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?

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.

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Guest Who Didn’t Even Stay Posts Review

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A woman reserved my house in Austin for the MotoGP weekend and and never actually stayed at my house. Her fiancé and guy friends trashed my house and stole bottles of liquor (had a sign up requesting payment of cost for any liquor taken). I asked for the $125 (which is actually less than the cost).

Airbnb refused to answer anything for six days and refused to actually call me after four calls being told it would be handled. The woman who booked never complained once while the guys were partying and staying at my house. I called her out for her fiancé’s group leaving bags of trash everywhere and food out and she denied everything.

I sent pictures to Airbnb and they refused to do anything to help. Just patronizing messages from someone who hides their name and refuses to actually talk. I don’t think anyone who didn’t actually step into one of my rentals should be able to post a review. I based my acceptance of her reservation request on her five stars but she never stayed at my house. Her review is probably full of more lies and I have six days to get it taken down. I realize I can respond to get bogus review but it will ruin this beautiful blew listing.

I have eight Airbnb properties and have never been treated so unprofessionally. This policy must be changed. If an instant booking is based on a person’s reviews and likability then they should be staying at the listed house. This woman from California is just lying her way through the Airbnb system. I need corporate’s involvement. I can’t get through to anyone higher up to help after so many calls.

Airbnb Hell for the Poor Person Renting Property

I had a few nice tenants to begin with. I thought they would all be nice, but then I had one lot who complained about everything: “the sheets were smelly, the room smelt, and the dishes weren’t washed.” They left.

Meanwhile I was left with a big cleaning bill, a steam cleaning bill for carpets, and with a person who lied about my place on Airbnb. Now how does that sit with a person who has, with her cleaner, spent six hours cleaning and preparing a nice place, buying extras to make them feel at home while the guests prance off and leave another cleaning bill for me after one night?

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “What happens now?” Are her lies going to be plastered on Airbnb without finding out first what the real deal was? I bet your bottom dollar that is how it went over. I am now out of money and tired. Now my head is thinking – what will happen when the next lot of people arrive? Will they read the liar’s story and perform the same ritual?

I was so right in my thinking. They said exactly the same things that the previous liars said and now I will be out more money.

Thinking of being an Airbnb host? These last lot brought their cat… need I say more? I am very tired and very heartsick that a big company such as Airbnb allows renters to tell lies, believes them without asking any questions, and takes money from us poor suckers. Am I alone in this horror story? Obviously not! Will I continue to be a host? You be the judge.

Can I ring Airbnb or even email them with my side of the story? I have tried both; I emailed at midnight and I was told to wait 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, hours later, I fell asleep only to wake up and find that they had closed me down and didn’t wish to continue with my case.

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Airbnb Bait and Switch, Fake Reviews

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We had a lot of problems with an Airbnb house in Houston. When I kindly told the host to fix the following problems he got extremely aggressive.

A few days before arrival, the host has switched the property. The property I initially booked is no longer listed on Airbnb. I paid more than double the price, as the host was asking for the new listing. The new listing said that it was located in a historic, quiet neighborhood. However, it was located in a run-down neighborhood.

The other neighbor had three big dogs (five feet away from the bedroom) which barked all day and night. We were always waking up and it felt very uncomfortable.

The TV did not work. When we arrived, the Internet TV had no power cable and it was not installed with the router. The stove and oven did not work either, because the gas meter was locked by the gas company. After two days, we had no more access to the laundry room.

As of April 1st, 2018, Texas law dictates that any residential and commercial structures with both sleeping areas and gas or fuel-burning appliances must install and properly maintain carbon monoxide alarms. However, there was only a cheap smoke detector, no carbon monoxide and no fire extinguisher. The host was very reluctant to solve these problems.

Without getting a review from me, the host was giving me a totally bad review, without reason. However, in the last email to me he wrote: “It was a pleasure hosting you! We will be certain to leave a great five-star review for your stay. If you ever come back, please let us know and give us the chance to accommodate you again. A five-star review for us as hosts is very important for our business. Please don’t forget to give us that.”

After checking the reviews of the listing, I discovered they were all fake.

Airbnb Doesn’t Always Allow Negative Reviews

We have reviewed our stay at a place in Chamonix, France where we stayed from February 5th until February 19th, 2019. However, it never was published by Airbnb because the guest never wrote a review about us, the guests. This is, in our opinion, an incorrect action on Airbnb’s part.

Because the owner feels that our review would not suit her, our review will not be published so future guests will not have a reference to how we have experienced our stay at her chalet. I see that as a wrong policy from Airbnb and it is, in a way, cheating. Those who look for reviews will not be adequately informed about this accommodation. We all look for reviews and photos because the principle is ‘what you see is what you get’. That is why there is a gap in the reviews of her place between April 2018 and February 2019.

My advice: If there are hardly any reviews or there is a big gap between reviews, especially in areas like Chamonix during the skiing season, don’t take the place because something is wrong. That was our experience as well. The bathroom was dirty, the shower cabin had a sewer smell, the water tap for mixing cold and hot water did not function well, there were a number of things not provided although advertised, and the bedrooms are upstairs, but the shower and toilet downstairs which, for us, was not clear in the pictures, among others.

We still gave it three stars. However, the review was not published. For us this shows the lack of responsibility by Airbnb where it comes to publishing reviews and informing future guests adequately.

Mismatched Expectations Between Hosts and Guests

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“In my experience communication with the host tends to be limited”

What do other hosts think about this? Would you allow someone into your house who doesn’t communicate? Even Airbnb encourages hosts to prepare a set of questions for guests, asking about their arrival time, reason for visiting, number of guests, luggage, house rules, etc. I literally copied and pasted the questions from Airbnb, but the guest used it against me, leaving one star for communication.

I moved to the freshly renovated luxury apartment a month before the guest’s arrival and asked him to take care of it like his own home. I mentioned I had a guest who painted her hair black in my brand new white bathroom – leaving black stains – and told the guest I’m not into drama which means if he doesn’t feel comfortable with my cleanliness he’s free to book other accommodations. I spend too much money on this apartment and couldn’t afford further damages in my first month. I’d rather him cancel and be open about it. I was sure I was  polite and professional with my communication; therefore I didn’t understand the guest’s aggression towards me and it really upset me.

“Upon arrival in the city, I reached out to the host to arrange a meet (something I’ve never had to do with any other host)”

Let me specify ‘the meet’ in the apartment. The correct word would be: meet and greet. What do you think, hosts? Is it bad thing to meet your guest in person? Even Airbnb commercials shows the meeting of the host and guest. Again, I didn’t understand what was my mistake.

“She provided me with a different address to the apartment”

My building has two entrances: the north and south side. You are allowed to put only one address on the listing. Therefore I always ask guests which side they’re coming from to give them a better address. I even send the map to the Airbnb team showing it was the same place. This was ignored.

“I think she could tell by my facial expression, I knew something was not accurate.”

Well, what a politically correct way to cover the fact he looked at me with disgust, assuming I’m Russian upon first meeting face to face. I felt horrible and very uncomfortable, but couldn’t name the feeling. I was thinking the guest thought I was from a third-world country and he was concern about the cleanliness. I reassured him everything was clean and showed multiple cleaning products and detergents. I encouraged him to feel free to use them during his stay whenever he wants.

He attacked me again, saying I asked him to clean. The apartment was sparkling clean; I put a lot of effort and heart in my new home. I’d never expect someone would want to clean it. Therefore I admit I left only one (thick) roll of paper towels alongside several different types of clothes, but I didn’t expect a guest would want to clean the entire apartment. I felt like he wanted to clean after me… clean out my presence. If he had asked about paper towels I’d simply have bought them, but he didn’t.

Finally, he complained about the “sparsely” furnished apartment. Before I moved in, I checked approximately 30 luxury apartments with a real estate agent. I took pictures of furnished model apartments, and I was collecting catalogs with recent home decor trends. My style would have been named ‘urban minimalistic’ by an agent, but not the guest, who used it as another occasion to attack me – suggesting I’m poor minded, maybe even retarded (as he mentioned in further conversation due to my origins) and couldn’t afford furniture. Obviously he didn’t expect I would know any trends; he prejudged me and my place. It was a disgusting experience, but that was just the beginning.

Can Misogynist Feedback Be Deleted?

I am an Italian host. You might wonder why I an not reaching out the Italian Airbnb website. I tried but I wasn’t very lucky. I am reaching to the US Airbnb site for two reasons: I have lived for some time in the US and there I got to know the US culture better. And so (second reason) I know people there take discrimination and bias seriously. Honestly after the #metoo movement and all its consequences I would expect some awareness here in Italy too, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.

I had a problem with a guest who came to my place for New Year’s Eve. Since I was away for those days I thought it would have been nice to let someone get the chance to stay in my place and, at the same time, get a little extra money. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as expected. I was unlucky to host a guest who had never used Airbnb before, expected my house to be a hotel, and expected me to be the hotel manager.

When he booked I asked him an approximate check in time. He didn’t answer for ten days and the night before check in he told me that since he already paid for the whole sojourn, he would expect me to be at his complete disposal. As I said, it was New Year’s Eve so I had plans with some friends. I told him that if he would have answered before I would have time to arrange a proper check in.

Anyway I did my best and told him my mum’s address to get the key. He did the check in alone. I left some post-its with important stuff and told him that for any questions he could Whatsapp me. Usually when I check someone in I give more details about where some helpful stuff is but I thought that since he would be staying just a few days we could just communicate via phone.

I checked on him a few times and he always said that everything was okay. He even asked me for the wifi password which is written in the house rules, proving that he had no idea how Airbnb works: he never even read my house rules.

After check out I got a surprise: some misogynist private feedback and a terrible public review. For example, he complained that there wasn’t enough toilet paper and no Schuko adapter but both were in the house. Why hadn’t he asked me for supplies? Just so he could write there weren’t any.

On the one hand I believe some people should just keep booking hotels and, as you can imagine, it is frustrating to deal with people that are not informed to be in the Airbnb community. If things would have been like this I could have let it go, but I am deeply concerned about the direction this world is going. Since I do not like it, I have sworn to myself to always try my best to make this world a better place.

This implies that I cannot let any sort of sexist comment go that attacks based on gender. In the private feedback, this guest insulted me because on my fridge I have a little plate saying “rompicoglioni della vagina!” which was given to me during a theater show of the vagina monologues (a very important show that started off Broadway and initialized the v-day movement).

He complained about the fact that I had my vagina ring (closed in its box of course) in the fridge: the vagina ring is medicinal for me and has to be in the fridge (between 2 to 6 Celsius degree) to be effective. I was told to put it in there by a gynecologist.

Last but not least, I had two used pads in the rubbish bin and of course he complained, claiming my house was dirty. In Reggio Emilia, both the recycling and generic waste (where the pads where) are collected door to door once a week; I really had no other options.

In conclusion, I feel like I am paying with my reputation, the fact that I am a feminist woman. This is wrong and should be stopped by whoever has the power to set a good example, Airbnb. Moreover, I wonder if there are any grounds to sue. Any help would be appreciated.

Airbnb has been a Huge Disappointment

Airbnb owners broke their promise to offer us a nice clean place to stay over the winter. The posted reviews on Airbnb for the unit were nice. When we approached the host on June 6, 2018, she asked us to deal with her directly instead of going through Airbnb “to avoid the unneeded formalities.” She repeatedly advised us that “the place is nice, has all the basics and more and she wants us to be happy there.”

We dealt with her and with someone who was introduced to us as her agent. Later we discovered that he was listed as an owner of the place. We wondered if he has a license or not.

We intended to stay in the rented unit for four months. We came from Winnipeg, Manitoba, making 3,060 km during our four days of driving. We arrived in evening of December 8, 2018. The agent met us at the place. During this first meeting he repeatedly posed as an agent for the host by confirming it verbally as well as by calling her several times to get instructions.

We discovered the following shocking deficiencies to the unit: it was dusty and filthy; the carpets were black and dirty; most of the cupboards and drawers were filled in with old useless objects, rubbish, old packaging, all dusty and in disarray; the entire unit was cluttered; all corners and shelves filled with dusty artificial plants; even an old TV was stored on the living room floor.

Please note that the place was small: only 400 square feet. We asked the agent if he could take all that unneeded stuff out of the unit. He said that he would consider taking out only some of it. The bed, pillows and bedding looked dirty and worn out; the bed was not made. The fridge and freezer contained a lot of containers with old food. The fridge was leaking with dirty stale water on the bottom of it. The fridge was producing a very loud uncharacteristic noise.

The hot water tank was not working; there was no hot water in the unit. Later the agent told us that it was fixed. However, we learned from a different source that the tank was leaking, and, if so, it could not be fixed. The agent suggested going to the clubhouse for showering. All the windows had worn out dusty curtains and paper “blinds” that were deteriorating.

The front door lock was not working properly, behaving rather “finicky” as per the agent’s description. We were instructed to use the door leading directly from outside to the bedroom. That door lock was also malfunctioning. The toilet and sink faucet were filthy. One window was not closing as it had a cable wire running through it.

The unit had a bad smell (possibly from the sewer). The parking stall turned out to be small and our truck stuck out on the road. The outdoor furniture was also old and filthy. The whole place was in an unhealthy state of disrepair and disarray: worn out, full of dust and stinky.

We were supposed to pay $1090/month for that place… we were shocked. We had no choice but to stay there overnight. We were tired and afraid that it might be difficult to find a hotel room on a Saturday night. We spent all evening behind the computer looking for an alternative accommodation and moved to a hotel the next day.

We stayed there for a week before finding a place to settle for the remaining term. Please note that there were five reviews that were very nice referring to the place as being nice and clean. We realize that one review was probably referring to a different place as those guests were staying over a weekend and the place “was located walking distance from a festival ground.”

In fact, the location of the subject property is quite remote and renting for a period shorter than one month term is not permitted by the Almar Acres Association. We consider those nice reviews as fraudulent misrepresentation. We consider the whole situation as a fraud. We were tricked by the sweet promises.

In fact the unit has deteriorated far beyond a quick clean or quick fix. The owners are not considerate or trustworthy people. They lied to us about the place and about their own status in respect to the ownership. It feels sneaky and it is not acceptable. They inconvenienced us and made us pay for a hotel. It is so unfortunate that our vacation started with a huge disappointment.