A Holiday from Hell Thanks to Flooded Apartment

We arrived in Palma to find our apartment had been flooded. Our host took us to another that had been hurriedly evacuated by a Roma family (at least that’s how it looked). Our dealings with our Eastern European host were through a go-between who was simply charming and promised the Earth, but delivered nothing. We were promised we would eventually be settled in our booked apartment but it was never going to happen.

On our third day, water poured out from our shower and flooded the place, so we were moved to a hotel for one night. At first the go-between, who was on a sympathy kick, told us how lucky we were and he was paying for the hotel out of his own pocket. Fawlty Towers would have been an improvement.

Despite being asked to provide three rooms, the owner waited until we arrived before frantically searching for bed linen. We were asked to wait with our cases half way up an unlit staircase while he went looking. After twenty minutes or so there was a frantic knocking on the front door – the police. They had come to arrest a guy in the room opposite the one I was destined for. There weren’t three rooms, only two.

At this we told the go-between to forget it. He finally put us in a hostel. It was clean and modern and had ensuites so we were okay with this. But we had no idea where we were staying the following night as he had confessed our originally booked apartment was nowhere near habitable, the cost of the hostel was twice that of Fawlty Towers, and he wasn’t sure he’d get back what he’d already paid.

We had already started negotiating with Airbnb by email and phone (they hate you using the phone and hide contact numbers). They had only two responses to urgent messages: Airbnb didn’t believe we weren’t in the booked apartment so we had to send photos to prove it. Of course, by then we were in the hostel. Luckily I had taken a couple of pics to send to my wife so we retrieved those and sent them to Airbnb.

They then agreed on a partial refund but debited us the full cost of the first night, despite the fact that our original contract had not been honoured. We had already booked a new apartment so the refund was good news but still cost us. Then as we were (mid-afternoon) on our way to the new place the phone rang and it was the go-between, saying the leak had been repaired and we could go back to our revolting apartment. We told him where he could shove it.

The new apartment was lovely, modern and clean. However it turned out this apartment was next to a drug dealer’s home. Although the block had a entry lock I think they disabled it at night. We had paper-thin walls, and comings and goings all night long. This ended at 5:00 AM on our last night with a couple of guys hammering on the door and kicking it trying to attract attention. I’m not sure anyone was even in. I got out of bed and went to our door to suggest they stop (unpleasant confrontation in the extreme) but parted telling them I was calling the police. They left. The end of a lovely holiday.

Attempted False Charges after Nightmare Stay

We rented an Airbnb in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in December. Immediately after the payment, Airbnb notified us that the owner wanted an additional $600 in addition to the posted cost. We refused to pay. After checking out, the owner claimed we stole six forks that cost $15 each and demanded payment for that and an extra cleaning charge on top of the $125 we had already paid.

The property needed no more than the usual cleaning that one would expect. For ten days we had no clean towels or sheets and the temperature dropped to the 40s for three nights. There was no heat. The owner said she would do something about it, but did not. A portable space heater would have been sufficient.

The advertisement on Airbnb stated that the place had cable TV and wifi. The TV was hooked up to an antenna and reception constantly broke up which made it virtually impossible to watch a program or a football game. The wifi was also intermittent.

No one puts $15 forks in a rental unit when they can be bought very cheaply at Walmart. We refused to pay the additional charges; however, Airbnb has your credit card and can make charges if they agree with the owner. In this case, the owner did not respond to our complaints about the charges when we refused to pay and Airbnb did not charge us.

One night we stayed in a hotel which cost less and was much nicer. We will not use Airbnb again as they apparently have no quality control and accept owners’ descriptions of their properties even if they are false.

The Airbnb Customer is Not Always Right

What a joke; I thought the customer was always right. Not in this case. I brought issues to a host’s attention about his place and the lack of help from his helper. Well, you thought I had accused him of fraud or something worse. Never had he heard this before, claiming he only had “happy customers”… just some of the responses he was giving me. He then went on to respond online about this, stating that I was impolite and rude to his assistant. If asking for someone to show their face and meet the customer to make sure everything is okay (finding where to go, making sure the room is suitable to enter, finding all the necessary items needed – towels, water, facilities to eat) then we must of been the rudest people ever.

The Airbnb response was even better, stating that we had been put on the “not providing a quality customer” category. Needless to say, we will not be using Airbnb again and certainly will not be using this whole building again, let alone this host. After reading some of the responses here, I know our situation is not that severe, but when you pay a decent amount of money to have a good holiday only to be treated like we had done something criminal it has an affect on you. I do feel better knowing we are not the only ones but feel sorry for those who have been put through this as well. Thank you for listening to my winge.

Airbnb Listing was Nothing like the Description

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My wife and I were in Mansfield, Victoria and we needed a place to stay for my mother’s funeral. We searched and found a place with great pictures that showed it being neat and tidy with positive reviews. We booked it and arrived at the agreed time, then immediately noticed that the place did not resemble the photos: the garden was neglected, the grass overgrown, there were weeds all over the flower beds, etc. This was an extremely neglected property.

My wife stayed in the car and I knocked on the door to meet the host. Several dogs were barking and jumped all over me. The host arrived and the dogs continued to jump as I walked into the house. The foul stench from the five other dogs in the house was overwhelming and once again the property did not resemble the photos; the host had not cleaned and it was very untidy.

After viewing the messy kitchen I was taken over the long grass to the self contained studio. I was horrified when I entered; she had made one bed and the other was a bare mattress with a pile of crumpled sheets on top. There were no pictures of the interior on the website and I understood why. The two beds were pushed into the corners of the room. In between the beds there was a space of one meter and a large 1.5-meter high weaving loom occupied it. What could we possibly want to use this for, I asked myself?

There was a large clothes stand storing random items occupying the rest of the space. I was speechless; this was a storage shed and she was renting it out. Worse still, the corrugated tin roof was exposed on the inside, radiating heat like you wouldn’t believe. No wonder there were two oversized pedestal fans randomly placed inside, because there were no fly screens on the windows. She generously supplied insect repellent just in case we needed to open the windows and let in the cool air.

There was no fridge, running water, kettle, microwave, TV, Internet, or bath towels – just some beds and some useless junk. I noticed that there were no outside lights and the main house with a toilet and running water was some 100 meters away. There was no path leading to the main house and the grass was quite overgrown, with plenty of places for the Australian insects and reptiles to hide out of sight when it got dark.

We both like to shower at night before bed and I knew my wife was not going to handle this. I took it up with the host who explained that there were torches in case we needed to visit the main house during the night. My wife and I stayed for ten minutes before we walked back to the house and told her that it was not acceptable. We asked for a refund and she refused and became quite hostile at that point. She told us that this is the country and that’s how people live here. Worse still, I received a message later to say that she had contacted the police and they are looking for us. She also posted a review of us to say that we damaged the property.

Two Nights in Airbnb Hell for Pregnant Guests

My boyfriend and I wanted a quick vacation before the arrival of our first child. At four and a half months pregnant, we drove down to Miami from Toronto. We booked a nice-looking studio apartment in Miami and got ready for our trip. So, we made the 24-hour drive down to Miami and arrived at our listing.

The host came out of her house to greet us and show us to our place. She showed us where to find the key, and then started speaking to my boyfriend in Spanish. I didn’t understand much of their exchange, but he later explained to me that she told him “The owner of this property lives down the street, if she comes around or asks you any questions, just tell her you’re friends of mine visiting.”

I thought this was kind of sketchy, so I called Airbnb to let them know. Airbnb called me back, and let me know that they’ve simply decided to cancel the reservation and we needed to find a new place to stay. It was a Sunday afternoon at 7:30 PM. I was almost five months pregnant and dead tired from a 2500 km drive. I mentioned this all to the rep on the phone, and she told me that she was finished working and someone new would call me back right away.

Fast forward to two hours later, with me hounding and harassing Airbnb – spent well over 45 minutes waiting on the phone, only to be hung up on multiple times – and finally someone called me back. She said there was nothing available for the same night in our same price range. I argued over and over and over with her, and then she finally asked her manager for an approval to cover the cost of a new, more expensive listing.

She explained that she found a new listing with similar amenities to the one we previously chose. So we went ahead and headed over to the new place. The host on Airbnb was listed as a woman, but some dude showed up to show us around the apartment. We walked in; the place was a disgusting dump. He quickly rushed us through, and showed us the damp towels and airbeds. There was literally nothing else in the apartment. It was an empty apartment with two air mattresses on the floor. There were none of the amenities we previous requested: parking, TV, wifi.

To top it all off, the apartment door was secured only by a cheap $10 doorknob lock. There was a deadbolt, but they didn’t give us the key for it. I called Airbnb again at 11:30 PM and explained to them that this was not acceptable. The man on the phone told us that we should stay the night since it was late. He told me a case manager would contact me in the morning to sort it out.

The next morning, I called Airbnb yet again only to be told that my reservation couldn’t be cancelled since I stayed the first night. I explained to her that I was instructed to stay there by one of her colleagues, and she didn’t care. She told me I had to ask the host for a cancellation. I contacted the host, and she told us she could only offer a 50% refund. She then sent me a few nasty messages saying how we wasted her time and were just scamming her to get a “free night.”

We ignored that and told her we were leaving. She told us to leave the keys on the counter and lock the door. We did as instructed. We did get the 50% refund, and then after more and more arguing with Airbnb and speaking with a manager, they agreed to give us back the other 50% of the money to make a new reservation.

Finally, we brought all of our stuff back to the car, and as we were leaving, we saw a disgusting cockroach in the sink. I took a picture and sent it to Airbnb, which they totally ignored. I called them and aseked if they received my photo; they said someone would call me back. There still hasn’t been a response. I called them again and asked if they were really going to let people keep renting from a place that’s infested with cockroaches, and of course the line “disconnects” again.

Anyway, I put that out of my mind and tried to enjoy the rest of my vacation. A few days later, I saw the initial host wrote a bad review on my profile (how do they even leave me a review when I didn’t even stay at her house?). The second host sent me a request to pay her $285 saying she needed to replace the lock on the door (the $10 doorknob lock) because she couldn’t find the key that I left. I called Airbnb. They told me that I left the key and it was not my problem. The rep on the phone told me that a case manager would call me back. Again, no call back from Airbnb.

What was supposed to be a quick and fun vacation turned into a majorly stressful event. Two days of our week-long trip were wasted moving from listing to listing and talking on the phone with Airbnb reps. I will never use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Nightmare Host Goes to Extremes for Cash

Just prior to my departure from Canada to the UK, the host cancelled the booking we had made ten months prior. Airbnb sent a few recommendations, and we selected one. The pictures on the Airbnb website showed a spacious environment, in which the French Door from the kitchen was open and I assumed led to a garden. I assumed it was a terrace house since that is the style of house I had originally booked.

The property was actually a former counsel flat. The French Doors opened onto a tiny deck measuring approximately two feet by two feet, a far cry from a private garden. The entranceway to the property was littered with garbage and the stairway smelt of urine. A large sign was posted outside the entrance way stating that the authorities were aware of all the violence in this building and surrounding grounds and will be increasing their surveillance of the area. I felt played. I was so terribly mislead. The homeowner told me the doors to the flat needed to be locked at all times due to the high crime rate in the building. Happy holidays.

Do not take Airbnb property recommendations. Do not rent properties that do not show the outside of the building from both the front and back. To protect yourself from bad hosts, I would strongly recommend you take pictures of the inside and outside of the property on arrival and again when you leave, so the condition in which you left a property can not be debated.

The second location I had the displeasure of staying at was in Somerset. The posting made it sound that the house was located in the townsite of Shepton Mallet, but it was in the district of Shepton Mallet, a 15-minute drive to the townsite and any amenities. The pictures on the Airbnb website made the dwelling look much larger than it was and showed lovely white leather furniture. In reality, the inside of the home looked more like a charity shop with all mismatched furniture. The pictures of the outside of the chapel style home showed a lovely manicured lawn, with a fence since the home was supposed to be dog-friendly. We chose this rental primary based on that picture. The garden actually belonged to the neighbour.

On the day of our arrival, we were treated to an extensive electronic rule book and all the additional fees, such as utilities, that could be added after our stay. All additional charges were at the discretion of the host after our departure. Before we left the home my daughter and I tidied up, mopped the floors, put away all the dishes, following the host’s instructions to the letter. The house lacked basic cleaning supplies, and the electronic rule book had stated if there were no cleaning supplies, it was up the guest to buy them.

After our departure, the host fined us for the recycling bin being full and then gave us a bad review for having a full recycling box. Looking for additional funds, they searched the contents of our sealed garbage bags. Potato chip packages were deemed party food, and were written into the review as evidence we were “extreme partiers.” Again, potato chip packages that were pilfered from trash bags. The dog’s adsorbent mats, which we had brought in case the dog had an accident and to protect the host’s home, were found in the garbage and we were billed for them.

These people dug though our garbage to find things to bill for. I find it sickening that the host went through our sealed garbage bags and wrote about us based on the contents. I felt violated. Once again, I felt like I had been played as a fool and was angry that I had spent so much time cleaning up the place and leaving it in much better condition than I found it. I am appalled that this type of host is allowed to continue with Airbnb; she is dishonest, a cheat, and vulgar. All I can assume based on her behaviour she must have a severe mental disorder that has been left untreated.

Ask your host for the square footage of the dwelling, since photographs can be very deceptive and misrepresent the size of the dwelling. Ask your host if the photos of the property are an accurate depiction, and when they were taken. Ask your host if there are additional fees that do not appear on the website. Ask your host about the rules for pets. Do not put dog mats in the property’s garbage bin. It can not be understated how much you need to protect yourself from dishonest hosts, by taking picture of the property on arrival and on departure, and time stamp them.

Hippy Commune Crams in as Many Guests as Possible

My wife and I are frequent travelers for work, so we must find somewhat long-term furnished housing. Typically we will stay in a city for three to six months at a time. We had accepted an assignment near Los Angeles last spring. We decided on a place through HomeAway in Monterey Park for the first month we were living in the area. This turned out to be extremely unaffordable so we turned to Airbnb.

For nearly half of the price, we found this quaint little home on the northern end of Pasadena. After reading all of the reviews, which were mostly all positive, we pulled the trigger on the place. This is where it gets rather interesting. The specs on the house were very clear: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, shared kitchen. Since the hosts live at the residence, we figured that we would only be sharing the home with the couple that lived there. This didn’t seem like a problem at all, since the hosts were somewhat young and seemed normal enough.

We arrived on a Monday and upon pulling into the driveway, we saw a young couple packing up their belongings. This should have been a sign. As they pulled away, we entered the house and were greeted by an elderly woman and her granddaughter. They lived in the living room, which was enclosed by bedsheets that had been stapled to the ceiling. She showed us which room was ours and from there we began unpacking our things.

Storage was an issue, as the closet in the bedroom was full of the owner’s belongings. As we travel lightly, we made do. The room was very dirty but luckily I travel with a vacuum and was able to sweep up most of the filth. As it turned out, we were to be living with a group of people. The other bedroom was rented out nightly, and the living room (the red room on the Airbnb listing) was inhabited by the elderly woman and her granddaughter on a long-term basis.

We deserve medals for the hell that we put up with. For those reading this, you might be wondering where the “owners” of the house live. I’ll get to why owners is in quotations here in a bit. The owners live in the detached garage. Allow me to tally up the occupants: a minimum of two people in the garage, two in the living room, my wife and I in one bedroom, and usually two others in the other bedroom, which would change every few days. A grand total of eight people per night at a minimum.

This turned out to be pretty awesome with only one full bathroom. Every night, the young girl from the living room would spend 4-5 hours in the bathroom doing only god knows what. If we failed to brush our teeth or shower by 7:00 PM, we wouldn’t be able to until 1:00 AM. Gobs of fun there.

Here’s another amusing fact of our stay. Apparently nobody ever taught her manners, respect, or most of all, energy consumption. Sometime in the middle of the night, the little prick would turn the thermostat to somewhere between 90 and 93 degrees. Because of this we would wake up sweating profusely, angered to a degree with no rival. Between the hours in the bathroom, abuse of the thermostat, and stealing our food, I nearly decided against having children. I understand this is just terrible behavior of another tenant, but amusing nonetheless.

Let’s now discuss the house. Keep your shoes on, because if you don’t your feet will turn black from the dirt on the floors. The yard was something special. The owners kept a large tent in the backyard for storage, since they lived in the damn garage. As far as I could tell, it had never been mown. The grass was roughly four feet tall. Awesome. After staying for a few days, I was quite puzzled as to why anyone would neglect a place like this. Prime location, relative size… they were letting this place turn to crap.

I soon found the answer. The owners don’t own the house. They rent it. They then sublease on Airbnb to make money. This was eye opening. I cannot blame anyone for trying to make money. As far as I’m concerned, go for it. But at least disclose this information on the website. We had to go to the grocery store every evening because there was no storage in the refrigerator. It was full of condiments and crap from previous people’s stays.

Parking was also a nightmare. There were only three parking spaces. This would be sufficient if the house was properly occupied, but it isn’t. At times there would be seven cars in the drive, blocking us in. Often times we would park on the street to avoid any mayhem. Overall I feel like our two-month stay at this commune made us a stronger couple. After living in these conditions we can deal with nearly anything. Here’s a link just in case anyone wants to experience a Pasadena slum.

Harassment by Host After Ignoring Check In

We booked accommodation in Madrid from January 19-22, and as previously agreed with the host we were supposed to arrive between 12:00-2:00 PM. We sent a text via Airbnb inquiring as to who would be available to meet us, with no response from the host. As agreed, we arrived at 2:00 PM, and found the main door of the building locked and with no response from the host to several phone calls and messages made to her registered number.

We waited outside for more than three hours with several calls and messages during the time, only to find her mobile was switched off the whole time. Finally around 5:00 PM she made it to the apartment and showed no remorse for leaving us stranded, instead asking us to look for another place if we were unhappy. Her attitude and mannerisms were extremely unprofessional and rude, and instead of containing the situation, she talked down to us and was very aggresive. She did not help us settle in, did not show us the amenities or even how to get the wifi started, which was already a problem.

Half an hour after moving in while we were using the shower, we had a neighbour bang at our door, non-stop buzzing and yelling and complaining about water leakage from our bathroom to theirs. They mentioned complaining about this water leakage to the host in the past, with no action from her. We were asked to immediately stop using the shower. We paid for all amenities – not only did we lose half a day for the host to show up, but now we were also asked not to use the shower. The wifi also stopped working soon after that.

The host was extremely rude and aggressive, and as confirmed by Airbnb support staff, she also repeatedly used profanity, and threatened us with cutting off the water supply if we were not available when she would send someone to fix it. As of 3:00 PM today, we have been forcefully vacated from the accommodation with no proper/prior notification. Airbnb denies the confirmed mistreatment and unprofessional attitude of the host, which has all been documented in Airbnb messages to us. Furthermore, we were asked to immediately vacate the premises by Airbnb with the assurance that they would take care of re-booking us immediately.

This booking we made with the host was fully prepaid, and as per Airbnb rules, the payment to the host is only released after 24 hours of check-in. Our first complaint was registered 20 hours ago. Kindly refer to the complete communication in the email trails between Airbnb support team and me. We have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by this host in person, via text and phone calls, all of which have been documented and shared with the Airbnb team. We are still waiting to hear from Airbnb regarding an alternative accommodation, and are literally on the street for the next two days, with no communication from their team regarding the above or even our money. We are looking for a full refund, and a solution to our current dilemma.

Both Host and Airbnb won’t Accept Negative Review

Here is a review I posted on an Airbnb host’s site. It was posted for one day and then Airbnb removed it from the post. I contacted Airbnb support and went back and forth many times and they refused to put the review back on the host’s rental site.

You will see in my review that I not only complained about the rental but also provided some positive feedback. It seems to me that the host and Airbnb don’t want negative reviews so they removed it. When I told the host I was posting a negative review, he threatened that if I did he would post something negative about me. I didn’t care about the negative feedback I would receive as I felt it was important to share my experience with others who may rent this house.

We also had five couples in the rental (all over 60) so I can’t imagine what he could have said about us. We were there less than 24 hours and took great care of the house. Since Airbnb wouldn’t post my review on their site I am now hoping to share it here:

Beware of this host. First let me say that we have rented many homes through VRBO and most recently Airbnb for over 15 years. This will be my first negative review I’ve written so I put a lot of thought into this post. Our first interaction with the host was amazing. She was quick to respond to all of my questions and allowed us to rent for only one night on a busy NYE stay – although at a premium rate of $1,600 per night (I believe the normal nightly rate is $500). We had five couples to share the cost so we felt the price was worth us spending a night in a nice house.

Now to the reason I’m writing a negative review. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the pool had not been cleaned; it was dirty and had leaves on the bottom of the pool. I contacted the host and she offered to come over and sweep it for us. We declined as it was starting to get dark and cool for the evening. Again, the host quickly responded to my question so communication was good. As the evening progressed we discovered many other issues. By this time of night it was getting late on NYE so we decided it was too late to call her. A list of issues we found that I want to share with potential renters:

1. When one of the guests went to prepare for bed she pulled back the top sheet and there was not a fitted sheet – only the mattress pad, which had many stains on it and was covered with hair. She found the fitted sheet wound up in a ball in the closet; it was wet so she couldn’t put it on the bed. She had to move all of her stuff to another bedroom which also had bedding issues (holes in the shams and stained sheets).

2. An ice cube fell on the floor so we grabbed a paper towel to wipe it up. The paper towel was black from the dirt on the floor. We tried wiping other areas in the kitchen and saw how dirty the floor was. We decided that we wouldn’t go barefoot in the house. In fact, by the bar area our shoes would squeak from the stickiness on the floor.

3. The fireplace didn’t work – or if it did we couldn’t find the instructions on how to use it.

4. One of the bathrooms had a hole in the drywall, the tub faucet was broken and the sink handle fell off when we turned it.

5. The ice dispenser didn’t work – we had to open freezer to get ice out of the bucket.

For $1,600 we expected a lot more from this rental. It didn’t have to be perfect as we understand many renters come and go through these houses, but clean and in working order was not too high of an expectation.

The next day I contacted the host and she said she was mortified about the linens and would repair all of the items I listed. Although too late for our stay, I hope it is better for the next renter. Her reasoning that things were not taken care of was that no one had ever told her about anything wrong in the house. I understand that others wrote good reviews so she wasn’t aware of any issues which is why I’m writing this review so the next potential renter can be informed.

All in all, the host was good to work with. We just felt that for the amount we paid to rent the house we deserved so much more.

Dirty Beach Grounds for a Bad Airbnb Review?

I am new to the Airbnb life. In August 2017, I rented an ocean front beach house for the weekend in Westbrook, Connecticut. I gave a surprise gathering for my boyfriend’s 46th birthday. The home was beautiful, a little outdated but nice. I met with the maid upon arrival and did a walkaround. The event was very adult and respectful to the home. The area of the beach that the host was responsible for was filthy though. We did not get to enjoy it because it had sea weed, dead crabs, sea shells open and closed, and black dirty sand everywhere. We dared not take off our shoes let alone spend very much quality time out there. A bit depressing being that it’s listed as an ocean front beach home.

However, I gave a guest review. I was mild about the beach. I did in fact mention that it was a disappointment. I didn’t give the details as I just did. The host must have gotten upset and posted a untruthful guest review, saying that my guests and I didn’t clean up behind ourselves, which was an outrage. I have pictures and video footage of the home right before we were checking out. I’ve been trying to send this information to Airbnb but they are giving me email addresses that are coming back to me not received. I need to prove my innocence. Since then I’ve tried to book two other places and got denied because of her lying statement. I need this removed from my review page and this is why I’m fighting.