Airbnb Host Refuses to Post Exterior Photos

Must just be me but we get into the strangest situations. We are planning to visit grandchildren in California this September. We had been looking for an Airbnb place to stay. The one in which we usually stay was booked long term until January 2022. We thought we found one; it was a mini farm with small animals, and thought it would be fun for the kids. With the pictures online, the inside looked clean and nice and the reviews were good.

Since we spend so much time outdoors, we wondered why there were no outside photos. Most places show the deck, porch, yard, etc. We emailed her and asked if we could see the outside.

She replied:

We appreciate your interest in the [house]. Airbnb does not allow pictures to be sent before booking. I assume to prevent people from booking outside of Airbnb? Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions that will help you determine if you would like to book a stay with us.

We could understand that, so we replied:

How kind of you for responding so quickly. We were thinking maybe you had photos of the outside that you could post on your listing. Have a great day.

She replied:

The [house] is a guest house on our property, so the outside area guests have access to is limited to the immediate surrounding area. We don’t have pictures of the outside for our own privacy, and security of our own home. If you could please explain why such interest in the outside and deck? We may be better able to answer your question or advise if we have what you’re looking for or not. Stay well!

We decided at $200 a day this was not the place for us when she would not even let us see the outside until we got there. Meanwhile we noticed they have their photos on the listing and even their child’s photo — so much for their privacy.

Horrible Host + Horrible Customer Service = Airbnb Nightmare

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My husband and I checked into our Venice beach studio late for a five-night stay. Exhausted, I fell into bed, but thought “This looks like a 3-star place, not 4.82.” The photos showed a bright and sunny room, but the reality was tired and sad: old bathroom and kitchen, tiny room sparsely furnished. We didn’t plan to spend a lot of time inside, so I didn’t think much of it.

The next morning my husband called “first shower,” but quickly retreated. The bathtub was covered in dried human feces. I immediately called the host and told her we were checking out and wanted a full refund. She agreed and we left immediately and checked into a much more expensive hotel. I tried to call Airbnb, but after a half an hour wait I was cut off.

That afternoon, as instructed by my host who said she could not issue a refund until I had cancelled the reservation, I cancelled online. The next day I filed a formal request for a refund with Airbnb’s resolution center. My host had 72 hours to respond and despite my repeated requests, she was radio silent. Finally, my host wrote that she had spoken to Airbnb and was under no obligation to give me a refund, but “out of the goodness of my heart” would refund less than half of our $1,226.

Then I entered Airbnb Hell. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, twice, and only got the response “Here are some articles that might help you.” I wrote to Brian Chesky and several people high up in Airbnb. No response. I DM’d Airbnb through Instagram and got an immediate response: “We are going to assign you a Support Ambassador, a specialist assigned to your case.” For eight days I awaited word from my Support Ambassador (and yes, I kept DMing Airbnb through Instagram and kept getting reassuring responses that they were very concerned about my case).

Eventually, a canned response came from my Support Ambassador which said, in essence, “Sorry. Not our problem.” In the meantime my host was again running the clock and although I did not post a damning review of her studio (or any review), she slammed me with one implying that I had caused the plumbing problem, that I had harassed her, didn’t wait for the problem to be resolved before leaving, and that she had issued us a full refund. Her last ageist jab was: “Cranky old lady. Don’t host her.”

This cranky old lady is also an experienced travel writer. Airbnb says the first thing when there’s a problem is to contact the host. Done. Then Airbnb. Done through the Resolution Center. Bad experiences can happen. Airbnb can be a crapshoot. But why won’t I use them again? Because they take no responsibility, despite their exorbitant fees, for their product. Brian Chesky was just listed as one of the wealthiest people in America. Let the attached photos speak for themselves.

Guests Who Pay Are Your Only Customers — Airbnb Doesn’t Care

I started using Airbnb in 2014. Recently over my last trip to Foster City, San Mateo, California, I picked an Airbnb apartment for a long term stay. The host operates as a leasing and servicing management team, who cared less about servicing or even providing amenities through the nearly two-month stay.

While in the middle of our stay, we wanted to extend for another eight nights. The host claimed that the property was available but Airbnb’s platform features did not allow them to extend. Airbnb chose to play in silence by not participating or responding to any requests. Communication to fix the platform and the host’s booking system issues went on for 3.5 weeks and Airbnb maintained selective silence and never replied timely.

The host proposed and continued to call through our stay, telling us to book directly with them. If that was the intent, then why did we need Airbnb to begin? The host has over 50 properties listed on Airbnb, which means Airbnb has a big supply of customers. Airbnb chose not to lose a supply partner over a guest. I wrote several times to Airbnb but they ignored all my requests with standard replies like “Can we do anything to make your stay comfortable?” and “Is there anything else we could help you with?”

Airbnb and hosts: you both need to know that I, the customer, is the one entity you both need to stay in business. Without Airbnb I would go straight to the host or the like for vacation or long term rentals. Why do I need Airbnb? The host forced me to sign up for an extension with them, so why would they even list on Airbnb? Market and sell your own inventory.

Airbnb is not a platform, not anymore. I deleted Airbnb from my phone before the end of my stay, and I am not staying with this host in the foreseeable future. Goodbye Airbnb. The question is how long can you continue this broken model. Eventually all the suppliers will leave because I, the customer, will not be on Airbnb to create demand.

Airbnb and its Hosts’ Unethical Practices

In November I booked a stay at an Airbnb one bedroom condominium in Palm Springs listed as for mid-February to late March. Per Airbnb requirements, I paid a total deposit of $3,135 for this to Airbnb. At the time, COVID-19 was declining.

Then in December 2020, the COVID situation turned worse in California and on Jan. 6, the California Department of Public Health issued a travel advisory stating that “non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California.” The official state document issued by the governor’s office, referenced in the travel advisory, also included a restriction that stated for “hotels and lodging: allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.”

Based these conditions and further recommendations by Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health professionals that the COVID-19 crisis was still on the rise in California and not likely to see a reduction soon, and that Riverside County (home to Palm Springs) had one of the highest infection rates in the country, I cancelled the reservation in mid-January and told both Airbnb and the hosts that I would be willing to use my refund amount to rebook at this property at a later date and suggested specific dates in April and May.

The host told me they (and Airbnb) agreed to this in January and told me “they would contact Airbnb to find out how to allow me to book for these new dates using the $3,135 I already paid” for the reservation in February. During the next two weeks, I kept asking them when they would do this. They kept saying “we are busy and will do today” but they never did.

After two weeks of pleading with them to follow up on their agreement to allow me to rebook using my deposit for the original reservation, and still no action on their part, I had no choice but to realize they never intended to allow me to rebook using my deposit. When I contacted Airbnb, they told me “the host was refusing to release my deposit” to use for a booking in the future. When the host finally did respond, after I repeatedly complained to Airbnb, the host told me “it was really Airbnb that was not allowing them (the hosts) to use my deposit to rebook at a later date.”

So now the hosts were blaming Airbnb for this debacle. I’m stuck in the middle of the hosts saying Airbnb won’t let them rebook my new dates using my deposit, and Airbnb saying the hosts won’t allow a refund. Both Airbnb and the hosts were blaming each other. In the meantime, the hosts rebooked guests into their property during the time I originally booked so they are receiving payments for the new bookings and keeping my deposit. Essentially making twice the price for the time between mid-February and the end of March while I’m out $3,135.

While this may not be illegal, I certainly think it is unethical and wrong. Then to top this off, the host tried to get me to put an additional deposit down for future dates and saying they “would release my original deposit when they received additional deposits for future dates.” I told them they must think I’m a fool if they thought I would give them more money while they still had my original deposit and would not use it to rebook. How these hosts can maintain their status as “Superhosts” while consistently lying to me is unbelievable. How Airbnb sanctions this wrongful behavior is equally unbelievable to me.

Extortionate Airbnb Property with Habitual Liar Host

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As a non-driver, I knew a spontaneous California trip would be a challenge but less so if I was close to Downtown LA or Hollywood. This conniving weasel advertised his trailer-park esque room (in his dusty, unkempt garage) as ‘close’ to everything. I explained that I was not driving and he was ever so attentive before I arrived. His directions to get the keys were a riddle: getting into the backgate required unlatching a hook that I could not reach, nor did he greet or see me into the property.

I found hair all over the sheets and towels (which I cleaned/removed). There was a 1950’s TV and the water pressure was pitiful. I also realized how far I was from LAX (though everything near LA seems far even before traffic). I messaged him asking for an iron/new towels and to notify him that my friend would visit but not stay over (via Airbnb and Whatsapp). He ignored those messages but the next night when my friend was over I receive an email from Airbnb requesting extra payment for added services as ‘he overheard that I had company and assumed they were staying’.

I assumed this had to be paid immediately or I’d get asked to leave. I paid it. I then told him he could have just verified this with me as I was next door. I left the next day (another guest was also extorted by him), told Airbnb what happened, and then after receiving no response from him, received threats about involving the LAPD as I had apparently stolen the keys. He later retracted this when he found them. His claims were so pitiful it was hilarious. I took pictures and video footage before leaving. He even commented at the beginning: ‘Don’t worry about the security deposit; it’s only for troublemakers and you don’t look like one of those people’.

He was a passive aggressive, sneaky prick and had oversold his dusty disgusting cave as a bachelor art studio. Airbnb only refunded the night I did not stay, not the extended charges. There was no kitchen access and the walls were so thin you could hear whatever grunting was common place in his barnyard… I mean household. My Uber app was playing up, so the stress to leave the property and locate a new one asap via Booking.com was terrible. I could not make calls without wifi as I had a phone from overseas. Never again, Airbnb.

Host Ignores Electric Bill, Makes us Pay for Lock

We recently had a two-week stay on Airbnb. There was a subsequent corporate hell odyssey that was one awful rip off after another, first by the host and then by Airbnb itself. I don’t even know where to begin. First of all – and this is nowhere near the worst thing – the place was filthy upon arrival. There was pubic hair all over the bathroom and a semen stain on the sheets, and a layer of dirt so thick on the floors that simply touching a paper towel to the floor turned it into black finger spots. We contacted the host and he agreed to send over a cleaning crew the next day and replace the sheets. That was the last time the host did anything remotely right.

Then the power went off. We thought there was a blackout in the neighborhood or some breaker problem, but after seven hours, some spent talking to the electric company, they told us that the power had been shut off because the host didn’t pay his electric bill. We called the host and he grumbled something and said he would pay the bill. An hour later the power was still off and we sent the host a message via Airbnb. At some point the lights came on so I guess he paid his bill. Who knows?

From the very start we noticed the key was jamming in the deadbolt lock. On the fourth night it just stopped working and we were locked out of the apartment. We called the host, who claimed to be out of town, and sent over an after hours locksmith. The locksmith broke us in to the apartment and then replaced the lock, noting that it had broken due to fatigue over time. The bill was over $800. The locksmith then claimed that he couldn’t accept payment from the host over the phone. We called the host and he told us that we should pay the locksmith and he would pay us back the full amount. He promised, so we trusted him.

You can probably guess what happened after that. If you guessed that the host dropped off the face of the Earth, you are correct. We tried Airbnb messages, texts, and phone calls, over days, all of which went unanswered. Finally we initiated an Airbnb “Resolution Request.” The host is given 48 hours to respond, which he did not, after which it gets escalated to Airbnb management. Airbnb also did nothing for a long time. Our trip ended and we flew home, again with no word whatsoever from the host or Airbnb.

One day I got a message out of the blue that the host had written his review of me. He was alive after all. What did this host who tricked us into replacing his lock for $800, promised to pay us back, and then disappeared, have to say? Well, in the private message that the host can send to a guest with the review but which doesn’t get posted or seen by Airbnb, the host gloated that I “got played” (presumably by him) during the whole thing. What a lovely individual, am I right? I was hopping mad but I thought that Airbnb would deliver justice with the Resolution Request. Again, my mistake. After many more days of nothing happening someone from Airbnb called me and said that the host was claiming that he only wanted the locksmith to break us in to the apartment and not replace the lock. Therefore, I should pay for the lock.

I pointed out that that is a ridiculous claim. If the host intended to leave us with just a broken lock and no functioning deadbolt that would have been a violation of Airbnb’s safety guidelines, and also if the host is claiming that I bought a lock that he didn’t want he can send me the lock rather than keep using it. The Airbnb representative said those were good points. I also pointed out that the host promised to repay us the whole amount then disappeared for weeks and that was extremely shady. If he had wanted to talk about the situation he could have responded to one of my many messages or calls.

In spite of those good points, Airbnb followed the money, which of course comes from hosts with multiple properties and not guests. Airbnb first ruled that the host only had to pay me for the cost to break in to the apartment, not the cost to replace the lock. Then, on top of that ridiculous ruling, they added the bill incorrectly (probably intentionally) and decided that the locksmith’s $120 “service call” charge was the cost to break us in to the apartment, when that was actually $365 on top of the service call charge. Airbnb decided that we should get basically nothing and aided the host in scamming us out of almost $700.

As for the electricity being off for most of a day due to the host not paying his bill, Airbnb decided to credit us merely a third of a day’s stay for that. If we follow that logic, the electricity could be off for eight hours of each day during your stay, rendering the accommodations unusable, and you would only be entitled to be refunded a third of the amount. I called them to point out that even with the pittance they were crediting us, they added the numbers incorrectly on the bill. The representative agreed that they did so, and said that she would “bring it up with her team.” Again, as you can probably guess, I never heard from them again.

I was surprised at how thoroughly and brazenly they cheated us, and how long it took them to do so. They don’t even have the courage to let you know they are going to screw you up front – they take weeks and weeks to do it. I guess I would say to avoid this host – the name he uses on Airbnb is Tony della Morte (don’t know if that’s his real name or a particularly appropriate alias) and he has several listings around Menlo Park, CA. The rot and corruption here extended way beyond the host to Airbnb itself, so really the lesson from this is do not trust hosts or Airbnb. I would say to avoid Airbnb, period. This has been the worst rip off and worst experience I have ever had with a merchant in my life.

Airbnb is Fine until you Have a Real Problem

We checked into our rental in San Diego just after 9:00 PM. On our way there, we observed tents lining the sidewalks with homeless people everywhere, so we weren’t off to a good start. Upon our arrival, we discovered that one window in the front of the house (on the ground level facing the street) did not lock at all, and another window had a lock, but would not properly fasten. We tried contacting the host (at approximately 9:30 PM) but got no response. We didn’t feel safe staying there. This would have been the case no matter what neighborhood it was in, but it was especially concerning considering there were literally hundreds of homeless people only a few blocks away. We left and I cancelled the reservation that night.

The next day we finally got a response from the host, asking if we would reconsider. He offered no apologies for the broken windows, and didn’t offer to fix the window either. We did not go back and never stayed one night there. I reported the incident to Airbnb as well. We have since requested a refund, which has been denied by both the host and Airbnb. I was told by Airbnb that it was my responsibility to research the neighborhood prior to booking, and so they refused to give me a full refund, only offering $66 back. I reiterated that our main concern wasn’t the neighborhood, but the fact that the house wasn’t secure. The host mischaracterized many facts related to the incident, telling Airbnb that we called her after 11:00 PM, which was false; she offered to fix the windows, which was also false. Airbnb sided with the host and made a decision contrary to their own guest policy, which states that the host must provide a safe environment. Our issue was about safety, but Airbnb doesn’t care. I will never use Airbnb again. They will not protect you.

Airbnb Left my Family in the Middle of the Street

We did an Instant Book on Airbnb. The email confirmation arrived saying all was set, pack your bags, in addition to nice things about using their service, with code confirmation. We drove all the way from Sacramento to Anaheim with my 4-year-old and mom – 70 years old – so after the long travel time in the car we were exhausted and hungry. Upon arrival, the receptionist in the place we rented said they did not receive any information about our rental. We called the host and he said he did not accept the reservation… apparently unaware of what an Instant Book means.

The place we rented was five minutes from Disneyland, equivalent to a 4-star hotel. I waited more than a hour for a case manager to show up and then she talked to me, offered me $150 as compensation for the ‘inconvenience’ and told me to find a place myself. After I argued with her, she asked for more time to make calls. It was 10:30 PM. We were here in the same place, in the middle of the street, with nowhere to go. We were loyal customers for years and they took no responsibility whatsoever that we ended up paying more than twice the price renting another hotel ourselves so as to not ruin our entire vacation. We also ended up losing one entire day of vacation and had to change hotels three times within four nights to be able to fix their problem. Our daughter has special needs; all the food we took from home ended up ruined and she got constipated pretty badly because her food was not available.

We are very disappointed with the entire situation. We understand that mistakes can happen but not taking any responsibility for their own mistakes is really disappointing. They sent emails saying somebody would look into our case and call us back but nobody has contacted us since.

Airbnb Cancelled due to Higher Bidder?

This was my first time with Airbnb and a bummer of an experience. Several months ago, I reserved a “cabin” in Monterey, California with “Kirk” for eight nights for a retreat I was attending in late July/early August. I received a cancellation notice, with no reason (or compensation) given. However, given the desirability of Monterey, especially in summer, I’d wager the host was offered substantially more than I had paid and cancelled without penalty, as hosts are able to do with Airbnb. (I wonder if he’s done this before – firm reservation vs higher bidder? Hmm…) Now, the inconvenience is on me and I’ll have to cancel my retreat reservations with a penalty as I can’t find anything nearly as nice for twice the price.

Airbnb: Once bitten, NEVER AGAIN. Won’t do it. Beware. Major risk. Apparently, accommodations can be pulled and offered to the highest bidder.