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.