Airbnb Accused Us of Extortion After Host Lied

We stayed at an Airbnb in Paris. The apartment was okay, but had some issues (dirty dishes, smoke smell) . We posted a review that mentioned these things, but also the good points. I guess the host did not like the review, so they told Airbnb that we had told them that if they gave us $100 we would post a five-star review; otherwise, we would post a negative review.

We had made the mistake of communicating with them using our own email (instead of Airbnb), so I guess they doctored an email to support their claim. Airbnb told us that we had violated their rules of conduct and our review would not be posted and if we continued this behavior we would be banned from Airbnb. They would not show us their “documentation” of our threat, nor even entertain the fact that possibly, the host was lying. I tried to contact Airbnb through their support, but got no response (and closed).

Lesson learned: do not give an Airbnb host your personal email address.

Save Yourself This Airbnb Experience in Austin

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For three nights and four days, I stayed in a shared space Airbnb in the beloved Austin, Texas. I was in Austin for some job interviews with a friend, so while we spent most of Saturday and Sunday out and about, we really buckled down Sunday evening and Monday morning to prepare for our interviews in the space we paid to rent. We also disclosed to them that we would be generally pretty chill all weekend, and that we were there for job interviews when requesting the booking so if that sounded too chill to them they did have the option to deny the booking request.

I went to the University of Texas at Austin, but chose to stay in an Airbnb rather than with a friend at school because I didn’t want to be distracted by the college lifestyle when I was there focusing on upcoming interviews. The house itself was beautiful, modern, and the hosts were generally great too (while we were there). We were also super respectful of the space, cleaned when we left, put towels in the washer, stripped the beds, took the trash out – the whole nine yards.

The only questionable things that happened during our stay was a rooster (in the middle of the city) crowing constantly throughout the day and night and a lacy thong left on the floor one night when we came home. Still nothing too crazy or alarming. The neighborhood was sketchy but I generally am unafraid of sketchy areas in Austin nowadays after navigating the city on my own for four years.

On our last morning, we came outside to see my friends car had been in a hit and run sometime from when we came home at around 11:00 PM to when we went out that morning around 9:00 AM. As shitty as this situation was, we handled it with the Austin PD accordingly (like adults) and didn’t get our hosts involved as we didn’t see it was their fault. Moving forward, we left them a raving review on Airbnb (which now cannot be changed – see Airbnb profile for our review) because we figured, “These people are trying to make a living too.” We didn’t want to ruin their Airbnb business, and we’ve heard worse nightmares about Airbnb. As far as we were concerned, our stay was good.

Flash forward: this host left us this review.

“Sarah was very sweet and gracious. She and her guest left the space nice and clean upon checkout. The two of them would likely be more comfortable/suited to renting an entire space rather than a private room in a shared space. They seemed to enjoy being home rather than out and about all day long. Renting an entire space would have given them more freedom to have lively conversations and make use of the entertainment areas without the worrying about noise levels.

We hosted two groups during SXSW (a large music festival in Austin) and it worked out really well, because, well… the guests were literally out all day enjoying the festival. The other host and I would leave for work early in the morning while the guests were still knocked out. And by the time they made it home, he and I were usually already asleep. But for you guys, since you seemed to like to be home a little more often.”

Are you kidding me? We generally didn’t want to stay in this Airbnb because it wasn’t super convenient to downtown but we pulled the trigger because with this past weekend being Round Up and Texas Relays it was one of the last places left (shared or not) when we were renting. We also never really considered using their entertainment areas or have lively conversations because most of the time spent at home was either spent working or stalking our potential employers to seem more prepared.

Additionally, if you don’t want people in your house simply don’t rent it on Airbnb in the middle of mid-gentrified East Austin. That having been said, I’ve included some pictures of our car that was in the hit and run as well. We weren’t given the opportunity to park in their driveway, and were told street parking was the only option.

Airbnb won’t let us change the review we left for them before they left this passive aggressive review on us. We now have to live with it on our Airbnb profile forever more. We are not bums. We do not typically stay in Airbnb to live in them all weekend. Aside from that, we spent maybe six hours there on Monday during the day because I also had a full work day at my current job that I was still expected to show up to remotely.

That having been said, friends, if you are ever in need of a space in Austin, pleasde save yourselves (your cars, your Airbnb guest review) from this place. If Airbnb won’t let me tell the whole story then by golly Airbnb Hell will.

We understand this review isn’t that horrible but it really left a bad taste in our mouths when we read it, seeing as we were overly respectful of the space. Why rent your home as a shared space on Airbnb if you aren’t good at sharing? Additionally, future Airbnb hosts can now see that review forever more and to be honest I’m bitter that I’m gonna seem like some lame-o that comes to Austin and ‘enjoys being home rather than out and about all day long.’ I do enjoy being out and about all day long, but I also enjoy walking into a job interview and murdering the game and sometimes that takes sacrificing one night and day out for some preparation.

TLDR; If you’re ever in Austin don’t stay at this Airbnb.

Absolutely Filthy and Unhygienic Flat in Edinburgh

I booked a stay for myself and my friend in a flat in Edinburgh hosted by a young couple. They were very nice in the messages exchanged, and when we got to the flat they were very friendly, kind, and accommodating. When we were shown to the bedroom, I could tell immediately that the floor wasn’t vacuumed because of the huge clump of brown hair in the middle of the floor plus all the lint everywhere. My friend and I tried to look past it because of how nice the hosts were.

Sadly, the immaturity of the hosts, and the filth of apartment making me physically ill caused us to check out two days early just to GTFO. As the days went by, things started becoming more and more distressing, but my friend and I really did our best to overlook the issues. First of all, the hosts are a Finnish woman and her much younger fiancé who is 23. I do not have any issues with age differences – in fact, I welcome them – but her spouse had all the maturity of a 15-year-old boy.

The first problem that came about from our stay was watching the terribly disrespectful dynamic between these two. The “Man Child” was exactly that; he refused to clean up after himself (he would leave his mess everywhere and wait for his girlfriend to clean once she got home from work), he somewhat proudly professed that he only eats chips (i.e. French fries), chicken nuggets, canned beans, and basically junk food, and he would stay at home all day on his days off or when he got home from work, sitting in the same spot in the living room, playing video games and yelling profanity at the TV screen.

I did not have much of a problem with the girlfriend because she was nice enough, though spineless. The Man Child completely ruined the stay because the apartment was absolutely filthy and it was mostly his doing. He expected his girlfriend to clean up after him, but she was only one person. He always left a perimeter of garbage (empty snack bags, take out bags, multitudes of empty Coke cans) and smelly dirty plates, bowls, and dishes around himself in the shared living room. What’s worse, is this guy expected guests to sit with him in the shared living room and socialize amongst his filth. The odor in the room was terrible. It smelled of whatever greasy food he ate, fart, feet, unwashed male, dog, and overall stagnation.

On their Airbnb profile, they asked that you clean up after yourself and respect their home. My friend and I did exactly that, but it’s difficult when the hosts themselves do not do the same. Man Child often left his cans of beans in the kitchen sink, and then he would emerge from his spot in the living room to greet you while being oblivious to the bean stains on his T-shirt. What’s more, the bathroom was always covered in brown hairs that obviously came from Man Child because he was the only person with brown hair. There were strands of brown hair all over the shower walls, and curly brown hairs scattered everywhere (which I sincerely hope were beard hairs) on the counter and bath tub.

Sometimes Man Child would mistakenly not close the door to their bedroom, and sadly we had to see the state of where they slept. It’s reminiscent of the bedroom of an angry and unhappy 13-year-old girl: piles of clothes literally everywhere, things and stuff strewn all over, and drawers that were broken and left like that. Holy slob, Batman. Watching the man child make his girlfriend do all the “woman’s work” was pretty unsettling. He straight up said that he would not do dishes. He did not do anything to help unless asked. I heard too many times his girlfriend asking “Man Child, come back and put the milk back in the fridge,” “Man Child, take out the rubbish,” “Man Child, put these away,” and so on.

The worst was one night when the girlfriend was making him dinner consisting of baked frozen French fries. When she had her back turned to Man Child (because she was doing the dishes) he took all the fries and left none for her. Her reaction was outraged yet restrained because we were sitting in the kitchen viewing the whole ordeal. I really liked this woman, but she allows herself to be blatantly disrespected like this, and of course, we cannot say anything to her; we are not friends, we are guests that paid to stay in their home.

Now, moving on to why we had to check out early, their apartment was so disgusting and dirty that I was getting progressively sicker. This apartment did have a big dog, and I do in fact have a pet allergy. Weeks before I got to Edinburgh I got in contact with the female host and asked if I would be okay in her home. She assured me that their dog was not allowed in the guest bedroom, so I made the booking falsely assuming what she said was true. I have stayed in other Airbnb’s with pets, and I managed just fine with one Claritin.

At this pig stein in Edinburgh, I found myself being consistently congested despite taking the meds, and I ended up developing a terrible and persistent dry barking cough that isn’t part of normal allergies. I was becoming more and more desperate to ask if I could vacuum their floors because I knew they were aggravating my allergies since who knows when they were last vacuumed. The carpets in the hall, the shared living room, and even the bedroom I was staying in seemed to have a thick layer of dust, dirt, hairs, and general filth. I kept telling the hosts that I am not allergic to dog hair, and I am allergic to dander. The hosts did not care.

For days I longed for the floors to be vacuumed because I knew it would make me feel better. Man Child kept saying “tomorrow I’m going to vacuum” and unfortunately I believed him. The false promise of cleaning started on a Thursday, and on Saturday I was so unwell that I was bedridden. My wheezing dry cough physically exhausted me, my eyes were red and swollen that they were nearly shut, and I ended up taking too much Claritin that it made me feel not like myself.

On Sunday morning I had had it. I went into the shared living room where the two hosts were hanging out, and I demanded that I (as in me, the person who paid to stay in their hovel) vacuum not only the guest bedroom, but their entire flat. The girlfriend immediately screeched “Man Child!” because he was supposed to do it. I insisted that I can do it, but the girlfriend firmly told me that she had asked Man Child to do it so therefore he has to do it. Man Child did vacuum then and there, but he also fed me the excuse that “I was too tired last night” several times despite me being very vocal about being so unwell.

Once the floors were vacuumed I miraculously recovered. I was better. No more coughing, no more wheezing, and I was myself again. I was so thankful, but then I faced the horrible realization that it was their general filth and squalor that was making me so sick, not their dog. In fact, the dramatic colour change of the carpets once vacuumed thoroughly disturbed me. At that point I was absolutely disgusted and appalled by the conditions they live in when they have paying guests. We only stayed at this apartment for three more days, and my friend and I decided to not be there as much as possible and to try and avoid socializing with Man Child.

That night I cooked a simple meal for my friend and I because I finally had the vigor to do that after being so sick. While we were eating, we had the misfortune of hearing both hosts doing some kind of lackluster sex game; the girlfriend was squealing loudly, and at one point Man Child had her over his shoulder and they came into the hall to display themselves. We did our very best to ignore them and try to enjoy our meal, but then the girlfriend called out to us to purposefully get our attention and ensure that we could see them. Gross.

The next morning came the final straw. I got out of bed at 10:00 AM and went to their bathroom. The toilet had shit all over the bowl, and flushing the toilet did nothing to remove the excrement. That was it; it was too much. Leaving a shit-encrusted toilet for your guests is just too disrespectful. What do they expect their paying guests to do? Clean their literal shit?

The hosts were not home. The flat is located 20 minutes walk away from a Tesco, and my friend and I actually walked to the public toilets there rather than use their unsanitary toilet. My friend and I decided to just book elsewhere and get out of this terrible flat. I tried to contact the hosts, and I really wanted to speak to the girlfriend because she had the maturity that Man Child obviously lacked. I left messages on Airbnb for them to contact me or my friend asap.

Unfortunately, Man Child called me, and I had to explain to them that we are checking out early because their flat is too disgusting with its filth and squalor, but the shit encrusted toilet is blatantly disrespectful to their paying guests. They cherry on top? My friend and I went into the shared living room that day and there were piles of dirty dishes, glasses, and empty ice cream containers everywhere, plus a pair of dirty panties on the floor that were obviously peeled off then and there. What were they doing in the living room? Not that it matters, but they obviously do not clean the couches after…. gross.

On the phone with Man Child I told him that we would come back at around 6:00 or 7:00 PM to return their keys and that we need to have a discussion. Both of the hosts were so nice in the beginning, and we did sit around and chat often enough. I decided that we owe them an explanation as to why we were checking out early, and also because I had a sliver of hope that if we confronted them about their unsanitary home they might change their ways.

We arrived promptly at 7:00 PM to find both hosts sitting in the living room surrounded by the same exact piles of dirty plates, glasses, and empty ice cream containers that we discovered that morning. Man Child left this situation entirely to his girlfriend and handled it like a 15-year-old boy in trouble; he sat there not making eye contact with us, and not contributing the conversation. The poor girlfriend sat there turning more and more red listening to us explain to her that her house is so filthy and unsanitary that it made me physically ill, therefore, we have to leave. She only averted her eyes when we mentioned the dirty panties. The most uncomfortable part of the whole confrontation is that neither of them apologized, nor offered an explanation or even defended themselves. We checked out early, and we did not receive a refund. It was worth losing money just to get out of the insult that is their home.

Unfortunate Circumstances Cause Hosts to Keep Former Guests

We booked a house for my sisters wedding over ten weeks in advance, and paid upfront. However, the host decided to cancel our booking nine days before we arrived, for the following reason: their current guests had a house move which has fallen through leaving them homeless. It sounds very reasonable and completely understandable. If I had known in advance, I would not have booked this accommodation and taken that risk.

We looked very carefully and picked this property based on location and on our criteria. The hosts basically gambled to keep booking their property whilst knowing that house move dates are generally not the most reliable. Their reasoning must have been that they could just cancel any bookings if the house move didn’t move forward.

They have caused us a very large amount of stress and won’t admit that they should have told us of the situation in advance, or not taken any bookings until they had a property that actually was available. There’s nowhere to complain as Airbnb just submits the complaint for you saying that it was cancelled. In the meantime, other guests don’t know that these hosts don’t actually care enough about their guests to share relevant information.

 

Airbnb Hosts Gone Wrong – Lucky To Be Alive

My daughter’s stay at an Airbnb in San Leandro abruptly ended just two days ago. She’s young, working a summer internship in Oakland. The Airbnb was very expensive and run by a couple. One is a professor at a major university the other is an executive with a pharmaceutical company. They were good people, and it was a safe place just minutes from her job. She’s been staying there about six weeks.

On Sunday night she arrived there about 7:30 PM. The house was quiet. She didn’t see the hosts. She went upstairs to her room. About two hours later she heard shrieking, screaming, thumps, breaking glass, and someone saying he wanted to kill another person. It was a big fight. She called me and I told her to stay in the locked room. Within minutes she said it had gotten quiet; in next breath she says she heard sirens, then pounding, then she smelled smoke.

She went into the hallway and smelled natural gas. She headed to the front door and opened it to find the fire department, police, and ambulances. She went outside and they all went in. She was in her sleep shorts and a sweatshirt. Barefoot. The cops couldn’t find the hosts. They looked all over and finally found them in the backyard. One guy was wrapped up like a burrito, strapped to a gurney, and taken away in the ambulance. A paramedic told her he has a lot of stuff going on and he is going to the hospital to talk to someone about it. The cops took pictures and a statement from the other guy. He’s battered and bruised.

From what she learned from the cops, one of the guys turned the gas on the stove to flood the house then went to another location and started a fire. The cops told her she shouldn’t stay there anymore. Now she’s pretty much living in her car. Last night’s hotel bill was $55 for the only safe place available in Oakland.

Locked Our Child in the Room to Avoid Bad Hosts

Lesson learnt. Don’t ever use Airbnb. I used it once and cancelled my account. Airbnb will not check the size of the room and the number of people that it can accommodate; it’s up to the host to decide. Even in a small room they will accommodate many people for money. No mercy for kids, either. They will fake the review, even if you call them and complain. They will talk to you nicely and will tell you that they will file a complaint and send you an email copy regarding that. In fact, they will not do that.

My wife got a job in Lake Mary, we moved from NJ to FL. The place was totally new to us. I was trying to book a hotel for a five-day stay (because we got an apartment for rent near my wife’s office after five days) with my family. One of my friends suggested booking an Airbnb based on the host’s reviews, which I am regretting now. Since I was traveling with a kid and the area was totally new, my wife and I decided to rent a place with a kitchen to cook fresh food for my son. The rent was $100 than a residential hotel. Since the reviews of the host were good, we booked the place.

The property was hosted by a young couple from the same land where I am from. The first day we reached the place around 7:00 PM and the hosts were so good; they asked us to feel free to use the common area since the room was very small for three people to stay. Starting the second day, the nightmare began. When we started cooking around 1:00 PM on the second day and since they were very friendly and set very high expectations, we started asking about little items like salt, sugar, etc. We cooked with most of our pots and pans. Even though they put in the Airbnb listing that new stainless steel equipment was available in the kitchen, we didn’t see anything there. When we asked for some, they were not happy.

Since we were new and we didn’t have all the items we need and no car, we could not go to the shop and buy everything on the second day. The host was not there and his wife was messaging him about everything happening and keeping him updated. So far so good. The guy came home. He had spoken nicely to us the previous day. However, he entered his home with anger in his face. My kid went and talked to him; he never responded properly. I noticed something was going wrong. I went and talked to him. He was telling me that we were asking for items which we should not ask, overutilizing the kitchen and not cleaning the dining table area properly. In addition, he was very arrogant telling me that if we did not clean the dining table area properly, he would cancel the booking. I was scared that with three big suitcases, three big hand bags, and a little kid, in a place which was really new to me, where would we stay?

I quietly told him we booked the room because we had a kid and we had to cook fresh food. To my knowledge, we were also cleaning the table. He told me that when they eat food, they clean the floor around the dining room table because small food particles might be there. I told him that I would clean the floor if that’s the case. Then I went to the kitchen and saw a piece of rice in the sink. His wife was there and I told her I would clean that up; otherwise, he would not be happy. After hearing this, he told me in a rough voice, “Come here, don’t talk to my wife. Talk to me. What did you say…?” as if I was going to do something to his wife.

I never expected that kind of harshness from him and I explained what I had said. After having our lunch, we went to the room. I Googled around and found some hotels nearby. I told my wife we should get out of there. However, my wife was not completely okay because of our kid and the amount of luggage we had. We went out to talk to the hosts to tell them we were ready to move out. They said that they will not be at home starting the next day so we could use the kitchen. However, we had to clean it properly. My wife said this was okay and convinced me to stay.

After that incident we didn’t want to go out when they were there and kept our son in the room. We basically locked him in the room. The room was so small for three people. I don’t know what kind of verification Airbnb is doing if someone is ready to host by allowing a certain number of guests, especially kids. The room can accommodate only one queen size bed, so they put a bed on the floor by the side of the main bed for my son.

As they said, no one was there for first two days. I went out and prepared something for my son and fed him as my wife left for work. During dinnertime, we went out because they were there. On the third day his wife was there the entire day, so we never went out. We had only oats for my son and I and at night, as usual, we went out. I was waiting for the fourth day because that was the day we were checking out and going to our new apartment. I was so happy when we stepped out of the room. Please don’t use Airbnb and suffer like I did. It’s better to use a hotel.

 

I’m Sorry: Advice from an Long Time Airbnb Host

I just wanted to apologize for the rude behavior from other hosts. My hosting style is super casual and my only desire is to make my guests feel like they are welcome and wanted here at my cottage on the lake. I have come across other Airbnb host sites and I have read some very negative things other hosts say about their guests that are shocking and disturbing to me. They run their Airbnb rentals like jails and they are very rude and controlling. They are rigid about check-in and check-out times, some demanding guests arrive within five minutes of their scheduled time. Some want proof of a flight delay, and so forth. They complain about guests using the kitchen and taking the shampoo provided for their guests. Not every host is like that. Ideally, you are a guest and should be treated like one since you are paying for a room, or a house during your stay. My only advice is to leave a negative review, since this hurts them the most. The host should be reported to Airbnb also, so that you can get a full refund. From my experience, Airbnb usually sides with the guest. Thank you, and safe travels.

Canadian Nightmare: Complaints Treated as Joke

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This is an ongoing story. We received no help from our hosts, Alex and Julie, who treated our complaints as a joke, and no help from Airbnb who made it very difficult to make contact. We arrived at the apartment in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood during a snow storm. The apartment was obviously not ready to receive guests: no wardrobe space (closets full of Alex and Julie’s clothes, no provision for our clothing), no drawer space in the dressers (again full of Alex and Julie’s personal belongings), no space for our effects in the bathroom as the shelves and cabinets were full of toiletries belonging to the hosts. No allowance at all was made to receive guests. After everything we had heard about Airbnb we wondered if we were even supposed to be in the apartment. We took photos of the bathroom, the wardrobes, and the filthy oven in the kitchen and posted them. We contacted Alex and Julie about the problems with the apartment and our complaints were treated as a joke. We left the apartment early the next morning, leaving the keys in the mailbox. Airbnb has thanked us for our feedback.

Selective Airbnb Scammers: No Damage to Boat

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We recently had a lovely stay on a houseboat in Italy. Only a couple of nights, and beautiful accommodation. However, a day and a half after leaving the boat (in exactly the condition we found it) we were accused of stealing a knitted jellyfish that had been hanging up in the boat, and accused of breaking the special toilet installed on the boat. Both my partner and I used the toilet before we left – and locked – the boat for the last time. It worked perfectly for both of us. There was no handover back to the hosts, as the boat was in a private secure marina. We simply locked it, and left the key where instructed. Neither of us have any desire to steal anything from anyone. We are not thieves, or vandals.

The host demanded we pay 200 Euros to repair the apparently broken toilet. When we asked for proof of any damage, none was provided. When we declined to pay, the issue was escalated to the Airbnb Resolution Centre. Having submitted all of the evidence in my possession (which wasn’t much), I waited for Airbnb to be in touch. Today (two weeks later), Airbnb emailed to say that they’d decided we should pay for the damages and, by the time I’d finished reading their email, had already billed my PayPal account.

The host had relatively good feedback. About 90% positive, and about 10% very negative. One or two of the negative reviews detail  experiences eerily similar to my own. The host alleging damage, theft or loss of items, which the guest claims were not damaged/stolen/lost. It seems very suspicious that the negative reviews are of a very similar nature to my experience. I’m very disappointed that Airbnb decided to rule on behalf of these con artists, and even more disappointed that I heard nothing from them until they decided to just take my money.

Please be careful with Airbnb in the future: take plenty of photos or even video when you arrive at the property, and when you leave.