Why do I have to pay for Airbnb services I didn’t use?

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We booked and prepaid for an Airbnb apartment in Malta, Sliema in April 2018 for our summer holiday from June 26th to July 24th. Surprisingly, when we arrived, the apartment was not ready at all (green smelly / brown tab water, mold, broken sofa, fridge with a lot of frost in it (I had to defrost and clean it), broken light in the kitchen hood, broken shower nozzle), which we directly reported to the host.

We stayed six nights (seven days) struggling, hearing from the host excuse “stories” about sandstorms, African rains, and government construction works. We were expecting a quick resolution, however after several unsuccessful attempts by the host to fix these issue, we had to move to other apartment at our own cost. As you can imagine it was absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of our kids and ourselves.

The host didn’t intend to solve the problem immediately, telling us that the plumber would cost him too much during public holidays which meant for us to stay three more days without water. We had to involve Airbnb. The water issue was solved on the seventh day of our stay and after a warning call from Airbnb, the owner had to change the water tank and water heater. We didn’t want to stay in that place any longer.

Moreover, the host has threatened us with legal action for an early contract termination, which is completely unacceptable. Based on that we have applied for a refund of the remaining 22 nights, however, our request was declined by the host and by Airbnb representatives as well. We are very disappointed in Airbnb and their position on declining our request about the refund for the unspent nights. We had to go through the Resolution Center and their final solution was to refund us only for six nights spent in the apartment. We found the solution really unfair. Why should we give our money to a dishonest host and pay for services we didn’t use?

Airbnb Teeming with Spiders, Leaking Pipes

We booked five nights at a house on Kentucky Lake for the family vacation; it was pet friendly for our two dogs. After driving five hours to get there in 98 degree heat we arrived to the house closed up and the window units not running; it must have been 150 degrees in there, and smelled very strongly of mold. We got the units turned on and then tried to get some water for the dogs. There was only a small trickle from the sink.

Then there was a knock at the door. The neighbor informed us (in a not friendly way) that the water was leaking at the top of the road and creating a nice river running down the hill. We messaged the host who actually was a very nice guy and he showed up promptly, and got the water running inside. Yet it continued to leak outside the entire time we were there.

While we waited one of the dogs chased a spider crawling on the floor. The next day there were spiders in our cooler that were thirsty; one was still alive. We decided to just drink alcohol and deal with it all… we decided to cook a frozen pizza. We heated up the oven and put the pizza in, and house proceeded to fill up with smoke since the oven was so dirty. There were obviously no smoke alarms in the house or they would have gone off. This was not safe and against Airbnb rules. My eyes burned from the smoke. Thank goodness I had eye drops with me.

We ended up leaving a day early and decided we’d laugh about this someday, but it’s going to be a while. Sorry I didn’t think to get pictures. I had nightmares about the spiders…

Super Entitled Host Convinces Guests to Leave

My wife and I booked a place for a week plus that was described as “usually booked” (probably a trick of the website). The place looked great in the photos, in Islington, London. When we arrived, the place was hotter than Hades, not aired out, and not well cleaned (even though of course we had paid for cleaning). There were two rolls of toilet paper for a week but it gets worse.

The couches in the living room were lumpy and basically unusable; one reason we booked the place was it had advertised a washer/dryer behind a door which was locked. Although the agent kept insisting the door could not lock, after we went back and forth a couple times, she sent someone over to check – guess what? It was locked. So one of the main reasons for booking was gone. The agent did offer to let us have cleaning at a dry cleaners’ done for free.

On the second to last night we were there the owner tried to have the agent make us to be there at a certain time to let a gardener in before other guests arrived the following weekend. We said no. Finally, having been totally fed up I asked for one night’s rental back as a refund which we received. The host was either new, uncaring or both.

What do you have to do to get a refund?

We booked an apartment on a street in Boston where we had lived when we first got married. There were photos of the basement, one bedroom, apartment, and it looked livable. It was close to the college where our grandson was graduating. We kept asking our hostess if there was a place to park. She said yes, but we had no idea where it was. Our hostess told us how to get in and that was the last we heard from her.

The entryway was dirty. We went down the stairs, unlocked the doors, and our adventure began. There was no wifi, we couldn’t contact our hostess to ask for the password, and no electronics worked. There were steep steps leading down into the bathroom and no banister, except for a towel rack that had been pulled out of the wall. The shower had a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling surrounded by wires. The water did not drain.

My husband, who was alarmed, warned me not to touch the light bulb while I was standing in water… sure thing for electrocution. That night the fuses blew and the lights were out for a long time. I tried to use the bathroom in the dark and tripped down the stairs. The exposed pipes dripped something and made puddles on the living room floor. Our room was next to the laundry and garbage room.

We asked the janitor, who was taking out the garbage, where we should park. He pointed to a small area surrounded by garbage cans and behind a giant SUV. We had one hell of a time parking our car. The parking “space” cost us $40 a day. Our hostess had given us a phone number. We tried over and over to call her. Her message service said her messages were full and could not accept messages. I gave up trying to reach her or anyone at the home office.

We went to the graduation and tried to spend as little time as possible in the apartment. When I got home I phoned the home offices, spoke twice to reps, and told them I wanted my money back. I wrote to them and to the hostess explaining why I wanted my money back. They wanted photographs. How do you photograph fuses blowing, water that doesn’t drain, puddles dripping from the exposed pipes, and a parking space that was surrounded by all the garbage cans from the building?

I read the reviews by other renters and they also said, “there is NO WIFI”, “the shower does not drain”, and “fuses blew and the apartment was pitch black.” Three different “committees” turned down our request for a refund. The host won’t reply to our mail. We are seniors. We get the feeling that the people at Airbnb think we are senile. I can assure you we’ve got it together. They keep informing us that we have lost our request for refund. They email us this and we cannot reply because their return email address is not deliverable. What do we do next? Our bill was over $600. The place ruined our vacation.

No Water in Bathroom Not Grounds for a Refund?

We arrived in Paris for a three-night stay at a “cozy, cute apartment with panoramic views” to find a cozy, cute apartment with a balcony. 15 degrees of the view did show Montmartre but the other 165 degrees was a perfect panorama of the adjacent apartment building, maybe 20 years away. Fine – we weren’t going to be spending much time in the apartment.

Exhausted and somewhat stinky from the overnight flight from the US east coast and battling the Parisian strikes affecting transportation in from De Gaulle airport, I was ready for a shower, to brush my teeth and take a quick nap. Mon Dieux! There was no water in the bathroom at all. The kitchen sink had water, but la toillette, shower, and sink, as well as the washing machine, lacked any water.

We turned a few knobs, my husband checked my work to make sure I had somehow failed to remember how to turn on water at the age of 63, and I contacted the delegated Airbnb host, since the official host was not available. I contacted him through the Airbnb website and then he reminded me that he preferred to use WhatsApp.

Problem #1: the Airbnb customer service person later informed me that because I used WhatsApp it was impossible to be absolutely sure I was communicating with the right person, despite the back and forth conversation over several hours, the ability to look up the phone number, the screenshots, and the Airbnb website communications.

The host asked for a photograph of the plumbing in the bedroom which we took on our iPhone and sent to him. He responded, “Voila – just turn the nozzle to the washing machine and all will be wonderful… not.”

I reminded him that that nozzle went to the washing machine, not the shower, toilet or sink and that we had tried several times. He assured me it would get fixed. Stinky and exhausted, we napped for a couple of hours, blissfully uninterrupted by any further attempts by the host to settle our problem. After our nap, I called, messenged, and sent him and the owner notes asking for a resolution.

About six hours after arriving, unable to go out because we were (stupidly) expecting someone to come to fix the problems, we decided to cancel and go elsewhere. I let the host know, secured alternative housing, and returned the key five blocks or so to the secure key drop (he was very good about sending me the key code so he wouldn’t have to come to pick it up elsewhere). The host even had the nerve to say that no other guests had ever had this problem, insinuating that perhaps this was our fault.

Since returning home, I’ve contacted the Airbnb customer service folks and as I saw written in the intro on the Airbnb Hell website, found them wanting. Several apparent problems: I should have communicated only on the website; I should have contacted Airbnb central; I need to prove that I didn’t have water.

Proving the absence of water is quite difficult, actually. I couldn’t get a response as to how I was supposed to do so. Apparently having no water in the bathroom is not a reason for looking for a different situation, nor is a complete lack of results by the host in improving the immediate situation and my assumption that the host would know the rules and use the website only (not WhatsApp) is incorrect and absolutely no protection even though it works well for the host.

The customer service agent has refunded me about half of the cost. I have asked him or her to provide me the contact information to make an appeal and he/she simply ignores that request in our communication. This has been incredibly frustrating and I am asking for a full refund. Until this time, I have had only good experiences with Airbnb and my thought is that this host may just have a bunch of hotels he rents out without any real attachment. He’s not a host; he’s a short term lender. Just a hunch.

First Time Using Airbnb Will Be My Last Time

My childhood friend and I were planning a girls trip to Washington DC. I’m a savvy, frugal traveler and always do very well researching and booking hotels. I suggested a few hotels where I had stayed, but my friend insisted on Airbnb. I should have just said no, but didn’t want to seem bossy and figured it couldn’t be so bad.

She told me she found a small place for $72 per night. I wasn’t impressed with the pictures, but she liked the place. My friend then emailed me and told me that my half for the three nights would be $225. I thought it was $72 per night. I know there are taxes and a cleaning fee, but to double the price seems ridiculous. I had already booked my flight and didn’t want to deal with a confrontation, so I just let it go.

The host sent us a text about an hour before our arrival that the cleaning crew was late or something. No big deal. The unit was in kind of a brownstone on the ground floor. The place was dark, dank and reeked of mold. It was a nasty odor.

The host informed us that the laundry in the dryer was taking a long time and to “throw another 90 minutes on it”. The reason it wasn’t drying was because he had stuffed four towels, washcloths, a hand towel and a set of sheets into the dryer (and these are the small stacking washer/dryer). I took half of it out so that it would dry. The host never came back and took care of the laundry. I had to fold it.

My friend took the bed in the bedroom, which left me on a pullout that looked like it had come out of the dumpster. If you laid back too far on the bed, the bottom would come off the ground. There were also broken springs in the mattress. My friend kept insisting “well, this is ok…”

The next morning, I was trying to dry my hair (thankfully I brought my own hairdryer because the unit didn’t have one, nor did it have an iron). This blew the circuit, which shut off the power in the unit. We sent the host texts and emails. A while later (after we left) he replied and told us how to switch the breaker… seriously. He wanted his paying guests to do it. I refused and told my friend the power would be on or I was going to a hotel.

Our entire trip my friend complained about the rain (it was misty). She complained about the heat outside. She complained we walked too much and her feet hurt. However, she kept trying to convince me that $150 per night for a dump that was out of the way was a good deal.

Shortly after we left, while waiting for our train, the host sent an email asking for a five-star rating and good review. Unfortunately, my friend booked it or I would have blasted the hell out of him. Ironically, the place had good reviews. I’m certain they were fake reviews from his friends because anyone paying $150 per night for that dump wouldn’t be happy. If you can’t afford to stay in a safe, clean place then maybe you shouldn’t travel.

Racist Host Can’t Help But Write Negative Reply

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I have had a pleasant trip using Airbnb over the last month until I read the messages from a host in Florence. I stayed in Florence and the bathtub in the apartment was so clogged that the water covered my feet while showering; hairs floated. I mentioned this discomfort in my review, and the host seemed to be very dissatisfied with the problem I raised.

According to her, the apartment was in poor condition and the water went down a bit slower but her apartment was clean. Yes, it may be true some hairs from the pipe came out and her tub had been clean. However, how could I know the status of her entire building?

Her public review wasn’t that bad, but the private message was terrible. I can not stand this discriminatory statement. She has a huge bias for the people of my country, and this kind of person should not be an Airbnb host.

[Translated and edited public review] Thank you for the kind review. I would like to point out that some of what he wrote was incorrect: the apartment is advertised as clean (including the tub), but unfortunately the internal condition of the pipes does not depend on cleaning. This can happen in an apartment in which the speed at which a bathtub drains is slower than it should be. It certainly does not depend on cleanliness, so I hope you will take care of it in the future 🙂

[Translated and edited reply] The tub was clean. It simply drains slowly. Next time, go to a hotel. This is the usual attitude I see from Koreans. You’d better get an education, and learn not to be so unpleasant. It is no coincidence that I don’t have other negative reviews. I hope we don’t see each other again.

Do I have to deal with hosts like this because I just left a review that does not appeal to one host?

Illegal Airbnb in LA Means Sneaking Around

We booked a two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood for 18 nights as our son is autistic and has allergies so we sometimes like to cook. A few days before our arrival, we received a message from the Superhost not to discuss Airbnb anywhere near the apartment or building; this was because the hotels in the area are losing a lot of money and are going to court to have Airbnb banned.

On our arrival to the apartment it was clear that Airbnb subletting in the apartment building was illegal as there were signs in the lift, entrance and parking lot. The person with our key was not the host but a friend. We also noticed that the carpets were heavily stained, the balcony light had blown out, the Sonos sound system was missing and one of the stovetop burners didn’t work. The next day we went to Walmart and spent $200 on food which was placed in the fridge and freezer.

When we woke the next morning we discovered that the freezer had stopped working; everything had defrosted and was ruined. I sent a message to the Superhost and discovered she was in Europe. I told her we wanted everything fixed. She made no mention of compensating us for the food. She then asked me to take the keys to her friend so they could arrange the repairs. As I was on holiday, I refused (I should not be running around after her). She couldn’t ask management to fix it as she was illegally subletting the apartment.

After much to-ing and fro-ing and abuse from the Superhost we requested a full refund and went to an hotel. Airbnb was good and sorted the refund out quickly. The Superhost gave me a refund because she knew she was in hot water with the apartment if they found out. I’m not sure we’ll use Airbnb again.

Dishonest Host Takes Advantage of Airbnb and Decent People

I booked a room in Clearwater, Florida for a month with the most evil, manipulative and dishonest woman I have meet in my life. I do not recommend this room to anybody; it was a nightmare. The air conditioning didn’t work right, my room in the afternoon was so hot that I had to stay out, the ceiling fan didn’t work, and the glass lamp felt off, so I couldn’t even use it.

The host was expecting to get a new roof during my stay, and moved me to a room in her house as her convenience – another problem. She knew of all this but did not tell me at the time of my booking. The ceiling in the bedroom was all damaged, with open holes; it was disgusting. The door didn’t close properly, so anybody could get in or out of my bedroom without my permission.

The host couldn’t care less about my concerns. One day I came back to my bedroom. The door was open and the smell of fish was so strong that even my clean shirts smelled bad. She didn’t have the decency of closing my bedroom door when she was cooking. From the first day I got there I told her my concerns about the heat in the bedroom; she told me that the air conditioning was off, and added that the cleaning lady left it off and that was the reason for the bedroom to be so hot – another lie. Day after day, she manipulated the air conditioning; one day it was okay, and the next it was off, really making it a hot room.

The worst thing was her intrusive and imposing behavior. She kept inviting me to drink beer, and I kept telling her that I don’t drink. She ignored my words, and every day kept inviting me out to go dancing and do other activities. I told her I wasn’t interested, but she would not stop pressuring me. I started to feel intimidated by her abusive behavior.

Another concern was she had a obsessive compulsive control issue; everywhere you looked was a little piece of paper telling you what you can do or not do in the house. There were paper posts all over the house which made me feel like I was in a military camp: so many rules. She also told me things that I was not interested in hearing, bad mouthing all the guests that gave her bad reviews in the past (she is always the victim).

The garden was a mess. There was no way anybody could sit and relax on that patio. They had chairs that didn’t work. She even told me to be careful about the rats, and the coyotes. How could you live or enjoy a whole month in a place like this?

At the time I didn’t know one could call Airbnb and make a complaint, and I am sure many new Airbnb users had similar experiences but are not familiar with all the rules. I also tried to sit and read in the living room when my bedroom was too hot, but it was not a very cozy place. The whole house was full of objects and boxes that the host used to sell online. She was also trying to sell me a bicycle. I even hurt my knee one night when I needed to go to the kitchen by hitting the same bike she was trying to sell me: she left it next to the kitchen sink, and she keep bringing up the idea of how nice it would be for me to have a bicycle.

After seven day of broken promises, she didn’t fix anything and kept up her abusive behavior. I dint know what else could I do; I was in her house. I told her again about the air conditioning. I was so tired of this situation and I decided to leave. She begged me not to call or report her to Airbnb and “promised” to pay me back the other three weeks I hadn’t stayed. I believed her. I thought there was a bit of decency in this woman; I even felt sorry for her.

A few hours later, somebody from Airbnb call me and promised to resolve the situation. I was surprised because I hadn’t reported her. The host called them. She went about her manipulative ways, called Airbnb, and told them that I had decided to leave. She knew that I was new in this kind of situation and took advantage of the opportunity. Airbnb told me that without any pictures, written complaints, or any proof, they couldn’t help me. I paid $1,250 for a whole month’s rental and stayed only one week. The hostess never paid me back the money she promised. She is a scam artist, and now I know better. I just hope that my terrible experience with Airbnb prevents other decent people like me from been used and robbed.

Airbnb Nightmare: Threatened with Forcible Eviction

I had an Airbnb reservation for a basement (entire unit) from April 20th until May 27th. On April 22nd around 9:00 PM, the landlord decided that she wanted to cancel the reservation (because I was using the heater that was in the unit). Immediately, Airbnb contacted me, and told me I should leave the unit as soon as possible or the police would force me out. I had to rush to find a place so I wouldn’t spend the night in the streets.

We (my husband was with me at that time) visited this unit on April 4th to make sure everything was alright before reserving it; I was going to live there for 37 nights and I didn’t want to have any surprises. Everything looked okay. We also asked about the heating in the unit, and the landlords said that there was no problem as there was a wall heating unit in the living room. Even when I checked in on April 20th, the landlord explained to me how to operate the heating unit.

On April 22nd, I wanted to take a shower but when I opened the faucet, some brown waste came from the tap and filled the bathroom floor. It looked like sewage waste to me, therefore I messaged the host and asked her to take a look. When she came down and checked, she said that the house has a reliable sewage system and this should have come from the city water supply.

Then she came to the living room and asked me why I had the wall heating system on. I said that because I felt cold (the temperature was 2-3 C outside). She said I didn’t have the right to turn on the heating because the electricity bill would be high. I said I told her that I wanted to turn the heating system on. She left. The second time she came to clean up the waste in the bathroom, she told me that I couldn’t stay there anymore and I had to leave the unit. I said to discuss her issues with Airbnb.

Later, an Airbnb representative contacted me and told me that she had cancelled the reservation and I should leave the unit as soon as possible. I told her that I would find a unit tomorrow and will leave (I was very worried about my health with the sewage issue), but she said that I had to do it tonight or the landlord could call the police, and they would force me to leave. Mind you that this was 9:00 PM on a Sunday. I finally found a hotel at 10:00 PM and left the unit. I had to pay a high price for the unit because I was reserving at the last minute. This event has caused me so much stress that I couldn’t work for several days, and even remembering those events causes me trouble.

The next day, I sent a message to Airbnb and asked how they could force someone to leave the unit or threaten them with the police. This is totally unacceptable. If I have a reservation, I can’t cancel it without paying a high cancellation fee, but Airbnb can tell the clients to leave at 9:00 PM on a Sunday night or threaten them if they want to. The unit has serious sewage issues. It will threaten the health of anyone who wants to live there.

The following are the first messages that were exchanged between me and the Airbnb representative that night. She first called me but I couldn’t hear her, so she messaged me on the Airbnb website.

Agent:”I do apologize if you could not hear me. Your reservation with [host] is ending early. Please leave the listing as soon as possible. I have sent you an email that gives you the option to rebook or receive a full refund. Please let me know if you need rebooking assistance.”

Me: “Hi, I will think and let you know tonight. Thanks.”

Agent: “I have just tried giving you another call but was unable to reach you. Please let me know what time you can get out of the listing. If you don’t leave she has the authority to call the cops.”

Agent: “Are you leaving the listing now?”