Airbnb’s Complete Lack of Oversight: Dirty Homes

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My husband and I booked an Airbnb, for the first time ever, to travel from Eastern Canada to spend two weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona. We arrived only to find the property in a deplorable, filthy condition. I don’t mean dirty; I mean filthy. There was urine and dried feces on the toilet and pubic hair in the sinks. The bedding had not been changed and the pillows, instead of being white, were a golden brown, as were the stains on the bed covering. The carpeting, which was suppose to be tan, was a dirty mess of brown and black. There were dirty dish cloths and open food containers in the kitchen. One of the bedrooms had an air mattress.

After complaining to the host, who was leasing in violation of her Homeowners Association, she tried to tell us that the cleaner had come to clean the house, her water broke, and she had to leave to have a baby. Really… she was nine months pregnant and cleaning? Our host also told us that she had moved to San Francisco; however, when I texted her that the house was dirty, she showed up five minutes later to say that the house wasn’t bad, she tried her best and continued to tell us that she would pray for us. Being thousands of miles away from home with no place to stay, we did not need someone praying for us; it all felt more than a little weird.

I have been trying to resolve this issue with Airbnb; however, they say that they are not responsible for refunds, if the host does not agree to a refund. How can this be? Do they allow anyone to list their properties? People with questionable hygiene, sexual perverts, murderers? Is there no obligation on the part of Airbnb to screen hosts, ensure properties meet a certain standard, and ensure the safety of guests? Have you tried getting ahold of anyone at Airbnb? Just finding a phone number for them is like trying to pull hen’s teeth and they don’t have any. I have learned a very valuable, expensive lesson from Airbnb and I would like to pass on to those considering renting through them: don’t do it. Use VRBO or HomeAway.

“Grotesque, Lying Hag” Says Airbnb Review

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Antler’s Inn was by far the worst lodging experience with Airbnb we’ve ever had. After we’d already gone to bed for the evening, the manager of Antler’s Inn woke us up and told us we had to move to a different cabin. We said that we’d gladly move in the morning, but we were in bed for the night. He said that his staff put us in the wrong cabin so we needed to get our things and move to another cabin now. We scrambled to pack our things (a guy in a Hummer was screaming at us to hurry up). The cleaning crew came in and didn’t change the sheets for the bed we’d just been sleeping in; they just remade the bed.

When we checked in, the cabin was not in very good condition (stains on the furniture and Budweiser cans in the freezer), but I’m horrified that they don’t change the bedding between guests. In the manager’s office, we were pissed. We had checked in seven hours ago and they waited until we were in bed to let us know we needed to leave? The manager told us, “I’d rather you just get out. I can rent the cabin in a heartbeat for hundreds more than what you’re paying.” He was also upset that we had a dog, though we mentioned it when we requested our booking and got a confirmation for two adults and one pet. He kept trying to pressure us to just leave, but it was freezing cold and dark, the winding mountain roads were icy, and we’d each had wine with our dinner. We didn’t feel like it was safe to leave.

He gave us a key to a new cabin (oddly, he let us keep the key to the original cabin, which seemed really unsafe), but didn’t check on it ahead of time. There wasn’t even a pathway cleared and we both slipped and fell on the ice. We left in the morning, still furious with them for treating us like this. He said he wasn’t going to charge us for the stay and we civilly left it at that. Then surprise: we got a charge. Because we settled the dispute with Airbnb (they felt the charge was inappropriate and refunded us in full), we weren’t going to write a review. Antler’s Inn felt differently. They called me “a grotesque, lying hag.”

Cancelled in the Keys: Ruined Christmas and New Years

I’m still in disbelief and my host is a despicable example of a human being. His name is Aaron. On July 1st I used the Airbnb app and paid for three nights on his “boat in the bay with all the toys” to spend New Years in the Keys with my two youngest sons. You must understand this trip was their Christmas gift. Instead of buying them toys and such they might forget in a few days or hours I take them on a trip every year. Being a single mom this is no small feat. This year I wanted a new experience for them since we usually go to the mountains. The Keys were going to be great. I made a deposit on a fishing charter and was about to call to make a deposit for a snorkeling trip. I decided to communicate with the host again since we would be heading his way in two days. I sent him a text explaining how excited we were and asking if we were to meet him at the address provided at the check in time provided. I got an immediate notice through the app that my trip had been canceled.

I texted him. No response. I called him, and it went to voicemail. I decided to check his listing out again on the app and noticed all the trips he had canceled. Most were much further out than two days so I’m not sure why mine was not canceled earlier. I was mad and in tears at this point. After some searching I found a customer service number for Airbnb. The poor man got an earful and tried to find something else close by. He offered me a $150 credit towards another stay but we could not find anything close by that I could afford. I applied for the refund and will be keeping an eye on that to make sure I get my money back but I still lost my $416 deposit for our fishing charter. My boys were devastated. My pocketbook was devastated as well. That may not be much to you but it’s a lot to me and my boys. While the customer service experience with them was good the business model sucks. Please beware of the scammers!

Bait and Switch: Unethical Airbnb Owners

This story is regarding my Airbnb rental and my host, Caroline. On December 17th, 2016 I made a reservation with Caroline to rent a home in San Pedro, CA, I received confirmation of my reservation and at that time my credit card was charged $1,829 for a one-week rental of the home. The rental dates were from February 18-25, 2017. On December 18th, 2016 I wrote to ask Caroline whether, during our stay, we could have a luncheon for my 90-year-old mother in law. She wrote back saying that would be no problem. Then, on December 19th, 2016, I was shocked to receive the following email:

“Good morning! I spoke with the owners this morning again about your booking and they are really worried about a party and are not keen to it any longer. They went to a neighborhood party and a few people mentioned that they were not happy about the last party and would report them. I’m sorry. I wish I could change their mind and they are sorry too but they can’t afford the risk. I hope you guys can understand. They also mentioned the house was booked at $200 and that they can’t afford to stay at a nice hotel for that and that they’d prefer a minimum of $250 per night. I’m not sure how our minimum got changed to $200 but that wasn’t correct. There’s been some software changes in the system but we can’t figure out how that could have changed. I hope this isn’t all too disappointing. I’ve never asked for a guest to cancel but this is what the owners want me to do. If you guys can make it work then I’ll need you to accept the changes or if it can’t work, which I’d understand, then you can cancel. Again, I’m really sorry about having to chance this on you. But I hope you’ve got enough time until February to choose another place if that may be.”

I had made a reservation in good faith to rent this property and now, with less than 60 days until the short-term rental began, I was being told the rental cost was being increased by 24%. As this rental was found on Airbnb, I contacted them to ask about this uncomfortable situation. I was contacted by two customer service representatives who said this was absolutely not acceptable behavior, that it was a “bait and switch” tactic, and against Airbnb’s policies. A few days later another representative from Airbnb contacted me and said she would work to resolve the situation. Instead, on December 27th, 2016, they informed me my reservation was being cancelled. I believe the actions taken by Caroline were illegal under California State Law, specifically regarding short-term rentals: “If you have a month-to-month (or shorter) periodic rental agreement, the landlord must give you at least 60 days’ advance notice if the rent increase is greater than 10 percent.”

About Last Night: New Year’s Eve Scam

I am a first time Airbnb user. My friends have used it and all had pleasant experiences so I figured I’d try it out. It was New Year’s Eve and I was supposed to check into my Airbnb with three of my friends except my host had not responded to any of my phone calls or messages. He was quick to accept payment for my stay but did not provide details about the check in time or a full address to the location (only street name, city, and zip code). I guess I am at fault for assuming this was a trustworthy site that vetted their hosts. The even more frustrating part about this is that I could not find an email for Airbnb on their site where I could submit my complaint. Thanks to Google, I was able to find this site and a customer service number. I have now been on hold for 20+ minutes and haven’t been able to speak to one live person. I’m pretty sure I’m out $168 on New Year’s with nowhere to sleep tonight. This is honestly the worst experience I’ve ever had. Please do not ever make a reservation with this person.

Noisy Dog: Not What We Expected From Airbnb

I wish we had been told the next door neighbour had a barking dog. We could not sit out in the back as the dog stood at the fence constantly barking. Opening the back door or having a conversation inside set the dog off early one morning. I opened the door and it barked so much. I tried to make it stop, but it woke up the other guests into house. I went to the clothesline and it stood looking over the fence constantly barking. When we first arrived we tried talking to it; usually dogs want to know you but there’s no way the owner tried to tell us how stressful it is being around it. It’s a bloody cattle dog – he has no idea how cruel he is to it. Paying money for a retreat, being rounded up by a cattle dog, and then having to clean the fridge, washing machine, a lint filter full of animal hair, and an unusable BBQ full of cockroaches made it one week of misery. From the last Airbnb, I know there are different hygiene standards but this place did not meet mine. Walking in to find caked stains in the fridge wasn’t a good start, the dog didn’t stop barking, and the host insulted my 19-year-old daughter asking her many kids she had.

Cancelled Bahamas Reservation, Could Not Request Refund

We booked a reservation for our Christmas vacation in the Bahamas three months in advance. I requested the host send me the agreement and instructions on how to get into the house no fewer than either times. He would not send it. The day before we were to fly from Michigan to the Bahamas, he cancelled (I highly suspect he rented it for much more money or a longer period of time). We could not find another place on the island. We had to pay to rebook our airfare and cancel deposits for fishing and diving trips. We lost $1500 and could not even contact Airbnb to request any type of resolution.

Host Didn’t Deliver on Property and Refuses Refund

It was my first time booking a place on Airbnb and I thought everything was so simple and easy. I made a reservation for seven nights over Christmas. The reservation was confirmed by Airbnb and I was sent contact information for the host. On the day of arrival I still hadn’t heard from my host so I tried to contact him without any luck. I finally got through to his phone and his first words were that I couldn’t have made a reservation because the room was already booked for three months, something that was apparently Airbnb’s fault, not his. Anyway, he wasn’t even in the same city but said to give him some time (this was after 4:00 PM local time on the day I was to check in) and he’d make something work. He called me back about an hour later and said that the room was available and that as long as I got to the house by 6:00 PM someone with a key would meet me there. Perfect, I thought.

I arrived at the property by 5:30 PM and the people there (there were two students) had no clue what I was talking about. Obviously, the host hadn’t contacted them. The house was dirty and the room for rent was barren; the bed wasn’t even made up. I told the host, over text, that I wasn’t impressed but I would still take the room if they could get it ready for a guest. The host decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and suggested I find somewhere else. I thought, “Could I find something at the last minute on the night i want to check in?” I did, but my problems with the host continued to grow. I asked for a refund and the idiot just repeated what his policy said, even though he never even delivered on his accommodation promise (availability and readiness for use). I’ve submitted a complaint and now have to wait for the host to get back to me before Airbnb will step in. There’s got to be more protection for guests when hosts misrepresent themselves and their property. I want all of my money back and this idiot to be blacklisted by Airbnb so no one else has the pleasure of dealing with such a corrupt person.

Left Wandering the Berlin Streets at Night

Our host was very friendly before our arrival. But when we (my girlfriend and I) arrived at the apartment, we didn’t find the key where he told us it would be. I told him our arrival time two times: it would be in the middle of the night, around 11:30 PM. We were lucky to find a pub, because it was so late. The guy from that pub opened for us, even though he was closing, and helped us. We called the host and told him that the key was not there. He told us that the cleaning service forgot to put the key there and told us to find a cheap hotel and that he would pay for our room. I agreed and the guy from the pub found us a hotel in the area. Around midnight we left the pub and reached the hotel, but it was fully booked. We went to a second one, and so on. We checked five hotels and every hotel was fully booked. Around 1:00 AM I called once again and told him that, but he told us that the only solution is to keep looking for a hotel room. Around 2:00 AM, after visiting another three hotels, I got really angry. We were walking around in the middle of the night, it was raining, and we were in a city where we don’t know anyone. We were literally  out on the streets. I called him again and told him that if he did not bring the key, I would go to the police. After ten minutes, he told that he found the key and asked us to take a taxi and return to his apartment. We were very exhausted and disappointed in this situation and of course it had an influence on our staying in Berlin. It was a very “nice welcome” to Berlin from our host. I paid for three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In the end, after that situation, we checked in Saturday morning (around 3:00 AM) and the host refunded me $51 for Friday night. He also told me that he would refund the money for the taxi, but five days have already passed and nothing has happened. I think I will file a claim with Airbnb. I think in this situation, we should receive a refund on moral grounds.

Villa Bali Cliff Kuta South – Experience Review

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I suggest anyone considering Airbnb in Bali be very careful with this property and the host. The villa had two living room doors per room which did not isolate us from the outside wild garden area. Two palm-sized spiders came through closed doors or the roof on our second night. Tropical spiders may be very poisoning and dangerous to your health. It was obviously not safe to sleep inside. A big frog came in too. After this, we started to study our living conditions more closely. We found red ants living in the antique furniture. There were big piles of chips attracting them, insect excrement on the mirror frame, and a spiderweb underneath the bed. Obviously there hadn’t been any major cleaning in a while.

The host was kind and nice but only before we started to talk about issues with the property. Both evenings that we were at the villa we smelled alcohol on his breath. When we started talking about issues, he promised to find a solution and asked us to wait, which at the end turned out to be a play for time. He simply waited until Airbnb transferred our payment to his account and stopped responding after that. We should have immediately called Airbnb, which I now suggest everyone do if they see a problem.

When we decided to leave early, our host offered us a 50% refund for remaining days but under the condition that we write a good review. Nice of him, isn’t it? He wrote this in the Airbnb app chat so we can share to confirm. I don’t know if you need to believe all the positive reviews of his villa. Our goal is to provide information and not to judge.

The following day after we discovered the spiders we moved to a hotel. Our host knew that problem with the doors exist, confirmed by his responses in our chat. You surely won’t see it in the pictures here but plaster comes loose from the celling in different areas. The good news is that we have house pictures and videos (sent to Airbnb too). We would be happy to share with readers too, to know what you pay for. To excuse himself, our host guessed in the app chat that we simply wanted a party area of Bali. We moved to Nusa Dua, which is similarly not a party area. Right now the question of reimbursement is still open and under the Airbnb team’s review. We hope that they can help. Sadly, we sense that we won’t even receive a full refund for the remaining days we were out of the villa. Hours of wasted holiday time. Please feel free to contact us via cyrilreview@gmail.com. Here is a link to more pictures.