was no oven or dishwasher. The ‘host’, who pretends to be the owner, told big fat lies and said the previous guests had damaged the dishwasher; that’s why it didn’t work. A previous time they said a guest had broken the oven, when it has never worked. When other guests mentioned the lack of cooking facilities, the ‘host’ basically accused them of being too fussy. None of this “customer is always right” stuff.

When you look at the reviews the hosting companies give for each guest, it’s exactly the same wording for every one, so completely useless as a guide to other hosts. I used to give them a review of each group of guests as they left but now I don’t bother. There’s no point. This host (who uses a pseudonym to pretend he isn’t the owner) has never been to the house, just seen some very selective images sent by the owner. I am the one who deals with the guests. They have mostly been wonderful and grateful for the effort I have made to make sure the property is clean and as comfortable as possible.

When I consider that I originally thought Airbnb was a platform to have a local experience: have access to a home so that you could live, cook, maybe even have someone over for dinner and experience someone’s home. The host that runs this house has hundreds of properties yet still pretends guests are dealing directly with the owner. I need the work so I am still cleaning (and of course have become the contact person when things go wrong). I think places run by hosting companies should be marked as such. Some people might actually prefer it that way.

The problem is of course, once business takes over where communities once reigned, it all goes horribly wrong. eBay is the perfect example of that. Owners who share their homes with guests are mostly going to be proud of their place and treat the guests with respect. That has been my experience using Airbnb. Hosting companies just want to make money and do very little other than take bookings and money, and then take a really long time to pay.