To Effect Change, Just Don’t Use Airbnb

I really think that the best way to effect changes in the Airbnb system is to simply not use Airbnb. Money talks. I will never again stay at an Airbnb property. I discussed my concerns with a live agent from Airbnb and she confirmed that there are no site visits to the properties and no real training is provided for hosts. Not everyone is suited to be a host, plain and simple. Properties need to have standards enforced since some hosts just don’t know how to provide a safe, clean and comfortable environment.

My most recent stay was in a very cute converted garage (built around the 1940’s) which I do not believe had any insulation. The space was very hot despite using the fan provided. Many of the electrical outlets were apparently original to the garage and were so worn out that some could barely hold a plug without it falling out; this is a fire hazard because a loose outlet can produce an arc if it can’t make solid contact with the plug. Also, the housekeeping staff heavily oiled all of the varnished wood tables (you don’t oil sealed wood furniture) so that I had sticky oil all over my fingers, laptop and the mouse. There was hair in the shower, and the bath exhaust fan was so filthy that I couldn’t figure out how any air could pass through.

This was my second experience staying at an Airbnb facility; my first experience was better, except that the mattress and box spring were directly on the floor (no bed frame of any kind.) Hosts need to be trained and the lodgings need periodic inspections. Of course Airbnb will never do this because it costs too much.

Desperate Situation After Airbnb Refuses to Answer

I made a reservation on Airbnb for seven weeks in Paris as I was doing an internship there. On our arrival, we noticed that the apartment was a bit dirty and very stinky (cigarettes) and noisy (neighbors). Tired from our travels, we did’t want to make a fuss so we cleaned a bit by ourselves. When we got home at 9:30 PM after a long walk we realized there was no cover for the two-person bed as written on the description. We had to buy one (70€) for our first night. We tried to contact the host but there was no reply that day.

We contacted Airbnb the next morning. They tried to contact our host but he made no effort to find a solution or give us a refund; he denied the facts. There was no hairdryer as described too. On the eighth day, we discovered something else: cockroaches. We couldn’t stay there anymore and made a reclamation on the Airbnb website. They told us we could cancel our reservation and make another reservation. They also promised us we would get a full refund for the nights we didn’t spend there (1000€). That’s what I did; I made a reservation for another apartment (2500€) but my refund was only 39€. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Since then I have been trying to reach them by phone and messaging to get my money back but there has been no answer. I’m quite desperate…

Uninhabitable Accommodation Means Airbnb Refuses Refund

We booked a room through Airbnb and when we arrived we found the room to be completely uninhabitable. The most pressing issue was the temperature; the room was freezing, with no heating provided. It was 7 degrees Celsius outside, and the external walls were paper thin. There was condensation on the windows and walls. Furthermore, the toilet was broken; the cistern was permanently discharging, with the constant noise of running water and making it impossible to flush. There were other issues too, including excessive noise from above.

We notified the hosts, who agreed with our assessment that the room was uninhabitable, and we had no option other than to leave and seek alternative accommodation (at 10:00 PM). Airbnb does not have a contact number, leaving us with no one to call and having to fend for ourselves. Given that the host completely agreed with us, we thought that we’d at least be able to get a full refund for the room – how wrong we were.

Airbnb will not refund their service fees, their cleaning fees, or their processing fees, so in total are only prepared to refund about 75% of the price we paid, despite the room being completely uninhabitable, the host agreeing with us, and us not having spent a single night there. Airbnb does not have a contact number, so I have been left communicating via their online message system (taking a day for them to reply between messages) with someone who doesn’t have a good grasp of the English language and is making unreasonable requests (they want photo evidence that it was cold – how exactly do they expect me to do that, unless of course they expect their guests to carry a thermometer with them).

Given this, we immediately looked into cancelling our other Airbnb bookings for this trip. Given the experience we’ve just had we didn’t want to risk it. All the bookings were listed as free cancellation, and we are within the cancellation window. However, Airbnb’s policy is to never refund their service fee, even when a room is cancelled or there is a problem. They don’t care what you do, because they get paid anyway.

I have no worries about getting my money back – it was paid using Amex and their customer service is exceptional. They’ll provide the refund immediately and claim it back from Airbnb. I’m sure that our experience here is a one off, and the vast majority of stays go without issue. However, if something does go wrong, Airbnb will leave you on your own to deal with it, will make any attempt to get a resolution exceedingly difficult and will refuse to provide a full refund. You have been warned.

Airbnb Host Lies When Wifi Fails at Berlin Apartment

Today is twelve days before our trip to Berlin, and our Airbnb host informed us that they are having problems with their wifi; there will be no wifi in the apartment when we arrive. As we are going on a business trip, this is not okay with us – it’s a very big deal. The host told me that they can offer 20% discount because of this, or a full refund if we are not okay with it.

Firstly, how can a host offer discounts? It’s not through Airbnb – just on his word alone, and that’s not good. In any case, we are not okay with it. The apartment is very expensive at 150€ per night. We are on business trip and don’t need to stay there if there is no wifi at all. I asked the host to cancel the reservation. She said she would not cancel it, and that I needed to cancel. I told her by Airbnb’s rules, if I cancel I can’t get a refund. Again, she told me to cancel and I would get a full refund. However, this is a lie.

I just read the rules again; Airbnb says you should never cancel a booking yourself because you will not get a full refund, so the host is lying to me. Why she is doing this? Is this normal for Airbnb? I’m honestly shocked. I rented the apartment for 790€ for five days, so it’s a lot of money for me. I should be treated well. We agreed with the owner at first, but she informed us that the apartment is still not ready. The wifi has not yet been fixed. If I knew there would be no wifi I would never have booked it. We are coming for overseas for work; it’s not two kids traveling, but professionals. I’m ready to contact my lawyer.

Disgusting, Unsafe Accommodation Forces me to Leave

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There were some issues at my Airbnb property: an unsafe environment, and unclean accommodations. It was not as described. Sadly upon arrival at the booked accommodation I was greeted by what I can only describe as the British version of Beirut. Within the property I found a substandard and not as described room which was unsafe, dank, dark and dirty. In all honesty my heart sank at the rundown room that I discovered was where I was to stay, with a balcony door that led out onto a definitively questionable easy to access area of disrepair with a lock that wouldn’t keep a Care Bear out, let alone a rapist at 3:00 AM. I have never felt so unsafe in my life.

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Upon checking the rest of the facilities, I discovered wires hanging from the ceiling and walls, a garden with rubbish bags, a fridge full of expired food and quite frankly disgusting fermented urine within the toilet; that musky aroma overpowered my nose and sent me to tears. A public toilet was cleaner and safer that the property that was meant to be of a high standard.

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Due to the panic attack that ensued and the pictures I took, which horrified one of my friends in Scotland, they swiftly booked me into a hotel as it was so bad there was no way any of us would of been able to sleep due to fear of my safety. The bed sheets appeared stained and mucky, the curtains were damp, and the whole flat was a safety risk with the lack of security and exposed wires above what I can only assume was meant to be considered a dining table.

This, regardless of Airbnb’s terms and conditions, is not acceptable. They have failed to provide a service to a reasonable standard. This also falls under the remit of not as described and failure to provide a standard of reasonable care to a service user. I’m requesting a full refund as well as compensation for the Uber and hotel room that was required due to Airbnb’s safeguard failings for which both receipts of which are included. I wish this matter to be resolved in a timely manner. If this is not resolved within 28 days I will be pursuing a legal case via small claims for all costs incurred while attempting to use Airbnb as well as compensation for the stress.

With Airbnb, There’s Always That One Guy…

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How does the saying go, “There’s always that one guy…”? Well…. Here’s the ultimate case in point. Meet our neighbor, who is an Airbnb Superhost. For the last two years, against our repeated requests to desist, has fraudulently included pictures of our land, and that of our adjacent neighbors in her listing, describing our lands as a “wildlife preserve” and a “treat for those who love hiking, bird watching and nature in its pure, undisturbed form.”

Needless to say, the fraudulent advertisement of our lands has created an ongoing problem of Airbnb guests trespassing on our property and/or stealing our kayaks, crab pots, fishing gear and boats. At our wit’s end, we finally filed a formal complaint with Airbnb over four weeks ago, but to date, no action has been taken by either Airbnb or the host to remove the pictures, and all of our inquiries on the matter have been stonewalled by Airbnb.

Although we feel badly for the unwitting Airbnb guests, we foresee a lot of ruined vacations on their end, as we intend to press charges for every future incident of trespass and/or theft. Good fences make for good neighbors, but non-Airbnbers make for the best kind of neighbors. Just say no to Airbnb.

Left Airbnb After Host Lied About Internet Access

I was a regular Airbnb customer, and this is my story. I went to Brazil for a business trip, from Ireland. I booked a room in Sao Paulo. I was arriving on a Sunday, and I work remotely for an Irish company. Therefore an internet connection is a must for me every place I go. I arrived to this place, and there was no person to welcome me; the host left one key with the concierge of the building, who works for the building and not for the host, so he gave me the key and that was it.

I entered the place, and there was no internet. I worked with it, spending two hours trying to fix it, but everything seemed normal – the reason there was no internet was actually that there was no service, so you could connect to the network, but there was no connection. I went to a bar with free wifi and contacted the host. She told me she lived 800 km from there, and that she would contact the internet company. Then she confirmed there was something wrong and that the company would fix it on Monday.

As I had to work, I moved into a hotel beside the property, where I was able to connect to the wifi. I spent ten nights in that hotel and the internet problem was never resolved. The host said to Airbnb that there were no internet problems, and that the issue was probably my device, being that I had four devices, and I worked in IT. Therefore I requested a refund from Airbnb. After the first night, Airbnb told me they would not refund me if I cancelled from their website. In fact I did not cancel the booking from the website, and they told me: “Okay, but you left the place” I said: “Yes, I left, but I still have the key.”

Then they asked me to provide pictures. I provided pictures of the modem with all the lights on, the devices not connecting, etc. The host got her money for no one being there, Airbnb has had my case open now for four months, and no one has yet contacted me. When I call Airbnb they say: “Your case is with the legal department…” I believe Airbnb could have stopped the payment from going to the host until the case had been resolved.

Airbnb Not Providing Guest Protection As Advertised

Never again, Airbnb. I am a professional and network daily with many other professionals, government personnel, and elected officials. I’m now attempting to get back more than $3,000 from a host whose property was seriously falsely advertised and unusable. To date, Airbnb customer service has been no help as advertised. One of the reasons I used Airbnb for a Cape Kata/Thailand rental was because they claimed they would help if there were major issues upon arrival and the funds would not be turned over to the host for at least 24 hours after arrival in the event something was wrong. It was wrong alright.

The photos used by the host were apparently taken over a decade ago when the property, pool and furnishings were in better shape. We arrived to find a rundown, grossly unsafe property which included but was not limited to: mold in the bathrooms and throughout the units; an active aggressive beehive with bees inside the units; broken and uneven stairs to/from the units; multiple spider webs in the bathroom areas; old severely worn furniture with some pieces broken; a brown-stained pool with dirt and leaves and other unknown items; marijuana butts found outside doors of the rooms/units; personal items (probably staff) including used toothbrushes, clothing, and other hygiene-related garments in all the units.

We were unable to reach the owner. A staff member in charge of the property told us this happens all the time and people refused to stay once they arrive and actually see the property. After a 26-hour flight and an hour taxi ride to the property, I had to scramble to find another suitable place to stay (last minute hotel) at great expense for my family and grandchildren. There has been no help thus far from Airbnb. Of course the property owner is claiming nothing was wrong and he was never contacted.

Now I’m in a fight to recover my $3,000. Never again Airbnb. I’m going to tell everyone I come into contact with about this horrific experience. If I can average just five people a day, that’s 1825 people a year and if those people share my Airbnb and Cape Kata horror story with just five others, that’s 9125 I can reach this year alone, not including Facebook, pictures of the property I’ll post on Instagram, etc.

Penthouse in Chiang Mai with Dismissive Host

Do not rent this apartment. Stay away from this apartment and landlord. If you are spending this kind of money, you are a discerning traveler. I lived in the unit for nearly five weeks and know the unit and building inside and out. The building is very old but in a good location. The building certainly has not kept up with newer properties in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai. I knew about the airplanes taking off low and overhead, one every five minutes or less from 12:15 AM to 5:45 AM, but that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Moments after I checked out of the unit after nearly five weeks of staying there, I got a email from Airbnb asking for about $700. I was shocked, but this is how the landlord operates. I completely disputed her claim and would not pay the money requested. As a matter of fact, I have received a partial refund for my problems. Who do you believe?

On March 3rd, we had a walk-through and she returned my security deposit and was all smiles but now is trying to “retrade” the rental rate, which from the messaging she was always complaining about my low rental rate. Let me further explain my side of things.

First off, she claimed I fried the security camera. I don’t know one way or the other about the security cameras, but I’m sure I had nothing to do with it. During my stay there were many surges or brief disruptions of power that required me to go into the utility closet and reset the internet router. The router was next the security system main box, or at least I believed it to be the security camera main box. I noticed that all of this was connected to a surge protector power strip. So based on that alone there is no way the system is fried. She just doesn’t know how to reset.

As another layer of power protection, I noticed the security system also had a spare backup battery. If you know anything about power backups, you know they also offer surge power protection. The landlord lives in Bangkok and is basically absentee, so she has no idea what is going on, and only wants to collect money and not deal with the responsibilities of ownership. The backup battery is probably dead. There’s no way that the system was fried. She’s just a mean lady and trying to get money out of me. I do not accept this.

The landlord also doesn’t know how to work her electronics which she admitted to me on day one. I have a whole list of things that she refused to acknowledge that I raised on day one. Most importantly, the place was uninhabitable because of bar and nightclub noise and loud music festivals across the street. Besides the outrageously loud festivals where the mattress, walls, and windows shook, the apartment throbbed with bar and nightclub bass and noise seven days a week. I have lots of videos documenting this.

Another major problem was that one of the major air conditioners was blowing hot air and would not work. As result, the apartment was much warmer than it should have been. I have video of the thermostat where it shows the big main room is 84.4 degrees. I complained in writing on day one about this. She was very quick to say that since I got a discount, she was not up for repairs or problems and insisted ‘everything was perfect’. Upon checkout I showed her the problem with the air-conditioner and she said that since it would’ve taken four workmen to address the problem she did not want to disturb me. That was a bunch of baloney. She’s a double crosser.

The showerhead needed to be replaced because there was build up inside the shower head. I complained in an email on day one about the shower head. It’s either in a direct email to her or in the Airbnb messages, not sure. She would not admit to this and insisted everything was fine (from far away Bangkok). Now she is trying to charge me saying I ruined the shower head. It might simply need to be tightened – I’m not sure. She didn’t even check, and she’s just trying to charge me.

The fan is kitchen was out, which made the kitchen operations less than ideal. The apartment smelled of whatever the next door neighbor was cooking. She was terribly bitter about sending a man out to set up the cable box. She’s very mean.

The bedding was a joke. On day one we complained we had a comforter with just the insides but no duvet. There was no response except to question my ‘mental stability’. Today during the walkthrough she surmised that if only the cleaning knew to add a duvet it would have been done. She had an answer for everything but it never solved the problem. The king mattress was a $99 special so I offered to split the cost of a foam topper but got scolded in writing.

We were promised weekly cleaning but only got one weekly cleaning in the 33+ days we were there. Meanwhile we kept the place in immaculate condition. Thirteen ceiling lights were out which she failed to deal with prior to delivery (absentee). I took it upon my myself to go into old town (major traffic) to a wholesale lighting supplier and spent the afternoon on a ladder replacing lightbulbs. When I informed her of this, she never thanked me or acknowledged it, just continued to attack me in messages.

On day one, I complained about these issues, especially the bad AC and the festival noise, and she said that I didn’t pay enough to get 24-hour service and that otherwise everything was fine. I responded with some hot rhetoric but never crossed the line (because my mother raised me right). She then threatened to have the Thai military police toss me out, and I have this in so many words in writing.

Furthermore, she questioned my mental stability in writing, when in fact I’m a meditator, yogi, vegan, and strivingly conscious person for whatever that is worth to you. Following her threat, I sent her an apology email because I was literally afraid for my well being. Thai military police don’t ask questions. Think about that for a minute. An Airbnb property being the nexus of threatening American citizens like this.

The good guy part of me also wanted to be on good terms with someone like my landlord. She was holding $660 cash as a security today upon checkout, and she gave me back only $450 because she says I used too much electricity. In fact the contract allowed for 50 kW per day, but there was just the two of us, and it turns out 50 kW a day is not enough. This is unethical. It’s a set up to be able to hold some of the security deposit. What a scam. I then learned that it is against Airbnb policy to give and accept cash for security. She’s an experienced landlord with Airbnb so she should have known better. I did not.

Sorry Airbnb. I have written a candid and truthful review. People should know the truth. People who spend this kind of money expect more and they expect to be treated the way that they would treat someone. You know who you are. The landlord’s approach to everything is not acceptable. Find another place to stay.

Inaccessible, Leaky House in Bali Makes for a Bad Stay

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We booked a house in Bali this February 2018 for 25 days. Overall the reviews were good – 4 1/2 stars – so we trusted in them. However, as we arrived we saw that the whole house was a rundown disaster. The most it was capable of was for private use, but not in any condition to rent out as a holiday home at all.

We are pretty sure the house was built on a cliff without any permission. During rainy season the part of the cliff where the house was built on was eaten away by big rock and mudslides due to the fact that the water was running down to the sea nearly every day… that was scary. The only access to the house was over steps, but not normal steps; you had to climb around ten minutes down the cliff, over broken, irregular, slippery, tumble-down steps.

When it was dark, of course there was no light on the property. To give it a little bit more of a kick, there were cables everywhere and water pipes running over the steps; we had to clamber over them. The whole stair system wasn’t maintained at all; we all slipped away, because it was so mossy and slippery like ice. My son and I were injured on our arms and legs and we’re not too stupid to walk up steps. As we were travelling with our child, it was impossible to walk up them everyday during those 25 days. In the Airbnb listing the host didn’t even mention one word about the steps or difficult access to the house and she knew that we were travelling with our child.

The house and the whole area were so rotten and covered with trash and mud that there were rats climbing into the main room and over the roof of the bedrooms. In one bedroom, there was a lot of water damage; there was always water running down the wall over the ceiling when it was raining… and we stayed during rainy season. It was extremely humid, stinky and moldy. There was no way to use this room.

We already had the electricity break down on the first night, but we couldn’t find the fuse box. The next day the housemaid came, because we informed her an electrician had to come. He just “fixed” it superficially, but at least we knew about the fuse box. We were shocked to see an open box with just three simple fuses for the whole house, open wired cables, no FI switch, everything outside behind the house just a few centimetres away from the thatched roof. In front of the box was construction waste and big glass shards, so it was hard to get there and not get injured. The whole situation was unacceptable and really dangerous.

Not even this was not enough. The host placed two night table lamps next to the bed in the main room. One lamp had parts of a broken cable with open wires; she just fixed it with paper tape. The other lamp she extended not with a proper extension cord, just by cutting the plug from two cables and connecting them very amateurishly. This was one reason for the regular electricity blackouts until the whole makeshift wiring started to burn down under our bed. I could make the list longer and longer.

Just to be clear – the host wasn’t Indonesian. We met extra friendly and reliable Indonesian people whilst travelling over seven weeks in Bali. All the other accommodations we had stayed in were above average, the same price level with a super fair price-performance ratio. The host from the horror house came from Europe. She was travelling the world and wrote that she studied economics; she should have known better. For sure everything she did was on purpose and her whole behaviour was negligent.

We were really in shock about the whole situation and we tried hard to find new accommodations near us for a long term stay. We moved out on day 3 of 25. We tried to find a solution first with the host, then “together” with Airbnb; that’s what made the situation even more absurd. We wrote a safety warning addressed to Airbnb about this location, but they seemed fine with everything.

Airbnb’s “mediation center” decided that everything was perfect in the house and there was no refund at all for us – we paid over €2000. No apology or regret from the host, just lies and rudeness. We filmed and photographed the whole circumstance, so we could prove it all. We gave all the information to Airbnb, as we were told. We talked on the phone to our “case manager”, someone who seemed mostly trained to deny, and not provide customer service or problem solving.

The host lied to Airbnb by saying that the photos and videos weren’t from her house, but if you compare them, it’s easy for anyone to see that they are. The case manager just didn’t care. Obviously it worked better for her denying policy to just not see the issues? Just be careful with Airbnb claims – you have just 24 hours to file a report with Airbnb. After that you are out, no matter what is up. This time is set not to make it customer friendly – it is set up to exclude an enormous number of claims.

Our realistic, but not good review just came up on the page, when we pressed Airbnb. It even came up late. Normally it has to be posted within 14 days and we wrote it on the first day of the automatic invitation to review. Did you know that every guest has to write a review first and then the host has to review it before his review will be published? When he does nothing and he is clever enough, he can censor the review or even prevent it from being posted.

Of course the host gave a bad review for us on Airbnb with lots of lies and incivilities, even though we left her house with respect, no damages, no mess, and no dust or trash behind us. After all of that, we still got a bad review. This review system in our opinion is not a realistic or democratic process. We don’t trust it at all anymore, and we don’t trust Airbnb.

They just want to get bigger and bigger. It is not about hosting anymore, it is just about making money and winning market shares. They don’t care about a single customer, they take it all from us, and if they skip one they take from the next. They don’t care about the neighbourhoods or the cities they are destroying, they don’t care about the originally nice idea of hosting, and they don’t care about culture. They are just pretending. They are abusing everything to get more. They are a hypercapitalist ulcer that pretends to bring the people together, but they really don’t care… we are not conspiracy theorists.

The house is still online. Airbnb is doing nothing, so be careful with booking with them, something I would never do again, even when there are lots of nice hosts. I’m sure I will find real hospitality somewhere else. We booked Airbnb five times. We had two really bad experiences: the first we tried to take with humor and did not complain, but the second one was enough. We put Airbnb on the case, and that’s what made the whole situation even more obvious that this would be our last time.