Do Not Stay in Airbnb Houses When the Amenities Differ

My niece booked our Airbnb house in Potsdam, New York. We had six adults and an infant, so we were looking for somewhere with two bathrooms. A couple of days before we arrived, the host texted my niece to say that they were remodeling the second bathroom, so there would only be one bathroom available. As it turns out, even if both bathrooms were available it wouldn’t have helped much as the water pressure was so low that only one shower could be used at a time and if a toilet was flushed during a shower… well, just imagine.

The dishwasher had a note posted on it not to use it. After being there we assumed that was also because of the low water pressure. The water tasted quite bad and we bought bottled water. There was no mention of this in the description. The instructions asked that only cold water be used for laundry, so that’s what we used. Unfortunately, there was also no mention that the water would stain whites and two of my shirts were ruined.

The working shower control had to be turned “just so” to obtain a comfortable temperature and maintain enough pressure to shower. A fraction of an inch to the left of that magic spot and the water was scalding. A fraction of an inch to the right and water pressure was not sufficient. The water pressure continued to decrease and on the last night and day we were unable to shower at all. The toilet wouldn’t flush on the last day either.

The property is posted as being able to sleep seven people. There is a two-person size bed in one bedroom and a twin bed in each of the other bedrooms. The couch in the living room folds out, so I’m assuming two people could sleep on that. That adds up to six people. I’m not sure where number seven would fit.

I should mention that the host did refund $150.00 for having only one bathroom at the last minute. My niece has emailed him since, explaining the problems as he may want to remedy them before he rents it out again, but he has not responded. I will mention that it was clean and the air conditioning worked fine. Personally, I would like to have a large bit of what we paid to stay there refunded as it certainly was neither convenient nor pleasant and my shirts were ruined.

This experience makes me very reluctant to use or recommend Airbnb in the future. In fact, I have already told the story to quite a few people, some of whom were specifically inquiring about Airbnbs.

There are reasons to choose motels over Airbnb

Why not pay for a hotel? You are paying for staff who usually answer the phone (unlike Airbnb hosts), maids who might bring spare towels without having to take a picture of a bathroom with no towels, and dispute resolutions that are face to face, not a parade of characters who bounce in and out and come up with an ever-changing list of requirements to get a miserly refund. My favorite was the request that I take a picture of the Airbnb website to prove many of the advertised amenities were missing and it had the wrong address listed.

I was told I should have videotaped the standing host who spoke no English and closed all the windows while ratcheting up the heat in 95 degree weather. How could I prove the sheets on the bed were soaking wet? Easy in a hotel but impossible even by the Airbnb customer service standards. My contact with customer service ended with an email to which I couldn’t reply and a refusal to allow me to post a review. After spending $4100/week I guess I shouldn’t have scrimped on the private detective/videographer that customer service demands but really how many nights could I have luxuriated in actual functioning AC at a motel?

Aggressive Airbnb Host Falsely Advertising Lakeside House

We made a reservation for four nights at a lakeside house in Langstini, which the host advertised as having free wifi (and I have the screenshot to prove it); this was essential for us. When we arrived and asked about the wifi he said he decided to disconnect it because he thought people should appreciate nature and not be addicted to the internet. He was talking in a very aggressive way so I didn’t want to argue with him and tell him he couldn’t change the terms after he promised something. It’s also not his job to educate us, so I just told him that it’s crucial for me to have the wifi for my work, for our trip planning and most of all because I have a son at home who has some problems at the moment – I needed to be in touch with him.

He said that tomorrow he would give us the wifi, but only for WhatsApp, not for media. That evening the wifi stopped working and when we told him he just said “I told you it’s just for WhatsApp. Now if you want more you’ll have to pay for it and charge it at the gas station.” I found this very unacceptable: not because of the the money but because he actually lied about the wifi and I don’t have to waste time during  my vacation looking for the specific gas station where I can charge his wifi.

That wasn’t all: the place was filthy, with hair and dust everywhere (he said the cleaning lady couldn’t come). The beds weren’t ready and I had to put on all the linen; not all of them were the right size. There wasn’t enough hot water for the shower and on the third night when my daughter was in the middle of a shower the electricity and the water stopped and we were left in darkness. We wrote to him (he wasn’t there) and he didn’t respond at all. The water and electricity returned after about an hour but he never contacted us.

Worse than anything was his attitude: he was always inpatient, arrogant and vulgar, like he’d really prefer we weren’t there at all. Even when he explained about some places we wanted to visit and I asked something he started to shout: “Are you gonna listen or not?!” My son got really scared from his shouting.

He also entered our room whenever he wanted without knocking on the door. We really felt uncomfortable there and after the incident with the water and electricity my kids didn’t want to stay there anymore. I also didn’t feel that we had to feel so bad during our vacation that we waited, planned, and saved for so long, so we decided to leave after the third night.

I’m not asking for refund for the nights we stayed, although he clearly didn’t fulfill what he promised and didn’t provide what he was supposed to. His attitude was terrible, and I think we definitely deserve a refund for the night we didn’t stay because we just couldn’t suffer anymore.

Airbnb Host Does Nothing About the Lack of AC

I was flying into SoCal for business. It was hot that summer. The host confirmed I was coming in after midnight. It was a second floor walk-up. She had the windows all closed up, and it was hotter than hell in there. I opened the window and plugged in the wimpy fan across the room because the cord was too short to place it near the window.

After an hour of trying to air it out, it was still 90 degrees in there. There was no way I was going to get any sleep in that stuffy room. I left her a note that I couldn’t stay for the above reasons. I posted a two-star review that the host could’ve opened the window to air it out a bit, and/or turned on the fan before my arrival, knowing it was so hot in there. The carpet was also quite dirty and dusty. It’s just not a great place to sleep. The host had some nerve to send me this nasty message in response to my objective review.

Very Disappointed in Airbnb’s Property Advertising

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Unless pictures are posted of the actual space you are staying in, don’t stay there. We paid over $1,200 for seven nights. The pillows were stained, the microwave was disgusting and the air conditioner was plugged into a cord that ran upstairs to another Airbnb. There were so many people coming and going from the home. The weather was extremely hot and the air conditioner was unplugged from upstairs; we called the host and he came the next day to plug it in upstairs.

Two of our guests left for a hotel room due to the heat. One left to go home because of the living conditions, and two left early. Airbnb said I had no grounds to stand on although they said they understood how I felt. Right up to the very end apparently the property had this to say: “Please note that the apartment is currently in the final phase of being better soundproofed and insulated. Some exposed beams and unpainted walls may be present.”

On top of it all we asked to stay until the 29th. It said they accepted the text and I made sure to recheck on it, Now they are saying that we overstayed a night and want to charge us an additional $280.

Airbnb Farmhouse with Unexpected Extras in Store

We were looking for an Airbnb in Portugal from July 22nd until July 30th for four persons and a dog. After a big search we found a farmhouse in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines. The pictures were looking good: nice bedrooms, a swimming pool, two bathrooms, wifi, a terrace with a mountain view, a clean house, and very comfortable.

We made the reservation, paid the amount of a little more than €1200 and prepared for our holiday there. We bought a bigger car (the dog had to come too), made a list of things we had to take from home, planned the route to drive, booked hotels to stay at night, etc. In the meanwhile our dog become sick so it was better for him to stay at home in a dog hotel.

The hotels to stay overnight while driving to the Algarve were already booked and plane tickets are highly priced in the season; we decided to drive the full 2400 km to the Algarve. When we arrived in Portugal after a three-day drive, we couldn’t find the house, even not with a description of the route by the host. We had to call her several times to explain to us how to drive there. Finally she picked us up at a local gas station.

We drove to the “farmhouse”. First of all, regarding the access road: with a big 4×4 you would easily manage this road, but with a fully loaded station wagon it was a real struggle. The road was so narrow that turning the car was a real test in survival. On one side there was a ditch and on the other side, after two meters a deep ravine. The first signs already made it seem like we were staring in an episode of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The farmhouse had a kitchen with an oven, full with rust. Frogs were in the bathroom. Salamanders were everywhere in and near the house. Big spiders were everywhere. The swimming pool (a little bigger than a bathtub) was full of green algae. The nice wooden garden chairs we saw in the pictures were replaced by old dirty white plastic chairs and sun beds. The TV as seen on the pictures had suddenly disappeared. The wifi was bad, really bad. Mobile phones didn’t work (no contact from any transmission mast). There were spiderwebs and dirt everywhere.

We arrived there Sunday July 22nd. On Monday morning, July 23rd we were going to the beach and contacted Airbnb to complain and to ask our refund. After several contact moments with some “specialist” they approved refunding us the money we paid and agreed we would leave the farmhouse the same day. Of course we had already booked a hotel in Albufeira to continue our holiday.

Airbnb said they would pay the refund first within 2-3 working days, then it would be within 5-7 working days. This was taking too long. I wrote to Airbnb directly that Mastercard guarantees refunds within one, or a maximum of two working days. After two working days, we had the refund in our account.

That’s not all: we wrote a bad review with pictures that proved the bad shape and bad conditions of the farmhouse. Airbnb decided to not publish this bad review on their page. Questions from our side: why they didn’t do it? It would give the host a bad name. It would not be in anyone’s advantage. Unbelievable. Well, this was the first time for us with Airbnb and for sure the last time.

Everything about this Airbnb Listing was Different

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I made a reservation for May 25th, 2018 in Oslo, Norway for July 31st to August 3rd. The reservation was confirmed by the proprietor. The printout provided showed an attractive room but did not give further details. We finally managed to find the address but to our surprise no one was present to let us in. We then called the host on her mobile and were told by her to report to her place of work, which we found with difficulty.

We received a set of keys and returned to the property through a front door marked with nasty graffiti and were shocked to find that no cleanup had been done by the owners. Dirty linen was in the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom, with a dozen pair of shoes lying in the corner of the entry room. Even more shocking was finding a ladder without a handrail required to reach a mattress lying on the floor which one would have to crawl to in order to gain access; the ceiling height was only about a meter.

There was also dirty linen covering the bed. None of the bedroom features were mentioned in the email we had received from the host confirming our reservation. It would have been dangerous to navigate the ladder at night if one was to access the bathroom on the lower floor. Accordingly, we did not check in and notified the host and Airbnb of our concerns. We found alternative accommodations with difficulty at a busy time in Oslo.

Airbnb’s response has been really poor and unprofessional. There have been long waiting times with chats with people from California to the Philippines. We were assigned a case manager who expressed concern. Since we did not receive follow up on several phone calls – always being connected with a different person who promised that our case manager would get back to us – we have become very frustrated since a full refund has been requested given the dirty premises and equally the very dangerous and poor quality of the accommodations.

I can guarantee that I will never engage the services of Airbnb and will let my friends and family know of our concerns. I may also seek legal advice to settle this outrageous problem to our satisfaction.What a scam.

Three Negative Airbnb Experiences in Japan

We went to Japan with the goal of climbing Mt. Fuji, and decided to book three Airbnb locations during our stay. All three had some major problems, and I would absolutely not book an Airbnb again after that experience.

Location one was a disaster before we even booked. The host was extremely rude and condescending to us. We had asked for a different rate for our second of the two nights because our third party would only be present on the first night (extra charge for a third person). It was only a question, however the host took great exception to it, and accused us of freeloading, not understanding the close knit Airbnb community.

He told us the rate was as low as it could be and he would not split the rates, and it was rude of us to ask for anything lower. He also told us that it wasn’t worth climbing Mt. Fuji, we should just look at it from afar. Well, that’s the whole reason we were booking his home… to climb Fuji. Despite this we booked the room, but just for one night as we couldn’t get the correct rate for the other nights. I had a bad feeling about it, but we went ahead with it because the location was good for what we were trying to do.

We changed our plans to stay in a different town after the first night, which was inconvenient but we decided that was going to be the best plan. We arrived in town, walked to the location, and found that we could not access the key box; the pass code wasn’t working. We tried over and over again, with no success. We tried contacting the host, without luck. We were getting concerned at this point; it was getting dark, and we were alone on a small street without access to our room, tired, hungry, and needing rest to prepare for the climb.

We finally got in touch by text only with the host, but he did not answer his phone. He accused us of something or other in a nasty text (lying about how long we were waiting for his response for instance) and threatened us with the “bad reviews” game. Finally, he gave us another code, which did not work. After the third code he gave us, we were able to get inside to great relief, but also concerned over this host’s behavior and what else we might be accused of. I quite frankly believe the host purposely gave us the wrong codes because he was angry with us regarding our original inquiry. It seems strange to get it wrong two times.

I must say however, his home was the nicest of the three we would stay at. The major issue was actually that there were steps up to various parts of the house which in the dark and in an unfamiliar place was very hazardous, but other than that it was actually a nice place, and as advertised. One other small concern was that there were very see-through curtains on the huge windows that looked out into the street. Only after it got dark did I notice how exposed we were to the street, and we closed the curtains. The host was terrible, however the room was good overall.

We moved on after a good night’s rest to location two. We actually met our host in person and he walked us to his home. He was a wonderful host. His home was a traditional Japanese home. While it was nice, it was very rustic. It was as advertised, so I cannot claim it not to be. There was no air conditioning but we knew that going in. The rain on the first day there made that issue not as bad at first. It was very buggy however, and close to a canal that I think made the bugs much worse.

We saw spiders and mosquitoes. There were plants growing through the tatami mats, and we even had a major ant issue just before checking out. We actually had to dump one of our luggage bags and get all the ants outside. That was awful, and we missed something we wanted to do. Also, once the sun came out the heat really started being more of an issue. The host here was absolutely great though, and showed us around town when we asked him to. Fewer bugs, and I would have given this place much higher marks. There was even a washer available in the home. The bathroom was so small that we could not shut the door and use the toilet at the same time, but the shower was really great.

Location three – the host was operating the Airbnb illegally. We know this because our instructions upon arrival were to tell neighbors who asked that we were “friends” with the host. We did not meet the host for this location; instructions were all sent to us, some of which were confusing. The washer/dryer we were promised were actually coin operated and in the hallway, not as advertised. The place was not clean, the toilet was gross, and I cleaned it myself with supplies I found in the closet. The bathroom smelled awful.

We complained to the host by message about the cleanliness and were completely dismissed. Forget using the toilet after a shower – the water made the floor in the bathroom a total slip hazard. The place was so small it was crazy, and of course the photo choices somewhat covered how small the room was. It was to be for three people (our third person was to join us the last night in Tokyo again.) I would not call the room big enough to sleep three. The beds were super small, and one was bunk style so the third person had to climb to the top bunk.

Honestly by this point in the trip I wanted out of these places so badly. So much for living like the locals. Somehow I thought that would increase the experience unlike my first trip in hotels, but after three places with issues, I was dying for a hotel. I guess now with the experience over I can appreciate it, but we gave up a lot of comfort on this trip for some dubious places. It wasn’t worth the savings, adventurous as it may have been. I would not chance booking with Airbnb again. I especially did not appreciate the attitude of our first host, or the threats he made to us about not giving him bad ratings. It was very irritating to deal with him. Also, these places claim professional cleaning, which we paid extra for, but I do not believe that was the case at all.

Airbnb Guest from Hell Lies About Everything

On July 27th – only last week – I hosted a guest from the UK at my apartment in Spain who arrived with wife and two children at 4:00 PM. He was met by my third party meet and greet lady (who also cleans and looks after apartment for me). Within two hours he was sending me emails complaining, first about a gas bottle in the kitchen. He quoted health and safety and demanded that it be removed immediately. He also complained about cleanliness, a standing fan in the bedroom, and various other issues including he couldn’t work the TV.

I responded to each and every issue and explained that it was common practice to have gas bottles in Spain as there was no main gas line. However, if it worried him, I would get it moved the next day. He continued to complain all evening just about everything, sending pictures of a few grains of sand on the floor (we are next to the beach), hats that are there for guests, and other really petty issues, e.g. one toilet was not working.

The next day my third party went around there to address all issues and apparently he had all the china out of the cupboards and the pillows uncovered, taking pictures. Any solution to appease him did not seem to satisfy him. Later in the evening I discovered that he had called Airbnb and told them there was a gas leak and the second toilet had broken (two in 24 hours).

The booking was cancelled but instead of leaving he asked could he stay an extra night as it would be more convenient for him. I said yes and he sent me a very polite message saying how grateful he was and appreciated my generosity. If there was a gas leak who would put their children at risk?

I explained this to Airbnb, that there couldn’t be a gas leak as there was no main gas line and the bottle had been removed. However, they cancelled all subsequent bookings without even informing me. I received several emails from guests asking why. They explained that it is now being dealt with a case manager from the resolution center and the health and safety team is investigating.

That was six days ago. Until this point I had never had a complaint. Previously the rental I used was well below average and I think this guest was expecting a five-star hotel for a two-star price. Prior to booking, he did not ask me anything regarding the apartment. However, the photos are accurate so it should not have been a surprise. It is a private family apartment used for holidays, not a hotel.

I do not believe this is the first time this man has done this to get a free or upgraded holiday. The thing that has upset me the most was he frightened neighbours on the block that there was a gas leak, which obviously scared several residents. This has since been confirmed to be completely untrue and I am now seeking compensation through Airbnb’s host guarantee for £2400 in lost bookings as a direct result of this guest’s lies, not to mention the distress it has caused both myself and the lady who looks after the apartment for me. She said she looks after over 20 apartments in Spain for over 20 years and never encountered a guest like him. As for telling everyone there was a gas leak I think he should be prosecuted.

Boycotting Airbnb Until They Stop Advertising Falsely

I recently experienced a truly unpleasant encounter with Airbnb that has left me and my partner totally guttered and disappointed at the way Airbnb management has handled our complaint. They have given me no other alternative than to take to social media on all platforms to make others aware of a system that puts profits before honesty and integrity.

We booked a stay on Airbnb for two nights and informed the host two days prior that there were two of us staying and the approximate time of arrival. On arrival, the host was unable to meet us but had another person check us in. The room was not as listed and so I insisted that I speak with the host; he said that I could find another place if I wasn’t happy with the room booked but he wouldn’t refund our money.

I took photos (attached) and forwarded them to Airbnb. At the time they gave us a 50% refund which was satisfactory as we were not in a position to argue the difference, let alone try to find another place at the last minute. Airbnb also informed me that the host was in breach of Airbnb policies and would address the matter directly with him.

During our stay, the linen we believe to have been from an “Op Shop” had a musky smell and the Doona for a child’s single bed with teddy bears on it for a listed king-size bed was in fact for a queen-size bed. The listing stated there was a bathroom (not listed as shared nor did Airbnb state that within the house that all the other rooms were rented out as well) and at our time of stay we had to share the bathroom with six people; the house can accommodate up to nine people at any one time with only one bathroom.

The other issue with the listing was that most of the door handles had one screw holding in the handle which could result in the handle falling off into either the bedroom or bathroom, leaving a person locked inside as the host doesn’t live at the house. On my return some three weeks later I checked to see if the listing was still listed as we saw it; to my surprise, it was.

I messaged Airbnb about the situation and instead of addressing my concerns, they removed my comments that I left on the host’s page that provided an honest description of our stay. Second to that, the host at the same time left a message about us, trying to swing the situation around. I decided to ring Airbnb, which went to an offshore call center. I explained my experience with the stay and how I was extremely disappointed with the fact the host was still listing the property exactly the same as when we booked and stayed. I told Airbnb that it appears profit has been put forward over integrity and requested a full refund for my stay, including having the host’s untrue comments erased.

I mentioned all of the above to an Airbnb senior case manager who informed me via message that the case was closed and no further actions will occur. As a loyal customer for the past several years with multiple listings worldwide, I have now decided to boycott Airbnb until they can address my concerns in a professional manner, including making the changes that I believe are truly overdue with falsely advertising listings so that the customer is aware of all the facts prior to committing to a booking. Airbnb gave me no alternative than to take my concerns to social media on all levels. This was conveyed to Airbnb prior to this post with little to no concern as profit appears to be the governing factor at play rather than addressing genuine complaints.