Lying Airbnb Superhost in Vancouver Kicks us out

Compared to other stories, this is not the worst, but it was truly upsetting, especially for old friends, one of whom was dying. We rented an apartment with a view, which was beautiful, but nothing else was up to snuff.

The apartment was so tiny that one of us had to sleep on a love seat (the only soft, albeit uncomfortable, place to sit in the place) and another on the floor of an unheated, cold, windy porch since there was not even floor space inside. We were charged extra for a third adult, with no mention that the apartment was really not meant for more than a close couple or an individual.

The Airbnb property manager refused to give us more than one key, because he didn’t like the woman traveling with us (three retirees from different parts of the world). The Airbnb “Superhost” said the security guards would let us up on the elevator to our floor and we could deal from there, if we wanted to go out individually. The security guards would not let us up and thought that the manager was a scammer. We had a difficult time trying to coordinate our schedules so that we could get back in since our phones didn’t work internationally and we couldn’t buy any phones for short-term use. There were many uncomfortable situations.

We at least knew that the manager did have the owner’s permission since we were kicked out (without a word of thanks or accommodation) one evening so the owners could come in with their contractor. Much to the manger’s chagrin, we were late getting out so we met the owners, but couldn’t stay because there was literally no room for six people in the apartment.

This was not an inexpensive rental. We would have done better at a hotel down the street. So, beware, shop around, and don’t always trust Airbnb reviews.

Airbnb Booking Leads to Trailer Park Nightmare

I booked an Airbnb in Canada for myself, my girlfriend, and her three kids for a trip around Alberta for a couple of weeks during the summer 2021. It was in a mobile home park, but Airbnb did not tell us it’s a mobile home park on the website. It was one of the very few Airbnbs in the area. I believe there were only two or three that could accommodate five people.

When I was on Airbnb’s website, there were about nine or ten pictures of the unit and I’m believe about five of those pictures were of the kitchen: pretty much five of the exact same pictures. It looked okay in the pictures; there was nothing to see or identify that there was anything wrong with the house, which in the end was not a house. It was a rundown 60-year-old looking piece of crap trailer in a trailer park on the outskirts. There was a lock box that had the key for the trailer in it that was attached to an old wooden fence. Anyone could have come along, broken the fence, and taken the key.

As you enter the trailer you have to climb up these rickety stairs on to this wooden deck that looked like you would almost fall through. The door to the trailer was an old wooden door where the lock on the door barely locked. There was an approximately two-inch gap on the bottom of the door; mice or anything could have come in with no problem. Everything in the trailer was like a step back in time.

They listed it as a two bedroom: there was one full bedroom in the back of the trailer and the other bedroom was part of the kitchen where there was a curtain and a old rickety wooden bookcase that had been laid on its side to kind of make it look like it was a separate bedroom from the kitchen when it really wasn’t. There were no towels in the bathroom. Barely any hot water. The floor was disgusting; there are parts of it that I swear to god I thought I was going to fall through a number of times. Everything in the kitchen was plastic like it was made for a 50-year-old daycare.

The trailer park was full of noisy neighbors partying and yelling for half the night. It was a very disgusting experience I would never ever stay in the area again. When I called Airbnb after it was over to tell him about it then complain I got zero customer service from them: no returning my phone calls, no answering my emails, nothing. I love using Airbnb. I have used it a number of times and this was the first time I had ever experienced a problem residence. I just wish that Airbnb had much better customer service than they do.

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Reasons to Stop Using Airbnb in the Future

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I booked a trip to Montreal for February of next year to get out of my city and celebrate my graduation. The Airbnb I selected did have a strict cancellation policy which wasn’t an issue at the time because I had no intentions of cancelling. However, very shortly after booking the COVID situation in Montreal became dire with the whole city declaring a state of emergency. This week, Quebec reported nearly 10,000 cases. Montreal is on a complete shut down and will likely have similar strict measures in place come February. I decided it was best to cancel my trip early instead of waiting and having to do so last minute.

I contacted the host, whose profile says “response time one hour”. He did not reply to any of my messages. I contacted Airbnb customer service, which was of no help. They took a patronizing, condescending tone with me and constantly reiterated the “policies” by which their hands were tied. Airbnb does not protect customers in the case of COVID-related travel bans, closures, etc. Thus, even if I wanted for an official travel ban to be enacted, I still would not get my money back. My best option was to request a refund from the host. I did this and the host declined, citing this ‘policy’. Airbnb will not issue any credit to my account either. I have effectively lost my deposit.

Firstly, I do not think it is ethical or socially responsible for Airbnb to allow such policies in a pandemic. Obviously we’re all tired of this and want to get out and travel. However, there should be measures in place to protect customers in the event of unforeseen circumstances. I am aware the host has a strict cancellation policy, but this is an exceptional circumstance and I was at least providing him enough notice to find another guest.

I have accepted that I have two options: I can go through with my trip (or try to) or cancel now. I did not anticipate things would get so bad so fast and I do not want to risk traveling in February when COVID is likely to still be ravaging Montreal. I have decided to wait until the very last day to cancel my reservation, in hopes that it lessens the chance the host can find a new guest. I am also deleting my Airbnb account immediately after and will be boycotting the service going forward. When I think about it, I’m not saving that much money compared to a hotel. Maybe hotels will cost more, but I also won’t have to pay a cleaning fee and be responsible for cleaning the place lest I get tacked with additional fees and a bad review.

People like this host make the world a worse place to live in. Airbnb’s treatment of their customers is beyond poor. I refuse to give any more of my money to this platform. I always knew it was unethical, but I compartmentalized what I knew because part of me did like what Airbnb had to offer. The reality is, Airbnb is contributing to rising rental prices and housing scarcity.

If you’re on the fence about Airbnb or questioning whether you should boycott it, let this be a sign. At the end of the day, once they have your money, they couldn’t care less about you as a person. Customer service is not a priority once you’ve already paid them because absolutely nothing is forcing them to deliver. Put it this way: if a hotel has your money and for some reason you can’t travel due to unforeseen circumstances, they aren’t going to waive some draconian policy in your face and talk to you like you’re stupid. They will refund you or compensate you in some other way. A hotel isn’t going to charge you more money for not cleaning your room or subject you to a rating system that serves to encourage guests to ignore obvious problems with the unit and accept subpar service.

 

Shady Superhost Makes Airbnb Stay a Nightmare

I booked a comfortable little apartment in Quebec for my family vacation this summer and it turned out to have a crazy owner and a crazy drunk neighbor with a dog who bit my child and who killed a hen in front of our eyes. The place was dirty, with an inch of dust and hairs on the floors, and strange stains on the upholstery of the chairs. It smelled like a medieval pub. The dishwasher was rusty with broken parts, the rust stayed on the presumably washed dishes afterwards.

The place was so small that once you got in the room there was no air; you had to keep the window open all the time and there was no mosquito netting in either bedroom. The host was crazy; he insisted on entering the premises while we were out, lying that the previous tenant forgot a coffee maker. One day he thought there was nobody home and tried to get in the house, but it was locked and as I shouted he ran off.

He found occasion to come every day. Once he walked with a chainsaw back and forth in the backyard, which was creepy enough for me. The neighbor is a crazy local drunk that drank wine and then got in her car with a friend of hers. There was a child with them as well. She assured me that her dog was very well behaved and I let my children play with him. At one point the dog started chewing my son’s shoes and at the end he attacked my son, knocked him to the ground, and bit him. The dog owner was drunk and didn’t even care enough to do something. Several days later the same dog killed one of the other neighbor’s hens in front of our eyes.

On top of everything, the host left an awful review on my Airbnb profile claiming that I broke his fan and the garden parasol, which was a complete lie. I was mislead by all the positive reviews on his profile and I wondered how someone can give five stars for a broken rusty dishwasher, dirty floors, non-working TV, dirty old magazines and broken kitchen table. The only explanation for me is that these are his friends.

On top of it, there were three spoons in the kitchen, three bowls and three tea cups for a family of four. I claimed a certain amount of the paid sum from Airbnb but they did nothing. The host also refused of course. The price was equal to a hotel stay and I regret not making a reservation in the nearby hotels. There were hotels much more close to the national park and way more beautiful and clean. The property is on a provincial road with a 90 km speed limit. The closest shop was 2 km away and there was nothing in it.

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Airbnb Implied We Should Risk our Lives and Health for Booking

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My family is living in Vancouver, Canada, and we had an Airbnb booking from Aug. 18 through 22 in Penticton for our vacation. I had to cancel it two days before our booking because of wild fires and consequent air quality issue.

Wild fires were literally burning every route from Vancouver to Penticton. If we were going on our vacation, we literally had to drive through the road on which wild fires are burning. Consequent air quality was also an issue. Wild fires were not burning in direct vicinity of Penticton, but multiple wild fires were burning within a one-hour drive of the area. The air quality in Penticton was extremely unhealthy.

Airbnb implemented a new extenuating circumstances policy in January that states: “When this Policy allows for cancellation, it controls and takes precedence over the reservation’s cancellation policy.” I believe my case was definitely an extenuating circumstance as no one would go on a vacation in such circumstance risking the health of my children as well as that of myself and my wife.

I contacted Airbnb’s Online Support, but they rejected my refund request. They said my case was not an extenuating circumstance. They didn’t consider my case as an extenuating circumstance, and that automatically means that they think I should have risked my family’s life and health to honor my Airbnb booking. They never said it directly, but what else could it mean?

I asked them: Would you go on a vacation in that kind of situation? I asked multiple times, but they never answered this question.

I almost gave up on getting the refund, but I thought that I at least deserved an answer. I asked them to explain why my case was not an extenuating circumstance and explain why the extenuating circumstances policy can not be applied to my case. They never answered these questions, and they closed down my session. Now they are completely ignoring me.

Airbnb Literally Endangering People’s Lives for Profit

After making the responsible choice last year to cancel all reservations when the pandemic hit and subsequently not receiving any compensation, I received $25. I took it as an opportunity to review my cancellation policy to better protect myself to reflect the new realities of travel.

Fast forward a year later and I made my place available for the month of April and received three bookings, two of which my guests responsibly cancelled due to the lockdown in the province of Ontario. The third one admitted her travel was unnecessary and that she was coming to walk around with her boyfriend. Now she booked a non-refundable option but would not cancel the reservation because she did not want to lose the money despite her choice to book a non-refundable option. Again being responsible, I chose to cancel and the guest was refunded.

I am not the brightest, but I am failing to see how after I adapted and my guest booked a non-refundable option, how she is still being refunded. At first I was upset over the money but at some point it’s not about the money. It’s about the safety of my community and I couldn’t believe the position Airbnb put me in. They refunded some person who booked a non-refundable option and did nothing to respect my cancellation policy or do the right thing and cancel all reservations in Ontario.

This didn’t sit well so I asked them to donate the money to Black Lives Matter (I am a Black person so figured this money could go to some good) instead of refunding this low life guest. They refused, stating their policy. I was laughing at their “support” team. The guy clearly was in no position to even have a conversation and was reminiscent of a robot, programmed to repeat the policy and failing to understand what “human” is.

Companies like these are greasy and hope the collective group robot think pushes your billion-dollar company to higher profits while putting the lives of people at risk. The fact that they are allowing hosts to operate in Ontario at the moment is baffling. They are literally putting profits before the public good and this goes for housing as well. Simply ruining communities.

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On My Way to Arbitration After Airbnb Assault

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I was an Airbnb host for several years. In December, I was assaulted by Airbnb guests from Canada overstaying at my rental home. I called 911, and police officers photographed my injuries at the station. My Airbnb account was closed, and the reservations were canceled.

The guest contacted me via text message about my account being closed before Airbnb sent me an email deactivating my account. I was coping with my husband’s loss and to be attacked inside of my own home was very difficult for me. Airbnb indicated that they would open a claim for my property damage loss. To this date, no such claim has been opened.

The sheriff’s investigator contacted Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Department, who refused her request for the guests’ identity. She indicated that she attempted to search for the guest’s name using department resources and did not get a return. She noted that the Airbnb guests used false information to make the booking.

Airbnb denied me the right to seek justice with my claim by refusing to provide the guests’ identity to law enforcement, who would have conducted a proper investigation. It seems Airbnb was afraid of an impartial third-party investigation. I am on my way to arbitration, and you will hear about this matter in the press very soon.

Illegal Properties, Two Weeks of Waiting for Airbnb

I’m currently dealing with a case where the host is breaking Vancouver’s strict Airbnb laws. All four of her units use expired business licenses. I don’t understand how Airbnb can force their guests to stay at illegal rentals, let alone expect them to go forward with their international travel plans with no resolution to their issue.

I have contacted Airbnb customer support countless times over the last week with no one being of the “correct department” or training to actually just take the moment to call the city of Vancouver and verify their laws. The host is also deceptively listing the units as apartments rather than what it actually is: a house split up into four Airbnb properties. She has no exterior photos and you only find out once you book the unit.

This breaks Vancouver’s strict short term and long term rental laws as it’s not her principal residence. You also cannot rent multiple portions of one home at the same time on Airbnb. Also without a private entrance I don’t see how these units can be safe during COVID-19, especially for someone going through quarantine. Two weeks of waiting for someone to call me back and my trip is now three days away.

Under Investigation for False Privacy Claim from Guest

We are currently under investigation from Airbnb after a guest who stayed at our place for the last 40 days (into their 100-day stay) decided to make a false claim against my husband and I for “violating their privacy.” After the guest’s initial inquiry about staying at our cottage in northern Ontario, we told them that we were currently there doing renovations to the lower level to make it a duplex.

Our listing does state that they are renting the entire cottage, but we had called Airbnb and asked for guidance on what to do since we were doing renovations. They simply told us that as long as we had approval from the inquiring guests that we would be there, everything should be fine. We have all the documentation and emails and written consent from the inquiring guests that they were okay with us being there doing the renovations in the lower level. We kept up communications to make sure we weren’t bothering them with any excess noise and tried to only be there during the day when they were at work.

Their check in date was Jan. 11, and they were medium-term rentals staying until April 30/ All throughout the time from Jan. 11 until Feb. 9 everything was fine as far as we knew. We have text proving that they were fine and anytime we needed to enter their space to do something and we have written documentation of asking their permission.

We did expect the renovation to be complete as of mid-January, until the stay at home order that was in place on Jan. 14 obviously delayed our renovations by a couple of weeks. This is something that was completely out of our control.

On Feb. 9, the guest called my husband and said that they were feeling a little bit frustrated with how long this was going. We packed up that day and went home to avoid any conflict and prevent making our guest feel uncomfortable. My husband went back up on Valentine’s Day weekend to clean up his tools while they were not there because they didn’t stay there on the weekends. As of then, everything was fine: we hadn’t heard any other complaints and everything was communicated to the guests.

We then got a notification through Airbnb that the guests would like to change their check out date from April 30 to Feb. 25, which we declined because there was no reason for them to check out early. The renovation was now completed and no one would be in the lower level for the remainder of their stay (why they waited to complain until we were finally done is beyond me).

The next day we got an email from Airbnb stating that there has been a privacy claim against us and that our account will be suspended until the investigation was complete. We got a call on Feb. 20 asking for our side of the story. The claim was that my husband was there during their stay and that was a violation of their privacy.

We used completely separate entrances; we never even saw the guests more than maybe three times the entire five weeks we were there. We never once entered their space without permission and only three separate times: once to replace our modem for the Internet; once to replenish the soap and a broken spoon that the cleaner had told us was broken; and once for the plumber to check something on the washer. All visits were agreed upon and never were an issue when those things happened.

The Airbnb investigator was completely rude and interrupted us multiple times while we were trying to explain our side of the story. We have been Superhosts since the second month of hosting and I’ve had nothing but great reviews with the exception of one who was annoyed that the Internet wasn’t as fast as that in Toronto. I can’t believe that Airbnb is allowing one guest among 17 positive reviews to tarnish our entire reputation as hosts and potentially shut us down.

I guess my question is has anyone experienced something similar to this and what was the outcome? Our worry is that they are going to refund the guest for the time that they stayed there if they deem that we did indeed “violate their privacy“ even though we have proof that they knew the whole time we were there. If Airbnb does decide to cancel their reservation, is there a chance that we will need to refund them for the days that they have already stayed there and if so how is that legal?