Sick of Greedy Airbnb Hosts

VRBO

I’m trying to get a partial refund from our host as we unfortunately had to cancel our trip due to COVID-19. Her cancellation policy is strict but a tiny bit of compassion and flexibility would be so welcome these days. Times are tough for everyone — I get this — but the host (who is a real estate agent by the way) is ignoring our emails which I find extremely frustrating.

Airbnb has tried to help but with no success. I have never reported a listing or complained about anybody online but I find the greedy attitude of this Airbnb host baffling and frankly I am sick of these sort of people. We are shutting down our account and will be looking at more ethical travel options. If you are travelling to Inverness, Scotland spend your travel money wisely and stay away from this host.

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Airbnb Nightmare you Wouldn’t Wish on Anyone

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We booked three weeks with what on first meeting appeared to be a friendly South African immigrant couple in Allandale, Governors Bay in New Zealand. When we arrived, we were disappointed to see that the kitchen and bathroom were filthy, and the mattress badly stained. For $83 a night, it should have at least been clean.

While I was out for a drive the next day, I was told by one of their neighbours that the hosts are illegally subletting the downstairs unit without the owners’ permission and expressed concerns for anyone staying with this couple. They didn’t go into detail. That was our first warning.

Within 48 hours, one of the hosts had entered our downstairs unit twice without our permission while we were out. Despite us telling them we were on a working holiday and needed a secure space in which to lock away my husband’s laptop and work files, they told us they wouldn’t be locking the upstairs area they rented (which had internal access to our unit), so our possessions were not safe while we were out.

She then made numerous demands for us to mind and socialise her unruly and poorly trained 50-kg dog, and feed her chickens, none of which we should have to do in an Airbnb but we complied with everything the host asked for out of the kindness of our heart.

Our petite dog was hurt by her dog two days in a row while they were out and so we placed her in a kennel to keep her safe. The host gave us no peace from one day to the next. She repeatedly trapped my husband on the way to and from his car to make conversation when her husband was not around.

When on the third day I explained to her that my husband works 40-50 hours a week, that we were exhausted, and I asked her for much needed space and privacy, she became repeatedly vindictive. She started sending texts to us via the Airbnb site making false allegations with an attempt to have us kicked out and lose our payment for the two remaining weeks.

She then involved her husband and together they constantly harassed us until we no longer felt safe and went to stay elsewhere for three days for some peace and quiet. Numerous calls and texts followed from them both.

We told them that we were leaving and that we would be back to collect our belongings. Her husband then told us we were not permitted to return to retrieve our belongs and threatened us. We had no choice but to call the police, who came to the property and kept them away from us while we gathered our things to leave.

We would never recommend anyone stay here. It was exhausting and we felt very unsafe with this couple living above us, and are very relieved to have made it out of there in one piece.

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Orlando Stay Cancelled in Middle of Music Festival

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Do not book through Airbnb. Your stay can be cancelled with no repercussions for the host. We found what looked like the perfect place for a music festival but were a little concerned about reviews that included cancellations. I asked them about this and they blamed the guest and said the guest would not provide additional documentation.

I booked the unit in August and crossed my fingers. The host cancelled our stay in January and of course I can’t find anything comparable for the same cost because of the music festival. The offered other accommodations that they said were 15 minutes away. I insisted on getting the address and it was 30 minutes away.

Then the host told me to cancel the booking. I am sure it was to screw me again on my refund or so it would not show up in their reviews. Airbnb thinks all is good because they refunded our money but this in no way solves my problem. A lack of suitable options and they are all at three times the price of the property we had reserved.

If we cancel, we lose our money. If the host cancels, there’s no harm to them, but to us and Airbnb does not care. Airbnb does not allow people with cancelled stays to leave a review; it only states “the host cancelled your reservation.”

Do not stay with hosts and do not use Airbnb. What are you going to do at the last minute when your stay is cancelled? If you look through their reviews, cancellations happen way more than you would think. In fact, when I went back to look at their listings, a new cancellation popped up. Don’t risk your vacation with Airbnb.

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Birthday at New York Airbnb Gone Wrong

I got about five friends together for my birthday at a park in upstate New York, then it started raining. I found an Airbnb that seemed large enough for my friends and since none of us were from the town we just wanted a place to chill and wait out the rain for an hour or two. For $125 it was fine.

We arrived and brought up our coolers. Not even five minutes after we arrived, we got a knock on the door and this tall man counted us out. There were six of us and I said six on the reservation. He left and was very rude.

Then about ten minutes after that I got a call from Airbnb saying I was breaking the rules with having too many people and having alcohol in the apartment. We were all obviously over 21 and there was no rule against having alcohol.

At this point I was very annoyed. Luckily I had “I Love Lucy” on DVD and brought that into the room. We were all on the couch watching it. We didn’t even finish an episode when we got another knock on the door with a different woman bursting into the room, and saying that we unplugged their camera in the living room.

Now we knew we were being filmed in the apartment and decided to leave within 45 minutes. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose to take my money and get us out asap.

Not Quite Airbnb Hell, but Certainly Uncomfortable

A few weeks ago I had my first Airbnb experience. Reviews on the place in Lancaster were decent, and the photos looked nice. The host did not live there. It looked like a very quiet, countryside place. I was looking forward to it and having the peace and quiet of being alone. The host did warn me that a family member would/could be there, but their area of the house was private with their own bath, so no need to worry about being bothered. My stay was for three nights.

A bit about me before I continue on. I am 69 years old. I don’t act it, don’t look it – so I am told – and I certainly don’t feel my age. I am very healthy and my energy level is way beyond others my age. Mentally, nothing gets by me.

I had traveled all day, flying from PA to Lancaster, having rented a car at the Charlotte airport. I was anxious to get to the place I was staying at. I had received directions for entering the house, which was very detailed, saying once I parked, I would be at the back door. A code was given.

Once I pulled in, I looked at the back door, which was on a deck that had 14 steps that I had to carry my 30-pound suitcase up. I just sit there in the car for a moment, wondering why this was not mentioned when it did mention having to climb steps once inside to get to my room.

Oh well. I am 5’2″ tall, and average weight. I lugged the suitcase by taking a few steps, then hoisting it up, another few steps, hoist, another few, and hoist, until I was finally at the door.

The whole while I was climbing and hoisting, I was thinking about how I was going to have to deal with getting my suitcase back down in a few days when I left. I entered a lovely sunroom; it was dark, but dimly lit inside. I moved to the kitchen area, which had been explained in the instructions.

I immediately was drawn to the kitchen sink, as I parked my suitcase so I could make a second trip with my other smaller pieces of luggage left in the car. The kitchen sink was filled with dirty dishes. Not just a few. I frowned and wondered why this would be left for a paying guest to see. Next I see a cast iron frying pan, sitting near the stovetop, with remains of cooked meat and grease.

After retrieving all that I needed from the car, I then began my ascent of the stairway to my room, having to go through a foyer. All was quiet, the stairway was lit. I then saw outdoor debris on the steps and realized they must not have vacuumed, and again thought and wondered why they didn’t have it cleaned better.

I am an immaculate housekeeper, so tried to shrug it off as just me being too clean. After all, I really couldn’t do anything about it. The house did look like a lovely house, and it was only for three days. I would basically only be sleeping there.

The Airbnb listing stated, in several places, that there were at least four rooms that were shared with owners, one being the kitchen. It even stated you could cook your own meals. This was not my intent, since I was there for a wedding and visits with family, so after eating a cup of yogurt and banana in the mornings (which I bought), I would be gone until the evening each day and leaving by 6:00 AM after my third night.

I never went into any other rooms, nor even peeked into other rooms. I only went through the places I had to go through to get to my room. Once in the room, it looked decent enough, but the carpet was dirty around the doors – actually black. The color of the carpet was a light tan.

I looked at the bed, which was very high, with about a dozen decorative pillows and cushions on it. I went up close to the bed and stood there in wonder as to how in the world I was going to get into it. It came up to my breast area in height. I looked around for a stool; there was none at the bed. I tried to swing my left leg up on it, then tried my right leg. No go.

Even though I am in decent physical condition, I just knew I would not be able to run and make a flying leap onto the top of the bed. I stood there questioning, out loud, wondering how they could not think that someone short would not be able to get into this bed, and how they didn’t provide a stool for that purpose.

I stacked up about five pillows and attempted it that way. I didn’t work, because I sank too low when stepping on the pillows. I was perplexed. I looked at the end to see if I might step on the foot-end frame to climb up. Due to the high curve and no decent ledge to step on, that was out of the question.

I decided to just use the bathroom and then come up with another plan for getting myself into the bed. The bathroom was referred to as the “Jack & Jill bathroom”. I’ll let you determine what that meant. Immediately I saw the dirty floor. It was white tile and obviously had not been mopped properly in a long time, as there were shoe prints and hair on the floor, and two throw rugs that were linty and matted down, so you knew they hadn’t been shaken or washed in sometime.

The toilet seat was open, the water inside the bowl was brown, and remnants of one of those toilet things that hang on the side was sticking to the side in a blue glob. I was really feeling disgusted.

I then returned to tackle how to get into the bed. I spied a chair in the corner. It was too heavy for me to move, but it had a rocker/glider foot stool at it. I wondered if it might be high enough to give me the boost I needed to get into the bed once I showered. I brought it over to the bed, not yet having pulled back the covers.

Well, it worked. It was just high enough, but of course the minute you put your foot on it, it would glide back and forth. I wedged it up against the side table next to the bed, now it only glided to one side instead of back and forth. I quickly steadied my elbows on the bed and swung the free leg up. I was on it.

Now to get off? I would just slide off on my belly till my feet hit the floor, as to step on the glider might be too hazardous. Once off, I pulled back the comforter and folded it nicely at the foot-end, after taking off the dozen pillows. I then saw the pillows. There was a brown stain on one that looked like dried blood. Then I saw further down a stain on the sheet, more towards the foot-end.

Fortunately, I brought my own pillowcase, because these pillows smelled like someone’s greasy head. I cringed and was feeling so disappointed in what I was seeing thus far. I placed the one with the stain on the floor and used my pillowcase on the other.

The room was too warm and the host did message me earlier, stating that if it needed adjusting to let him know as it was controlled by the wifi and he would have to adjust it. After showering I went straight to bed. The shower stall was okay, but it really was in need of a good cleaning; the corners looked yucky. I slept okay.

While having my yogurt in the morning, I sat at the kitchen table and messaged the host about the heat and requested it be turned down a few degrees, which he did take care of. I told him of the bed issue. He apologized and offered for me to sleep in another room they rent out. I decided just to deal with the room I was in, not wanting to cause more work for them by tearing up another bed.

I had brought my own tea to make, so used the microwave to heat it up. Other than that, I did not use the kitchen at all. The counters were dirty, too. I had asked the host, when I messaged him about the heat, where the dishwashing liquid was so I could do up some dishes in the sink that were there when I arrived. He told me it was under the sink. I didn’t not find any and decided I was not going to bother cleaning up the kitchen, as this was not why I was there, to clean for them.

On my last day there, I was gone all day and returned around 5:00 PM, having brought with me a premade salad from a store to eat for my evening meal. When I arrived, a family member was there, which had been talked about in the listing. She was watching TV in another room with a friend.

As I passed that room to get to mine, I introduced myself and asked if it would be okay to eat my salad at the kitchen table. I did not want to invade on their privacy. She assured me that it would be okay. They left shortly after that and she offered for me to watch TV if I wanted. I thanked her and told her that I wouldn’t be watching TV, as I was leaving early in the morning and needed to get some sleep.

I found a message on my phone during that time, from the host. It was strange; this was my third day and I would be leaving. His message was asking me if this was my first time doing Airbnb. The message had been left earlier in the day. I was with family all day, so didn’t realize until then that he had messaged me.

I answered that it was my first time and asked him why he was wondering. He responded saying because I had asked about the dishwashing liquid, that indicated I was using the kitchen, which wasn’t part of the rent. Naturally, I was stunned. I messaged back that I had not really used the kitchen – only to eat my yogurt in the morning, which I stored in their fridge and to make myself a cup of tea. I then reminded him that his ad indicated it was okay to use it.

After sending that message off I pulled up the Airbnb listing to read it again, to make sure I had not been mistaken or misinterpreted anything. I saw it was in at least three different places about the kitchen and other rooms being shared with owner, so I messaged him again to let him know that it was clearly stated in the listing that it was shared with the owner, but told him that I didn’t use it anyway.

It was obvious that he was now feeling insulted that I was right. He wrote back, telling me that no one else has ever done this before – other guests, he meant. By now, I felt he was accusing me of doing something I should not have done. I stopped responding. He wrote again, saying, “Congratulations, you are the first.”

I started shaking, wondering why he was acting this way. I did not respond. I showered and went to bed. However, I was not able to sleep at all, as I could not believe how this all turned on me in an instant. I could not wait to get out of there. I felt so uncomfortable about being there.

I was not going to say anything to him about the dirtiness of the place, the dishes in the sink, the greasy pan, dirty bathroom, sheets, etc., but now I decided to take pictures of all that I have explained here. They are on my phone and I don’t know how or even if I could transfer them to the computer, so won’t be putting them out here.

I don’t see how to save what I am writing here to see if I can do that later. It would have been too hard for me to write all of this from my phone, as I had to file a resolution complaint on the phone to do the pictures and it was difficult due to the small space, and having to write so much.

I waited several days, once home, and it was Christmas a few days later. Right after I contacted Airbnb via phone and explained all of this to them and asked them how to handle this with them. The only way to send the pictures was to open a resolution complaint, so I did.

Well, it all backfired. They ended up telling me my complaint was not valid since I didn’t contact the host, first, and also because I stayed the entire time despite the place being dirty. I have gotten numerous messages from Airbnb since I began the process. I’ve called them two more times. I wanted to explain further, but it has all been too much hassle.

I sent the pictures to prove it along with my initial complaint. I told them I did not want a refund, I just want for the host to see the pictures. I’ve decided this just isn’t worth it. I sit here now, just wanting someone to know the truth about it all.

Would I do another stay with Airbnb? Yes, as my son told me to just stick with those who are Superhosts and he will help me find one who is better, as he has much more experience with Airbnb.

I was so disappointed in how it all turned out for me this time, but the host showed his true colors in the way he reacted to me being right about what was in the listing. I never did sleep a wink that last night. My intentions were to leave around 6:00 AM; I ended up leaving at 4:30 AM and being relieved I was out of there.

That morning, while my car was heating up, I ate my yogurt in the car so as not to have to eat it at the kitchen table that was not included in the rent, as he claimed. I don’t know if Airbnb showed him the photos that I sent, if they did that is all I wanted, anyway. The person who is supposed to be taking care of the place is the family member. She isn’t doing it and the host needs to know.

At least I was able to get this off my chest. Sooner or later there will be others that complain about the dirty place or nothing mentioned about the deck steps or the too high bed and no stool. The last I checked on the listing, which was about a week ago, the ad still reads the same. How do you tell them their place is too dirty while you are staying there?

I had no other place to go to and could not afford a hotel, but according to Airbnb, because I didn’t leave, it made my complaint invalid. What a poor way to handle this when pictures tell it all. I stated that it wasn’t about getting a refund, so it wasn’t costing Airbnb anything by having to return my money. Yes, I stayed, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to.

Some Superhosts are too Immature to do Anything

For my 10th wedding anniversary, my husband and I planned a big vacation to Hawaii: Hawaii island, Kauai and our final stop on Oahu. We stayed in two different Airbnbs on the Big Island and it was great. No issues there. Nice hosts, cheap, comfortable.

We were only staying on Oahu two nights and found an Airbnb in Kailua. Quiet neighborhood, free parking, mountain views. A little out of the way, but it was like $50 a night and saved us hundreds of dollars. The listing was a younger couple with a Superhost badge and positive reviews. A few automatic cancellations, but most were 40+ days before the vacation so plenty of time to reschedule if necessary.

We booked four months in advance. I sent messages about a week before our trip to all our hosts confirming arrival dates and times. There were no issues at that point. I sent another message to the host when we were boarding the plane for Oahu to get the door code as they stated in their listing.

When we landed, I still hadn’t heard back, so sent a follow up message to let them know we were in Oahu and that we’d be at their location shortly. We made a quick stop at Pearl Harbor and then got dinner. We still hadn’t heard back. I was starting to get a little worried, but figured they were probably just at work and it was still fairly early. We drove around a little more… still no response.

Finally at about 6:00 PM we decided just to drive over there. We got to the location and there was a car in the driveway and the lights were on. We knocked on the door; we could hear footsteps inside and we started to relax. Except… Nobody ever came to the door. We knocked again. We heard someone running. They still didn’t come to the door, but suddenly the lights that were on were shut off and the blinds were closed. Are you serious?

After waiting almost fifteen minutes, I looked at the profile to get a phone number; there wasn’t one listed. I sent another message. I waited thirty more minutes. It was about 7:00 PM at this point and getting dark. I noticed there was a newer review on the profile from about a week before we arrived. The guest stated that they showed up and the hosts weren’t there and they ended up having to find other accommodations.

I was freaking out. I immediately called Airbnb customer service to see what we could do. They tried contacting the hosts and couldn’t get through either. They told us we’d have to cancel and find a new host. It was dark at that point – it was 8:00 PM – so were we really going to find anything?

The answer was no. We ended up getting a roach-infested hotel in Waikiki for almost $200 a night, four times what our two-night stay was supposed to cost. Airbnb refunded us the $104, and gave us about $50 towards the new hotel, but between the additional cost of parking and the room, we ended up spending about $340 more than we expected. I was pissed.

What was even more disappointing to hear is that because they were a Superhost, Airbnb won’t do anything about it. They’ll be charged a small fine for the last-minute cancellation, but they still get to keep their Superhost badge. Even after screwing over at least two guests, if not more.

Amsperience Treeland Wormerveer Listing in Amsterdam

The words ‘sweet’ and ‘cosy’ and ‘paradise’ should be banned from Airbnb. It is possible to find cheap accommodation on Airbnb which is actually of a good standard, not too spartan and actually very pleasant to stay in.

The correct choice of budget accommodation on Airbnb is not helped by the fact that the company sifts out the worst reviews and a reading of the reviews of a property like this actually looks fairly positive. This landlord has also re-listed his property many times to eliminate bad reviews.

The couple running this venue are in their 20s and have had the immense good fortune to have been handed what was a very nice house with a lot of character with a big garden. Sadly the way in which they run the venue is very disappointing and disconcerting to experience.

I stayed with them at their old venue in 2016, which was rustic but not unpleasant, and at this venue in 2017. You will enter the premises via a side gate, next to which the domestic bins are, plus a big pile of domestic rubbish under a plastic cover. The garden is visibly neglected, quite over-grown, which creates a secluded but rather depressing impression.

The house is wooden, with a very characteristic hallway, but which has seen a lot of human traffic: the floor and doors are scuffed and grubby, there are cobwebs, blown light bulbs, and a wooden staircase which also needs cleaning. There is an odd smell probably due to the result of lack of proper cleaning. The entire downstairs is private to the operator.

A glimpse through the dirty windows reveals a catastrophic hoarder kitchen and a very untidy living space on the ground floor. The downstairs common bathroom and toilet is actually quite good.

The owner says that he does not allow access to the kitchen because it ‘f*cks up my energy.’ The kitchen is not even usable for any conventional purpose and would require many days of cleaning to restore.

There are two upstairs bedrooms. They are both a good size. The bigger one is an en suite with a nice shower, but the shower has been out of action for a few months because of a leak. The sliding door to this room could be locked with a padlock, but there is no padlock. The other room has no door but a curtain. The beds, although pallet beds, are comfortable. There is also a rustic wooden building in the garden which is a cluttered, dirty, untidy workshop, with filthy windows which is sometimes available for rent.

I was asked my views on the property by the owner and I told him that he could probably double his income by providing a mini-bar fridge, fridge space for the guests, basic tea and coffee making facilities, real beds, an inclusive simple breakfast (and not the vegan breakfast he has sometimes insisted on) and by cleaning the windows. The venue does have a good washing machine and dryer which I suggested that the owner charge guests for using.

The central heating is on constantly for some unknown reason, so it is also possible to dry clothes on the radiator in the bedroom which you can turn on and off. I asked the owner about pegs for drying on the washing line but he could not be bothered to look for them.

There is wifi, but it goes off all the time when the owner’s phone goes out of range of the router. He will not change this so that guests can go online with greater convenience and is often too under the influence of drugs to connect it when asked, particularly in the evenings. I constantly had to ask him to reconnect it and towards the end of my five-day stay he could not be bothered to do it. He told me to get KPN for internet access which cost me 15 Euros and did not work at all well.

He has ideas of starting a second or third operation, when the one he has got is operating at such a poor level. He even thought that I would be interested in running an Airbnb operation with him in the future. In 2017, I was almost offered the option of running the current Airbnb operation so that the owner and his girlfriend could go on holiday, with no mention of any kind of payment or profit-share for this work.

The owner/operator is a young man approaching 30, whom I do have previous experience with. He is not at all unpleasant or dishonest but sadly he is addicted to processing and smoking dab cannabis every day. This is the principal reason why the property is run at such a low level. The Airbnb operation exists like this so that he can take drugs every day and hang around in the house.

Our previous acquaintance going back to 2016 and 2017 probably explains why he did not bother to vacuum my room before I arrived. His girlfriend was away, so he would hang out in my room, passing out on the spare bed a few times and even wanted to eat a meal of particularly smelly fried food in my room, but was prevented from doing so, because I was going out. On two other occasions he actually did this and then started asking about the food that I had. The operator consumes a lot of fried food, often late in the evening and because he does not air the downstairs area, the smell travels up the stairs.

You might actually enjoy having the owner’s two dogs running in and out of your room and trying to jump on you or on your bed. As I mentioned, the owner isn’t a bad person at all, but rather overly sociable and seems really to have no interests except drugs. He will talk a lot about conspiracy theories and his wish to start a company and change the world. It becomes grating after a short time or if you want to go to bed. I had to wake him up and eject him from the room when I wanted to sleep.

The owner is also under the impression that he is ‘helping people’ by offering such a low-rent property. You also cannot obtain a key for the house, the owner relying on keeping a key under a flower pot in the garden. This deficient security was quite a worry and travel insurance would definitely not be valid in the event of theft.

The motivation in running this operation is in fact very casual and shows a commitment to making the minimum of effort. Alternatively the operator can be quite fussy about an open bedroom window because of a mosquito problem, which I did not experience at all. He complained about this twice after he woke up from passing out on the spare bed in my room. He was also very intolerant of my opening the skylights at the top of the stairs slightly.

One of the things which you must not do is to become too social with the owner. A trip into Amsterdam means that you will suddenly be paying for his travel, food, drugs, etc. I was repaid because I kept reminding him, but had to avoid this kind of venture after that. I am writing this because I don’t see this operation lasting very long because of the ongoing level of deterioration to the property.

The painted exterior of the house is starting to deteriorate visibly in places. The operator told me back in 2017 that no exterior work needs to be done for ten years. I don’t want to be one of the succession of strangers or somebody claiming to be a friend, who said all was well with this venue, when there are severe systemic problems and standards which are non-existent.

I did tell the operator this when I was asked and my further critique here is given here in the hope that things really improve, because as a friend that is what I would like to see most. I also want to prevent strangers from having their vacation totally spoiled. This Airbnb rental is not at all suitable for children or for people with mobility or allergy issues.

Airbnb most definitely sanitises the reviews for this property so that it can stay in business, generating a sustained income for the company. I raised my concerns with Airbnb back in 2017, but they seem to have no interest in basic standards, ordinary hygiene, organisation and the constant use of drugs in the house. They are not at all concerned that cheap accommodation should be of a good standard, pleasant to arrive at and stay in.

My intention in writing this review is so that the operator is provided with a very necessary wake-up call and gains the long-overdue insight to massively improve the venue, which is entirely in his own interest to do so. It is not my business to tell an adult how to live but there is so much wrong with this operation and his alternative way of living would not be acceptable to most people.

My reading of quite a number of the original reviews more than illustrated the level of dissatisfaction and frustration felt by a lot of people who have stayed at his house. If you simply want to pass out every night when you get back from Amsterdam then this venue might suit you perfectly.

Stay Away From Weird Hosts in Bardstown

We checked into an Airbnb apartment in Bardstown, KY. Two hours after we checked into the apartment, there was an issue with the key not working to unlock the door. The key would not turn in the lock and everything was so old, we didn’t want to mess with it for fear of breaking off the key in the lock.

It took more than 20 minutes to receive a response and when the host finally arrived and demonstrated the “trick” to turning the key in the lock I suggested she might want to include the trick in the instructions, at which time she told me I was being ugly. It was just a suggestion.

She offered a full refund, which we decided to do, then she refused to issue a refund through Airbnb. Before we returned the key to her, she asked if we had a dog in the apartment. What? No. But I do have pictures of our dog on my Facebook page. Maybe she was creeping me?

When we were finally settled in our nice clean modern room at the Hampton Inn, she called me on my cell phone and when I answered, she hung up. I called her back. No answer, of course. I suggest you stay clear of this location, unless you don’t mind being called ugly and being stalked.

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Entertainment for your Airbnb – Choose any Porn Tape

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We arrived at the flat in Palermo at the agreed time to be met by a co-host whose English was extremely poor and found it difficult to communicate with us. The host, whose name is on the listing and with whom we had been communicating, was too busy at work.

We were shown into the apartment and shown into the sitting room where there on the unit in bright red boxes were 30 hardcore porn tapes. Some of these were in the unit and some were on top where the picture could be seen by all. I was just grateful that my children were not with me. The co-host said they were not porn but one could hardly get away from the fact that they had titles such as ‘whore’.

In addition there was a review by a guest written in May 2019 that says “we just had a few small issues (some people may not find these problems relevant): there was a large amount of video pornography on display and within the lounge area. This was quite distasteful and could make some people feel uncomfortable.”

Despite this review, Airbnb does not seem to have taken any action with regards to this. We left the apartment and went to a local cafe where we contacted Airbnb as we did not want to stay or be associated with such material. They were less than helpful. They managed to get some money returned to us, but less than a third of what we paid for the apartment.

Airbnb help contacted me through Twitter with lip service. Despite many conversations, they say they are not responsible for what the host has in his apartment. Something I disagree with, especially as the issue had been flagged some four months earlier. In a nutshell, Airbnb has taken no moral responsibility for the business they are promoting even though in their T&C’s it says you must not bring the company into disrepute.

The Airbnb Amityville Horror in Holbrook

The place was in a reasonably quiet neighborhood in Holbrook, NY (Long Island). The price seemed reasonable (before I found out why it was so low). After instant booking, the host sent a novel’s worth of questions that were already answered in my booking. I reiterated all the answers verbatim from my booking. I got the sense that either the host gets a lot of people who jerk him around, and/or he doesn’t understand how to use Airbnb to set the expectations for a clear-cut host/guest stay.

In any event, I ended up requesting the day of my check-in to show up earlier than the agreed upon check-in time as per Airbnb. I received no response, so I slowly headed over, given I was provided full check-in instructions.

I got to the residence, and entered the room easily. However, I noticed the room had a strong, overwhelming smell of vinegar (either the paint, cleaner, or both). Also, the air conditioner unit in the wall was caked with dirt inside it.

I was exhausted from walking across town from the prior Airbnb (it was a really nice day and I needed the exercise), so I decided to take a shower. I walked in the bathroom, and the first thing I noticed was the bathroom window was the size of a person, both horizontally and vertically, with no curtain, blinds, or other visual blockage.

The neighbors, and folks from the street can literally see you naked and watch you do your business in the restroom. I was provided a humongous, bathrobe sized towel as a part of the guest amenities, so I used this as a curtain, and left it hung up until I could discuss it with the host.

I then proceeded to take a shower. While the host did provide soap via a public restroom style soap dispenser (most normal hosts just put a bottle of nicely scented body wash in the shower instead of trying to treat guests like YMCA members), no matter how hard you pushed the soap dispenser, very little to nothing came out. It appeared to be either empty, broken, or both. Thankfully I came prepared for unprepared hosts (you need to with Airbnb), so I simply used my own soap.

I finished up and got to my door, but promptly forgot the correct four digit key code. I had been diagnosed with heat exhaustion by a doctor earlier in the day, with suggestion I had a minor heat stroke (too much fun in the sun). So, my short term memory took a hit. I also had not brought my cell phone, so I was really up ‘S’ creek without a paddle. I walked outside, to a side door of the host quarters. I knocked but nobody responded. I figured the host would mosey around eventually, so I posted up on the stoop and waited.

After about ten minutes or so, a guy who looked nothing like the host’s picture showed up. I introduced myself and shook his hand, asking him if he was the host. He said yes. Not to be mean spirited, but the guy in front of me either smoked meth, drank way too hard, or has a condition, as he looked nothing like the guy in the picture. The guy in the picture had black hair. The guy in front of me had white scraggly hair, was missing teeth, had glasses, and looked wild eyed.

Regardless, I proceed to explain verbatim how I had heat exhaustion, apologized for bothering him, and just needed to get back in my room. He walked upstairs and punched in the key code. I then thanked him for his help. As I was doing so, he rudely interrupted me, and abruptly shouted at me that I could not leave my towel on the metal banister.

I immediately thought, “Is this guy for real? I just explained in very clear terms how I accidentally locked myself out given my heat exhaustion, and he is acting like I just committed murder on his property.”

He then immediately proceeded to chastise me about his bathroom carpet being wet, and how I need to replace it. Again, I looked at this guy and thought, “How many shots of vodka did you down, and/or bong hits did you rip before you came up with that one?”

I just shook my head in disgust, walked into my room, and closed the door. I got the immediate sense that this guy either has an undiagnosed (or diagnosed) mental illness, he has a learning disability, or cut to the meth/alcohol suspicion above. Regardless, I knew this guy was going to be trouble if I didn’t settle it immediately.

I called Airbnb and advised if the host doesn’t change his tune pronto, along with deal with all the outstanding problems, I’m leaving tonight, with the expectation of a full refund. Airbnb said that his son is actually the one who runs the thing, not the host. I called the son, who seemed reasonable, noted his father has a ‘strange’ way about him (no ‘S’ Sherlock) and explained all of the above to him.

The son said he would talk with his father to set him straight, and all the issues will be addressed exactly as I advised: the temporary curtain will remain until a permanent one is installed; the host is going to ‘back off’, never enter my room for any reason, and not communicate directly with me going forward; the soap situation will be straightened out; towels will be placed in the common area, replaced daily at the guest’s discretion; the host will stop conscripting guests into ‘free help’ (ordering guests to replace bath mats, tie up trash bags and throw it out daily regardless of if trash is actually put in them, etc.).

Given how sincere the son seemed, and how he was profusely apologetic of his father’s behavior, I figured he would set the matter straight, and I agreed to stay on these conditions. I then started to take a nap, and not a few minutes into it, the host loudly stomped up the stairs, waking me up in the process, and dropped a giant plastic bin from waist high onto the floor, making a loud crashing sound.

I opened the door, and saw that the temporary curtain had been removed. I immediately called Airbnb, advised how the son said one thing, and the host is doing exactly the opposite of what was discussed. Given how Airbnb has no immediate influence or control over the host (and obviously neither does the son), I advised Airbnb I was leaving immediately to book a hotel outside of Airbnb (I tried booking an Airbnb but everything was either booked, or not ‘Instant Book’ so had to move on). I also advise the host of the same via the Airbnb platform and text message as I was leaving the premises.

Once settled in at the hotel, I attempted to request a refund from the host directly. Here are the points made to the host verbatim, and the host’s one-star, reality-denying, insult-the-guest’s-intelligence responses:

Me: No concerns were addressed with my discussion with the son in any way.

Host: This is not accurate. My son spoke to you for 10-15 minutes and all concerns were addressed.

Me: I walked in and the room smelled like vinegar.

Host: We use all natural cleaning products, that may be what you smelled.

Me: The air conditioner was filthy and caked with dirt.

Host: You did not discuss this at any time during your reservation, nor did you mention this on the call with my son. I would have been happy to come take a look. Please send photo documentation of this so I can see where the problem lies as I’ve cleaned that before.

Me: The shower had no soap.

Host: The shower soap is clear, so it makes the dispenser look empty. I did take a [SIC].

Me: The host is overbearing, maniac, and doesn’t understand basic human interaction.

Host: We’ve had a lot of great reviews and guest stays. We’re just trying to be good hosts here. After speaking to my son and him having thought all of your issues were resolved, you left without a word.

Me: The temporary window curtain I placed was removed by the host so neighbors could see guests naked (ridiculous).

Host: Again, we’ve had a lot of guests, none of whom before you have complained about the window. Besides the fact that I’m sure the neighbors have no interest in seeing you naked, I’ve already ordered some window fogger to make future guests more comfortable.

Me: The host refused to put towels in the common area.

Host: In our house rules we ask that guests do not leave belongings in the common area. It is a hazard and can cause an accident. You were asked to leave your towel in your room.

Me: I left shortly after my arrival due to the above.

Host: You did not leave shortly after your arrival. You were here until late evening, and even showered/bathed in the house. For a one-night reservation you did check-in, use the bed, use the room, etc.

The bottom line is the host treats people how a librarian on a power trip would treat guests: rudely, with contempt, heavy handed, and ‘doubling down on wrong’ at every turn. Airbnb gave me a full refund, and I would never do business with, let alone with Airbnb, with this guy, or his son. If you enjoy being mistreated as a guest, then please by all means, book away. Good luck to you. You will need it.