Airbnb Nightmare Host Goes to Extremes for Cash

Just prior to my departure from Canada to the UK, the host cancelled the booking we had made ten months prior. Airbnb sent a few recommendations, and we selected one. The pictures on the Airbnb website showed a spacious environment, in which the French Door from the kitchen was open and I assumed led to a garden. I assumed it was a terrace house since that is the style of house I had originally booked.

The property was actually a former counsel flat. The French Doors opened onto a tiny deck measuring approximately two feet by two feet, a far cry from a private garden. The entranceway to the property was littered with garbage and the stairway smelt of urine. A large sign was posted outside the entrance way stating that the authorities were aware of all the violence in this building and surrounding grounds and will be increasing their surveillance of the area. I felt played. I was so terribly mislead. The homeowner told me the doors to the flat needed to be locked at all times due to the high crime rate in the building. Happy holidays.

Do not take Airbnb property recommendations. Do not rent properties that do not show the outside of the building from both the front and back. To protect yourself from bad hosts, I would strongly recommend you take pictures of the inside and outside of the property on arrival and again when you leave, so the condition in which you left a property can not be debated.

The second location I had the displeasure of staying at was in Somerset. The posting made it sound that the house was located in the townsite of Shepton Mallet, but it was in the district of Shepton Mallet, a 15-minute drive to the townsite and any amenities. The pictures on the Airbnb website made the dwelling look much larger than it was and showed lovely white leather furniture. In reality, the inside of the home looked more like a charity shop with all mismatched furniture. The pictures of the outside of the chapel style home showed a lovely manicured lawn, with a fence since the home was supposed to be dog-friendly. We chose this rental primary based on that picture. The garden actually belonged to the neighbour.

On the day of our arrival, we were treated to an extensive electronic rule book and all the additional fees, such as utilities, that could be added after our stay. All additional charges were at the discretion of the host after our departure. Before we left the home my daughter and I tidied up, mopped the floors, put away all the dishes, following the host’s instructions to the letter. The house lacked basic cleaning supplies, and the electronic rule book had stated if there were no cleaning supplies, it was up the guest to buy them.

After our departure, the host fined us for the recycling bin being full and then gave us a bad review for having a full recycling box. Looking for additional funds, they searched the contents of our sealed garbage bags. Potato chip packages were deemed party food, and were written into the review as evidence we were “extreme partiers.” Again, potato chip packages that were pilfered from trash bags. The dog’s adsorbent mats, which we had brought in case the dog had an accident and to protect the host’s home, were found in the garbage and we were billed for them.

These people dug though our garbage to find things to bill for. I find it sickening that the host went through our sealed garbage bags and wrote about us based on the contents. I felt violated. Once again, I felt like I had been played as a fool and was angry that I had spent so much time cleaning up the place and leaving it in much better condition than I found it. I am appalled that this type of host is allowed to continue with Airbnb; she is dishonest, a cheat, and vulgar. All I can assume based on her behaviour she must have a severe mental disorder that has been left untreated.

Ask your host for the square footage of the dwelling, since photographs can be very deceptive and misrepresent the size of the dwelling. Ask your host if the photos of the property are an accurate depiction, and when they were taken. Ask your host if there are additional fees that do not appear on the website. Ask your host about the rules for pets. Do not put dog mats in the property’s garbage bin. It can not be understated how much you need to protect yourself from dishonest hosts, by taking picture of the property on arrival and on departure, and time stamp them.

“Pseudo Hosts” using Airbnb as a Money Machine

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We are a couple in our 70s who travel the world and have used Airbnb since its inception. Through the years we have experienced many disappointments but as good soldiers we accepted minor imperfections as part of the experience in a foreign country. My husband did book a horrendous accommodation in Iceland this past year but let it slide. Our experience here in Costa Rica, however, cannot be overlooked.

We booked an Airbnb in Costa Rica for nine nights. Upon our arrival at Liberia Airport we rented a car and drove the hour and a half to Playa Potrero where this unit is located. We tried to find our way with the directions the host provided. It took us to the general vicinity. We were advised to pick up the key from a local laundry place in Potrero between 3:00-5:00 PM as arranged by the host. When we arrived shortly after 4:00 PM no one was there. We waited a bit and no one arrived.

We asked a local business to please call the laundromat’s telephone number which was listed on the window. She was advised that the key was with the guard at the entrance to the condos. We were never given the correct name of the complex. After spending too much time trying to find right complex it was already late and we were travel weary. Finally we found the guard who had the key and he pointed out where to park and walk to the unit.

We entered a unit that was pathetic. The Airbnb ad promised a queen size bed, a dining room, and kitchen utensils, which was important as we eat in most of the time. There were two twins beds with very thin mattresses and cigarette burns in the sheets. The closet was in disrepair. The bathroom was funky and foul smelling. There was no dining room as advertised. The only table and chairs were out on the patio and inaccessible as the sliding door was inoperable. The kitchen area was barely usable, with very few utensils, no coffee maker, and a stove that needed cleaning.

By the time we got to the unit it was very late for us to find somewhere else to stay so we spent the first night, kept our luggage packed and left the very next morning. We advised the host that we were leaving and he offered another place with the stipulation that we commit until February 28. We attempted to inspect the offered unit but were denied access. Anyway, we could not commit to that lengthy a stay.

We submitted a request to Airbnb for a refund for the nine nights we did not stay but the host denied our request. He also posted a very nasty personal attack on my Airbnb profile. We requested Airbnb mediation and due to the difficulty in communications between here in Costa Rica and the US we waited days for a response, having had no fewer than three Airbnb case managers respond – no personal touch at all.

This entire ordeal regarding my request for a refund for totally unsatisfactory accommodations has become frustrating and really diminished my confidence in Airbnb. I did submit a request to Airbnb to become involved in my request due to the the host refusing to make the refund. What happened to the statement “Our Guest Refund Policy protects you and your money”?

I am stranded in Costa Rica waiting to recoup my payment in order to continue my trip. It is urgent that I receive the refund as soon as possible. I feel that this host is nothing more than a con man who uses the Airbnb forum as a means to dupe unsuspecting travelers. We received a response from Airbnb as follows:

“We have reviewed this case once again, and as previously said, unfortunately, as the guest refund policy wasn’t followed, we can’t adjust the host if the host doesn’t agree with the refund. I’m really sorry to hear about this situation, but unfortunately, there’s not much I can do. However, I would be willing to offer you a $100 coupon, and even though it’s not near to what you requested, is what I would able to give.”

An absolute insult. We paid over $1,000 for one night in a sleazy accommodation that we would never have committed to if we had seen inside first. Airbnb has neglected its responsibility to protect the renter. This man should have been investigated further by Airbnb since it is obvious he is using the platform to his advantage in representing unsatisfactory accommodations which he does not own but merely acts as a rental agent for various properties.

As a company, Airbnb seems to only be interested in their fees from acting as the forum for hosts and guests. They assume no responsibility for allowing unsavory con men from using their forum and falsely describe their accommodations knowing that they will be paid upfront and have the upper hand.

Host Demanded More Money Less Than a Week Before Arrival

I booked a home in April 2017 near Ole Miss to visit my daughter at school that October. The price was really reasonable, so upon the host accepting the reservation, I messaged him to double check that all was well. There was no response. I messaged him again in May to double check – no response. I messaged him again in June. There was no immediate response so I reported him to Airbnb. He then responded with: “Yes, it is confirmed.”

Less than a week before arrival, the host messaged me to say Airbnb made a mistake and the price should have been a lot higher; apparently I owed him more money. We argued back in forth. I said I asked several times for him to confirm the reservation to no avail, and that he had plenty of time to get this sorted out. He argued it was all Airbnb’s fault and that he wouldn’t be making any money with the lower price I was set to pay.

This went back and forth the next couple of days. I couldn’t find alternate housing at the last minute and Airbnb customer service was no help, telling me it’s for the host and I to figure out. I ended up paying an extra $325 to the host (which he said was such a bargain) as I had family depending on housing to visit my daughter.

When we arrived there were dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and hairs in the freezer. It was dirty all around. He blamed it on the cleaning crew and still wanted his $325. I’m so disappointed in this listing, the host, and most of all, that Airbnb allowed this to happen to a customer, especially when I had given the host plenty of time to confirm prior to arrival.

Harassment by Host After Ignoring Check In

We booked accommodation in Madrid from January 19-22, and as previously agreed with the host we were supposed to arrive between 12:00-2:00 PM. We sent a text via Airbnb inquiring as to who would be available to meet us, with no response from the host. As agreed, we arrived at 2:00 PM, and found the main door of the building locked and with no response from the host to several phone calls and messages made to her registered number.

We waited outside for more than three hours with several calls and messages during the time, only to find her mobile was switched off the whole time. Finally around 5:00 PM she made it to the apartment and showed no remorse for leaving us stranded, instead asking us to look for another place if we were unhappy. Her attitude and mannerisms were extremely unprofessional and rude, and instead of containing the situation, she talked down to us and was very aggresive. She did not help us settle in, did not show us the amenities or even how to get the wifi started, which was already a problem.

Half an hour after moving in while we were using the shower, we had a neighbour bang at our door, non-stop buzzing and yelling and complaining about water leakage from our bathroom to theirs. They mentioned complaining about this water leakage to the host in the past, with no action from her. We were asked to immediately stop using the shower. We paid for all amenities – not only did we lose half a day for the host to show up, but now we were also asked not to use the shower. The wifi also stopped working soon after that.

The host was extremely rude and aggressive, and as confirmed by Airbnb support staff, she also repeatedly used profanity, and threatened us with cutting off the water supply if we were not available when she would send someone to fix it. As of 3:00 PM today, we have been forcefully vacated from the accommodation with no proper/prior notification. Airbnb denies the confirmed mistreatment and unprofessional attitude of the host, which has all been documented in Airbnb messages to us. Furthermore, we were asked to immediately vacate the premises by Airbnb with the assurance that they would take care of re-booking us immediately.

This booking we made with the host was fully prepaid, and as per Airbnb rules, the payment to the host is only released after 24 hours of check-in. Our first complaint was registered 20 hours ago. Kindly refer to the complete communication in the email trails between Airbnb support team and me. We have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by this host in person, via text and phone calls, all of which have been documented and shared with the Airbnb team. We are still waiting to hear from Airbnb regarding an alternative accommodation, and are literally on the street for the next two days, with no communication from their team regarding the above or even our money. We are looking for a full refund, and a solution to our current dilemma.

Slum House Throws Female Guest out at 2 AM

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This was my first Airbnb, and it will be my last. I thought it would be nice to stay with someone local since I wouldn’t be in the room most of the time I was there. Checking in was easy, but I was confused about the key situation even though I read the rules.

My room had a bed that was unmade, and host said his cleaning lady hadn’t come yet. No biggie. I just slept on another bed. The sheets had an odor to them. I didn’t think much of it because I wasn’t going to be there often. I saw a key outside my door, but assumed it was the previous tenants’ key since the room had not been cleaned.

I came to find out I was using the lockbox key. I was called to return it and retrieve my other key. The person’s voice was full with attitude when I explained I couldn’t close the lockbox. He said he would do it. I didn’t let it get to me.

When I came home that night, I had some problems with the front door, and my new key. I used the lockbox key to open it, and then to my dismay could not shut it. I did not want to leave the house key outside, because it wasn’t safe, and I did not want to take the key again, and be met with attitude. It was late.

I texted my host to ask for help, but then figured it out and apologized for bothering him. I locked the door and went to my room. I saw my light was on, and the door was wide open. I left in the afternoon with some friends. My door was shut, and lights were off. I also saw three plastic cups. One was empty, another was full of water, and the last one had a brown liquor. Then I noticed my luggage had been searched, and there was a sports bra on my bed. That sports bra didn’t even belong to me.

I did not want to wake my host since I had already with my lockbox question. I just needed to be sure that I had rented the room for myself, and was not sharing it with others. This was my first time using Airbnb, and I thought maybe I had made a mistake. When I texted my host to ask I was quickly met with sarcastic remarks, and told that it wasn’t working out – I should just go.

I was a woman staying alone in another city that I didn’t know. It was 2:00 AM, and he was asking me to leave. I told him I didn’t have anywhere else to go. He kept with the insults the whole conversation, so I packed, and left. He kept insisting that he wasn’t a hotel, and it wasn’t worth his time for what I was paying. I was also made fun of for not locking my door. The lockbox key I was using previously did not lock my door, so I assumed the other one didn’t as well.

I was shaken, and betrayed. Who would just throw a woman out on their own at that time of night? This horrible person would. I was refunded close to $40. The house in the pictures looks funky, and cool. In actuality it is a run down dirty house with hardly any art at all. It stinks, and felt like I was staying at a halfway house, or men’s dorm.

I would not recommend Airbnb, especially for women. I’m sure the host will have a smart response to my story, and try to belittle me. It is okay. I just want to expose him and his crappy art house so no other woman will feel violated, as I did that night.

Deceptive Profile Led to Being Charged for Damage

This is regarding the Airbnb apartment listed at this link. The profile is deceptive, making the property look big enough for four people without any clutter. Due to this deception, I booked this place, but it was hell to stay there and inevitably my son broke an exposed light bulb by his bed. I would have been happy to pay for that lightbulb, but I was charged an unreasonable amount of money.

The host also made a questionable claim that we spilled something on one of his cheap kitchen chairs. The host asked for $118 for damages that were at most approximately $8. It went to Airbnb mediation and they basically split the difference, charging me $68. It’s still extremely unreasonable for $8 worth of damage. Because this dispute was “mediated” by Airbnb I had no recourse. They took the money out of my account and I could not object. All Airbnb customers are vulnerable to this type of mistreatment.

Furthermore, before this verdict was handed down, I posted this review to protest the awful place:

“I was deceived by the 5-star reviews when I booked this [property]. I wish I had read the written reviews more carefully. Most mention negatives even when they gave five stars. This place was horrible. First, when I showed the address to Israelis they all told me that it is a dangerous neighborhood full of drugs, prostitution, crime, and gangs. There is graffiti, dog poop everywhere you walk, and trash blocking the sidewalks.

Second, the apartment was tiny. Profile pictures are deceptive, taken from angles that make it appear larger, and crammed with more furniture than shown in the photos and lots of junk everywhere. There was an exposed lightbulb next to the bench that served as my son’s bed. Inevitably my son bumped it and then the host tried to charge us a crazy amount for his damaged exposed lightbulb (more below).

There are no closets or drawers to put things. The only place to keep things is in your suitcase, but no floor space. So you need to hop over your suitcases whenever you cross the floor. When we complained, he said to put everything on a tiny box that already had his own junk on it. There is no parking since open spots are immediately filled in this dangerous, overcrowded neighborhood. When you try to stop in front, other cars start honking immediately.

We had to hike in and lug our stuff from a long way away. The profile mentions the climb, but fails to say that the staircase is very narrow, dirty and dark with weird wires and pipes sticking out. Dog poop on the floor. The shower is unusable because the water is always cold and splashes everywhere.

Worst of all, the host is a first class jerk. He falsely accused us of breaking “house rules” when we are very conscientious and followed the rules scrupulously. He falsely accused us of taking his remote control that we left in his apartment and tried to extort an exorbitant amount of money from us for a spill on a chair that I doubt was ours and his broken exposed lightbulb next to the bench my poor son had to sleep on. Read the other reviews before booking and don’t rely on the stars.”

Everything I wrote was true and no one disputed the facts. Nevertheless. Airbnb removed my review and wouldn’t allow me to post another one, so other people could be warned about how awful this place was. I suspect that this host’s good reviews are likely the result of all negative reviews getting purged. This brings into question the integrity of all Airbnb reviews, not just the integrity of those at this particular place.

I Paid Outside Airbnb for a Condo, Not a Filthy Trailer

I contacted the host for this Airbnb and was asked to pay her directly, circumventing Airbnb payment system to get a reduced rate. When I arrived at the rental I was shown to a filthy trailer seething with decades-old cigarette smoke. The pictures were of another trailer nearby occupied by the host’s mother and depicting a charming residence being advertised as a condo at the time. She has removed that claim from the posting as of now.

As we stood in the trailer my throat began to swell from reactions to the toxic smoke coating the interior of the trailer. I explained to her I could not stay there and asked for a refund, to which she agreed right away. She and her mother were as charming as could be and I left confident they would give me the refund they promised. I asked several times, and finally she relayed that I would get the refund “the next week”.

Next week came and went with her continuing to ignore further inquiries about my refund. Finally she texted me asking why I really needed the refund since I was so wealthy (not true at all). I then contacted Airbnb, who responded telling me they couldn’t help since I paid her outside the system (at her request of course) and as of this posting they continue to advertise for this fraudulent listing. Beware of renting from this listing – it’s a fraud.

Airbnb Booking was Reserved on Another Website

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I couldn’t believe that the cottage I booked on Airbnb had been booked six days earlier after I paid via PayPal on January 6th. The host messaged me after my itinerary was confirmed to tell me. She said that I could not stay in her accommodation even though I had paid and my booking was confirmed. She told me that January 8th had been booked out via booking.com on New Year’s Eve. This must be a new year’s resolution joke. You can’t place your accommodation on different websites like this. You are managing your booking details yourself. You should’ve had sufficient time to indicate “the property is unavailable ” on your Airbnb bookings. There were six days between New Year’s Eve and January 6th. You messed up your bookings and you should take responsibility. You can’t walk away after having taken money. That is called ripping people off. I have also attached my booking files to support my true personal experience with this Airbnb host and the website. I am sure that both the host and Airbnb are to blame. Both of the parties have faults. Now I am stuck.

Airbnb Almost Homeless in San Juan

My initial correspondence with an Airbnb host was early in November when I made a reservation for 12/22-12/23. Her last remark to me was that I would hear from her closer to the check in date with the information I would need.

Fast forward to 12/20. I had still not heard from her. I sent two emails through the Airbnb website. No response. On the evening of 12/21, I called her, having a feeling of panic that I would not have a place to stay upon my arrival the next day. I was able to get in touch with her and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about. She also said I needed to install the app so that she could send me all the information I needed. I immediately followed her advice. There was still no message from her.

While sitting in the airport on 12/22 on my way to San Juan, my expected arrival date, I sent her two messages through Whatsapp. No response to either one. I called her through Whatsapp. No response. My plane was now getting ready to take off and as far as I was concerned when I landed, I would have no place to stay. I tried calling her multiple times and no response. Finally at 7:37 PM on 12/22 she responded: “Tomorrow I’ll be in the property waiting for you. Check in time is 3:00 PM.”

It was nice to finally have a response, but I was supposed to check in that night. When I arrived in San Juan at 2:00 AM, I tried calling four times until she finally picked up. It was at this time that she gave me an attitude that she was sleeping and there was no way she would be able to meet me at the unit. My reservation was for this evening and I previously explained to her that I would get in very late at night, so I am not sure why I received an attitude. I then requested that she cancel my reservation so that I would have my money refunded. She told me that she was sleeping and couldn’t do that; I needed to cancel the reservation. This worried me because of the cancellation policy of 24 hours.

I went on my vacation for ten nights and came back to an email from Airbnb that my money was in fact refunded. I do not recommend you choose to stay at a place where the host clearly has no regard for her tenants. This is unfortunate as it was my first time trying Airbnb. I will be very hesitant to use this service in the future.

Airbnb is a Joke, Abandoned in Bangkok

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I want to share my story so you don’t get screwed like me. I had a reservation in Bangkok for two weeks and I already paid for it by credit card. It had been accepted by the host and I received a receipt. It all sounded cool, but definitely was not.

I arrived at BKK on January 1st and contacted the host – he didn’t answer. I said to myself: “Okay, maybe tomorrow, at my check in time”. There was no answer then as well. Here’s the best part. After 30 hours of flying and waiting almost three hours in the street, exhausted to where I couldn’t even walk, he messaged me, saying: “Hi, I didn’t accept this request and no payment was received.”

I contacted Airbnb – no answer from their messaging system or by phone. Cancellation is another fake procedure as I got error messages all the time through the website and the app. What if I didn’t have the money for a hotel, as I am depending on my accepted reservation. What if I had my wife and kids with me? What if I am here for medical reasons? I just imagine they don’t give a s&%t. All they care about is the money.

If anyone from Airbnb is reading this, I’ve got some news for you. My cousin is a lawyer in San Francisco; I am taking this to court. You will be sorry for this – you have my word on it. To anyone with families and kids, be careful when you plan to reserve an Airbnb.