Guest from Hell Bringing Unknown Guests in

I have had some fabulous trips with Airbnb as a guest, and I’ve been a host for around three years. With all of the guests that I have had, there have been some pretty good guests that I have had the pleasure of hosting in my units. I tend to answer inquiries very quickly and answer any and all questions and try to help out the person that is looking to book. Generally this all goes well.

Then there was the ‘guest from hell’. This guest booked for four nights stating they were coming into town on a work training program and since my place was very close (walking distance of less than one minute to their workplace), this would be a great fit. He booked for four nights, with one guest and gave me an approximate time of arrival.

I responded with my usual friendly ‘welcome’ email that details: my phone number; how to get into the building; where to park (if necessary); transportation phone numbers from the airport should he require a taxi; stating that I will be there on his arrival to check him in, give him a set of keys, show him around and answer any questions he may have; go over the rules of no smoking/no parties/no additional guests; state that if there are any issues to please contact me and I will do my best to resolve them. This was a ‘standard’ email communication that I send to every booking, following the same procedures for every booking assures that I am covering just about every aspect of the booking itself.

The guest arrived at a reasonable hour. We went over the ‘rules’ again (just for clarification) and everything seemed fine. I let the guest know that someone does come in and out of the unit on a daily basis to clean, replenish towels, and change linens as necessary. Should he wish to not have this service, it wasn’t a problem; it could wait until the end of the stay if he should wish.

The first two nights are great: there were no problems. The guest came in and out of the unit and availed himself of the kitchen and cleaned up. The bathroom was cleaned after use so everything looked good.

The third night was when the problems began. I personally went to the unit to replenish the towels and remove any trash and make sure that the unit was clean for the guest. Before I entered, I texted the guest that I would be coming to do this, and I also knocked on the door before I entered the unit. There was no answer of either text or the door itself when I knocked, so I entered the unit to take care of the replenishment and take care of any trash removal.

Lo and behold, I entered the bedroom (of which the door was wide open to the hallway) to find a strange person asleep/passed out on the bed (not in the bed – on the bed). I immediately called the guest that was registered and asked, “What is going on? Who is the person that is in the unit?”

The guest stated that his ‘friend’ was drunk, and had nowhere to stay. He let him stay at my place and was taking a hotel room for the night. I informed the guest that under no circumstances were unregistered guests allowed in the units and that this ‘friend’ had to leave.

As I walked further into the bedroom where this strange person was passed out, there was an incredible stench coming from the room. As I cornered around the bed, there it was, where this ‘friend’ had vomited all over the floor and rugs. I left the room to attend to the bathroom, in which it appeared as though this ‘friend’ had been there also, as there was vomit on the toilet, in the shower/bathtub, on the floor and in the sink. It was completely disgusting.

I called the guest again, and said, “You need to come and take this person out of here.” The guest refused. I called the police, and told them the situation, saying “I have an unregistered person in my unit that has apparently been dropped off by my registered guest and I need this person removed from my premises.” The police complied and came to my unit.

Airbnb does not have coverage for unregistered guests and this is what I had relayed to this guest from hell. The police waited with me as we waited for this guest to return, eventually showing up at 1:35 AM and proceeded to lie to the police. He said that I had ‘okayed’ the guest being there and that he had offered me an additional $100 to let his friend stay there.

He did offer the additional $100 for the friend, but I just wanted him out of there. I did not take any money from this guest. The police and I packed up all of the belongings of the registered guest, and they escorted him off the premises after retrieving the keys to my unit from him.

I called Airbnb to state what happened, as this guest wanted all of his money refunded. Airbnb did not refund his money to him as his communications through Airbnb showed that he breached the contract by bringing in another guest.

The review I got from this jerk was absolutely scathing. He complained that he couldn’t bring in a ‘friend’, that my place was not up to standard, that it was nothing like it was advertised, that I had ripped him off, had charged him all sorts of other fees on top of the rental, and that I had thrown him out ‘for no apparent reason’.

I’ve had some wonderful guests, and since my places were photographed by Airbnb sanctioned photographers, they knew that I was telling the truth. I have never taken anyone else on that does not host or doesn’t have reviews from other hosts, as I never want to face that issue ever again.

Airbnb didn’t want to pay for the damages (I have a very high deposit just for cases like this) and after sending Airbnb the pictures of my place with all the damage to it, and the cleanup cost receipts from a deep-cleaning company, they eventually paid.

I lost other bookings because I had to cancel them due to this ‘guest from hell’. I’ve never had a bad experience at any of the places I have stayed though, but I did notice that this ‘guest from hell’ that I had. Three other hosts put up bad reviews about him after he left my place. Choose wisely and carefully who you let into your units, as you never know.

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Sick of Airbnb Deleting Negative Reviews

Airbnb is so afraid of losing revenue that it is, as others have noted, deleting negative reviews. I stayed in an Airbnb in Atlanta that operated more as a rooming house and had a refrigerator full of old food that smelled so bad I would run in the kitchen to microwave coffee and then run back out.

In my review, I talked about the neighborhood (fine), the room (also fine), the other guests (fine), and the gross smell emanating from the kitchen (not fine). Then I learned that Airbnb took down the review because it didn’t meet their “Content Guidelines”.

Does it get any more absurd than that? The reason I had this awful experience is because Airbnb is censoring reviews that might have alerted me to the situation. They don’t care if you walk into filth. They just want to keep their numbers up. I’m really getting sick of dealing with this company.

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Harassed after a Stay at an Airbnb Hostel

My first experience was so bad and eye opening that I refuse to use Airbnb again. I was heading to Toronto for a wedding and needed a room for the night. I knew I’d just need a place to sleep so I found an inexpensive room. I can’t remember what I paid, but it was around $45.

The way it was written, it sounded like it was an in-law suite. I figured they probably meant it was just a single room with a shared kitchen but the description was badly written.

When I pulled up, it was one of the largest houses I’d ever seen. I knocked and several Chinese people answered the door. I’m an ESL teacher specializing in Chinese education and it’s Toronto; I wasn’t put off by this… until I found out none of them were the owner. They said I needed to call the host and they gave me his number.

He appeared a minute or two after I called. He started giving me a tour, asking what room I’d like. I noticed very quickly there were like ten people living here and room for probably twenty – all Chinese. He appeared to be running a hostel. As he was giving me the tour, it was clear he had no idea why I was there. I explained again that I was there for Airbnb.

“Oh!” He says. Gone goes the offer of big rooms upstairs. He led me to a small room in the basement. It was relatively clean, just a little dingy. I got ready and then left for the wedding. When I got home after midnight, the residents were in the kitchen and super loud. I debated just abandoning it and driving home at 2:00 AM tired, but didn’t.

I got home and the host starting texting asking I leave a review. He left me a nice review; I didn’t return the favor. I left an unfavorable review explaining it was a hostel with loud residents and a host who doesn’t know who is coming and going.

He then proceeded to text my personal phone, harassing me about it, saying I was an idiot for thinking I would get an in-law suite for that price; I should have known there would be other people, etc. At this point I blocked him and contacted Airbnb. He was apparently “talked to”, and I was told to block him. No offer of compensation, which is fine because I said outright I wouldn’t be returning.

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Beware Hosting on Airbnb: One Negative Review

To potential Airbnb hosts: beware of Airbnb. I’ve had it. The rating system is a complete joke. I’ve had a number of great reviews from people that love my two units, but I just had someone give me a one-star review because the dishwasher wasn’t working (took one minute to unclog) and a light bulb in the hall was out.

Clearly the man was in distress as he was visiting Philly to get his wife medical treatment, and he said he had never stayed at an Airbnb before. When he was clearly unhappy, I offered him a full refund, including cleaning fees. He took the refund and blasted my apartment, lying through his teeth about the apartment, and the neighborhood, stuff that is just total nonsense, and easily disproved.

This cost me almost $400 for the stay, but then my listing was put on hold for five days because it dropped below 4.2 stars. In his review, this guy said the “neighborhood is dirty”, which honestly, I’m not even sure what that means. The property is exactly one mile from UPenn on a main drag, in University City in West Philly. If he wanted an apartment in Center City, he would have paid double what I charge for mine.

Anyway, I contacted Airbnb to see if they would consider removing the review, knowing that the robots that work for them would stick to the script. Honestly, somebody should tell the management that the people who answer the phone are not helpful at all, ever. I really think they are automatons. They follow a formula/script whenever you call in, taking calls from a call center somewhere outside of the US, and they never stray from the set procedures for their precious review system.

If someone doesn’t post something universally offensive, no matter how preposterous, they will not change a guest review. Airbnb pretty much always sides with the guest. It’s a very lopsided review system. Again, this guy had never stayed at an Airbnb before. He may never again. I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this property and have given Airbnb so much, and they don’t care about me.

Well, I’ve had it. I’m going to try out the competition, and I hear good things about them. I could bring so many more properties online with this company, but will I? Airbnb now offers me $700 now to refer hosts, but they don’t seem to value me as a host.

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Hookers right outside the door of my Airbnb

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I rented a place. I was there for just a few minutes before contacting the host and telling him we need to talk. There were hookers outside the door and the people upstairs sounded like they were a stomp dance group. The host told me if I went on my app and just hit cancel he would return all the money if I left. I canceled and left as fast as I could. He lied and kept well over two nights’ worth of payment when I was there for five minutes total.

I opened a case about it and when I started asking how he was getting away with this, the conversation quickly ended. I left an honest review about “hooker hell” and it was pulled down because of the “refund motive”. So now other people, possibly with their child or children like I was, are being put in a bad situation. I have asked repeatedly for a link for my honest review and have been ignored.

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Guests can Extort because Airbnb doesn’t Enforce its Policies

The Airbnb Extortion Policy prohibits “guests threatening to use reviews or ratings in an attempt to force a host to provide refunds.” However, Airbnb doesn’t appear serious about enforcing this policy, so guests can happily extort hosts to provide refunds for any frivolous concocted reason. Hosts have little recourse because the guest can always state their frivolous reason as their “personal experience” in their review and leave a one-star review in retaliation if their unreasonable demands are not met.

Here is what happened in my case. The guest knew at check-in that there was another concurrent guest’s dog on the property in the shared apartment listing but she claims she did not know that at the time of booking and that my not telling her that explicitly was unacceptable. She knew within moments of check-in that there was a dog locked in the other guest’s private space.

I offered to have the dog moved to a downstairs room on a different floor and she simply said “It’s fine. I just feel bad for the [locked up] dog.” It remained locked on a room on her floor. At nearly midnight of her last night’s stay, she messaged saying she was unhappy because of the dog’s crying (probably wanting to be taken out) and that she was allergic to dogs (surprise).

I immediately apologized and sought to address the situation but within moments of my response, she sent me another message saying she moved to a hotel and asked me to refund that last night’s stay with what was clearly a veiled threat, “I am keenly aware of review issues and I have no intention of leaving a bad review… I have left and moved to a hotel. I realize it is late and you cannot book someone for this night. However, I would appreciate a refund of tonight’s fee.”

I politely reminded her that her booking was on a strict cancellation policy, so I could not refund her. She went to write several long messages about why she deserved to be refunded, threatened escalating it to Airbnb or a credit card chargeback, tried all the escalations, and lost because her case had no merit. She retaliated by leaving a one-star review as was clearly implicit in her earlier threatening message (quoted above).

Airbnb seemingly considers her review to not violate its Content Policy because it allows a guest to state whatever they want as their “personal experience” and doesn’t seem to care to stand by its extortion policy. A guest can simply blackmail hosts by asking them for refunds on frivolous grounds, and even if they don’t explicitly threaten a bad review like in my case, the host knows the implicit threat exists.

There is little the host can do about a bad review. A guest could literally say, “I felt cheated because the place’s location felt like it was on the moon, so the listed location felt inaccurate” and leave a one-star review and Airbnb won’t do anything about it.

A reasonable customer service rep might help get it removed but that is rare and their policy is such that it explicitly allows guests to report obviously verifiable lies as their personal experience (as long as it doesn’t violate other parts of the Content Policy, like no discrimination, hate speech, etc.). Seems like a poorly worded Content Policy or at least a poorly enforced one.

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Hotel Rooms will always be Preferable to Airbnb

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I reserved an Airbnb a week in advance for a six-guest stay in an apartment. The host and I talked back and forth and she was very polite. We rolled up around 1:00 AM, drained after our 4.5-hour drive and just ready to get settled in and maybe hit a few bars to get our trip started.

We unlocked the door and walked in to see this very large man on the living room floor about ten feet away from the front door we opened. We all jump back, thinking: “Is this the wrong room? No, it can’t be because the code to unlock it is working.”

The guys went inside to find sections of the living room separated by sheets/curtains and three beds on the floor for us to sleep on. These beds were a curtain away from this random man on the floor. The guys went back in to take pics and videos of this place as proof to send to customer service for a refund. There were even two rooms in the back that had people in them.

I promptly cancelled our Airbnb and immediately called customer service. The customer service rep told me he had to contact the host to get her side of the story. They contacted the host who finally woke up and started freaking out, sending me crazy rude messages. At the point we were all just so done; we just needed somewhere to sleep.

After calling around and driving around until after 5:00 AM we finally found something to accommodate all six of us (thanks to the nice front desk lady at the Comfort Inn). The crazy host kept messaging me until 4:30 AM.

Now, looking at the reservation, it does say a shared room up to eight people. This was my first Airbnb experience to I thought shared meant shared with our guests (since there were six of us). However, we were never informed people would be there at the same time as us a sheet away – scary.

In the end, the host was just as rude to my customer service guy as she was to me which, isn’t going to help her. Hopefully, she is removed from Airbnb. She refused us a full refund but we called and filed a claim with Chase.

P.S: it looked nothing like the pictures. I’m attaching the photos from the website, the guy on the floor, our “room”, and screen shots of this crazy lady going off on me. The door auto locks so we didn’t leave anyone in any type of danger/harm. You can’t break and enter if you were given the gate and door code to get in.

Airbnb Review System Heavily Censored

My gripe is with Airbnb itself. My family (four adults + one child) booked a house in Aptos, California for seven days. It wasn’t cheap, but that is not the problem. The property didn’t live up to expectations and our review reflected the shortcomings we found. We also praised the good aspects of the property as we are trying to give a balanced picture for future guests.

Some of our more negative comments included the incident on our second night when police were called to the house opposite ours and shouts of “I have a gun” were heard – not very neighbourly. Other review comments related to the kitchen cleaning; we had to wash nearly every utensil in the kitchen before use, despite being charged a very hefty cleaning charge.

The problem is that the review was heavily censored and probably 2/3rds of the review was missing. Contacting Airbnb customer service was the usual trail of BS and deadends with the only contact being someone who couldn’t find my review. What kind of data storage do they have? The last I heard they were “closing this ticket, have a nice day.”

This attitude reeks of modern day big business i.e., Microsoft, Facebook, et al becoming too self important and losing track of the fundamentals. Would like to hear if other Airbnbers have had similar censorship issues?

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Cliffside Bali Disaster Almost Leads to Mob Attack

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This was the worst Airbnb/hotel experience of my life. We were almost attacked by host’s family/friends upon leaving. We booked two nights at what looked like a beautiful cliffside villa in Bali for my girlfriend and I. We overpaid for Bali so we kind of expected a nice place.

After dragging our belongings down five flights of stairs, we were taken to a room that looked nothing like what we booked. It was a totally different place. It had a pretty view of the sea so we didn’t complain.

When we emailed the host asking for the wifi password she quickly became defensive. After explaining that we were both working professionals who require internet access for our businesses the host became outright offensive. She continually called my girlfriend (who is a doctor) “sweetie” and “darling” after telling her how spoiled she was for asking for wifi. Absolutely not an appropriate way to speak to anyone, let alone a guest who is paying a lot of money.

We explained that we booked this place specifically because the listing said it had wifi, and we overpaid for it as well because we were told it would certainly have wifi. Then the host became abrasive and abusive, calling us names via WhatsApp and the Airbnb messaging app. We decided to cut conversation with the host at that point and asked her not to speak to us that way.

Noticing that the door to the Airbnb would not lock and watching the host’s worker come and go through our room without our permission, we decided we should leave for our safety as well. This turned out to be a good decision. After messaging and calling Airbnb and dealing with one useless customer service rep after an hour we finally got to a manager who read the rude messages from the host and realized how bad of a situation it was.

Agreeing that the host’s behavior was way out of line, she agreed to a refund. We were told the host was penalized for her behavior and misrepresentations as well.

But the story didn’t end there. We still had to get our bags out of the apartment. We quickly ran back down the cliffside stairs to get our belongings. We packed everything as well as we could and began carrying our big bags back up the stairs. Not an easy task even in the best of circumstances.

As we walked up the road a group of local people approached us asking if we were staying at the Airbnb. The man in the group was on the phone with someone and was leering threateningly at us. Being frequent travelers I sensed immediately that this was a threatening and possibly dangerous situation. The group blocked the way up the stairs to the road and asked us repeatedly if we were staying at the Airbnb.

Sensing the danger, we denied that we were going to stay at the Airbnb and said we were from another hotel. We pretended to not speak English as well and were able to pass by the group. The group however followed us to the main road where they continued to ask us questions about where we were staying. We heard the man on the phone mention the host’s name multiple times on the phone. It was obvious that this group was looking for us. One man continued to hover behind us while talking on the phone leering at my girlfriend. I positioned myself between him and her in case he intended her harm.

Thankfully, we were able to catch a rideshare in time and leave safely as more people began to show up. As we drove away the man on the phone made an aggressive lunge towards the vehicle as if attempting to provoke a fight. This was a very dangerous situation that could have gotten out of control quickly. I believe that without quick thinking by us and the luck of having a driver nearby we could have become victims of something far worse than a ruined vacation stay.

We left the Airbnb and went to another hotel but are very nervous and shaken up from the experience. I think this will be the last time we stay in an Airbnb. Not worth life and limb for a pretty view. I wish there was a way to tell more people to stay away from Airbnb. We saw other reviews where similar behavior occurred but we weren’t able to review online because we canceled. Stay away from Airbnb please for your own health and safety.

Absolute Nightmare of a Host and Stay

How can I even begin to describe the absolutely horrible experience my two friends and I had dealing with our Airbnb host? Nothing short of a nightmare.

None of us had ever been to Miami Beach and were so excited to spend our spring break there (April 10th-16th). In the beginning, prior to arriving to Miami, the host was super responsive, seemingly charming and very accommodating. Everything was awesome.

I was told closer to the date that we would be checking in with a man, which was strange because most people I know who booked through Airbnb had lock boxes or codes on the door. However, I assumed he was simply the landlord of the building or something.

They were nice enough to let us check in earlier than expected, since we took a red-eye to Miami and came in at about 3:00 AM. Check-in, which was initially 3:00 PM, was moved up to around 11:00 AM. Great.

The man and his wife, who joined him to let us into the building, were nice enough. I had to sign a lease agreement which I also found odd, since I never had to do anything like that when renting a hotel room. The apartment looked so cute on a preliminary scan, and my friends and I were absolutely enamored.

He and his wife left us with the keys and we were ready to get settled. I ventured into the bathroom to shower so I went through the drawers that were under the sink to find a washcloth and towel. I realized that there were only a couple of washcloths, but there were three of us signed up to rent the place. I assumed maybe there were more in the closet so I took one.

Afterwards, I went to hang up my towel and the towel bar just collapsed. There was no extra pulling on it, not anything. I simply laid my towel on it and boom. The anchor holding it to the wall slid right on out. That being said, it was obviously broken before (this information was later confirmed by him). We also discovered that there were, in fact, only two washcloths.

Before heading to the beach, the left corner of the bed was lightly sat on. It completely gave away and caved in. Luckily there were no injuries, but we were left wondering: where is everyone going to sleep now? I immediately messaged the host to let her know what happened, as well as texted him. No response. We wound up having to put something under the mattress to prop it up for our very first night in this place.

The next day: still no response. I was wondering what happened to my oh-so-hospitable host, seeing as she had always been so responsive prior to my stay. Finally I sent another message and she told me to just call him, but he didn’t answer the phone. I messaged her yet again after he didn’t respond and she contacted him. He showed up unannounced at almost 10:00 PM to give the bed a temporary fix. Then he also promised to bring more towels and washcloths. I never saw him again for the rest of the trip, so we had to continue to use dirty towels and washcloths for the duration of our stay.

One of my friends noticed water pooling behind the toilet, which I thought was maybe from the shower. It turned out, according to him, the toilet had a leak.

On the second night of our stay, since we rotated who would use the couch and the bed, one friend slept on the couch. The next day she woke up with a ton of red bites on her body, which appeared to be bedbug bites. At this point I was completely through with the place. She still currently has the bites and they still itch.

That evening, we all went out. Upon our return we attempted to unlock the door. We had done it quite a few times already so everyone knew which keys went where. The lock wouldn’t budge. We stood outside for a solid ten minutes trying to jimmy the key around until finally one of us was able to get the lock to give. It was then that we realized the top lock was actually broken, which is definitely a safety hazard. There was even a note on it that said not to touch it.

The fourth day we went to turn on the TV In the bedroom. It didn’t work. I am not sure if it ever did, but I know it was advertised and was one of the selling points for me, so I was very disappointed.

My friend went to use the hair dryer, plugged it in, and it made this loud grating noise as if something was stuck in it. Mind you, this was the first time we even realized there was a hair dryer. After the initial plug in, it was never touched again. I submitted a complaint, and the host was contacted about it.

The host was basically yelling at me via my inbox for doing that and was accusing my friends and I of the damage that was clearly pre-existing. I very calmly let her know about each and every problem that had occurred since the bed broke and she basically accused me of being a liar, especially about the bedbug bites. After getting completely snippy with me, she wrote me an awful review and attempted to accuse my friends and I of causing the damages that were clearly pre-existing and tried to charge us for the damages.

I submitted this same review and Airbnb took it down because it “violated community policy”. Although they dismissed the charges, none of my complaints were really addressed. Not that I expected any sort of money in return, but I did not expect to not be assisted at all.

To conclude, this host is a scammer, peddling a mediocre experience disguised as a dream vacation, and Airbnb is the medium that allows for scammers like her to operate unregulated. I am absolutely disgusted.